House of Commons Hansard #323 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was veterans.


Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

1:55 p.m.


Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion of the TMX pipeline, and I have since 2011. It would boost bitumen oil shipments through the Salish Sea in my riding from once a week to once a day through sensitive ecology that cannot handle a spill. That is all downside and no upside for B.C.'s coast, and it is not in the national interest. Therefore, I and the New Democrats oppose Bill S-245.

Since the Liberals announced that they are buying the TMX pipeline, I have had more input from constituents on this issue than anything else. B.C. people are telling me they feel betrayed by the Prime Minister. They are dismayed the Liberal priorities are so stuck in the past. They are angry that the Prime Minister has bailed out a Texas oil company with a massive payout, to assume onto taxpayers a risk that the corporate interest was unwilling to assume, and dump all the financial and environmental risk onto Canadians. This is all about the future of our country and our environment.

Here is a fast reality check on some of the rationale out there. There is already a pipeline to tidewater. There is no demonstrated market overseas for bitumen and dilbit, and there is no price differential. Even if there was, exporting raw dilbit would be exporting the good jobs that could go with refining and adding value, the jobs the government has said it is trying to protect.

Solid bitumen eliminates the need for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The safest way to ship it is in solid form. No pipeline expansion means no social or first nations impacts, and no need to bail out Kinder Morgan with the $4.5 billion to $12 billion this is estimated to cost. There is certainly no need to buy this aging 65-year old leaky pipeline. All of the savings that could have come from not using taxpayer money that way and all of the benefit that could have come to our country is deeply discouraging. Therefore, I am going to outline the reasons I think it is not in the national interest in the following areas: first nations relationship and our constitutional obligations; endangered species; climate change; oil spill risk; fossil fuel subsidies; and, last, coastal jobs.

Starting with endangered species, the federal government has a clear responsibility to protect species at risk. There was a 2012 court order that told the government it needed to put measures in place to protect the habitat of the orca, which was the number one impact that was identified in the National Energy Board review. As meagre as that review was, it did say that the shipping noise impact was unavoidable and without remediation. The government went ahead and approved the pipeline anyway. The important thing for members to know is that the shipping noise interferes with the orca whales' ability to communicate with each other and to locate the chinook salmon they feed on. Their numbers before the 2012 court ruling were 87 members of the southern resident orca pod, which has now dropped to 75. This summer, international headlines focused the world's attention on the plight of this endangered species. The fact that environmental groups just last week filed another lawsuit against the Liberal government for its failure to protect the orcas shows that its vaunted oceans protection plan is not helping orcas yet.

With respect to the first nations consultations, for the finance minister to say, the very day of the court ruling, that the pipeline will be built and that we will also consult first nations leadership again shows the Liberal government does not get it. It cannot say it is going to consult but it has already decided what it is going to do.

We keep hearing from the government that its most meaningful relationship is with first nations, yet they continue to be pushed to the side. It is particularly coastal first nations that I am talking about here. Certainly, I am reminded by my constituents that this is not all first nations. However, in my own riding, the leadership is extremely concerned and opposed to the approval and expansion of the pipeline because of the oil tanker traffic.

Here is a message that I received this morning by text from my friend, Doug White III. Kwul’a’sul’tun is his Coast Salish name, his Hul’q’umi’num’ name. He is a former chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and he is an elected councillor now. He states that, “Snuneymuxw has been frustrated that while [Kinder Morgan] and the [National Energy Board] said the project ends at the Burnaby terminal, and [Kinder Morgan] has no responsibility beyond that point with respect to tanker shipping of bitumen through the Salish Sea (which represents a total risk of the way of life of the Salish peoples...), they have taken it upon themselves to unilaterally define the project as being in the national interest without ever sitting down with the Snuneymuxw to discuss how the foundational pre-Confederation Treaty of 1854 structures such a decision.”

He goes on to say, “Completely ignoring and effectively denying the Treaty of 1854--particularly its powerful protection of fisheries in the Salish Sea--is the opposite of recognition and reconciliation. Even the colonial government of Vancouver Island in the 1850s knew the basic legal and political reality that they could not extract resources of Vancouver Island without establishing a proper relationship premised on recognition and respect of the continuity of Indigenous control and decision-making about their territories and resources. That is why the Douglas Treaties were established 160 years ago. We have to ask: Is the approach of the current government of Canada less than even a colonial government in the 1850s? The answer is clear.”

