Mr. Speaker, Bill C-48 is one part of the Liberals' plan to phase out Canada's oil and the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose livelihoods depend both directly and indirectly on Canadian energy. The Canadian Energy Research Institute has said that every job created in Canadian upstream oil and gas results in the creation of two indirect and three induced jobs in other sectors. From engineers in Edmonton to steel manufacturers in Hamilton and refinery workers in Sarnia and Saint John, Canada's economy depends on Canadian energy.
Canada can and should play a major role in the global future of oil and gas, for which demand will continue to grow. Of the world's top 10 oil and gas producers, Canada and the United States are the only two Liberal democracies, yet these Liberals' policies are suffocating Canada's energy sector while the others thrive.
Canada has long been the world's most environmentally and socially responsible oil and gas producer. The Liberals should champion Canada's expertise, innovation, and regulatory know-how. The Liberals should be proud of Canada's track record and of Canada's future in oil and gas, instead of imposing policies and laws to phase it out, like this tanker ban.
As developing countries modernize and the world's middle class grows, oil and natural gas will continue to be the most significant sources for meeting global energy needs. Therefore, the world needs more Canadian energy, and the world wants Canadian oil and gas.
The Liberals constantly undermine Canada's energy sector. They killed energy east with red tape and rural changes and outright vetoed the approved northern gateway pipeline. While the Trans Mountain expansion is at risk and a full-blown crisis is escalating, the Liberals are imposing Bill C-48 to ban on and off loading of crude and persistent oils on ports on B.C.'s north coast, which will cut Canada off from the most efficient route to the Asia Pacific and prevent any new energy infrastructure opportunities to the region. The International Energy Agency estimates that in the past five years, 69% of global oil demand growth has been in the Asia Pacific and that is expected to grow for decades. Canada needs to supply that demand because the United States is both Canada's biggest energy customer and competitor.
However, Bill C-48 is an intentional government-created roadblock that deprives Canadians of potential benefits. The bill will permanently prevent any opportunities for pipelines to transport environmentally and socially-responsible Canadian oil to the Prince Rupert-Kitimat area, where it could reach the rapidly growing Asia Pacific.
Deliberately limiting Canada's export potential by blocking access to tidewater risks the livelihoods of Canadians everywhere. It will put very real limits on future prosperity. Reaching tidewater in all directions for Canada's oil and gas should be a pressing priority. It makes no sense to delay or to equivocate on this from an economic, environmental or moral perspective. Stopping Canadian oil cedes market share to countries where standards, enforcement, and outcomes do not measure up to Canada's performance, to many corrupt regimes with abysmal environmental and human rights records where energy development only benefits a select and wealthy few.
A 2014 WorleyParsons study comparing major oil and gas producing jurisdictions confirmed that Canada maintained the highest level of environmental stringency and compliance, the highest level of regulatory transparency, life-cycle analysis, community consultation, and collaboration with indigenous people in the world. That conclusion echoed several major benchmarking assessments before it. I note that was before the last 2015 election.
Every time the Liberals attack Canada's track record of energy and environmental assessment and evaluation, they empower and embolden anti-Canadian energy activists who are fighting to shut down Canadian oil and gas and exports. That is how the Liberals have created the mess they are in, picking and choosing which energy projects to defend and to attack. For the Liberals, this is about politics, not about facts. Here are the facts.
The safety track record of Canada's energy infrastructure and transportation systems, including pipelines and tankers, has also long been world-leading. The evidence shows tankers have safely and regularly transported crude oil from Canada's west coast since the 1930s.
The previous Conservative government implemented a suite of strong measures to create a world-class tanker safety system, modernized Canada's navigation system, enhanced response planning and marine safety capacity for first nations communities, and ensured that polluters paid for spills and damages on all coasts. Canada already has industry-leading regulations with standards well beyond other jurisdictions on all aspects of tanker safety, pipeline safety, prevention, and response. The Liberals are building on that work.
The average response time of the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation has been 60 minutes for the last 10 years. The Canadian Shipping Act requires this corporation to have the capacity to clean up 10,000 tonnes of oil in 10 days. The largest marine spill to ever occur was on the east coast.
Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom of the Woodland Cree First Nation said, “What I don't understand about this tanker moratorium is that there's no other tanker moratorium on other coastlines in Canada. You have oil coming in from Saudi Arabia, up and down the St. Lawrence River right now.”
Therefore, when it comes to tankers bringing in foreign oil along the St. Lawrence River, the answer is yes. When it comes to oil tankers delivering oil from Saudi Arabia to the Irving oil refinery refinery in New Brunswick, the answer is yes. When it comes to continuing operations on offshore oil rigs off the coast of Newfoundland, the answer is yes, but of course not in northern offshore areas near the Northwest Territories, which the Liberals banned against the will of the premier. However, when it comes to opportunities to expand market access, create well-paying jobs for all Canadians, and millions of dollars in economic opportunity for indigenous communities, the answer from the Liberals is no, phase it out.
