House of Commons Hansard #327 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was need.

Topics

Organ and Tissue DonationPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

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.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Essex is not present to raise the matter for which adjournment notice has been given. Accordingly, the notice is deemed withdrawn.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Independent

Erin Weir Independent Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, when the government nationalized the Trans Mountain pipeline in May, I asked whether the new Crown corporation would honour the existing contract to buy 75% of the steel from EVRAZ in Regina and make every effort to source the remaining 25% of steel from other Canadian mills. I welcome the opportunity this evening to further elaborate the case for using Canadian-made steel in the Trans Mountain expansion project.

At the outset, I should state that Kinder Morgan decided, on purely commercial grounds, to buy most of the steel pipe from EVRAZ in Regina. What I would like to speak to are some additional reasons to give preference to Canadian-made steel now that the project is under public ownership, and I would like to address three topics. The first is jobs. The second is the environment. The third is trade.

The main argument advanced in favour of the Trans Mountain expansion is that the project will create jobs for Canadians. Of course the extent to which it creates jobs depends critically on where the materials are sourced. Importing steel pipe from offshore obviously does not create jobs in Canada, whereas buying the steel from Canadian suppliers clearly does create jobs and economic activity in our country.

The EVRAZ steel plant has the potential to be the largest private sector employer in Regina. It is a pillar of the local economy and would make a very important contribution to employment in our city. Certainly the order to make pipe for Trans Mountain is the largest order that facility has and is really keeping it going.

I also want to talk about the environment, because that is often invoked as the main argument against this project. It is important to note that one of the key advantages to using Canadian-made steel is that it has a much lower carbon content than steel imported from offshore. Manufacturing a tonne of steel in China and shipping it here emits about five times as much carbon as manufacturing it at EVRAZ in Regina. Therefore, if our concern is to reduce carbon emissions, one of the solutions is to manufacture the steel right here in Canada.

Another environmental concern has to do with the possibility of spills. A key advantage of Canadian-made steel is that we have the opportunity to rigorously inspect it throughout the manufacturing process, whereas with imported steel, we sometimes cannot be as sure exactly what we are getting.

Therefore, from an environmental perspective, there is a strong argument to manufacture the pipe and other materials for the Trans Mountain expansion in Canada.

The final thing I want to talk about is trade. Some would suggest that despite these advantages of using Canadian-made steel, we need to honour free trade obligations. What I would emphasize is that other countries, such as the United States, already have policies in place to favour domestic suppliers with their federal procurement. We think of the famous buy-American provisions.

All I am saying is that now that the project is being carried out by the federal government, it makes sense to apply the same sorts of provisions in Canada to give preference to Canadian-made steel and the case for doing so is particularly strong in the face of American tariffs currently applied to Canadian steel. If we cannot sell south of the border, all the more reason to use the steel here.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. I think he does a very good job of defending the interests of his part of the country when it comes to steel producers.

There is no doubt that we on this side of the House are committed to defending our steel and aluminum producers from coast to coast to coast in Canada. We saw that when the U.S. imposed totally unacceptable tariffs. We imposed countervailing measures to be sure to protect our industries.

This summer, in light of the unacceptable tariffs that were illegally imposed by the U.S., we also set up a $2-billion fund to help the steel and aluminum industries, as well as related industries.

On this side of the House, the hon. member will always find a government that stands with our steel and aluminum producers, including those in Quebec, and the industries that depend on them, like the one he was referring to.

In his speech, he mentioned three important aspects regarding the Trans Mountain expansion, namely the environment, international trade, and jobs. Trade is precisely why the government intervened. It wanted to open new markets for Canadian resources outside the United States.

As we know, 10, 12 or 15 years ago, 99% of our oil and gas resources were being exported to the United States. Today, 99% of our resources are still being exported to the United States, on account of a lack of international markets and shipping capabilities. This is taking a toll on the Canadian economy, costing us billions of dollars every year. It also means that jobs are not being created.

That is why the Canadian government decided to invest in the Trans Mountain expansion. We see it as is a forward-looking project. The government wants to make sure we get a fair price for our resources, to help pay for our transition to a greener economy and the creation of greener jobs.

That is also why we introduced measures like the $1.5-billion oceans protection plan, and why are are putting a price on pollution. We believe that we need to protect the environment while also growing the economy. The two must go hand in hand. Canada's economic vitality, and its long-term vitality in general, depend on it when it comes to protecting our natural environments.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Independent

Erin Weir Independent Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary has certainly spoken quite eloquently about the Trans Mountain expansion project. What he has not done, and what I and people in Regina are looking for, is to see a clearer commitment to honour the existing contract to procure most of the steel for the project from the EVRAZ mill. I think the sense is that the project would continue on that basis, but it would be nice to hear the government give a clear yes to that question. I hope it will come during the parliamentary secretary's final minute.

Similarly, I would hope that the government would provide some sort of commitment and some kind of indication as to how it intends to ensure that the remaining 25% of the steel in the Trans Mountain expansion will be procured as much as possible from Canadian steel mills.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, I thank my colleague for his intervention. He is doing a great job defending the interests of his region and its industries.

As I told him in my first response, on this side of the House, he will always find a government that stands with Canadian steel producers. We have proven this repeatedly over the past few months when dealing with the illegal tariffs imposed by the U.S. We set up a $2-billion fund to help steel and aluminum producers, as well as other industries that depend on those sectors.

