House of Commons Hansard #185 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was project.

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Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 1st, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, more important than my agreement with the content of this motion is my complete agreement with the views on this project of our Prime Minister.

As hon. members will know, in the immediate aftermath of the election in British Columbia, the Prime Minister publicly and clearly reiterated our government's support for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project. He reinforced the case that our support for this project was made using a rigorous and thorough process, and it was based on science and facts, not political rhetoric.

At the moment, the future of the British Columbia government remains in question. Premier Clark has indicated her intention to face the legislature and test its confidence in her government. I cannot predict the outcome of a vote of confidence in the British Columbia legislature, but what I can say is that whatever the result of that vote, our government stands behind the decision we made to approve the Trans Mountain expansion project. Why? It is because it was the right decision when we made it last November. It was the right decision the day before the British Columbia election, and it is the right decision now. While the government in B.C. may change, the facts, the science, the evidence, the environmental considerations, the economic benefits, and the jobs all remain unchanged.

The project was, and this project is, in the best interests of Canadians, so I welcome the support of the members opposite. I welcome their recognition of the wisdom of our decision. I welcome their pointing out through this motion that the project has social licence to proceed, that it is critical to the Canadian economy and the creation of thousands of jobs, that it is safe and environmentally sound, as recognized by the National Energy Board, and that it is under federal jurisdiction with respect to approval and regulation.

It is rare when the official opposition is a leading advocate for a government policy, but I can tell the House that it is something I could get used to.

The motion before us deserves a fuller articulation, so let me address its various elements one by one. It asks the House to agree that the project has social licence, although I think we can all agree that this is an outdated term. One does not simply get a “lose” or a “yes” of social support. It is a daily responsibility to serve Canadians and constantly rebuild trust in the government.

How did this project achieve something the previous government was unable to do, which was diversify markets for our resources, during its entire time in office? The answer is straightforward. Our government listened to Canadians. The previous government believed it knew best without needing to ask for any other opinion. There must be a certain comfort in knowing all without asking Canadians what their opinions are on such projects as this. We listened closely. We heard that not all Canadians agreed, and that is okay. What we heard most strongly was that Canadians are tired of the polarization of the environment versus the economy. We are all in this together.

Under the previous government, Canadians had simply lost trust in the environmental assessment and review processes, because the outcomes were predetermined. They had come to believe that when weighing economic benefits and environmental stewardship, the scales had become tipped too far in one direction. Our government set about regaining the trust of Canadians. We did so by taking a different approach. We reached out to indigenous communities. We consulted meaningfully, something the Federal Court of Appeal said the previous government had not done sufficiently with the northern gateway project, which is the reason its permit was revoked.

In the case of the Trans Mountain expansion project, government officials consulted with 117 indigenous groups, and the results are publicly available. We have set aside more than $64 million to fund an indigenous advisory and monitoring committee to meaningfully engage indigenous groups in monitoring the project over its lifespan, the first time in Canadian history. It is a step never before taken by any previous government.

Our government listened to environmental groups and those living in the affected communities. We listened to academics and industry. We extended the consultation period to ensure that as many voices as possible could be heard. However, we did not stop there. To regain the confidence of Canadians, we also initiated a modernization of the National Energy Board to ensure that its composition reflected regional views and had sufficient expertise in environmental science, community development, and indigenous traditional knowledge. We are now in the process of determining how these changes can best be made.

Canadians know that the path to a lower-carbon future may be long, but it is well under way. It is accelerating, and its trajectory is clear. They know that the economy of tomorrow will require investments today in clean technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable sources of energy. Our government has taken action on all these fronts, including doing what virtually every economist and energy company says is the best, most effective way to lower greenhouse gas emissions and spur innovation: putting a price on carbon. In fact, in our government's first budget, we made generational investments in clean energy and new technologies, including technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector. We will build that clean-growth economy, and we are, but we are not there yet, due to nearly a decade of inaction by the previous government.

With all these initiatives—consulting indigenous communities, engaging Canadians, focusing on sustainability, modernizing the National Energy Board, and investing in green technologies—we sent a very clear signal to Canadians and the world that under this government, environmental sustainability will go hand in hand with economic development. We cannot have one without the other. The actions we took, the investments we made, and the approach we embraced demonstrated that commitment and earned the confidence of Canadians.

