House of Commons Hansard #313 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with the hon. colleague that we should not build pipelines by nationalization and government bailouts. I regret very much that we have a business environment in Canada under the government where it is impossible for business to survive on its own and therefore it needs bailouts just to survive.

That said, the hon. member spoke about what often social democratic parties view as a Utopian jurisdiction, Norway. He spoke about how Norway was an ideal example of how we could get away from oil and gas and go toward, as the member put it, green energy. Is he aware that 25% of Norway's economy is based on petroleum?

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. When I use Norway as example, my mother's side of the family is Norwegian so I am always proud to quote what is happening there. That money reflects the past. Norwegians have collected a trillion dollars by keeping money rather than having it blown out the door in a variety of different ways. They have a great rainy-day fund that came from oil and gas.

However, Norwegians also have the future-thinking and the vision to know that is from the past and it is time to move into the future, which is why they are investing the amount they are in green energy. In fact, there is some talk about moving strictly to electrical vehicles within about 20 years or so in a number of countries around the world.

I find it disappointing that we are investing all of this money into an industry that absolutely was important to our past, but will play much less of a role in the future and, quite frankly, should play less of a role in our future.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am splitting my time with the member for Carleton.

We are dealing with an NDP motion. A lot of it is motherhood and apple pie. Let me just read it. It says:

That, in the opinion of the House, being a global climate change leader and building a clean energy economy means: (a) investing in clean, renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal as well as investing in energy efficient technologies that create good quality, long-lasting jobs for today’s workers and future generations...

There is not much to quibble with there, except, who is doing the investing? There is nothing in the motion that says who would be doing the investing. Given that this is coming from the NDP, a socialist party, we know that when it talks about investing, it is talking about governments investing in these areas. We know that when governments try to invest in the private sector, they try to pick winners and losers, and invariably governments get it wrong and it becomes a disaster. That is one of the shortcomings of the motion.

However, there is a (b) and (c). Let me read the (b):

....(b) putting workers and skills training at the heart of the transition to a clean energy economy so workers don’t have to choose between a good job and a healthy environment for themselves and their families....

Again, it is motherhood and apple pie. Who could disagree with that?

The kicker is the third one which says that if we want to be a global climate leader, if Canada wants to be a global climate change leader, we must:

....(c) not spending billions of public dollars on increasingly obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure and subsidies....

The first part of that “not spending billions of public dollars”, I think all of us on this side will agree with that. The Liberals will not, because they have already spent taxpayer dollars, $4.5 billion, on the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which was completely unnecessary. On this side of the House, we believe it is the private sector that should do resource extraction, build pipelines, and grow our economy.

When I see our Liberal friends agreeing to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion, when the declared book value of that pipeline is only $2.5 billion, it means Canadian taxpayers are on the hook for $2 billion that did not have to be spent, if in fact they are spending this in an open market.

What is worse is that the private sector had said that it was prepared to build the pipeline and that government did not have to put any money into it. The private sector just wanted a regulatory environment, a tax environment, and the predictability required to get this done. What happened? When it was up to the Prime Minister to show leadership by exercising his federal powers under the Constitution, his declaratory powers under the Constitution, he failed Canadians. He refused to do it. Behind closed doors, he cooked up this deal with Kinder Morgan to pay $2 billion more for the pipeline than the book value would warrant.

That is why government should not get into investing in the private sector. We should incent the private sector to do it on its own. We should not pick winners and losers, but rather provide an environment in which investment can flourish.

There is a suggestion in the motion that somehow fossil fuels are obsolete and that we should not build any more pipelines. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is very clear that countries around the world will use fossil fuels in their energy mix for many decades to come.

Therefore, the suggestion that building the Kinder Morgan pipeline is going to render that an obsolete or stranded asset is simply false. The private sector told us that there is a market for Canada's oil at a much higher price than the North American market will pay, but we need to get that oil to tidewater. That is what this pipeline would have done and that is what the Prime Minister failed to do. He had the power to do it, and he did not. Then, in a fit of failed leadership, he ended up buying this pipeline, basically placing all of the risk of this pipeline on the shoulders of Canadian taxpayers.

This is a pipeline that could have been built by the private sector without one penny of taxpayer dollars going into it. The suggestion that fossil fuels are obsolete is a canard perpetrated by those who have an ideological bent against Canada's prosperity.

This motion also talks about a global climate change leader not spending money on subsidies that increase greenhouse gas emissions. If we were to ask New Democrats in a private moment what is meant by “subsidies”, they would say tax incentives and tax credits that welcome and attract investment to Canada.

Do we want investment in our oil and gas industry? Yes, we do, because it drives a significant part of our prosperity. In fact, my colleague from Carleton will remind all of us that 6% of our economy is our oil and gas sector. That is a significant part of our national prosperity that we would undermine by accepting these myths about the fossil fuel industry disappearing overnight and we will be in this green Shangri-La, where no fossil fuels are required.

