Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Hello. It is a great pleasure to be here with you, this morning, virtually.
Thank you, committee members, for having me today, and to MP Michael Kram. Thank you for the invitation to appear before the committee.
Mr. Kram, you are right to pay attention to this proposed bill and what it represents. It really isn't quite clear where it fits in and what gap it's supposed to be filling. It's frankly hard to keep track.
I'm going to start with its name, which is what really jumped out at me initially—an act respecting the building of a green economy in the Prairies—except that, of course, no one bothered to ask the Prairies, and of course we're already building a green economy, as are our sector partners.
By NRCan's own figures, emissions from the Canadian oil and gas sector have been more or less flat for over two decades. If every oil- and gas-producing nation on the planet extracted and produced oil and gas the way we do in Canada—the way we do in western Canada—energy-produced GHGs globally would instantly fall by 25%. That's according to Dr. Joule Bergerson at the University of Calgary. She was looking particularly at the strides we've made in methane reduction.
This bill would require federal ministers “to develop a framework for...the implementation of federal programs”, which to us in Saskatchewan sounds pretty top-down, pretty definitive language, and what we call here “assertive federalism”. It really goes to another deeper tendency on display from this government, which we see again and again, which is to veer into sections 92 and 92A and the exclusive jurisdiction that provinces have over property and civil rights and over natural resources.
Whether it's this or the federal regional tables on critical minerals or the federal low carbon economy leadership fund, they're always saying, “There's nothing to see here.” They're just integrating or prioritizing or fostering whatever it is into what are provincial areas such as forestry, such as energy; or they're retraining, or they're establishing programs or preparing infrastructure projects, but the thing is that all of these, committee members, come with strings attached for the provinces, and right now we have some pretty big strings.
If we take, for example, the coming federal fuel standard, you could say it's just a bit of ethanol conversion, but the reality is it will result in the import of billions of dollars per year of mainly American-produced biofuels. We're going as fast as we can with infrastructure, but that is still the reality. It will result in millions in new cost increases in Saskatchewan—on gas, $300 million, and on diesel, $400 million—which will impact residents and sectors that rely on these fuels as a production input or to transport products to market, particularly in the agriculture, rail and trucking sectors. That is the economic reality.
On the federal clean electricity regulations, again one could say that's just about integrating more clean power and clean energy, except that it's also about banning any power generated by fossil fuels by 2035. The way those regulations are envisaged right now equals Saskatchewan freezing in the dark. It is literally impossible—and this is SaskPower saying this—to transition that quickly.
Our premier released a white paper last week that put a dollar figure generated by the Ministry of Finance on federal initiatives to our economy, and that dollar figure is $111 billion. All these initiatives are not free, and the types of initiatives now envisaged by Bill C-235 are paid for by federal taxpayers, and there's an enormous economic impact.
The reason Saskatchewan is weathering the challenging economic time as well as we are is that we've invested in and fostered our natural resource sector, our forestry sector and our agriculture sector. Because we've been energy self-sufficient—unlike Germany, for example, as we're seeing—we can balance our budget because of resource revenues.
On the speed of transition, TD came out with a report a couple of years ago that said a green transition that is carried out too glibly, too quickly and too politically will impact some 450,000 Canadians, and 450,000 Canadians could lose their jobs. This bill doesn't talk about that. It also doesn't talk about the eye-popping cost of transitioning to an export-based hydrogen market, which is what the federal government is proposing, or green hydrogen, or geothermal.
On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland talked about how now LNG apparently is a transition fuel. Of course, it's a shame that we didn't think of that sooner, before Bill C-69 helped to shut down the Saguenay LNG project and Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway group walked away from that project.
Of course, most recently, we also saw Germany walk away. Foreign investment has dropped at least 25% in Canada over the last five years, and yet apparently we're on this great cusp of innovation and investment. The Deputy Prime Minister said that the green transition is on the scale of the Industrial Revolution. Say what you will about the Industrial Revolution, it did lead people out of poverty. It modernized. It didn't antiquate. It didn't go backwards, shutting off the lights or diminishing choice or increasing costs.
There's green innovation happening in the energy sector, of course, but unfortunately those who hate the energy sector are wilfully blind to that innovation, so when it comes to the federal support that has been trial-ballooned in this proposed bill and in so many others, we're left with only the costliest experiments out there, and we're left pretending that there will be no effect on workers, which isn't transition at all.
I'll leave it there.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'm certainly happy to move into questions.