Mr. Speaker, it is with deep concern that I rise in the House today. It is a deeply worrying time for hard-working people in my home province of Alberta, for families in Alberta and British Columbia, and for our whole country.
The Government of Canada approved the building of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline because it is in the national interest. This project is in the national interest because it represents a $6.8 billion investment that will create 15,000 jobs during construction and 440 jobs per year after that. This does not even include all the indirect jobs that will be produced by the related opportunities, benefiting over 2,500 local businesses alone.
This pipeline is in the national interest because it will allow Canada, not simply Alberta, to get one of our country's most valuable natural resources to tidewater and to access markets beyond the United States. This means billions of dollars of investment and a direct benefit to the Canadian economy.
The TMX pipeline is in the national interest. It went through a rigorous review process under the interim principles brought in by our government, which included consultation with first nations peoples and listening to the honest concerns of citizens in the Lower Mainland in British Columbia and others who raised valid questions about protecting our oceans.
We did something that for 10 years the previous government refused to do. We listened to the concerns of Canadians, and we responded to those concerns, because we knew that it would improve the Kinder Morgan project. We responded with a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan, and we helped to ensure that over $300 million in financial commitments to first nations communities would flow from the proponent.
We also worked closely with the Government of British Columbia, under former premier Christy Clark, who, after years of serious concerns about the project, agreed that our government and key stakeholders had taken the steps necessary to gain its agreement.
This is a multi-billion dollar infrastructure project that runs 1,150 kilometres, and it is natural that not everyone agrees with it. Let me give a corollary. I represent the downtown core of Edmonton, and I hear from people regularly about disagreements over converting a 1,350 square metre parking lot into an apartment complex. Reasonable people are going to disagree about reasonable projects. That is why we have elected governments in place to weigh concerns and opportunities and to come to a decision. That is exactly what happened here.
Sadly, no sooner had our government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline than the opposition united in rooting for the project to fail. Members of the federal NDP chose to abandon the effective and historic leadership of Premier Rachel Notley, who recognizes that the environment and the economy go hand in hand and that while it is critical to protect our environment, we also need to empower our economy.
Like the premier, our government understands that the Alberta energy sector will continue to be a world leader in renewable energy and sustainable resource development and the future of our economy. We also understand that using pipelines to transport our oil resources is safer and less carbon intensive than the alternatives. Our governments have both championed these economic realities and have been met with the inexplicable intransigence of the federal NDP.
Like Premier Rachel Notley, our government understands that the Alberta energy sector will continue to be a world leader in renewable energy, in sustainable resource development, and in the future of our economy. We also understand that using pipelines to transport our oil resources is safer and less carbon intensive than the alternatives. Above all, we recognize that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. That is why this project is going to diversify our export markets, meet enhanced environmental safety standards, and create thousands of jobs for Canadians.
Perhaps even more unbelievable is the Conservative Party's determination that TMX fail. I can respect, on a theoretical level, that members of the Bloc, the Green Party, and the NDP sincerely disagree with pipeline projects. They have a point of view, and the economic arguments do not hold the same weight for them. What matters most to the federal Conservatives, however, is politics. They are scared to death of seeing a federal Liberal and provincial NDP partnership successfully get a pipeline to the coast.
I can respect, on a theoretical level, that members of the Bloc Québécois, the Green Party, and the NDP sincerely disagree with pipeline projects. They have a point of view, and the economic arguments do not hold the same weight for them. What matters the most to the federal Conservatives, however, is politics. They are scared to death of seeing a federal Liberal and provincial NDP partnership successfully get a pipeline to the coast. However, the fact remains that the decision we made on the Trans Mountain project was based on facts, evidence, and the national interest.
The Conservative Party wants nothing more than to see this project fail, because Kinder Morgan's success in building the Trans Mountain pipeline means that the heavy-fisted, closed-off, non-consultative adversarial approach championed by Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney completely and utterly failed to get a pipeline built to tidewater. Conservatives do not want to see the pipelines built or the energy sector succeed, particularly not on our watch, because their focus is to scare Canadians and pit them against each other simply in order to gain votes. They are not interested in pipelines. They are interested in politics, and if they were interested in getting pipelines built, they would have done so in the 10 years they had in office instead of being focused on the politics of division, which helps explain the intent behind today's motion.
The Conservatives are asking this government to lean in and get this pipeline built. We have been doing so since the day the project was approved. We made a commitment and every day since we have been working with industry and have communicated clearly that when a natural resources project is approved, it will proceed in a timely fashion to generate economic benefits for all Canadians. With our approval of Trans Mountain, it is already proceeding in a timely manner with construction taking place at the marine terminal, and steps to finalize the detailed route are already under way. At every point, following the approval of Kinder Morgan, the Conservatives have tried to tell Canadians that any challenge or concern is insurmountable and declared the project dead. Every time, this government has defended this project, removed roadblocks, and countered false claims by the opposition.
When the lawsuits were launched against the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Conservative Party once again said that the pipeline was doomed. However, our government is defending the pipeline in court and will continue to do so because the project is in the national interest. When municipalities in B.C.'s Lower Mainland attempted to pass bylaws for no purpose other than to disrupt construction, once again the Conservative Party pronounced the project dead. Our government responded by creating a process at the NEB that enabled Kinder Morgan to get the green light to go ahead.
Recently, the Government of B.C. announced that it is considering imposing a ban on additional tanker traffic off the B.C. coast pending a study on the transportation of bitumen. What the discussion to date has largely ignored is that these regulations have not yet been put in place. Despite that, our government takes any attempt to infringe on federal authority and delay the building of a project in the national interest very seriously, and in response to these proposed regulations limiting tanker traffic, our government is already taking action.
The morning after these proposed regulations were announced, the Prime Minister stated unequivocally that the “pipeline is going to get built”. In the days that have followed, the Minister of Natural Resources has been unequivocal in stating, “No province can impinge on the national interest.” The Minister of Environment, members of cabinet, and government officials have been speaking with their counterparts in B.C. working to find a solution, all before any regulations have even been designed.
Our government has been involved in real action, while today's motion is mere theatre. We do not solve a national conflict or get pipelines built simply by passing a motion, snapping our fingers, and saying, “Make it so.” Canadians understand that Parliament cannot just pass a motion and the result will be B.C. and Alberta governments shaking hands, ending all of their disagreements, and all will be well. This motion is neither a serious proposal nor a serious solution.
What is important to note is that our government has been acting every day since this pipeline was approved. If there was any doubt that this is not a serious motion, members simply should look at the last words. Conservatives want a solution to a motion of interprovincial conflict in 72 hours. That is three days. One cannot get a blood test result in this country in three days. One cannot even get flowers delivered on Valentine's Day without three days' notice. A letter cannot get from Edmonton to Ottawa in three days. Let us ask a serious question. Are we going to end an interprovincial dispute with this Parliament saying, “Get it done in three days”? Get real. This conflict can only be resolved with open communication, co-operation, and hard work, not through cynical, theatrical, unbinding motions that just say, “Do this.” We saw that movie for 10 years and we know where it ends: nowhere.
Our government, together with all interested parties, will get this pipeline built.