Madam Speaker, it is with disappointment that I join this debate.
Canadians look to their national Parliament for steady leadership and aspirational thinking. They look to us to unite our country and build our nation. Instead, they have seen too many examples of something quite different today. They see a motion seemingly designed to provoke anger and inflame anxiety, members who prefer to point fingers and sow division. At times, I have even wondered if the main purpose of this debate is to fan regional tensions and reopen historical grievances. We are better than that.
The world has reached a turning point. Climate change represents our generation's greatest challenge, and investing in a low-carbon future is the new norm.
Canada is uniquely positioned to rise to this occasion and to be a global leader, thanks to the resources of our country and the resourcefulness of our people. This is our government's vision for Canada in this clean growth century. It is a vision that brings all Canadians together under common cause, and one that includes using this time of transition to Canada's advantage, building the infrastructure we need to get our resources to global markets, and using the revenues they generate to invest in that future. That is what we are doing.
This is why our government is working with officials in Alberta and British Columbia to get a resolution on TMX. Prime Minister to premiers, ministers to ministers, and senior officials in each government, everyone working in good faith and without an artificial deadline, which is why the motion before us is misguided.
To suggest that the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is not of the utmost importance to our government is the height of folly, and it flies in the face of the facts. The Prime Minister has been very clear about our government's position. As he said in Edmonton earlier this month, “That pipeline is going to get built”. He then added, “We need this pipeline and we’re going to move forward with it responsibly”. Nothing could be more certain, which means there is no need for a motion to tell our government to use all of the tools available to it, and certainly no reason for deadlines or ultimatums.
Interprovincial pipelines are the responsibility of the federal government, and a responsibility that our government takes seriously, respects, and will defend. When making decisions on interprovincial pipeline projects, it is our duty to act in the national interest, which is exactly what we did in approving the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline.
There is an indigenous proverb that says, “We do not inherit this land from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.” This perspective has inspired our government throughout its first two years in office. It is the reason we believe the economy and the environment must go hand in hand, and it was the motivation behind the launch of Generation Energy, the largest national discussion about energy in Canadian history.
I want to take a moment to remind the House what happened during Generation Energy, because, years from now, Canadians may very well look back and say that Generation Energy was a turning point, that it marked our emergence as a global leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy. We invited Canadians to imagine Canada's energy future, and they responded, joining the conversation by the hundreds of thousands, with hundreds more descending on my home city of Winnipeg for a two-day discussion on Generation Energy last fall. Let us reflect on that fact for a moment.
The people who came to Winnipeg for Generation Energy came from every corner of our country and from around the world. They came from Norway, France, Mexico, and the United States. They came from every sector of the energy industry: oil and gas, wind, solar, nuclear, electricity. Respected indigenous leaders, business leaders, community leaders, youth leaders, they were all there. It was only the Conservative Party that chose to send no one. People who may never have spoken to each other before were in the same room, challenging each other and themselves.
Suddenly, the questions became even more pressing, questions such as “What happens now?” and “What if our individual choices could add to transformational change?” Generation Energy tapped into something unexpected and unstoppable. Our government is building these ideas into a Canadian energy strategy, working with the provinces and territories to expand what they have already done: leveraging the fossil fuel resources we have today to deliver clean energy solutions for tomorrow; planning our energy future to align with a global transition to a low-carbon economy; leaning on shared priorities such as energy efficient, clean technologies, and green infrastructure; and linking those provinces that have an abundance of clean electricity with those trying to get there.
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. Both sides miss the point that we can and must grow the economy while protecting our environment for future generations. How do we do both? One certainly does not take the approach of the Harper government, which was to ignore indigenous rights, climate change, and the environment in the name of economic development at any cost. One does it by fully respecting indigenous rights, climate change, and the environment as essential components of economic development.