This motion talks about not spending billions of public dollars and putting Canadians' health, environment, coastlines, and waterways at risk. That is another myth perpetrated by those who have an ideological position against fossil fuels. I would ask my colleagues in the NDP if they can name one instance of a crude oil tanker spill in B.C. waters. That is the sort of myth that is perpetrated, that there is an imminent threat to our pristine coastal areas. The reality is that tankers have been plying our waters for many decades, and today, it is even safer for them to do so because there are double-hull tankers and what the Liberals call a world-class oceans protection plan.

Canada has adapted, and we understand how important it is to keep our pristine environment clean and pure, but it is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It is not that we have either resource development in Canada or a clean environment. The two can go hand in hand, as the environment minister often says in the House, but does not actually do in practice.

This motion is clearly ideologically driven. There is some motherhood and apple pie in it, but when we get down to the nub of it, it is this NDP hatred of our oil and gas industry and its commitment to shut down the improvement of our pipeline capacity so that we cannot maximize the dollars that we get for our oil.

It is estimated that we leave $15 billion on the table every year because we cannot get our oil to markets beyond North America. What a shame. Think of how many tax dollars that would generate, how many jobs that would generate, and how much prosperity that would generate in this country. We can do better and I hope common sense prevails and this motion does not pass.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard about the promise from the government to end subsidies to oil and gas. In fact, we saw the government now somehow magically come up with $4.5 billion for a leaky pipeline. I have to ask the member a question, because where I live, people are irate that the government can magically find $4.5 billion when we have so much other need. One need, which is something the member and I have in common, is around our salmon. When I look at the Somass River and Clayoquot, they have received nothing. The government promised $75 million for coastal restoration. It has only rolled out $38 million in Clayoquot and nothing for the Somass River, despite steep declines in the return of our salmon. We desperately need money for restoration, enhancement, and salmon protection, and we have not seen that money.

I wonder if the member can cite the needs in his community that could have been delivered, while the government has failed miserably to protect our salmon? People are livid that the government can magically find $4.5 billion but cannot find a nickel for our fish that are dying and on the edge of potential extinction. It is actually disturbing. Maybe the member can share some perspective on that.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Courtenay—Alberni for his work on the salmon file and his concern for the environment.

One of the challenges the Liberal government faces is that it tries to be all things to all people. When the Prime Minister is in British Columbia, he is promising them the moon. He is the great champion of the environment. When he comes to Alberta, of course, he is the great champion of the energy sector, unabashed champion of the energy sector. At the end of the day, one has to be principled. We cannot sit on the fence. Eventually we will have to make some tough decisions. As well, investments are going to have to be made in terms of protecting our economy, investments the current government has not made.

My colleague from Courtenay—Alberni is correct. There are virtually no investments in improving salmon habitat. My riding of Abbotsford is right on the Fraser River where these fish migrate, and there are super salmon fishing opportunities when those stocks are healthy, when those salmon runs are healthy. The fishing is usually in Chilliwack, the riding next to mine. I wish it were in Abbotsford, but it is actually just up the river. There are tremendous recreational opportunities, but it is a recreational and environmental opportunity we have to protect, and do so wisely in balance.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his remarks, my colleague mentioned that he does believe the economy and the environment need to go hand in hand. The question I have is actually twofold. First, when he was in power, particularly as the Minister for International Trade, why did he fail? If he knows full well that we are losing $15 billion a year because we cannot get our resources to international market, why did his government fail time and time and time again to get our resources to market?

Second, during his time in office, why did his government do absolutely nothing to invest in green technology, green innovation, and the green economy when oil was at $150 a barrel, gas was $1.49 at the tank, and the coffers were full? I would like to know what his answers are to those questions.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for reminding the House of my role as trade minister for Canada for four and a half years.

I want to remind him of the record of the Conservative government: 98.5% of the value of all trade agreements negotiated by Canada were negotiated by a Conservative government. Did members know that? That is our Conservative government's record. It was that government that concluded the TPP negotiations in Atlanta during the last election. It was that government that concluded negotiations on our free trade agreement with the European Union. It was that government that negotiated the trade agreement with South Korea, Peru, Colombia, Honduras, Panama, and with Ukraine.

It was our Conservative government that renewed our trade agreement with Israel. It goes on and on. I am out of time, but the Liberals cannot hold a candle to this Conservative Party's record on trade.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Order. It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Calgary Midnapore, Prime Minister’s Trip to India; the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, Infrastructure; the hon. member for Essex, International Trade.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me tell the story of a small man named Entrepreneur, carrying a heavy knapsack up a very steep hill. All of a sudden, a big fat man appears next to him and says, “My goodness, that bag on your back looks heavy. My name is Government. Let me take the load off for you.” The big fat man takes the knapsack and puts it on his own back, and the small man thinks how nice it is of him to offer to do that. As they begin walking up the hill, all of a sudden the big man jumps on the back of the little man. Now he is carrying not just the knapsack but the fat man who was carrying the knapsack. The little man looks over his shoulder and asks, “Why is it I have to carry you up the hill?” and Government replies, “It's only fair. After all, I'm carrying your knapsack.”

