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Results: 1 - 5 of 5
View Greg Rickford Profile
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, colleagues, for this opportunity. It's great to be here again, especially on the heels of our government's balanced budget, economic action plan 2015.
The balanced budget tabled on April 21 reflects our government's commitment to the fiscal discipline that supports job creation, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for Canadians. It also reflects our long-standing position that Canadian families should be able to decide how to spend their hard-earned money, and that's why we're returning more of it to the pockets of every family.
I mention this in the context of the matters related to natural resources because this approach is not shared by all. Obviously, our opposition has been vociferous in advocating for policies that would reverse these tax cuts and raise the price of everything through risky policies like a carbon tax. Let me be clear. This unilateral scheme will require, by necessity, a carbon tax, impose higher prices on everything that Canadians buy, and hurt the Canadian economy and competitiveness. This would be no more obvious than in its impact on the energy sector. That is why you will notice that absent from our economic plan is any mention of a carbon tax.
In terms of a budget overview, let me spend some time talking about what is in economic action plan 2015. As the finance minister said, our balanced budget is prudent, it's practical, and it sticks to our successful plan for creating and protecting jobs and opportunities for Canadians. This includes important new measures to help families and communities prosper, while ensuring the security of all Canadians, and it delivers timely investments for the natural resource sector that has helped to build this great country.
Members have often heard me talk about Canada's natural resources as key drivers of our economy. There's good reason for that.
Our resource sectors—directly and indirectly—account for almost one fifth of our nominal GDP and more than 1.8 million jobs across the entire country. They generate an average of $30 billion annually in government revenues—revenues that support important public programs and services, including health care, education and infrastructure.
That is why responsibly developing our natural resources continues to be a central element in our economic action plan for 2015. And that is why our government is proud to continue supporting sustainable growth through targeted measures in the forest, mining, nuclear and oil and gas sectors. We have also made significant investments to strengthen public consultation and environmental protection.
Let me highlight some specific details of the economic action plan 2015.
For forestry, we will continue to support the transformation of the forest sector by extending the forest innovation program and the expanding market opportunities program.
In mining, we are sustaining Canada's global leadership by renewing the targeted geoscience initiative to develop new and innovative ways of exploring for deeper minerals, unlocking rare earth elements and chromite production, extending the mineral exploration tax credit, and expanding the definition of Canadian exploration expenses to include the costs associated with environmental studies and community consultations.
On the nuclear side, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited will receive the investments it needs to maintain safe and reliable operations at the Chalk River Laboratories.
There is also continued support for LNG, from the accelerated capital cost allowance to a commitment to extend natural gas export licences from 25 to 40 years.
If you're in the business of natural resource development, then you are in the business of environmental performance and aboriginal engagement. That's why budget 2015 includes substantial investments and initiatives to maintain public engagement and improve environmental performance safety. There is funding to enhance the safety of marine transportation in the Arctic and further strengthen marine incident prevention, preparedness, and response in waters south of the 60th parallel. This is consistent with our approach to rail and pipelines.
As well there are some new investments to support effective project approval through the major projects management office initiative, to continue consultations with Canadians on projects assessed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and to support greater engagement with all Canadians, including aboriginal communities, with a focus on enhanced safety and environmental performance through the National Energy Board.
I will now discuss responsible resource development.
All of these measures build on our government's plan for responsible resource development, which is making the review process for major projects more predictable and timely while improving the safety of our offshore, rail, pipelines and nuclear facilities. Our government's message is clear: we are supporting the responsible development of our resources, but no project will proceed unless it is safe. Safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.
Let me now turn to the issue of lower oil prices. Clearly, this has had an impact on the economy in all regions of Canada, on government bottom lines, and on the oil and gas industry's investment plans, at least in the short term. While conditions are challenging today, Canadian crude oil production is expected to keep growing in 2015 and beyond. Canada's oil and gas industry has a long-term perspective and most projects already under construction are expected to move forward. And remember: the long-term outlook for energy is strong.