The motion before us also speaks to the importance of the Trans Mountain expansion project to the Canadian economy and in creating thousands of jobs. Indeed, this $7.4 billion project will have significant economic benefits. The project is expected to create 15,000 new jobs during construction. This is good news for workers in Alberta, it is good news for workers in British Columbia, and it is good news for all of Canada. It is also good news for indigenous peoples, who will benefit from jobs and business opportunities as a result of the impact and benefit agreements they have signed with Kinder Morgan.

The Trans Mountain expansion is also expected to generate more than $3 billion in revenue for governments, revenues that can be used to invest in health care, schools, water treatment plants, and safer roads, improving the lives of millions of Canadians. This is a vital project in a vital industry, an industry that has been hit hard over the past few years.

I know that every member in the House understands what the effect of lower oil prices has been for Albertans. The economic impacts may be measured in rigs being closed, barrels cut, or investments deferred, but they are felt in the lives of families and experienced in hard conversations around kitchen tables. We took action to support families in the energy sector by extending EI benefits in affected regions, including parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, northern Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We also provided additional support to families in the prairie provinces under the Canada child benefit.

To give more Canadians greater access to good, well-paying jobs, our government invested in training for unemployed and underemployed workers and will develop a new framework to support union-based apprenticeship training.

For families in Alberta and British Columbia, the Trans Mountain expansion project offers much-needed help and good jobs. It is no wonder, then, that Premier Notley praised the Prime Minister for extraordinary leadership and said, “It has been a long, dark night for the people of Alberta.... [But] we are finally seeing some morning light.”

The Premier also pointed to a key benefit of this project when she said, “We're getting a chance to reduce our dependence on one market, and therefore to be more economically independent. And we're getting a chance to pick ourselves up and move forward again.”

Nor is it just Canadians in Alberta and British Columbia who will benefit from the Trans Mountain expansion project. A 2014 study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute found that for every job created in Alberta's oil patch, at least two more jobs were created across the country. It could be a manufacturing company in Ontario, an engineering firm in Quebec, or an oil worker commuting from one of our coasts. Quite simply, a strong energy industy strengthens us all, and projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion benefit all Canadians.

The motion also points out the environmental soundness of this project, as determined by the National Energy Board. In approving this project, our government considered the evidence and weighed the facts. We agree with the National Energy Board that the project should proceed, subject to the 157 binding conditions that will be enforced by the board.

Our government considered the fact that without new pipelines, more diluted bitumen would be forced into more rail tanker cars for transport. That would be less economic, more dangerous for communities, and would produce higher greenhouse gas emissions.

At the same time that we approved the Trans Mountain expansion project, we also announced a ban on oil tankers on the northern B.C. coastline, specifically around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound. This coastline is vital to the livelihoods and cultures of indigenous and coastal communities and is part of a unique and ecologically sensitive region.

Hon. members will know that Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act, has now been introduced in this House. I look forward to their support for this vital legislation in the days ahead. As the Minister of Transport has said, the Great Bear region is no place for an oil pipeline, and it is no place for oil tankers either.

Our government has also made the most significant investment ever to protect our oceans and coastlines, with a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan that includes improving marine traffic monitoring; setting tougher requirements on industry, including for spill response times; making navigation safer; and co-managing our coast with indigenous and coastal communities.

Our government is also committed to consistently increasing our action on climate change. A 1.5-degree world helps no one, and that includes every one of us here and every Canadian we represent. Inaction comes at too high a cost, whereas a clean growth economy will build more good, middle-class jobs across the country.

These measures reinforce the importance of carefully balancing environmental protection with economic development as Canada makes the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The motion put forward by my hon. colleague points out that the Trans Mountain expansion project falls under federal jurisdiction for approval and regulation. Certainly the Constitution assigns the federal government jurisdiction over interprovincial and international trade. With that jurisdiction comes responsibility to consult widely, to act prudently, and to stand firmly.

We know that there are some who disagree with our decision to approve this project and that they may use the legal system to seek redress. We respect their right to do so, but we will strongly defend our decision in court.

Our position is clear: the jurisdiction is federal, the decision has been made, and our government will continue to support the Trans Mountain expansion project. On every aspect of this motion, our government finds itself in full agreement. Indeed, as I said in this House to a question from the hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn, I appreciate their making the case for us.

