Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are drowning Canadian job creators in red tape and tax hikes. Whether it is the carbon tax, small business tax hikes or the many cancelled tax credits and deductions, the Liberals are driving businesses out of Canada and killing Canadian jobs, hurting workers and middle-class families across the country.
Every other day major oil and gas companies cancel future projects, stop expansions or completely sell their Canadian businesses and take their money to other countries. It is a crisis, and it is not a result of external factors beyond the government's control. In fact, it is a direct consequence of the Liberals' message to Canadians and the world that Canada is closed for business because of the Liberals' added red tape and imposed cost increases.
Context is important. The energy sector is the biggest private sector investor and accounts for over 11% of the value of Canada's economy. To put this in perspective, it contributes twice as much as agriculture and fisheries combined, sectors in which farmers and fishermen also often have jobs in oil and gas. It contributes more than the banking and finance sector and more than the auto sector. The benefits are shared across Canada. Every one job in the oil sands creates seven manufacturing jobs in Ontario. Every one upstream oil and gas job in Alberta creates five jobs in other sectors, in other provinces.
However, spending in Canada's oil and gas sector declined 56% over three years, from $81 billion in 2014 to $45 billion in 2017. More money has left Canada's oil and gas sector since the 2015 election than at any other comparable time period in more than 70 years. The equivalent value would be losing 75% of auto manufacturing in Canada, or almost the entirety of the aerospace sector in Canada, something no one rightfully would accept.
The biggest beneficiary is the U.S. where spending in oil and gas increased 38% to $120 billion in 2017. Today, U.S. investment in Canada is down by more than half. Canadian investment in the U.S. is up by two-thirds. The consequences of these losses are hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of work and less revenue for core social programs and services at every level of government in every single province.
Over 115,000 Albertans are out of work and not receiving any employment insurance assistance right now and tens of thousands more have lost their jobs. The Liberals' anti-energy agenda is clearly both hindering the private sector from being able to provide well-paying jobs, but it is also risking the life savings of many Canadians.
Oil and gas companies are a big part of most people's pension plans, and whether through employer provided defined contribution plans or personal investments in mutual funds, chances are that most Canadians are invested in oil and gas. When oil and gas companies leave Canada, the value of those investments in Canada drops, reducing the value of everyone's retirement savings. Now CPP and the Ontario teachers' pension plan are also investing in the United States.
I want to highlight an aspect of this legislation that will compound uncertainty and challenges for Canadian oil and gas proponents. On page 589, in the very last chapter of this 840-page omnibus bill, clause 692 implements sweeping new powers for the federal cabinet to impose regulations on marine transport. Included in these powers is the ability to pass regulations:
(j) respecting compulsory routes and recommended routes;
(k) regulating or prohibiting the operation, navigation, anchoring, mooring or berthing of vessels or classes of vessels; and
(l) regulating or prohibiting the loading or unloading of a vessel or a class of vessels.
This means the Liberal cabinet can block any class of tanker from any route leaving Canada or from docking at any port the Liberals choose. In Bill C-48, oil tankers of a certain size will be prevented from travelling and from the loading and off-loading of crude at ports only off the northern coast of B.C.
This legislation, Bill C-86, would be a dramatic expansion, giving the Liberal cabinet the power to block oil exports from any port anywhere in Canada or to block oil tankers in general from entering Canadian waters. Places like the Arctic could lose access to the fuel tankers that keep power on during the winter. Offshore oil and gas development in Atlantic Canada could be blocked overnight. That is alarming in itself, and it gets worse.
This legislation authorizes a single minister to be able to make legally binding changes to these regulations for a year at a time and even up to three years, regarding “compulsory routes” and “prohibiting the operation, navigation, anchoring, mooring or berthing of vessels or classes of vessels”. One minister with one stroke of a pen can shut down an entire industry with wide-ranging impacts.
This is a pattern. The Liberals repeatedly demonstrate their hostility to the oil and gas sector in Canada. The Prime Minister of course said that he wants to phase out the oil sands, and Canadians should believe him. He defended the use of tax dollars for summer jobs to stop the Trans Mountain expansion. The Liberals removed the tax credit for new exploration oil drilling at the very worst time.