I am sure he will find that our government is always listening and willing to be proactive to defend and protect our steel producers and ensure their prosperity in the short, medium and long terms.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

September 27th, 2018 / 6:20 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year, on April 27, I rose in the House to convey the concerns B.C. coastal communities had about the foregone conclusion made by the government on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

The former parliamentary secretary to the minister of natural resources said that the review “was the most exhaustive in the history of pipelines in Canada” and that the “additional steps...made the process more rigorous.” One of the problems I have with this government is that its representatives can keep standing in this place and make such preposterous claims.

First, the ministerial review panel in question admitted that it lacked the time, the technical expertise and the resources to fill the gaps in the National Energy Board process. lt ended up with little more than questions that remained unanswered. It kept no public records of hearings, admitted that the meetings were hastily organized and confirmed that it had a serious lack of public confidence in the National Energy Board and its recommendations. I attended one of those meetings when it came to Victoria in 2016, so I witnessed how bad it was first-hand.

Next, we have the internal memo from the office of the former natural resources minister, which described the negotiations with first nations as “paternalistic”, “unrealistic” and “inadequate”. We now have evidence that the government had made up its mind to allow Texas-based Kinder Morgan to build a major pipeline and that it regarded consultations with first nations as simply an item to check off a grocery list.

The government maintains that it fulfilled its legal duty to consult first nations about the project before it announced that it was approving the pipeline on Nov. 29, 2016. However, it has been revealed that at a meeting in late October 2016, a group of about two dozen senior staff were invited to Vancouver and were told by a senior government official at that meeting that their job was to find a way to get the pipeline approved.

The NDP, and our leader Jagmeet Singh, have repeatedly told the Liberal government that its consultation process for the Trans Mountain pipeline was completely inadequate and destined for failure. Unfortunately, our enquiries were repeatedly met with the same old Liberal arrogance. However, we found vindication last month as the unanimous Federal Court of Appeal ruling on Trans Mountain found that the National Energy Board's review of the project was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion. The court also concluded that the federal government failed in its duty to engage in meaningful consultations with first nations before giving the green light to the project. ln their consultations with indigenous communities, the government's representatives limited their mandate to listening to and recording the concerns of the indigenous applicants and then simply transmitting those concerns to decision-makers. There was no meaningful two-way dialogue.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly stated that no relationship is more important than that with indigenous people, but the government's approval process for Trans Mountain exposed a calculated and predetermined strategy to get to a yes decision on this project.

lndigenous people are entitled to a dialogue that demonstrates that the government gives serious consideration to the specific and very real concerns they have. Is the parliamentary secretary prepared to still say that this project is going to be built in spite of these concerns?

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford for bringing his question to the House today. We know that he shares his concerns in all sincerity and, in my view, makes very important points.

As many members before me have said, no direction was given to federal representatives to justify expanding the Trans Mountain network. No direction was given, period.

In fact, the reality is quite different. Our government insisted that the federal review of the TMX project include broad public consultations and engagement sessions with indigenous peoples. All these sessions and consultations were held in good faith. These principles are at the heart of a healthy democracy. Processes are more effective and decisions are sounder when every voice is heard. That is why our government engaged in the entire review process of the Trans Mountain expansion project.

However, as the hon. member pointed out, we know that the Federal Court ruled that although there have been significant improvements in the way major natural resources projects are reviewed, there remain two areas where these efforts still need to be improved.

First, the National Energy Board should have included the potential impact of marine shipping as part of its review of the TMX project. Second, the Crown failed to adequately discharge its duty to consult with indigenous people. I think it is worth reading what Justice Eleanor Dawson stated in her written decision with respect to both of these issues.

On the first one, the judge said, “I conclude that most of the flaws asserted against the NEB's process and findings are without merit.”

The justice continued, “However, the Board made one critical error. The Board unjustifiably defined the scope of the Project under review not to include Project-related tanker traffic.”

On indigenous engagement, she added, “I also conclude that Canada acted in good faith and selected an appropriate consultation framework.”

We acted in good faith. Where we fell down in our duty to consult was in the stage of engagement known as phase III.

Our government has heard what the court said. We are listening and we are taking action to ensure that we move forward in the right way. That is why the Minister of Natural Resources has announced the first step of our planned response by instructing the NEB to revisit its recommendation on the TMX expansion to take into account the impact of the project's increased marine transportation.

I would also draw the attention of the House to yesterday's decision by the NEB to appoint the panel for this review. We are hoping that the NEB will move efficiently.

The minister has also indicated that additional steps will be announced. I would urge the member opposite to be patient and to wait for those details.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the parliamentary secretary's response. The fact of the matter is that the government, the taxpayers of Canada, are now owners of the $4.5-billion pipeline. The government has repeatedly stated that it wants to get the project built and I think that puts the Government of Canada in an inherent conflict of interest in the negotiations with first nations.

The Liberals have yet to credibly explain where all of the international buyers for our increased bitumen exports are lining up. They have yet to credibly state how this project is in any way going to aid our country in meeting its climate change goals. We are in 2018 and climate change is arguably the issue of the 21st century. It is shameful that we are letting down a young generation that is going to take this country and one day lead it through some of the biggest challenges. We are not setting them up for success and I just hope that the government reconsiders that fact in the negotiations that go forward.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his comment. It was not so much a question as it was a comment.

I completely agree with him. I am a millennial, and I would say that climate change and environmental protections are the most pressing concerns facing all societies and governments.

However, I will tell him that our government has an ambitious plan to combat climate change. For example, we put a price on pollution, which should have been done a long time ago. The government is proposing that pollution have a price in Canada. We also invested $182 billion over 12 years in infrastructure to fund public transportation, for example, and ensure that we are less dependent on today's vehicles and have access to good public transportation across the country. This is part of our plan to protect the environment and combat climate change.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:33 p.m.)