House of Commons Hansard #279 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pipeline.


Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:10 p.m.


Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government has been clear that it will work with the proponent, and perhaps with others, to ensure that the uncertainty that has been created by the Government of British Columbia is given enough certainty in order to justify a significant new investment into this pipeline.

The policy goals of the government could not be clearer, for reasons that I am sure we would agree on: we need the better price, we need the jobs, we need the expansion of export markets, we need the protection of the coast, and we need more co-developed programs with indigenous people.

All of the necessary work that should have been done to prepare this pipeline and to bring Canadians with us has been done. We are certain the pipeline will be built.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:10 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.


Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in this emergency debate.

The Prime Minister has said repeatedly, and reaffirmed on Sunday, that the Trans Mountain pipeline will be constructed.

Interprovincial pipelines are the responsibility of the federal government, and when making decisions on interprovincial pipeline projects, it is the Government of Canada's duty to act in the national interest. That is exactly what happened when we approved the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain expansion pipeline.

It is worth reviewing the process that was undertaken in order to remind Canadians that the decision to approve the project was taken only after careful review, extensive consultations, and thoughtful deliberation based on sound science and Canada's best interests. I would like to highlight some of that tonight.

When our government took office, we committed to reviewing and reforming the way the federal government makes decisions with respect to major projects. In February of this year, we introduced Bill C-69, the impact assessment act, which would accomplish exactly that through better rules to protect our environment, fish, and waterways; rebuild public trust and respect indigenous rights; strengthen our economy; and encourage investment.

We also committed not to send projects already under review back to the starting line.

That is why we implemented an interim approach to address projects that were then in the queue, such as Trans Mountain. That interim approach was based on five guiding principles, principles such as expanding public consultations, enhancing indigenous engagement, and assessing upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with projects.

As part of this, our government appointed a special ministerial panel of distinguished Canadians, who travelled the length of the proposed pipeline route, ensuring indigenous peoples and local communities were thoroughly canvassed and heard.

On the TMX expansion, we also completed the most in-depth consultations with rights holders ever undertaken on a major project in Canada. To date, 43 first nations have negotiated impact benefit agreements with the project, 33 of those in British Columbia. In the end, the project was approved with 157 conditions that reflected these consultations, robust scientific evidence, and the national interest.

The economic benefits of this project are clear. It would create thousands of construction jobs and countless more spinoff jobs in every part of the country. It would generate billions of dollars in new government revenues over 20 years of operation, new tax dollars to help pay for our hospitals and our schools, build new roads and safer bridges, and help fund Canada's transition to a low carbon future. The project would also open up new economic opportunities for the 43 indigenous communities that have signed more than $300 million in impact benefit agreements along the pipeline's route.

However, we should not look at the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in isolation. We also need to consider how the pipeline will fit in with our government's overall vision for Canada in this clean growth century and how this government has responded to legitimate concerns of Canadians, in particular those who live in the British Columbia Lower Mainland, those being issues relating to spill prevention and climate change.

We have signed the Paris Accord on climate change. We have worked hard with the provinces and territories to develop the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, a plan that lays out Canada's clear path to achieving our targets under the Paris Accord.

At the same time, our government is putting a price on carbon, accelerating the phase-out of coal, promoting energy efficiency, regulating methane emissions, creating a low carbon fuel standard, and making generational investments in clean technology, renewable energy, and green infrastructure.

The pan-Canadian framework incorporates all of the upstream and direct emissions associated with the Trans Mountain pipeline. Its greenhouse gases are also well within the 100-megatonne cap on oil sands that was brought in by Alberta's NDP government. It is complemented by the most ambitious oceans protection plan in our country's history, a $1.5 billion investment to protect our waters, coastline, and marine life.

The oceans protection plan builds on and maximizes every possible safeguard against an oil spill happening in the first place. Measures include air surveillance, double-hulled tankers, and double pilotage.

Kinder Morgan must provide enhanced tanker escorts using tethered and un-tethered tugboats beyond the Lions Gate Bridge into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Canada's 12-mile nautical limit. New, larger vessels are being purchased for this purpose, as tugs of this size are not currently available on the west coast.

We have made the largest investment in the Canadian Coast Guard in years, strengthening its eyes and ears to ensure better communication with vessels and making navigation safer by putting more enforcement officers on the coast and adding new radar sites in strategic locations.

An important example of this was our decision to reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard base with new rescue boats and specialized pollution response capabilities, and we are funding more scientific research and new technologies to make cleanups even more effective.

The House should note that it was the previous Harper Conservative government that announced the immediate closure of the only Coast Guard station located in Canada's busiest harbour in Vancouver. That is their record when it comes to protecting B.C.'s coasts.

Our approach is world class, an approach that meets or exceeds the gold star standards set by places such as Norway. Our government has been very clear about the path forward regarding this project. We can and must protect our environment and communities while growing our economy. Our approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project, along with measures that will enable our oceans and coastal communities to remain healthy and safe, achieves these goals.

As we have said before, federal jurisdiction with respect to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is very clear, and we are actively pursuing options to provide the certainty required for this project to move ahead. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, we will have more to say in the coming weeks.

