Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Beauport—Limoilou.
I stand in the House today to speak to Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act, a bill that is yet another disappointment for all Canadians who want to see our country prosper.
The Liberals may want Canadians to believe that this moratorium is in their interest, but that is just not the case. This legislation is not justified by an environmental or economic study, nor is it supported by proper consultation with the impacted communities, industries, and experts. Rather, the legislation before us today is the fulfillment of political will, and its economic impact goes far beyond the prescribed geographic area in the legislation.
In considering Bill C-48, we must look at the full picture. The proposed moratorium is yet another hit to Canada's oil and gas sector, a sector that has already lost $80 billion in investment under the Prime Minister's watch. That is the biggest decline in Canadian energy investment in 70 years. Just last week, Canadians found out that the Prime Minister's government gave taxpayer money to an environmental lobby group to hire an activist to protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline project, a pipeline project that is supported by its environmental assessment and that the government told Canadians it supports. Canadians deserve a government that is up front with them, a government that does not undermine their prosperity.
Championing Canada's energy sector should be common sense. The responsible development of our natural resources is essential to our country's prosperity. It is our second-biggest export and provides tremendous economic opportunity. In fact, it employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians. It creates billions of dollars of tax revenue, tax revenue that benefits Canadians and communities across this country from coast to coast to coast, and we cannot dismiss the fact that oil produced and transported in Canada operates within strict environmental standards while also upholding human rights and workplace standards.
The message that the government's action is sending is that it would rather import oil from countries like Saudi Arabia than create infrastructure to move Canadian oil across this country, and by obstructing Canada's access to the global market, it is opening the door for countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Venezuela, countries that do not have the same environmental standards and human rights that Canada does.
The demand for oil is not ceasing but growing, and I believe the world needs more Canadian oil. The fact is that Canada is capable of providing more energy and greater energy security to Canada and the world, but to harness that opportunity, we need new infrastructure. We need pipelines and access to reach new markets, and to get that done, we need federal leadership, not tomorrow but today.
Unfortunately, that is not what we have before us. What we have is another step forward in the Prime Minister's plan to phase out the oil sands. The United States is Canada's largest energy trading partner, which is an important relationship, but landlocking Canadian oil does not put our country on a path for long-term energy success. That is why the diversification of Canada's energy partners is also important. By not relying on a single market, we will reduce our economic risk and better protect the long-term health of our country's economy.
The Asia-Pacific region is a large and valuable market opportunity. It is a market that can only be accessed through marine transport. The tanker moratorium proposed on the north coast of British Columbia hinders that access. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has said, “The moratorium would cut off the most economic path to Asia and sends yet another signal to the investment community that Canada is not open for business.”
The Liberals are turning away business, and for what benefit? The moratorium bans oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of oil from loading, unloading, or anchoring in the north coast of British Columbia. It does not ban tanker traffic. It does not take any substantial action to protect the environment. It penalizes an industry and prohibits communities in northern British Columbia from accessing economic opportunity.
Let us contrast that with real action to protect our coastlines. Our former Conservative government took strong action to ensure that Canada's tanker safety system is robust and modern. It introduced changes that included modernizing Canada's navigation system, improving inspections for all tankers, enhancing area response planning, increasing penalties for polluters, and building marine safety capacity in indigenous communities. That is tangible action to protect our environment, action that improves environmental protection in our waters and our coastlines, all while keeping Canada on the right path to harness our economic opportunities.
The legislation in front of us does not build on that meaningful action. As I have said, it builds on the Prime Minister's record of building roadblocks to stop the success of our energy sector. It is not in the interests of Canadians.
The Prime Minister already vetoed the northern gateway pipeline that would have brought economic opportunity to the impacted region. Now, if this ban is enforced, the north coast of British Columbia will be closed for energy business. Again, let us remember that is closed for business without any meaningful consultation, a concern that is rightfully echoed by industry leaders and impacted communities.
In fact, this tanker moratorium is even being pushed through without properly consulting coastal first nations. There is considerable support among British Columbia's coastal first nations who want to pursue energy development opportunities that are environmentally sound. I find it quite hypocritical of the Liberal government to move ahead without that meaningful consultation, particularly given that it has committed to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including free, prior, and informed consent.
It is no surprise that the Liberals' actions are already being challenged. The Lax Kw'alaams are among 30 first nations that are challenging the tanker ban in court. This ban prevents them from opportunities for future energy development on their land. It hinders their people from the economic benefits that it could yield.
The Lax Kw'alaams band has said that they were disheartened that this bill that is directed at their territories was introduced “without prior informed consent or even adequate consultation and input” from their people.
Eagle Spirit Energy Holding Ltd. was working toward a pipeline project that would have yielded tremendous economic opportunity and helped Canadian oil reach the Asia-Pacific market. However, with this ban, its project is essentially rendered useless. In response to the government's legislation it has said:
[T]here has been no consultation with those communities harmfully impacted in the interior of British Columbia or those in Alberta—a situation which certainly falls short of the deep consultation the Crown requires of corporations proposing major resource development projects on the traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples.
I cannot support this legislation. It cannot be overstated that this legislation takes no meaningful action to improve environmental protection in the north coast of British Columbia. It is not justified by science or safety. I cannot support the Liberal government's continued mismanagement of the energy sector. Many of my constituents work in the energy sector and their livelihoods depend on it. Canada needs to diversify its energy-trading partners, not introduce regulations and measures that will landlock it.
The Prime Minister needs to show leadership. The Liberals need to start supporting energy projects that are determined to be safe for the environment and in the interests of Canadians. They need to stand up for our energy sector and they need to stand up for Canadians.