Mr. Speaker, unfortunately it is not an honour for me to rise to speak to Bill C-69, which would create some burdensome regulation and red tape and add additional uncertainty to our natural resource sector.
Over the last few months, we have seen the impact the policies of the Liberal government on this industry and the jobs that go with it.
Bill C-69 has not even gone through the House yet, has not been given third reading, but we have already seen the ramifications of it. The private sector has seen the writing on the wall and is divesting itself of their interests in Canada: Statoil, Shell, BP, and certainly Kinder Morgan, which has made a substantial profit from the Canadian taxpayers of $4.5 billion on the purchase of an existing pipeline. As part of those companies divesting themselves of their interests in Canada, they have also taken $86 billion in new investment and new opportunities to other jurisdictions.
Let us be clear: these companies are not going to stop investing in the energy sectors, but they are going to stop investing in the Canadian energy sector. They are taking those dollars to other jurisdictions. They are going to be investing in places like Kazakhstan, Texas, and the Middle East, not in Canada. Unfortunately, we will suffer the consequences when it comes to our economic opportunities.
I want to take an opportunity to clarify something we heard again in question period today. The Liberals keep touting themselves as somehow building a pipeline to tidewater. All this $4.5 billion has done is purchased an existing pipeline. It does not remove any of the obstacles to the building of the Trans Mountain expansion. In fact, the Liberal purchase of this pipeline, which we heard is closer to $2 billion in market value than $4.5 billion, does not build one inch of new pipeline to tidewater. They should be very clear that this purchase does nothing. It removes none of the obstacles that the provincial Government of B.C. has put forward. It does not remove any of the protesters who will be blocking the construction of the pipeline. It does not remove any of the judicial challenges that opponents of the pipeline have put forward.
When the Liberal Prime Minister had opportunity to show some leadership, stand with Canada's energy sector, and use section 92 of the British North America Act, the constitutional tools he had to ensure the project was done, he did none of those things. This will cost our economy thousands of jobs.
I want to make another thing very clear, and I think my colleagues across the floor do not quite understand this. These jobs are not for wrench monkeys and roughnecks, which are also extremely important, as they are the backbone of our energy sector, but they are for highly skilled individuals. They are engineers, geophysicists, and geologists. I have spoken to many of them in western Canada. Some of them have been without jobs for more than two years. These are highly skilled individuals who will go to other areas of the world to find work, and they will not come back. It will be very hard to attract these highly skilled individuals back to Canada.
I have spoken about the impact this has had on western Canada. I have certainly spoken to many of these unemployed energy sector workers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and B.C. However, the Liberal government also needs to understand that the implications of its decisions on the energy sector ripple right across the country. I would like to talk about just one example.
A General Electric plant in Peterborough, Ontario, made turbines for the pipelines across Canada. General Electric had announced plans to expand that facility should energy east, Trans Mountain, or northern gateway be approved and move forward. However, when energy east was killed on a political decision by the Liberal government, and after the foot-dragging and mismanagement of the Trans Mountain decision, General Electric announced it would close its plant in Peterborough, costing 350 jobs.
Therefore, the ramifications of the Liberal decisions, lack of action on Canada's energy sector, and the Prime Minister saying we are going to phase out the oil sands have real consequences across the country. These 350 jobs in Peterborough, Ontario, are now gone because of the Liberal decision on the energy sector. These families in Peterborough are now going to have to find new work.
I do not think our colleagues across the floor really do understand that. In fact, the Liberal member of Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha supported killing energy east and supported Bill C-69. She is not fighting for her own constituents. She is not fighting for the jobs of those families in her own riding. The Liberals are making an ideological decision to listen to the vocal minority of activists.
Even today, my colleague from Hamilton East—Stoney Creek talked about how great things were in Hamilton because it was building all these grain cars. I am not too sure how all these new grain cars help the energy sector. They will not be hauling oil in grain cars because we do not have a pipeline. Maybe he is anticipating that the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have lost their jobs in the energy sector are all of a sudden going to start farming. I do not think that is a real solution.
The solution is standing behind our energy sector, championing it and the jobs it creates and the social infrastructure it supports. That is the direction we should be supporting, not trying to find new jobs for those who have lost their positions. These are very well-paying middle-class jobs across the country, jobs that have now been lost in places like Fort McMurray, Calgary, Leduc, and certainly in Peterborough, Ontario, because of these ideological decisions. Bill C-69 would simply make matters worse.
We have heard from stakeholders and employees in the energy sector. They say that one of the most important drivers of investment in Canada has been that confidence, that reliability, and that regulatory certainty in Canada. Bill C-69 would do everything it possibly could to dismantle that certainty in our regulatory process.
The process is being politicized. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change would have the sole responsibility to decide whether a project would be for the greater good or in the national interest. One person, one minister, would have that decision.
Let us say an investor or a large energy company has an opportunity to apply for a project in Canada. It goes through all the regulatory processes and does all of its environmental assessment studies and financial assessments. However, as part of Bill C-69, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will have the authority to say no even before it has its foot in the door. Even if it has passed all those environmental assessments, even if it has the support of first nations and communities along the way, even if it is proven to be in the national interest, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has the authority to say that it is not something the government supports. That is what happened with energy east. The government put so many double standard burdens upon that project that there was no way the stakeholder would go ahead with it. That is what we are seeing as part of this process.
I spoke earlier about the ramifications this had on the sector and how we saw a government make ideological decisions, not decisions made on consultation with Canadians, not decisions based on science, not decisions that are fiscally based, and certainly not decisions based on economics. For example, let us look at agriculture.
This week or last week the Minister of Agriculture said that the vast majority of Canadian farmers supported the carbon tax. That was patently false, and we have heard that it is false. The Liberals are making decisions contrary to what Canadians are asking them to do. That is where this becomes extremely frustrating.
Farmers have reduced their use of diesel fuel by 200 million litres a year. Our energy sector now takes a third of the carbon footprint to produce one barrel of oil than it took 10 years ago. Members are going ask why the government is not investing in renewable energy and fossil fuels. Who do they think has been doing all the investing in renewable resources? It is our fossil fuel companies. Those are the ones which have the funds to invest, and they have been doing it for decades.
Why does the taxpayer have to be doing this when the private sector has already been doing it, and doing it successfully for decades? What the sector is asking for is for the government to get out of its way. It wants the government to let it do what it has been doing successfully, better than anybody in the world for generations. It just wants to do its job and get back to work.