Madam Speaker, Bill C-88 would have a negative effect on Canadians in northern communities, who are already struggling to survive. When will enough be enough? Northerners are struggling to access basic resources like affordable groceries, water, high-speed Internet, safe roads and health care. Why is the Liberal government making life even harder for northern Canadians by restricting some of the largest sectors in the north, Canadian energy and, indirectly, the mining industry?
I regret to inform the House that Bill C-88 would repeal and reverse the land and water board restructuring changes the Conservatives passed in the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. It would also further polarize and politicize the regulatory and environmental process for resource extraction in Canada's north by giving the Liberal cabinet ultimate power to stop projects as it suits its political agenda. Northerners deserve increased autonomy over their natural resources sector. The Liberal government needs to stop meddling in the affairs of the north for its own gain.
Bill C-88 is an unnecessary and paternalistic blockade of oil and gas development in the Arctic and other northern regions. I must say that Bill C-88 fails on all fronts. It fails to respect workers in the oil and gas sector, fails to protect investments in the development of remote areas, fails to protect Canadian aboriginal communities on the path to reconciliation and, most disturbingly, fails to give northern communities the autonomy they deserve.
Bill C-88 would be particularly hard on the oil and gas sector. The government's failure to get key energy projects completed and to invest in the north is threatening expansion of the oil and gas sector, putting tens of thousands of good-paying, high-quality jobs at risk. While big American oil companies are getting discounts of over $100 million a day on Canadian oil, Canadian oil still needs to reach international markets.
Bill C-88 is yet another anti-energy policy, making getting and keeping jobs in one of Canada's largest economic industries nearly impossible. Canada's Conservatives will continue to fight for Canada's resource sector and the hard-working Canadians whose livelihoods depend on energy. They can count on us to stand up against a government determined to phase out their jobs.
On another note, Bill C-88 fails to take into consideration economic development in remote indigenous and non-indigenous communities in the north. The north is a key driver of economic activity in Canada. There is no doubt that Canada's north should be treated with the respect it deserves. Conservatives know that economic prosperity in the north does not mean ruining landscapes or harming the environment. Economic investment in the north means finding jobs for Canadians in some of the most remote areas of our country, it means economic prosperity for our economy as a whole and, most importantly, economic investment in the north means food on the table for thousands of Canadian families currently struggling to get by.
The Liberal government is hiking taxes on over 90% of middle-class families in the north. Despite the government's lavish spending, Canadian northerners are no further ahead. We need to promote effective investments in important areas in the north, such as health care, housing and quality drinking water. It is also important to spend money that translates into tangible results for northern Canadians.
Bill C-88 is nothing more than a ploy to win votes in urban centres rather than actually reduce poverty in the northern regions of Canada. We need to put Canadians first, not politicians and their concealed agendas. We need a government that will take the right steps to create sustainable economic opportunities for northerners in Canada. It is time that we started investing properly in the north so we can reap the rewards of economic prosperity for decades to come.
Bill C-88 also fails to adequately support the economic needs of indigenous peoples in Canada. It would significantly impact Canada's northern indigenous populations. Representing a rural riding with a large indigenous population, I know that the rights and sovereignty of Canada's indigenous people must be respected. We must work collaboratively with the indigenous populations in the north to put forward policies that make real and measurable improvements in the lives of Canada's indigenous people.
The Liberals failed to take the necessary steps to create sustainable economic opportunities for indigenous people in remote communities. By cancelling key energy projects, delaying offshore oil and gas projects in the Arctic for five years and imposing out-of-control taxes on rural populations, the future for Canada's northern indigenous populations is not looking bright.
Conservatives support advancing the process of reconciliation but also realize there is no lasting reconciliation between the Canadian government and indigenous populations without economic reconciliation. We must empower indigenous communities through job opportunities, industry and economic growth, rather than take valuable opportunities away.
Last but not least, northerners deserve a greater say in their own regional affairs. Canadians do not want Big Brother. The government needs to establish a plan to both respect northern sovereignty and promote economic prosperity in the north. The Liberal government's plan to impose restrictions on the northern economy will have serious long-term effects on the people living in remote communities.
We need to give autonomy back to people living in the north. Political elites in Ottawa should not get the final say on what energy projects get approved and which energy projects get denied. We need to consult workers and other stakeholders in the north before deciding to scrap potentially valuable energy projects. If we take away northerners' voices on these issues, the communities that can least afford these dangerous polices will be the ones most impacted.
Looking to the future, we need a government that will respect the autonomy of the north, provide economic opportunities for Canada's indigenous populations, invest in northern economic prosperity and protect Canada's oil and gas workers.
Conservatives do not support Bill C-88 and the Liberal government's anti-energy policies. Together, we should change this legislation to better support Canadian industry in the north, and protect the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of workers in northern Canada.
The Northwest Territories has vast underdeveloped oil and gas reserves. It is estimated that the Northwest Territories potentially hold as much as 37% of Canada's marketable light crude oil resources and 35% of its marketable natural gas resources. Like Bill C-69, Bill C-88 will have Ottawa pick the winners and losers. Even if northern industries jump through all the hoops and meet all the criteria, Ottawa can simply say, “No, game over.”
We should have Canadian oil in every refinery in Canada, and jobs for Canadians, not for Saudi Arabia, and support made, produced and manufactured in Canada.
The Liberal government record is shameful. It killed northern gateway by putting a tanker ban on the west coast. Then it created a moratorium on offshore oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea, an announcement made in December 2016 without even consulting northerners.
The government killed energy east by changing the environmental assessment process almost monthly and then added upstream and downstream emissions, which is not applied to any other industry in the world. The list goes on.