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Results: 1 - 15 of 51
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much, Chair.
Thank you to everyone for being here to present to us today.
It's good to see many of you who were also a part of our Line 5 discussion. I think we certainly saw the value of organized labour standing up for the over 20,000 jobs that this dispute puts at risk. We certainly appreciated your input.
In the case of Mr. Strickland, certainly, your organization was standing up for Keystone workers, etc., who were impacted by the decision of the U.S. administration. It's good to see you fighting for Canadian projects and Canadian workers and, indeed, in that case, for workers on both sides of the border. That's what I want to talk to you about, Mr. Strickland.
You mentioned at the beginning the international nature of some of these organized labour organizations. Have you had discussions with your counterparts in the U.S. about how you can work together to advocate for workers who will be negatively impacted on both sides of the border? What does that strategy look like? We heard in the previous panel about the need to maybe make the case for Canada to U.S. lawmakers that it's often better for projects to use Canadian materials that are made by Canadian workers.
Maybe you can share with us some of that cross-border work or co-operation that your organization participates in every day.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Great. I will go to Mr. Neumann for this next question. Maybe he wants to touch on that one as well in terms of working with your international partners.
You mentioned a number of times an integrated clean energy or clean manufacturing strategy. We spoke in the previous panel about a carbon border adjustment tax and touched on it briefly, whereby there would be a way to determine whether or not goods manufactured in other countries—specifically China—should be subject to an adjustment tax based on the input they have to put into producing their steel and aluminum, for instance. Have the Steelworkers thought about that? Do they have a position on that?
Would any of that apply, do you think, to maybe taking on the real target of buy America through other means, rather than a catch-all approach that catches in that same net the cleaner produced goods like our steel and aluminum?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm having some connection issues myself here in Chilliwack today, so bear with me, please.
My questions are for Mr. Reinsch.
I think that certainly at the Government of Canada level there was an almost celebratory mood when there was a change in administration. We figured that there would be a return to certainly a more predictable diplomacy, etc. I think a lot of Canadians perhaps thought that a lot of the protectionist types of tendencies of the Trump administration would be immediately rolled back and we would get back to being the good old friends singing together and cranking out deals to the benefit of both countries.
You alluded to it. It has been my observation that so far we actually have made very few gains, if any, in terms of our relationship with the new administration in terms of policy initiatives that would benefit Canada. We have seen the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. We have another pipeline under threat with Line 5 in Michigan. We have no movement on the softwood lumber agreement, which has not been signed, and now we have this buy America issue.
Other than perhaps a friendlier and more predictable president, do you see any change from the Trump administration's protectionist measures with the Biden administration vis-à-vis its relationship with Canada? Or are we just in for more of the same for the next four years?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
You mentioned a number of issues. We've talked about the political reasons already. I think the two-year election cycle the U.S. has makes it very difficult to do difficult things and have some time pass before someone.... Someone is always in a mid-term or a congressional race or something. It is all very short-term in terms of negotiating or proposing things on international trade. But I think there is some common ground here in what you're proposing. I think Canadians have recognized gaps in our own supply chains, our own manufacturing capability, etc.
I want to go to the China relationship. Is there an opportunity for Canada to be a part of a new international alliance perhaps that is no longer reliant...? I know President Biden has gone down that road, but are we really all going to have to go down this road separately, or can we find a way to do this in a unified way, where nations with common cause and common values can perhaps create their own integrated supply chains and not all be looking out for just national interests? Why do we need to create all of this separately? Can we not do it in an integrated way, especially between Canada and the U.S.?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
My final question is about the tax that has been proposed by the Biden administration on worldwide U.S. corporate income as part of his infrastructure plan. Will that have the same impact as buy American? It's a separate tool, obviously. Could you speak briefly about what you feel the impact will be on maybe reshoring U.S. manufacturing using the tax system?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Yes, that was part of his multi-trillion dollar infrastructure announcement.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
In my neck of the woods here, Washington state is now offering vaccines to 16-year-olds. We've heard cases of the United States actually offering vaccines to zoo animals. We're still at people in their seventies and eighties booking appointments well into the future. We're into more lockdowns here now because, quite frankly, we're so far behind the eight ball when it comes to vaccines.
I was very disappointed to hear that there was no plan to address the border issue. I would argue we can't simply wait to catch up on vaccines, then. We talk repeatedly about integrated supply chains, but that includes more than just the groceries. As my friend Mr. Lewis said, it includes people. It includes technicians, sales people, managers. As we fall further and further behind on vaccines, we lose more and more business to the U.S., which is able to operate and open more rapidly than us.
I'll ask again what Mr. Lewis asked. Is there a plan? Are there metrics in place? Are you in active negotiations to come up with a way for us to stem the flow of jobs to the United States while we catch up on vaccinations, on which we are so far behind the United States right now?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Minister. I have such a limited time, and I was asking about the border.
I will go back. You keep talking about this team Canada approach. Quite frankly, I think the approach this government has taken has failed us on Keystone XL, it's failed us on softwood lumber and it's failing on Line 5. I'm just wondering why.
If we do the same things over and over again, I think we're living in a fantasy land if we think [Technical difficulty—Editor] haven't worked in the past, simply because there is a new administration in Washington. This administration has been very clear, as Ms. Alleslev said, about what its priorities are. When it made that known to us previously on the Keystone XL pipeline, the Prime Minister said that it was a campaign commitment the President made and he's going to keep it.