As I have said many times, one of our government's key responsibilities is to help get Canadian resources to market. With our major customer, the United States, producing more of its own energy, it is essential that Canada build the infrastructure to get our oil and gas to new global markets. That is exactly why we have approved projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion, doing more in one year than the previous government did in a decade: protecting our oceans, pricing carbon pollution, resetting our nation-to-nation relations, building a climate change plan, and putting middle-class Canadians back to work today by approving the pipelines we need to reach those new markets.

There is one final element of this motion that I have not yet addressed: that the Trans Mountain expansion project “should be constructed with the continued support of the federal government, as demonstrated by the Prime Minister personally announcing the approval of the project.”

I would have thought that the answer to that request would have been clear from the Prime Minister's statements of the past week, so I was somewhat surprised to hear the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle ask in this House whether the Prime Minister will “stand up to the forces that are seeking to kill these jobs, or will he fold like a cardboard cut-out?” If I may paraphrase one of the more famous phrases uttered by one our heroes, Sir Winston Churchill, in this very place, some cardboard, some cut-out.

Our government will not falter. We will not fail. We will certainly not fold in our support of the Trans Mountain expansion project, nor will we shy away from being a leading force in the global clean growth economy. Neither can be ignored. It is the right thing to do for Canada.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Madam Speaker, the rhetorical shots aside, I am glad to hear that the minister is going to support this motion and that he agrees with every aspect of it. He has been consistent in that regard on this pipeline.

As I have said, in Houston, Calgary, and this week in Rome, the Prime Minister has said that he is going to continue to press for this pipeline. I wish he would come to British Columbia to talk more about it, and I wish that the minister and the Prime Minister could convince the 17 Liberal members of Parliament. I hope they read his speech and are as convinced as some of the colleagues who were in his camera shot are, because we have not heard from a single Liberal member of Parliament from British Columbia about whether they agree with the minister.

Could the minister tell this House how we can expect to get social licence and the support of the people of British Columbia if he cannot even convince the Liberal members of Parliament from British Columbia in his own caucus?

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question from my hon. friend, and more than that I appreciate the excellent work that he is doing as the natural resources critic.

We agree on many things. We agree on doing whatever is reasonable that we can do as a government to look seriously at the Alberta energy industry and how we can help those who are suffering as a result of the downturn, also knowing that the jobs that are created by these major energy projects are of benefit not only to Alberta but, in the case of the Trans Mountain expansion, to the people of British Columbia as well.

Those benefits are well known to all of our members on this side of the House from all regions, not only in British Columbia and Alberta, where the job creation benefit is most direct, but throughout the country. The energy sector has been an important driver of the Canadian economy for decades. We believe that it will continue to be.

As we make that transition to a low-carbon economy, it is the entrepreneurship and innovation of Albertans and British Columbians that will help us drive it. It makes no sense not to use the wealth that we have available in the ground so as to help finance this transition. It is not only the members of Parliament from British Columbia but also members of Parliament from all across the country who realize how important the energy sector is to Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very proud to stand in this House as a coastal British Columbian and have this opportunity to ask the Minister of Natural Resources questions.

When the Prime Minister came to Esquimalt in August 2015, he made a solemn promise that the pipeline review process would have to be done for Kinder Morgan. The Liberal MP for North Vancouver, who is the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, also repeated the claim that Kinder Morgan would have to satisfy a new review process. So too did the Liberal member of Parliament for Burnaby North—Seymour.

I have a simple question for the minister. Why did the Prime Minister and Liberal members of Parliament from British Columbia lie to the people of British Columbia?

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind the member that members are not to indicate that someone has lied. They can question why someone has said something, but members cannot—

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I will restate the question: why did the Prime Minister and Liberal MPs from British Columbia deliberately mislead the people of B.C.?

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, we came into office with major energy projects under review. We had to make decisions on how those reviews were to be handled in the short term while we looked at permanent reforms to the environmental assessment process in Canada.

The member will know that as a part of those interim principles, we established more consultation, not only from government but also from an expert panel that made its way up and down the line, speaking extensively and meaningfully with indigenous communities and others who had an opinion. As a matter of fact, on the website there were literally tens of thousands of opinions expressed by Canadians from coast to coast to coast. That is not something that the process had allowed before.

