The Liberals are choosing to make Canada not work
Published in the Hill Times, Wednesday, December 12, 2018.
When resource industries are attacked, the result is less money for every province, and for the vital public services Canadians depend on. (Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs, The Hill Times, Date: 20181212)
Canada’s economy is losing billions of dollars because the Liberals blocked the export pipelines Canadian oil and gas needs to reach new markets. The reality is the energy sector is booming in the United States and everywhere else, except in Canada and Venezuela. The cause is policy. The result is tens of thousands of jobs at risk in every province—on top of the 100,000 that have already been lost. This is a national economic crisis—and that’s only one part of the natural resources sector in Canada.
Conservatives got pipelines approved and built: 1.2 million new barrels a day are flowing through pipelines approved and built under the previous Conservative government. Almost 500,000 new barrels a day are reaching tidewater.
Despite Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi’s repeated claims the courts quashed Northern Gateway, his government was given the choice. But on Nov. 29, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally announced: “The Government of Canada has directed the National Energy Board to dismiss the application for the Northern Gateway Pipeline.” That decision directly contributed to the current discount on Canadian oil—blocking the Conservative-approved export option to the Asia Pacific, which would have been in service by 2019.
The Liberals killed the Energy East pipeline. Trans Canada cited “the significant changes to the regulatory process” imposed by the Liberals as the reason for halting the application—ending the export option to Europe and to bring western Canadian oil to eastern refineries.
The Trans Mountain expansion remains in peril. For two years after approval, the Liberals failed to give certainty and confidence to the private company that wanted to build it. Minister Sohi claims the purchase of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline is an “investment in our energy sector.” But the expansion faces indefinite delays because the Liberals failed to follow their own consultation plan with Indigenous peoples, having rejected the opportunity to get it right with Northern Gateway and then TMX. The Liberals promised to get shovels in the ground last summer and to introduce legislation to assert federal authority over the Trans Mountain expansion. They’ve done neither. Minister Sohi refuses to put a timeline on when consultations will conclude and when construction will begin.
Despite their words, the Liberals’ actions undermine Canada’s natural resources development and put Canada at a global disadvantage.
The Liberals banned the export of Alberta oil from B.C.’s north coast, with no consultation or science, failed to correct the “dirty oil” propaganda when the U.S. vetoed Keystone XL, defended using Canadian tax dollars to fund TMX protesters through the Canada Summer Jobs program, cancelled the oil and gas exploration drilling tax credit, unilaterally imposed a moratorium on northern oil and gas exploration, added new immediate costs with their methane and fuel regulations, and have taken no concrete action to address the price discount, except to promote more employment insurance.
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said the Liberals' “no more pipelines” Bill C-69 will ensure no pipeline is built in Canada again. As part of their omnibus fall budget bill, they give cabinet the power to block the shipment of oil from any Canadian coast.
Their changes in Bill C-68 and Bill C-69 will significantly hinder new or expanded mining development in Canada and hydro-electric and nuclear power generation.
The Liberals’ job-killing carbon tax—the only carbon tax in the top 10 oil-producing countries in the world—will raise the cost on all natural resource projects, and rural communities in particular, killing jobs in forestry, mining, as well as oil and gas.
This is a national crisis, and an emergency for Canada. The wealth created in the oil and gas sector enriches every province in Canada, both directly and indirectly. Mining and forestry are the lifeblood of remote and rural communities across Canada. When these industries are attacked, the result is less money for every province, and for the vital public services Canadians depend on.
Investors have taken note of the Liberals' policy direction—and they are pulling their investments, and Canadian jobs with them. Capital investment in Canada’s oil and natural gas sector has dropped by over half since 2014.
Andrew Scheer and Canada’s Conservatives will repeal Bill C-69, scrap the job-killing carbon tax, and give hope to rural communities. Conservatives will establish firm timelines for pipeline approvals, invoke constitutional authority to build major projects when necessary, and eliminate foreign interference in the approvals process.
The future of energy development is the most pressing domestic economic question facing Canada today. Government policy caused this mess, and it’s in the government's hands to fix it.