Mr. Speaker, like the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre I am pleased to rise today to support the member for Churchill River, Saskatchewan, and his Motion No. 298. I will quote this very important motion which bears repeating:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should provide initiatives to deliver natural gas to unserviced regions and address environmental concerns and high energy costs.
We live in a very wonderful country. Canada is truly fortunate to have an abundant energy resource that heats our homes and fuels our economy. Natural gas is the cleanest burning and most acceptable carbon energy source.
Canadian natural gas is distributed to more than four million customers in six provinces, providing 26% of Canada's energy needs. This number is increasing each year. Canada's natural gas exports are experiencing exponential growth. Canada as a whole is experiencing this tremendous growth in the natural gas area.
At the same there are entire regions of our country that do not have access to natural gas. This places many communities at an economic disadvantage. We can look at many of the communities in the northern part of our country and many places in our rural settings that are at a disadvantage. Natural gas presents an opportunity for economic development in unserviced regions where expensive fuel costs are a prohibitive factor in establishing and maintaining or expanding an enterprise.
When my colleague from Churchill River was debating the motion earlier this year, he put forth the need for a national vision in relation to natural gas distribution. He provided for the House examples of the social and economic benefits that natural gas distribution could bring to unserviced regions.
Canada, as I have said, is blessed with tremendous natural gas resources. Canada is the world's third largest producer and this resource sector is growing tremendously. Fuelling this growth and royalty revenue is United States demand which some day may place Canada's domestic needs at risk. It is a bit disheartening to think that many natural resources in Canada are quite often placed at risk because of the needs and the demands of other countries.
I remember growing up as a young lad in Nova Scotia always wondering why I could buy an Annapolis Valley apple much cheaper in other parts of Canada than I could in Nova Scotia where those apples are grown. This is something we have to give consideration to and it is something that becomes very relevant when we look at the whole issue of natural gas production.
In Nova Scotia right now we are in the process of producing natural gas. What is happening? This gas is being shipped to the eastern states. They are getting the gas even before many residents in Nova Scotia who live right around where the gas is being produced. We have to think carefully when we talk about the issue of having a national vision for natural resources.
When my NDP colleague from Winnipeg Centre was speaking to the motion he described the fact that gas discoveries were once considered a curse while drilling for oil. This is something that is interesting too. If while they were drilling for oil they discovered a pocket of gas it was a nuisance factor.
I think with respect to the fishing industry how many years ago lobster, mussels and certain shellfish were considered to be junk food. I hear many stories from some of the older people who talk about how they were embarrassed to go to school with a lobster sandwich. They would much rather have had a peanut butter sandwich in the old days. Nowadays we know that the priorities have shifted, the resources are looked at differently and lobster is considered a delicacy. Mussels are considered a very fancy meal in restaurants.