An Act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping

This bill was previously introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

James Cumming  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Defeated, as of Feb. 3, 2021

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-229.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment repeals the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Feb. 3, 2021 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-229, An Act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

January 29th, 2021 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, when I think of Bill C-229, the first thing that comes to mind is that the Conservative Party is not necessarily in tune with the expectations Canadians have with respect to the responsibilities and the need to commit to protecting our environment, whether it is the land or water. It will be interesting to see if the entire Conservative caucus supports Bill C-229.

Bill C-229 would repeal Bill C-48. Members might recall that Bill C-48 was the oil tanker moratorium act, which passed back in June 2019. If members were to review the Debates, they would find that it was fairly well discussed, whether in committee or on the floor of the House. However, at the time, the only party that took Bill C-48 to task was the Conservative Party. The New Democrats, members of the Green Party and the Bloc supported it.

I like to think that the Government of Canada has done a good job in balancing the important issue of our environment and economic development. It has been demonstrated by policy decisions. Examples of that include Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act, which received support from the above noted parties. Many provincial jurisdictions were very supportive of the need for the moratorium.

We can look other issues. For example, the government worked very closely with the provincial NDP premier and were able to achieve the LNG, which is good for the Province of British Columbia and therefore good for Canada. It was the single largest private-government investment in infrastructure and ensured that LNG would in fact get off the ground. However, it would not have been possible had it not been for the support of the NDP in the Province of British Columbia.

We can look at Trans Mountain, which, ultimately, will be successful. The project is under construction and will ensure we are able to move a natural resource to the coast. The former government under Stephen Harper was never able to do that.

I like to think the reason we have been successful in recognizing these valuable projects is because, as a government, we are also very much aware of and sensitive to our environment, indigenous concerns and to what Canadians expect us to respond to. At the end of the day, Bill C-229 would move us backward. The first thing I think of when I see legislation of this nature is what else we can anticipate from the Conservative Party that will move us backward.

I suspect that if we were to canvass Canadians, we would find that there is fairly good support on environmental initiatives and when we get the type of general acceptance those initiatives, the Conservative Party needs to wake up and sense that reality.

This whole Conservative spin seems to be more focused on trying to give a false impression that we cannot handle the environment and the economy in such a way that development of natural resources can continue. It can, and we have demonstrated that. Canadians expect the Government of Canada to balance economic needs with environmental goals.

The tanker moratorium that was passed in 2019 is an excellent example of how we can balance and achieve just that. The moratorium provides the highest level of environmental protection for British Columbia's northern coastline. It is integral to the livelihoods and cultures of indigenous and coastal communities that are located there and ensures the protection and preservation of that.

This is another example of the Government of Canada delivering on commitments to Canadians. After all, no one should be surprised. We made this commitment. It was in the mandate letter given to the minister at the time. The federal government met with many different indigenous groups, communities and a wide spectrum of stakeholders. We listened and gathered input on the moratorium. Our engagement was extensive. It was passed back in 2019 because of the amount of that engagement. We wanted to ensure we got it right.

Whenever bold initiatives are taken to try to move forward on important files, we will always get some criticism. There is no doubt about that. However, what surprises me is the level of criticism and amount of spin coming from the Conservative Party of Canada. One has to wonder what the motivation is for that. Is it purely the political optics of espousing false information about how the government does not care about western Canada, in particular the province of Alberta? That might have a lot more to do with the political motivation of the official opposition. If those members were to put their motivation to the side and start to focus their attention on the environment, on protecting our waterways, they could maybe see the true intrinsic value to the legislation.

I call upon members of the Conservative Party to think again about this legislation and understand that the consensus out there in favour of the current law. Are we to assume that if the leader of the official opposition were to become prime minister some day, heaven forbid, that he would get rid of the moratorium? That is the impression they will give when it comes time to vote on this. Will the leader of the Conservative Party support this private member's bill? I think a lot of Canadians would be gravely concerned to see that.

If that is the case, I for one will be one of those individuals who will be talking about that in the next federal election. I believe that the people who I represent, and Canadians as a whole, understand and appreciate the moratorium that was put in place through Bill C-48.

Hopefully, we will see the Conservatives come on side and recognize what Bill C-229 would do and vote against it.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

January 29th, 2021 / 1:40 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of my primary reasons for getting involved in politics was to help protect the environment.

I think we must all set partisanship aside and collectively focus on climate action and on protecting biodiversity. We need to do this for ourselves and for future generations.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives have introduced a bill that does not respect this imperative. Canada's natural environments need to be protected, not undermined. Collateral damage from Bill C‑229 would go beyond potential accidental deep-water spills and the predictable environmental disruption; it would ravage the Great Bear Rainforest. The rainforest is a carbon sink that is home to the west coast's iconic biodiversity.

Bill C‑229 would increase crude and persistent oil exports by sea in British Columbia by eliminating the current limit of 12,500 metric tons per tanker.

How can we let oil tankers dock on the shores of this precious forest? When will the Conservatives understand that now is the time for focusing on the energy transition and not for stubbornly fighting for one of the dirtiest forms of oil production in the world? I cannot understand how my colleagues in the official opposition can show such a complete lack of environmental conscience; they have become lackeys for the multinational oil companies.

During this week's emergency debate on Keystone XL, people said that Canada produces cleaner energy than anybody else in the world. One member said, “This oil is better economically, and this oil is better environmentally.” Another said, “Canada's oil and gas sector is already leading the world in ESG performance.” People even talked about environmentally friendly oil.

I invite the official opposition members to look at the work of Calgary's ARC Energy Research Institute, which published a report stating that, of the world's 75 crude oils, the oil extracted from the Alberta oil sands is the third most polluting and produces 24% more greenhouse gases than the average crude oil refined in the United States.

With everyone so focused on the pandemic, it is not surprising to see bills designed to compromise environmental safety or introduce regulatory measures that tone down existing restrictions in ways that help oil and gas corporations.

I wish someone would tell me one thing. Is the lack of consideration for climate reality the result of a misunderstanding of the impending consequences, wilful blindness or general climate change denial? Bill C‑229 is nothing less than an ideological measure whose sole purpose is to extract and sell this resource as quickly as possible.

I would remind members that Canada's record on marine transportation is far from stellar. The commissioner of the environment and sustainable development had the following to say about Transport Canada in a report from October 2020:

...there is still important work to be done...including follows-up on violations identified through inspections. ...the department had not finished its work to give final approval to many companies' plans to respond to emergencies.

The commissioner also informed us that, based on the 2011 audit on the transportation of dangerous goods, Transport Canada had not taken all the actions required to address key elements of the recommendation made.