We knew that the National Energy Board, as it was currently constituted, did not have the confidence of Canadians, so in the case of those projects under review, we added more opportunities and a different set of criteria, leading to the decision that in the opinion of the Government of Canada, this project was in Canada's interest.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, the debate so far today has been contaminated by so many claims that are contrafactual. In other words, the facts are clear, but the conversation in this place is ignoring them.

For instance, the claim was made that shipping bitumen is safer in a pipeline. The opposite is true.

When the question at issue is the safety of pipelines versus trains, the critical point is to know what product is being shipped. If it is Bakken shale, which is what blew up in Lac-Mégantic, it is clear it should not be on a train, but solid bitumen can only be put in a pipeline once it has been made more dangerous by adding diluent, which doubles the shipment times as a result of making it into a substance that can flow. Diluted bitumen in a pipeline, once spilled, cannot be cleaned up, but solid bitumen on a train is the safest way to move solid bitumen. That is relevant to the first non-fact.

The second non-fact is the idea that diluted bitumen can be cleaned up. The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley already mentioned this point, but let me point out two incontrovertible scientific studies that were ignored by the National Energy Board.

I intervened in the National Energy Board process. The process was flawed from the get-go by lack of procedural fairness and the abuse of the rights of intervenors in that process, and the courts will rule on that. However, I do need to say that the National Academy of Sciences in the United States—their premier scientific body—and the Royal Society of Canada expert panel both found that bitumen mixed with diluent does not, at this point, have any science to justify the claim that it can be cleaned up. It cannot. It still is not cleaned up in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, and no matter how much we now hear from Liberals what we used to hear from Conservatives, the very well-modulated Kennedyesque tones do not make non-facts into facts.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I just want to remind the members that I do have a clock and I am very cognizant of how long people speak.

The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, there is no question there is commentary, and I always learn from the commentary of the hon. member. She and I sat on the board of the International Institute for Sustainable Development when we were both way younger than we are now. Her extensive knowledge of this file and many others does credit to this chamber. On this item, we disagree.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I wonder if my colleague could share with the House the importance of considering the economic and social issues surrounding pipeline development.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, the world has changed. If this debate would have happened 20 years ago, the balance between economic development and environmental stewardship would have been lame. It would not have been at the centre of Canadian consciousness. It is now.

If this debate would have taken place 20 years ago, there would not have been much attention paid to indigenous communities. There would not have been much attention paid to the meaningful accommodation that is necessary to gain the support of indigenous peoples. That is not just in Canada. Wherever we go internationally, we find that the issues are the same. The issues are about sustainable development. Sustainable development, in the case of Canada, means paying close attention to environmental stewardship, honouring the teachings and realities of indigenous communities, and also knowing that the energy sector will continue to be an important source of economic development and job creation for Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Madam Speaker, I am rising today to speak to the Conservative opposition day motion on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. I will also be talking about sustainability, because I just heard the minister responsible for natural resources try to appropriate to himself the teachings of first nations. He should learn one thing, which is that first nations are opposing Kinder Morgan because it is not a sustainable project.

It is worth reminding ourselves what sustainability is. Going back more than 20 years now, when we got the first report that said we had to start looking at the environmental, social, and economic aspects of all projects, what that essentially said was that we have to remove one of the last remaining and huge inequalities in our society, which is the inequality between generations.

What the minister is trying to support and defend today is precisely the type of development that we have had in this country over the centuries. We take raw natural resources, we do not add value here in Canada, and we try to ship them out as quickly as we possibly can. I heard the government say yesterday that the real problem right now is the shipping of our raw petroleum resources to the United States in far too great a proportion, that we have to start shipping them off to the Asian continent just as rapidly as we were shipping to the United States.

However, it forgets the obvious, which is that when we are talking about replacing some of the fossil fuels we are burning now, those very same products can produce some of the ingredients for a sustainable future. In other words, whether it is epoxies or carbon substances that go into solar panels, or the propellers for wind turbines, these are all things that require us to learn how to be prudent with our resources, including the oil we are blessed with in this country. I do not think that statement is one that anyone would ever oppose. We are blessed in Canada to have this type of natural resource. Countries around the world realize just how lucky we are.