This is an allegory of whenever government claims to come to the assistance of business. Let me give a few examples where this exact experience has happened. I know members will appreciate this.

In downtown Toronto, Porter Airlines put together a group of investors to extend the runway so it could land more commercial flights right in the heart of the business district, so that business travellers could land in the business district, relieving traffic on the highway between Pearson airport and downtown Toronto. The by-product was that Porter would then buy two billion dollars' worth of planes from Bombardier. The government said, “No, there are some wealthy waterfront owners who don't like the noise, and despite the fact that they chose to live right next to an airport, we're going to protect their multi-million dollar property values at the expense of this multi-billion dollar private sector investment.” Now Bombardier has lost a $2 billion contract to provide an air fleet to a Canadian company, Porter.

What did the government do? It came to the rescue with a taxpayer-funded bailout.

We see the same pattern reproducing itself. We have a government in Ottawa that has blocked the northern gateway pipeline, the energy east pipeline, and has piled on so many regulations that Kinder Morgan, one of the largest diversified pipeline companies in the world, no longer believed it could make a risk-adjusted profit building an expansion of its 60-year-old pipeline between Alberta and the Pacific. This pipeline would otherwise have been a no-brainer. The expansion itself would have taken 600,000 barrels a day from where oil is cheap, in Alberta, to where it is expensive, the international market, allowing businesses to arbitrage the difference between the low western Canada select price and the high international WTI or Brent prices.

It is obviously an economic no-brainer, and clearly, an environmental no-brainer, given that in the exact same route Kinder Morgan has a pipeline that delivers 300,000 barrels per day already, without major incident, and that has been the case since 1953.

The government has prevented that from happening, but we should not worry, the government has come to the rescue. The big fat man called Government comes to the rescue to claim it is bailing out the private sector from problems that government created in the first place. Now, taxpayers have to pay $4.5 billion for a pipeline they already have, of which the book value, according to Kinder Morgan, is about $2.5 billion.

Therefore, government causes the problem and then claims to be the solution to that same problem. The small man, the taxpayer, carrying this big fat man, gets more and more exhausted as he tries to climb higher and higher up this hill. Eventually, the taxpayer becomes completely exhausted and the government walks off with the knapsack and all of its belongings.

Here we are today with a government that has become exponentially more expensive both in direct taxation and indirect costs of regulation. The Liberals are increasing the cost of government at three times the combined rate of inflation and population growth. They have grown spending by almost 25% in less than three budgets. The national debt was growing at twice, now three times, the rate that the Prime Minister promised during the last election. He has piled on regulation after regulation, delay after delay, rejection after rejection for any natural resource project that could liberate billions of dollars of investment in economic growth for our country. However, he says not to worry because he is going to come to the rescue with a bailout for all of those companies his government has so damaged. This is not unique to this socialist government.

Socialist governments across the country at all levels engage in the same practice all the time. We see big, costly, municipal regulations that make it impossible for businesses to build affordable housing for low-income people. Then they say that they need a national government program funded by taxpayers to subsidize more affordable housing, which is the same affordable housing that those municipalities prevent from being constructed in the very first place.

In Ontario, Kathleen Wynne's government, from whom we have been mercilessly liberated by the wise electors of Ontario, has piled on, over a 35-year period, $176 billion in overpayments for electricity provided by unreliable and overpriced suppliers that have made a grand fortune for the investors on Bay Street, while they have doubled the cost of electricity for working-class people and seniors on fixed incomes. That will go down, by the way, as is the single biggest wealth transfer from the low income and working class to the super rich ever exacted by any government in Canadian history. By the way, all of those numbers I just provided were calculated by the Liberal appointed auditor general of that province.

After they take all that money from the working poor and give it to the super rich, they say, “Inequality is out of control. We need a government program to do something about it.” It is like a doctor who administers a poison and then just before the patient falls to the floor, administers an antidote. The patient says, “Why, doctor, did you poison me in the first place?” The doctor says, “So I could save your life”. That is exactly the approach of these Liberals. They do so much damage and then they come to the rescue with other people's money in order to try to repair some of the damage that they have exacted.

The question this inspires is: Why do they not just get out of the way in the first place? Why not, for example, let the private sector build its pipelines in the first place instead of stopping it and then subsidizing it back to life? Why do governments at other levels not stop the red tape that prevents the construction of affordable housing instead of blocking it and then trying to subsidize it into existence later? Instead of taking money from the working poor and giving it to the super rich and then claiming we need a government program to reverse that wealth transfer, why do they not just leave the money in the pockets of those working people in the first place?

