Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to stand this evening to debate Bill C-69. I would like to say a number of things at the outset. The most obvious one is that the Liberals broke their promise with the bill. It has nothing to do with the wording of the bill and everything to do with the size of it.
First, the government said it would not have omnibus legislation and, as my colleagues mentioned earlier this evening, this is a 370-page bill. It cannot be put in any other context than it is an omnibus bill.
The second broken promise is that the bill is not very environmentally supportive by its very voluminous weight. It could have helped, in spite of its size, if it really would improve our environment, but this bill fails to do that.
A number of things have been said about the bill this evening and I will come back to those. However, a whole host of events has taken place around the rhetoric the government has put in this bill. The Liberals talk about trying to improve the environment, to create more jobs, and to improve those jobs, but they have ended up killing two pipelines already. One was the northern gateway pipeline across northern British Columbia to get oil in Alberta over to the west coast. The other one was the eastern access line to move oil to the New Brunswick area for refining purposes in that part of Canada.
Before I elaborate on that, I should inform the House that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Edmonton West. I know he will have much to say about the situation taking place in Alberta.
My perspective comes from the small amount of oil in southwest Manitoba, which happens to all be in my constituency. This is a very important issue to the communities, maybe not to Winnipeg as much, though it is impacted because a lot of income comes out of that area from this oil, and to the people who live in those communities and on the farms in that region as well. A great deal of work is being done by the oil industry in the southwest region, from trucking to the building of lines to the building of batteries to the moving oil from the wells to the batteries to the tracks to the loading facilities. We also have a major pipeline running right through the middle of my constituency, which moves the oil east and down through the United States.
There are thousands of jobs in my little southwest corner of Manitoba because of this industry. That is why it is so important to have certainty in this industry. It impacts the lives of individuals on farms as well. I went through the downturn in the farm economy, particularly BSE in 2003, droughts in 2003, and flooding in 2005, 2011, and 2014. Therefore, off-farm jobs in the oil industry have been a stabilizing factor in many of the family operations in southwest Manitoba.
It is pretty important to ensure there are sound rules so investors in the economy, not just in my area but more particularly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and, to a certain extent in Newfoundland, have the assurance they can make investments and know they will get returns from those investments.
I will refer to my colleague from Carleton when this debate started. He had a good economics lesson, I thought it was Economics 101, about whether the government learned anything from the lesson he was trying to teach about how important it was to have a sound investment process. We know that comes with great difficulty in Canada right now, and there is a lot of concern about it. As he pointed out, and as we all know, the country's debt is three times higher than it was supposed to be this year.
One thing I did not know, and it is worth repeating, is there are overpayments in Ontario's hydro of $176 billion over the last 30 years. That is a tremendous amount of money, when we consider that is a quarter of Canada's debt. The other number we need to bear in mind is that we have already lost $88 billion worth of investment in our oil industry. It has moved out of the country. It has gone south, as my colleague from Calgary Shepard just indicated. Thousands of jobs have gone south, 101,000 jobs in Alberta alone.
There is a little more drilling going on right now in our area of southwest Manitoba, but the bill would not help that economy survive. Bill C-69, this omnibus legislation, and the amount of regulations in it would not make it easier to grow our economy, which puts people to work.
I was the environment critic for seven of the 14 years I was in the Manitoba legislature. I want to put a few things into perspective. When we look at a situation where infrastructure and investment is required, the government always talks about how we can have both, the economy and the environment. That is not new. It is certainly not foreign to anybody in the House or to any Canadian for that matter.
This is about ensuring that Canadians know that the environment and the economy have gone hand in hand probably since oil was found in Canada in the late 1940s, early 1950s. Anyone who does not abide by those rules of trying to ensure the environment is kept as pristine as we possibly can is not paying attention. My colleagues have already stated tonight that we have the cleanest rules for dealing with environmental packages of anywhere in the world, particularly in our oil industry.
As I said, I was asked to become the environment shadow minister in Manitoba when I was first elected in 1999. It was either conservation or the environment. As the representative for Arthur-Virden, the constituency receives water from all of eastern Saskatchewan, southeastern Saskatchewan as well as northeastern Saskatchewan, and all of it comes into the Souris River, coming down the Assiniboine, and even through the Qu'Appelle in central Saskatchewan.
We know the impacts of what the environment can do to our province. The current provincial government is spending its infrastructure dollars rather responsibly. It is using them to protect cities like Brandon and Winnipeg particularly, Portage la Prairie, and the shorelines of Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg. This is responsible management. Why? It is because the provincial government is spending the money on infrastructure to prevent flooding, instead of paying billions out after the fact in flood damages and devastation.
The Liberals need to heed that example and respect investments, instead of killing investment opportunities like the eastern access and northern gateway. These are important issues.
I could go on about a lot of other shortfalls in the bill. Changes to the National Energy Board is just one of them. It may have needed tweaking, but the government decided it knew best and threw out the baby with the bathwater.
My colleague, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, certainly has more experience, having a master's in biology, and he has certainly hit the nail on the head with respect to the Fisheries Act and Bill C-68. I have spoken to him about this bill as well.