Your Conservative caucus is working hard to push the government to support pipeline projects like Energy East. We know that projects like this are essential to getting Alberta’s economy back on track. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch this video of my speech on the matter in the House of Commons.
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand today in the House. I think I am if not the last then close to the last speaker to this motion. That has both good and bad repercussions. I get the last word, but unfortunately, an awful lot has been said. A lot was said on this side of the House. I did not hear a lot that was said on the other side of the House that I would want to repeat, but I am going to try to do the best I can to summarize some of the comments I heard today and to try one final time to see if we can get a very well attended government caucus to support our motion.
I want to make a couple of comments first about the and his attentiveness today. I want to congratulate him for being part of this debate and for sitting through all eight hours of this debate. I could not help but watch him and the on CPAC last night. It was a very uncomfortable minister making this announcement. It was a minister who knows that he has to deal with industry, and he was very uncomfortable in his skin, in my view, because he would like to move this industry forward.
I believe that he would like to address some of the issues we have talked about today, but he is continually outvoted by all of those members of his own government, many of them new, who were elected under a view that was uninformed about western Canada. I hope that they are much more informed today about what has made this country work over the past 148 years. I do feel for the .
The same thing is going to apply when the tries to prepare a budget. We have a Minister of Finance who is probably going to want to try to do some of the right things, but he is going to be outvoted by the taxers and spenders who are around him. It is not a government that wants to work with the private sector to create jobs.
All I heard in all the talking points in the debate today was how the government is going to create jobs through this magical infrastructure program it is going to come forward with. That will be nice, but it is not going to solve the problems of the Canadian economy.
I am shocked that my two colleagues from Calgary, the , the member for, and the member for , have not participated in this debate today. Frankly, I was looking forward to being refreshed by the Minister of Veterans Affairs. After his speech the other day, I actually wanted to ask him some questions about his speech, but unfortunately, he elected not to take part in this debate. He did not stand in the House and say that he supports the industry in our province. He did not raise his voice in the House to say that he supports energy east.
I also want to make a couple of comments about some things that have been said here today. The member for said something along the lines of if we vote for this motion, we are asking them to approve the energy east pipeline. That is not what the motion says. The motion says very clearly “express its support for the Energy East pipeline”. I Googled “support”, and it says help, aid, assist. It has nothing to do with approve. The member from Gatineau did not even read the motion. If he did, all he did was to do what his whip told him to do, and that is vote against the motion.
We also heard from the member for , who talked about his issues and unemployment in Saint John. We heard the member for quote the member from Saint John on the campaign trail.
We heard our colleague talk about the and his promises on the campaign trail, and now stands in the House without even hearing the debate, without even giving his members of caucus an opportunity to express opinions and say that they are going to oppose this motion. That is hardly a new sunny way of governing our country.
However, I have never been so proud to be a member of a team listening to our presentations today, whether it was the somewhat lighthearted presentation but very serious one by the member for , or the very passionate speech that was made by our member for . My colleague next to me talked about the real people issues.
All I heard from the other side were Xerox talking points, starting with the , who was incredibly uncomfortable making those comments today. He knows he has to go back and sell this dog food to the people of Calgary.
On the remarks that I will talk about briefly tonight, much of it has been said, but I will repeat so we can correct some of the untrue facts that have been said across the way.
We hear about no pipeline approvals during the Conservative administration. We have proven that four pipelines have not only been approved but they have been built and they are producing. They are moving oil 100% of the time safely.
In addition to that, during the Conservative government’s time, the National Energy Board had very serious hearings on the northern gateway pipeline, and it gave its approval to that pipeline. That project should move ahead, except we have a government that talks about dealing with facts, and about scientific evidence. Then we have a who, in the middle of night, says that we will not allow tankard traffic on the west coast. Well what is the scientific evidence? That is just a joke.
I also want to remind our friends in the Liberal government that every day of delay, as my colleague for in Manitoba says, is $70 million per day. We have now seen 40 to 70 days of delay on these projects,
I was a farm kid from Saskatchewan at one point in time, but I like to put things in fairly simple perspective. We produce a product in western Canada called oil. It is a product that we all use in many ways. I would venture to say that there is not one member of the Liberal government who does not have a constituent who is not directly affected one way or another by the production of oil in our country.