With this kind of information about Transport Canada at our fingertips, what we have to do is simple: We must not allow any regulations to be relaxed and we must tighten inspections. In short, nothing can be overlooked.

Another major issue with this deregulation trend in this sector is self-assessment. Observations by federal scientific researchers published in Nature Communications indicate that the oil sands emit up to 64% more CO2 than the resource companies report. Worse, the data that is sent to government organizations comes from the oil companies. Canada's official record is also inaccurate. Do people truly understand what that means?

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change says things like oil development projects off the coast of Newfoundland will support sustainable development by protecting the environment. The Prime Minister says that for five years we have shown that investing in oil and gas projects and fighting climate change can go hand in hand. How is it possible to say such things knowing full well that drilling oil is incompatible with sustainable development, environmental protection and biodiversity?

I forgot to mention something. The same day it was announced that drilling off the coast of Newfoundland was approved without a federal environmental impact assessment and in a significant biodiversity area, the government committed $55 million for biodiversity at the One Planet Summit. That is how diametrically opposed concepts are made to go hand in hand.

Quebeckers and Canadians should not be shackled to projects that will lead them straight to an environmental or climate disaster or an economic disaster. Since the economic argument comes up so often, let us talk about it.

The organizations that have divested from fossil fuels have been listed many times in the House, but I will list them again: Sweden's central bank, the European Investment Bank, Norway's sovereign wealth fund, BlackRock, the influential British Medical Association, and more than 40 faith groups from 14 countries. We cannot forget the New York State Pension Fund and its $500 billion U.S., whose managers have committed to a net-zero investment strategy within four years. Let us also not forget the largest insurer in the world, Lloyd's, which will stop insuring coal operations and fossil fuel exploration projects.

In 2019, over 1,100 institutions with more than $11 trillion U.S. in assets under management committed to divesting from fossil fuels, a 22,000% increase from the $52 billion originally committed in 2014. These pledges come from 48 countries and major cities with stock exchanges such as Paris and New York City, and 70% come from outside the United States.

The Conservatives can continue to kick up a fuss about the regulation of this industry, as they did when they proposed a bill like Bill C-229. However, the drop in the price per barrel of Alberta oil, which only generates a profit at $45 or more, one of the highest prices in the world, combined with the realities that I just talked about, means that meaningful measures must be taken to immediately expedite the transition to renewable energy.

The existing regulations have nothing to do with the slump this resource is experiencing. The global economy is changing in response to growing environmental awareness. We should be happy about that.

Canada must be part of this essential collective effort. For example, Alberta's geothermal potential is a golden opportunity to join the energy transition. This fledgling industry, which has great potential on Canadian soil, could give workers who already have drilling experience a chance to participate in the development of this sector and thus help diversify Canada's energy mix. What is more, government organizations already have the geological data on areas in western Canada with geothermal energy potential. Workers deserve to see their elected officials working to improve their future and their children's future, do they not?

We have repeatedly heard the argument of economic reconciliation with indigenous peoples used in support of the oil and gas sector. The Bloc Québécois proposes that we start instead by ensuring that indigenous communities have clean drinking water and health care, and then focus on clean resources that are adapted to their geographic regions.

Have we forgotten the demands of the Wet'suwet'en already? Have we forgotten that cancer rates in the communities downstream along the Athabasca River are 30% higher than the provincial rate? Have we forgotten their fight to protect their ancestral lands and traditional resources?

When the energy transition is no longer just an environmental imperative, but also an economic imperative, then why get left behind when we could be leading the charge to a carbon-neutral economy? Every member of Parliament who cares about the well-being of future generations and the sustainability of the environment will refuse to support this bill and instead devote their efforts to meeting the same objective set by other countries around the world, namely to fix the damage to the environment and the climate.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

January 29th, 2021 / 2:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank you for allowing me to speak today on Bill C-229, an act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping. This private member's bill would repeal the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act on British Columbia's north coast, and I rise today to defend the commitment our government made when we passed this legislation in 2019.

The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act is a significant and unprecedented measure in protecting British Columbia's north coast. It was a promise made to Canadians by our Prime Minister in 2015 and a mandate commitment that our government proudly fulfilled.

Let me remind members what this act accomplishes.

It prohibits oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude oil or persistent oil products as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine installations in the moratorium area. The act targets crude oil and persistent oils specifically because they are heavier, and when spilled, they tend to break up and dissipate slowly, putting fragile marine and shoreline ecosystems at risk. It represents a precautionary approach aimed at protecting precious coastal habitats, allowing their ecosystems and marine species to continue to flourish. While this legislation is in force, it ensures that there will be no large shipments of crude or persistent oil products off of British Columbia's north coast .

The moratorium area covers almost two-thirds of British Columbia's coast, extending from the northern tip of Vancouver Island in the south to the Canada-U.S. border at Alaska. It includes one of the largest areas of coastal temperate rainforest in the world, along with the naturally and culturally distinct archipelago of Haida Gwaii, which, because of its remoteness, is home to several species of plants and mammals that are found nowhere else on our planet.

The region's nutrient-dense waters make them prime feeding and spawning habitats for a remarkable number and variety of species. Orcas, humpback whales, dolphins and puffins, to name just a few, are all clustered within the region, while some of the largest salmon runs on the entire west coast are found there.

Further beneath the ocean's surface exist stunning ecological communities of seaweeds, kelp, invertebrates and fish. For those who live in and around these cherished ecosystems, there is little doubt of the protection they deserve. Indigenous groups in particular, who have lived here for thousands of years, work to maintain their historic relationship with the waters and land they populate through a fierce commitment to conservation, and the inherent responsibility to protect the environment and the innumerable resources it provides.

That said, populations of northern coastal B.C. remain relatively sparse, which makes responding to potential oil spills challenging. Frequent winter storms with strong winds bring unpredictable swells that will challenge even the most experienced mariners. The shallow waters and high winds of Hecate Strait for example, combined with strong currents emanating from deep water zones like the Douglas Channel can make the north coast a true test for sailors.

The populations in and around these delicate ecosystems know what is at stake and know what the devastating impact of an oil spill in this region could be. A significant oil pollution incident would not only have destructive consequences on the multitude of diverse and exceptional ecological communities that make up this region; it would equally threaten the cultural and spiritual connections between the marine environment and local communities, as well as the continued sustainable use and management of ocean resources.

Commercial and recreational fisheries, processing facilities, aquaculture, logging and tourism represent just a small window of the range of economic activity sustained by the marine environments in this region. This activity is essential to the economic life cycle of many communities within the moratorium area.

Just as important, many of these industries and surrounding communities rely on marine transportation to supply essential fuel products for their businesses and homes. Safe and efficient marine resupply operations are a lifeline given the limited road and rail access for so many coastal communities. The moratorium ensures that these critical resupply operations continue to be permitted by allowing shipments of crude or persistent oil products below 12,500 metric tons.