Some will take issue with our government's approach, and we respect that. We are lucky to live in an open society where people with different views can debate them respectfully and choose to protest peacefully and lawfully.

Our government will continue to listen and work hard on behalf of all Canadians to ensure that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is completed and that it moves forward safely and responsibly.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:15 p.m.


Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the speeches of the minister and the parliamentary secretary and heard the rhetoric around the Liberals saying they are supportive of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. They talked about successful pipelines that they have approved, but I want to list the ones that have not gone through under their watch. The northern gateway is one of them. Pacific NorthWest was a huge project along our B.C. coastline, which would have provided clean energy to Asia. That is another failed project. Energy east is another project where we would have supplied Canadian oil to Canadian consumers in Ontario and eastern Canada. That is another failure. Now Kinder Morgan is on the bubble.

We had a trade show this weekend in Fort St. John where I talked to two former teacher colleagues of mine. One son is a welder in the industry and he has a young child. That person is relying on jobs like this to make sure his children are fed and have a good future. He is 25 years old, and his name is Neacail. He is a real person.

We have heard a lot of rhetoric about this being done, but I lack the confidence, as do many other Canadians. We have seen three leaders who were previously opposed to oil and natural resource development in our country meet and supposedly solve the problem. We do not have a lot of confidence in the three anti-resource development people who have met and had a conversation. I want to see proof.

For the minister and for the other side, what are you prepared to do to see that this project goes ahead?

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:20 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I would remind the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies to address his comments to the Chair and not use “you” unless he is referring to the Speaker.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:20 p.m.


Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we have been very clear that in the modern world the economy and the environment need to go together. We have worked very hard to ensure we have understood the concerns that have been expressed from an environmental perspective, and we have addressed those in thoughtful and substantive ways.

This project will create thousands of jobs. It will create billions of dollars in tax revenues and other associated economic spinoffs. It is in the national interest. The government has addressed those concerns. We have said that we are moving ahead. The Prime Minister has indicated that a range of options are presently under consideration to provide the certainty that is required, and we will ensure that this project is constructed.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:20 p.m.


Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary for his speech. We have a good collegial relationship in the House, and he has helped me on various other matters.

However, he would agree that we are here tonight because there is a profound lack of confidence by Canadians in the energy regulation process, especially the process that deals with pipelines and other projects. Nanos Research has figures that show that only 2% of Canadians have strong confidence in that process. The minister said that the government has restored confidence, when in fact that confidence has been declining through the past two governments.

We have hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who are opposed to this project. There are tens of thousands of people who have indicated they are not only opposed to the project, but they are willing to commit civil disobedience, to go to jail to stop this project.

I am wondering if the member can tell us what his government will be doing to assure those people, to restore their confidence, so that this project goes ahead despite everything else they do. We have to get at that lack of confidence.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:20 p.m.


Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the issue of confidence in the environmental assessment processes was something we talked a lot about during the last campaign. It was eroded under the previous government when it made a range of changes in 2012 that undermined the public confidence in the system.

We had committed to introduce new environmental assessment processes, which we did about a month ago in the House of Commons. They are the subject of conversation at the committees. We also said that we are not going to be in a position to simply park the economy for four years. That is not a responsible thing for any government to do. I would suggest that the NDP should consider the implications of that.

What we said was that we needed to ensure that, in the interim, projects were not being sent back to the beginning but that there was additional work that needed to be done. We appointed a process to go through additional consultation with communities, with rights holders. We ensured that greenhouse gas emissions were calculated in the context of every project. We did that.

We have addressed the concerns, and we intend to ensure that this project goes ahead.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:20 p.m.


Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me pick up on what the parliamentary secretary said. This is not the way that he said it during the campaign. This is not what he said on his campaign website during the electoral campaign. What he said on his website was, “A new, independent, evidence-based process must be established. The Kinder Morgan expansion project must satisfy this new rigourous review..”.

There has been no new rigorous review. This is at the core of the problem we are facing now. We are currently undergoing an emergency debate, and the Liberals only have themselves to blame. They spent the whole electoral campaign in 2015 talking about the need to redo the environmental assessment process and that we needed to ensure there would be a more rigorous process in place which Kinder Morgan, the Trans Mountain project, would have to undergo.

The Liberals have failed to fulfill this promise. They have failed to meet the hope that people, especially in British Columbia, have in the government. This is the crux of the problem right now. We have hundreds of people who are protesting against the construction of this pipeline. We have a government that is musing sometimes about the possibility of sending the army to face them. This makes no sense.

Not only did the Liberals promise during the campaign that the Trans Mountain project would undergo a new environmental assessment process, it was said extensively. The Prime Minister has said since 2013, since he was the leader of the Liberal Party, that governments grant permits and communities grant permission.

This is what the party that is now in government has said for five years. Now what we have in this House is a competition between both the government and the official opposition to see who will be the biggest booster of this project, without taking into account what the people in British Columbia are thinking about and saying. They do not trust the government. They do not trust the process.

