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View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)

Question No. 245--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the electoral district of Skeena—Bulkley Valley, between the fiscal year 2005-06 and the current year: what are all the federal infrastructure investments, including direct transfers to municipalities, regional district associations or First Nations, national parks, highways, etc., broken down by fiscal year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 246--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank: (a) what is the complete list of infrastructure projects financed by the bank since June 1, 2018; (b) for each project in (a), what are the details, including the (i) amount of federal financing, (ii) location of project, (iii) scheduled completion date of project, (iv) project description; and (c) what are the details of projects currently proposed for the bank, including the (i) proposed date of commencement, (ii) location of project, (iii) proposed federal financing, (iv) project description?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 247--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan: (a) what is the total amount of approved funding; (b) what is the complete list of approved projects; and (c) for each project in (b), what are the details, including the (i) value of approved project, (ii) total amount of federal financing, (iii) location of project, (iv) project description, (v) scheduled completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 248--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan: (a) what is the total amount of allocated funding not yet spent; (b) what is the complete list of proposed projects not yet assigned federal funding or assigned funding, but not yet commenced construction; and (c) for each project in (b), what are the details, including the (i) value of proposed project, (ii) total amount of federal financing, (iii) location of project, (iv) project description, (v) proposed completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 249--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regard to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Expansion Project: (a) what are the revenues generated by the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (b) what are the operating expenses less loan interest payments to run the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the federal government; (c) what are the interest payments on the loan used to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (d) what is the profit or loss, broken down by quarter, on the Trans Mountain Pipeline since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (e) are the revenues generated by the Trans Mountain Pipeline covering the annual operating and interest payments on the loans the government used to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Expansion; (f) on what date is the pipeline scheduled to be completed, including the month and year; (g) on what date is the pipeline scheduled to enter service, including the month and year; (h) what is the current estimated cost of construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project; (i) on what date was the Minister of Finance, or his office, advised in writing or verbally, by officials from either the Department of Finance or a Crown corporation or a government contractor that the estimated cost of construction for the expansion was more than $7.4 billion; and (j) on what date did the government become aware that the cost of completing the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was estimated to be greater than $7.4 billion?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 250--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With regard to the Department of Finance and the Advisory Council on Economic Growth: (a) when and where were each of the council’s meetings held; (b) when were each of the council’s (i) in-person meetings, (ii) phone or video-conference sessions with stakeholders; (c) how much funding was allocated for (i) salaries, (ii) expenses, (iii) council operations, (iv) any other categories of funding not captured by the preceding; (d) how much was spent on (i) salaries, (ii) expenses, (iii) council operations, (iv) any other category of funding not captured by the preceding; and (e) for each of the recommendations in the council’s three reports, (i) what was the recommendation; (ii) which department or departments were tasked with actions following up on the recommendation, (iii) which team or teams within the department or departments were tasked with follow-up actions, (iv) was the action tasked further analysis of or implementation of the recommendation (e.g. feasibility studies or reports), (v) what actions were taken by these teams to implement or further analyze the recommendations?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 251--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to government aircraft travelling between Canada and Costa Rica between December 15, 2019, and January 10, 2020: what are the details of the legs of each flight to and from Costa Rica, including the (i) type of aircraft, (ii) date, (iii) place of departure, (iv) place of arrival, (v) number of passengers, excluding RCMP protective detail, (vi) name of passengers, excluding RCMP protective detail, (vii) purpose of flight, (viii) food, beverage, and other catering costs?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 252--
Mr. Eric Melillo:
With regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor), since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of funding delivered by FedNor in fiscal year (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17, (iii) 2017-18, (iv) 2018-19, (v) 2019-20; (b) for each instances in (a), what are the details, broken down by (i) program or funding stream, (ii) recipient, (iii) address of recipient, including the full address, city and postal code, (iv) mailing address of recipient, including the full address, city and postal code; and (c) for each instances in (b), what was the (i) total funding requested, (ii) total funding granted, (iii) description of project funded, (iv) status of project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 253--
Mr. Glen Motz:
With regard to government statistics related to crimes committed with firearms: (a) how many homicides have been committed in Canada with an AR-15 rifle; (b) how many armed robberies have been committed in Canada where the weapon used was an AR-15 rifle; (c) how many crimes of any sort have been committed in Canada where an AR-15 rifle was present; (d) if the answer to (c) is more than 0, what is the nature of the crime that was committed; (e) how many individuals who have received a Possession and Acquisition License have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (f) how many individuals who have not received a Possession and Acquisition License have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter; (g) for individuals referred to in (e) and (f), how many of these incidents involved a firearm, broken down by year since 2010; (h) how many individuals who have been released on bail and are awaiting trial have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (i) how many individuals who have been released from prison on conditional release have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (j) how many individuals who have been found to have entered Canada illegally have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; and (k) how many individuals who have been previously convicted of an organized crime related offence have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 254--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to deportation orders issued or in effect by the government since January 1, 2016: (a) what is the total number of orders issued, broken down by year; (b) what was the total number of deportation orders where the deportation was still pending as of (i) January 1, 2016, (ii) January 1, 2017, (iii) January 1, 2018, (iv) January 1, 2019, (v) January 1, 2020; (c) what was the total number of individuals deported, broken down by year; (d) what was the total number of individuals under the age of 18 deported, broken down by year; and (e) how many parents, guardians or adult family members of individuals in (d) were deported, broken down by year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 255--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to the Budget 2019 commitment of $1.7 billion for new funding for rural broadband infrastructure: (a) how much of that funding is projected to be spent for broadband projects in the riding of Dufferin—Caledon, broken down by project; (b) what is the breakdown of the $1.7 billion, by project; (c) what are the details of all projects in (b), including the (i) name, (ii) description, (iii) amount of federal contribution, (iv) projected completion date, (v) number of users impacted; and (d) how much of the $1.7 billion has actually been delivered to date, broken down by individual project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 256--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to government support programs for agriculture industries impacted by changes in trade with China: (a) in 2019, what is the total amount of government funding provided to the (i) soybean industry, (ii) canola industry, (iii) beef industry; (b) what is the breakdown of all funding in (a), by (i) program, (ii) province; (c) in 2020, what is the projected total amount of government funding to the (i) soybean industry, (ii) canola industry, (iii) beef industry; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c), by (i) program, (ii) province?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 257--
