Mr. Speaker, as a fellow British Columbia MP representing a riding that the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion will pass through, citizens and communities have a vested interest in this project.
In this place we often talk about the very large numbers, such as a $7.4 billion construction budget. Now that the government has bought it for maybe $9 billion or more, it estimates that for the first 20 years of construction and operation this will generate $46.7 billion, including federal and provincial taxes paid. It also estimates this project will create the equivalent of 15,000 person years of employment in construction and 37,000 indirect and induced jobs each year it operates.
However, what we do not often talk about are the smaller numbers, like the $922 million estimated for municipal tax payments over 20 years; the $8.6 million in community benefit agreements, the monies that pay for park upgrades or new trails and walkways in small communities. It helps to upgrade infrastructure.
For example, the small community of Merritt has had two once-in-a-century flood events these past two years. Many of the people in Merritt look forward to some of the upgrades that could alleviate flooding once this project goes forward. They have told me that they are very supportive of this project, not just for that but for all the other reasons I have given. It makes small rural communities and many local first nations communities more liveable and more prosperous.
Last week, there was an incredibly moving speech in the B.C. legislative assembly by former Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross, who is now an MLA. His speech was a very powerful one on how resource projects could lift first nations communities out of poverty.
On that note, I would like to pause for a moment. While the Prime Minister and B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan were busy hugging each other for the photo ops for an LNG announcement, let us all take a moment to recognize the two people who played such a significant role in the announcement. They had the vision and determination to see that B.C. LNG project succeed. I speak of no other than former B.C. premier Christy Clark and former Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross. They both endured a huge amount of mocking and personal ridicule from different sides. Thankfully, they had the resolve and conviction to see that project continue to move forward.
However, we are not here to debate B.C. LNG. We are here to debate Senate Bill S-245. Therefore, let us take a moment to see how we got here.
In 2015, when the Liberal government was elected, it inherited the following: a northern gateway project that had been approved by the former Conservative government; a Trans Mountain pipeline that was still before the National Energy Board; and an energy east pipeline that was in the works. What happened?
We all know what happened to the northern gateway project. The Prime Minister made the political decision to kill that project. It was not a science-based decision, because that same National Energy Board process also approved the very same B.C. LNG project for which the Prime Minister now so desperately tries to take credit.
After that, we know the Prime Minister then moved the goal posts so energy east threw up the white flag. When the Prime Minister did that, he had only one project left, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
However, we are not done yet. Of course we know the Prime Minister has also set out with his northern tanker ban. That is also not a science-based decision. How do we know that? Because the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation can provide the same spill response in northern coastal waters exactly as it does in southern coastal waters. Likewise, the Pacific Pilotage Authority Canada, a Crown corporation, can also provide the same world-respected marine pilots to navigate these vessels as it does in southern B.C. coastal waters. Yes, companies like Seaspan, which provides multiple tugboats to assist with docking in Burnaby, B.C., can do the very same thing in northern British Columbia.
The bottom line and the evidence is that what the Prime Minister says is perfectly safe for tanker traffic in southern B.C. can be applied to the northern coast as well.
However, as usual with this Prime Minister, it is all about playing politics and boosting his brand. What is that brand? Increasingly, it is “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Let us look at this bill. Rather than slowly meandering through the other place to get through to this place, the Prime Minister could have recalled this place at any time during the summer and brought this in as a government bill.
However, we all know he did not do that. Why not? This Prime Minister was in a conundrum. He says he wanted to see this pipeline built, yet none of the things he actually does support getting any pipeline built.
We should remember, this is the Prime Minister who killed off northern gateway and energy east, and who proposes a tanker ban. Those were all political decisions and none was evidence based.
Kinder Morgan basically called the Prime Minister's bluff and established a deadline. Rather than make some difficult and unpopular decisions within that very voting demographic that this Prime Minister so wants to earn, he bought his way out of the problem that he himself had created.
Buying the Trans Mountain pipeline was a huge insult to taxpayers, but it was a brilliant political move by this Prime Minister. Why do I say this? It is brilliant because now he controls the timeline. What is the timeline? We do not know. We have a timeline for one part of the review, but for the other part of the process we have no timeline.
Do members see how that all worked together? This Prime Minister used Canadian tax dollars to buy his way out of a problem he created.
Do members remember social licence? Do members remember that line in the Liberal platform? I quote:
While governments grant permits for resource development, only communities can grant permission.
How is that all going? It is a massive fail. Does anyone think this Prime Minister will allow a Trans Mountain shovel to break ground between now and the upcoming election? I would submit everyone in this room knows the answer to that.
While I am fully supportive of this bill, and I commend the efforts of Senator Doug Black from Alberta to bring this bill forward, I have my doubts that this Prime Minister will actually do anything with this bill in the event that it gets passed.
I believe that with the Prime Minister it all comes down to numbers, and I do not mean the kinds of numbers I quoted at the beginning of my speech, be they big or small. I mean this Prime Minister is looking at the number of Liberal MPs in B.C. ridings, many located in the Lower Mainland where there is often the least amount of support for this pipeline, versus the very few Liberal MPs in Alberta.
Of course, there is also that NDP provincial government, which put its faith in this Liberal government initially by fully supporting its climate platform. Now the Prime Minister has totally thrown that Alberta NDP government under the bus. It is not an LNG bus, by the way.
In B.C., where a new LNG pipeline project is approved, that project has been given an exemption from the Liberal government's carbon tax increases. This Prime Minister looks the other way about that, smiles and hugs B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan for a photo op. This is the very same NDP premier who stands in the way of the project that this Prime Minister claims is in the national interest.
We also know this Prime Minister quietly waived tariffs so that cheaper, foreign steel can be used to build B.C. LNG. I wonder if he mentioned that when he was visiting Canadian steel mills this past summer.
By the way, did I mention that Westshore Terminals in B.C. last year exported more coal than the entire country of Mexico? I wonder if our Prime Minister had a conversation with Premier Horgan about that? I would say it is somewhat unlikely.
The Prime Minister says the Trans Mountain pipeline is in Canada's national interest. This bill states that the Trans Mountain pipeline project and related works are declared to be works for the general advantage of Canada. I agree with that.
I will vote to support this bill, one that I specifically reported to my constituents on. I asked them about the bill, and the overwhelming majority of people replying by email were very positive and supportive of it.
I am also hopeful that the Prime Minister will hear this speech and that he will also vote for this bill and for once actually do something that he says he will do and build it.