That this House do now adjourn.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie.
I am speaking for the hard-working Canadians, investors, and industries who are waiting for the Trans Mountain expansion to be built. Canada's Conservatives requested this emergency debate, because on April 8, Kinder Morgan set May 31 as the deadline to stop the challenges, settle the obstacles, and provide certainty once and for all.
However, this was not the first warning that there were too many barriers and delays, that this vital infrastructure so clearly in the national interest is at serious risk. For a year and a half since the approval, the Prime Minister has failed.
Trans Mountain is crucial for Canada, a $7.4 billion initiative that will create 15,000 jobs directly and sustain hundreds of thousands more in the energy sector across Canada, and in all the other sectors that depend on thriving Canadian oil.
The Conference Board of Canada said that the combined government revenue impact for construction and the first 20 years of expanded operations is $46.7 billion, including federal and provincial taxes for public services such as health care and education. B.C. would receive $5.7 billion, Alberta $19.4 billion, and the rest of Canada would share $21.6 billion. Municipal tax payments before adjusting for inflation total $922 million to B.C. and $124 million to Alberta over the first 20 years.
It will provide necessary access to export markets for landlocked environmentally and socially responsible Canadian oil, which is crucial now more than ever before, since the Liberals have killed the only two other new opportunities to tidewater, the Conservative-approved northern gateway pipeline and energy east. That leaves Canada almost entirely dependent on the U.S., which is now Canada's biggest energy competitor. Without Trans Mountain, Canada will remain wholly captive, which is an acute problem because the U.S. is aggressively pursuing its own domestic energy production and supply while exporting crude oil for the first time in 40 years and flooding world markets.
However, it has not been built yet, and construction season is soon. It faces highly organized, ongoing political, legal, and even foreign-funded opponents, who promise they will use every tool in the tool box to stop it. It is death by delay. The Prime Minister's failure has forced innocent Canadians, businesses and families, neighbours and friends, to be caught and at risk, in the crossfire of an escalating trade war and even threats to restrict energy supply between three neighbouring provincial governments.
Kinder Morgan's deadline is an alarming but predictable economic and constitutional emergency. It is a direct result of the Prime Minister's failure to act. Now it is about more than the pipeline itself; it is about investor confidence and certainty in Canada overall. Canada's international and economic reputation is at stake. That is because it is the latest in a pattern of multi-billion dollar energy investments and projects that have been cancelled under this Prime Minister.
The reality is that more Canadian energy investment has been lost under this Prime Minister in two years than under any other prime minister for the same timeframe in 70 years. The total dollar value is like losing 75% of auto manufacturing and almost the entirety of the aerospace sector in Canada. The collateral damage is hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, families in turmoil and struggle, on this Prime Minister's watch. What is scary is that it is the tip of the iceberg if the Liberals ram through their new energy regulations, their tanker ban, their offshore drilling ban, the carbon tax, and more.
Provincial governments, energy investors, economists, and oil and gas proponents are all rightfully demanding certainty and clarity about Trans Mountain and the future of energy development and transportation in Canada. There is no firm commitment that barriers will cease. The Liberals will make it worse.
Oil and gas provides billions in tax and royalty revenues to all governments, hundreds of millions to charities and in partnership with academic and educational institutions across Canada. It directly and indirectly employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians in every part of the country, and hundreds of thousands more in spinoff jobs. It lifts the standard of living of every Canadian.
The escalating crisis over Trans Mountain is causing investors and proponents to speak out. That is rare, and elected representatives should take note. The CEO of one of the biggest midstream oil and gas operators in Canada, Keyera, said, “Canada is not looked upon as a good place to invest when it comes to oil and gas these days....partly because the U.S. environment is quite positive.”
CEO David Smith outlined critical priorities for Canadian energy, “market access” and “competitiveness, as well as making sure that government is “not layering on additional costs that make it more difficult for us to compete.”
The CEO of Suncor, the leading integrated oil and gas company in Canada, and a pioneer in the oil sands, said:
We’re having to look at Canada quite hard. The cumulative impact of regulation and higher taxation than other jurisdictions is making Canada a more difficult jurisdiction to allocate capital in....
...other jurisdictions are doing much more to attract business, so Canada needs to do much more to up its game.
Absent some changes...you’re going to see us not exercising the very big capital projects that we’ve just finished.
Upstream oil and gas developers are calling on the Prime Minister to ensure Trans Mountain can proceed. The CEO of Cenovus Energy said, “If the rule of law is not upheld and this project is allowed to fail, it will have a chilling effect on investment not just in British Columbia, but across the entire country.”