Mr. Doug Shipley:
With regard to the government’s policy on firearms: which specific makes and models of weapons that are currently available on the legal market does the government consider to be “military-style assault weapons”?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 258--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to the awarding of the South West Asia Service Medal (SWASM), the General Campaign Star (GCS), the General Service Medal (GSM) and the South West Asia Service ribbon by the Minister of National Defence for service in Afghanistan: (a) how many have been awarded to date, broken down by award; (b) how many requests for the SWASM have yet to be fulfilled; and (c) what are years of service in which the (i) SWASM, (ii) GSM, (iii) GCS, (iv) South West Asia Service ribbon, are eligible to be awarded, broken down by award?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 259--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to the January 15, 2020, Twitter post of the National Capital Commission Rideau Canal Skateway, under the Twitter handle @NCC_Skateway, entitled “Ice Ice Maybe”: (a) what was the total video production cost involved in the planning, production, editing and posting of the video, broken down by (i) work hours of public servants used, (ii) types of expenditure; (b) what are the names and titles of any persons within the government and the National Capital Commission who were involved with the production, planning, editing and posting of the video, including any ministers or ministerial exempt staff that were involved; (c) was any overtime pay granted to public servants as a result of this video, and, if so, what were the details, broken down by (i) the names and titles of managers who signed off, (ii) the total amount and cost of overtime used; (d) what are the details of all documentation on the planning, production, editing and posting of the video, including any scripts, contracts or briefing notes; (e) what are the names and titles of all persons who signed off on and had knowledge of the production of this video; (f) was any paid advertising used to promote the video on Twitter, and, if so, what were the cost and targeting metrics used; (g) were outside services procured in the production of this video, and, if so, what was the name of the company or the persons used and the total cost of any outside contracts, including the (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) vendor, (iv) summary of goods or services provided; (h) was an outside contract procured, and was there an open request for proposals or was it a sole-sourced contract; and (i) was a music licence sought for the use of the musical likeness of the song “Ice Ice Baby” by the artist Vanilla Ice, and, if so, what were the cost and terms of the licence?
Response
(Return tabled)
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View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-03-12 18:56 [p.2059]
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Madam Speaker, we all know that winter is not pleasant for Canadians. However, in the midst of this bleak winter for the Canadian economy, there was a good day that brought good news. On February 4, the Court of Appeal handed down a ruling in favour of Trans Mountain. We can now move forward, as there was no appeal. In short, it is working. This is good news because the Trans Mountain project is good for Canada's economy and its natural resources.
Unfortunately, the government nationalized the project. It took $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money to purchase a project that was not for sale. It decided to buy it and send the money to the United States. Unfortunately, the price keeps going up. We are talking about another $7 billion, and taxpayers will be the ones footing the bill.
Even so, it is a good project that has the support of all directly affected first nations. Better still, it will contribute $20 billion to Canadian, provincial and municipal coffers. That is why I asked the Minister of Canadian Heritage what he planned to do with the billions of dollars he will be able to spend as heritage minister, keeping in mind that he frequently spoke out against Trans Mountain in his past life.
Unfortunately, that is the only good news we have received since this government took office. Since the Liberals have been in power, 200,000 Canadian jobs have been lost in the energy sector, seven major projects have been cancelled, and $150 billion in potential investment has evaporated. That is this government's record.
It does not end there. Last week, a private investor withdrew funding from Quebec's Énergie Saguenay project, a pipeline that would bring liquefied natural gas from the west to Quebec. That private investor is not just anybody. It is the one and only Warren Buffett. He did it because he rightly feels that the current government has done everything in its power to discourage investment in natural resources.
Canada is closed for business.
That is unfortunate. Speaking of Quebec, it is important to remember that 50,000 people in Quebec work in the petrochemical industry. People in Quebec are said to be against the pipeline. Quebec has 2,000 kilometres of pipeline. Nine pipelines pass under the St. Lawrence River. In 2012, we built a pipeline that goes from Lévis to Montreal through 630 different areas, covering 248 kilometres and crossing 26 waterways, including the St. Lawrence River. It works so well that no one knows or talks about it. That is what happens when things are done right, and that is how Trans Mountain is going to do things.
What bothers me when we talk about energy in Quebec is the fact that Quebec bought 10.6 billion litres of oil. It does not bother me that we bought the oil, because we need it. What bothers me is that 62% of that oil comes from the United States. Why send billions of dollars to Donald Trump when we could keep that money here in Canada? That is why people in Quebec are in favour of developing natural resources, if it is done correctly. Yes, Quebeckers, like all Canadians, would rather buy Canadian oil than foreign oil. What is happening right now in Quebec is that the Liberals and their Bloc Québécois friends are against these development projects. They would rather let Donald Trump lead them by the nose than help the Canadian economy.
What will the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who was against the Trans Mountain project, do with the billions of dollars in tax revenue that this project will bring in for the governments?
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View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2020-03-12 19:00 [p.2060]
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Madam Speaker, it is a core responsibility of the federal government to help get Canada's natural resources to market and support good middle-class jobs. We know this is only possible when we earn the public's trust and work toward addressing environmental, indigenous peoples' and local concerns.
The Trans Mountain expansion project is part of that. It is a critical project for Canada that is creating thousands of good, well-paying jobs. It will boost the price of valuable Canadian resources by unlocking new global markets, generate revenue to help fund clean energy and climate solutions and help advance reconciliation with indigenous people, including through economic opportunities. That is why we have done the hard work necessary to ensure that this project moves forward in the right way, every step of the way.
Construction is under way. Pipe is in the ground. Work is under way at the terminals in Edmonton and Kamloops. More than 2,900 hard-working Canadians are currently making this project a reality. The Federal Court of Appeal ruling was a positive one, especially for our energy workers.