Canada already has one of the strongest marine safety regimes in the world, with a track record in marine safety that meets or exceeds international standards. Our government is committed to safe, sustainable, and efficient marine transportation that improves responsible shipping, while supporting economic growth. We are, after all, a maritime nation, with more coastline than any other nation in the world.

Our historic $1.5‑billion oceans protection plan is creating a world-leading marine safety system, restoring and protecting marine and coastal ecosystems and habitats, enhancing environmental and local emergency response, and strengthening our ability to trade with confidence and safety.

All three of Canada's coastlines—the west coast, the east coast and the Arctic coast—are targeted for specific initiatives through the oceans protection plan. This is a plan that continues to be built on science, technology and indigenous input to protect Canada's unique marine environment.

Our government knows this cannot be accomplished alone, which is why we are working closely with those who know these environments best. New partnerships are in the process of being built, while existing partnerships with stakeholders, Indigenous groups and coastal communities are being strengthened. These collaborative partnerships represent a new way of doing business. Undoubtedly there are challenges ahead of us, but working together will help get things done in a way that reflects the needs of those who benefit most from our oceans and our coasts.

The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act complements this work and is an additional layer of protection for British Columbia’s north coast, yet the private member’s bill before us today seeks to remove every protection that this act offers for this globally significant region. That is why I am asking all members of the House to continue supporting the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act so that future generations will continue to benefit from and fully appreciate the pristine ecosystems of British Columbia’s north coast as so many have before them.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

January 29th, 2021 / 2:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have had an important time here, listening to this debate, and listening to the members of the government and of other opposition parties talk about why Bill C-48, or this bill, Bill C-229, should not be reversed.

Regarding some of the issues and decisions that were made by the previous government, we have seen an incredible negative impact on many of our communities throughout Canada. Specifically, the previous speaker, the deputy House leader, was talking about how we want to focus on western alienation, trying to make this a political matter.

As a member from southwestern Ontario, I can say that I too am very concerned about the direction we are going. In our own communities, we are talking about things such as Line 5. Line 5 is a pipeline that continues to come from Michigan into southwestern Ontario. It provides all of the natural fuels that we need, including propane. On the propane issue, we saw back in 2018-19, when there were some problems with getting fuel by train, our farmers were running out, the people in Quebec were running out, and the east coast was running out of propane to fuel and heat their homes.

These are types of concerns I have because the types of policies we are putting forward today sometimes do not look at the bigger pictures and some of the negative impacts. I have heard and really do appreciate all of the great comments made on the environment because I believe that we do need to make sure that we are leaving this country and this globe better for the future.

At the same time, I am very concerned with some of the decisions that we make that put a trap and handcuffs on our own economy. These are the things that we have to have a balanced approach to. For all the other members who are speaking to this, yes, I hear them and members of the Conservative Party hear them, but we are trying to find a balanced approach where, as our former minister of the environment used to say, the economy and the environment can go hand in hand.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

January 29th, 2021 / 2:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues who spoke on this bill. Whether they agreed with it or not, I appreciate that they took the time and effort to speak in the House today.

When I ran for office, I was incredibly concerned about the Canadian economy. I am a proud Canadian and a proud Albertan, and I am absolutely proud of our resource sector, which has been fuelling a lot of our economy.

Bill C-48, which would be displaced by my Bill C-229, was never about marine traffic transportation safety or ecological life in northern B.C. It really was a bill that restricted the ability of the strong oil and gas sector to continue to grow. It has become even more apparent now, with the debate over Keystone XL and our ability to get our products to market.

There has been a massive exodus of energy dollars from Canada. We can argue that is world demand, but I am not part of that argument. If we look at recent history, Norway has planned a massive expansion into the Arctic for expanded oil and gas. In Russia, Vostok Oil is planning a massive expansion. The U.S. has become one of the largest exporters of oil and gas, and a lot of that is coming out of Canadian reserves.

Canada has this fantastic position, in that we are the third-largest reserve in the world and we have this enormous opportunity to extract our resources in a safe and environmentally friendly way and play into the market.

Over the last few days, we have been discussing a trade agreement with the U.K. It is interesting to look at the U.K. Where do its imports come from? Norway, the U.S., Algeria, Russia and Nigeria are its big suppliers. Canada is not even a player. Canada is 97% into the U.S. and 3% into the international market.

I firmly believe that we can safely extract oil and gas within our country and ship it in a safe fashion. It is not like we do not have tanker traffic in this country. We have tankers going up the east coast, delivering crude to refineries there, and we all realize that the St. Lawrence has consistent tanker traffic day in and day out. We are able to do that in a safe fashion and protect the environment and our citizens.

Let us not forget that our federal debt-to-GDP ratio is at about 15% and growing. We are looking at a federal debt in excess of $1 trillion by the end of the year. We have the highest unemployment rate in the G7. Oil is one of our largest exports, primarily to one customer.

Does anyone really think that Canada can come out of this massive recession without a strong oil and gas sector and without being part of the international market? We have the opportunity to gain market share. We have the opportunity to displace players who do not follow the same rules we do as Canadians.

This is a bill that would right a wrong and fix an incredibly discriminatory piece of legislation. It is a bill that is essential for an industry that has helped fuel the economy of Canada, and I am incredibly proud of it. It is essential for the thousands of workers who are proud of their work in that sector and the product they produce. It is essential for manufacturing in Canada in a variety of fields. It is essential to the environment. If Canada has the opportunity to displace those bad players, we can do that with some of the most stringent environmental and labour standards. It is essential to respect the right of the provinces to get their product to market.

I live in a province that feels that it has been left out. I believe this is an opportunity for us to right a wrong, get Albertans and Canadians back to work, and be proud of the work that we can do here in Canada.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

November 2nd, 2020 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

moved that Bill C-229, An Act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-229, which I think frames a very, very important issue for our country.

On June 21, 2019, the Liberals celebrated victory in the passing of Bill C-48 in this chamber. The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act was celebrated in Ottawa while thousands of Canadians in western Canada, in those two million square kilometres to the left of Ontario on the map, were grieving over yet another blow to their way of life. It was another blow to the economy of my home province of Alberta and ultimately to the entire Canadian economy.

This was an election commitment by the Prime Minister in 2015, and it was in ministers' letters less than a month after the election. There was no time for due diligence, which would set the precedent for a lack of due diligence for years to come.

Bill C-48 prohibits oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude or persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports and marine installations in northern B.C. The bill was never about marine traffic, nor about transportation safety or the ecological life of northern B.C. It was the first step in the Prime Minister's singularly focused goal of phasing out the country's strong oil and gas sector.

