House of Commons Hansard #262 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was project.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my remarks, after the approval of this pipeline by the National Energy Board, our Minister of Natural Resources took additional steps to consult with indigenous peoples and Canadians by creating an expert panel that allowed us to listen to more people.

Our government is proud of investing $1.5 billion in an oceans protections plan, which was unheard of in the past. We did that because we understand, as the hon. member has mentioned, that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. We can do both. We can create jobs and protect the environment. We can make sure that every Canadian is able to enjoy the prosperity while leaving an environment that is healthy for future generations.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, in his comments, the minister talked about inflaming regional divisions. I would say that no government in the recent past has been more capable of inflaming regional divisions than the current Liberal government. In particular, the minister, coming from Alberta, should know full well that there are a lot of Albertans who are not at all excited about what the government is up to.

What does the minister mean by inflaming regional divisions?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member again that the struggles Alberta families have faced over the last number of years started under Mr. Harper. There were 25,000 jobs lost in the resource sector under the Harper government. What did it do? Nothing. Instead, it started attacking the duly elected NDP government of Alberta. That is called division.

We will not follow that. We will make sure that we work very closely with every government, regardless of which political party it belongs to. We will work with Alberta and we will work with British Columbia, as we have done in many other cases, to make sure that we come to a shared conclusion, understanding that we can create jobs while protecting our environment.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment proudly proclaimed that the government has brought in a new environmental assessment process, exactly what the Liberals promised to do, but it is not what the Prime Minister and many Liberal members promised British Columbians. In fact, during the campaign, the Prime Minister, who was then leader of the official opposition, was asked, “Does your NEB overhaul apply to Kinder Morgan?” The now Prime Minister said, “Yes, yes, it applies to existing projects, existing pipelines as well.” He was then asked, “So if they approve Kinder Morgan in January, you're saying....” The Prime Minister said, “No, they're not going to approve it in January because we're going to change the government and that process has to be redone.” That is a direct quote from the Prime Minister.

Does the minister acknowledge that the Liberal government has betrayed Canadians, most particularly British Columbians, who were promised that there would be a different environmental assessment process, a fulsome environmental assessment process, for the Kinder Morgan project, when the government has actually brought it in under the Harper assessment process? What does the minister have to say to that?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Natural Resources has stated many times, when we formed the government, there were a number of projects in the queue in the assessment process. We developed an interim approach, with interim principles: consulting with indigenous peoples; making sure that we are taking action on the environment; and making sure that the economy and the environment go hand in hand to make sure that we are creating middle-class jobs and building a stronger middle class but are doing it in a responsible way to protect the environment. We want to make sure that investors who who invest in Canada understand that there is certainty for their investments, that the process works, and that they are able to invest and trust the government. That is exactly what we have done through those interim principles.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, before I start, I want to indicate that I am sharing my time with the member for Calgary Nose Hill.

I have been looking forward to this Kinder Morgan pipeline debate, one that seems to be escalating federal-provincial relations, especially between British Columbia and Alberta. It is fair to ask, what is the Kinder Morgan pipeline? There is an existing pipeline already from Alberta to the B.C. coast into Vancouver which delivers crude oil for export abroad. What this new proposal entails is simply running another line, for the most part parallel to the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline, expanding the capacity by effectively tripling the amount of crude oil that makes its way to the west coast. What it will do is displace oil that travels by truck or rail. If we asked Canadians if they had a choice, pipeline, or truck and rail, most Canadians would say they feel a whole lot more confident that the crude oil will pass safely through an oil pipeline than by rail or truck.

The safest way to transport oil, of course, is by pipeline. Specifically, rail is almost five times more likely to experience an accident than a pipeline. Over 70% of pipeline spills result in spills of less than one cubic metre. That is about the space of the area that I occupy here in this House of Commons. The vast majority of spills occur within confined facilities, which generally have secondary containment mechanisms and procedures.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline has gone through arguably the most rigorous science-based review that has ever been applied to any pipeline in Canada. There have been extensive public hearings under both our former Conservative government and the current Liberal government. In fact, the process was pretty well complete when the new Liberal government of the day said it was going to tack on all kinds of additional criteria to be reviewed, basically extending the process beyond what the proponents had expected. However, they agreed and it went through that process. At the end of the process, the National Energy Board approved the project. The approval included 157 conditions that the project would have to meet in order to receive approval. Those conditions included 49 environmental protection requirements. The 533-page decision noted evidence that a spill in Burrard Inlet could occur and would have adverse environmental effects. However, it concluded, “a large spill in Burrard Inlet is not a likely event.”

