Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his fine speech that, although interrupted by a question period, was excellent. I had the pleasure of visiting my colleague’s riding this spring, when there was still a bit of snow. I saw for the first time the scale of oil development in western Canada, and as a Quebecker, I was impressed. We cannot imagine it, living in a small rural Quebec community. When travelling around these huge tracts of lands, on every block, we see pump jacks, which are making Canada the prosperous country it is today.
Today we are speaking on the motion by my colleague from Chilliwack—Hope, which reads as follows:
That the House agree that the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project: (a) has social license to proceed; (b) is critical to the Canadian economy and the creation of thousands of jobs; (c) is safe and environmentally sound, as recognized and accepted by the National Energy Board; (d) is under federal jurisdiction with respect to approval and regulation; and (e) 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 wanted to talk about this motion because it is an important debate. In fact, I want to thank my colleague for this initiative which will allow us to have a debate. However, even though the House of Commons sitting hours have been extended, I feel that many of my colleagues would have wished to discuss it further. Unfortunately, motion No. 14 on the extension of sitting hours will not enable us to continue discussion on this opposition motion.
I know that my NDP colleagues also have an opposition motion to present next week, and their time will be cut short, too. Nevertheless, extending the sitting hours is a unique opportunity for Canadians to hear what the official opposition and the NDP think on the issues that matter most to them.
The record now corrected, I would like to speak a little bit about the reasons why went in this particular direction. Obviously, the results from the last election in British Columbia have certain people worried, people who firmly believe in this project. Namely, they are worried about the coalition that has been formed by the New Democratic Party and the Green Party. This leads us to wonder if the Liberal government's commitment to the project is sincere.
Important projects such as these always face a certain amount of opposition by people or environmentalists, obviously, and this happens for all kinds of reasons. These projects still have a purpose, however. We sometimes have to try to convince people to get on board, but it is not always possible. There are many similar examples of this in Quebec. Some would say the Kinder Morgan project is one of them.
What role should leaders play when it comes time to create acceptance for and defend a project that is important to the economy and which might impact local communities? It is up to the leader to roll up his sleeves and start selling his project. In this case, the leader is the Prime Minister of Canada and he approved the Kinder Morgan project. It is up to him to head west and sell his project, to explain to people who still oppose it today why it needs to be completed for the welfare of all Canadians, including Quebeckers.
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister seems to talks about Kinder Morgan everywhere but in British Columbia, the very place where the leader's message needs to be heard. That is where the leader needs to go to underscore the project's importance and it is the only place where the Prime Minister of Canada refuses to talk about it. Maybe he does not want to upset his voter base. I do not know. Far be it from me to impugn the Prime Minister's motives, but I am appalled at his refusal to go British Columbia.
Energy resources are important for the economy not only of western Canada, but of the country as a whole.
According to Natural Resources Canada, with a production of 3.8 million barrels of crude oil a day in 2014, Canada is a major supplier of safe and reliable crude oil for all international markets.
Canada also has one of the largest oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Canada has 171 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, including 166 billion in the oil sands. That is important for jobs in Canada. Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain project could create up to 15,000 jobs for Canadians.
Again according to Natural Resources Canada, the oil and gas industry directly employs over 700,000 Canadians, which represents nearly 4% of jobs in the country.
Of course, we just went through a difficult period because of the downturn in global oil prices. The industry has obviously been greatly affected by that. Over the past few weeks and months, we have heard our colleagues from oil-producing provinces calling on the government to help the sector weather this difficult crisis.
During my trip to Alberta, I saw many unused construction trailers. From what I was told, that is not normal. Usually, these trailers should be on site making work for Canadians from every province.
I know many people from my riding who went to work in Alberta. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening right now. We need projects like Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain project to help the oil industry weather the crisis.
Despite technological advances, there is still a high demand for petroleum products. Of course, we can seek to reduce our use of oil and work to develop new sources of energy, but in the meantime, oil is there. Oil exists. I do not know very many of my colleagues who do not use a single drop of oil in a day. Why? Because oil is absolutely everywhere.
Canada therefore needs to have trade opportunities for those products and needs to ship them to ports so that they can be exported to other continents, particularly Asia.
I will now turn to another important reason why I believe we must support the industry: safe transportation of petroleum products.
As the member for Mégantic—L'Érable, I am deeply concerned about transportation of oil by rail. The government has amended the rules and is going to change the kind of tank cars being used, but in the meantime, a lot of oil is still being transported by rail all across Canada. Pipelines are one of the safest ways to transport oil.
According to Natural Resources Canada, pipelines are are a safe, reliable and environmentally friendly way of transporting oil and gas. On average each year, 99% of the oil transported on federally regulated pipelines moves safely. That is one of my concerns, and I feel we should give these considerations some thought before we say no. That is why I encourage the government to vote in favour of this motion.
In Quebec, a lot of us are thinking that the Liberal government is trying to hide itself behind the Rocky Mountains instead of facing people in B.C. and explaining to them why the Kinder Morgan pipeline is important for our economy.
I am not afraid to support this project and the motion of my colleague, the member for Chilliwack—Hope. For the people of Quebec, pipelines are safe and are good for our economy, not only for Canada but for Quebec.
In closing, the Prime Minister has expressed support for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain project several times. He did so in Calgary, in Houston in the United States, and in Italy, and I think he should continue to support it. Now, the Prime Minister needs to make a similar show of support in British Columbia. This is an urgent matter.
I encourage all of my colleagues to support the member for Chilliwack—Hope's motion.