I understand the situation because we dealt with the same problem when we talked about the energy east pipeline for Quebec. I seriously doubt that this government would have had the guts to do to Quebec what it is currently doing to British Columbia. It is not a matter of war between the two provinces. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is doing what she thinks she needs to do to protect her economy and the interests of her people. That is why she was elected. The premier of British Columbia is doing the same thing.

Let me be clear. John Horgan was elected on the basis of the opposition he has of the process that is currently pushing this project down the throats of the provinces.

We have been talking a lot about how the economy and the environment go hand in hand. We, on this side of the House, have been saying that for years and possibly even decades. The government decided to adopt that approach. That is fine.

What has dawned on me in this debate is that the government says we cannot talk about the economy without talking about the environment. We agree in principle, but it is a very convenient excuse for the Liberals. Every time that we ask them a question about the environment and the environmental consequences, they reply that we do not know about the economy. Then, when other questions are about the economy and the jobs being created, they talk about the importance of the environment. Let us be consistent here.

We have a crisis of the government's own making because during 2015, the Liberals were basically hunting for votes. They promised that we would have a new electoral system in place and that 2015 would be the last time for a first-past-the-post election. That was false. They promised everything they could to be in the position they are in. They cannot blame the official opposition and the NDP for the mess they have themselves created by raising those expectations.

I see a lot of British Columbia MPs here. They will have a significant challenge, an uphill battle, in 2019. Their constituents, especially those around Burnaby and Vancouver, will ensure that the government will be reminded of the promises from 2015 that they broke.

I talked about the promises we heard from the parliamentary secretary during the 2015 election. Let us hear about the Liberal MP for Burnaby North—Seymour. He is now the parliamentary secretary for fisheries and oceans. He said during the election that they were going to redo the National Energy Board process and that Kinder Morgan would have to go through a new revised process. Consistently in British Columbia, Liberals were elected on this commitment. Why do they think people are at the gate now? Why are they surprised?

That does not make any sense. We are in this situation partly because of the changes that the Conservative government of the time made to the environmental assessment process in 2012. The process was not perfect, but at least the provinces were a lot more involved than they are now. I know that Quebec and British Columbia were far more involved than they are now in the process that the Conservatives put in place.

Mr. Speaker, I am also reminded that I will be splitting my time with the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, which is something I should not have forgotten. I am sure he will have interesting things to say as well after I am finished.

The process we had in 2012 was not ideal, but it got the job done. I was in Parliament back then. Then the Conservatives made changes that cut down the time available to conduct studies and hold consultations as well as the number of stakeholders allowed to express their views on projects. After all that, it was no wonder people objected to this project. I know because I represent a riding right next to Cacouna, where there was a proposal to build an oil terminal that would have endangered marine animals, especially belugas. The proposal was flawed, but there was an attempt to force it through, and the people reacted. The first thing people realized was that there were precious few opportunities for them to air their views on this issue. That is what the Liberals were supposed to change. It is also what we promised to change if we took office, but they refused to actually do it.

What we have right now is a crisis, because the Liberals failed to fulfill the election promises they made, and people have noticed.

This is not a simple matter. As the Prime Minister said, it may eventually become a constitutional matter, because in his mind it is clear that the federal government has the sole responsibility for this, and it can impose a decision on any province that does not agree. This reminds me a lot of what his father was saying at the time. However, if we pursue that logic to the extent of it, then what does it mean for first nations and indigenous people? If the government feels that it has the sole responsibility, the sole power in implementing and pushing a project like this, that means it will have the sole power in pushing it down the throat of indigenous people as well. This is a very dangerous path that the government is pushing forward.

We have proposed a sensible solution that will be more collaborative than what the government is promising right now. I encourage the government to go in that direction and seek an agreement with British Columbia, which is already on board, with first nations and indigenous people, and with Alberta, to seek clarity at the Supreme Court of Canada and ensure whether this is really the sole responsibility of the government, and whether the environmental laws of the provinces matter or do not matter. The previous decisions of the Supreme Court were not linked to a project so controversial and so misaligned with provincial desires. I think it would be wise for the government to listen to this advice.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:30 p.m.


Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the way said that there has to be community consent and community buy-in, and I completely agree.

What about the 42 indigenous communities that have signed on? What about the company that has actually engaged with them? There are 30 indigenous communities in British Columbia that have signed beneficial agreements and are now counting on them. Does that not count as community consent?

The companies that work with these communities are given instructions to work with them to get their involvement and buy-in. After doing all these steps, after getting through the NEB process, not once but twice, what is the answer to those 42 communities that have committed and signed beneficial agreements, including 30 in British Columbia?

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:30 p.m.


Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, what about the City of Burnaby? What about the cities that are in the path of this pipeline as well? If we are talking about consent, let us go to the fullest extent of what it means.

What we are seeing right now, with the message that the government is sending, is that for this project the government is reacting. The Liberals are very nervous that it might not pass, and they have been fighting with the Conservatives to see who the biggest booster of this project is and who can actually implement it as fast as possible.

Let us make no mistake. When the Prime Minister is telling us in the House, and all Canadians, that the government will have the power to enforce the implementation of this project and that it is the sole level of government that can do so, this means nothing for the consent that is being sought. It means nothing for the guarantees of reconciliation for first nations in the future, and it means nothing for the communities that have legitimate questions about the potential dangers and risks of those projects.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:35 p.m.


Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member has been given a lot responsibility by his leader, Jagmeet Singh, who has expressed various views on this.

As a British Columbian, I have concerns, especially when I hear from my constituents who are also concerned, that members of this place are participating in contravening court orders. One of the member's caucus who has participated is facing sanctions in front of a court.

I would like to know if the member's leader, Jagmeet Singh, has instructed this gentleman to work with his caucus to make sure that, as members of Parliament, we can have debates about the laws of this country but we will not violate them. We cannot be in both streams. This is not a question of democracy. It is not a question of constitutionality. It is respect for the rule of law. Has Mr. Singh put an edict out for his caucus to support the rule of law and not participate in future protests that violate it?

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:35 p.m.


Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are all grown adults here. We all make our own decisions, and we all assume responsibility for those decisions. That is the case in this House, and that is the case outside of this House. What I can say about the protests that are taking place right now is that the people who are protesting what is going on are acting out of genuine concern. This concern has not been adequately responded to by the government, and I would submit that, at the time, this was the case for the previous government as well.

Instead of once again using the force of law and order to try to force a decision, why do we not try to get the input of those who are going to be at the receiving end of that decision? This is really at the core of the problem right now. These people do not feel that they have been listened to, and honestly, with the process that we have, they have not. They have not been listened to. The new process that was put in place, and that is still in place right now for the Trans Mountain project, was a process that was hurried, and it rejected a large number of people who wanted to speak about it, to present, and to intervene. People do not feel that they have been listened to because the intent was to try to speed up this project as much as possible, and this is what we have right now. We have hundreds or thousands of people opposing it actively and this will not be going away, so we might as well try to find a way to get along with it. This is why I am suggesting that the government go to the Supreme Court of Canada with Alberta, B.C., and first nations.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:35 p.m.


Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I enter this debate, which is an emergency debate, as many have called this situation with the Kinder Morgan proposal a crisis. For many Canadians, it does represent a crisis. Actually, from both sides, if we want to take at least two sides of the issue, it is a crisis.

For those who are in Alberta and in the energy sector seeking to move product to market, particularly Asian markets, this represents a crisis of uncertainty and frustration with a process that was promised to be different. This actually unites them with the people on the other side of this issue, who were promised a better process and more clarity about rights and title for indigenous Canadians, about protection for our environment, and about some understanding of how the environment and the economy go together, which the Liberals constantly talk about.

I represent northwestern British Columbia, and for many of the people I represent this is a movie they have seen before. When northern gateway was first proposed, it met with stiff and consistent resistance, as the voices of those who had legitimate questions about the project and about the safety of our rivers and our ocean environment were rejected and refused. They were not allowed to testify. In fact, they were called, by their own government, enemies of the state and foreign-funded radicals. Do we hear some similar rhetoric brewing up again, that those who dare to ask questions or pose significant concerns over something that potentially threatens their lives and communities are somehow un-Canadian?

Now, the Liberals came in on a promise to do better than Stephen Harper. When it comes to the environment in particular, that does not seem like it would be all that hard to do. When Stephen Harper was in office, he gutted some of our most fundamental environmental protections, which had existed for decades. The bar was set very low. He put in place climate change targets that the Liberals called ridiculous and unsatisfactory, the same climate targets that the Liberals cannot even meet now, and the environmental process that these pipelines were going through rejected the claims of first nations and ignored significant and basic concerns.

I say to my colleague and friend, the natural resources minister, that he and his government cannot answer a question such as whether bitumen sinks when it hits salt water or fresh water, and how, for God's sake, one cleans it up if it does. They cannot answer that question. They could not answer it when northern gateway was proposed in northern British Columbia. They still cannot answer it, years later, when they are pushing their Kinder Morgan project forward in the south of British Columbia.

How dare the premier of my province pose such questions? In the event of an oil spill like the Kalamazoo spill, or an accident on the sea like that of Nathan E. Stewart, or the one that happened in Vancouver harbour, where it took 14 hours to find booms, when my premier asks how exactly we clean up an oil spill when it hits our coastline, that is his jurisdictional responsibility as a premier. Does everyone believe in the rule of law? Yes, we do. Is it the premier's responsibility to protect that on behalf of British Columbians? Yes, it is. Would the Liberals like to go to the Supreme Court and clarify that? No, they would not. “Let us not clarify those questions," say the Liberals, because they believe in the Constitution and the rule of law, except for the parts they do not want to observe and acknowledge.

We find this frustrating, because this new bitumen proposal would move almost 900,000 barrels to our coast, with 12 new pump stations, 19 storage units, and a 700% increase in oil tanker traffic through a place we all recognize as a precious and important part of the world. It is as if, when British Columbians stand for place and pride of place and home, they are somehow less Canadian. To my Alberta friends and colleagues, to my family from Alberta, we understand pride of home, defence of family, and hope for the future. That is exactly the same conversation we are having in British Columbia.

The Prime Minister, who came in on the hope and aspiration to unite and not divide, says that of course the Liberals would rather do it with the provincial government, but they will do it whether the provincial government likes it or not. His minister says that they will not tolerate opposition in the House of Commons. They would rather work with the provinces, but if not, they are going to do it anyway.