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal government have determined that this project is in the national interest and must proceed. I will get to that in a moment. Why is this all important for Canada? Why are natural resources like oil important to our national prosperity? Let us not forget that Canada's resource sector writ large, which includes oil, gas, and mines, represents 16% of our total economy. The resource sector directly or indirectly employs almost two million people across Canada. That is two million people who depend on the resource sector for their livelihood and to support their families.

The Canadian government has received, on average, $25 billion of revenue from the resource sector. If we want to focus in on oil, which is what the Kinder Morgan pipeline will carry, in Canada, oil is one of our most significant resources. In fact, we have the third-largest crude oil reserves in the world. We are sitting on this oil, and it is incumbent upon Canadian governments to allow that oil to be extracted in an environmentally defensible and sustainable way.

In 2016, natural resource companies invested over $90 billion into our economy. We are a world leader in extracting those natural resources and have a great comparative advantage over other countries. Why is that? First, we have this resource, which many other countries around the world do not have. Second, we have the scientific knowledge and capacity to extract our oil, our gas, and other resources in the most environmentally sustainable way. Wherever one might go in the world, Canada is the leader.

When we are sitting on such a large resource that can be extracted in an environmentally sustainable way, why would we import oil from other countries? That is what we do today. We import oil from other countries because we do not have the pipelines in Canada to provide for our own oil supply to our refineries, for gas in our automobiles and all the other products fired by oil.

We are buying oil from countries like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Russia. Do we think those countries extract their oil in the most environmentally sustainable way? Of course not. Canada is a leader. Therefore, why would we not displace their oil with our oil by building the pipeline capacity that we need?

Another reason it is important that we get our pipelines to tidewater, to the ocean, is because today when Canadian companies sell their oil on the market, the only market they have available is the North American market, where they get $25 less per barrel for their oil than the United States. The United States can get its oil to tidewater, to countries like China and elsewhere around the world. Therefore, why would we not increase our capacity to get our product to international markets?

According to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, this differential of $25 per barrel results in Canadians leaving $5 billion on the table every single year. Where does that go? Where does the opportunity go? We lose the opportunity. It is money lost from our coffers in Canada. It goes to the United States, which does export its oil abroad. Think of how many schools that $5 billion would build in Canada, how many hospitals. In fact, the Prime Minister recently said, when he was asked by a veteran about why he is taking them to court, that veterans are asking for more than the Liberals can give. Think of what $5 billion could do to satisfy our obligations to our veterans.

Now we have a trade war. We have British Columbia and Alberta fighting over the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Why has that happened? It is a profound failure of federal leadership. Last week, when the trade war between those two provinces was escalating, where was the Prime Minister? Was he here in Canada sitting down with the provinces and stakeholders and getting it sorted out? No, he was in the United States meeting with his billionaire friends, doing selfies, and hobnobbing with the rich and famous while things were falling apart here in Canada.

Remember when the Prime Minister was elected? One of the things he promised Canadians was that he was going to usher in a new era of co-operative federalism. What has happened? It is all falling apart. We have provinces fighting provinces. We have the federal government fighting the provinces. That is not the governance that the Prime Minister promised. It is another broken promise.

It is time for the Prime Minister to step up, take leadership, and use the federal government's declaratory power to get this project done, because it is in the national interest.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it cannot be denied that new pipelines will increase upstream emissions. Our government, in approving this pipeline, has at the same time indicated it is very important that we tackle environmental climate change through a price on carbon. I know the member is opposed to carbon pricing, so perhaps he could explain to the House how we can lower emissions at a lower possible cost than the most efficient mechanism, which is carbon pricing?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, do you remember the term “social licence”? Canadians were asked what would happen if caps were placed on emissions from the big polluters and a harmful carbon price were placed on Canadians? Society would provide a social licence that would give us the ability to get pipelines and resource projects built and get our oil and gas to foreign markets, but what happened in Alberta? That is exactly what the government did. It put caps on emissions and imposed a heavy carbon price on Albertans. Premier Notley, I am sure, expected that she would now finally have the social licence that was promised. What did she get instead? She got a trade war with British Columbia. Enough said.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to address this question to my hon. colleague from Abbotsford, which is fundamental, about the mania for shipping out unprocessed raw bitumen as opposed to cutting off imports of more high-value crude to eastern Canadian ports. I would put it to the member that I have been advocating for some time that we build upgraders and refineries in Alberta so that we are not shipping bitumen mixed with diluent. Bitumen is not dangerous to transport, unless and until it is mixed with diluent, which creates dilbit that cannot be cleaned up. We could create more jobs in Alberta more quickly and use the product in Canada by stopping the importation of about a million barrels a day from Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and so on.