During a transport committee testimony, first nations were given only 30 minutes to share their opposition to the tanker ban, and spoke of their investment in the Eagle Spirit pipeline project, a $17 billion indigenous-owned corridor and what had been called “the largest first nations endeavour in the world”, which could secure economic opportunities, social benefits, and reduce poverty for at least 35 first nations for generations to come. Bill C-48 would undermine the hard work and aspirations of those first nations. It might drive their project into the U.S. too, chasing even more energy investment across the border.
During the committee meeting, which was the only consultation the Liberals offered with directly impacted first nations, Calvin Helin, the chairman and president of Eagle Spirit Energy and a member of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation, said that the 35 first nations supporting the project, “do not like outsiders, particularly those they view as trust-fund babies coming into the traditional territories they've governed and looked after for over 10,000 years and dictating government policy in their territory.”
...we set up a chiefs council that represented all of the chiefs from Alberta all the way out to the B.C. coast. They have had a position with a lot of power and control over the environmental aspects and over the project in general, so it was a fairly high hurdle that we sought to meet. They were so satisfied with the environmental model we put forward that they voluntarily voted at their first meeting to support an energy corridor.
The Prime Minister says that the relationship with Canada's indigenous people is the most important to him and that he wants “an opportunity to deliver true, meaningful and lasting reconciliation.” However, his words do not match his actions. This legislation, dictated by the Prime Minister, would block wealth and opportunity for first nations communities.
Gary Alexcee, vice-chair of the Eagle Spirit chiefs council, said:
With no consultation, the B.C. first nations groups have been cut off economically with no opportunity to even sit down with the government to further negotiate Bill C-48. If that's going to be passed, then I would say we might as well throw up our hands and let the government come and put blankets on us that are infected with smallpox so we can go away. That's what this bill means to us....Today, the way it sits, we have nothing but handouts that are not even enough to have the future growth of first nations in our communities of British Columbia.
Less than a month after the last election, the Prime Minister directed ministers to work toward this tanker ban. However, the Prime Minister also said that his Liberals would “ensure that decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public’s interest...”. How does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe that he consulted indigenous communities, industry, and experts with comprehensive assessments of existing environmental and safety records, standards, outcomes, gaps, and comparative analysis of marine traffic rules, enforcement and track records on all Canadian coasts and internationally, and thorough local, regional, and national economic impact in less than a single month? It is a sham anyway, targeting docking and loading at ports of Canadian oil, not banning any other vessels of any other kind or from any other countries. Unfortunately, it is a pattern. Because despite all the talk, voter coalitions, politics, and ideology drive the Liberals' predetermined conclusions, not evidence, facts or consultations.
Alarmingly, foreign funds and interests have also influenced this bill. Before the 2015 election, the Oak Foundation, based in Switzerland, gave a $97,000 grant to the West Coast Environmental Law group to campaign for a change in government, with the express purpose of constraining Canadian oil and gas development “through a legislative ban on crude oil tankers on British Columbia’s north coast.”
The West Coast Environmental Law website says:
WCEL aims to establish the conditions under which...opposition parties holding a parliamentary majority work together to enact a legislative tanker ban under a minority government and/or incorporate a ban promise into their manifestos, committing them to act following an election that produces a majority government...
Calvin Helin said:
What the chiefs are starting to see a lot now is that there is a lot of underhanded tactics and where certain people are paid in communities and they are used as spokespersons...Essentially (they are) puppets and props...to kill resource development...
He went on to say that it was outrageous and people should be upset about it, that the chiefs were upset.
Eagle Spirit's indigenous leaders say the tanker ban is the result of a lobby campaign by foreign-financed environmental groups. Notably, some of these groups were also involved in a coordinated opposition to the Pacific Northwest LNG project, which the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation members also supported and welcomed after meeting environmental assurances and getting more information, another project that was killed under the government's watch.
The port of the project was to go straight into their traditional territory. Their community has a municipal-like government whose leaders are elected, while their original tribes are represented by the Lax Kw'alaams Hereditary Chiefs' Council.
Calvin Helin wrote:
It turns out the Seattle-based Wilberforce Foundation financially supported a local environmental extremist who posed as a hereditary Chief of the Gitwilgyoots tribe.
The Nine Tribes publicly clarified the misrepresentation in May 2016. It was later settled in court.
Calvin Helin went on:
The rightful hereditary leadership who had been governing their territory for over ten thousand years were shocked that an outside environmental organization would seek to essentially overthrow their ancient leadership structure....