The answer is that if they just got out of the way, it would make the politician so much less important. It would be like airbrushing him out of the selfie. We know that the Prime Minister would never have that. It takes humility to rely on the free enterprise system, on self-reliance, on voluntary exchange, and that is the kind of humility we should have in government rather than the egotistical agenda that requires everything pass through the hands of politicians and bureaucrats.

After 2019, we will restore economic freedom, empower Canadians, and improve the future.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I really want to thank my friend from Carleton for his articulate speech.

I agree with him that government does not belong and should not be playing a role in investing in a leaky pipeline. It should be the private sector moving forward when it comes to energy, unless it is clean energy and moving us forward.

There is a place, sometimes, for the government to invest, especially when it comes to our fish. We have a billion dollar industry in British Columbia for our salmon. The government currently only invests about $50 million a year. As members can imagine, in any industry, that is not a lot of money. Right now, we are seeing record low returns in our fish. In fact, the government has announced a coastal restoration fund, and there are communities that are not seeing any of that money, despite our situation.

Here we are with an alarming problem with our salmon, and the government can somehow magically find $4.5 billion to buy a leaky pipeline while it cannot find money for the Somass River, for the Clayoquot, and for coastal communities from coast to coast to coast that are seeing serious declines in their salmon.

Does my friend from Carleton also find it appalling that the government can find money for the private sector, for industry, but it cannot find money for its responsibilities, where it is up to government to invest, to ensure that we have good jobs for our sport fishers, our commercial fishers, and our indigenous fishers that support small business in coastal communities, that solely rely on those government investments for enhancement, restoration, and for habitat protection?

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree that the government should focus narrowly on its responsibilities. One of those responsibilities, of course, is conservation and protecting the environment.

However, what the government has done instead is to get its hands into everything that is not the government's business. Parties and governments of the left are like the true economic busybody. We all know a busybody, that person who is always showing up uninvited, always trying to be helpful, but always causing more problems than he solves. That is the kind of economic interference we get from the government.

When politicians involve themselves in commerce, when they start to enter the boardrooms of the nation, what we have is a country where businesses get ahead, not by having the best product but by having the best lobbyists, where businesses, instead of obsessing about pleasing consumers, have to obsess about pleasing politicians. That is not the kind of economy we want to have.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the member's fables. They are quite clever.

My question is, why is it the Conservative opposition always talks about book value and does not recognize that there is something called market value, which is a reflection of the profitability of an asset?

Is the member saying that he does not believe that a pipeline is a profitable enterprise, that he does not believe that the market value of the asset is greater, much greater sometimes, than the book value? Is the member completely opposed to the government ever taking an equity stake in a private sector firm?

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member asked me why I did not talk about market value. He suggests, rightly, that market value is different from book value.

We do not know the market value, because the market did not buy this pipeline. The government bought the pipeline, presumably paying more than anyone in the marketplace was prepared to pay for it. By necessity, the government bought a pipeline above market value. If Kinder Morgan had had someone in the marketplace prepared to buy the pipeline for a price equal to or higher than what the government paid, they would have sold it directly to that private sector investor, and they did not. That means we know the government overpaid for this project.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by saying that I am sharing my time with my esteemed colleague, the member for Timmins—James Bay.

I am trying at this late hour to not simply repeat some of the excellent points that have been made already. I know that the motion involves three things. The motion talks about the desire to invest in renewables rather than leaky pipelines. It talks about the just transition and making sure workers are not left behind as we move forward to a low-carbon economy. Last, it asks the government why it chooses to continue with fossil fuel subsidies when the rest of the world seems to be moving in a different direction.

I have to start with a bit of repetition, however, on some of the points made about the famous Kinder Morgan project. I guess we now call it the Government of Canada pipeline and tanker project and its impact, not only on climate change, but no surprise to you, Mr. Speaker, as someone from a coastal community, its potential for a devastating oil spill that needs never to be forgotten in this place. It is the government's choice to spend our tax dollars and indeed it seems even to have the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board consider putting our pension funds behind this leaky 65-year-old pipeline.

In my part of the world, that is not going over well. Not only because of climate change, but the thought that we would be subsidizing our potential destruction of the coastal economy is causing a lot of my constituents to be very concerned.

It is also the opportunity cost point. The passionate speech from my friend in Courtenay—Alberni a moment ago points that out. Here is a government that has let the coastal restoration funds essentially disappear in his part of Vancouver Island on the Somass River. The Conservatives were criticized for how little they spent. The Liberal government is spending nothing on that.

The chinook salmon stock is what we depend on for the orca whales that are also going to be endangered by this tanker project. The opportunity causes a lot of Canadians to wonder where the government's priorities are.

As I said in question period one day last week, I do not remember any mandate that the government had to buy a pipeline. I do not remember any Canadians who were consulted. The government consults on what time of day it is, but there was no consultation of which I am aware among voters in our part of the world that the Liberals would spend, everyone says $4.5 billion, but that is just for the leaky 65-year-old pipeline, not for the $8 billion more or whatever it is going to cost to do the additional 1,000 kilometres of pipe and to do what is required to expand this project almost threefold. That is another part of the expenditure.