I remember dealing with this on another occasion. When we were fighting the closure of the Shell refinery in Montreal, people asked me how I, as an environmentalist, could support keeping the refinery in Montreal open.

I was quite pleased when Louis-Gilles Francoeur, by far the best journalist to have written about the environment in Quebec, wrote a front-page article in Le Devoir backing us. He wrote that we should stop the foolish practice of exporting our raw natural resources. For example, we export B.C. cedar logs to China where they are transformed into children's play structures, and then we go to Costco to buy what was made in China with this beautiful cedar.

Why do we not add value here? Quebec prohibited this kind of wood export a long time ago, and there are furniture factories along the border.

The first step towards sustainable development is adding value to our products here in Canada, which has never been a priority for the Conservatives or the Liberals.

It is not very surprising, of course, that the Conservatives are going to put forward a motion in favour of Kinder Morgan. They do not like it when we remind them that they used the technique of budget bills that used to hide all sorts of things, that they gutted key, century-old legislation like the navigable waters protection act. What is even more disturbing is that I was there on the night that the mammoth budget bill was going through, and it was hiding all sorts of things. I remember the Liberals rending their garments, saying how terrible it was, promising up and down that they would bring back the navigable waters protection act.

If we understand that we are blessed with these natural resources, then we have to understand that the only way they can be developed with people onside, what we sometimes call social licence, is to have a clear, credible, thorough, transparent environmental assessment process. However, the Conservatives showed a bit of frustration, that there were too many decisions of the courts according the rights to first nations to have a word to say about how resources were developed after 400 years of colonization and oppression. They thought it was about time that we started giving first nations the proper hearing respecting their rights. Conservatives did not agree with that.

The Liberals, the whole time, talked a good game. It is worth looking at the words that were used by the Liberals, because they cannot weasel away from those right now. The Prime Minister's approval of the process that he once condemned, for us, is a fundamental breach of his obligation toward British Columbians, and all Canadians.

In Esquimalt, B.C., on August 20, 2015, the Liberal leader, the now Prime Minister, was asked “does your NEB overhaul apply to Kinder Morgan?” He replied, “Yes, yes.... It applies to existing projects, existing pipelines” as well. He was asked for further clarification: “So if they approve Kinder Morgan in January, you're saying”, and then the Prime Minister cut him off. He said,“No, they are not going to approve it in January because we are going to change the government. And that process [has to be] redone.” The tape of that is easy to find.

The Liberal MP for North Vancouver and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change proclaimed on his campaign website: “A new, independent, evidence-based process must be established. The Kinder Morgan expansion project must satisfy this new rigorous review..”.

The Liberal MP for Burnaby North—Seymour, who is now the parliamentary secretary to the minister of fisheries, of all things, told voters, “We are going to redo the National Energy Board process. [...] Kinder Morgan will have to go through a new, revised process.” That was a solemn promise. They broke that promise.

Madam Speaker, you were right, under the rules of this Parliament, to remind us that there are certain words we cannot use here, but I can say that they did not keep that promise, that what they said was not true. It was the opposite of the truth. I can use the word to describe when somebody intentionally says the opposite of the truth, and I will use that word for the rest of the day when I speak to people outside of this hall. It is important to remind Canadians how we came here.

We came here with Conservatives, Mr. Harper, who famously said that Kyoto, which sought to deal with the real crisis that is global warming, was “a socialist [plot] to suck money [from] wealth-producing countries”. That was at least an honest expression on the part of a climate change denier.

What we have over on this side, and it is interesting because the head of the Green Party just used similar terms to describe it, is the smiling version of Stephen Harper. We have the reassuring version. We have the snake oil salesman version, in fact. Throughout the campaign, Liberals promised to do politics differently. They promised to bring back the navigable waters protection act. Of course, they have not brought back a single article. They promised to bring in a new environmental assessment process. Of course, they broke that promise.

What the Minister of Natural Resources was referring to before was something that even the people who were put on that panel after, as some sort of patch job, said. They do not have records of anything that they heard. He had the nerve to stand in the House a few minutes ago and say, “All is well. We received 10,000 emails.” What does that even mean? They are trying to snow people. They are trying to con people into believing that they are somehow different. The only difference is that instead of approving Kinder Morgan with a scowl, they are approving Kinder Morgan with a smile. It is still Kinder Morgan. People of British Columbia cannot be fooled on that one.

