Natural Resources Minister Won’t Back Canadian Oil and Gas

OTTAWA, ON—Shannon Stubbs, the Member of Parliament for Lakeland and the Deputy Critic for Natural Resources questioned Natural Resources Minister, Jim Carr, at the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. Shannon Stubbs offered the following statement:  

“My Opposition colleagues and I asked very direct questions to the Minister. He deflected and refused to answer. He celebrated Canadian mining, forestry, but downplayed Canadian energy. I asked if he believes Canada produces the most environmentally and socially responsible oil and gas in the world. His response? That he is ‘not in a position to know what metrics [are being referred to] to say that it’s the most or the best.’ How can energy workers, scientists and innovators, who have made Canada a competitive and global energy leader, trust a Minister who won’t stand up for their successes and their jobs, and doesn’t seem to know the facts?

“Albertans have a hard time believing his words because the Minister, and the Liberals, have no problem passionately, directly, and coherently talking about other natural resource sectors leading the world, but equivocate and refuse to answer the same questions about Canadian oil and gas. On a number of measures, ranging from the regulatory system to environmental performance, it is acknowledged by experts around the world that Canadian oil and gas is the most environmentally and socially responsible oil and gas in the world.

“The Liberal response to the massive job losses in Alberta does not compare to the Liberals’ actions in other parts of the country. The Liberals provided a one time $30 million transfer to the Alberta government to “help stimulate economic activity” – and only provided an additional five and a half week Employment Insurance extension – compared to the Liberals providing $372 million to Bombardier or hundreds of millions to the automotive sector to prevent job losses. Bombardier employs 66,000 people across Canada. The Oil and Gas sector employs 798,333 people in 38 energy related service industries.

“Albertans are confused about concreate actions the Liberals are taking in response to the drop in energy investment over the past couple of years, that is the equivalent of the elimination of the entire auto manufacturing sector and 75% of the aerospace sector [in Canada]. Albertans don’t want handouts, but they do want the Liberal government to stop piling on red tape, costs, and infrastructure approval delays to the energy sector which make an already dire situation so much worse. Energy workers just want the Minister to state the fact: that Canada is a world leader in sustainable energy development and innovation, just as Canada is in mining, forestry and nuclear. The Liberals talk about phasing out the oil sands and don’t stand up for Canada’s energy successes. They seem unaware of Canada’s achievements and track record of responsible oil and gas development, especially compared to other energy producing countries around the world.

Oil and gas developers are the biggest investors in clean tech and alternative energy technologies of all natural resources sectors, having invested $2 billion research and development in 2016, including renewables, electric, energy efficiency, nuclear, and fossil fuels.

“The Minister is pitting sector against sector and provinces against each other. Energy development in Canada is a success story, and the Prime Minister and Ministers should be its champion. An oil sands company is actually the single largest employer of First Nations in Canada, and First Nations are very active in Alberta oil and gas development, from upstream exploration and production to service and supply contracting, but the Liberals often imply all First Nations people are against oil and gas, while acknowledging First Nations’ significant participation in mining. Energy producers invest record amounts in innovation, and constantly improve energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Conventional oil and gas, and pipeline, companies are actually Canada’s largest investors in wind and solar projects. Canadian energy producers are second to none around the world, but the Liberals don’t seem to know it.

 “The Liberal record on pipelines is unprecedented. For the first time in Canadian history a Prime Minister overruled and rejected the independent recommendation of a regulator on the only pipeline that would actually expand and diversify the markets for Canadian energy exports – allowing energy products to reach Asian markets. The political veto of Northern Gateway, a project that involved the same evidence and process for two other pipelines approved on the same day, killed $600 million (already invested), 3,000 jobs, and ended 33 First Nations economic partnerships. The Liberals acknowledge Canada’s dependence on the US market, but blocked the only pipeline that would diversify the customer base. The Liberals’ regulatory reviews and added red tape undermine confidence in Canadian energy investment, multinational investors are pulling out, and pipeline proponents don’t know what to expect.

“The Liberals’ rhetoric about Team Canada is empty, while Canada’s Natural Resources Minister won’t stand up and tell the truth about Canadian oil and gas, and won’t even commit to working with pipeline companies to ensure the projects the Liberals approved will actually get built. Energy workers, producers and investors, provide jobs, prosperity, and government revenue, from coast to coast to coast, and improve the standard of living in every community across Canada. The world needs more Canada and the Liberals need to champion Canadian energy and Canadian jobs.”