Since 2015, Canada's energy industry has been repeatedly attacked by the Liberal government. There has been a mass exodus of billions of dollars of energy projects because of the government's anti-energy policies, such as Bill C-48, the shipping ban, and Bill C-69, the pipeline ban. By 2019, 100,000 jobs in this sector had already been lost because of Liberal policies. Capital investment in Canada's oil and natural gas sector has dropped by over half since 2014. I cannot imagine what these statistics would mean in other industries and what the reaction of the government would be.

It was looking like every attempt to get oil out of Alberta was being choked, whether it was by pipeline, by ship or by rail. It was looking like the only way we could get oil out of Alberta was to buy a barrel of oil a ticket on an airplane. That is why in February of this year I introduced my private member's bill, Bill C-229, an act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping. Once COVID-19 hit, it was all hands on deck and the bill was put on the shelf, but I am just as excited as ever to reintroduce the bill and am more excited than ever help our oil and gas sector and our economy.

In retrospect, the dismal outlook of the economy in 2019 was the calm before the storm that nobody could have predicted. Here are some facts, and quite frankly, they are not pretty.

Today, our federal debt-to-GDP ratio is at 50% and climbing. We are on track to reach a federal debt in excess of $1.2 trillion by the end of the fiscal year. We have the highest unemployment rate in the G7, with pretty much the highest level of spending, and we lag in productivity and innovation when we compare ourselves with our peers. On top of this, we do not have a robust plan for the economic recovery, unlike in the fantasy world the Minister of Finance spoke about when she said that we took on debt so Canadians would not have to. Frankly, someone is going to have to pay it back.

What do we do? I painted a very grim picture of our economic future, but the good news is that to find a solution, we only need to look within. In 2019, mineral fuels, including oil, accounted for 22% of our country's total exports. They are the number one exported product. Granted, most of this goes to the U.S. In addition, we have the third-largest proven oil reserve in the world and are the third-largest exporter of oil.

In poet William Blake's Songs of Innocence, he writes:

How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?

With that, I ask this: How can a country with the ability to raise the economic well-being for all allow our resources to go to waste?

Our country is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, an abundance that can make all of us prosperous beyond our wildest dreams. This pandemic has decimated our economy, and we owe it to our children and grandchildren, particularly my new grandchild, to take care of this financial mess. One of the ways we can do this is by exporting our natural resources to new markets.

All credible climate-science experts, clean-tech innovators and scholars in the field acknowledge that as we undergo a global shift to sustainable energy, the world will still require oil for decades to come. Renewables are nowhere near ready for sole use and right now are only a marginal energy source. In Canada, petroleum and natural gas account for 73.9% of energy use; followed by hydro and nuclear at 22.3%; coal at 0.5%; and other, wind and solar at 3.3%. The switch to clean energy, ironically, is not going to be a clean break. As we invest in and grow our still undeveloped renewable sector, we can think of oil and gas as the training wheels we need for propping up our sustainable goals.

The Canadian energy sector has already started to innovate and make some green moves. The intensity of greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of oil produced in the oil sands in 2018 was 36% less than in 2000. Natural gas emits 50% to 60% less carbon dioxide than coal, which countries like Russia, China and the United States still depend on. On average, coal-to-gas switching reduces emissions by 50% when producing electricity, and about 33% when providing heat. We can think about how much lower the CO2 levels would be if everyone switched from coal to natural gas.

Private sector innovation is what is going to lead us into the future and provide us with the technology we need to shift to global sustainability. Our strong Canadian energy companies see the global demand and are responding with hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable investments. Different energy projects are funded by oil and gas companies, and to kill this industry will kill investment. Believe me, government is not the solution to innovation.

Here are a few projects to talk about.

Enbridge is one of Canada's leading suppliers in renewables. It committed more than $7.8 billion in capital for renewable energy. It has 22 wind farms, six solar energy operations and a hydro facility.

Suncorp completed Canada's electric highway project in 2019, a coast-to-coast EV charging network positioned no more than 250 kilometres apart. It also created four wind power stations.

TC Energy supported the Ontario elimination goal of coal-fired power generation through its 48.5% ownership of the Bruce Power nuclear facility, which provides emission-free electricity to roughly one-third of Ontario.

Global oil demand has grown by about 11 million barrels between 2010 and 2019 to above 100 million barrels pre-COVID. The fact is the world needs oil, and Canada is the only country on earth that can deliver this product in the most energy-efficient and ethical method.

Let us talk a bit about that. On the world democracy index, Canada came seventh, tied with Denmark. Our competitors in this industry are Nigeria, at 109th; Russia, at 134th; Venezuela, at 140th; and Saudi Arabia, at 159th. Between 2009 and 2017, greenhouse gas emissions intensity in mined oil sands fell by more than 25%. That is innovation.

These are GHG emissions by country in 2016. China is at 25.8%, and its natural gas industry produces 0.911% of overall global GHG emissions. U.S.A. is at 12.8%. Iran is at 1.7%. Russia is at 5.3%. Canada is at just under 1.6%, and of that, Canada's oil and natural gas industry produces about 0.29% of overall GHG emissions.

In switching from coal to LNG, there is 50% to 60% less CO2 from combustion in a new efficient natural gas plant compared with emissions from a typical new coal plant. From 1990 to 2018, China increased its coal consumption from 0.99 billion tons to 4.64 billion tons. In 2008, coal made up 59% of China's energy use. Since 2011, China has consumed more coal than the rest of the world combined. These are staggering numbers.

Some are referring to this time, and the economic recovery to follow, as the great reset. The inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of multiple systems, from health to finance to education, are more exposed than ever, and there is great concern for the future of lives and livelihoods. This pandemic has shaken our country. There is no doubt about that. As we head into recovery, I would urge the government and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to think very carefully about what a fair and equitable recovery is going to look like.

Never has the integrity of our country's Confederation been more threatened. From west to east and north to south, our country is bruised. It is bleeding. Some may even say it is on the brink of broken. Political stability cannot be sustained in the absence of economic growth, nor can economic growth be sustained in a state of political instability. To this end, including indigenous Canadians in the economic recovery space will be crucial and, if done correctly, will forge stronger, more understanding relationships among all Canadians.

The energy sector is the largest employer of indigenous people in the country, with about 6% of the sector's workforce identified as indigenous. In 2015 and 2016, $48.6 million was invested by oil producers into indigenous communities. Coastal GasLink has awarded $620 million in contract work to indigenous businesses for logistical operations, there was significant support for the Northern Gateway pipeline, and the Eagle Spirit proposal is indigenous-led.

Global context aside, I urge all Canadians, with the government at the helm, to hail this great reset as a call to action. Going forward, I urge the government to administer neither special treatment nor punitive action on any province or territory in its approach to economic recovery.