This is a speech and a day devoted not to talking just about the lunacy of the decision to buy this pipeline with Canadian tax dollars and as I said earlier, potentially pension funds of Canadians as well. It is about why we are not moving like the rest of the world is so aggressively toward a low-carbon economy based on renewables. That is what I would like to spend some time on.

We not only have the climate crisis before us and the implications of that at stake, but also the positive benefit that would come from investment in some of the new technologies, the battery revolution that might be part of that and so on. This needs to be discussed up front.

An article about Sir Nicholas Stern, an economist in the U.K. who studied climate change, said:

Failing to curb the impact of climate change could damage the global economy on the scale of the Great Depression or world wars by spawning environmental devastation that could cost 5 to 20 percent of the world's annual gross domestic product....

The implication of not spending money on these things also needs to be taken into account.

Meanwhile, as I said earlier, the government seems to be full steam ahead with fossil fuel subsidies. According to one recent study, the government now is spending $3.3 billion on these fossil fuel subsidies, a massive public investment that means, because of the tax expenditure policy that it is based on, less money coming to build hospitals and the like. That seems to be often forgotten as the government pats itself on the back for its current fossil fuel lunacy.

As was said yesterday in debate, Canada is now number seven out of seven in the G7 for its fossil fuel expenditures, notwithstanding a promise in the 2015 campaign by the government to do away with fossil fuel subsidies. They are not being done away with whatsoever. One could argue that buying a pipeline is another subsidy ultimately to the fossil fuel industry. Therefore, it is a little hard for a lot of people to understand why that is the case. That is not just people outside of the province of Alberta. Of the Albertans who were polled, 48% disagreed with public subsidies for the oil and gas industry. The vast majority of Canadians agree that it is the wrong thing to do.

Another interesting wrinkle on this is in a study that was done not long ago by the International Institute for Sustainable Development and others, it was pointed out that Germany and the United States scored the highest on transparency about these fossil fuel subsidies among the G7 nations. Can members guess who is the worst? It is Italy and Canada.

We are number seven out of seven when it comes to fossil fuel subsidies. I guess we should take some solace in the fact that we are number six out of seven when it comes to transparency about what we are doing. According to an EKOS poll, 96% of Canadians believe the federal government should disclose how much it is spending on oil and gas subsidies. Thank goodness for our independent officer, the Auditor General, to be able to ferret out, with some great difficulty, exactly how much these fossil fuel subsidies are costing us as Canadians.

Canada has a lot of explaining to do at the international level. It is also remarkable how out of step we are with other countries in the world. I would like to contrast China and its record with that of Canada in this regard.

Last year, according to The New York Times, China aimed to spend at least $360 billion on renewable energy by the year 2020. Another study by Clean Energy Canada, citing McKinsey & Company, shows that China is building a new wind turbine every hour. It is spending $360 billion. It wants to dominate the world. It figures it has created 13 million jobs in China based on this solar, wind, and geothermal, and other things that it is doing, while Canada lags significantly behind. I think a lot of Canadians wonder why.

Members may remember the retrofit program for homes a while ago and how popular that was in small communities as jobs were generated. We were getting a handle on the climate change implications and the loss of our energy. Canada uses a massive amount of energy, which we waste.

Our energy consumption is five times the world average on a per capita basis. It is the same for natural gas. We are 5.8 times the global average, and so forth, yet we do so little with respect to renewables. A lot of Canadians wonder why we cannot get the jobs that this will create, the positive climate change impacts this will generate, and deal with the workers affected, who will be left behind if we do not have a serious adult conversation about the just transition that is required.

The government finally got around to doing something about the just transition with respect to the coal industry. We heard about that today. However, not so much has been done with respect to the oil and gas industry. Where is that after this many years, and the government bragging about it at the Paris talks as well? We see nothing except with respect to coal, which is obviously worthwhile. However, other workers are going to be affected as well.

In conclusion, this is an important opposition day motion. It is designed to not simply be critical of the government's decisions, although there is a lot to be critical of with respect to Kinder Morgan and fossil fuel subsidies, but to be propositional as well, and to try to drive Canadians to understand how many jobs would be created, how much better we would do for climate change, and how much the workers could be protected if we actually moved to a just transition to a low-carbon economy.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the member's thoughtful speech and, like him, I hope for a green future. Our government is working to expand the green sources of energy, but does he not realize there is no universally agreed to definition of what constitutes a fossil fuel subsidy? That is one of the problems. For example, the G20 and G7 do not have a definition of what constitutes a fossil fuel subsidy.

However, what we can all say with a lot of confidence is that when externalities are not integrated into the cost of fuel, for example, when the cost of polluting is not integrated into the cost of a fuel, that is a subsidy. Our government is acting, really, on a large scale, to eliminate that subsidy by imposing a price on carbon. Would the member comment on that move by this government to eliminate one of the biggest subsidies of all?