On the subject of what is often referred to as social licence, let us be clear. The process did not allow people to even cross-examine witnesses. Why is that important? It is important because all of these types of approaches, this type of tribunal, this type of hearing, have to follow what are called the rules of natural justice.

Major energy projects across Canada are no longer undergoing credible assessments that make Canadians feel as though their voices are being heard. Under the rules of natural justice, when witnesses are being heard, people have the right to ask those stakeholders questions and cross-examine them.

What did the Liberals allow to happen in the case of Kinder Morgan? They allowed people who represent Kinder Morgan to come and give their opinion. Then, rather than saying that it was an opinion, they said that it was evidence, facts. It cannot be evidence or facts if no one had the right to ask them any questions about their testimony or cross-examine them. That is a violation of the rules of natural justice, but the Liberal Prime Minister is trying to cover it up and lead us to believe that he changed the process.

There are rules of sustainable development. When I was the Quebec environment minister, I banned seismic testing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for 10 years. Shortly after that ban was lifted, seismic testing was conducted for another pipeline, the energy east project. Seismic testing was done right in the middle of a beluga whale breeding ground. It is mind-boggling.

I am proud to have included a provision in Quebec's Sustainable Development Act, which I presented in the National Assembly and which was unanimously passed, that changed the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, just as my colleague from Edmonton Strathcona here, in the House of Commons, is proposing to change Canadian law to recognize the right to live in a healthy environment, under existing legislation. The David Suzuki Foundation, among others, has used this provision of the Quebec charter to stop seismic testing in the habitat of beluga whales, a species that is already threatened in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

How can the public have confidence in either Kinder Morgan or energy east?

In the case of energy east, it is worth remembering that if we go to Quebec City, we will see very large crude carriers right across from there, at the big Valero refinery. If we go to Sorel-Tracy, we will see even larger crude carriers filling up the new Enbridge Line 9B that was recently installed. What they are doing is so obviously dangerous that those crude carriers are only allowed to fill up to a certain level because they are close to the bottom of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Between a train, a pipeline, and one of those very large crude carriers dumping in that ecosystem in the St. Lawrence, I know which one is more dangerous. I also know that it has to be studied. It does not make any sense that in Canada right now, we are importing crude oil from insecure foreign sources like Algeria and Russia, and having it refined at Valero's large refinery in Saint-Romuald across from Quebec City.

However, we cannot even have that discussion because neither Kinder Morgan nor energy east can go forward. There is no thorough, credible evaluation process for that type of project in Canada right now. The reason we do not have that project is because the Liberal government and the Liberal Prime Minister broke their word.

Recent spills have demonstrated that B.C. is not prepared to deal with current traffic, much less with a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic. B.C.'s coast and economy are too important to risk. That is why we are demanding a new and comprehensive review process, exactly what the Liberals promised but have not delivered, that would address environmental concerns, properly consult with first nations, fully evaluate regional economic impacts, and allow for full public participation.

I go back to the words of the member for Winnipeg, who reminded us that he has played some kind of role with regard to sustainable development in the past. That makes it even more unpardonable, because he does not even have the excuse of ignorance. He is claiming to have social license to go forward with Kinder Morgan. He has no such social licence. His government has no such social licence.

We are also demanding that the review process that addresses those environmental concerns properly consults with first nations, fully evaluates regional economic impacts, and allows for full public participation. That's the only way to obtain that social licence. Pre-election, the Prime Minister knew that. It is too bad that the post-election Prime Minister will not admit it.

Under Stephen Harper's NEB process, the public was excluded and hundreds of applications to provide comment were rejected. As I mentioned earlier, there was no ability to cross-examine witnesses. Important issues were also ignored, including climate impacts. In addition, first nations were not adequately consulted.

Even the government’s own ministerial panel on the project criticized the significant gaps in the NEB process and found that the proposal could not proceed. Was it not enough that the National Energy Board had met in private with the former premier of Quebec, Jean Charest, to figure out how to better sell the energy east project? Since when is a decision pre-determined by people whose only mandate is to listen to the evidence, weigh what is presented in public, and make a decision based on what was heard and in accordance with the rules?