The punitive and retaliatory measures taken by the government are eerily reminiscent of what many Albertans believe: that the national energy program was an unjustified intrusion of the federal government into an area of provincial jurisdiction, designed to strip the province of its natural wealth. Investors need to know that they have access to markets, and Alberta should have access just like every other province. We cannot move oil by pipe. We cannot ship it. We have been left with no options, and what used to be a few marginal murmurs has become full-blown western alienation.

We need to get our product to market. There is no way around that. Bill C-48 is an overt attack on Alberta's resource sector. Some have suggested that my bill, Bill C-229, is a waste of a private member's bill, but frankly, given the absolute sorry state of this country, it is anything but a waste. This bill would right a wrong and fix an incredibly discriminatory piece of legislation. This bill is essential for an industry that has helped fuel the economy for decades. This is essential for the thousands of workers who are proud of their work in this sector and the product their efforts produce. It is essential for manufacturing across the country. It is essential to the environment, as Canada has the opportunity to displace other world players that do not produce products to the same stringent environmental standards.

Canadian oil is in everything. It is not just what we put in our cars: the hydrocarbons we use to make the green upholstery in these chairs, the glasses members wear, the shoes on my feet, the capsules that vitamins are put into and the ink in my pen contain oil, and it can all be Canadian.

I am a proud Canadian and a proud Albertan who recognizes the important part the resource sector has played in our country's economic successes. I have lived through many of the ups and downs, and firmly believe we can gain market share, grow the economy and continue to reduce global emissions. Canada has led before and continues to do so. All the sector needs is to be given the opportunity to have access to markets so that we can compete and grow.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

November 2nd, 2020 / 11:25 a.m.
See context

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Chris Bittle LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak today on Bill C-229, an act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping. As we know, this bill proposes to repeal the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act in its entirety, which would thereby prohibit all relevant prohibitions and requirements that are currently in force.

I would like to discuss the importance of the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act and the role it plays in complementing the environmental protection efforts that we, as a government, are advancing from coast to coast to coast. Today I rise to speak to the importance of the marine ecosystems in communities on British Columbia's north coast and how we, as a government, are committed to the sustainable use and management of these ecosystems, which serve many communities along this coast.

Of course, the emergence of COVID-19 has created distressing and lasting impacts on many aspects of our lives. We continue to feel these impacts today, and we will continue to feel them into the future. In spite of this, the pandemic has triggered a renewed sense of the importance of protecting the health of the communities where we live and our attachments to them. While our government's focus has shifted over the last number of months, we remain committed to implementing a world-leading marine safety system, a plan that builds on the concept of being able to provide economic opportunities for Canadians today while protecting our coastlines for future generations.

The government's vision is one in which we strive to continuously improve marine safety and responsible shipping on all three coasts. This vision includes protecting Canada's marine environment and advancing and renewing partnerships with indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnerships.

Canada's transportation sector is undergoing a transformation as the government continues to implement two major initiatives. The first is transportation 2030, which is a vision for the future of Canada's transportation, and the second is the oceans protection plan. These initiatives will build a national modern transportation system that supports inclusive economic growth, job creation and Canada's middle class. Among transportation 2030's major themes, our waterways, the coasts and the north form a vital component to building the innovative and contemporary transportation system that hard-working Canadians deserve.

Alongside transportation 2030, the government launched the oceans protection plan in November 2016. It is a $1.5-billion initiative that reflects and advances many of the same themes within transportation 2030 that focus on the marine environment. The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act complements these initiatives. The Government of Canada is committed to preserving coastal marine ecosystems across the country. This is why the Oil Tankers Moratorium Act is so important for British Columbia's northern coast.

We already know that the marine environments off the coast of British Columbia are among the most diverse ecological systems on the planet. From coastal areas to the deep sea, British Columbia's Pacific waters support tremendous diversity of life, which sustains the province's economy and many coastal communities' way of life. We know that now, more than ever, the livelihoods of these communities demand protection.

Our oceans continue to support a range of valuable biological resources, from fish to crustaceans, to larger marine mammals such as orcas and humpback whales. Other important fish species, such as salmon and herring, use our waters as spawning and schooling grounds. These are waters that similarly deserve our protection.

The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act was a commitment made by the Prime Minister in 2015 to protect the pristine and unique ecosystems and the livelihoods of many communities served by the waters of British Columbia's north coast, and we are proud that we delivered on that commitment. The act now prohibits tankers with more than 12,500 metric tons of crude oil or persistent oil products on board from stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine installations in northern British Columbia.

The moratorium area extends from the Canada-U.S. border in the north down to the point on British Columbia's mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. At this very moment, it protects the delicate ecosystems in the northern coast, including Haida Gwaii.

Our government recognizes that when the delicate balance of this coastline becomes threatened, it upsets the relationship between the environment and its inhabitants, which spans thousands of years. We know that there is a deep historic and cultural tie to this coast that supports cultural practices and social structures. This is exactly what makes it worth protecting.

The moratorium protects the livelihoods of communities on British Columbia's north coast by providing a heightened level of environmental protection while continuing to allow for community and industry resupply. A wide range of economic activities continue to feed and sustain the region's economic life cycle, including commercial fisheries, processing facilities and logging. Many communities in the industry in this region rely solely on marine shipments for critical petroleum products to sustain their livelihoods, which is why we continue to allow shipments of crude oil products below 12,500 metric tons.

Canadians were consulted extensively on the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act. We heard from many Canadians and listened attentively to what they had to say. Starting in January 2016, Transport Canada held approximately 75 meetings on the moratorium, including 21 round tables. The department received over 80 letters and more than 300 submissions on the online engagement portal. We engaged directly with the inland indigenous groups and coastal communities of British Columbia that would be affected or that expressed an interest in the moratorium. We engaged with our colleagues from provincial and municipal governments to solicit their views on improving marine safety and formalizing this moratorium.

We also listened to the hon. members in the Senate. That is why we supported an amendment that required a mandatory review of the legislation after five years to study its impacts. This review will consider the impacts of the act on the environment and on the social and economic conditions of indigenous peoples. It will also provide the opportunity for all interested indigenous communities, provinces and other stakeholders to express their views once the moratorium has been in effect for a reasonable period of time.

While we heard a diversity of views, the need for environmental protections of this region was made abundantly clear. Canada is a maritime nation. We enjoy more coastline than anywhere else in the world. This is why the oceans protection plan is so critically important. Canadians rely on their coasts and waterways to earn a living, import goods and export Canadian products.

