Mr. Speaker, I want to talk a little about the effects that will be had by this moratorium, and obviously why this consultation is so important. I have to go back and start with the big picture.
I think the sole desire of the Prime Minister is to be like his daddy. Everything he does is centred around that. That is why we have the situation with what I would call the second version of the national energy program. That is what he has done with his changes. I will get into that in more detail.
So far we are seeing that his second version to try to be like daddy actually will result in him accomplishing what his dad did not quite do. He almost killed the oil patch in our country. He did not quite succeed because he did not realize how resilient, tough, and strong Albertans were. However, he put them through an unbelievably difficult time. It was a situation at a time when people by the thousands were being put out of work by the combination of the interest rates being what they were and having to go to the bank and literally hand over the keys to their homes. That was what the Prime Minister's father did to my province and to the people in it. He did not quite succeed in killing us off. We came back stronger than ever. The Prime Minister is going to do whatever he can to try to finish the job. That is what he is trying to accomplish.
If we look at the situation in my province right now, it is not good. A lot of people are out of work. I had some events on the weekend. A number of people came to me and said that they had not been able to work for some time. They were wondering what could be done or was there any way to get rid of the government right now without having to wait for an election in two years. They did not see any prospects or any hope for the future with the government in place. I told them we would be fighting for them and working hard to ensure we would see that change in government. However, we did not have the leverage that could magically replace the Prime Minister right now, as much as they would like to see it.
The damage he is doing, and has already done, is immense. That is why people are concerned with the situation.
The Prime Minister has put in place this moratorium on tanker traffic off the B.C. coast, rejecting pipeline projects that could have been very beneficial for our energy industry across the country. The government continually changes the goal posts. Let us not make any mistake about it. When the goal posts are continually changing, the real goal is to try to ensure that projects do not proceed. We saw that happen, the very tangible result of that when the energy east project be pulled.
I know the Prime Minister and other Liberals will try to claim that this is somehow the result of a business decision by the proponent, TransCanada pipelines. It was a business decision, but it was based on a fact that it was in such an uncertain regulatory environment created by the government by continually changing the goal posts about how one could have a project approved, about trying to set conditions to approvals that would be impossible to meet. It made a business decision that it could not move forward with the project because the government did not want to let that happen. There is no point in throwing billions of dollars into trying to get through a process that is clearly designed to fail. That is the bottom line. That is what it is doing.
I want to get a bit more in to what the results of that mean. What I will do is start with a column I recently wrote for my local newspapers. I want to read it into the record of the House. It summarizes it quite well. Then I will expand on each of those points. I will not use the name, but what it indicates is that the “[The Prime Minister] Fails on Energy, Environment and Economy.” That is the headline.
I will get into each of those points in more detail, but I will start by reading this because it is very informative. I wish a few more Liberals were in the House to hear it, but maybe the ones who are here will let their friends know and perhaps they will change course. I do not know, but let us hope. It says:
I believe in supporting Canada’s energy sector. The industry creates thousands of middle-class jobs and is a major boost to our economy. The success of Canada’s economy depends heavily on our energy sector. Most Albertans either work in, or have friends and family members that work in the industry.
[The Prime Minister] claims he supports Canada’s energy sector and our middle-class. Yet the announcement today that the Energy East Pipeline would be cancelled is just the opposite of what the Prime Minister claims. Make no mistake: this decision by TransCanada is a result of the [Prime Minister's]...mismanagement and failure to champion our energy sector.
The Prime Minister says he supports pipelines but the reality is that he puts petty partisan politics ahead of sound economic decisions. [The Prime Minister] showed his poor judgment in 2016 when he claimed to “approve” two pipelines, but in reality it was the regulator who approved three and the Prime Minister rejected one. The rejection of Northern Gateway in 2016 was foreshadowing of the...Liberals’ attitude towards our energy sector.
Under our previous Conservative government, Northern Gateway was approved and construction would have started if the Liberals had not placed a moratorium on the transportation of crude oil by B.C. tankers. Northern Gateway would have created thousands of well-paying middle-class jobs in Canada...
What would Energy East have contributed? The project would have created 15,000 well-paying middle-class jobs and put $55 billion into the Canadian economy. Energy East also would have been more environmentally friendly, as it would have reduced Canadian dependency on foreign oil imports. All of this would have benefited the middle-class, the people that the...Liberals always claim to be trying to help, and would have made a positive impact on our environment.
The effects that Energy East would have had on our local community would have been enormous, by creating tens of thousands of well-paying jobs. Our local small businesses (the same ones that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister call tax cheats) would have benefited greatly from the increased economic activity, growing our communities and providing more opportunities for our families and friends. This is the bigger picture that the...Liberals fail to see time after time. They claim to have the best interest of middle-class Canadians but their actions do not back up their words.
As we have seen over the past two years, everything becomes a disaster the minute this Prime Minister becomes involved. We cannot depend on this government to protect or champion our vital energy sector or our economy. The [Liberal] government has failed on energy, the environment and the economy.
I want to get into that a little further and explain exactly how the Liberals have failed on energy, the environment, and the economy.