Banks and investment firms are throwing up red flags. The Royal Bank said, “In real time, we're seeing capital flow out of the country. If we don't keep the capital here, we can't keep the people here.” Scotiabank said, “We're going to lose our competitive advantage on a number of things. Canada has a productivity issue and it has a competitiveness issue. I'm concerned about the resource-based economy, and access to tidewater.” CIBC said, “Slowdown or uncertainty regarding a pipeline is clearly a major factor impacting business investment in the energy space.”
Among the most passionate are business owners in B.C. The CEO of the Business Council of B.C. said, “This is no longer about a pipeline but whether you can rely on government and the rule of law if you choose to invest. This can have lasting consequences.” The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said, “If uncertainty is allowed to continue, it risks doing serious damage to this country’s reputation.”
The B.C. NDP-Green coalition has been challenging federal jurisdiction aggressively, asking for more studies about the product that has been in the pipeline for decades, putting up roadblocks through construction, and intending more if the expansion does get built.
The Prime Minister obviously should have anticipated this attack, since it never supported it and openly campaigned on killing it, but he did not even bring up the pipeline in his first call with the premier. It has taken 10 months and a full-blown economic and constitutional crisis for him to meet about it, with the project on the line. It is a crisis of the Liberals' own making. Now governments are floating the concept of taxpayers financing or backstopping it.
The Prime Minister suggests the only way for Trans Mountain to be built is to nationalize or subsidize it. However, before him, major energy projects and pipelines could be built in Canada with no risk to taxpayers. The challenges will not stop. It is a death knell for private sector interests and investments in the future. It is an indictment of his own record.
Another aspect that makes Trans Mountain so necessary is the economic opportunities and social benefits for indigenous communities now and for future generations. Trans Mountain is partly owned through equity partnerships with 43 communities along the route, worth more than $400 million. Every indigenous community directly impacted by the expansion and within a 10 kilometre buffer zone all along the route support it. As of August 2015, 120 indigenous entities were consulted. About 85% of the owners or occupants on the pipeline route raised no issues or concerns.
Chief Ernie Crey of the Cheam First Nation said, “If this project doesn't go through, it will hurt our people.”
Arthur Bird of the Paul First Nation said, “We have to support the development of the country and its economics, because the economics of the country affects all of us in one way or another.”
In 2016, when the project was waiting for approval, Mike Lebourdais, former chief of the Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band said, “I want the money from our resources...so that we can pay for our health, so that we can pay for our education, so that we can pay for our elders, so that we can pay to protect our environment, so we can build better pipes, we can build better bridges, we can build better railways.”
The Peters First Nations said they are concerned that among all of the well-funded and highly publicized opposition to the project, the voice of indigenous nations that support TMX has been lost.Peters First Nation said it has lived with the original pipeline that was built over 50 years ago seated at the base of their mountain and above their homes with no worries or incidents. They said that the TMX pipeline is the safest way to transport needed natural resources out of the country for the benefit of all Canadians.
Of course, opinions of indigenous people are diverse, and everyone has a right to advocate their views and assemble peacefully. However, it is quite the spectacle to see NDP and Green activists outright oppose economic opportunity and security for 43 Indigenous communities while seven challenge the expansion in court. It is stunning hypocrisy to hear politicians speak of this “most important relationship” and worry publicly about the crippling poverty and particular socio-economic challenges and barriers facing indigenous Canadians, while deliberately using every possible means to block financial opportunities and undermine all their efforts and work to secure agreements to benefit their communities, youth, and future.
It was already an embarrassment that Kinder Morgan had to announce to the world in January that it was still committed to the project. In spite of all the delays, uncertainty, prospect of failure, enemies on all sides, it was still trying to get Trans Mountain built. The Prime Minister should be ashamed of his utter failure to champion it, but that is what energy investment in Canada looks like under the Liberal government and the Prime Minister's failure of leadership.
Energy is Canada's number one private sector in the economy. It is Canada's second biggest exporter. Canada's pipeline monitoring system has the strongest safety standards in the world, and risk mitigation, prevention, protection and response advance continuously. Canada is a global leader in energy innovation. Canadians must have industry to work, innovate, build, invest, and profit. Canadians must also steward and protect the environment, air quality, water, land, and habitat.
Canada is the most responsible developer of oil and gas in the world, and the world will continue to demand and need Canadian oil. The Liberals have to champion Canadian energy, Canadian innovation, and Canadian jobs.