Thank you very much, good afternoon and bonjour, Mr. Chair and committee members. I'm pleased to join you today on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan to speak on this important issue that has a crucial bearing, not only on Canadian energy security, but North American energy security.
Enbridge Line 5 is a bricks and mortar—in this case, welded steel—manifestation, a tangible symbol, of a traditionally strong relationship, a friendship, between the United States and Canada, one we must not jeopardize.
As we know, no single political issue in recent years has been as divisive, as charged, as pipelines because no single issue has become as dominant as climate change. But pipelines produce no CO2. They are a mere mode of transport, and yet they have become a symbol of the fight.
Project after project has been cancelled: northern gateway, which had substantial first nations support; energy east, which I'm convinced would have led to stronger national unity in Canada at a time when we needed it; and of course most recently Keystone XL, for the second time, this time by President Biden.
The more this happens, the more we cancel projects and prevent producers from getting oil to tidewater, to global markets, the more oil we have to import, including up the St. Lawrence River, from countries whose human rights records are dire. The more we'll also see strange, hyperexpensive concoctions such as the western Canadian oil that had to be transported via the Panama Canal last year just to get to a refinery on our own Atlantic east coast, the more we diminish our own energy independence.
While we wait in Saskatchewan and in the west for what we hope will be an in-service TMX pipeline someday, the only real pipeline egress for our producers is the Enbridge main line and indirectly, Enbridge Line 5, which connects to Canada from Lake Superior.
The main line, which emanates from Hardisty, Alberta, then goes cross-country and cross-border to Superior, Wisconsin, is the great spine, backbone—pick your metaphor—and the only major pipeline left for Saskatchewan oil producers. It transports 70% of our oil.
The Line 3 replacement project, I always like to point out, was accomplished—beautifully accomplished—before Bill C-69 even came along. It demonstrated that you could consult meaningfully with literally thousands of communities along the route, including first nations communities, and empower them and earn their trust, just because it made sense to do so.
But let's talk about Enbridge Line 5. I always like to use the reasonable-person-on-the-street test. If you told that person that Enbridge Line 5 and the portion that crosses the Mackinac Straits was built in 1953 to the highest engineering standards and has operated without any release incident since and that now, given heightened concerns that we all understand, Enbridge is going to spend $500 million to build a super-tunnel of reinforced concrete that would prevent the risk of an anchor strike, protect the aquatic environment and enable high-tech inspection and maintenance going forward, I think that person would say, “sounds good to me”.
If you mentioned that Line 5 helps to generate over half the propane used in Michigan, supplies regional refineries, powers the agriculture sector and heats homes, schools, hospitals and businesses, I think that person on the street, one who isn't blinded by an irrational hatred of pipelines, would say that sounded good too, especially when they learned the new propane proposal put forward in the Michigan propane security plan is woefully inadequate.
As for Ontario and Quebec, which Line 5 and then Line 9 feed into, those provinces will speak to the importance to them of this crucial line and what their own reasonable people on the street might have to say.
As provinces, we all hope diplomacy and mediation between the Canadian and U.S. governments will work on this one. But the transit treaty signed between Canada and the U.S. in 1977 sounds pretty definitive to me. It provides, “ government-to-government assurances on a reciprocal basis that pipelines carrying hydrocarbons owned by one country across the territory of the other will be free from interruptions in flow...."
I understand that we all want to make sure the environment is protected.
Unilaterally shutting down Line 5 strikes me as some sort of nightmare scenario dreamt up by Ayn Rand. Such a crucial means of keeping families working and warm, businesses and crucial sectors powered, and successful cross-border relationships thriving would simply be shut off.
Certainly we, in Saskatchewan, haven't always agreed with the Prime Minister's policies, most recently around the carbon tax. However, I believe that Governor Whitmer should examine how politically and ideologically akin she and the Prime Minister are, along with President Biden, even with those who spirited the green new deal.
I would ask her not to do this to her friends in Canada and her own Michiganders, to workers and their families, and to remember the strong trading relationship that Michigan has with, for one, Saskatchewan. That was worth $109 million in exports to Michigan last year from our province, and imports into Saskatchewan from beautiful Michigan of $137 million.
I would also ask her to keep in mind the powerful statistic that I reference a lot, speaking more globally: That if every oil- and gas-producing nation in the world extracted oil and gas the way that we do in Canada, global greenhouse gas emissions would instantly fall by one quarter.
Madam Governor, I would say we are good at this. Let's work together and not jeopardize a beautiful friendship over Enbridge Line 5.