Wilberforce, the California-based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Hawaii-based Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and others have poured money into anti-LNG campaigns in B.C., as they funded opposition to oilsands development before them. Indeed, the record suggests the long project to establish...the Great Bear Rainforest was a strategy to stop hydrocarbon exports from western Canada, even as U.S. sources ramped up production.
One of the same groups involved in the anti-LNG campaign pushed the Liberals' tanker ban and opposition to the proposed Eagle Spirit project while claiming to be representatives of the Lax Kw'alaams.
In September 2016 the chiefs' council said:
[it] does not sanction inviting professional protestors from non-governmental organizations, and non-Lax Kw'alaams First Nations members into their traditional lands in breach of ancient tribal protocols. Conversely, the Nine Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams would never go into another First Nation's territory without first obtaining their permission. The unauthorized action by this renegade group has created needless confusion, damages tribal unity, and is insulting to tribal members.
However, here is the point: when the Liberals, along with the NDP and green activists, propose legislation like Bill C-48 to appease those groups, they undermine the will of first nations and their elected leadership. They talk of consultation and reconciliation, but their attack on economic opportunities and their failure to consult and listen to directly impacted indigenous people are the height of hypocrisy. Mayor John Helin, Calvin's brother, is forced to spend time and resources fighting this coalition and Bill C-48 in court.
It is stunning to hear Canadian politicians speak of the poverty and socio-economic challenges experienced disproportionately by indigenous Canadians while deliberately using every possible means to block financial opportunities for them and to undermine all their efforts to secure agreements to benefit communities, their youth, and their future.
Five hundred of the 630 first nations in Canada are open to pipelines and to oil and gas development. For example, Fort McKay, near the Athabasca oil sands, has an unemployment rate of zero and financial holdings in excess of $2 billion.
There are 327 indigenous-owned enterprises in Alberta alone that do business with oil and gas operations. Oil sands businesses have conducted more than $10 billion of business with first nations-owned companies.
Chief Jim Boucher of the Fort McKay First Nation says:
We have a different view of the oil sands industry than other people who are not close to our neighbourhood. A lot of people are making judgment calls in regards to what they see and hear from environmental groups, which is really contrary to what we believe and what we see in our region.
Responsible oil sands development is a key driver of Alberta's and Canada's economies and creates employment. Even as recently as 2014, nine out of every 10 new full-time jobs created in Canada were created in Alberta, bringing tax revenue for all levels of government to support the social programs and capital infrastructure projects on which everyone depends.
However, Alberta continues to face obstacles to move oil to markets, hostage to the myth that a broad-based carbon tax on everything will buy support for pipelines. Instead, it will disproportionately harm the economy and make it harder for vulnerable, low-income, working poor Canadians everywhere,
This narrative is especially toxic because Alberta was actually the first jurisdiction in all of North America to regulate and report emissions, to set targets for reduction across all sectors, and to implement a targeted carbon levy on major industrial emitters. That was more than a decade ago.
Oil sands developers and workers have led the world in improving sustainable production, enhancing energy efficiency, and minimizing the footprint of development, ensuring air, water, land, and habitat stewardship while working towards complete reclamation. The oil sands are a long-term strategic asset that any country in the world would want to have and that any other national leader would value and promote.
The oil sands are all about innovation. Without new technologies, Alberta would still be sitting on a hydrocarbon resource with no economic value. That is true of the energy sector overall: it is always innovating, adapting, advancing.
In the 1970s an Imperial Oil engineer, Roger Butler, invented a thermal recovery process called steam-assisted gravity drainage. Around roughly the same time, the Alberta government established the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority to focus on developing Alberta oil sands that were too deep to mine, which is the vast majority of the resource.
In 1996, the first commercial SAGD project was built at Foster Creek. It went into production six years later. The federal Liberal and provincial Progressive Conservative governments worked together to put in place fiscal and regulatory conditions to unlock this incredible resource.
Securities regulators took notice that deep-lying bitumen could now be recoverable. In 2002, when the Houston-based Oil & Gas Journal released its authoritative estimates of global petroleum reserves, it raised Canada's total proven oil reserves nearly fortyfold, from 4.9 billion barrels to 180 billion barrels. Major authorities followed suit over the next few years.
Alberta is blessed with abundant, accessible, affordable resources, and responsible development is an opportunity for all Canadians, benefiting every community, reducing poverty, and sustaining middle-class jobs. Producing from the oil sands is a technological, innovative, and relatively recent and unique achievement from a private, public, academic, and indigenous partnership of which all Canadians should be very proud.
The Liberals should champion Alberta's oil sands and not phase them out. However, Bill C-48 is a clear attack on the oil sands, on pipelines, on Canadian crude oil, on the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who depend on its success, and it limits Canada's role in the world. I urge all members to vote against the tanker ban.