Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks on Bill C-48, let me add my voice to those who have spoken before about our colleague from Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, Gord Brown. Although Gord was a few years younger than me, he became my mentor when I was first elected in 2008. His quiet demeanour, his love for his community, and his respect for this institution, along with his fervent belief as a Conservative that individual rights and freedoms create the strength of our nation, are beliefs that he so passionately championed and ones that this side of the House will continue to champion and hold dear. To his wife Claudine, as well as his two sons, my wife Judy and I offer our sincerest condolences.
I will be sharing my time with the member for Markham—Unionville.
The bill we have before us today is the genesis of the demise of our oil and gas industry under the advisement and dictation of the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Gerald Butts. It has been said that it is not the puppet that we fear; it is Butts, the puppeteer. It is now obvious that both the puppeteer and the puppet are things Canadians need to fear.
This proposal was developed to ensure that the northern gateway project, although properly vetted, with stringent conditions, would be derailed. This was the goal of eco-activists headed and funded by groups whose goal was to cause havoc in Canada's resource industry to curry favour with international donors, who many say are simply hedging their bets with oil and gas investments in other parts of the world. These groups do not care about the well-being of Canadians. They do not care about our first nation entrepreneurs. They do not care about our commitment to humanitarian causes around the world. They just want to see Canada's natural resources stay in the ground so that their global partners can reap the benefits from such actions.
Whenever we hear from those who want to “phase out” the oil sands, including the current Liberal Prime Minister, we need to know that it will be all Canadians who will suffer from these actions. How can it be in the interest of Canadians to have Venezuelan oil power vehicles in Quebec? How is it better for the environment to have Saudi Arabian oil filling up refineries on the east coast? Why would we want American oil to fuel our machines in Vancouver? None of this makes sense.
If we had a government that recognized the need to diversify our export markets so that the most ethical oil and liquid natural gas on the planet could find its way to the rapidly growing markets of Asia, then maybe we would not be the laughingstock of the world. What other country would do this to its own economy and its own people?
As was mentioned in a November 8, 2017, article in the Financial Post, entitled “How the B.C. tanker moratorium is killing First Nations' enterprise”, Canadians have to be awoken to what the current government is doing and what the consequences of its actions are.
Five years ago, members of the Lax Kw'alaams Band proposed an energy corridor from Fort McMurray to the B.C. coast. The social licence, which has now become some imaginary, elusive target, would have been achieved for all types of future expansion, helping all Canadians, especially first nations people. After consultation, and with broad acceptance, Eagle Spirit Energy came to the table with practical solutions that focused on environmental protection that even exceeded Canada's world-class regulations. What happened after was pure sabotage of a nation-building project, a pattern that has become all too familiar under the current Liberal government.
We should have been aware that this was the Liberals' goal all along, as they have been trying to limit the potential expansion of northern gateway since the project was first proposed a decade ago. The previous attempts by the Liberals, when in opposition, proposed banning tankers sailing within the defined waters of Canada's fishing zone 3, which is from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska panhandle. Bill C-48 would expand this original proposal to prohibit tankers carrying crude oil from entering or leaving ports in the same area. In order to avoid a conflict with the U.S.A., tankers can still carry crude up and down the waters, as long as they do not enter or leave from a Canadian port.
Who does this hurt and who does this benefit? We have stopped our private sector partners from moving ahead with first nation partners to move Canada's natural resources to tidewater. That hurts Canadian taxpayers who could have been building schools, building hospitals, and other needed infrastructure across this land with the profits attained, but they now need to depend on deficits to be paid off by future generations in order to develop those same types of projects.
Who benefits? The foreign funders whose investments flourish around the world as those countries market their crude at world prices to the very markets that we are shut out of. What adds insult to injury is, as I mentioned earlier, that we buy oil from those very same countries to fuel our economy in eastern Canada. However, those same activists and complicit provincial governments that want to shut down or oil going west have also thwarted our efforts to move it to the east.
Is that what makes a nation strong or is that what causes division and scorn? The old Trudeau government only cared about the unity of our country as long as he got his way. What is the difference now?
In November of 2014, the Conservative government introduced and implemented a number of measures to create a world class tanker safety system, including the modernization of Canada's navigation system, enhancing area response planning, building marine safety capacity in aboriginal communities, and ensuring that polluters paid for spills and damages.
The concept of Liberals demonizing Conservative actions, layering them over with red paint and calling them new and improved, is nothing new. This was the game played with regulatory reviews for pipelines. The Liberals used this to argue for Kinder Morgan, but now they stay quiet about how safe this would make all our other waterways because that does not fit their narrative.
In summary, Bill C-48 would do very little for the preservation of British Columbia's environment. Ships, including U.S. tankers, travelling from Alaska to Washington State, will continue to be able to travel up and down the coast just outside the 100 kilometre limit. This is just another slap in the face to resource developers, as it is just another pipeline moratorium under a different name.
There is no recognition, because it does not fit the Prime Minister's “keep it in the ground” narrative, that Canadian oil is extracted and transported under some of the safest and most environmentally strict regulations in the world. Preventing our Canadian resources from reaching customers in other countries only serves to encourage the use of foreign oil products that are extracted and transported in a less safe and less environmentally friendly way.
What is ironic is that the political machinations of both the Liberal government and the NDP, which also hold a negative view and constant vendetta against our oil and gas sector, actually defeats their stated goals of “protecting the global environment”. Their efforts not only cripple our economy and communities, they are also helping to fill the coffers of some of the most unethical and ruthless regimes on the planet. It is the Liberals who insist on creating wedges among Canadians.
The Liberals know that on this issue they are losing ground, and now they are desperate to paint any distractions in the most negative manner. One thing is for sure. The Conservatives will always be the party of freedom, opportunity, security, prosperity, and conservation. We will always stand proud of Canada and the millions of Canadians who work hard every day to make it the best country in the world.
Canadians deserve a government that takes pride in what Canada has to offer. Canadians deserve better. They deserve a government that will put them first. In 2019, that is exactly what the Conservatives will offer Canadians.