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Results: 1 - 15 of 4459
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Welcome to meeting number nine of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources.
Today we are meeting to discuss the subject matter of main estimates and supplementary estimates, 2020-21.
To ensure an orderly meeting, I would like to outline a few rules to follow.
Members and witnesses may speak in the official language of their choice. Interpretation services are available for this meeting. You have the choice, at the bottom of your screen, of floor, English or French. Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name.
If you are on the video conference, please click on the microphone icon to unmute yourself. Those in this room, your microphone will be controlled, as normal, by the proceedings and verification officer.
A reminder that all comments, by members and witnesses, should be addressed through the chair. When you are not speaking, your mike should be on mute.
With regard to a speaking list, the committee clerk and I will do our best to maintain the consolidated order of speakers, whether they are participating virtually or in person.
I would now like to welcome our witnesses, including Minister O'Regan, who will have five minutes for his opening statement before we move to questions and answers.
Welcome, Minister. On behalf of the whole committee, please accept our condolences for your recent loss.
Thank you for being here today.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm getting an echo when I'm speaking. I don't know if you can do anything about that.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you all for your kindness and understanding regarding my cancellation, I think, three weeks ago.
I am joining you from the Island of Newfoundland, which is the ancestral homeland of the Mi'kmaq and Beothuk.
I know my time here is short and I want to touch on two very important things right off the top.
First, I want to state very clearly that the best thing we can do for all of our natural resource industries is to wear a mask, wash our hands and physically distance when possible. Hope is coming; vaccines are coming, but we have to be vigilant until then.
Second, I want to send a very clear message to every worker, family and business that is relying on the Keystone XL project that our support for this project has been and continues to be unwavering. On their very first call, the Prime Minister discussed Keystone with President-elect Biden. That is the very definition, I would argue, of a priority.
I would add that one of the strongest arguments we can make for Keystone is our record on tackling climate change. Today, my colleague the Minister of Environment announced a historic part of this fight, with 64 new measures and $15 billion in investments to protect our environment, make life more affordable and make our communities more livable. That includes almost a billion dollars for renewable energy and smart grids to enable the clean grid of the future; $2 billion in repayable financing for commercial and large-scale building retrofits; $1.5 billion in a low-emissions fund for hydrogen and renewable natural gas; $3 billion for expediting decarbonization projects for large emitters; incentives for EVs, and a further $300 million to support off-diesel initiatives. This builds on the work that we're already doing.
Canada has a price on pollution. We are phasing out coal-generated electricity and we are legislating accountability for our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. We are making significant investments to reduce carbon and methane emissions, and build our capacity for renewables. We are investing in new opportunities and innovation such as hydrogen, carbon capture and small modular reactors.
This is the same vision we laid out in the Speech from the Throne this fall and that we have continued to implement with our fall economic statement last month, including another $2.6 billion over seven years for retrofits and jobs to make our homes more energy efficient, and a further $150 million to build more charging stations for electric vehicles.
This is the same vision we laid out in our Speech from the Throne this fall.
We are using natural solutions to fight climate change, with....
Sorry, but I guess in all the technical confusion I have to find my notes. Here we are.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Yes, okay.
We are using natural solutions to fight climate change, with $3.2 billion to plant an additional two billion trees over the next 10 years. This is in addition to the $30 million that we sought in the estimates to support COVID-19 safety measures in the forestry sector, a further $22 million this year to combat mountain pine beetle infestations and $12 million to fight the spruce budworm in Quebec. Our forestry sector is a crucial part of our economy and our fight against climate change.
All of this is taking place while we support our resource sectors, and most importantly our workers, in the midst of a global pandemic. We put in place a 75% wage subsidy to protect vulnerable jobs. We announced further support with increased flow-through share flexibility for junior exploration companies. We announced $1.7 billion to clean up inactive and abandoned wells and close to $400 million to upgrade and repair facilities for our offshore in Newfoundland and Labrador.
From the beginning, workers have been at the heart of everything we've done. They will continue to be at the heart of everything we do. Our resource sector is the foundation of Canada's recovery and our net-zero future, and together we have to lay the foundation for its success.
I look forward to the committee's questions.
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Minister, for joining us here today. We're glad to see you at committee for the first time. For the sake of struggling Canadians who are looking for help, I hope you'll stay for as long as it takes to give us some answers, which you committed to doing, so thank you for that.
You offered people public health advice, which they're already getting from chief medical officers. I appreciate that, but what they really need from you is to hear a lot more about a serious full-scale plan to save their jobs and meet their needs by supporting Canada's energy sector.
In your comments, you said one phone call between the Prime Minister and President-elect Biden was the definition of a priority. It's been over a month since the Prime Minister made one call about Keystone XL. Is that the last time you took any action to save the project?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
No. Alberta's energy minister Sonya Savage; James Rajotte, who's the Alberta envoy in Washington, D.C.; and I have been discussing weekly how we'll make the case for Keystone, how we'll make the case for Canada's energy sector in Washington and how we'll position Canada with an incoming administration that looks to be the most sweeping environmentalist administration the United States has ever seen. It is crucially important to our energy sector that we get this right.