Why not refine the product in Alberta and distribute finished product across Canada for Canadians? Why the mania for export?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not an all-or-nothing situation. We want to ensure we have pipeline capacity within Canada so we can ship our oil across the country to refineries on the east coast. We have so much oil that is valuable, that the world wants, and that we extract in a environmentally sustainable way, why would we not also seek export markets?

Part of the problem with compelling industry to refine oil in Canada is that the refineries have to have a market for it and we would still have to transport that finished product somewhere. It is going to have to travel to either the west coast or, as the member suggests, the east coast. How is that going to take place, by truck, by railcar? It is pretty dangerous.

Also, if we want to ship our crude abroad, the problem is that countries like China will not buy it because China wants to refine it there itself. I know that. I am a former trade minister, and I know how this works. The Chinese do not want to buy our refined oil; they want to buy our crude oil, because they then get the chance to refine it there.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the natural resources minister was provided an opportunity to say whether he would use the military or police to push this pipeline through British Columbia. He previously said publicly that he could not guarantee he would not do that. The Minister of Infrastructure and Communities just did the same thing. When asked directly whether he would use the army or police, he went a little further and hinted that he would.

I am wondering if my hon. colleague could comment on that and what he thinks of these two very disturbing statements.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think Canadians are asking for the army to be brought in to make sure that the Kinder Morgan pipeline gets built. The federal government has to step up, sit down with the provinces, and resolve this. The premier of British Columbia knows that the federal government has primary jurisdiction over this. This falls within the federal government's power. The process has been completed, which was rigorous, and the project was approved, with many conditions to ensure it is built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way. With regard to the suggestion that the army would be sent in to resolve this problem, it is ludicrous for us to even hypothetically suggest that.

Right now, there is a dispute between two provinces in which the Prime Minister should be exercising his leadership by sitting down with them and resolving the dispute. If he cannot do it, he should get out of the way.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the motion before the House today reads:

That, given the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is in the national interest, will create jobs and provide provinces with access to global markets, the House call on the Prime Minister to prioritize the construction of the federally-approved Trans Mountain Expansion Project by taking immediate action, using all tools available; to establish certainty for the project, and to mitigate damage from the current interprovincial trade dispute, tabling his plan in the House no later than noon on Thursday, February 15, 2018.

I am going to take a bit of a different approach on this debate since my colleague from Beaches—East York is here. I want to try and change his mind today.

We are not having an honest debate in the House. Where the debate really needs to be is whether we want these projects approved or not. My concern with the federal government's approach, as an Alberta MP, has been that there have been obstacles put in the way without a lot of action. What does that mean? I think what the Liberals would like to do is to put up as many obstacles as possible, while saying that they are going to approve these projects and get them built, and then not actually having the political will to build them out and hoping they will fail down the road. I do not think that is honest. If the Liberals do not want these projects to be built out, as I know some of their caucus do not, then just be honest about it, because we can move on from there.

What is exceptionally bad for the Canadian economy, writ large, is for the Liberals to pretend, to industry, that Canada is somehow open for business for our natural resource projects, and then change the rules for assessments mid-stream and change the playing field. The Liberals should just be honest. Is that going to cost them some votes? Sure. Is it going to keep them some seats? Sure. However, we need to move on from this point.

The reason I want to see the motion supported is, if the plan that we are asking them to table is “we do not have a plan and do not want this to proceed”, then the Liberals need to be honest so that we can move forward. I have a lot of people in my riding, in my province, and frankly across the country that need some certainty on this.

I watched this play out with the energy east debate, which of course is at a different stage of approval, but TransCanada said this is a multi-billion dollar project and decision, and the investment climate is not here for that project. One of my colleagues asked about refining products, but how can we refine products if we cannot take them out to where the refineries are? That is what energy east was supposed to do, but it fell off the table.

There was an article in the National Post that I really resonated with, which stated that “Ottawa doesn't need a new energy regulator. It needs a new spine.” I really think that spine has to go one way or the other. Are we an energy-producing nation or are we not?

