Madam Speaker, this motion addresses a number of important issues, and I am very pleased to speak to it today. In the time that I have, I would like to focus on two aspects of the motion: the importance of Line 5, and energy trade between Canada and the United States.
Our government has been extremely clear about Line 5. It has our unequivocal support and we are using every tool at our disposal to advance the file. Line 5 is vital to Canada's and North America's energy security. Our government takes this issue very seriously and for the opposition to suggest otherwise is not only misleading but irresponsible. The opposition is playing a political game that members on this side of the House have no interest in playing. Line 5 is vitally important and is bigger than partisan politics. Line 5 supports thousands of jobs in Ontario, Quebec and western Canada. It is essential in providing lighting and heating to thousands of Canadians. It represents an important source of fuel for farmers and the industry and it provides jet fuel for the Pearson airport, Canada's busiest airport.
Running from Wisconsin through Michigan and across the Straits of Mackinac to the lower peninsula, Line 5 supplies Michigan and Ohio refineries with oil and natural gas liquids from Alberta and Saskatchewan before entering Ontario at Sarnia. From there it is refined into gasoline, diesel, home heating oil, aviation fuel and propane, supplying southern Ontario and Quebec. What is more, Line 5 provides a safer way to transport oil than rail or road and has operated safely for over 65 years.
Now Enbridge wants to dig a tunnel to replace the two pipelines running along the lakebed under the Straits of Mackinac.
Enbridge is committed to making a safe line even safer through its tunnel project. It has committed to encasing the line in reinforced concrete to reduce the risk of an anchor strike and enhance its safety, and Michigan, just a couple of days ago, provided permits for this project.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy approved these proposals a few days ago on January 29.
It did so after a nine-month-long comprehensive review that included input from the State Historic Preservation Office and a report from an independent civil engineering firm specializing in complex tunnelling projects.
The review concluded that the project would have minimal impact on water quality in the Great Lakes and would not affect protected public uses of Michigan's water resources.
Let me quote what the director of EGLE's water resources division, Ms. Teresa Seidel, had to say. “During our review of this proposed project, our top priority has been protecting the Straits of Mackinac and the surrounding wetlands, aquatic life, and other natural and cultural resources from adverse environmental impacts.”
What would the impact be? According to EGLE, the project would result in minimal impact to wetlands and, in fact, would only affect an area roughly one-tenth the size of a football field. As a result, EGLE concluded that the proposed tunnel beneath the lake-bed could be built in compliance with state environmental laws.
I would like to add that the State of Michigan's environmental agency has stated this project is completely safe. That is not according to Enbridge or to Canada. That is the finding of the organization responsible for enforcing Michigan's environmental laws. That is the argument our government has raised with American officials. That is our answer to those who want to stop the project.
What we have heard this week from the Leader of the Opposition and others on the other side of the House is that we are not doing anything. However, that could not be further from the truth.
The Government of Canada has supported Enbridge in this dispute for three years, at both the diplomatic and political levels, and will continue to do so. Ambassador Hillman is making the case and Consul General Comartin in Detroit is making the case. The Prime Minister raised the issue of North American energy security with Vice-President Harris, and the Minister of Natural Resources will press this case with the former Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm, as soon as she is confirmed as the new U.S. energy secretary.
I will say it again. This line is vital to Canada and to the United States. We will always defend it and protect Canada's energy and industrial infrastructure.
I would like to address the broader context of the energy relationship between Canada and the United States.
Our relationship is worth over $500 billion in cross-border trade. In all, a little more than 70 pipelines and more than 30 transmission lines already cross the Canada-U.S. border, creating the most integrated energy system in the world.
As a result, Canada supplies more than half of all the crude oil that the U.S. imports annually. Alberta alone sends more than three million barrels a day south of the border. Canadian crude represents roughly 70% of the feed stock to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions. In Michigan, half of all homes are heated with Canadian propane.
It is the same with other sources of energy. Canadian electricity powers close to seven million American homes, and Canadian uranium generates 6% of America's electricity, enough to power one in every 17 American homes. All of this energy integration benefits both countries by strengthening our energy security, lowering energy and capital costs and enhancing reliability of supply. It also creates good, middle-class jobs on both sides of the border, including at the thousands of American companies that supply technology, machinery and other services to Canada's energy industry.
Any shutdown of Line 5 would have significant economic impacts, not just on Ontario and Quebec, but in Michigan and neighbouring states. Four years ago in Houston, the Prime Minister said, “Nothing is more essential to the U.S. economy than access to a secure, reliable source of energy, and Canada is that source.” It was true then and remains true today.
Why disrupt our relationship by stopping a project that the United States' own environmental body says is safe? It is a project that can continue to supply good jobs and essential resources to both countries, a project that will ensure that low-cost, safe and reliable energy keeps flowing to Michigan, its neighbouring states, Ontario and Quebec.
Our government understands how important Line 5 is to Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Canada. That is why we strongly support this project. We will continue to defend this cause at all levels and at every opportunity as part of a broader and more mutually beneficial energy relationship between Canada and the United States.
We look forward to working with all members of the House to ensure that this critical pipeline continues to operate safely for the benefit of Canadians and our neighbours to the south.