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I agree entirely with the hon. member that it is critical that we internalize the cost of pollution, and that is, indeed, the intent of any pricing mechanism that most parties in the House appear to agree is inevitable and long overdue. The province of British Columbia has had a revenue-neutral carbon tax for many years and its economy leads the country, so it can be done.

I accept the other point the hon. member made that there is no universal definition of what constitutes a fossil fuel subsidy, but I would invite my colleague to look at the study that was co-authored by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and a number of others, which concludes very clearly, after an analysis of the definitional issues that he rightly points out, that Canada is dead last in the G7. Any way one cuts it, Canada is dead last. We should be ashamed.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting how socialist parties love to laud and praise dictatorships. The Prime Minister praised China and, indeed, my colleague just now praised China for its renewable energy, but I would point out, according to The Straits Times newspaper in 2017:

But new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants paints a very different picture: China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.

These...corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants....

My friend conveniently obfuscates when it comes to what the Chinese communist government is doing in terms of environmental protection, which is precious little. In fact, the air quality in China is so bad that it has become a social issue, and I gather there has been social unrest because of it.

Interestingly, the member like to trash Canada. I do not. As someone who has been in the environmental field his entire career, I have seen tremendous improvements in industry, whether it is pulp and paper or oil and gas, both industries I have worked in. In Canada, most environmental indicators are improving quite dramatically and much of that environmental improvement was done under the Conservative government.

Why is it that the NDP hates the private sector and our energy companies so much?

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

I will try to dignify that with an answer, Mr. Speaker.

Germany, last I looked, was one of the leading capitalist countries of the world. It is leading Canada by a country mile. It is way ahead on solar power, way ahead on wind, and last time I looked, it was not a communist government.

Second, China has had to grapple with this for the precise reason my friend pointed out, that coal is causing harm to people's health. The economy has begun to react with a massive investment in things like solar and wind precisely because it has to. That is the point that seems lost on my friend.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise and speak to this issue about the necessity of starting to talk about putting a plan in place to build a true green economy. It is about putting workers back, front, and centre in the discussion on climate change, something that they have been left out of deliberately by both the Conservatives and Liberals for years.

In a low-carbon future there will still be oil and gas. We need to start looking at a credible transition, and that transition is important because Canada should not be known as the country that threw a generation of workers under the bus. Margaret Thatcher's government did that. I know the hagiography of the Conservatives for worshipping old iron lady, but the devastation that did to England, to a generation, we still see.

How do we get a credible transition? We could listen to the Conservatives, who are proving us correct in that people still believe the earth is flat. I will give the Conservatives credit, because they understand how important the oil and gas sector is economically. It is a major driver of our economy.

Canada is a petrostate and has been for a long time. A decision in this country to benefit the advancement of the petrostate makes sense from an economic point of view. The problem with my Conservative colleagues is the fact that we are reaching, and maybe we are reaching beyond, the tipping point of catastrophic climate change. Anybody who has a credible vision of the future knows we have to deal with that. The Conservatives will simply look at the financial aspect of oil and gas and say, “Keep drilling baby, keep drilling.”

I compare that to the Liberals. I have seen them on this issue for 14 years. They believe if they say nice things about the environment that things will get better. They have been telling us that we have to massively expand oil and gas in order to create another economy. That does not make any sense at all. Creating a new economy would require making investments.

I come from a working-class, resource-based region. When I talk to the workers who work in the mines, many of whom work up in Fort St. John and Fort McMurray on the flying crews, they tell me they are concerned about the state of our world and where we are going.

I was so proud to be in Edmonton talking with the IBEW workers, who are building a transition economy. They are building and doing the retraining. They asked me where the federal government was on getting serious. One IBEW worker said something to me that I thought was fascinating. He said when Stephen Harper said that Canada was going to be an energy superpower, he was right but he was wrong about what source of energy.

The greatest opportunity for solar in the world, bar none, is in south central Alberta and Saskatchewan. My friends in Calgary told me that the moment to start building a new economy was when the oil boom went bust. When the price of oil tanks, that is when investments should be made. The federal Liberals at that time did not make any investments because they were counting on Rachel Notley to do the job. Rachel Notley has done an amazing job in trying to put the pieces in place for a new economy but in order to get there a strong federal component is needed.

The Liberals tell us to just let them keep expanding oil and gas, to let them keep expanding emissions, and somehow that money will be used to create a new economy. It is simply not a credible response.

Then we saw the Kinder Morgan debacle. When the Texas oil company threw down this arbitrary ultimatum, it was telling Canadians that it was not going to build the pipeline, it wanted to be paid off. People at the beginning of major resistance to a project never say they are thinking of leaving. By doing that, they are guaranteed to face major resistance.