Indigenous coastal communities have ties to Canada's oceans that span generations. They have distinct cultural and spiritual traditions that are attached to the land and sea they inhabit. They rely on coastal waters as a source of their livelihood, for food security and as valuable transportation routes. The government wants to ensure these coasts are protected and can be enjoyed for generations to come. There is a need to allow safe and responsible commercial marine traffic on every coast. Our economy depends on it.

However, this must be balanced with strong environmental protections. The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act accomplishes this, and I hope I can count on support from other hon. members in this House to allow the protections of this act to continue for generations to come.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

November 2nd, 2020 / 11:30 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, it will come as no surprise to my colleagues that the Bloc Québécois will not be voting in favour of Bill C-229 because the existing legislation is legitimate and protects ecosystems.

I listened carefully to my Conservative colleague's speech and I would like to come back to a few of the things he talked about. I am intrigued by two major issues with respect to Bill C-229.

First, I get the impression that my colleague is using Canadian unity as a lever to get out of certain environmental commitments. Bill C-229 does bring forward the thorny issue of environment versus economy. Generally, the Conservatives deal with this issue by putting the economy first. Now, they are adding a new layer to that by saying that, if people are against oil sands development, then they are against Canadian unity. We often hear that in order to open up western Canada we need to create pipeline projects and reduce environmental assessments.

However, I often get the impression that if any province in Canada has been left out in the cold, it is Quebec. The forestry industry has been in crisis for over 20 years. Did the federal government do anything to support the forestry industry? As far as I know, it has not done much.

Let us look at the period from the early 1980s to the late 2000s by comparison. During that time, the oil and gas sector received over $70 billion in federal government support, $14 billion of which came from Quebec. When people talk to me about alienation, that leaves a pretty bitter taste in my mouth.

I have spent some time looking at the period from 2017 to 2020, during which the federal government pumped $24 billion into the oil and gas industry, including $17 million for the Trans Mountain pipeline. What did the federal government do for the forestry industry during that same period? It invested $952 million, 75% of which was in the form of loans, not money invested directly into the sector.

If we are keeping score, the government has given about $70 million per year to Quebec. My region, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, contributes more to the federal government than the government invests in the entire forestry sector in a given year.

People talk about alienation and say we need to address the West's concerns, and that is fine, but we have to look elsewhere too, especially given the ever-present environmental crisis. I think we can probably dispense with the western alienation argument.

There is another interesting aspect to this. Our Conservative friends are the champions of debt. They see debt as the modern sin, the new crisis that looms. They are probably right. I like hearing from the member for Carleton on this, as he has some rather interesting things to say.

My colleague talked about the debt-to-GDP ratio in his speech. He sees the fossil fuel sector as our best chance of solving the economic crisis that is upon us. However, we never hear our Conservative friends talk about the environmental debt we are leaving behind.

If they want to avoid leaving a huge debt to our children, I do not think they would want to leave them in a precarious situation, either. This precarious situation we are leaving to our children is the environmental crisis. Our children will be able to do little about it, if anything at all. We can take action right now to address this environmental crisis. I would like to discuss this with my colleague when we have an opportunity to do so.

For these reasons, it goes without saying that we will be voting against the bill.

I understood the Conservatives' vision from my colleague's speech. I get the impression that the Conservatives' aim is to repeal any standards that might displease the shareholders and owners of oil companies.

In that sense, the Conservative Party may often seem like a huge fossil fuel lobby. I have never heard a Conservative Party colleague say anything negative about the oil industry. Still, it is quite surprising to see how united my Conservative colleagues are on this sector of the economy.

During the election campaign I also found it rather funny to remind the Conservative member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord that while the Bloc Québécois defends exclusively the interests of Quebec, there is another bloc in the Government of Canada, namely the western bloc, that defends solely the interests of the oil industry, and does so far too often, if you ask me. That bloc is embodied by the Conservative Party. The major problem is that the Conservative party refuses to take environmental protection into account in most of its interventions.

As everyone here in the House knows, the oil sands leave a massive environmental footprint. A little while ago, Neil Young compared the oil sands region to Hiroshima. He may be right. According to numerous environmental studies, the oil sands are the primary causes of pollution not just in Canada, but in the world. We must take that into consideration.

Earlier my colleague mentioned environmental studies. I asked him whether he agreed with the regulations established for the oil and gas industry. He told me that Canada probably has the most stringent standards in this area. However, many publications, including Nature Communication, report that the oil sands probably emit 64% more greenhouse gases than what the oil companies report. If we refuse to see how that can undermine public confidence towards this sector of the economy, there is a serious problem.

The third most significant source of the world's dirtiest oil is Alberta's oil sands. It is not the sovereignist MP for Jonquière who is saying so, but the Arc Energy Research Institute of Calgary. It is understandable that some may be reluctant to put all their eggs in one basket and invest significantly in this industry.

The oil sands tailings are already so toxic that they are having a significant impact on indigenous communities. Earlier I said that it often seems as though my Conservative Party colleagues are lobbyists for the oil industry. In my opinion, this industry just wants to make as much profit as possible as quickly as possible without any concern for the environment.

In response to a question I asked last week, one of my Conservative colleagues told me that the Conservative Party was not asking the federal government to give additional funding to the oil sector; it was asking the government to get out of the way. What does that mean? Seems to me that they want as little regulation as possible and they want the government to allow oil companies to regulate themselves. That comes across in my colleague's bill.

I will conclude by saying that oil is not as popular among investors as it once was. Most of the big investment funds are getting out of the oil and gas sector, and especially the oil sands sector, which is probably among the most polluting in the world. Consider Teck Resources' Frontier mine, which was shelved not because of environmentalists or the government but because nobody wanted to put up the cash for the project.

I think the best thing we can do today is develop better regulations and stricter environmental standards for the oil and gas sector. If we want to help Alberta, we need to figure out an energy transition plan that does not leave that province mired in an outdated industry.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

November 2nd, 2020 / 11:40 a.m.
See context

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the Conservative bill, Bill C-229 before us, which seeks to repeal the oil tanker moratorium on the north coast of British Columbia, an internationally renowned area also known as the Great Bear Rainforest.

I have learned in my short time here that one of the greatest honours of this position is not the opportunity to share our own ideas, but rather to carry the voices of others, the voices of the people and the places we represent. Today I rise on behalf of the people of northwest B.C. to speak in opposition to a bill that would tear up an oil tanker moratorium 50 years in the making, place coastal livelihoods at risk, trample on indigenous rights and threaten the integrity of one of our country’s greatest natural treasures.

