Thank you for the opportunity to address the committee today.
I represent oil well drilling and well servicing contractors across Canada. These are the hard-working women and men who spend their days on drilling and service rigs drilling holes in the ground to eventually become the producing wells that supply us with affordable and reliable energy. We are particularly pleased to speak about measures that would help both individual Canadians and Canadian businesses be more productive and competitive.
We feel Canadians have a lot to be proud of when it comes to our oil and gas industry, and that the majority of us support its development, provided it is done responsibly. We say this with confidence because in September 2016 our association presented petition E-216 to the House of Commons with nearly 35,000 signatures in support of Canadian oil and gas, and building pipelines.
Additionally, since February 2016, we have been travelling across the country speaking with regular Canadians, who tell us they want pipelines and access to Canadian oil and gas. They recognize pipelines would mean thousands of Canadian jobs, a bright future for Canada's economy, and a safer way to transport our responsible, ethical resources to Canadians and the rest of the world.
Yesterday, TransCanada announced the cancellation of energy east. This cancellation follows five years of undertaking a comprehensive, collaborative effort that included hundreds of community open houses, hundreds of consultation sessions with indigenous communities, and saw support from thousands of Canadians across the country. Unfortunately, the NEB announced in an August press release that it would now consider upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions in determining whether energy east and similar projects were in the public interest, adding another layer of complexity to TransCanada's application. It would seem this announcement was one hurdle too many for TransCanada, and the project was cancelled.
Our oil and gas industry has a long history of building Canadian businesses and allowing Canadian families to prosper. In fact, it can be argued that all of our resource industries are a big reason why a large country with a small population has, in the 150 years since its Confederation, become a country with one of the highest standards of living in the world.
In our opinion, a lack of market access for Canadian oil and gas is a large short-, mid-, and long-term liability to the Canadian economy. For this reason, yesterday's announcement was a terrible blow to our industry and the entire country.
Without investment in our resource sectors and a modern distribution system to get our products to world markets, the future of our national economy is in jeopardy. Although we have approvals for some pipeline projects in place, lengthy and expensive application processes, with continued delays and significant, often redundant, regulatory hurdles have left many wondering whether Canada's days of building large-scale infrastructure projects are gone.
Without new pipelines, we will not remain competitive in global markets. Investors, employers, skilled workers, and customers know this and are increasingly losing faith in Canada and taking their money and expertise elsewhere.
Meanwhile, as confidence in Canada's oil and gas industry erodes, the United States, our number one customer, has made it clear that energy independence is a priority. Americans have built 16,000 kilometres of pipelines, lifted a 40-year export ban on oil and gas, and are building an LNG business to supply growing world markets. Our number one customer is now our number one competitor, and its oil and gas workers and business are both productive and competitive.
If we don't start building the infrastructure to properly supply new customers, our industry, an industry that employs 450,000 people across the country and remains Canada's single largest source of private sector investment, will be at a massive disadvantage, and other suppliers will step in and capitalize. We are at risk of becoming a marginal player in one industry that we know for certain has a track record of providing good jobs and revenues that allow our country to prosper and grow, in effect helping Canadians and their businesses to be productive and competitive.
What can government do? Well, Mr. Chairman, we're not asking for any money today, so I'm sure you'll be pleased with that. We have the following suggestions.
Number one, stand firm in the position that pipeline construction falls under federal jurisdiction, and make getting responsible and ethical Canadian oil and gas to Canadians and world markets a priority.
Number two, stand behind regulators and businesses by letting them begin the construction of pipeline projects.
Number three, assure Canadians that these projects will be monitored throughout their development and that the most advanced, best-in-class technology will be even better than what we have now.
Number four, defend and promote the benefits of our industry, including our world-class standards and technical expertise, as well as the fact that the revenues from this industry go directly into supporting the social programs and humanitarian efforts Canadians are so proud of.
Thank you for your time today, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.