The Liberals say that they believe in the rights and title of first nations individuals. However, when the Minister of Natural Resources himself gets a briefing in January from his own department that tells him that consultations with first nations in British Columbia have been “paternalistic”, “inadequate”, and “unrealistic”, the Liberals are suddenly surprised that they are in court with first nations over this little tack-on consultation process. Some of the first nation communities were not notified until after the consultation had moved through their communities. This was the consultation process, and this is what is being challenged in court.

I have news for the Liberals. They are going to lose that challenge. The Delgamuukw, Haida, Sparrow, and Tsilqhot'in have tested this question time and time again. Governments in Canada insist on relearning the lesson over and over again and somehow blame first nations for standing up for their constitutional rights. It is the government and the Liberal Prime Minister who said that there is no more important relationship to Canada than that with Canada's first nations people. I challenge that. I do not believe him anymore. I did believe him at one point.

When asked specifically on tape what he would do with the Kinder Morgan project, the Prime Minister said the review would be redone. Two and half years later, we have omnibus environmental legislation that has somehow unified environmentalists, oil activists, and first nations in their dislike of this bill. Congratulations, there is some unity bone within the Conservatives. I mean the Liberals. Excuse me. I am confused tonight as I watch them violently agree with one another as to who is the best promoter of a project that has significant and real consequences, significant and real risks that the people of British Columbia face on behalf of all Canadians. All Canadians like coming out to B.C. The Prime Minister loves to surf. My Alberta family loves to fish. We love welcoming Canada to British Columbia and our beautiful coast. We love talking about how much British Columbia has to offer.

This question of reconciliation, a word that falls so easily from the lips of the Prime Minister but is so rarely enacted with any kind of meaning or effectiveness, is frustrating to people in British Columbia, because we believed him when he said he would redo the process. We believed him when he said the government would set more ambitious climate targets. We believed him when he said he was going to work to unite the provinces, not seek to divide. He is actually making the claim that by posing significant questions about an oil pipeline, the Premier of British Columbia is somehow ruining the climate change program of the country. Only in Canada could an oil pipeline for almost 900,000 barrels a day be vital to a climate change program. Only in Canada could the Prime Minister stand up to a premier who was duly elected on the promise to raise these questions and to raise the voices of British Columbians. We have a country and a situation in which we are somehow less than.

This question goes to the heart of who we are as a nation. If we want to do better and achieve what we set out to do to bring the country together and finally and fully reconcile with first nations people, then we have to listen. They should not list off the number of meetings and then ignore what people said. They should not list off the word “consultation” over and over again, yet not abide by the serious concerns or address and answer legitimate and important questions put to the government.

It is our coast, and we will defend it. If the government has any doubt in its mind about the seriousness, diligence, and determination of the people of British Columbia, it is beginning to find out. I ask it to not find out any more and to listen and refer the question to the Supreme Court. Work with the Premier of British Columbia, stop bullying him, and understand that when we stand up for our coast and for future generations, we are standing up for all Canadians.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:45 p.m.


Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member from Skeena—Bulkley Valley mentioned indigenous communities and first nations. Ernie Crey, Chief of the Cheam First Nation, said, “If this project doesn't go through it will hurt our people. It appears that Premier Horgan is prepared to actively undermine the prosperity of First Nations in B.C.”

It is not only going to undermine the prosperity of B.C. first nations. In fact, when I look at my constituency of Surrey—Newton, 1,000 people are moving into Surrey every month. Surrey needs a hospital. Surrey needs bridges. Premier Horgan has promised a hospital for Surrey.

Would not the billions of dollars British Columbians would get in revenue help the people in Surrey with their prosperity and in building hospitals and bridges?

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:50 p.m.


Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the federal Liberals stand up and say that we are standing in the way of first nations' prosperity, while they are ignoring the rights and title of first nations people to be self-determinists and to make decisions for themselves, with their inherent rights and title intact, as promised in section 35 of our own Constitution. It is a section the NDP fought for, against the wishes of Trudeau senior, who did not believe that there was any need to recognize individual, and particularly first nation, rights and title. When they say to first nation people, in what has been described by their own officials as a “paternalistic” way, that this is the way forward, that we do not have to acknowledge or take into full account the rights and title of first nation people, does he not understand that it continues the colonial spirit that has so often undermined the full value and potential of this country?

Of course, there are first nation people interested in this project, as there are first nation people opposed. However, one does not get to selectively quote and then say that the problem must be a wash. That is not how rights work. Rights work in our courts and in our fundamental belief in the inherent strength of our Constitution. We either believe in it or we do not. We do not get to selectively choose which part and who speaks for it. That is why the B.C. government has backed up that first nation claim. That is why the Prime Minister, who claims to believe in UNDRIP, should be doing the same thing, as opposed to what he is doing right now.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:50 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, through you, I address my question to the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

This is my first chance to take the floor in the debate tonight. With the indulgence of my friend from Skeena—Bulkley Valley, let me first say that the Minister of Natural Resources misspoke when he said that the Kinder Morgan pipeline has been delivering dilbit for 30 years. It has not. It used to be the Trans Mountain pipeline, which delivered a completely different product, one destined for four refineries in the Lower Mainland. There is only one refinery left. It cannot process dilbit. Dilbit has only been transferred since Kinder Morgan, a creation of Enron, Enron Liquid Pipelines Company renamed, bought Trans Mountain. Shipping dilbit is a relatively new phenomenon. It is true that they ship dilbit out right now. That product is not landlocked. It can get to Asia, though Asia does not want to buy it very much.

