Mr. Speaker, In 1973 an oil pricing crisis broke out. OPEC forced the price of oil to skyrocket. The price of oil quadrupled. That was over 40 years ago, yet we do not seem to learn here in Canada.
Eastern Canada imports 80% of its oil from the same countries that caused the 1973 oil crisis, places like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, which are no more stable today than they were 40 years ago. While this week's oil prices are low, tomorrow a crisis in one of these states will raise the price.
The U.S.A. learned from the oil crisis of the 1970s. In 1975, the U.S. set up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to prevent future disruptions in their supply of oil.
Every country in the G20 has created some kind of national strategy to deal with fluctuations in the supply and the pricing of oil, except for Canada. We also produce enough oil every year to fulfill all of our domestic needs first and then continue to be a major exporter. Instead, we are currently importing Brent crude oil to eastern Canada, which is a risk-prone process. That oil is also the most expensive oil in the world. Under the current government, we are selling off our oil as raw crude in the west at a 30% discount while paying much more for expensive imports in eastern Canada.
My father was an investment banker. He taught me from an early age that to buy high and sell low is an incredibly dumb economic strategy. It is costing the Canadian economy at least $18 billion a year in foreign trade deficits.
The Minister of Natural Resources retorts that the solution will come in the form of pipelines. Therefore, let us talk about pipelines. Specifically, let us talk about the northern gateway and Keystone XL, which are being built to export even more low-value crude oil out of the country without any plan to relieve eastern Canada from our dependence on foreign oil.
The Conservatives seem quite focused on the short term. The northern gateway is expected to create perhaps a few hundred permanent jobs in Canada at best. The Conservative plan is to export Canadian crude and Canadian jobs to Communist China and the U.S. instead of using the resources we already have in abundance to create jobs here at home for Canadians.
Pipelines can have serious negative, social, and environmental effects. Not only do the pipelines bulldoze through the treaty rights of many first nations, but the inevitable spills will represent serious environmental risks. For example, the northern gateway would go through the Great Bear Rainforest, where a spill would not only threaten a priceless ecosystem but also threaten and perhaps kill a large portion of the B.C. economy that depends on fishing and tourism. Then it will be ferried away through the dangerous waters of B.C.'s north coast, where repeated studies have shown a high risk of a supertanker spills. Diluted bitumen is heavier than water and virtually impossible to clean up.
The debate on oil sands shipments is polarized between those who say that all pipelines are bad and those who say that all pipelines are good. Canada needs a balanced approach to energy and the environment—