First, with regard to energy, we have oil and gas in our country in such great abundance. We have all the oil and gas we could possibly need to meet all our energy demands and to provide energy, and I will point out very environmentally friendly energy, to the world. All we need is access to other parts of our country and to tidewater and we could provide environmentally friendly energy all over the world. Is our energy perfect in terms of its environmental record? No, it is not perfect, but it is certainly far better than, I would argue, anywhere else in the world. Our energy industry always works hard to try to improve upon its environmental performance and environmental record. It always looks at ways to innovate and make that record even stronger.
When we compare that to some of the places we get our oil and gas from now, like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and other countries of that sort, is anyone going to claim that is better for meeting our energy needs? Is anyone going to claim that is somehow better for the environment? Is it better to bring tankers into Canada rather than sending them out? I cannot imagine how anyone could reasonably and legitimately make that argument, but people do. It is unbelievable.
We are wasting the opportunity to bring our energy to other parts of the country while making sure we are feeding our own energy needs and improving environmental outcomes. How can anyone argue with that? It amazes me that we are even having this debate.
We talk about getting our energy and our oil to tidewater. We would have the opportunity to do that if the government would quit trying to prevent it. The Liberals can pretend all they want, but we know the reality. TransCanada confirmed that for us. If anyone had any doubt, TransCanada was direct evidence of it, and that is the kind of thing we are going to see under the Liberal government.
The Prime Minister might be able to succeed where his daddy could not quite get the job done. He might be able to make sure that our environment is worse off. He might be able to make sure that our energy industry is ruined. He might be able to harm our economy irreparably. That will be his record. That will be his legacy. I cannot imagine anyone being proud of it, but for some reason that seems to be the goal of the present Prime Minister.
What does the Prime Minister have to say to the thousands of people all across this country, particularly those in my province of Alberta who are out of work? I cannot imagine what he could possibly say to them to explain his actions. It is so obvious that getting our oil and gas to markets in other parts of Canada, in other parts of the world, would benefit our economy, put so many people back to work, and, in the process, help our environment. How can anyone argue against that? It is a perfect outcome. We need to be championing that. That is what should be done. Instead, we have a Prime Minister who either does not get it or does not care. It is probably both. It truly is sad, and that is the only word I have for it.
I think about the failure of our economy. Getting these products to market alone would create tens of billions of dollars in economic activity and thousands and thousands of jobs. How much impact would that in itself have on our economy? It would be immeasurable, but that does not even factor in to some of the side benefits.
When I am in my constituency, I see the effects of the many unemployed people on my local communities, on our economy. All businesses throughout a community are affected, whether they be restaurants, hotels, retail shops, anything that serves our community. All of them are suffering. I talk to restaurant owners and owners of retail shops who tell me they are struggling, that they are just trying to keep the doors open. They are lucky they say because they have been able to keep their doors open and been able to keep most employees, but it is tough. These owners are basically not taking any income for themselves. They are just trying to keep the doors open and their people employed.
On a side note, what does the government do in return for those people? It calls them tax cheats. It tries to go after more of their money, grabs their wallets, and digs out every last bit in them. It tries to prevent them from reinvesting in their businesses to keep going and keep people employed. That is what the government does as a result. It says thanks so much for trying to keep people employed, people who are suffering, but then it gives them a couple of kicks while they are down, grabbing their wallets, and calling them tax cheats while they are at it. That is what the Liberal government does. However, that is as a side note.
Businesses are suffering, and I can give a number of examples. There is one business owner I know who was running a family business that was in business for years, probably longer than I have been alive in fact, and guess what. Because of the economic conditions, it had to shut its doors. That is one example, though I know there are many out there. Those are the kinds of results for local economies, particularly in my province.
Therefore, what does it mean for businesses like the one I just described, which have been great supporters of initiatives in their communities, whether it be charities, local sports teams, or local events? They are the first to step forward and contribute to causes. When they go out of business, all of the great community causes, such as local sports teams, do not get the opportunities. It is a community band, or maybe a local cadet squadron that has a trip planned to visit a site from one of the world wars where Canadians fought so courageously and gave their lives, but they cannot quite raise the funds to do it. That takes away opportunities for our youth to show their appreciation and learn. That is the result on our economy and on communities.
I also want to talk about the effect that this has on the environment. When we do not get our energy to market, not only does our economy suffer, do people in our communities suffer, not only do we lose the opportunity for our own resources to be used in Canada and all around the world, but, as a result, that does damage to our environment. We hear the Liberal government claim all the time that the energy sector, the environment and the economy, go hand in hand. I do not know if the government thinks that means it should try to make sure both of them are worse off, because that is what it seems like. When our energy products do not get to market, instead of bringing oil in from places like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or wherever it might be, it means that the oil we receive is less environmentally friendly than the oil we are producing right here in Canada, which we are continually trying to improve every day.
We have a government that is doing everything it can to make sure our pipeline projects cannot be built, that our energy cannot get to market and, in the process, it is harming our economy, our energy sector, our communities, and our environment. All of those things are worse off because of the Prime Minister and the Liberal government, and they are getting worse by the day. The government does not seem to care and does not seem to get it, and that is sad. That is, in fact, pathetic.
I hope that the Liberals will think twice, change their course, and realize we can do so much for our economy and the environment if we can get our energy products to market. That is why this study and the opportunity for people to be heard on this issue are so important. For the government to shut down debate on second reading after a couple of hours and not provide an opportunity for Canadians, people in my province who are suffering and communities that are hurting, to have their say and tell the government of its terrible actions is truly an atrocity.