Why was there major resistance? It was because the Liberals did not answer the fundamental question of concern about safety on the B.C. coastline, where there is a strong and economic issue in terms of preserving that coastline. They did not answer the legitimate questions from indigenous peoples.

The Prime Minister had an opportunity to show leadership then by saying his government should sit down with the Notley government and the Horgan government, and with affected indigenous people, and ask them how to address the very legitimate concerns about a bitumen spill. The government could ask them how it could show it is actually serious about building a transition economy. Whenever we hear just economy, any worker I know says it means they are going to get thrown under the bus. Where is the money?

The government did not have any money for that. However, suddenly to appease Kinder Morgan, the investors, the Liberals had $4.5 billion to buy a pipeline that was built in 1953.

In 1953, the prime minister was Louis St. Laurent. He went down to defeat in that term on the famous TransCanada pipeline debate. The Liberals were so arrogant and they blew it so badly that they were tossed out of office. Now that the Liberals have bought themselves a 65-year old pipeline that leaks, they also have maybe bought themselves some pipeline karma.

Where were those $4.5 billion that could have been used in the downturn, in the collapse of the oil sector in Alberta when so many thousands of families were being affected? In the downturn, the Liberals could have said that it was time to start to build the transition, so they would will still have people working in oil and gas, but they would start to take advantage of huge opportunities in the green sector.

All we heard from the Liberals was that the environment and energy “go hand in hand”. Their environment minister went to Paris. She brought a huge camera crew with her, got a lot of photos, and said wonderful things. The Prime Minister said that Canada was back and he showed off his Haida tattoo. The Liberals ignored their own reports that said they were nowhere close to meeting the targets of Paris. They will not meet them because they brought in the same energy plan that Stephen Harper had.

We need to talk about the importance of getting serious about what a new economy looks like. That new economy involves workers who will be paid decent wages. Building that new economy is a conversation we have had in Leap. Other organizations talk about the “Leap Manifesto”. Leap is the beginning of a conversation. It is a conversation that has to include working class people, blue collar workers, the people who are on the front lines. They understand how a transition should work. We have seen none of this from the government. All we have heard is spin. Now it tells us that it has spent $4.5 billion, and we are all investors in a 65-year old leaky pipeline.

I can give the House another prediction. There is no way that the pipeline will be built by the government. Why? Who will overpay to cover up the cost of the existing pipeline for which we paid $4.5 billion, a pipeline that is worth only $2 billion, as my Conservative colleague pointed out?

Can we really see the Prime Minister sitting on a bulldozer, running through indigenous country? The Liberals can talk and they have the bluster. However, if the government really thinks that it will con anyone into believing it will be leading that pipeline through British Columbia, I would certainly not bet a cent on it

That leaves us with a question. We bought an old pipeline. Kinder Morgan has left. Alberta is still looking for a partner to start building the transition economy. The spin from the Liberals is not going to get us there, unless we as a House say that it is time we get serious about the impacts of catastrophic climate change facing our planet now, that we say we are going to build a future for workers and children. If the government can find $4.5 billion to buy a pipeline that was built in 1953, they can find $4.5 billion to work in partnerships with communities across the country to start building that transition.

In that transition, where we still have the oil and gas sector, we can start to say to the world that we actually are credible, that Canada is back. Right now, we have a lot of a talk from the Prime Minister. Canadians are on the hook for $4.5 billion, and no other pipeline will get built.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, when I look at my years of involvement in politics, one of the things we have attempted to overcome in the province of Manitoba is being called a “have not province”. We receive more money through equalization as a direct result of that. A province like Alberta has always paid into equalization. The reason Manitoba has found it more difficult compared to Alberta is because we do not have the oil revenues.

When we talk about what is in the best interest of the country, one thing that comes up is how we benefit as a society from the billions of dollars of revenue that Manitoba gets. When I look at health care, education, and even some of the green technology we are advancing, a lot of that money has come through royalties.

The Premier of Alberta, a New Democratic premier, agrees with what we are doing. If we did not acquire that pipeline, there would have been no pipeline. The Alberta NDP agreed with that. Why does the NDP continue to say how wonderful the NDP Premier of Alberta is, but always sidesteps the issue of the pipeline? Does the member believe the NDP Premier of Alberta is wrong to support Albertans and the Alberta economy? All Canadians benefit from this because it is in the national best interest. Is the premier wrong by supporting this or is the premier doing the responsible thing like the Government of Canada is doing?

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague has been here a long time. I am always surprised he does not understand basic conversation. The basic conversation we are having is that the environment and the economy of Alberta is the national interest, because so many workers are there. However, to create a transition economy, Alberta is not going to be left to do it by itself. Where is that commitment to those jobs? Where was that commitment when the oil boom went bust and Calgary and Edmonton were left on their own? The government had nothing for them.