The International Energy Agency projects that by 2040 the world will need at least a third more energy than is being consumed today. With our extensive oil and gas reserves and our unparalleled expertise, Canada is well positioned to help meet that demand. However, we must build the infrastructure needed to get Canadian energy to global markets to ensure Canada gets the best return for its resources, whatever the market conditions.
This brings me to my department's main estimates. First, it's important to note that the main estimates are a snapshot in time of planned expenditures. Here are the details.
As you will see there are a number of substantial new investments and they include $22.8 million to renew the investments in the forest industry transformation program, an additional $19.7 million to define the outer limits of Canada's continental shelf in the Arctic, and an $18.4 million increase to manage low-level historical waste through the Port Hope area initiative.
These main estimates also include funding for the seven agencies under my portfolio, which are key partners in supporting our government's natural resources priorities. To ensure the National Energy Board can continue its important work we're providing an additional $5.6 million to carry out public hearings on major projects such as Energy East.
As announced in budget 2015, $80 million over five years will be invested beginning this fiscal year for safety and environmental protection as well as greater engagement with Canadians.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, our balanced budget main estimates demonstrate our government's responsible and targeted approach to realizing the full benefits that our natural wealth provides. As I said when last here, we're committed to developing Canada's resources in a way that's safe and environmentally responsible, and engage all communities, in particular aboriginal communities, in every aspect of development. These are not negotiable, frankly, and we will continue to take action to ensure these goals are met.
Thank you again for this opportunity. I'm happy to take your questions.
View François Choquette Profile
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Mills, for being with us today.
I agree with you that garbage is not a waste but, rather, a resource we should be reusing. We need to find a way to repurpose that garbage. The cradle-to-cradle principle dictates that waste be reused. That is the best approach.
I wasn't sure why we were studying this issue, and I will admit I am still wondering about that. Nevertheless, I listened when witnesses said that Canada had the worst scorecard when it came to municipal waste management, which made me think there was probably a good reason for doing this study. I hope we'll come out of it with some useful recommendations.
A number of witnesses have stressed the importance of establishing a carbon tax based on the polluter pays principle. And you've talked about that as well today. As you know, Alberta and British Columbia have a carbon tax. Quebec has a cap and trade system in place with California. Ontario is even considering adopting that system.
Regardless of the approach taken, where do you stand on the importance of establishing a carbon tax based on the polluter pays principle?
Bob Mills
View Bob Mills Profile
Bob Mills
2014-12-03 16:13
I think that's the point I would really want to make, that there is a cost but there's a huge benefit from recycling. Obviously, some of these new technologies at least initially need some help, need some funding in various ways to make them succeed. I used to be extremely opposed to a carbon tax but I do believe we have to put a value on the carbon that we're putting into our environment. Climate change is real. It's happening at an accelerated rate, and we as developed countries need to deal with that. We need to take into account the value or the cost of that carbon going into the atmosphere, so somehow we have to find a way to fund projects, new technologies.
In Alberta, as I've mentioned, that's what's happening with that $15. I think that's a great use of that $15, to help these new technologies. I'd like to see the whole world do it. The biggest problem I guess with the carbon, the whole cap and trade thing, has been in Europe where they issued way too many certificates and way too many loopholes, and as a result, the price of carbon has dropped to almost nothing. When I was sitting in your chair there, I would have been predicting that the price of carbon would now be $80. Instead it's like $2. The reason for that is largely the mismanagement from Brussels of that whole carbon tax thing.
View Robert Sopuck Profile
Okay, so crippling the Canadian economy with a carbon tax or putting a price on carbon and so on, I can very well see, possibly, in the world that the opposition parties inhabit, they'll believe that carbon emissions will go down. That may be the case, but what you're basically saying is if we reduce carbon emissions in Canada, it's basically going to have no effect.
Bob Hamilton
View Bob Hamilton Profile
Bob Hamilton
2014-05-29 17:23
Can I just nuance that a little bit? But, yes, you're right, the actions in Canada alone are going to have a modest impact. We're 2%. The actions of Canada, in conjunction with other countries and in the global forum, can have a big effect. If you get China and the U.S. doing things, then you could actually accomplish something.
But the other point that you're making is that it's important for us. The economic impacts of what we do are an important consideration.
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