Madam Speaker, today we are debating a motion that seeks “consumer-friendly environment grading label on all products available to Canadian consumers” I could not agree more with the goal of this environmental labelling proposition. Therefore, today, I am going to take it one step further and help write some of the warning labels that might actually be used if this proposal is implemented.
Let me start with a product that is our number one export in Canada, and I speak of course of petroleum. It is also an import. Because we do not have pipelines to get our oil to ourselves, we import almost a million barrels a day from abroad. My idea is that we not just have a label but actually a loud speaker that could tell people where the oil that made the gasoline that they are pumping into their cars actually came from and what the money was used for.
This is how I see it. People are pumping gas into their automobiles and a voice comes over a loud speaker, “Dear valued customer, because the government blocked the energy east pipeline, which would have taken a million barrels of western oil to eastern refineries, Canada imports almost a million barrels a day.” The voice goes on and it might say that the gasoline they are putting in their car comes from the 100,000 barrels of oil Canada imports from Saudi Arabia every day, that their gas is going to, in the words of Amnesty International:
The authorities escalated repression of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. They harassed, arbitrarily detained and prosecuted dozens of government critics, human rights defenders, including women’s rights activists, members of the Shi’a minority and family members of activists.
Saudi Arabia failed to co-operate with an inquiry by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions into the murder. The inquiry concluded in June that Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a deliberate, premeditated extrajudicial killing for which Saudi Arabia was responsible.
Then it says that their payment today will fund the surveillance equipment, prisons, whips, execution chambers or other resources that make state torture and assassinations possible. Finally, it thanks them very much for filling up with them today.
That could be one of the notices that we could have when Canadians are using oil from abroad.
Oil is not just fuel; it is also used in things like smart phones and eyeglasses, but let us stick with smart phones. Perhaps when Canadians are buying one, they could have this label written on the phone, and it quotes directly from BBC. The BBC is of course talking about Nigeria, from which we import 12,000 barrels of oil every single day and countless other barrels embedded in the products that we buy. It would say:
Continued oil spills from the activities of multinationals have also cast doubt on the impact of the clean-up exercise. 'Things are getting worse by the day,' Celestine Akpobari, an environmental activist from Ogoni, told the BBC.
Mr Akpobari says people can no longer fish or farm because of the devastation. 'People are dying, there are strange diseases and women are having miscarriages' from the pollution, he says.
UN scientists have found an eight centimetre layer of refined oil floating on top of the water that supplies the communities' drinking water, vastly higher than is legally permitted.
The notice could thank them very much for buying this smart phone which includes Nigerian oil, that they were funding this devastating pollution abroad, that unfortunately the oil in the smart phone was not from Canada, where none of the aforementioned practices are undertaken, and enjoy their product. That is another thing we could put on our product labelling if we were so intent on passing this proposal.
I am happy to write labels all day for all kinds of products, because we forget that oil is used for everything from textiles, basketballs, combs, prosthetics and countless other products that we do not even realize contain petroleum. Perhaps it is time to have warning labels about all the dirty foreign oil that goes into those products, because the clean, green, environmentally, ethically and economically responsible oil produced in Canada cannot actually make it to the markets.
Before our friends stand up and say we will not need oil anymore because we are all going to go electric, there will have to be, of course, a warning label for that. It is going to be on electric cars when we pass this motion. Forgive me if I quote the CBC:
Lithium mining, needed to build the lithium ion batteries at the heart of today's EVs, has also been connected to other kinds of environmental harm. There have been mass fish kills related to lithium mining in Tibet, for example. The freshwater supply is being consumed by mines in South America's lithium-rich region. Even in North America, where mining regulations are strict, harsh chemicals are used to extract the valuable metal.
I will quote Wired magazine:
In May 2016, hundreds of protestors threw dead fish onto the streets of Tagong, a town on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. They had plucked them from the waters of the Liqi river, where a toxic chemical leak from the Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium mine had wreaked havoc with the local ecosystem.
There are pictures of masses of dead fish on the surface of the stream. Some eyewitnesses reported seeing cow and yak carcasses floating downstream, dead from drinking contaminated water.
By buying an environmentally friendly electric car, people will be sending money back to mines just like the one described in this warning label, and they will be thanked very much for buying the automobile. By the way, dear customer, none of these kinds of practices are carried out by Canada's clean, green energy sector, which, in contrast to the aforementioned foreign suppliers, actually has the support of its surrounding communities.
There is a different kind of warning label we could put on our products. We could actually highlight the successes of Canadian energy, by contrast.
For example, we could talk about the countless reserves and other indigenous communities that have signed benefits agreements to receive billions of dollars of revenue from our energy sector, lifting countless first nations people out of poverty. Twenty out of 20 of the first nations communities that surrounded the proposed Teck Frontier mine supported it. Every single community along the path of the Coastal GasLink project supported it.
We could tell people in a warning label that if they buy products that use Canadian energy, they will be helping to fight poverty in first nations communities. They would also be buying oil with GHG emissions that are lower than the average per barrel produced. In fact, in the last 20 years, dear customer, those who have filled up their cars with gasoline originating in western Canada's energy sector have put in their vehicles an energy source that resulted from a 36% reduction in GHG emissions per barrel of oil in the last two decades. By the way, dear customer, those who buy this or that product containing Canadian oil are supporting the industry that paid over $600 billion in taxes to all three levels of government to fund schools, hospitals and roads. They will also be putting money into an industry that faces the highest and most intense regulations on the environment, on labour and on human rights. These are all things we could find a way to put in a label on the products that emanate from Canada's energy sector.
I encourage us to continue this dialogue. As Conservatives, we are prepared to come forward to help in the drafting of these labels that are now going to go on our products, so that Canadians can distinguish between the dirty, unethical, polluting and oppressive sources of energy from around the world and the clean, green, world-leading sources of energy around the world.
We might even tell Canadians on these warning labels that the first carbon-negative oil company, Whitecap Resources, which puts more GhGs back in the ground than it does in the air and actually takes greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, is a Canadian company. Maybe that could go on one of the labels we are going to produce as a result of today's proposal.