That is a condemnation and a huge damage to the national interest, which is of true reconciliation. That is the only way we can move forward.

So much has been said on climate. I am reminded by my constituent David in Nanaimo who wrote to the Prime Minister saying, “Your government says this Texas oil company's pipeline is in the national interest. We believe that having a safe climate is in our national interest, and the two are not compatible.”

I could not say it better myself. The disaster that is climate change barrelling down on us while the government has still failed to do anything stronger than adopt the emission reduction targets of the Harper Conservatives is a deep betrayal. The true national interest would be to truly act strongly and reduce climate change emissions.

On oil tanker safety and protection of the coast, the waters that I represent are one of the four areas in Canada with the highest probability of a large oil spill, according to the 2013 federal tanker safety panel of Transport Canada. It is one of the two areas in Canada with the highest potential impact of a spill.

In 2009, as chair of Islands Trust council, I wrote to the federal government when it was the Conservative government saying, “Please tell us that you are studying the impacts of dilbit, diluted bitumen, in the marine environment.” That evidence was blocked from the National Energy Board. I have been asking repeatedly in question period for the Liberal government to take action, and it has not. We have no demonstrated way to clean up dilbit in the marine environment, especially in a place with the speed of currents and rise and fall of tides that we have.

My constituent Mark wrote to the Prime Minister saying, “Any spill in the oceans surrounding Vancouver Island and the Strait of Georgia would be a national disaster.” I agree with him: not in the national interest but a national disaster.

This also breaks the promise that the Canadian government has made to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. That was a promise made to the G20. It has been repeated again and again. The government has been fighting with the Auditor General these past three years. It will not show the evidence that says it is acting on fossil fuel subsidies. Certainly the purchase of the Kinder Morgan pipeline for $4.5 billion is evidence of further breaking of that fossil fuel subsidy promise. What that money could have been invested in instead, redirecting fossil fuel subsidies into establishing coastal jobs, green, sustainable jobs in renewable industries, would really be keeping all of our promises.

So much is on the line for us on the coast. A UBC study in 2012 said that the potential impacts of a large oil tanker spill could lead to as much as a 43% loss of employment in the province's coastal industries. Twenty thousand people on the Lower Mainland could be affected by a spill, and as much as $687 million in damage to the GDP from a single spill. Again this was identified by UBC.

In closing, I say, again, this is not in the national interest. As a kayak guide, I have had the great privilege of exploring so many of Vancouver Island's and B.C.'s wild places. I am deeply determined, along with my constituents, to stand up and protect the coast. Investing in and accelerating Kinder Morgan's oil tanker traffic is absolutely the opposite of the national interest, and I hope this House will agree.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

2:05 p.m.


Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to add my comments to this very important debate on S-245. I would like to note the comments of my colleague for Lakeland as she kicked off the debate. She very articulately laid out this project, the time frames and some of the history. I will not redo what she said but I hope to add some new comments to the debate which should be reflected upon.

Even though the landscape has changed since this initial private member's motion in the Senate was introduced, passed and moved to us, it still remains a very important bill for us to pass in the House. Again, the landscape has changed considerably, but we must and should pass it.

I know that in an ideal world we would not have any dependence on fossil fuels. However, we continue to have that dependence. It is not just the gasoline for our car or the jet fuel for the planes that fly us to Ottawa and back home. Over 6,000 products require the use of oil.

In the short and medium term, the world, not just Canada, will continue to rely on oil and its products. I do have a belief that there will be technological advances that will create some solutions.

Dave McKay, the president of RBC, said, “Canadians are polarized about oil and gas when we should be focused on how cleanly we can produce it, how safely we can transport it and how wisely we can consume it.” Those are very important words.

Alberta is working very hard on how to cleanly produce. The discussion we are having today is how we can safely transport and then it is up to every individual to look at how wisely to consume it.

The government has decided to put all its eggs into one basket. The tanker moratorium simply means that people from Lac du Ronge and Eagle Spirit have been cut off, with no consultation on the opportunities they thought might be there for their communities. Of course, that would be a northern route. This bill is currently in the Senate. Again, it cuts off opportunity to get oil to the sea water.

