Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to speak in the House of Commons.
On a more serious note, I would like to take a moment to talk about my colleague from Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, who passed away very suddenly this week. I never imagined this could happen. I share his family's sorrow, though of course mine could never equal theirs. His young children will not get to share amazing moments in their lives with their father, and that is staggeringly sad. I would therefore like to publicly state that I encourage them to hang in there. One day, they will surely find joy in living again, and we are here for them.
As usual, I want to say acknowledge all of the residents of Beauport—Limoilou who are tuning in. I would like to let them know that there will be a press conference Monday morning at my office. I will be announcing a very important initiative for our riding. I urge them to watch the news or read the paper when the time comes.
Bill C-48 would essentially enact a moratorium on the entire Pacific coast. It would apply from Prince Rupert, a fascinating city that I visited in 2004 at the age of 18, to Port Hardy, at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. This moratorium is designed to prevent oil tankers, including Canadian ones, that transport more than 12,500 tons of oil from accessing Canada's inland waters, and therefore our ports.
This moratorium will prohibit the construction of any pipeline project or maritime port beyond Port Hardy, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, to export our products to the west. In the past three weeks, the Liberal government has slowly but surely been trying to put an end to Canada's natural resources, and oil in particular. Northern Gateway is just one example.
The first thing the Liberals did when they came to power was to amend the environmental assessment process managed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency; they even brag about it. Northern Gateway was in the process of being accepted, but as a result of these amendments, the project was cancelled, even though the amendments were based on the cabinet's political agenda and not on scientific facts, as the Liberal government claims.
When I look at Bill C-48, which would enact a moratorium on oil tankers in western Canada, it seems clear to me that the Liberals had surely been planning to block the Northern Gateway project for a while. Their argument that the project did not clear the environmental assessment is invalid, since they are now imposing a moratorium that would have prevented this project from moving forward regardless.
The Prime Minister and member for Papineau has said Canada needs to phase out the oil sands. Not only did he say that during the campaign, but he said it again in Paris, before the French National Assembly, in front of about 300 members of the Macron government, who were all happy to hear it. I can guarantee my colleagues that Canadians were not happy to hear that, especially people living in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta who benefit economically from this natural resource. Through their hard work, all Canadians benefit from the incredible revenues and spinoffs generated by that industry.
My colleague from Prince Albert gave an exceptional speech this morning. He compassionately explained how hard it has been for families in Saskatchewan to accept and understand the decisions being made one after the other by this Liberal government. The government seems to be sending a message that is crystal clear: it does not support western Canada's natural resources, namely oil and natural gas. What is important to understand, however, is that this sector represents roughly 60% the economy of the western provinces and 40% of Canada's entire economy.
I can see why the Minister of Environment and Climate Change says we need to tackle climate change first. The way she talks to us every day is so arrogant. We believe in climate change. That is not the issue. Climate change and natural resources are complex issues, and we must not forget the backdrop to this whole debate. People are suffering because they need to put food on the table. Nothing has changed since the days of Cro-Magnon man. People have to eat every day. People have to find ways to survive.
When the Liberals go on about how to save the planet and the polar bears, that is their post-modern, post-materialist ideology talking. Conservatives, in contrast, talk about how to help families get through the day. That is what the Canadian government's true priority should be.
Is it not completely absurd that even now, in 2018, most of the gas people buy in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, and Ontario comes from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia even though we have one of the largest oil reserves in the world? Canada has the third-largest oil reserve in the world, in fact. That is not even counting the Arctic Ocean, of which we own a sizeable chunk and which has not yet been explored. Canada has tremendous potential in this sector.
As I have often told many of my Marxist-Leninist, leftist, and other colleagues, the price of oil is going to continue to rise dramatically until 2065 because of China's and India's fuel consumption. Should Canada say no to $1 trillion in economic spinoffs until then? Absolutely not.
How will we afford to pay for our hospitals, our schools, and our social services that are so dear to the left-wing advocates of the welfare state in Canada? As I said, the priority is to meet the needs of Canadians and Canada, a middle power that I adore.
To get back to the point I was making, as my colleague from Prince Albert said, the decision regarding Bill C-48 and the moratorium was made by cabinet, without any consultation or any study by a parliamentary committee. Day after day, the Liberals brag about being the government that has consulted more with Canadians over the past three years than any government in history. It is always about history with them.
The moratorium will have serious consequences for Canada's prosperity and the economic development of the western provinces, which represent a growing segment of the population. How can the Liberals justify the fact that they failed to conduct any environmental or scientific impact assessments, hold any Canada-wide consultations, or have a committee examine this issue? They did not even consult with the nine indigenous nations that live on the land covered by the moratorium. The NDP ought to be alarmed about that. That is the point I really want to talk about.
I have here a legal complaint filed with the B.C. Supreme Court by the Lax Kw'alaams first nation—I am sorry if I pronounced that wrong—represented by John Helin. The plaintiffs are the indigenous peoples living in the region covered by the moratorium. Only nine indigenous nations from that region are among the plaintiffs. The defendant is the Government of British Columbia.
The lawyer's argument is very interesting from a historical perspective.
“The claim area includes and is adjacent to an open and safe deepwater shipping corridor and contains lands suitable for development as an energy corridor and protected deepwater ports for the development and operation of a maritime installation, as defined in Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act”.
“The plaintiffs' aboriginal title encompasses the right to choose to what uses the land can be put, including use as a marine installation subject only to justifiable environmental assessment and approval legislation”.
The said action by Canada “discriminates against the plaintiffs by prohibiting the development of land...in an area that has one of the best deepwater ports and safest waterways in Canada, while permitting such development elsewhere”, such as in the St. Lawrence Gulf, the St. Lawrence River, and the Atlantic Ocean.
My point is quite simple. We have a legal argument here that shows that not only does the territory belong to the indigenous people and the indigenous people were not consulted, but that the indigenous people, whom the Liberals are said to love, are suing the Government of British Columbia. This will likely go all the way to the Supreme Court because this moratorium goes against their ancestral rights on their territory, which they want to develop for future oil exports. This government is doing a very poor job of this.