These are not the only reasons this project is a positive one. We have always said that the economy and the environment not only can, but must, go hand in hand. We remain committed to that principle with this project. We will invest the revenues from the TMX project in climate and clean energy solutions.
Let me address a few of the investments our government has already made in energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy projects: more than $2.3 billion in clean technology, over $1 billion of new funding committed for energy efficiency through budget 2019, a coast-to-coast network of fast chargers for electric vehicles and new chargers at street level and apartment building retail outlets and workplaces.
We know the TMX project will support more of these investments and create significant economic benefits for the country. In fact, the Department of Finance estimates that additional federal corporate income tax revenues could be around $500 million per year once the project is completed. Every dollar we earn from this project will be reinvested in clean energy projects that will power our homes, businesses and communities for years to come.
We did the hard work necessary to get this project right because it is good for Canada and will advance our investments in clean energy.
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View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-03-12 19:03 [p.2060]
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Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the passion she has for this project. Unfortunately, this is only for one project. Because the government lacked leadership, we lost seven big projects. We lost $150 billion of investment because the government is closed for business in developing our natural resources.
The question was for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who has an very colourful past. I have a lot of respect for him. He is very involved in environmental issues and said all kinds of bad things about Trans Mountain. Now, he is acting as though nothing happened.
We are asking the government why it took $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money to buy a project that was not for sale and that will now cost an additional $7 billion.
Before the government can invest one cent in the environment, it will have to spend tens of billions. How is that good management of public funds?
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View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2020-03-12 19:04 [p.2060]
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Madam Speaker, I assure the hon. member that I am extremely proud of our government, our Minister of Canadian Heritage and all cabinet members for the work they do in ensuring that we not only grow our economy but do it in a way that protects the environment.
We have a steadfast commitment to moving forward in the right way, every step of the way, on TMX, because we know how important it is to every Canadian. We believe that the success of this project and other projects will demonstrate that Canada can create the prosperity we all want and protect the environment we all cherish.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2020-03-10 18:40 [p.1921]
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Mr. Speaker, last December I asked the Prime Minister about the financial situation surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline. As most Canadians know, the government now owns this pipeline, having bought it in 2018. We paid $4.5 billion for the pipeline, a price that has most charitably been characterized as being at the higher end of the valuation range. By other analysts, it was considered overpriced by a billion dollars or more.
I asked that question because the Parliamentary Budget Officer had just reported that the pipeline was losing money. To be accurate, it actually posted a small profit in 2019 due to, according to the PBO report, tax recoveries due to negative earnings before taxes and changes in the provincial corporate tax rate. Therefore, the taxpayers, particularly those in Alberta, continue to subsidize this project.
In my question I also mentioned the analysis of Trans Mountain's financial situation by economist Robyn Allan. She found that the tolls charged by the pipeline only covered about a third of the cost of running it, and that these tolls were constrained by the way Canada had bought the pipeline, through shares instead of capital assets.
The Prime Minister answered with two familiar narratives. He said that Canada needed access to new oil markets outside the United States, and even after I had explained why there would be no profits for Trans Mountain, the Prime Minister said that all those profits would go to “nature-based solutions and new technologies”.
I will say briefly that all analysts would agree that almost all the oil that may flow one day through the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline will go to the United States, not Asia, since it is in the U.S. that the best opportunities for bitumen lie. The narrative that the government and industry are spinning about the need for pipelines to tidewater is not at all accurate.
I want to spend the rest of my time explaining why the Trans Mountain expansion project will result in little or no profits for shippers or the government. The government has been saying for months that tax revenues will increase by $500 million per year once the expanded pipeline is in place. That assumption is wildly incorrect for two reasons. First, it was based on an estimated project cost of $5.4 billion and, as I will mention shortly, that figure has changed a bit. Second, it is also based on the incorrect assumption that all the oil production in western Canada would benefit from better prices produced by having a pipeline to tidewater.
As we have all heard, there is often a considerable differential between the price of oil received by some producers in western Canada and the general world price. That differential is caused by shipping constraints when refineries are shut down for maintenance or pipelines are shut off to fix leaks, so a bigger pipeline would help eliminate that differential. However, according to Natural Resources Canada, the differential only affects about 30% of oil produced in Canada, so profits would only increase theoretically for about 30% of oil producers, and even those profits are at risk because of the rising costs of the project.
I asked a second question on Trans Mountain a few weeks ago when the company announced the price of the expansion had gone up from $5.4 billion to $12.6 billion, and as project costs skyrocket, profits for the companies that have pledged to use the pipeline quickly vanish. They go down because a portion of the pipeline shipping toll fees for those producers is linked to the costs of the project. As the tolls go up, profits go down, and if the cost is truly $13 billion, they essentially vanish. It is those non-existent profits that would theoretically generate the tax revenues the Prime Minister would want to use to fight climate change.
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View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-03-10 18:44 [p.1922]
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Mr. Speaker, as always, I appreciate the question and commentary from my colleague, who I know cares deeply not just about this project but about the environment more broadly.
As has been canvassed in this House many times, the Trans Mountain project matters to Canada. There are a number of reasons for that, but if we acknowledge that the oil and gas sector is a part of the Canadian economy that cannot be shut off overnight, we should do what we can to maximize the economic return while our energy producers are continuing to take part in employing Canadians and growing the economy. That said, we have to recognize that we are in the midst of a massive transition toward a low-carbon economy, and there cannot be a higher priority for the government.
With respect to the project, despite some of the issues that were raised by my colleague, we are confident that the project remains commercially viable. There is going to be a serious economic return from this project, although it was sort of dismissed. The fact remains that because we sell primarily to customers in one country, the United States, diversifying the markets these products could be sold into, whether they end up in the United States or in Asian markets, will create a competition in the marketplace that will increase the price, which will not only create economic returns on this specific project but will pay off across the energy sector more broadly. That does not even touch on the fact that thousands of Canadians in a part of the country that is deeply concerned about its local economy will now be working on this project.
I know there was some criticism on the basis that this was treated as some sort of a subsidy. The original question giving rise to the remarks this evening referred to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. I just came back from a finance committee meeting where the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that in fact this is the purchase of an asset, not a subsidy.