To the hon. member and her party opposite, I offer a stroll down memory lane. This is an important point. The moment Harper decided to use all tools available in the sole name of pipelines was the moment he lost the trust of Canadians. To refresh our memories, the member opposite's government was focused on exempting pipelines from environmental assessments, treating environmentalists as terrorists, removing the ability for environmental groups to speak out, stripping the ability of Canadians to participate in project reviews, and using taxpayers' money to investigate any organization that cared about the environment, and eliminating decades' worth of legislation in one fell swoop. Harper truly did use all the tools he could find to dismantle anything standing in the way of rapid and unchecked resource development. What the Harper government never understood was that ignoring something does not mean it will go away.
When our government was elected by Canadians, we knew public trust was gone. We rolled up our sleeves to fix the mess the Harper government left behind. First, we launched a new interim approach to environmental assessments in Canada. Within weeks of taking office, we launched a different approach to major project reviews that put indigenous rights, science, environmental protection, and transparent and open public consultation front and centre. The Harper government removed all these things in the name of jamming things through. It did not work. We put these principles back, maintaining certainty for investors, expanding public consultation, enhancing indigenous engagement, and including greenhouse gas emissions in our project assessments.
Second, we acted on climate change. We ensured the Paris Agreement on climate change was ambitious. The House, including the members opposite, supported that agreement. We signed it, ratified it, and launched the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, which included Alberta's hard cap on oil sands emissions. This was the first climate change plan in the history of the country that was developed hand in hand with provinces and territories, as well as with first nations, Métis, and Inuit. For the first time in the history of this country, we launched a federal plan to put a price on carbon pollution. For the record, we are nearly 30 years behind countries such as Norway in pricing carbon pollution, and it seems to be doing okay.
Third, we acted on oceans protection. We launched the single largest investment in Canada's oceans in this country's history, $1.5 billion. It is the largest investment in the Canadian Coast Guard in a generation. We looked to the world's leading ocean protectors, Alaska and Norway, and we said that we should match or beat them, and we have. Once implemented, Canada will have the best oceans protection measures in the entire world. Canada has oil, gas, and fuel being shipped through, from, or to all three of our coasts, and we have had this for over 60 years. With this comes great responsibility to protect our oceans.
Let us be clear, these three things would have happened, pipeline or no pipeline. However, these three crucial plans had to be implemented because the Harper government eliminated climate change action and oceans protections in its own efforts to use all tools humanly possible in the name of pipelines.
Fourth, we approved three pipelines, the Trans Mountain expansion, Line 3, and Nova Gas, and denied one, the northern gateway pipeline. All those decisions were made based on the national interest, sound science and evidence, full public consultation, and upholding the rights of the indigenous peoples. Most importantly, all of these decisions took into account everything we had done before: a new method of doing environmental assessments, ensuring these projects fit within Canada's climate change action plan, making sure we have the world's safest and strongest oceans protections plan, and ensuring indigenous rights were held up.
Regarding the northern gateway pipeline, the vast majority of indigenous communities were opposed to the project. The Harper government's insufficient consultations and complete lack of scientific considerations or public engagement meant that it completely missed the fact that the Great Bear Rainforest was no place for a pipeline. The Federal Court of Appeal, in its judgment that quashed northern gateway, was not critical of the proponent or the regulator but of the Harper government.
On the Trans Mountain expansion project, the majority of indigenous communities were in support. Today, 42 have impact benefit agreements, while six exercised their rights in court.
Through re-establishing transparent and open public consultations, a process the Harper government had dismantled, we heard from thousands of Canadians who told us we have a responsibility to get our resources to market, to take action to protect the environment, and to create good-paying, middle-class jobs.
We launched a special ministerial panel of distinguished Canadians. They were appointed to travel up and down the length of the proposed pipeline route, ensuring indigenous peoples and local communities were thoroughly heard. For the first time, we made the record of those decisions public on the Internet for all Canadians to see.
We also carefully considered the findings of the National Energy Board. For the first time, the Government of Canada co-developed, with first nations and Métis leaders, the indigenous advisory and monitoring committee for both Line 3 and the TMX. We are investing $64.7 million over five years in these communities, which are essential to ensure the companies live up to their promises and fully engage rights holders throughout the entire life of the projects.
We understand that our decision on the bill to expand the Trans Mountain network is not unanimous, but we are determined to work with the provinces and with indigenous peoples to keep Canada's energy infrastructure safe and secure, all while showing environmental leadership.