When I heard about this bill, my thoughts first turned to the Heiltsuk people. In the early hours of October 13, 2016, the Heiltsuk awoke to news that the American-owned tug and articulated barge, the Nathan E. Stewart, had run aground on the rocks at the entrance to Seaforth Channel just west of Bella Bella. On board the boat was 190,000 litres of diesel fuel. At 9:30 a.m. the boat sank and, despite the valiant efforts of the Canadian Coast Guard and the Heiltsuk people, 110,000 litres of diesel spilled into the marine environment. The epicentre of that spill was a mere 50 metres from the spot where the Heiltsuk’s creation stories have the first ancestors of one of their tribes descending from the skies. Four years later, the clam-beds, so vital to Heiltsuk culture and sustenance, have still not recovered, so today my thoughts go first to the Heiltsuk, Wuikinuxv, Kitasoo, Nuxalk, Gitga’at, Metlakatla, Haida and other nations of our coast whose lives are so closely linked to the marine ecosystems that crude oil tankers would threaten.

I am also reminded of the hundreds of northwest B.C. residents who came before the joint review panel hearings into the northern gateway project. From all walks of life, they came forward to share their opposition to crude oil on our coast and provide a positive vision of a more sustainable future. Taken together, the transcripts of those hearings read as a love letter, a witness statement and a thesis defence all wrapped into one from a people unfailingly committed to the place where they live.

I am reminded as well of the local governments that amplified their residents’ opposition by passing formal resolutions in opposition to oil on our coast, the Village of Queen Charlotte, the City of Terrace, the City of Prince Rupert, the Town of Smithers, the Village of Hazelton, the Village of Fort St. James and others.

My thoughts turn to the good people of Kitimat. If there is any community in Canada that has a level of comfort with big industry, it is Kitimat. This town was built around an aluminum smelter and today is home to Canada's largest industrial project. The people of Kitimat are also the people of the Douglas Channel. Their former mayor, Joanne Monaghan, went as far as holding a plebiscite on the issue of oil tanker traffic. When the votes were counted, the people of Kitimat voiced their clear opposition. Northwest B.C. is a place of both rugged independence and tight-knit communities. It is a place that understands resource development, but also understands the importance of taking care of the lands and water. Amidst all the debates over the past 40 or 50 years on pulp mills, moose harvests, salmon allocations, annual cuts, protected areas and open-pit mines, there has emerged a strong regional view that bringing crude oil tanker traffic to our coast presents a risk that is simply not worth taking. Why is that? Because the people of the west coast know that when oil spills, it kills. We know that even a successful oil spill response recovers only a fraction of the oil that gets spilled. We know that current clean-up tools are all but useless in even the slightest inclement weather, much less in the harsh winter storms that batter the north coast of B.C.

Of course, on paper the oil industry continues to promise all manner of technology to respond to every situation and contingency, but as the Heiltsuk know all too well, there is very little that can be done when the guy steering the boat falls asleep and runs it into the rocks.

As a society, we have ingenuity in spades but what we lack sometimes is the wisdom to know when the consequences simply are not worth running the risk.

For so many people the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act represents a victory of wisdom over ingenuity, of place over profits and of culture over catastrophe. Bill C-48 was the culmination of over 50 years of grassroots effort. The people who fought so hard for it all those years are certainly not going to lie down and let this private member’s bill take that all away.

I listened very carefully to my colleague's speech. I understand that there are many workers in Alberta who are facing tough times right now, as are Canadians across the country, as we ride out this pandemic together. Nonetheless, I am surprised the Conservative member decided that this issue was the one that should be made a priority at this challenging time, not ensuring indigenous communities have access to clean drinking water, not fixing the deplorable conditions in our long-term care homes and not improving supports for seniors and people with disabilities.

Indeed, it is striking that this bill comprises only a single clause, which repeals the oil tanker moratorium wholly and replaces it with, wait for it, absolutely nothing. It offers no alternative measures to protect the north coast. It does nothing to consider the views of the indigenous people and the communities in the area that is most affected. It is no more than a blunt, ideological Conservative rebuke that would tear up almost five decades of consensus building in the region I represent.

However, there may just be a silver lining in all of this. We get a hint of it in the weathered billboards when we drive along Highway 16 or in the signs that are still in the windows of houses from Old Massett to Bella Bella. I think it was Haida leader Guujaaw who once observed the paradox that our communities are never happier and more united than when we are standing shoulder to shoulder, facing a common threat. Stephen Harper and Joe Oliver discovered this phenomenon, too, that threatening the people of the northwest only serves to bring us closer together.

As an example, 1,000 people gathered in a gymnasium in Kitamaat Village at the invitation of the Gitga’at and Haisla to witness the indigenous nations of B.C.’s north and central coast putting in place their own tanker ban under their indigenous laws, with the cutting and distribution of a copper shield. I wish the hon. member had been there to witness it. It was a truly spectacular sight.

Suffice to say, while there are many other pressing issues facing us right now, I have no doubt that if need be, the people of northwest B.C. will rise up once again and protect our coast. Let us hope we do not have to. I am looking across the aisle and very much hope that the Liberal members still hold the same resolve they did just a couple of years ago and will join us in voting down this wrong-headed bill.

This issue of oil tankers on B.C.’s coast has a long history, and not just in our region but in this place too.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the member for Skeena was a man named Frank Howard. Like my father and brother, Frank was a logger. He was a union man and a champion of the working people of the northwest. On May 15, 1972, Mr. Howard rose in this House and he moved:

That this House herewith declares that the movement of oil by tanker along the coast of British Columbia from Valdez in Alaska to Cherry Point in Washington is inimical to Canadian interests especially those of an environmental nature....

Frank’s motion was carried unanimously, and led eventually to a voluntary exclusion zone that kept oil tanker traffic off our coast for decades. Fast-forward to just a few years ago, when my predecessor, Nathan Cullen stood in this House and fought tooth and nail to make that voluntary moratorium into a proper law. As members know, that came be with Bill C-48, which this Minister of Transport brought forward. It was passed into law in June of last year.

Today, I am so honoured to stand on the shoulders of these former members for Skeena, generations of northwest British Columbians and indigenous leaders from across our region, and voice strong opposition to the bill before us, which would do away with so much that we have worked for.

For the people of the northwest, this issue has been settled for decades. I’m looking to my colleagues in the House to recognize that fact once again and vote against the bill. It will not come to pass.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

November 2nd, 2020 / 11:50 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise today to second the motion by my colleague for Edmonton Centre. His private member's bill, Bill C-229, would repeal the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, which has held back the country's economic development, the country's environmental development and the country's social development since it was passed over four years ago. This bill came about after Bill C-48, which was one of the last pieces of legislation the government enforced in its last mandate in the 42nd Parliament.

Undoing the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act is obviously very important. It is very important for the country for so many reasons, but it is very important to recognize the value it adds, if we were to repeal this, for our entire country. We cannot talk about the repeal of this act without talking about infrastructure in Canada. We are talking about ports and we are talking about pipelines. As much as we can talk about ports because this is a repeal of a shipping ban on oil products above a certain quantity, we really have to speak about pipelines because this emanated from the pipelines.