The costs have changed over time, but that is because this project is different from what it was in 2017. We have put in place higher standards for environmental protection. We have engaged in a meaningful way with indigenous communities, and there are going to be more union jobs on this project as a result of some of the changes. If those come at a cost, the arm's-length Trans Mountain Corporation will need to recognize that it needs to meet the standard that the Federal Court has recognized is appropriate for this case.
To summarize, this project is proceeding in the right way. With regard to indigenous communities in particular, there are now 58 agreements with indigenous communities that represent over $500 million in benefits. When the project is complete, the contract awards will exceed $1 billion. Importantly, every dollar of profit, whether from the operation or the eventual sale of this project, is going to go to the transition toward a green economy.
The original question was critical, asking why we would do this when we could be doing that. It ignores the fact that we have invested about $70 billion toward the clean transition and have advanced Canada's first-ever national plan to combat climate change. It includes, of course, putting a price on pollution, investing in energy efficiency that will see 90% of our electricity generated from non-emitting sources by the end of the decade, massive investments in the transition toward electric vehicles, the single largest investment to protect nature in the history of Canada, new investments in research and innovation, and a phase-out of coal by the year 2030, to name but a few of the items that we are pursuing.
The fact is that the project remains in the national interest. We know it will put Canadians to work, but importantly, we have not taken our eye off the ball of the need to transition to a low-carbon economy. That remains at the top of our priority list as a government.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2020-03-10 18:48 [p.1922]
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Mr. Speaker, I will finish by pointing out two things.
First is the obvious change in the world oil market that has happened over the past few days. The world price is now hovering around $30 a barrel. Oil sands projects are not economical at those prices, and there is no indication that those prices will increase back to levels where they will be economical.
Second, according to recent polls, Canadians are increasingly opposed to the Trans Mountain expansion, especially as they see the cost rise to astronomical levels. In B.C., more people now oppose the project than support it.
How much will Canadians pay for the Trans Mountain expansion? Why does the government not abandon this expansion and instead invest those billions into projects that will put people to work in good jobs right now, instead of waiting for some mythical tax profits to magically appear?
Those increased taxes are not going to materialize, they are not going to provide any money to create the good jobs that western Canadians need now, and they are not going to provide money to do the good things around climate action that need to be done right now.
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View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-03-10 18:49 [p.1922]
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Mr. Speaker, with respect, we maintain that the project remains economically viable, and we intend to eventually divest this project into the private sector. I expect the very likely outcome that it will actually do better than break even and will turn a profit. Based on the economics, despite the recent short-term change to the price per barrel of oil, which is having a serious economic impact on the world economy, this particular project does remain viable.
The hon. member finished his commentary by saying there is a need to take action on climate change. I could not agree more. The fact is we have invested more than any government in the history of Canada toward measures that will actually fight climate change and protect our environment. I could list a few of them.
I look forward to sharing the measures that will be contained in the upcoming federal budget and that hopefully will be implemented in this Parliament. They will position Canada as a world leader in the fight against climate change. Anything less would, quite rightly, fall short of the expectations that Canadians have of our government.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2020-03-09 12:35 [p.1782]
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Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with a very dynamic member of Parliament, the member for Courtenay—Alberni. He will be taking the second half of this first round for the NDP.
There is no doubt the NDP will support this motion. What member of Parliament could actually stand in this House and say that he or she opposes transparency and getting this information out about what the government has prepared in terms of an economic downturn. No member of Parliament worth his or her salt would be opposed to that transparency.
As a number of other members have indicated, it is really unfortunate that it has to be an opposition day motion to compel the government to bring forward information that it should be presenting to parliamentarians anyhow. This should be part and parcel of Canadian democracy. Regardless of whether we are talking about a majority government or a minority government, the issue of transparency and full disclosure should be always present.
I am happy to see my Conservative colleagues have learned a lesson from the many years of the Harper government where there was no transparency and the Conservatives were not forthcoming on this kind of information. They appear to have learned their lesson. That is very good. Hopefully the Liberal government has now learned its lesson and the transparency that not just parliamentarians but all Canadians are entitled to will be brought forward.
When we talk about the economic downturn in terms of the preparation the Ministry of Finance or other ministries may have done, it is particularly relevant today when many people see the threat of COVID-19. In some countries we are seeing the spread of that disease in a very unfortunate and tragic way for many victims. We need to know what the economic impacts are and what the government has prepared in terms of an economic downturn that is linked to that virus.
I would like to talk about two other aspects of economic downturns. Regardless of whether we are talking about COVID-19, the fall in oil prices or anything else, there are two considerations that have to be front and centre in the deliberations of this Parliament.
When we talk about the economic downturn, we always forget to mention how it affects ordinary people. Over the past few years, Canadians' quality of life has diminished. There is no doubt about that. There have been cuts to services and today there is a gap in the services provided to the public.
In reality, the economic effects of this downturn have resulted in Canadian families having the highest level of debt among all industrialized countries. This debt is due to the federal government's lack of foresight. The effects of the economic downturn on the finances of ordinary families means that 50% of all Canadian families are $200 away from not being able to pay their monthly bills.
We need to look at those two elements and consider the fact that Canadians have the highest family debt load in industrialized countries and certainly the highest family debt load in Canada's history. At the same time, half of Canadian families are $200 away from insolvency in any given month. We have to wonder why, when we talk about economic downturns, we neglect the fact that Canadian families are worse off than they have been.
Over the last couple of decades, we have seen the deterioration in the quality of life of Canadians. There is the housing crisis where tens of thousands of Canadians do not even have a roof over their head. Nearly seven million Canadians do not have access to the medication that is so vital to keep them in good health and in many cases to keep them alive. Millions of Canadians do not have access to basic dental care.
The week before last, we talked in this House about the importance of having basic dental care rather than a tax cut for people with six-figure incomes. Even though the government voted against that, the reality is that it has touched a chord with the Canadian population. Last week, which was a riding week, people in my riding were talking to me about the importance of bringing basic dental care into Canada.
We see the deplorable state of indigenous communities because of the lack of investments made.
