Mr. Speaker, I rise today to debate Bill C-69.
It is obvious that Bill C-69 would ensure that major private sector pipelines will never see the light of day. This Liberal Bill C-69 will forever be known as a black death to the oil and gas sector, killing jobs from coast to coast to coast. The Liberal government has enacted a series of anti-resource policies and has sent signals that discourage economic growth. The hikes in tax rates, increased capital gains taxes, which entrepreneurs are averse to, and the carbon tax all affect investment in Canada. We have witnessed that Liberal policies and lack of action on the energy file have chased over $80 billion out of our country, taking with them hundreds of thousands of jobs.
When I was first elected, anyone across the country who was willing to work could find a job in Alberta. Those willing to work hard, often more than 40 hours a week, could support their families, send their kids for post-secondary education, and still save for the future. Small businesses across Alberta were also booming from the economic activity that the industry brought into almost every town and community in the province. That is not the case today. An oil crash later, a provincial government change, and a federal government change have all Albertans concerned for their future.
The global price of oil will always fluctuate, but what many Canadians do not know is that we do not receive the price per barrel that is commonly reported. The price reported is the North American benchmark, West Texas Intermediate. Our oil is traded as Western Canadian Select. The difference between the two prices is about $34 a barrel, on average. The good news is that pipelines can help to close that gap in prices. The more access we have to markets other than the United States, the better the deal we can obtain.
Instead of supporting the building of these pipelines, the Liberal government has introduced regulation after regulation to cripple the industry and deter investment. Today we are talking about the unpopular move that the Liberal government has struck against the west and our oil industry by robbing the National Energy Board of most of its powers through the creation of the Canadian energy regulator.
The National Energy Board has served as a world-class regulator for the natural resource sector since its creation in 1959. Since then, it has reviewed and approved major energy projects across Canada. Over the last decade, the NEB has approved the pipelines Alberta desperately needs, which made it a target for political interference. When the Liberal government took power, the natural resource minister's mandate letter called on him to “Modernize the National Energy Board to ensure that its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in fields such as environmental science, community development, and Indigenous traditional knowledge.”
While the government believes Bill C-69 would complete this mandate, I would like to cover how this bill would drive investment out of Canada.
One of the changes the bill would bring in is the establishment of timelines. The government claims that there will be timelines of 450 days for major projects and 300 days for minor projects, respectively, pursuant to subclauses 183(4) and 214(4). While many Conservatives are in favour of timelines for projects, the devil is in the details, and unfortunately we did not have time or enough witnesses at our round tables to go over these details. The application process can be dragged out, and that will not be considered in the timelines. The lead commissioner will be given the ability to exclude time. Lastly and most importantly, the minister can approve or deny an application before it even gets to the assessment phase. We only have to look at the cancelled northern gateway pipeline to see that the government has no problem putting national interests on hold and dismissing a pipeline for political reasons.
I am also concerned about the changes to the NEB standing test. Currently, individuals and organizations directly affected by the project or capable of providing valuable knowledge are heard by the National Energy Board. The new rules would allow anyone to participate and be heard. This would ensure that groups who oppose all energy projects across Canada will be given a bigger voice. Groups outside of Canada will be given a voice as well, and they do not have our best interests at heart.
I can only imagine what our global competitors think of this legislation. It would give them the opportunity to fund groups that will oppose every project that has the ability to threaten their market share. To think that this will not occur in the future is foolish and short-sighted.
Briefly, I would like to bring your attention to the projects that have died under the Liberals' watch.
The Prime Minister imposed offshore drilling bans in the Northwest Territories without notice to the territorial governments, which killed exploration and future development, and the Petronas-backed NorthWest LNG megaproject on the west coast was cancelled. The Liberal government has ever-changing policies and roadblocks, which led to the cancellation of energy east. The Liberals also cancelled the Conservative-approved pipeline project known as the northern gateway, which would have brought our oil to tidewater. They legislated the northern B.C. coastline tanker ban, which will ensure projects like the northern gateway and Eagle Spirit will never be possible.
In addition, many Canadians and experts are concerned over the purchase of a 65-year-old pipeline at twice its book value, but the biggest concern is the current condition of the pipeline.
Some of the questions I have are these: What is the life expectancy of the 65-year-old pipeline? What is the projected cost of the maintenance and upgrade of the 65-year-old infrastructure? Will the newly created crown corporation be self-sufficient or end up like the CBC, dependent on taxpayer handouts? Will the construction of the twinning of the pipeline be subject to Bill C-69? Did the government assume all liability from Kinder Morgan, including liabilities from the past?
We should all recognize that the natural resource sector has brought tremendous wealth to my riding, all of Alberta, and Canada. The oil sands alone have brought $7.4 billion to the Canadian economy outside of Alberta: $3.9 billion to Ontario, $1.3 billion to British Columbia, $1.2 billion to Quebec, $333 million to Newfoundland, $143 million to Manitoba, $142 million to Saskatchewan, $96.7 million to Nova Scotia, $50.8 million to New Brunswick, $11.4 million to the Northwest Territories, $6.3 million to Prince Edward Island, $1.6 million to Yukon, and the list goes on. These figures include everything from especially made overalls to high technology for reducing global emissions.
Members need to consider that if we keep our resources in the ground, as environmentalist David Suzuki wants us to do, we are not saving the environment; we are just moving resource development to countries around the world that have lower safety standards and lower environmental protections. I believe that if resources are needed, it is better that they come from here and not from human rights abusers and dictators.
I know that many members of Parliament have voted for regulations of every type and will continue to do so. What they need to consider before voting on this bill is that we are part of a global market. Right now we are competing with countries across the world to sell our goods and attract investment.
We only need to look across the border to see a government intent on bringing in billions of dollars of investments and the jobs that come with them. Since taking office, the Trump administration has given the energy industry a tremendous amount of confidence to invest by cutting regulations and taxes. Future natural resource jobs in my riding, in Alberta, and across Canada are at stake if this bill passes, and that is why my Conservative colleagues and I stand against this bill.