Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member for Lakeland understands, as do those of us on this side of the House, how important the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is not only to her own province of Alberta but to the entire country. I am also pleased to see that the motion refers to two key points behind our government's approval of the TMX pipeline. The first is that the pipeline is in the national interest and will create good paying jobs for Canadians. Second, if we want to sell our resources to the world, we have to provide access to those markets. Our government has never wavered in standing behind its decision to approve this project.
The Prime Minister has made the case for it on many occasions, both in the House and elsewhere, including in Alberta and British Columbia. The Minister of Natural Resources has taken that same message across Canada, including just last week in Calgary and in his speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade a couple of months before that.
I do not understand how the hon. members on the other side could believe that this pipeline is anything but a priority for our government. Our position is clear. The TMX pipeline has been important to Canada since it was originally constructed in 1953, and it will be important to our future. It will be built.
This expanded pipeline will help diversify our markets. It comes with improved environmental safety, and it will create thousands of good middle-class jobs, including in indigenous communities. The TMX pipeline will also contribute to our government’s plan to make Canada a global leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
How? As the Minister of Natural Resources has said, by using this time of transition to Canada's advantage, building the infrastructure to get our resources to global markets, and using the revenues it generates to invest in innovative, cleaner forms of energy, in other words, leveraging the fossil fuel resources we have today and the innovation they provide to deliver clean energy solutions for tomorrow. That is the same message we heard from Canadians through Generation Energy, a historic natural discussion to imagine Canada's energy future for our children and their children.
Canadians have told us by the hundred of thousands that they want a thriving, low-carbon economy. They want us to be a leader in clean technologies. They also want an energy system that provides equal opportunities to Canadians, without harming the environment. They also understand we are not there yet, which means continuing to support our oil and gas industry, even as we develop sources of renewable energy, such as biomass, solar, tidal, nuclear, and wind.
This is the same approach we are taking as we work with the provinces and territories to develop a Canadian energy strategy, one that seeks common ground and shared purpose, leveraging our traditional resources while promoting renewable sources of energy, enhancing energy efficiency, and investing in clean technology. TMX fits within all of this.
We are under no illusions that everyone would agree with our approval of TMX. Many Canadians, including a number in Lower Mainland, British Columbia oppose the pipeline. Our government understands and shares British Columbians' sense of responsibility for Canada's spectacular west coast, which is why we took the time to get our TMX decision right, based on the best science, and the widest possible consultation.
At a time when the government of British Columbia has announced its own intention to consult, it is important to remember the broad consultation that has already taken place. The National Energy Board concluded a thorough review of TMX, and recommended that we approve the project, subject to 157 binding conditions.
To enable even more voices to be heard, however, the Minister of Natural Resources also appointed a special ministerial panel to hold additional hearings. The panel held 44 public meetings, hearing more than 600 presentations, and received some 20,000 submissions by email.
At the same time, we made the single largest investment ever to protect Canada's oceans and coastlines, with the $1.5 billion oceans protection plan, which was needed whether the TMX was expanded or not. It is an oceans protection plan that will improve regional plans with key partners, particularly coastal and indigenous communities that have irreplaceable on-the-ground and traditional knowledge. This generational investment in ocean safety addresses concerns about spill prevention and responses and provides significant additional protections for Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea.
In approving TMX, we have also done something unprecedented in Canada. We have co-developed an indigenous advisory and monitoring committee to help oversee the safety of a major energy project through its entire life cycle. Our approval of TMX also fits within our international commitments on climate change and will be required to operate within the hard cap on emissions set by Alberta's climate plan. In fact, TMX, the line 3 replacement pipeline, and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline together will be required to stay within the 100 megatonne limit set by Alberta.
Finally, it is worth making the point that Canada will continue to produce oil and ship it across the country, whether new pipelines are built or not. What is indisputable is that pipelines are by far the safest means. The Pipeline Safety Act strengthens this by enshrining the principle of polluter pays. It makes companies liable, regardless of fault, for $1 billion in the case of major pipelines, and requires them to have the financial resources to respond to potential incidents.
Once the TMX is up and running, it will give Canadian energy a route to world markets, providing Canadians with something they have not had before: options. For the first time, we can export our energy where we can obtain the best price. Market decisions, not a monopoly buyer, will determine our strategy.
Those who believe that stopping TMX is a win overlook what would be lost: jobs, income, investment in the energy transition, and opportunity. As the world continues to make the transition to a low-carbon future, we need sensible, sustainable approaches, ones that understand that the path to a low-carbon future may be long, but its trajectory is clear. Our responsibility is to use this time wisely by improving the environmental performance of traditional energy sources while developing new ones, by investing in both pipelines and clean technologies, and by engaging indigenous peoples as never before. That is exactly what we have been doing.
We are demonstrating that we can grow the economy significantly while protecting the environment, that the two can, and indeed must, go together. The legislation we introduced last week, Bill C-69, is the clearest proof of that. It would offer a new approach to assessing and reviewing major new resource projects, a modern way to ensure that good resource projects were built in a responsible, timely, and transparent way.
This is our plan for Canada, a plan that points us to a stronger economy and a cleaner environment. I invite the hon. members opposite and the member for Lakeland to get behind this nation-building plan, to work with us rather than using this opportunity to further ignite tensions. Let us build a brighter future for Albertans, British Columbians, and indeed, all Canadians together.