Madam Speaker, I am especially pleased to rise in the House this morning because I am feeling confident. My party whip complimented me on my perfect hair before I rose to speak, so I am feeling really good about speaking to Bill C-49 this morning.
The Bloc Québécois will take a careful look at the principles of Bill C‑49. It goes without saying that we will want to examine this bill more closely in committee. However, before I get into the nitty-gritty of the bill, I want to mention a few problems that I noticed with it.
The first has to do with provincial jurisdictions. Personally, I would not want the federal government to have control over the management of Canada's natural resources. We know that natural resource management is a provincial responsibility. However, when we look carefully at this bill, we see that, in response to a Supreme Court ruling, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have agreed that offshore waters fall under federal jurisdiction. There is therefore no breach.
I think it is important to point that out, because the Bloc Québécois introduced a bill on environmental assessments that states that such assessments should fall under Quebec's jurisdiction and that what happens within Quebec's borders should be specifically assessed by Quebec. That is one thing.
I do not think there is any dispute about areas of jurisdiction in this bill. That is also important because my riding is home to the Saguenay waterway, and the federal government published a study that said that traffic on the Saguenay waterway should be restricted. I did not want to end up in a situation where I had to defend something that would go against the legitimate right of Quebec and the provinces to have their jurisdictions respected.
Before moving on to Bill C-49 itself, I would like to go over the context. That is a bit like what the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources did earlier in his speech. He went over the context. This summer, we experienced the worst wildfires in the Saguenay—Lac‑Saint‑Jean and Abitibi regions. I have colleagues from Abitibi who were affected all summer by this awful situation. They had to support many people in their community.
Wildfires are a symptom of climate change. Droughts are getting longer and more intense and starting earlier. This makes forest conditions ripe for wildfires. To deny that would be heresy, in my view. I say this because I believe public decision-makers have a duty to act responsibly, particularly in the context of the climate crisis. That is the theme that the Bloc Québécois has adopted for this new parliamentary session.
What does acting responsibly in the context of the climate crisis mean? For one thing, it means listening to the science. If someone cannot listen to the science, then at the very least, they should not lie. Politicians should not lie to the population. The people of Alberta should not be led to believe that things can go on as before and that they can keep extracting oil from the oil sands forever. Albertans should not be lied to. Most importantly, Quebeckers should not be lied to.
There is a lie that is being perpetuated. I hear it here every day. It is about the infamous carbon tax. Let me repeat, there is no carbon tax that applies to Quebec. Quebec has its own carbon pricing. The only carbon tax applies to the rest of Canada, and what my Conservative colleagues are referring to is actually a fuel standard. The Conservatives themselves once tried to implement a similar clean fuel standard.
Going back to the context, it should be obvious that we are facing a climate crisis. That climate crisis must be addressed by respecting science and, above all, by not lying. I can promise you, Madam Speaker, that I will not lie.
To give a slightly more detailed picture of the current context, let me remind members how reliant Canada is on fossil fuels. For me, the first thing that comes to mind is that over $30 billion was spent on a pipeline. That is a lot. That is over $30 billion for a piece of infrastructure that will serve the greedy oil and gas industry. I will come back to that later.
Since 2015, I have often heard the Liberal government cite the fight against climate change as an excuse to spend billions of dollars of public money on the pipe dream of making oil sands development cleaner. The government hopes to extend the lifespan of the oil sands.
Now it is telling us that low-carbon oil is on the way. The government is sparing no effort to make it happen. I would simply remind my colleagues of the emissions reduction fund that was created during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was anything but what its name suggested. The commissioner of the environment and sustainable development told the Standing Committee on Natural Resources that the fund had not reduced emissions after all. I would also refer my colleagues to the emissions reduction fund's $675‑million onshore program, especially with respect to the case at hand.