Earlier today, the Minister of Natural Resources tried to frame out this question by saying, “We do not share the views of those who would simply pump as much oil as we can as fast as we can, nor do we agree with those who say that we should leave all the oil in the ground and never build a single pipeline.” However, where are they? The government members have not actually defined where they are on that scale. To me, by trying to have it both ways, they are in the latter camp.

Here is where the problem is with that. We already are taking these resources out of the ground. The problem is that we are not getting the biggest value added for them. There is a price differential because we are confined to one market, rather than getting that product out to tidewater. Thus, the minister's statement was contradictory.

I do not understand why they cannot table a plan by Thursday. If the government is seriously committed to this, then how they are going to see this built through should be something that they have been thinking about for a long time.

The minister also said this morning, they are “working in good faith and without an artificial deadline”. Here is the reality. The funders of this project, the people who actually want to build this out, the producers of the product, they are not working on an artificial deadline. They are working on a real deadline to determine if this investment makes sense given the political instability in the country. There is no artificial deadline when talking about billions of dollars of investment. The minister's statement was ignorant of the understanding of how business works. That is why I would like him to be honest, so that we can start talking about the ramifications of not having the political will to build out a project that has passed every single review process in this country.

My colleague from Beaches—East York asked about climate change and what we would do. I am going to push back on his government's approach. It has been firmly attached to its $40 megatonne price on carbon. He said this is the most efficient way of doing things, yet I have not seen his government once stand up and say how many emissions that will actually reduce Canada's greenhouse gas profile by. It has not said it once.

In fact, I have a slight background in economics and have been following this. One of the leading economists, who is always out on this issue, says that he does not think we should actually care too much about what the specific effect on emissions will be. He started talking about how he can now see where the Liberals are transitioning to, and that it is just about putting a price on pollution.

If the member really cares about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, then the policy instruments should count. This is where we need to have a mix of strong regulations that encourage the adoption of technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We probably should be talking about this in terms of trade mechanisms. However, we have to do that in the context of understanding that we cannot price ourselves out of competitiveness with our major trade partners, because that inherently affects jobs, wealth, government revenues, and all these good things we want to do for social programs in the country.

For the government and the Prime Minister to say that we need to transition to a non carbon-based economy, there is a transition period and this is not it. This is not adequately managing that. Trying to have it both ways, sucking and blowing if we will, on approval for pipelines, hoping that industry will just pull out is not responsible government at all. It is a lack of a plan. That is why the government should be able to table a plan in the House of Commons by Thursday, even if it is as simple as saying that it does not want it built. Take accountability for that decision.

There are groups in this country that will never be reasoned with or believe we could somehow have environmental sustainability and economy growth. They do not want this pipeline built. It does not matter what regulatory body says that, because they do not want this built. What will the government do in that situation? Even if it went through all this new crazy process it put in place, which I could talk about, these people will still say that they do not want it built. What is the government managing to? Is it managing to opinions and votes, or is it managing to what is in the long-term best interest for the economy of this country?

That is why this motion is important and why it should be supported. If the Prime Minister is going to say, and the natural resources minister will use to argue his rationale for not voting for this, that the pipeline is going to get built, then how? What is the government going to do? There is a trade war breaking out between two of the economic powerhouses of this country right now, and what has the Prime Minister's response been? That he is going for a jog in California. That is not enough.

If the Prime Minister does not want this project built, then he just should say it. I cannot even imagine what his caucus meetings look like on Wednesday mornings. I am sure the member for the area of Burnaby has large constituencies of people who just do not want these pipelines built saying that we should not build this out and asking why we are even entertaining this. Be honest to that constituency, go with them, and let everybody else who does not feel likewise hold the government to account for that decision. This is not responsible.

The Liberals' climate change plan is not going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is not the most efficient way. If we cannot even talk about price elasticity in the context of a regionalized Canadian economy, we are not at a good place right here. There should be a plan.

The other thing that really disappoints me is that this comes down to the Harper government doing this or that. Yes, the Harper government was unabashedly pro-pipeline, because we took that political will and said that this was in the best interest of the country and that this was where we were going. We could have a whole argument, or not, around the electoral consequences for that. The reality is that we are reaping 20 years of environmental NGOs putting forward a very strong message in Canada. However, the government has a responsibility now that it has been elected to say that this sector creates a lot of jobs, a lot of revenue for every provincial government and the federal Government of Canada, and we cannot just remove that without there being some economic consequence.