When it comes to the economic downturn we are talking about, whether it is for COVID-19 or any other reason, the reality is Canadians have felt for decades that they have not been the priority.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer tells us that $26 billion a year go into offshore tax havens. Wealthy and profitable corporations use them and basically take taxpayer dollars that should be invested for the benefit of all and, with impunity, put them overseas. We have seen massive handouts for the banking sector and handouts such as $12 million to Loblaws for a fridge. There have been many other cases of corporate welfare.
This simply indicates the extent to which the current government and the previous government lost their way in responding to the needs of Canadians. When we are talking about economic downturns, the priority has to be to put Canadian families first, to start investing in pharmacare, basic dental care and affordable housing, and make sure that indigenous communities finally get the investments they have been deprived of for decades. All of these things will help turn around the economic downturn that Canadian families have felt.
There is another element and this is a key one. The issue of climate change has had a profound impact on our economy. Two weeks ago, the Insurance Bureau of Canada came to the finance committee and talked about $5 billion a year in insured liabilities and another $5 billion in economic costs. That is a $10-billion price tag for climate change, and that is growing. As members know, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy is talking about that rising to $45 billion a year over the next couple of decades.
When we talk about economic downturns, the importance of making that shift to put in place the transition to ensure workers are taken care of and investments in clean energy are in place is more critical than we could possibly imagine in our nation's history. Instead, we have a government that is spending over $17 billion to subsidize the Trans Mountain pipeline debacle, something that does not have a business case. The pipeline simply could not be built by the private sector, so the government took it over and is now hemorrhaging money for Trans Mountain. At $17.1 billion, it is a money-losing project. Over $100 million was lost last year. When I asked the finance minister at the finance committee at what point the government was going to stop throwing money at Trans Mountain, whether it was $25 billion, $30 billion or if the sky was the limit, he could not reply.
At a time when we see the economic impacts, the downturn related to climate change, and it is crucial to make those investments into clean energy and transition our economy, we instead see the current government, like the previous government, throwing money at the oil and gas lobbyists. It seems to have a limitless capacity of putting in place oil and gas subsidies instead of cutting back and curtailing those subsidies and putting them into clean energy, where I know energy workers in Alberta would want to see those investments. I know when we talk about the 100,000 capped oil wells in Alberta and Saskatchewan and the tremendous potential for geothermal energy, they would want to see those investments. Instead, we see the government hemorrhaging tens of billions of dollars to provide support for Trans Mountain.
These are the issues when we talk about the economic downturn. We need to start making these investments to transition now, as the economic downturn related to climate change hits us. We need to start reinvesting in families to ensure that families are no longer left behind. That is the motive behind the green new deal motion, private member's Motion No. 1, that is before Parliament, which we hope to bring to a vote at some point this year.
These are the kinds of things that will make a difference in the lives of families and protect our country and our planet. I certainly hope that the impacts of climate change and the economic downturn that is related to them are taken seriously by all members of Parliament.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2020-03-09 12:45 [p.1783]
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Madam Speaker, I have heard that member talk many times against the Trans Mountain pipeline and the $7.8 billion that the government is spending. The government is spending for many reasons. One is jobs, but it is really to create another export market for Canada's natural resource products.
I want to tell the member the economics behind this spending. There is a thing called the Alberta discount. The oil market discounts Canadian oil because we have no alternative but to sell to the United States. That amounts to 15% to 28% of the price per barrel of oil.
The pipeline would be safer and better for the environment, but if we could get rid of that Alberta discount, it would mean $587 billion per year to Canadians. We lose $1.8 billion a day in this country because of the Alberta discount, yet that member constantly talks against a pipeline that would allow us to get proper market prices for our oil. Come on.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2020-03-09 12:47 [p.1784]
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Where to start, Madam Speaker?
First, I come from the oil industry. I worked at the Shellburn oil refinery, which is now closed, and that is the real problem. It is not just that the member's figures are completely bogus. It is not $7.6 billion; the cost of Trans Mountain is now close to $13 billion, and climbing. The member should update his figures.
The reality is the discounted price does not apply to integrated companies. Suncor, Esso and Husky upgrade and refine their oil products here in Canada and benefit from that differential, and that is the issue. We are talking about largely supporting companies that refuse to upgrade and refine their oil products in Canada, and many of them, if not most of them, are foreign owned.
What we are doing is subsidizing, in a massive, unprecedented way, oil and gas executives who know full well that Trans Mountain has no business case. The increase in costs means that even shippers will have to be subsidized.
I am ready to have that debate with the member for Malpeque anytime. I respect him a lot, but the reality is that his figures do not hold up.
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View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2020-03-09 17:07 [p.1824]
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Mr. Speaker, we are talking about a motion that speaks to transparency, openness and accountability, more information that needs to be provided to Canadians. To that end, I am particularly interested in where the government is going to get the money to support the Trans Mountain expansion project. We now know that the dollar figure is projected to be $12.7 billion. Is that going to be off-book financing? Where is that money going to come from? I wonder whether the member can speak to that and, in the spirit of transparency, let Canadians know.
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View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
2020-03-09 17:07 [p.1824]
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Mr. Speaker, the member is from British Columbia, which is my home province. I grew up there before I moved to Ontario. My family lives in the Lower Mainland.
I am glad the hon. member highlighted our support for the TMX pipeline. I am in support of energy workers in Alberta and across this country. Nearly 10% of our GDP comes from the energy sector. We need to support those hard-working families these days when there is uncertainty in this sector. We need to show our support for those individuals working coast to coast to coast, the drill workers, carpenters and so forth. It is very important that we show support.
With regard to financing the project, we know that the existing pipeline does earn revenues and cash flow, which is helping build the second leg of the project.
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View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2020-03-09 17:35 [p.1828]
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Madam Speaker, all throughout the day, the Conservatives have been talking about and speaking against government spending. It has been interesting. I would like to point something out and invite the member's comments.
The Canada Development Investment Corporation, which is the parent company to TMX, admitted in its second quarterly report that TMX is a risky project with no guaranteed economic returns. If we account for items like interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, it would leave a net loss of $140 million annually. As we know, this project is now costing taxpayers to the tune of $12.7 billion for the construction of the expansion. That means taxpayers will be on the hook.