Bill C-69 has been called the “never build another pipeline again” bill. I tend to agree. Changes proposed in Bill C-69 mean that another pipeline will never be built in Canada again. That is a huge problem. We can look at what is happening in the States and across the world. We basically have landlocked resources. In the short and medium term, we will be uncompetitive.

Having a “no pipeline” bill is important. However, what people do not realize is this. Look at the rail traffic. I live on a rail line. I was at a ceremony this week for a change of command for the Rocky Mountain Rangers. Fifteen metres from us was a rail line, which goes straight through Kamloops. Tanker car after tanker car travel right through town and along the Fraser River. It had already come down the Thompson River while salmon were spawning.

When we talk about transportation safety, it is relatively safe. However, it is more safe to transport oil through a pipeline than by tanker cars, which travel right through the middle of town and along the spawning channels. We have had wildfires. We have seen the instability of slopes when rains come. We are having washouts. There is big concern about the enormous increase in the tanker cars that go through our communities.

This does not even address the issue that we hear all the time from our grain farmers and mining folks about the bottleneck on the rail lines. As the rail capacity increases for tanker cars to transport oil, we bottleneck our supply system, our supply chain. This is a huge problem.

Northern gateway and the TMX is really a tale of two pipelines, because it has been largely decision-making by the current government.

Northern gateway went through its process and it was approved by the former government. A court decision came out and it was very clear. The Liberal government received that court decision. It said that some things needed to be done to improve consultation with first nations.

The decision was received by the current Liberal government. Every time those members suggest that they inherited a flawed process, it is quite clear that it was not the process but it was the execution of the process with northern gateway. It became much clearer that they did not learn any lessons after reading that report, in spite of the fact that they said they had. The Liberals completely botched their execution with respect to the duty to consult on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The first decision said they could not simply be a note-taker. The Liberals had that information. What did they do? They sent someone to take notes. How is that looking at a decision and implementing it?

The minister stood up time after time and said that there was no relationship more important than the government's relationship with first nations. He said they were engaged, that they have had the best process ever, and yet his government did the exact same thing. Someone was sent to take notes and the government did nothing in terms of dealing with the issues at hand.

The Liberals failed. They failed as plaintiffs. Six communities took them to court with respect to the duty to consult. More important, they also failed 43 communities that had benefit agreements and were looking forward to the opportunities that would come with the construction of this pipeline going through their territory.

About one-third of the pipeline goes through the riding that I represent, which includes many communities as well as many first nations communities, the majority of which had signed benefit agreements.

After the decision came down I met with a number of first nations and other communities. One group had to completely redo its budget. It had counted on the benefits from this agreement. This group had to wonder what it could slice and dice out of its budget because it was faced with brand-new circumstances.

I met with another group called Simpcw Resource Group. As construction happened, and in the past, this company had been responsible for returning the disrupted land from the construction of a pipeline back to its natural vegetative state.

Companies are planting trees as we speak, planning on the economic opportunities. Construction camps are being planned. Cooks were looking forward to opportunities. These are real people. These are real jobs.

The fact that the Liberal government could not look at a court decision that came to them in 2016 and do the job properly is absolutely shameful. It failed to execute. When the government says it had a flawed process given to it, it is absolute nonsense. The government was told what it needed to do in order to do it properly. Please, do not ever let them say they were provided with a flawed process. The court decision was absolutely clear that the process was appropriate, it was the execution that was flawed.

This are real consequences to real people. This matters. I hope that when people look at this they will look at it as a benefit for Canada, not for the benefit of a small area only. This would benefit all of Canada.

I encourage all members of the House not to just look at their concerns and interests but to look at the big picture, look at it for the benefit of Canada.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

2:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and hopefully provide a bit of clarity on the issue of the Trans Mountain project. It is of the utmost importance, and ultimately, nothing is going to change my personal thoughts. This is from someone coming from the Prairies, but it goes far beyond the Prairies. The Prime Minister has done a fantastic job in explaining that the Trans Mountain project is in the national interest. It is not just for one province over another province. It is indeed in the national best interest, because every Canadian in all regions of our country would benefit from the project moving forward.

From day one, it has been really important to our government to recognize that there is a significant environmental component and a significant indigenous component. We have heard other members, both Conservative and NDP, repeat what we have been saying from day one, that we have turned the page on the relationship between the national government and indigenous people since the election in 2015. This is a government that wants to move forward in a very progressive fashion.

