Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to what is in many ways groundbreaking legislation, because today we are setting a gold standard. This is a gold standard of environmental protection in the energy business, and that is something all Canadians should be proud of.
The measures we are introducing in Bill C-46 would have a positive impact on everything, from international energy markets to setting technical standards to fostering continued public confidence in Canada's world-class pipeline safety system. Yes, it would impose some hardship on energy companies—something we are cognizant of, particularly in the low oil price environment we are living in right now—but it would reap rewards in public trust, because the public needs to understand that in the unlikely event that there was need for a cleanup, taxpayers would not be left paying the bill. That is something this legislation would do.
As the minister has said many times, we cannot deliver our vast energy resources to global markets if we do not first garner public support in our own backyard. I want Canadians to know and spread the word to their neighbours, friends, co-workers, and relatives—and this is important—that Canada ranks in the top four countries in the world in environmental standards around our energy industry. We are number one in many areas, and this is something that we need to know and should be proud of. Bill C-46, the pipeline safety act, would add another gold standard to our environmental protection record in this area.
I want to talk now about supply and demand.
As Canadians, we understand the importance of the oil and gas sector. Certainly in my riding of Calgary Centre, that is what people live and breathe. All of us across Canada know how essential it is to have such things as natural gas delivered to our homes to light our furnaces and heat our houses when we have the brutal weather we have had in areas of Canada recently.
We also know that we need gas when we go to local service stations when we are taking our daughters to ballet or baseball or our sons to hockey. We understand that somebody, somewhere, will have to fuel the planes to fly us to see our loved ones living three provinces or three time zones away. All of us are consumers of this great resource.
The pipeline safety act was designed to address both our need and our desire for energy to be delivered safely to our communities and beyond. Every single one of us in this country utilizes this resource, and to pretend otherwise is simply not accurate. The bill also recognizes that Canadians inherently know that the demand for energy at home and abroad is a fact of modern life. In fact, energy is essential to move people out of poverty.
We have to develop our energy resources with a strong, world-class environmental safety system. According to the International Energy Agency, the world will need 37% more energy in 2040 than it consumes today, and that is going to include some of our resource.
Canadian pipelines currently are moving about three million barrels of oil every day. If we were to turn off all those pipelines, we would be adding 15,000 tanker trucks to our roads every day or putting another 4,200 railcars on the rails every day just to meet the current demand. Of course, these other modes of transportation go right through towns and cities and consume more energy, which in turn increases our greenhouse gas emissions.
Simply put, pipelines offer a very clean and efficient way to deliver the energy that all of us need every day. In Canada, they represent the safest way to transport oil and gas. As the Minister of Natural Resources has also said, Canada boasts one of the most enviable safety records in the world when it comes to transporting oil, gas, and petroleum products by pipeline. I thought it was interesting that in his speech, the member opposite was talking about an oil spill that did not occur in Canada, where we have among the safest pipelines in the world.
Between 2008 and 2013, for example, 99.999% of the oil and gas products transported through federally regulated pipelines arrived safely. Pipelines are clearly the way to go. The only question is how we keep building on our world-class safety system, and the pipeline safety act is our answer. We want to create the safest energy transportation system in the world. That might sound overly ambitious to some people, but we know that with political will and Canadian engineering, we can help make it happen.
The legislation before us will get us there by strengthening pipeline safety. It has three key pillars: first, incident prevention; second, preparedness and response; and third, liability and compensation.
Looking at prevention, we have committed to responsible resource development in Canada. We are delivering it. That demands that we take every possible measure and precaution to prevent incidents from even occurring. That is why we are proposing amendments to the National Energy Board Act that would build on other recent improvements, such as increasing the number of inspections and audits conducted every year and giving the National Energy Board the authority to levee penalties for non-compliance. Why? It is because we want to further improve the transparency and operation of the NEB under its enabling legislation.
Prevention starts even before that. It starts with the design and the construction of pipelines. In addition to this new legislation, the government will seek guidance from the NEB on the use of the best available technologies. Canada is really at the front end of many of these technologies. They are very exciting. They are being used in pipeline projects. They include materials, construction methods, and emergency response techniques, one of which is a really cool SmartBall. It rolls through a pipeline and can detect the slightest little change in pressure or a hiss to detect a pipeline problem almost before it occurs. These are really exciting developments.
On preparedness and response, the bill would ensure a robust response in the very unlikely event of an incident. It would require companies operating pipelines to have a minimum level of financial resources. It would not be just insurance. Pipeline operators would be required to keep a portion of that money, $100 million, readily available for rapid response if an incident should occur.
On liability and compensation, the third pillar, the bill would enshrine the polluter pays principle. We believe that polluters, not Canadian taxpayers, should be financially responsible for any cleanup costs. This would also give our companies skin in the game. They would know that in the unlikely event that they had a leak or spill, they would be paying the bill. That would give them even more incentive to use the best environmental safety practices they could find and would give the public confidence that they would not be picking up the tab.
We are proposing absolute liability, which is something no other country in the world has. Truly, this is a gold standard. The no-fault liability would mean that companies would automatically be responsible for damages. They would not have to wait to see who was at fault. It would be $1 billion for major oil companies, regardless of who caused the incident. It would require companies that operate pipelines to have matching financial resources to deal with any incidents.
Finally, the bill would allow, if necessary, the government to pursue operators for environmental damages over the entire life cycle of a pipeline, including abandonment. This ability would be truly world leading.
In conclusion, when it comes to moving oil and gas, government and industry must strive for the highest safety standards possible. We are aiming for a world-class standard that all Canadians can trust, the gold standard.
I am supporting the pipeline safety act. It will help us set that gold standard for safety. The Liberals and the NDP often vote against increased pipeline safety measures. They certainly have in the past. I am hoping for their support on this particular bill. It will make Canada number one in the world.