If the Conservatives are against government spending, could the member tell the House that he is against the TMX project? It was purchased with taxpayers' money and now taxpayers' money is being spent on the expansion.
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View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, to the member's comment, no, I will not be making CBC News tonight in talking out against the TMX.
I will agree wholeheartedly with the member that it was a foolish move for the government to purchase it. When the government selects winners and losers in the economy, it has been proven over and over again that we are all losers.
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View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2020-03-09 17:52 [p.1831]
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Madam Speaker, I know the Conservatives like to think of themselves as a group that aspires to be transparent and accountable to Canadian taxpayers with respect to their money. However, on the question around the TMX project, what we do know is that it is financed by Canadian taxpayers and is managed by Export Development Canada, which is used only for high-risk projects, because they do not qualify for typical commercial financing.
This is what the Liberal government is doing with the TMX project. To that end, would it not make sense for the government to be open and transparent and to ensure that all of its business plan, if there is one, and I believe there is not one on the TMX project, is tabled in the House? Would that be something the Conservatives would support in the spirit of this motion?
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View Rob Morrison Profile
CPC (BC)
View Rob Morrison Profile
2020-03-09 17:53 [p.1831]
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Madam Speaker, we fully support the TMX pipeline. We believe it did not need to be purchased by the government, but we do fully support it.
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View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2020-03-09 18:07 [p.1833]
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Madam Speaker, just on that issue, the truth of the matter is the Conservatives failed to address the issue. Had they actually listened to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Delgamuukw regarding engaging with the indigenous communities and the leadership about a path forward on the question around land and title and governance, we might not have found ourselves in this situation. Both the Conservatives and the Liberals have failed Canadians on that score.
Regarding this motion, does the member not think the government should be providing all the information that it has with respect to the Trans Mountain expansion, so that Canadians will know what is happening in terms of their tax dollars? Should the government also provide the business plan so that we know whether there really is a business case for the TMX?
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View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-03-09 18:07 [p.1833]
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Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question.
Trans Mountain is obviously very problematic. The government will have to answer to the public. We want to get these figures to know how much an outmoded industry has been subsidized and how much Quebec taxpayers have paid to prop it up.
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View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, this is the era of climate change, not the era of “Drill, baby, drill”. The CEO of Suncor said that the time for major projects is over. The CEO of Teck Resources wrote that, before the company will invest, the provinces need to agree on their climate policies. It has gotten to the point where the oil companies are greener than the government. That is unbelievable. The government paid a huge amount of money for the Trans Mountain pipeline and is watching the cost of the project skyrocket without so much as batting an eye.
Will the Liberals listen to reason and put an end to this irresponsible spending?
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View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
2020-02-27 14:39 [p.1688]
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Mr. Speaker, we have taken numerous measures to combat climate change. We developed a plan that includes 50 initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We promised to implement a plan to surpass the 2030 targets and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. We have made a lot of progress, but we still need to do more.
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View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2020-02-27 14:40 [p.1688]
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Mr. Speaker, we cannot fight climate change while spending $18 billion in taxpayers' money to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline. However, that is exactly what the government did. It wasted $18 billion on a pipeline that will transport the dirtiest oil in the world to markets that will continue to pollute.
Despite the answer the environment minister gave earlier, I would like to know whether he can explain how the Trans Mountain pipeline will help us meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets—
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View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
2020-02-27 14:41 [p.1688]
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Mr. Speaker, we have a serious and affordable plan for fighting climate change. We have spent more than $63 billion on green infrastructure and a clean economy, which is more than any other government in the history of our country.
Furthermore, every dollar generated by TMX will be invested in our transition to a clean economy. As we transition to a cleaner economy, we are ensuring that our resources get to market and that this transition is more affordable for everyone.
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View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2020-02-27 14:41 [p.1688]
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Mr. Speaker, the minister said that every dollar generated by TMX will be invested in clean energy. That is like setting a village on fire to justify hiring firefighters.
Trans Mountain represents $18 billion that could be invested in health transfers, the fight against climate change, old age pensions and a just transition for oil workers, for example. Instead, the government is squandering our money on an outdated economic model that is based on the oil sands.
Will the Minister of the Environment recognize that this white elephant is harmful to both the economy and the planet?
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View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
2020-02-27 14:42 [p.1688]
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Mr. Speaker, as I said, we will put in place the best plan to fight climate change that this country has ever seen. We have a plan to go beyond the 2030 targets.
We want to develop a plan to achieve net zero by 2050. Our government has made more progress on climate change than any other government in the history of Canada.
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View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
2020-02-25 18:48 [p.1552]
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Madam Speaker, Canada's economy, among the 10 most prosperous in the world, was built in part by the wealth provided by our natural resources. Our resource sector provides tens of thousands of well-paying middle-class jobs to hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
At the same time, we know that the global fight against climate change to protect our natural environment and biodiversity are among the most pressing issues we face as human beings. Climate change is the existential threat of our age. It calls for effective, lasting action and clear-eyed, pragmatic policies that will measurably reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions over the years to come.
Canadians are increasingly recognizing the magnitude of the climate crisis.
Going forward, thoughtful Canadians understand that economic progress will need to take place within the frame of environmental sustainability. Certainly, in the case of the oil and gas sector, the investment community is telling all of us that future growth and prosperity will require reductions in our carbon emissions and overall environmental footprint.
The latest scientific report from the IPCC indicates that human activities have already caused 1° of global warming above pre-industrial levels. If global emissions continue to rise at their current rate, the world could see a 3° rise in warming by 2100.
The implications of this are very real. On average, Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. A warmer climate will intensify weather extremes, result in sea level rises and reduce the amount of snow, ice and fresh water. Heatwaves will increase and contribute to droughts and wildfires.
It is no wonder that youth around the world are fed up with our generation not acting on the science we have before us and question whether they see a future in which they can contemplate having children of their own.
In the 2019 election, Canadians overwhelmingly voted for parties that offered ambitious climate plans.