Let me put to the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley this question. We know that there are 157 conditions right now from the National Energy Board, and Kinder Morgan has not completed more than about 100 of them. We know that there is a consolidated court case that challenges the legality of the permits. We know that there are approximately 1,100 provincial permits the B.C. government is processing, but 600 have not been requested yet. Can the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley imagine any way in which this project could go ahead by May 31, given the work Kinder Morgan is supposed to do?

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:50 p.m.


Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have heard the Minister of Natural Resources, and the Prime Minister before, laud the conditions that are attached to the approval of this project. Many of these conditions, like how they clean up a spill, are not actually followed through by the National Energy Board, as was reported in an audit by our environment commissioner. He studied many of these pipelines, asking how many of the conditions the government attaches and tells Canadians not to worry about are actually followed through on. A little less than half the conditions are actually ever followed. Anyone who is placing bets on the Liberals' assurance on these conditions should know that, given recent history, about half of them will never be implemented or used by the company.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

8:50 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta


Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton Centre.

Let me start by sharing an experience I had meeting with the oil workers in Fort McMurray. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Natural Resources, and I visited that community a couple of weeks ago. We ran into a number of workers who take pride in the work they do. They come from all over Canada. They are from the Atlantic provinces, from Ontario. I sat down with some of the workers who come from British Columbia who work in the energy sector. They take pride in the work they do. They take pride, because the work they do helps them feed their families and put their children through school to get a better education. They take pride that the work they do helps them save enough for retirement.

The workers also take pride because the work they do generates revenues for the government so that it can provide the services Canadians rely on, such as better hospitals, better schools, a public transportation system, clean water for communities to drink, affordable housing people need to succeed in their lives, and shelters for women who face domestic violence so they have a safe place to live. They help us build better infrastructure and welcoming and inclusive places for all of us to call home. I experienced that pride. I experience that pride each and every day when I interact with workers throughout this country on my visits from coast to coast to coast.

I am a proud Albertan, and I am proud that after extensive consultations, our government approved the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline. I want to reaffirm and assure everyone watching today that we will get this pipeline built. We will get it built, because this pipeline is in the national interest and because this pipeline will create thousands and thousands of well-paying jobs for Albertans, for British Columbians, and for Canadians. This is a pipeline that will allow us to take our resources to non-U.S., international markets so we can get a proper price for our natural resources to help pay for the services and programs that those working for the companies, the workers I interacted with, are so proud to have.

I would like to remind the members opposite, the members of the previous Stephen Harper government, how they failed to advance the interests of Alberta's resource sector. For 10 years, the Harper Conservatives talked a good talk but failed to build a single pipeline to take our oil resources to non-U.S. markets. I would also like to remind them that the struggles Alberta families and workers have faced over the last number of years started when Harper was in power. More than 25,000 resource sector jobs were lost in the last year of the Harper government. What did the Conservatives do to help those workers? Absolutely nothing. They even held back the infrastructure investment of nearly $1 billion that would have made a difference in people's lives at a time of need.

When we took office, we started changing that. Our government immediately started looking for solutions to support Alberta's workers and families and to help the provincial economy rebound.

In March of 2016, we provided $252 million in fiscal stabilization funding to the Government of Alberta. At the same time, we significantly extended EI benefits for Alberta workers who needed them the most.

In February 2016, Export Development Canada provided $750 million in financing, guarantees, bonding instruments, and insurance to oil and gas companies.

In July 2016, Business Development Bank of Canada and ATB Financial partnered to provide $1 billion aimed at making more capital available for small and medium-sized businesses in Alberta.

In March 2017, our government announced $30 million, which unlocked $235 million to accelerate the cleanup of orphaned wells over the next three years.

My department, Infrastructure Canada, has provided support to more than 150 provincial, municipal, and indigenous infrastructure projects, which are leading to over $4 billion in joint investments in infrastructure in the coming years for Alberta communities.

These measures have helped the Alberta economy rebound. In the last 12 months, Alberta has gained 50,000 full-time jobs and the unemployment rate is at the lowest point in almost three years.

We know that more work needs to be done and we know that the oil and gas sector has an important role to play in keeping this momentum going. That is why our government approved two oil and two gas pipelines, including the Trans Mountain expansion, which will help get more of our resources to the markets we already have and open up new markets so we are not so reliant on our neighbours to the south to buy our oil.

Our government supports the Trans Mountain expansion, as well as the Keystone XL pipeline because we know they mean a better price for oil and more well-paying jobs for Canadians. However, we also know that TMX is not just important to Alberta. We approved this pipeline because it was in the national interest of Canada. It is in the national interest of Canada to create thousands of well-paying jobs, not only for Albertans but across the country.