He has also made a campaign commitment on buy America, so what makes you think that we are going to be successful this time around, when on Keystone XL, Line 5 and softwood lumber, the government has failed to get the agreements and the results that Canadians expect them to get on those files?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It's good to see the witnesses again. We've met several times but never in person. Someday we'll get back to that.
I first of all wanted to thank Mr. McMichael for working with our colleague Marilyn Gladu, the member of Parliament for Sarnia, to raise awareness, start an email campaign and fight for those jobs that are at risk in Sarnia. Ms. Gladu spoke highly of your efforts together, and we're all working together to fight for the right thing here, which is to keep Line 5 operational.
You talked about a bilateral energy task force and energy security for our two countries. Obviously, both LiUNA and Canada's Building Trades had some strong words when another project that involved the energy needs of both the U.S. and Canada was cancelled. I want to read a statement from Terry O'Sullivan, the general president of LiUNA, who said:
The Biden Administration's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on day one of his presidency is both insulting and disappointing to the thousands of hard-working LIUNA members who will lose good-paying, middle class family-supporting jobs. By blocking this 100 percent union project, and pandering to environmental extremists, a thousand union jobs will immediately vanish and 10,000 additional jobs will be foregone....
...In an agreement with North America's Building Trades Unions, the project owner, TC Energy, had committed $1.7 billion to operate the pipeline with renewable energy and achieve net-zero emissions within two years—all using union workers. Their commitment amounted to the equivalent of taking 650,000 cars off the road, one of the largest renewable energy investments ever.
We support the President's campaign to “build back better.” But for union members affected by this decision, there are no renewable energy jobs that come even close to replacing the wages and benefits the Keystone XL project would have provided. Killing good union jobs on day one with nothing to replace them, is not building back better. Hopefully, the Biden Administration will not continue to allow environmental extremists to control our country's energy agenda at the expense of union construction workers being forced to the unemployment lines.
That is perhaps the strongest statement I heard regarding the Keystone XL cancellation.
When we heard from the Minister of Natural Resources, he kind of said these were two completely different things. However, they are doing, in my view, the exact same kind of outreach. They are trying the same plan to ensure that Line 5 stays open as they tried to get the Keystone XL permits to continue. They failed on Keystone XL, though, and have, in my view, kind of thrown up their hands at that one.
From a union perspective, obviously.... I'll go to Joseph here. What do you see as the government's role in ensuring that Line 5 continues to operate? Is there anything more the government should be doing?
To me, this is a President and a Prime Minister discussion. Anything else below that is kind of missing the point. From a union perspective, how do you see the efforts that have been made by our government, both on Keystone and now to protect these good-paying union jobs for Line 5?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Let him finish.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Minister, for agreeing to participate here today.
I wanted to start with how we talk about how we're getting the relationship right. The irritants have continued here, and I'd say they're more than irritants when they affect tens of thousands of jobs. We have Keystone XL, Line 5, softwood lumber, buy American and vaccine distribution, to name a few. There are obviously a number of challenges that remain, regardless of the change of administration in Washington.
I wanted to talk first about Keystone. I have a statement here from Canada's Building Trades Unions, who say they “are dismayed by the decision made by the Biden Administration to rescind the permit for Keystone XL—a project creating more than 15,000 high-paying union jobs across Canada and the United States”.
We've heard from organized labour unions on both sides of the border that are extremely disappointed in this decision, and I think they were extremely disappointed, as we were, to hear the Prime Minister this weekend on Meet the Press on Sunday. When he was asked by the host, “Does this mean you're done asking for...are you going to stop advocating for it here?” and “Do you feel as if the Keystone pipeline is now dead?”, the Prime Minister replied, “I think it's fairly clear that the U.S. administration has made its decision on that, and we're much more interested in ensuring that we're moving forward in ways that are good for both of our countries.”
I think he made it fairly clear that he's done fighting for Keystone. Given that the decision was made based on the U.S. position on Keystone XL, the Prime Minister essentially said that fight is over.
There's now a decision that has been made by the Governor of Michigan, who is extremely close to President Biden, was considered for being his running mate and was a key cog in the wheel in the electoral college to ensure that President Biden is the president. She is very close to him. Why would the nearly 30,000 workers in Sarnia, southern Ontario and Quebec who are affected by this have any confidence that your government would fight for Line 5 jobs when Keystone XL jobs were written off as being a decision that the U.S. administration had made and were no longer worth fighting for?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Sorry, Mr. Chair, but I just want to make sure.... I do have limited time here, so I appreciate that—
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
It sounds an awful lot as though the plan to advocate for Line 5 is a carbon copy of the plan to advocate for Keystone XL. We know, according to the Prime Minister, that he's been advocating for that project with President Biden. If you're doing the same thing to advocate for the jobs impacted by Line 5, why are you expecting a result that will be different from what you got with Keystone XL?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much.
As we look at the Canada-U.S. relationship in relation to natural resources, I think we have to look at the last four years, certainly, due to policy shifts, I would think, from both sides of the border. There was a massive expansion of oil and gas exploration in the United States, to the point where they quickly became a net exporter of oil and gas for the first time. They were no longer as reliant on foreign oil and gas as a result of expansion, specifically in the Permian basin. At the same time, Canada saw a contraction of our energy sector.
Given the new direction of President Biden's administration and a number of signals that he sent, do we anticipate that there will be a contraction in the U.S. oil and gas exploration market that may be beneficial to Canadian oil and gas producers, if they are no longer producing as much? He's talked about a ban on fracking and that sort of thing. Are there opportunities for Canada to be selling our oil and gas into the States more, based on what we're seeing in the early days out of the Biden administration?
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