There is a difference between the New Democrats, the Conservatives, and the government of the day in dealing with the pipeline. We need to recognize a little of the history to get a better understanding of where we are today. I sat on the opposition benches when Prime Minister Stephen Harper had an opportunity to advance this file. He chose not to, even though he was rooted in the province of Alberta. He felt there was no need for the federal government to get engaged at that time. Today, we look at the Trans Mountain project as a way to ensure that our commodity is in fact getting to new markets. That is a big issue to us, because we are so dependent on our oil going south. We know that if we can expand the market we will in fact be able to derive a better bottom line for Canadians. We need to recognize just how much that would really assist Canadians.

My colleague from the province of Alberta spoke earlier. Alberta has been a great contributor to the confederation through the oil royalties. Manitoba has not been as blessed with oil as the province of Alberta. Many would argue that as a result, our province has been very dependent on equalization payments. Where do those equalization payments come from in good part? They come from provinces like Alberta, which are able to export a commodity. With the Province of Manitoba receiving those equalization support payments, we are able to provide the types of social programming that allow us to keep on par with other provinces like Alberta and Ontario with services like health care, quality education, social programs and many others. Even environmental types of programs are carried out with the assistance of equalization payments. Money is transferred to the Province of Manitoba in the billions every year.

Therefore, when we talk about the net benefits of the export of things such as oil, it adds to the overall GDP. Production in one province may be a little more than in another. All Canadians benefit from it. That is done through equalization.

There are many individuals throughout Canada, whether from the Prairies or Newfoundland and Labrador, from every region of the country, whose direct and indirect jobs are a result of things that are taking place in Alberta and British Columbia.

We believe that those types of economic activities are contributing to Canada's overall well-being. We have a Prime Minister who from day one, even before he was prime minister, talked about the importance of Canada's middle class, believing that if we give additional strength to our middle class, if we invest in our middle class, we will have a healthier economy. By having a healthy economy, we raise the standard of living of us all, and so forth.

When the Prime Minister and members of the House discuss that what is happening with the Trans Mountain project and how important it is that it move forward, we need to understand why it is in Canada's national best interest. That is where we differ from our New Democrat friends. When I say New Democrats, it is not universally applied because we know that the Alberta NDP and Rachel Notley are doing a fantastic job trying to explain why it is so important for all of Canada to see this take place.

However, the national NDP does not want a pipeline. It is catering to a certain sector at a huge cost to all Canadians. I would appeal to the members to look back to the days when they were the official opposition hoping to be in government. They seemed to be more reasonable in approaching major policy issues, such as the ones we have before us today. If they do that, there is no reason why all members of the House should not get behind what the government is doing on the Trans Mountain project.

I was so disappointed when a Conservative said that buying out and securing the pipeline was a bad idea. I felt fairly good the day when I heard the announcement because, for the first time, we had a national government that made a very strong statement for the first time about that resource getting to market.

What did the Conservatives do? They started criticizing the government because we had acquired an asset that would ensure to the greatest extent possible that the job would get done. When it came time to stand up for Albertans in particular, but indeed for all Canadians, what did the Conservatives do? They went running behind Stephen Harper and took the Harper type of spin lines. That was what we witnessed firsthand when that announcement was made.

I say shame on the Conservatives, because day after day they tried to say that they wanted a government that would take action, a government that would move forward on this very important and critical pipeline. When the government did just that, what did the Conservatives do? I am disappointed and I would hope that the Conservatives would get behind the initiative by the government. If they truly believe in the well-being of the Canadian economy, in particular those thousands of jobs that would be generated in Alberta and British Columbia and the agreements that are shaping up with many of our indigenous communities, this is a project that is worth supporting no matter which political party one belongs to, with the possible exception of the Green Party. I have heard the leader of the Green Party speak on the issue and I expect there is no changing that particular position.

I would like to think that the other two opposition parties that have been around long enough would understand just how important the Trans Mountain extension is. The Prime Minister does and this government does. In fact, all members of the Liberal caucus in all regions of our country understand just how important this is to the national interest. We are committed to pushing this file forward and doing it in the right way.

That means working with indigenous people, looking out for our environment, and also delivering at the end of the day. That is something we are working toward diligently. I believe it is only a question of time before we will see some better recognition on the opposition benches of just how important this is to Canada's economy and, indeed, our social fabric.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

2:25 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

It being 2:30 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday next at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 2:30 p.m.)