It is in the best interest of Canada to find more efficient and safer ways to transport natural resources to the markets. It is in the interest of Canada to receive a fairer price for those resources than is possible when we essentially have only one customer. It is in the interest of Canada to partner with indigenous communities with respect and recognition of their rights, and ensure traditional knowledge is integrated into our decisions. It is in the interest of Canada to develop our natural resources in a way that does not compromise the environment.

In fact, in the 21st century, the only way to have a dynamic economy is to ensure a sustainable environment. That is why our government introduced the $1.5 billion ocean protection plan. This plan to safeguard the health and safety of our coastal communities and sensitive marine areas is the most significant investment Canada has ever made in protecting our oceans. It is also why Canadians feel confident that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would not jeopardize B.C.'s beautiful coastlines.

There are first nations that are going to benefit from this, but most important, this project is necessary because it is in Canada's national interest.

Let me remind Canadians that the leader of the official opposition today mentioned to the media that he did not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund infrastructure projects. We cannot agree with that statement. As the Minister of Infrastructure, I can assure people that there are a number of projects in the official opposition leader's riding that are being funded by public sector investments, that public dollars are being used to build transportation systems in our cities, and public dollars are being used to build waste water and clean water systems and other infrastructure that our communities need.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

9 p.m.


Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I share some common background and past experiences.

The minister talks a lot about investment in infrastructure by the federal government to the province. I know that he directed funding to the province, and municipalities were promised hundreds of millions of dollars. Then, all of a sudden, hundreds and hundreds of millions directed to municipalities went into general revenue for the provincial government, and it was done by his friend.

When you talk about infrastructure going to the provinces to build things, and the provinces take money, directed to them by you, and turn it into general revenue, how do we get things built in the municipalities?

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

9 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am sure the hon. member for Bow River did not mean I was giving the money, but he meant the government and the minister.

The hon. minister.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

9:05 p.m.


Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a tremendous amount of respect for my colleague. We worked together on the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.

I can assure the hon. member and every person in Alberta that the federal dollars allocated for infrastructure projects only go to infrastructure projects and nothing else.

I am proud to say that we were able to sign a bilateral agreement with the Province of Alberta a couple of weeks ago, investing $3.2 billion of federal funding to help grow our economy, create jobs for the middle class, and also provide opportunities for those Canadians who work hard each and every day to be part of the middle class, provide more affordable housing for families that are struggling to pay high rents, or to build more early learning and child care facilities so our young people have opportunities to learn and succeed.

Those are the investments we are making in Alberta, British Columbia, and throughout the country to ensure that people are able to succeed.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

9:05 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister talked a lot about the oceans protection plan.

When it comes to ocean plastics and marine debris, a regulatory void, it is not even mention in the oceans protection plan. When it comes to oil response, we can see what happened with the bunker fuel spill in English Bay. It took 14 hours for the government to get there. The Heiltsuk can tell the story about what it looked like for a diesel spill in the Heiltsuk territory and how long it took for an oil response to come. In fact, right now they are stopping the building of more oil response facilities because they are saying it is tied to Kinder Morgan.

It is like the coastal communities have a gun to their heads. The government is saying that it will not protect our coast unless we have a pipeline. That is completely ludicrous and irresponsible. What British Columbians and coastal people want is an oceans protection plan that is there no matter what.

The government keeps talking about evidence-based decision-making. Where is the evidence-based decision-making when it comes to cleaning up raw bitumen? The government has not figured that out.

Maybe the minister could speak to it. He says that he has unmuted his scientists and that they can speak freely. Could they show us the science? Could the government bring forward the scientists who can prove that diluted bitumen can be cleaned up in our oceans?

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

9:05 p.m.


Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, I can understand the anxiety and concerns of British Columbians around oceans protection and marine safety. For the last decade, the government run by Mr. Harper did nothing to protect the environment or provide protection to coastal communities.

We are working with the municipalities. I can share one example, which is somewhat related to cleaning up the oceans. We are working with the city of Victoria, where raw sewage was being dumped into the oceans, to provide the necessary support to clean up the water so it is not dumped into the ocean. There are $1.5 billion in the oceans protection plan. It is an historic investment. The previous government neglected that for almost a decade.

We are there for British Columbia. We will ensure that we provide the necessary support. We will not punish British Columbians for the actions of their government. We need to make that distinction. If Mr. Horgan is creating this uncertainty, he is eroding confidence in our economy and investor confidence.

We are here to serve Canadians, including British Columbians.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

April 16th, 2018 / 9:05 p.m.


Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is such an honour to stand in the House to speak to this pressing and vital issue and to share time with my hon. colleague the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, who cares as much about this issue as I and our colleagues from coast to coast to coast do.

In Canada, in 2018 energy, the environment, and the economy are all essential tools for the success of Canadians. As such, tonight's debate touches on an issue that affects every Canadian in every part of the country.

At its heart lies two very clear facts. First, the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is a crucial project in the national interest and will create thousands of good paying jobs for Canadians. Second, if we want to sell our resources to the world and get better prices for our products, we have to provide access to those markets.