According to conservative figures from 2022, the federal government provided no less than $20 billion in support to the oil and gas sector, that is, the fossil fuel sector. Subsidies for bogus solutions are being perpetuated in the pursuit of the new fantasy of carbon capture and sequestration strategies. The most recent budget included tax credits for the production of blue hydrogen, which is hydrogen derived from natural gas with carbon sequestration. Several experts have indicated that it is unattainable in these volumes, and yet huge subsidies are still being paid out to the oil and gas sector.
Meanwhile, looking at 2022, since 2023 is not yet over, the figures show that the oil and gas sector posted record profits. In 2022, Exxon recorded record profits of $56 billion, Shell made $40 billion, TotalEnergies made $36 billion, Chevron made $36 billion, and BP made $27 billion, for a total of $220 billion. Why am I sharing those figures? It is because it seems clear to me, and I think it is clear to all my colleagues, that when it comes to energy, Canada is trapped in the oil industry's stranglehold and cannot escape the idea of it. No one seems capable of thinking outside the box.
Let us come back to Bill C‑49. I am not saying that the Bloc Québécois is not going to support this bill, but there is still a lot of work to be done. If the government wants to convince us of the merits of Bill C‑49, then it needs to demonstrate that the bill is truly for the benefit of the energy transition. Perhaps we will talk a bit later about the name of the bill we are trying to change. Slogans and changes to the names of organizations are not going to convince the public, who no longer trusts the government to fight climate change. The bill needs to set out a plan to gradually reduce offshore oil and gas production and set an end date to the issuing of permits for new drilling projects.
Generally speaking, if we go back to what is in Bill C‑49, we see that it aims to modernize the administrative regime and management of the marine energy industry in eastern Canada. I understand that there are no contentious aspects from a jurisdictional management perspective, but I would say that even though the bill refers to future activities related to the renewable energy sector, namely offshore wind energy off Canada's coasts, which is what I was saying to the minister this morning, the fact remains that the primary objective is oil and gas development, which our party has consistently denounced.
It is a bill that talks about clean energy, but what is hidden under this clean energy is still oil and gas development projects. It is not all doom and gloom, however. There are some interesting elements in this bill. However, many issues remain unresolved, particularly with respect to meeting conservation requirements for marine biodiversity, which we can see when we look at the part of the bill that deals the renewable energy development in eastern Canada. The same goes with respect to tightening the rules governing oil and gas development activities, although they should simply no longer exist.
I see that the stated purpose of offshore wind power development is to produce hydrogen for export. Is that an attempt to soften the current narrative around hydrogen? The fact remains that the Government of Canada's strategy on hydrogen is to produce gas-based hydrogen. At the end of the day, the amount that would be produced from wind power is negligible compared to the targeted production amounts for blue hydrogen.
I know that the minister does not like talking about colours when it comes to hydrogen. However, blue hydrogen requires a carbon capture technology that is not quite ready and the government is investing a lot of money in that.
My party and I believe that, in the context of the energy transition, the offshore, non-renewable energy sector should decline quickly. The non-renewable energy sector's decline may well be an area that requires further clarification in the bill.
We therefore do not think that any new offshore oil and gas export or development project should be permitted, regardless of the specific conditions associated with it. As a friendly reminder to my friends in the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party and the NDP, the path that Quebec is currently taking could quite possibly start a trend in the maritime provinces and Canada. We all know that Quebec put a firm and definite stop to oil and gas exploration and development in its territory by passing an act ending exploration for petroleum and production of petroleum and brine. The act also seeks to eliminate public funding for these activities.
Within the limits of its jurisdiction and in light of the current climate crisis, a responsible government could therefore decide to end oil and gas development. It has been done before. A nation did it before, and that nation was Quebec. The federal government followed our example on child care. I would urge it to do the same thing today on this file—and 20 years down the road maybe it could follow Quebec's example again, but on secularism. I digress. Still, Quebec deserves special mention as the first North American state to ban oil and gas exploration in its territory.
As we mentioned multiple times, the government of Canada has failed in its duty to protect ecosystems. Not a week, not even a day, goes by without my colleagues questioning the Minister of Environment about that. The minister did indeed fail in his duty: He authorized dozens of new drilling projects in environmentally sensitive areas, including marine refuges. We spoke out about this before the summer break.