I often say that, generally speaking, it is just as big of a mistake to decide in advance that a project cannot go ahead as it is to decide in advance that it must. There was only one time in my career that I refused to consider a project. It was another project in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the completely ludicrous Rabaska project, which sought to bring huge ships filled with liquid natural gas to a terminal located across from Île d'Orléans and Quebec City, where it would be converted back into gas. It was so dangerous and so absurd that I said I would not even consider it.

Similarly, I was one of the people that said that there was no way that the Douglas Channel project near Kitimat, in northern British Columbia, should go forward. The name Thomas suits me because I always want to go and see and touch things for myself, so I went to visit the Douglas Channel with my friend and colleague who represents that area of British Columbia, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. There, I was able to see for myself that the idea of bringing large tankers into that channel was absolutely insane.

It is therefore possible for a government to refuse to even consider a project, so why then did the Liberals have reports from the National Energy Board on the Trans Mountain project? There were two projects: one in northern British Columbia and the other in the south. As a result, there were two reports from the NEB. In the case of the Douglas Channel in northern B.C., the NEB said that the project could not go forward unless it was sustainable, unless the first nations were consulted, and unless it obtained social licence. However, the NEB said that everything was fine for the project in the southern part of the province. That does not make any sense.

Even the panel co-chair reported that everywhere they went there were issues with confidence, transparency, independence, safety, and security. The Kinder Morgan pipeline will not be going ahead because the Liberals did not respect their promise to British Columbians to bring in a new process that would be credible, thorough, transparent, and that the public could have confidence in. Without those key elements, none of these major projects can go ahead, because in this day and age the public knows we have an obligation not just to ourselves now, but to future generations. That is the essence of sustainability, and that is why the New Democratic Party will be opposing the motion, and why we oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Madam Speaker, I always enjoy the leader of the NDP's contributions to the debate in the House. The NDP has always been clear on this pipeline and certainly on any major pipeline that was proposed under the Conservative government. The NDP was opposed to the pipeline. That was its position and the member has just outlined the reasons for it.

What I have more trouble with is the Liberals saying one thing when they are running for election and doing something else when they are in government. Canadians should be concerned about that, as well as having the Prime Minister say one thing and Liberal MPs from B.C. say either the opposite or nothing, which appears will be the case.

I want to ask the member a sincere question. The NDP Premier of British Columbia—

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Sorry, I meant the NDP Premier of Alberta. Yes, I walked into that.

The NDP Premier of Alberta made it clear. She said, “Mark my words, that pipeline will be built.” Obviously, John Horgan said something else. Tom Sigurdson, Mike Harcourt, Dan Miller, and other B.C. NDP luminaries have said they think it is good for the building trades and that it should go ahead.

I want to get the member's perspective on the comments of the Premier of Alberta and what he might say to her in opposing this project.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Madam Speaker, the member is also from British Columbia and has looked at this for a long time, but let us not forget that it is not Rachel Notley who promised a new system to evaluate the Kinder Morgan project; it is the Prime Minister. He is the one who is breaking his promise, and that is why British Columbians and the NDP say that the Kinder Morgan project cannot go ahead, because it has never been studied in a thorough and credible manner.

I would also add, and I think that Alberta has shown the way on this to many other provinces, that the Rachel Notley NDP government is the first one in the history of Alberta to come up with a plan to start bending the curve with regard to greenhouse gas reduction. It put on a hard cap. It brought together first nations, business groups, and non-governmental organizations. That is bridge building. I also like to see the NDP Premier of B.C., as he was just referred to, and the leader of the Green Party getting together. That is also bridge building.

I am sure that with a lot of goodwill, we can do a lot, including creating new jobs in the new economy. It does not have to be based on those same resources of the past. We can do a lot and the people of Alberta can be part of that.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Madam Speaker, I will go back to the hon. member's original comment and ask if he purports to speak for all indigenous groups. If so, what does he say to those indigenous groups in communities that, indeed, support this pipeline?

I also want to follow up on something the member for Chilliwack—Hope mentioned, and that is the comment by Premier Notley, the NDP Premier of Alberta, who clearly supports this project.