Letting these projects just kind of die is not just about this pipeline. It is about sending a message to the entire international community about whether or not Canada is open for business writ large. What is being said is that governments respond very poorly to these types of decisions.

People want political certainty. This pipeline can be built out. It has already passed all the regulatory processes. This can be done in an environmentally responsible way. This is Canada.

I would like the Prime Minister to stand and say the same thing, but with the “how” attached and what he is going to do to push back when the provincial governments become obstructionist against the people in my riding and every single person in this country who see economic growth and benefit from the sustainable development of our natural resources.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my hon. colleague's speech and I will repeat what the minister said earlier today. I have a hard time understanding why the official opposition cannot take “yes” for an answer.

I was heartened to hear a number of the things that certainly I, the minister, and the Prime Minister have been saying in the House over the past number of days and weeks. Yes, the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is supported by this government because it will create good paying jobs, because it is good for our economy.

Could the member opposite tell us why when she talked about all the tools in the tool box, she suggests the sledgehammer is the right approach?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the last time I checked, we actually do need a sledgehammer to build pipelines.

The government needs to exert political will to get this built. In my speech I said there are groups that will never, ever politically support the build out of a pipeline. The government must realize that by now. There are groups that are just fundamentally opposed to seeing this through.

My colleague, who will not even wait for the answer, having a government appointment, has a responsibility to speak up and not hide behind a delayed regulatory process. She needs to understand that this is not going to get built without the Prime Minister saying, and should have said last week, that this is something of national import and that he will look at every constitutional tool to get this done, that he stands behind his decision and will not allow the provinces to use interprovincial trade as a barrier, especially when we are trying to negotiate with the United States on NAFTA. That is leadership and hiding behind false equivalencies is not leadership.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was surprised by how my colleague began her speech earlier. She said she wanted to have a clear and honest debate. I agree.

However, when someone tries to tell me that oil from the tar sands is clean oil, I am not sure how honest that is. When someone tells me that we import oil from Saudi Arabia, that, too, is not being honest. Some people say that it is safer to transport oil by train. However, the U.S. department studied spills between 2002 and 2012, specifically spills from pipelines versus trains, and found that train transportation is not safer. Those are the facts and the studies that have been done.

The federal government, whether Conservative or Liberal, takes a heavy handed approach with the provinces, including Quebec, deciding for them and ignoring provincial governments, which just want to protect their citizens.

How is this justified?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, what my colleague said was “I don't believe this is safe”. That is like saying, “I believe in the tooth fairy”. This is why we have quantitative, evaluative processes to determine whether or not a project is safe. This project has gone through inordinate amounts of environmental assessments to determine that very question by scientists.

What the member has just said is that she is going to politicize this by coming up with a bunch of stuff that is not backed up by fact, when we should be looking at the outcome of a review process that took months and used scientific efforts. I do not accept her politicization and fearmongering on this topic.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have heard from two ministers and the secretary of state to the minister about the Trans Mountain expansion being good for Canada and that it is in Canada's interests. However, if we look at the recent past, the Liberals rejected the northern gateway pipeline project, which would have moved Canadian oil to the Pacific Ocean. The Liberals put an oil ban on it. Then the Liberals dragged their heels and forced TransCanada to cancel the energy east pipeline, which would have left Canadian plants in New Brunswick to refine clean oil. There were a whole bunch of extra regulations.

Does the member think there is an ulterior idea here? Does she see dishonesty by the government members? It seems to be a way of dragging their heels and hoping this thing cancels.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, this morning the minister started his speech by saying the “purpose of this debate is to fan regional tensions and open historical grievances.” That is pretty telling. The first thing out of the mouth of the natural resources minister was a political statement like that. Instead of looking at one of these projects as a way to build prosperity across the country, he put that little nugget out there. Would the Liberals not love that?

When I was in cabinet, the first thing the former prime minister always did was to look at regional balances and projects, and I feel like the Liberal government is doing the opposite. The only reason this is an issue right now is because of the statements that came out of the mouths of both the Prime Minister and the natural resources minister. I am sure all Canadians who understand that a united Canada is greater than the sum of its parts will hold him to account, especially in Winnipeg, for those ignorant and divisive comments.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country B.C.

Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Cloverdale—Langley City.