We take that oil, put it into a pipeline, and ship it across the country, 99.9996% safe, and we create jobs in a refinery in Saint John and in Quebec. It does not get any more simple than that. Then we lay on top of this that we do not buy foreign oil to refine in these refineries. It seems pretty simple to me, but they cannot quite figure it out on the other side of the House.
I am old enough to have lived through something called the national energy program. It was introduced a former prime minister named Trudeau. That program caused wreckage in our part of the country and it took 10 to 15 years to recover from that.
I remind members of the House, especially the member for the , about something called the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline. There was delay after delay because of interference, because of consultation, more consultation, more study, and more consultation, until the time that gas was worth nothing, and that investment dried up and went nowhere.
If we do not move on something as straightforward and basic as the energy east pipeline, then we are absolutely missing out on a tremendous opportunity. It is a $15 billion investment. That is about equal to what I think our budget deficit will be. That is private money. Why would we not put this money in?
In my riding, NEP now stands for “no more energy pipeline” because that is what people there think the current government is going to do. Far too many people, I am hearing, are saying it is time for NEP, in their mind, to stand for “no more equalization payments”.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his comments, and I would like to recognize his long-standing service to the people of Alberta in the provincial legislature. I will refrain from tagging the hon. member for any responsibility in the previous government. He was not yet a member when that government systematically put this country in a position to earn five fossil awards in a row from the United Nations climate change, and the country’s first lifetime un-achievement award on climate change science.
I would like to ask the hon. member across the way how many budget round tables he and his colleagues hosted while we were getting ready to make the 2016 budget. My colleagues and I have held hundreds of budget round tables to talk to business people across this country.
My question for the hon. member is this. How would he expect this government to get pipelines to market with such a terrible environmental reputation?
Mr. Speaker, again I would like to congratulate the member for his election in . We will do everything to ensure that he is a one-term member but while he is here we will have to deal with him.
It is a matter of opinion. I can say that I have over 100,000 constituents who are proud of the industry they worked in. They would be absolutely appalled to have that member stand there and say that somehow they worked at an industry that is meaningless, because some environmentalist, some movie star in Los Angeles decided to give some kind of phony award away.
Getting to budget round tables, we had the stand in this House about a month and a half ago now and name the finance committee that was supposed to hold public hearings around this country. I happen to be one of the names on that finance committee. The current government is so inept it cannot even get a committee approved. Now it wants to study multi-billion dollar projects for years on end and we cannot even get a committee approved from the government to go out and consult with Canadians on the budget.
Mr. Speaker, the member just proved my point yet again, making a comment about the state of Canada’s environment under our previous government, with not a single measurement, not a single number, not a single example. It was nothing but hyperbole. That is what the other side does. The Liberals have no mathematical, quantifiable evidence regarding the environment. They are afraid to talk about it because the environment improved considerably under our watch.
Could my colleague elaborate on the very human cost of the decline in the energy industry, not just in Calgary and Alberta but across the country? Could he talk about what it means to families and their futures, their incomes, and their hopes and dreams with the current decline in the energy industry? The decline, I might add, has partly been caused by bad public policy by the current government.
Mr. Speaker, I could do that. It has been well documented by all of my colleagues who spoke today. However, I want to make another comment.
About five years ago, when serving as the minister of energy in Alberta, we hosted the energy ministers from across the country. We went up to the oil sands because none of them had been there. I happened to be sitting next to the NDP minister of energy from Nova Scotia at the time, and we were about to land in Fort McMurray.
He looked out the window and said, “Where is this boreal forest I always hear about?”
I said, “That is it.”
He said, “That is not boreal forest; those are scrub pines.”
I said, “Yes, that is the boreal forest.”
That is the kind of stuff that we have been misinformed about. The NDP is the biggest offender of misinformation. Even the NDP government at that time said that was just a bunch of misinformation.