To get our resource to market, because our oil resource industry in Canada is inland, it has to traverse a long distance in order to get to the ports that will take it to market. Those pipelines are inextricably linked with the industry that supplies their product. That product, of course, continues to expand in Canada and legitimately continues to expand in Canada because it is a very well-known, environmentally friendly resource that the world needs at this point in time and is going to need for decades to come. For us to turn our backs on that reality at this point in time is short-sightedness on our part.

We are competing in a world where oil is produced in much less environmentally friendly jurisdictions around the world. We need to make sure for the environment's sake that we get the better product to market, which has much less of a footprint around the world.

The thing about the oil and gas industry is that it looks to getting its resource to market efficiently and economically. That requires a constructive regulatory environment to build infrastructure like pipelines. Getting a pipeline to the coast to get that product off the coast and to its customer is essential. Long-term planning and economics are involved in all of this. Every one of the companies that builds these or plans these puts those perspectives together at the outset so that it actually knows what the transparency of the outcome is going to be. That is something that has been lost in Canada, as far as getting projects built goes, and we need to address that.

Let me talk about a concept called “monopsony”. I am sure the members on the opposite side know that a monopoly happens when there is one supplier. A monopsony is when there is one customer for a product. That is what we have in Canada with our oil industry at this point in time. All of our exported oil from Canada goes to one international customer and that customer, of course, is the United States.

Getting oil offshore is essential to break that monopsony and, therefore, get a better price for our oil and gas resources. That is not happening right now. When we quantify what that means for the Canadian economy, it equates to about $16 billion per year on what we are currently producing in oil alone. Sixteen billion dollars is disappearing from the pockets of Canadians to somewhere else. That is because we get such a discount, what is called a “differential”, on our price in the American market. Sixteen billion dollars a year, for the last five years of the current government's mandate, would equate to about $80 billion to the Canadian economy. That is $80 billion. I know it seems small in relation to the amount of money that is going out the door right now, but $80 billion is real money.

The shame of this is that we export much of this product to our monopsonistic partner, the United States. It goes to refineries and some of it comes back to Canadians where we pay the world price for it, so we are not only losing money on the export but we are actually paying money on the import, which is a shame across this country.

Let us talk about the oil and gas industry here. It is a high-cost industry in Canada. It is high cost for a reason. Part of that reason is the regulatory and environmental demands we put on the industry to make sure it produces a product that is accountable to Canadians but also meets an environmental standard that is world class. It is the most environmentally friendly oil produced in the world.

I want my colleagues in the House to become more educated on the full-cycle environmental costs of the production of Canadian oil. It beats the world. We have many things to consider in this regard. Cost is one, but environmental performance is very important.

Canada produces about five million barrels of oil per day. Of course, this is before COVID. We have all cut back. The pre-COVID demand was about 100 million barrels per day. We have the third-largest reserves in the world, but we are down as far as production goes because of other constraining factors. We have a great resource and a great value to add to the world in this respect.

I would like to add something else economically that I am sure people in the House understand, which is the balance of payments. Canada right now has about an $18-billion balance of payments on its goods deficit in 2019. When we go back to how much we are not getting world price for our oil product, that is $16 billion. Our goods deficit would be whittled down substantially. There is no product we produce in Canada that contributes more to our balance of payments than oil does at this point in time.

We need to think about that because it means something. That means jobs and benefits for Canadians as they pay their taxes, get their pensions and contribute to social services across the country. Taxes, services, governments and individuals, we all prosper if we have a more economically beneficial industry.

Where is this $16 billion per year going? Who is making that money? It does not just disappear. Someone else is taking that world price; we are not. Somebody is making money and there is an interest here that has not been identified openly, which is an economic interest in the United States. They are also collecting taxes on a value-added product that we do not receive the benefit for here in Canada.

Into this mix on pipelines entered Enbridge in the mid-2000s, thinking it could solve so much of this with a new project called northern gateway and get our oil to market. That was a $7.9-billion project on paper.

It went through almost a decade of regulatory hearings. A total of $100 million was spent on the regulatory process in Canada in order to get our oil to market. This would have solved so many things, including breaking the monopsony, creating jobs, increasing production from an environmentally friendly resource across Canada and contributing, in a beneficial way, to the world environment.

In addition, indigenous participation was written into the agreement. They actually had equity participation in the pipeline, which was the first of its kind. This is something that is being replicated now, but this project was the first one that had indigenous equity participation.

In June 2014, that pipeline was approved with 209 conditions. Those 209 conditions included a spill response mechanism for the north shore of British Columbia. That spill response mechanism was essential to get around the moratorium on oil shipping that had been in place since 1972. I know my colleagues in other parts of the House would say that was necessary to ensure we did not have any oil spills off the north coast, such as they had, one time, in Alaska.

The 209 conditions, including the spill response, would have effectively solved that. There is risk here. There is risk in the U.S. continuing to export oil in the areas where Canada excludes the export of oil. This environmental benefit does not exist if it only constrains Canadian oil. It does not constrain any other oil that is in the area. This is not acceptable to Canadians.

The pipeline was overturned by the Liberal government. The Prime Minister, when he came in, made no bones about it. He was going to play to special interests without the balance of considerations about who was going to actually benefit from the cancellation and carry those costs. There are no costs without benefits, and there are no benefits without costs. That assessment was not made properly. I suggest that this ban on foreign shipping was wrong-headed and that this motion to undo it is completely acceptable. I support it, 100%.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActRoutine Proceedings

February 26th, 2020 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-229, an act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House to introduce my private member's bill today, an act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping. I want to acknowledge my luck drawing six in the lottery for the consideration of private member's business. I want to put that luck to good use through this bill.

I also want to thank the member for Edmonton West for seconding the motion to introduce the bill today, and to thank my constituents for their suggestions and input on possible topics for this bill. I want to recognize that today is my son's 34th birthday. He has overcome many challenges in his life, but never did I think he would be faced with a government that would limit his opportunities.

The topic of this bill is to right a wrong that happened before I was elected, namely the passing of former Bill C-48 in the previous Parliament by the Liberal majority in this chamber. This discriminatory bill has stalled economic development for a part of our country that desperately needs it, and it has contributed to the rise in unemployment in my home province of Alberta.

Investors need to understand they have access to markets. Alberta should have the right to access, just like every other industry. If the Liberals are serious about listening to Alberta, I hope they will support this important bill.

To wrap up, I look forward to the debate on this bill in the coming weeks and to see the updated thoughts from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this very important issue for all of Canada.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)