In consideration of the opposition day motion before the House, I would like to highlight recent contributions made by the people of British Columbia to national public policy with regard to the environment and climate change, fisheries, oceans and the Coast Guard, transportation safety, and indigenous inclusion as a common thread throughout. Because of the engagement and leadership of this government, British Columbia has made great strides forward.

We are striking a better balance for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

To begin, however, I would like to talk about the Olympics for a minute, partly because it is topical but mainly because my involvement in the games over the years has helped me to understand British Columbia and Alberta better, both with respect to domestic interests and international trade, as well as in the development of good public policy.

In 2006 in Torino, Italy, the Vancouver organizing committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted Canada House. I was part of the senior delegation because I was the mayor of West Vancouver, and ski and snowboard events were going to be held on the local mountain.

In Torino, Canada House was the single most popular venue that people wanted to visit. They lined up for blocks, from all over the world, to see the Squamish Nation carved front doors, to feel the pillars made of timber from B.C.'s majestic forests, and to experience Coast Salish culture.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We are having an incredibly important debate today on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. As much as I enjoy the Olympics, the parliamentary secretary should be concentrating on that. I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to ask her to move to that topic.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I thank the hon. member for Burnaby South for his intervention. He is right. We ask all hon. members to ensure their remarks are pertinent to the question before the House. It is not uncustomary for members, from time to time, at the start of their remarks to proceed with a brief intervention or comment in respect to something that is current and perhaps relevant to Canadian society at the moment or timely. The emphasis there would be on brief, so the parliamentary secretary can turn to something like that briefly and then quickly come back to the question before the House. I would encourage her to do that and stay on topic.

We will get back to the hon. parliamentary secretary.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 12th, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, British Columbia's commitment to the Four Host First Nations and the green games had never been seen before.

Four years later, we hosted the games in Vancouver, and my special assistant was seconded from Calgary, Alberta. Her name was Wendy Tynan. She was an unbelievable partner, and her father was involved in Alberta House.

It was a real revelation to me that the public art installation in Alberta House was a digital readout of the price of oil that day. This is what Albertans wanted their guests to see. Cheers would go up spontaneously when the price went up, no matter what.

The reason I am mentioning B.C. House and Alberta House is not to oversimplify or waste anyone's time. It is to explain the challenge of governing for all parts of Canada, and the fundamental elements of the Trans Mountain decision.

I will begin with what are vital considerations for British Columbians. We take our responsibility for environmental protection and advocacy seriously. It is a public trust.

The previous federal government abandoned the public trust with regard to the natural environment, marine safety, and public engagement. It gutted the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act. It closed the Kitsilano Coast Guard station. It diminished the importance of maritime safety and our capacity for proper protection on the west coast. It forsook the public's genuine and abiding interest in providing input to the National Energy Board. It muzzled scientists. It simply failed to recognize what it had done to the soul of those of us who lived on Canada's coastlines and the respect we had for the natural environment.

Every member of Parliament from British Columbia on the government benches arrived here to advocate for the protection of our coasts and marine ecosystems, and our government is unequivocal in its commitment to the protection of Canada's waters and marine ecosystems.

In November 2016, the Prime Minister launched the $1.5 billion oceans protection plan in Vancouver. This historic national investment will protect Canada's marine environments, improve marine safety, and ensure responsible shipping. It will provide indigenous communities and coastal communities with new opportunities to protect, preserve, and restore Canada's oceans and sea routes.

Under the OPP, we reopened and expanded the capacity of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, which will now house two inflatable rescue boats, as well as a specialized pollution response vessel. As well, the Coast Guard's 24/7 response will be strengthened to protect Canada's waters and to lead in responding to marine emergencies.

To ensure world-leading marine safety and spill response, we are deploying two large heavy-tow tugs in British Columbia, the first coming into service this year, and the next one, next year. They are capable of towing commercial tankers and large container ships.

No doubt, members will remember when a Russian cargo ship, the Simushir, lost power in the fall of 2014 and began drifting toward Haida Gwaii. An Alaska-based tugboat, the Barbara Foss, was refuelling nearby, and was able to tow the cargo ship to safety. We simply lacked that capacity. The oceans protection plan addresses that.

We will also have new indigenous community response teams in B.C., offering training for search and rescue, environmental response, incident command, and for a greater role in marine safety.

Through the OPP, we are investing in British Columbia and across Canada to establish a world-leading marine safety system, and to expand the scientific foundation for spill response.

