It is a happy day. Everyone is in such a good mood. We're just thinking about what we might be doing tomorrow and the day afterwards. We work hard, and it's time for us to go back home.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, everyone. It's great to be back.
If a week in politics really is a long time, the last 12 months are a lifetime.
You know that as well as anyone. Over the past year, you've produced four reports—on nuclear innovation, clean technology, electricity interties, and value-added forest products—and now you've turned your attention to energy data.
Your efforts are not only substantial, they go to the heart of resource development in this clean-growth century. They reflect our government's vision of Canada leading the global transition to a low-carbon economy.
Canada's natural resources are central to this. Our vast forests, extensive mineral deposits, and abundant oil and gas reserves are not only the backbone of our economy today, accounting for 20% of all economic activity, but also the building blocks for the new resource economy of tomorrow.
There can be no climate change solution without sustainable opportunities for our forests. There can be no clean technology without the minerals and metals that are its key components, and there can be no acceleration of our clean, renewable sources of energy without the wealth generated by Canada's traditional sources of energy.
Our government understands all of this. We recognize that our responsibility to Canadians is to develop these resources sustainably and competitively to create good jobs, a stronger economy, and shared prosperity for generations to come. That's what we are doing. That's what the past year has been about, and that's where my department's main estimates will help to take us.
We want to use this time of transition to Canada's advantage by building the projects and infrastructure we need to get our resources to global markets and using the revenues they generate to continue investing in tomorrow's clean economy. This includes the Trans Mountain expansion project.
I know we will talk at some length about the project today, but let me just say here that our government's decision last month to secure the existing pipeline and ensure its expansion is aimed at protecting Canada's national interest and preserving Canada's role as a global energy leader. This is why our government approved the TMX project in the first place, following unprecedented consultations with Canadians and as part of a sensible strategy that diversifies our markets, advances environmental protections, and creates real economic opportunities, including in indigenous communities.
These efforts have taken on added significance in an era when our closest economic partner is creating trade barriers with unwarranted tariffs on everything from softwood lumber to steel and aluminum. As the Prime Minister has said, “Canadians are polite...but we...will not be pushed around.”
I want to thank all members at this committee and in the House for putting Canada first in these challenging times. Our history is linked to natural resources, and so is our future. That's why our government is making generational investments in clean technology and innovation in the resource sectors as well as in foundational science and research.
We are promoting a progressive, inclusive, and sustainable agenda, one that empowers women, supports youth, and renews Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples.
The past 12 months are filled with examples of how we are doing this. We did this by tabling the first federal budget to be entirely guided by a gender results framework to ensure that every Canadian has a real and fair opportunity to succeed. We did this by launching consultations on an historic new legal framework to recognize and implement inherent indigenous rights. We did this by introducing legislation for a new way to review major new resource projects, one that strengthens investment certainty, restores public trust, advances indigenous reconciliation, and enhances environmental performance. We did this by implementing a softwood lumber action plan to support Canadian forest workers and their communities, while defending their interests through NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. We did this by signing a forest bioeconomy framework with the provinces and territories to make Canada a global leader in the use of sustainable biomass to transform our economy. We did this by launching work on a Canada minerals and metals plan to re-establish Canada as the world's undisputed leader in sustainable mining. We did this by creating the Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise, because progressive trade only succeeds when it works for everyone. And we did this by beginning work on a Canadian road map for small and modular nuclear reactors.
The main estimates, which you have invited me here to discuss today, support all of these things, and more. They include an additional $113 million over last year so we can invest more money for green infrastructure; more money for Impact Canada and its five challenges to accelerate clean technology, including the Women in Cleantech Challenge that we launched in Toronto last month; and more money for the indigenous advisory and monitoring committees that we've co-created to oversee the TMX and Line 3 projects.
Budget 2018 builds on all of this, including $86 million for NRCan as part of our plan to create a new Canadian energy regulator to replace the National Energy Board; $74.75 million to prevent the spread of spruce budworm, protect our forests, and support our economy; another $12 million for NRCan to defend the Canadian forest industry in the face of U.S. duties; and the renewal of the 15% mineral exploration tax credit to help junior exploration companies raise capital to finance grassroots mineral exploration.
Each one of these investments will bring us closer to our low-carbon future. Each one reflects the growing consensus at home and abroad that the individual choices we make today will lead to transformative changes tomorrow. We heard that clearly through Generation Energy, Canada's largest national energy discussion, through the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who were part of that conversation, and the 650 more who travelled to my home city of Winnipeg for a two-day Generation Energy Forum last fall. Canadians told us they want a thriving low-carbon economy, they want us to be a leader in clean technology, and they want an affordable and reliable energy system, one that provides equal opportunities to Canadians without harming the environment. We've appointed a 14-member Generation Energy council to bring all of these ideas together. I'm looking forward to receiving its report later this month to complement the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate Change and our ongoing investments in key areas, such as smart grid technologies, strategic inter-ties and charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as new money for green buildings and to help remote communities to move away from diesel.
Similar priorities are dominating international efforts. We heard it at CERAWeek in Houston, Texas, in February, when the CEO of Shell used the world's largest energy conference to announce his company's plan to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2050. We heard similar messages at the Clean Energy Ministerial meetings in Copenhagen, Denmark, last month and at the G20 meeting of energy ministers in Argentina just last week. Argentina proved that the global economy can come together to tackle the challenges of our time, including energy security, reliability, affordability, and the low-carbon transition.
The world of tomorrow requires new approaches and new ways of thinking, with a premium on invention and imagination.
Canadians have always risen to such challenges, through the resources of our land and the resourcefulness of our people. I'm hoping you will continue to support these efforts.
I welcome any questions you may have.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.