Also, many Liberal MPs ran in the last election opposing the export of Canada's oil to the world. Since they formed government, the Liberals have used every tool at their disposal to kill energy sector jobs.
Canada is the only top 10 oil-producing country in the world, let alone in North America, to impose a carbon tax on itself. While there are significant exemptions for major industrial emitters, it will hike costs for operations across the value chain, and certainly for the 80% of Canadian service and supply companies that are small businesses. Moreover, individual contractors will still have to pay it.
The proposed clean fuel standards—which would be unprecedented globally because they would be applied to buildings and facilities, not just to transportation fuel—will cost integrated oil and gas companies as well as refining and petrochemical development in Canada hundreds of millions of dollars. Canada is literally the most environmentally and socially responsible producer of oil and gas in the world, oil and gas that the world will continue to demand for decades. We are falling dramatically behind the United States and other countries for regulatory efficiency and clarity.
The Liberals imposed the tanker ban, with no substantial economic, safety, or environmental assessments and no real consultation, and a ban on offshore drilling in the north against the wishes of the premier of the Northwest Territories.
The Prime Minister vetoed outright the northern gateway pipeline and then intervened to kill energy east with delays, rule changes and a last-minute double standard. Now, the Liberals' failures have driven Kinder Morgan out of Canada. Construction of the Trans Mountain expansion has never started in the two years since the Liberals approved it, and they have repeatedly kicked the can down the road for months. The consequence is that crude oil is now being shipped by rail and truck at record levels, negatively impacting other sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and retail.
The Liberals would add uncertainty and great expense for any resource project that has even a ditch on its property, by subjecting all water to the navigable waters regulatory regime in Bill C-68. Moreover, their “no more pipelines” Bill C-69 would block any future pipelines and therefore stop major oil and gas projects from being built in Canada.
Kinder Morgan is now going to take all of that $4.5 billion in Canadian tax dollars the Liberals spent on the existing pipeline and will use it to build pipelines in the United States, Canada's biggest energy competitor and customer. The consequences are that large companies are pulling out of Canada and investing in the U.S. or elsewhere.
Encana, a made in Canada success story, is selling Canadian assets to buy into projects in the United States. Gwyn Morgan, its founder, did not mince words. He said:
I’m deeply saddened that, as a result of the disastrous policies of the [Liberal] government, what was once the largest Canadian-headquartered energy producer now sees both its CEO and the core of its asset base located in the U.S.
It is estimated that the Liberal failure to get pipelines built is forcing Canadian oil to sell for $100 million dollars less a day than what it should be worth. That is $100 million dollars a day that is not providing for middle-class families, that is not fuelling small businesses, and not generating taxes to pay off the out-of-control Liberal deficit.
RBC recently reported that in 2008, taxes generated by oil and gas were worth $35 billion a year for provincial and federal governments. That is now down to almost $10 billion a year in 2016. That is more than $20 billion a year that could have gone to health care and education or to cover old age security costs, or be invested in building bridges and roads. Of course, the Liberals promised a deficit of only $10 billion a year and that the budget would be balanced by 2019, but none of that is anywhere in sight. They choose to spend recklessly: millions of dollars on perks like renovations for ministers' offices, a $5 million hockey rink on Parliament Hill that operated for a couple of months, or $26 million for vehicles. Never mind the billions of dollars spent outside Canada, building oil and gas pipelines in Asia with Canadian tax dollars or funding groups linked to anti-Semitism and terrorism.
Never has a government spent so much and achieved so little. The end result is Canada is trapped in a debt spiral. The ones who are going to pay for these deficits are millennials and their children, and it makes life less affordable today while federal government debt increases interest rates across the board. That poses significant risks to Canada and leaves us utterly unprepared for a global economic recession or worldwide factors that the government cannot control, unlike the Liberals' damaging policies. Future generations will find that their governments cannot afford services or programs they are counting on, and their governments will be in a trap of borrowing and hiking taxes. That is why Conservatives advocate balanced budgets, because it is the only responsible thing to do for Canada's children and grandchildren.
The out-sized contributions of the energy sector to the whole country's economy and to government revenue is also why the future of energy development in Canada is one of the most important domestic economic questions facing all of us. That is what makes the Liberal layering of red tape and costs on Canadian energy so unconscionable, and the consequences so devastating for all of Canada.