On Tuesday, Mr. Rajotte and I appeared together at a summit that was held by the Canadian embassy in Washington. It had a lot of what we consider to be influencers in perhaps a future administration, but also influential people right now in Washington.
We appeared to make the case for Canada's energy. We made the case that Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, our oil-producing provinces, are the tops in the world at ESG; that we are lowering emissions considerably; that we have put a price on pollution; and that we should be the preferred partner and supplier of oil and natural gas to the United States. We have taken a team Canada approach in much the same way as we did with NAFTA. We are doing it together.
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you very much, Minister.
Part of your team Canada approach, I'm hoping, then, would be to ensure that Keystone XL gets built. First nations groups are reaching out. I'm sure you're well aware of the Natural Law Energy group, which is five different first nations, one of which is in my riding. They have an equity stake now in Keystone XL, so it's extremely important to them. For the sake of them, I really hope you will do everything in your power to ensure that this project is completed.
I want to move along here. Do you know how many jobs have been lost in the Canadian energy sector in the last five years?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
It's been considerable. I would say that one of the things we did, particularly with the $1.7 billion we put forward on orphan and inactive wells, was to make sure we considerably lessened the number of people we would lose. It's not simply about looking after workers, who, as I have said, are our first priority; the other extremely important part, as I have said, is that natural resources and our natural resource sector will be pivotal, central, to the recovery of this country. We can't afford to lose talented people. We can't afford to lose experienced people in the field or in the corporate offices of our energy companies in Calgary or Edmonton or St. John's. We don't want to lose these people. Keeping people in place is vitally important.
That was a huge priority for us with both the wage subsidy and the $1.7 billion we put forward on orphan and inactive wells.
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
I'm sure you're aware, then, that Evraz in Regina just laid off 600 workers because there is no work. There is no demand for Canadian steel. We've seen LNG projects being prioritized with Chinese steel, not Canadian steel. That's a huge problem.
As I look line by line at the supplementary numbers here, I'm wondering if there is any funding through your department to help combat misinformation campaigns and campaigns against Canadian resource industries.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
We have taken an initiative with the Alberta government to make sure we are prominent in Washington, D.C., right now. I'll be honest; that's the audience that concerns me the most. I want to make sure our story gets told, and gets told well. I can tell you, and Mr. Rajotte and I think Minister Savage would say the same, that the Canadian embassy in Washington and Ambassador Hillman are completely engaged on this. They understand the importance of it and have been working Washington, together with Mr. Rajotte, considerably. They have been working together hand in glove.
We have been making sure that our story is being told by the people who will make decisions on Capitol Hill and in an incoming administration that has clearly made the environment and combatting climate change a priority. I read a lot into the fact that John Kerry, former presidential candidate, is now—
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
Really quickly, Minister, on the $159 million for responsible and renewable resource development, you briefly mention carbon capturing in your notes. I'm just wondering how much of a priority carbon capture and storage is and how much of that $159 million will go toward technologies like carbon capture, which globally need to be part of the solution when reducing emissions.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
There's no question that carbon capture will figure very prominently. When I speak with Minister Savage, it's at the top of the list. We see an incredible amount of potential.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is lowering emissions. Regardless of the industry or where you are in the country, it is about lowering emissions. Carbon capture allows us the opportunity to make sure those emissions are offset. The important thing, when we talk about net zero, is the word “net”. It means “net” zero emissions. That means carbon capture can play a part in capturing those emissions.
We think there's an incredible opportunity there for it. We also think there's an incredible opportunity for carbon capture with hydrogen.
View Bryan May Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bryan May Profile
2020-12-11 13:40
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Minister, for being with us today and for your continued patience. It wouldn't be 2020 if the technical gremlins didn't beat us up right until the bitter end.
Before I ask my question, I want to thank all the technical folks in the room for fixing this as quickly as they did.
View Bryan May Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bryan May Profile
2020-12-11 13:40
Just quickly, because I am sharing my time with MP Sidhu, we know that the decarbonization of industrial processes is a key component in getting Canada to meet its net-zero target. Decarbonization can also present a major economic opportunity with the ability to deploy innovative technologies and non-conventional methods to continue to produce the energy and products we need but in a lower-emitting fashion.
Minister, can you share with us some of the work NRCan is doing in this space? Are there any particular projects that you are excited about?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
We're working hard to make sure our traditional industries are more sustainable than ever. We need to make sure that we're adopting new technologies and new methods to help get us there, like carbon capture. We announced $3 billion for a net-zero accelerator fund to scale up clean technologies, and that's building off other investments we've made.
There was $750 million towards a methane reduction fund. There is incredible potential for new technologies like small modular reactors, SMRs. Canada's a tier-one nation for nuclear with a sector that contributes $17 billion to the economy every year. It employs 76,000 Canadians. I think SMRs could hold incredible potential to help us with electrifying more remote industrial areas that are not connected to the grid and lowering their emissions. We're working with over 100 partners from right across the country to develop our action plan on SMRs and to really seize this opportunity globally. I'm impatient to be releasing that. It will be very soon. It will emphasize that Canada is seizing this SMR opportunity and that it is very well positioned to develop this technology globally.
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