Our government has never wavered in standing behind its decision to approve this project. We tell the same story in Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, and St. John's.

The Prime Minister has made the case for the TMX in every part of the country on many occasions, and he made it again on Sunday. The Minister of Natural Resources has taken that same message across Canada and around the world. There is simply no doubt that this pipeline is 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 government has now announced that we will be entering into discussions and exploring legislative options to provide certainty for Trans Mountain. In short, the Canadian people are calling for action to get this essential project built and our government is delivering. The TMX pipeline is a priority for this government and it will be built.

This pipeline expansion will help diversify our markets and create thousands of good middle-class jobs, including jobs in indigenous communities. The project also includes improved environmental safety standards.

As the Minister of Natural Resources pointed out, using this transition period to our advantage, Canada will build the infrastructure needed to get our resources to global markets and use the revenues they generate to invest in clean energy.

As the Minister of Natural Resources has said, we must leverage the fossil fuel resources we have today to deliver clean energy solutions for tomorrow.

That is why my colleagues, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Natural Resources and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Climate Change, and I created the energy and environment caucus early in 2016 to explore these critical issues and to call for an end to the $40 million a day that our economy was losing and $13 billion a year because we only had one customer. We need to diversify markets and we need to put Canadians back to work.

That is the same message we heard from Canadians through Generation Energy, an historic national discussion to imagine Canada's energy future for our children's children and their children. I was honoured to represent Edmonton and the citizens of Edmonton Centre at that very conference held in Winnipeg.

Canadians by the hundreds of thousands told us that they wanted a thriving economy. They wanted us to be a leader in clean technology. They wanted an energy system that would provide equal opportunities to Canadians. They also understand that we are in a transition, which means continuing to support our oil and gas industry even as we develop alternative sources of energy.

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 new sources of energy, enhancing energy efficiency, and investing in clean technology.

We were under no illusions that everyone would agree with our approval of this project. I have said this before in the House. If a 1,500 square foot apartment complex in my downtown riding cannot get complete agreement, why would we expect that for a 1,500 kilometre pipeline?

While we are determined to get this pipeline built, we are also determined to answer reasonable questions about safety.

Our government understands and shares British Columbian's sense of responsibility for Canada's spectacular west coast, which is why we took the time to get this decision right, based on the best science and the widest possible consultation.

The Government of British Columbia speaks about wanting to consult. I would point out the broad consultation that has already taken place. The review of the Trans Mountain expansion project was the most exhaustive in the history of energy projects in Canada.

The National Energy Board carefully reviewed the Trans Mountain project and recommended that we approve it on the condition that 157 tough restrictions be met. Moreover, in order to hear from as many voices as possible, the Minister of Natural Resources set up a ministerial panel tasked with organizing additional consultation sessions. The panel held 44 public meetings, heard 600 presentations, and received about 20,000 submissions by email.

At the same time, we made the single largest investment ever to protect Canada's oceans and coastlines: a $1.5 billion oceans protection plan that 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 traditional knowledge.

This generational investment in ocean safety addresses concerns about spill prevention and response 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 a historic indigenous advisory monitoring committee to help oversee the safety of a major energy project through its entire life cycle.

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.

This matters to me. I have rail that runs just to the north of my riding, and one million barrels are shipped a day on that rail. I would prefer to see that in a safe pipe. The Pipeline Safety Act strengthens this by enshrining the principle of polluter pays. It makes companies liable regardless of fault—one billion dollars in the case of major pipelines—and requires them to have the financial resources to respond to potential incidents.

Once the TMX expansion is up and running, it will give our energy a route to world markets. As the Minister of Natural Resources has said, “...when 99% of your oil goes to one customer, you don't effectively set the price. They do. You're completely reliant on them continuing to buy your product.”

However, there is another element at play here—the shale revolution in the U.S. It has fundamentally changed the North American supply-demand equation. The result is that new markets are not just important; they are imperative. Muddling along and hoping the Americans will keep buying our oil is not a strategy but a failure of leadership and a willful blindness to market realities.

Those who believe that stopping TMX is a win overlook what would be lost: jobs, income, investment in renewable energy, and opportunity. It would mean $40 million a day and $13 billion a year lost to the Canadian economy.

As the world continues to make the transition to a lower carbon future, we need a sensible, sustainable approach, one that understands that while the path to that future may be long, 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, and it is exactly what we will continue to do.

Let me share a personal note that my family works in the oil patch. My family is relying on our government, this Parliament, to make sure that the conditions exist not just for TMX but also for other projects. They also would like to know that we send a clear signal to international markets that when the Government of Canada commits to building an interprovincial project of this significance to energy infrastructure, we have the wherewithal and the gumption to get it done.

We are demonstrating that we can grow the economy while protecting the environment. We know how to do things together. I invite all members to get behind the TMX expansion, to work with us and build a brighter future for Albertans, British Columbians, and all Canadians.

This is the right thing to do. We will build this pipeline.

This pipeline will get built.

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

9:15 p.m.


Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, with all this poetic talking about the importance of pipelines and oil and so on, since the member is on the government side, will he be able to advise us on the timelines of building the project, since time is of the essence in this case?