The international community has also been coalescing around the issue, with 77 countries now committed to achieving net-zero by 2050. Our election platform reflected those concerns. During the campaign, we committed to two key climate policies: exceeding our target of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
We have made a lot of progress since 2015. For the first time since then, our greenhouse gas emissions are dropping.
Early in our first mandate we developed the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, the first real climate plan this country has ever had. It contains over 50 different measures, from phasing out coal, to major investments in public transit and electric vehicle infrastructure, to energy efficiency for buildings and industries.
We invested over $3 billion to scale up clean technology and put in place a national price on pollution, because there can be no credible plan to fight pollution if polluting is free.
In jurisdictions where the federal pricing system is in place, revenues are returned directly to the people, making 80% of families better off.
Perhaps the most important impact is the opportunity that a price on pollution creates for innovation. It prompts businesses to deploy their engineers and entrepreneurs to find solutions to reduce pollution.
Despite identifying over 200 megatonnes in emissions reductions through the framework, we need to identify an additional 77 megatonnes of emissions reductions just to hit our current 2030 target.
Meeting our 2030 target in itself will be a challenge, but it is a challenge Canada is ready to take on.
Developing a plan aligned with science to achieve net-zero by 2050 will be even harder given our vast geography, northern climate and reliance on a resource economy. What is exciting though is the conversation it allows us to have with provinces, companies and others about pathways for achieving our goal.
Achieving our climate goals requires cross-partisan leadership from every region of the country. We need a national consensus, a real team effort.
The enemy is climate change. It should not be each other.
That national consensus must include Canada's oil and gas sector. It must include provinces and territories. It must include our energy companies, exporters and explorers, and their employees. It must include the millions of Canadians who heat their homes and drive their cars with carbon-based fuels. It must include all of us.
Let me be clear: The Government of Canada remains committed to furthering Canada's natural resource sector to create good middle-class jobs. We recognize that, in the modern world, a strong economy and a clean environment must go hand in hand.
Some say these goals are irreconcilable. I disagree. In my conversations with resource sector leaders and western political leaders, I hear more and more about the importance of Canada to build its brand as the cleanest supplier of resources to remain competitive as the world transitions to a net-zero future. I agree with them.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce stated clearly that:
In order for our [provinces] and our country to thrive, we can and we must be able to lead in natural resource development and solve climate change through innovation. Canadian businesses know this, and the global marketplace is demanding it, yet the rhetoric by political leaders is severely hindering any future progress.
Hard-working families are paying the price.
In its letter to me, Teck also calls on us to develop a framework that reconciles economic development and environmental protection as the only path forward. The letter recognizes that Canada is “uniquely positioned”, with its abundant resources, to be that provider of “climate-smart resources” to global markets.
Canadians have the innovative spirit and know-how to provide the world with the most environmentally and socially responsible resources, and that is what we must strive for.
Canadian energy companies are among the most innovative in the world, and they can lead the way. A number of oil and gas companies, including Shell, Cenovus, CNRL and MEG Energy, have already committed to net-zero, as have companies in other sectors, such as Microsoft.
Achieving net-zero will require an economic and an environmental transformation and the mobilization of significant amounts of private capital. The Government of Canada is committed to working with Alberta, Saskatchewan and the resource sector, to ensure that the best projects get built so that we can create jobs and ensure clean, sustainable growth.
The best projects are those that have the lowest pollution per unit of production, develop a path to net-zero emissions and minimize impacts on biodiversity and the natural environment. In 2020, these conditions are increasingly non-negotiable. Leading money managers and investors like BlackRock are making sustainability and climate risk tenets of their investment strategy. They are pulling their money out of environmentally risky ventures and diverting to sustainable projects.
We are very concerned that times are tough in the resource sector and in Alberta due to market conditions. Let there be no mistake, our government stands with workers in Alberta, and with resource sector workers across the country. That is why we are moving forward with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. This project is delivering nearly 3,000 jobs for Albertans today and will peak at 5,500 in the near term, which is important for Alberta and thus for all Canadians.
We also understand, and I believe most Albertans understand, that it is time Canadians had a much deeper and more thorough conversation about how we keep our energy sector competitive in a world moving to net-zero emissions by 2050. This is how we will protect well-paying resource jobs and create opportunities for the future.
The status quo no longer works. Consumers and the investment community are demanding change, and so are industry leaders, and that change must accelerate.
No one has a step-by-step guide to net zero. We must engage Canadians and experts to create credible pathways.
Certainly, a key component will be a focus on clean technology.
Hoping for technology to save us from the hard policy choices required to reduce emissions is not a climate plan. However, a thoughtful approach to clean tech must be a key part of an effective strategy to get to net-zero, and in particular to help us decarbonize key sectors of our economy. In the oil and gas sector, for example, exciting work is going on, not just on carbon capture, but on developing ways to extract energy value from natural resources without carbon pollution.
Canada needs to be the cleanest source of resources as we transition to a low-carbon future, and current projects need to also focus on continuous improvement. Partnering with industry on the development and commercialization of clean-tech solutions will create enormous opportunities to expand exports and jobs.
With sound investments, Canada can be a leader in clean technology. In fact, we already are.
Already, global markets for clean-tech and low-carbon goods and services generate trillions in revenue, and clean tech employs over 180,000 people here in Canada. Beyond taking action domestically, we believe that Canada must also work with like-minded countries to lead internationally.
The enormity of the work ahead requires that people from all backgrounds and all political affiliations pull in the same direction to ensure we can leave a healthy and sustainable world for our children.
Climate change should not be a partisan issue; it is a science issue. We all have a role to play in de-partisanizing climate. A generation ago Canadians were deeply divided about free trade, yet today we have a national consensus on the desirability of free trade in North America and with our international partners. That national consensus offers us a model and an example to follow.
I invite my colleagues from across the House to work with us to tackle the greatest challenges of our time.
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View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-02-25 19:01 [p.1554]
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Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. I agree with practically all his comments about climate warming and the climate emergency. It was a good presentation that unequivocally shows that we are facing a crisis.
I would like to ask my colleague the following question: If the Liberals are aware of this climate crisis, why did they buy a pipeline?