Everybody knows as well as I do that offshore drilling poses a threat to marine life. Despite its commitments to marine conservation, the Liberal government supported the development of the offshore oil industry and authorized drilling projects in the very marine refuge it had created.
I want to talk about a double standard that I have seen emerging. There was a threat to the entire forestry sector in Quebec over the caribou issue. On numerous occasions, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change said that he was considering issuing a decree to ensure that caribou were better protected. At the same time, in those same weeks, he was prepared to approve offshore drilling.
That seems to me to be a double standard for two natural resource sectors. When it comes to the oil and gas sector, wildlife protection is not even on the government's radar. However, when it came to Quebec's forestry industry, the minister was ready to pounce, prepared to say he would issue a decree. In the end, the only thing that made him back down, strange as it may seem, was the forest fires. The double standards are pretty clear.
On this point, in the specific case of offshore development, the Minister of Environment absolved himself of responsibility by arguing on multiple occasions that the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board was an independent body.
That is what was convenient for him, since it allowed him to justify his inaction, even though the board exists under an agreement between the federal government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the federal government is responsible for conducting environmental impact assessments and protecting natural environments.
For years now, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board has been promoting the development and exploitation of marine oil and gas. Every year, the board issues a call for tenders and auctions off new exploratory drilling permits. Every year, our party speaks out against this process because its objective runs contrary to the objectives of protecting biodiversity and fighting climate change.
The boards and the Department of Natural Resources are responsible for both regulating the industry and fostering its development, which is totally incongruous. I am sure everyone would agree that these are two contradictory goals. As indicated on the department's website, their role is to facilitate the exploration and development of oil and gas resources. I hope that this problem will be corrected in this bill and that it will not prevent the development of renewable energy.
Now I would like to draw the attention of the House to the following. I have pointed out an inconsistency to my colleague the minister regarding the greenwashing in this bill. On reading this bill I wondered why they would add the expression “clean energy”. I asked the minister earlier which development this was referring to here. Of course there is going to be wind power projects, but the development at hand here is primarily oil and gas development. Why add the expression “clean energy”? The federal government uses that expression everywhere. Oil is not and never will be a clean energy. It is a purely Canadian fantasy.
My party—and I hope the same goes for the NDP and for all the other parties—is not fooled by the name changes in the two acts in question. To me, removing the word “petroleum” is greenwashing. They remove the word “petroleum” at the very moment that Ottawa and Newfoundland have a plan to double production beyond 2030 to 235 million barrels a year, which would require 100 new drilling projects by 2030.
As we often say, the Liberals do not walk the talk. That much is obvious. If their goal is to have more clean energy projects, all I can say is that what the government is doing behind the scenes could not be further from that. By now, we are used to all this greenwashing language. The Prime Minister and his friend the Minister of Natural Resources have truly mastered that craft.
What I like about the Conservatives is that we know what to expect from them. They are proud, enthusiastic even, to act as lobbyists for the oil and gas sector.
In the Liberal ranks, however, under the guise of reducing the impact of the oil and gas sector's greenhouse gas emissions, they use other strategies: they want to produce net-zero oil using a bunch of new, extremely expensive technologies. Nevertheless, the goal remains the same: to support the oil and gas sector.
I will end on a positive note. This bill is not all bad. It contains elements to regulate the development of renewable energy, but those too will need to be looked at carefully in committee.
We also believe that environmental impact assessments should be the responsibility of independent public organizations whose mission does not include any other responsibilities or objectives. In that regard, we believe that the federal and provincial governments could be guided by Quebec's environmental legislation.
Finally, if the government wants the Bloc Québécois to support Bill C‑49, then it must show that this bill serves the energy transition.
On that point, I want to emphasize that it is futile for the government to argue that all the companies are doing is exploratory drilling because everyone knows that the purpose of such drilling is development. No company spends tens of millions of dollars to carry out exploratory drilling when they have no intention of developing the resources—