He is trying to say that the Government of Alberta talked the federal government into buying a leaky pipeline. The Government of Alberta said that it needed an energy plan. Part of that is environment. The federal government failed on that and refused to address the legitimate issues. Now we are stuck with a leaky pipeline. If the member thinks his Prime Minister has the wherewithal and the vision to build a new pipeline to go parallel to that, who would invest in that? No private sector would invest. Is someone going to invest in a son of Pierre Elliott pipeline project? I do not think so.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Timmins—James Bay made a lot of good points about this pipeline. I want to put something to the House that I do not think anyone has raised yet, and that is the financing around this, which is pretty dodgy. We have to remember that Kinder Morgan was founded by Richard Kinder who was a senior executive of Enron.

Kinder Morgan had to go out on the open market. At a National Energy Board hearing, it said that all the money for the project would be raised by the parent company out of Houston. It raised about $1.7 billion from investors. About a year and a half ago, Richard Kinder told his shareholders that he used that money to pay down debt. Then it changed the corporate structure of the organization and had Kinder Morgan Canada stand alone and not as part of Kinder Morgan of Houston. They are related as a subsidiary. However, it is a pretty clear tell that Kinder Morgan was backing off the whole idea of building the expansion.

Therefore, the reason we are paying so much for an existing pipeline, which was never part of the problem, was the blackmail note from Kinder Morgan, falling due May 31. It was not about getting the ransom; it was about shooting the hostage. What it really wanted to do was get out of it and blame someone for that.

Our poor beknighted front benches over there were terrified of a press conference on May 31, in which Kinder Morgan would announce that the Prime Minister of Canada could not get it done, that the Minister of Finance could not get it done. We had the problem of an unwilling vendor, and we know one pays through the nose when one has an unwilling vendor.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. When Kinder Morgan gave that ultimatum and said “If you don't give us a really safe environment, we're leaving”, that meant it was leaving. The potential for confrontation was very clear.

We saw the Prime Minister jump up and say, “Before you go, we'll pay off all your investors to the tune of $4.5 billion.” That is the best payout. If I were the CEO, I am sure my investors would be giving me a slap on the back for that. That is a heck of a lot of money to pay for such little effort.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kent Hehr Liberal Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have had the pleasure of listening to the debate, and I am buoyed by the robust spirit of everyone who has been participating.

I have ever-more confidence in the government's position on how we move the economy forward, as well as leave a better planet for our kids down the road. We can truly walk and chew gum at the same time, unlike the Conservative opposition and many of the members in the New Democratic Party.

The real truth of the matter is that our government is moving forward in the only way possible, seeing these issues through the lens of what we need to do, both today and tomorrow, by supporting a strong economy.

We support a strong economy by doing exactly what we have done in regard to the Trans Mountain pipeline and by ensuring we get Alberta oil to tidewater. This has been very important. The former government, despite 10 years of trying, could not do that. It could not access new markets for our oil from that province, and the reason is clear. The former Conservative government did not understand climate change or the notion that people were looking at pricing pollution as being a responsible way forward.

My New Democratic friends simply do not understand that having access to tidewater allows us to get a fair price on the international markets. It will allow us to get prices to have that revenue of roughly $15 billion a year, allowing us to move forward.

We can use that money to not only to invest in public services, but also to invest in the transition from a fossil fuel economy to one that is cleaner, greener, and more vibrant. Without those investments, without a strong economy, we will not go anywhere. Let us also remember that the TMX project would have good-paying jobs, over 15,000 construction jobs. That is a lot, and they are good-paying jobs that will remain even after the pipeline is built. They will still be jobs be available for people.

I am very surprised at the NDP position, frankly, considering the New Democratic Government of Alberta, led by a good friend of mine, Rachel Notley, sees both the economy and environment in similar fashion to that of the national government. It knows that in order to have these two propositions, people need to work, we need to bring in revenue, and we need to have the economy grow. At the same point in time, it understands that putting a price on pollution is the only way forward. Alberta has done that through embracing carbon pricing, phasing out coal, through energy efficiencies and encouraging moving to a sustainable economy, while ensuring Alberta gets its oil to tidewater. It is remarkable how my New Democrat friends do not see that.

As for my Conservative friends, they want to hit the targets in the Paris agreement. The Conservatives have said that. The most efficient way to do this, if they truly want to do something about climate change, is through carbon pricing.

Preston Manning, a good to friend to many on that side of the House, has said that if the Conservatives want to do something about climate change, they should look at carbon pricing. The Conservatives can use Google. They can hit the computer screen and ask how they can do something about carbon, how they can move the private marketplace, which they are always talk about, and how they can do something about the environment, carbon emissions. That would be a market solution. I would suggest the Conservatives utilize Google. I have been trying it a little. I am getting a touch smarter, not in all cases but I am trying.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being 5:30 p.m., pursuant to order made Tuesday, May 29, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings.

Pursuant to an order made earlier today, all questions necessary to dispose of the opposition motion are deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Wednesday, June 13, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions.

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.