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View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
2020-02-25 19:02 [p.1554]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
Climate change is definitely the greatest challenge of our time. We have implemented many measures and developed the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, which includes 50 initiatives to fight climate change in all sectors of the economy. During the election campaign, we also promised to exceed the 2030 target and achieve net zero by 2050. We want to work very hard to reassure Canadians that we can achieve these targets, and we want to co-operate with all members in the House on this issue.
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View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-02-25 19:09 [p.1555]
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Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the charming member for Repentigny.
I will try to keep a cordial tone, as I have noticed in the last few minutes that there is enormous tension in the House. I hope my Conservative friends will keep the same cordial tone that I will use during this short speech.
On the way here, I thought about what we would be doing tonight. To be frank, I am wondering why we are having an emergency debate tonight. The reality is that the cancellation of the Teck Frontier mine project is the result of a private company’s decision to abandon its project because it sees that it is not economically viable in the current context. It has made a decision to stop investments, which I agree are huge enough, so as not to fall into a money pit.
I think the Conservative Party has always been the party of some form of capitalism. It is a party that clearly understands the implications of the free market system. I do not understand why the party that constantly invokes market forces, the free market and small government is asking today that the House intervene when a private company makes a decision. I find that rather curious.
In 2011, this private company based its analyses on the price of a barrel of oil, which was around $100. For the project to be viable, the price of a barrel of oil would have to currently be between $80 and $90. As we know, the price of oil is around $50 to $55. Therefore, I am wondering if my friends in the Conservative Party would like the Canadian government to end up supporting the Teck Frontier mine project, given that the market is unable to currently support this type of fossil fuel project. There is a really big question mark in my mind. I am certain that my friends in the Conservative Party would be happy to respond.
There is another rather crucial element. I do not know if members are aware of this, but the majority of large investment funds are taking their money out of fossil fuels. They realize that the climate crisis is real and that, in the next few years, fossil fuels will no longer be driving economic development. They are investing in the energy transition instead. It seems to me that people should be aware of this.
Perhaps the economy of the future lies not in petroleum resources, but in cleaner energy and the energy transition. That is something that is important to be aware of, and I think the financial community has come to that realization. In my opinion, if the main oil-producing provinces do not wake up to that reality, then they will be doomed to relive the same type of crisis as they are experiencing now.
The climate crisis is not a myth. Some people are even talking about this being the anthropocene era. Humans are having such a devastating effect on the planet that they may eventually render it uninhabitable. Personally, I do not want to live with such a liability. I am thinking about the planet that I want to leave to my son. The Conservatives often calculate the public debt and say that we are going to leave a public debt to our children. In my opinion, there is a much bigger debt that we may be leaving to our children, and that is the environmental debt. If we are living in an environment where the climate is constantly changing and the air around us is unbreathable, we are not leaving our children much of a legacy. I think our Conservative friends should think about that.
I think I know what this evening's debate is about. Perhaps my Conservative friends and I will say the same thing. I get the impression that the western provinces feel alienated from the rest of the country. I get the impression that they feel like the federal government has let them down. We can agree on that, because Quebec has been through it before. To come back to the western provinces' feeling of alienation, I could tell them about Quebec's special circumstances and especially about the impact that fossil fuels have had on our economy.
It should be noted, and this is quite important, that from the early 1970s until 2015, the Canadian government apparently invested $70 billion — that is the figure we have, but we will never know the real amount — in the technology needed to develop the oil sands. Of that $70 billion, $14 billion came from Quebec, but that investment did absolutely nothing for us and contributed nothing to our economy.
Another NDP politician I quite like is Thomas Mulcair. Before the 2015 election campaign and before he was flirting with the idea of becoming prime minister when he saw some rising support in the polls, Mr. Mulcair talked about Dutch disease. What is that? Dutch disease is the phenomenon whereby the value of our dollar increases to the point where it puts pressure on our exports, thereby leading to a downturn in manufacturing, which is based primarily in Quebec. Therefore, any time natural resources, such are oil, are heavily developed, the Quebec economy suffers. That is what happens.
This means we spent $14 billion to undermine Quebec's manufacturing sector. That is a fact. I could mention Dutch disease to any number of people, and they will be aware of that logic.
Briefly, it seems to me that if the problem we are having today has to do with a feeling of alienation among people in western Canada and the impression of being mistreated by the Canadian federation, I could tell them all about Quebec's specific case.
First, I should mention that twice during constitutional talks, when the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords were signed, we sought but never received recognition. Not only did Quebec not receive the recognition it was seeking on those two occasions, but it also hit a wall.
Second, I would point out to my western colleagues that, in 1982, the Constitution was repatriated without our consent. Quebec never signed the Canadian Constitution.
Third, I would remind my colleagues that, in 1969, the Government of Canada launched broad consultations on bilingualism and biculturalism. In the end, the government realized that making Canada a bicultural country would result in recognizing Quebec's special status. The government therefore decided to scrap the idea and make Canada a multicultural country so as to avoid giving Quebec the recognition it wanted.
As members can see, on four or five occasions, the Canadian federation clearly said no to Quebec. If my Conservative Party friends want to talk about feeling alienated this evening, I get it because it has happened to us repeatedly.
In this case, this sense of alienation is fuelled by economic interests. Every day in the House I keep hearing that Canada is not doing enough to support the oil sands sector. My friends from the Conservative Party keep coming back to that and are constantly asking that we build a pipeline.
I find it funny we are never in a position where we have to ask for hydro towers to be built. Hydro-Québec has never received a penny from the federal government to help install its infrastructure, which contributes to delivering green energy throughout Quebec, energy that could also be used for the other provinces and even exported to the United States. Surprisingly, we are not hearing those speeches here.
When I look at everything that has been done by the Canadian government, I have one question. Think about the Trans Mountain pipeline that was purchased for $4.7 billion. Initially we were told it would take another $7 billion to get the pipeline up and running, but that amount is now $12 billion. That pipeline is going to end up costing at least $16 billion. Personally, I think it is ironic to hear the west complaining today about alienation and saying that the federal government is not doing enough.
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