We have marshalled research capacity in labs in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to spearhead wide-ranging new chemical and biological research into the behaviour and effects of dilbit in marine environments, and to build world-leading ocean modelling capacity to underpin risk-based spill response planning. We are also providing additional funding in science and research to improve technologies that will mitigate and prevent marine incidents.

In B.C., we are also establishing environmental baseline assessments at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert in order to assess how human activities may impact our marine ecosystems over time. By doing this, we will better understand coastal ecosystems and the potential effects of regional marine vessel activity on the environment. I know this is central to the concern of the Government of British Columbia.

Certainly, our government's interest in developing the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lab in West Vancouver into the Pacific science enterprise centre and the partnerships that are already happening there, are entirely focused on science research and community engagement with regard to critical questions of marine ecosystems.

In 2016, an integrity review of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was conducted and as a result, $1.4 billion was added to the base budget, reflective of the need to restore the devastation of the cuts made by the previous government and in order to carry out core functions of the fisheries department.

We wholeheartedly endorse the Cohen Commission recommendations and have now adopted 64 out of 75. We are working to implement wild salmon policy, at long last. We moved swiftly to ensure the salmon enhancement program was intact.

With respect to our commitment to marine protected areas, we are over halfway to our goal of 10% of Canada's coastlines by 2020.

Last week, the Minister of Fisheries announced the new Fisheries Act, to restore lost protections removed by the previous government. I look forward to debating that tomorrow. It is an exciting opportunity to advocate for wild salmon and the end of open-net salmon aquaculture, as I have mentioned in the House before.

The OPP and the renewed fisheries budget mean that $2.9 billion have been invested for coastal communities and the nation's waterways. We are devoted to working with the government of British Columbia on all of these initiatives. We know that by recognizing and balancing regional interests, we build the national interest.

Canada is a world-leading trading nation. Our economy and the ability to create good middle-class jobs depend on our ability to access and serve global markets, supported by our ability to access foreign markets through responsible shipping. We have to be committed to protecting Canada's coastlines and to every Canadian whose livelihood depends on the economic viability of Canada's waterways and natural resources.

Our government has consulted extensively. In 2015, in his mandate letter, the Minister of Transport was asked to legislate a tanker ban on the north coast of B.C. arising directly from concerns there. We listened. In January of 2016, we introduced a set of interim principles to improve on the process of assessing pipelines and projects. Public comment expanded, and we listened. In November 2016, our government rejected Enbridge's proposal for the northern gateway pipeline and endorsed the Trans Mountain project, attaching 157 conditions.

This demonstrates a balanced approach, a thorough approach, and one that has been achieved by acting in good faith.

It is the federal government's legal responsibility to ensure marine, rail, and pipeline safety, which we will uphold and endeavour to ensure reflects broad considerations and benefits most people.

The OPP, the new Fisheries Act, and the government's decision on the Trans Mountain project contribute substantially to strengthen the environment and the economy. There is no question that moving forward with Trans Mountain has been a difficult decision to make, and an even harder one for many to accept, particularly many in my community. However, now is the time to focus on the legislative strides we are taking to protect the coastal environment, wild salmon, ocean health, to tackle climate change, and embrace opportunities for innovation and renewable energy as we transition to a low-carbon economy.

I look forward to working with all British Columbians, Albertans, and Canadians toward our shared goals.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that people in my constituency and across Canada have a legitimate basis for being worried about the intentions of the government. The Trans Mountain pipeline really is the only pipeline that the government has not killed yet, and it is looking for all kinds of different ways to do so. With northern gateway, it was killing it directly. With energy east, it was compounding the process for review to such an extent that it was far beyond what we had seen with any other similar project. The government, frankly, is looking for excuses to kill these projects, even if it does not necessarily want to say it is doing it directly. Canadians have a legitimate concern about the government's credibility on this issue.

I want to understand from the parliamentary secretary what the difference is. If the government professes to be supportive of this pipeline project but, on the other hand, has done everything it can to kill every other pipeline project, why should Canadians have confidence in it when it comes to this one?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member that it was the courts that killed northern gateway explicitly because of the previous government's failure to consult. I have spent my time explaining the confidence we had to rebuild as a result of the previous government's egregious actions in gutting the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act, in closing the Kitsilano Coast Guard base, and in not acting to ensure that the west coast of Canada was protected in consideration of adding additional tankers.

I certainly believe my colleagues are capable of this. In the interests of British Columbians who seem to be at odds for the moment, we, as federal members of Parliament, have an obligation to work together for the greater good.