In addition, I would ask the member opposite what he would say to NDP members across Canada who, indeed, support this pipeline and the workers, a lot of whom are represented by trade unions, who want the 15,000 jobs because they are good, middle-class, well-paying jobs and they are important to communities across this country.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Madam Speaker, in the filings of Kinder Morgan with the National Energy Board, it did not talk about 15,000 jobs. It talked about 50, not 50,000 but 50 jobs permanently created by that pipeline. I do not know where the 15,000 comes from.

I would ask my colleague one thing. Why did she enter politics? Does she feel good when she meets with a group in her riding and says the Liberals told the people of British Columbia that there would be a new process, but that was just something they were saying to get elected and had no intention of doing it?

Does that make her feel good about coming into politics and investing that much time and energy? I would feel terrible if I had ever done something like that. When I was the minister of environment, I was able to reduce greenhouse gases every year I was there. Does anyone know why? It was because I went in with core beliefs of what was important in terms of sustainable development and I dedicated myself, heart and soul, to respecting what I had promised people. People who get into politics making fake promises they have no intention of keeping is something that you should be ashamed of.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I would remind the member to address his comments to the Chair and not to use the word “you”. It would be a lot easier.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, in regard to the Kinder Morgan existing pipeline, it actually runs through my riding. Obviously I am an interior B.C.-based MP.

I would like to see a new pipeline, because it is 60-plus years old and the design standards and requirements today are unparalleled, considering the ones that the original pipeline was built under. Having a new pipeline built would allow for a greater amount of oil, but would also be able to pay for increases to safety and response times, as well as all the infrastructure that goes along with that.

The member has also mentioned his issues with the credibility of the National Energy Board. Could the member actually concretely say what elements he would change, and tell us why no member of Parliament has put forward a private member's bill to introduce that change so that we can have that debate on whether or not the board could be tweaked to build bridges, as the member said, and pipelines?

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Madam Speaker, we know that the members of the National Energy Board, who were holding hearings on the energy east project, actually sat down with Jean Charest and admitted, because they had to be replaced because they were in an obvious conflict, that they were there to find out the best way to sell the project. Though they had not even heard the evidence yet, they had already decided the result.

That is a bit of a problem for most Canadians, if members of the NEB are supposed to be in an adjudication process listening to evidence and they have already made up their minds in advance. I do not know about the member, but I find that to be a bit of a problem.

With regard to the changes that are necessary, there has been another report brought in. I will distance myself from one key element of that. I did not think it made any sense whatsoever to say that the NEB cannot sit in Calgary. I thought that was an absolutely unacceptable sleight to the people of Calgary and to the ability of people to do their jobs.

However, the question is, what is necessary? We need a thorough, credible, transparent process. We do not have one. That is not just our opinion; it is the opinion of all the experts who have looked at it. We have to replace the energy board with something that is credible. If we do not, none of these projects, whether it is energy east or Kinder Morgan, can go ahead.

If the member believes in the sustainable and environmentally respectful development of our natural resources, which I repeat are a blessing, then he should get on board with trying to put in place something that the public can have confidence in. That is the nature of social licence.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, the Liberal Minister of Natural Resources started his speech earlier by saying that he was in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with the Conservatives, and that he had some soul-searching to do. That is strange, because Liberals so often agree with Conservatives when it comes to pipelines.

If the expert panel that the Prime Minister appointed to review the National Energy Board came up with the following conclusions: that the public has fundamentally lost confidence in the National Energy Board, and that there is a “crisis of confidence” with respect to the decisions that are being made because the public overwhelmingly feels that the National Energy Board is a “captured” regulator. That means it is too close to industry and is too often approving whatever it is that industry wants, leaving the public out.

If that is the situation and the promise was clearly made by the Prime Minister that in order to get that social licence, we have to restore and renew the NEB on this project before it gets approved, what situation do we have now? He went into British Columbia a week after the election and said that British Columbian voters, 60% of which voted for parties against this pipeline, were wrong.

What message is this Prime Minister and his silent Liberal MPs from British Columbia actually sending to the people of my province?

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Madam Speaker, that question really is the essence of what we are discussing here today.

The Prime Minister said the process was broken. The ministerial review panel on Kinder Morgan said the process was broken. The expert panel on the NEB said the process was broken.

Why do the Liberals now think the process is fine?

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today of behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. I would like inform the House that I will be proudly sharing my time with the member of Parliament for Battle River—Crowfoot.