The project represents a $7.4 billion investment and thousands of good, middle-class jobs, a project that stands to benefit Canadians across the country, just as the existing pipeline has done since 1953, creating new access for Canadian oil to global markets and world prices.
This access and the stable reaction of government is crucial to investor confidence. This is particularly important in a time of discounted and low oil prices. The expansion of market access will feed economic growth. Those billions of dollars of investment will trickle down into public investment in schools, roads, highways, and my personal favourite, even the symphony orchestra.
There is a community cost to blocking this project. Government revenues support all Canadians, and they support investment in the transition to the low-carbon economy, all of which combine to make this a very important project to the entire country. The TMX expansion approval also came with 157 binding conditions, 98 of which relate to pre-construction requirements.
Just as important, the pipeline is required to be consistent with Canada's climate plan to 2030, as the project must operate within Alberta's 100 megatonne cap. As I described before, we are implementing the most ambitious oceans protection plan in our country's history, with the single largest investment to protect our waters, coastlines, and marine life.
Canada needed this plan with or without an expanded pipeline, because our oceans protection had eroded under the Harper government.
We understand that one of the biggest concerns on everyone's mind is the potential oil spill. We share that concern, which is why we have developed a plan that puts in place every safeguard against a spill happening in the first place.
Through the oceans protection plan, the Canadian Coast Guard now has more people, more authority, and more equipment to do its vital and necessary work. For the first time, two large tow vessels will be on call on the B.C. coast. Several Coast Guard vessels will be equipped with specialized toe kits to improve capacity to respond quickly. Primary environmental response teams, composed of specially trained personnel, will further strengthen the Coast Guard's existing on-scene operations.
We also reopened the Kitsilano Coast Guard station with new rescue boats and specialized pollution response capabilities, and there is a targeted action plan to promote recovery of the southern resident killer whale population.
Last week we introduced legislation, Bill C-69, that would restore the protections the country lost under the Harper government and would serve as a permanent fix in the way that Canada would assess and review major resource projects.
Bill C-69 is the culmination of more than a year and half of extensive consultations and thoughtful deliberations. It is informed by a comprehensive review that we launched just seven months into our mandate. The review also included modernizing the National Energy Board, protecting our fish, and preserving our waterways. We appointed expert panels, enlisted parliamentarians, released a discussion paper, and at every step of the way consulted Canadians, listening more than we spoke.
What emerged from these efforts were the same messages that we heard through Generation Energy, which is that Canadians are engaged. They are well informed. They know the economy and the environment can, and must, go hand in hand. They agree that Canada works best when Canadians work together. Those are the hallmarks of our legislation, a new and inclusive approach to protect the environment and build a stronger economy, creating good jobs and a sustainable future. It is an approach based on restoring public trust; renewing Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples; collaborating with the provinces and territories; protecting our environment, fish, and waterways; encouraging more investments in Canada's natural resources sectors; and better rules to build a better Canada.
Our approach is the exact opposite of the motion before us today, a motion that seeks to divide our country and pits the environment against the economy, province against province, and region against region. There is simply no need for a motion today that attempts to manufacture a crisis where one does not exist or that insinuates we return to the approach of the Harper Government.
All British Columbia has tangibly done at this point is to signal its intention to consult with the people of its province. That is its right. It is the right of every province to do that. However, we have clearly said that the federal government holds authority over the TMX pipeline, and we will. We will not entertain non-jurisdictional delays intended to stall or stop the project. That is simply not an option.
If that is the goal of any province, we will take the necessary action to ensure that federally-approved resource projects proceed. Until then, we will continue to work with all provinces and territories, and indigenous peoples, as we did on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. By driving innovation, improving environmental performance, restoring public confidence, and advancing indigenous partnerships, we can create the prosperity we all want, while protecting the planet we cherish.
The motion before us today ignores all of this. It proposes a sledge-hammer solution where one is not required. There are better options, options that speak to the generosity of our nation, options that reflect our faith in Canada, and appeal to the better nature of all Canadians. That is what I will be supporting today