75-Minute Debate
(14 November 2019)

From Hansard - 14 November 2019

Support for Pipelines

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The Assembly was debating the following motion moved by Steven Bonk (Sask Party - Moosomin):

That this Assembly supports the construction of new pipelines including Trans Mountain, Energy East, and Northern Gateway and condemns federal leaders like Jagmeet Singh who oppose these projects and our energy sector.

Mr. Stewart: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to join into the debate around this motion moved by the member from Moosomin:

That this Assembly supports the construction of new pipelines including Trans Mountain, Energy East, and Northern Gateway and condemns federal leaders like Jagmeet Singh who oppose these projects and our energy sector.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have in front of me, Mr. Speaker, an article by the Fraser Institute that ran in the National Post April 30th, 2019 that is about the most concise description of the pipeline problems in Canada, Mr. Speaker, that I’ve seen. And I will read some and paraphrase some from that, Mr. Speaker, and I believe it frames the argument here today better than anything I’ve seen.

And the article starts out:

With pipelines shortages driving down the price of Canadian oil, the losses for the energy sector — and for Canada’s economy — are staggering. According to a new study, insufficient pipeline capacity cost Canada’s energy sector $20.6 billion — or one per cent of the country’s economy — in foregone revenues last year.

. . . Despite increased oil production in recent years, Canada has been unable to build any . . . major pipelines. High-profile projects including the Northern Gateway and Energy East projects have been cancelled. And Trans Mountain expansion, Line 3 replacement and Keystone XL pipeline mired in delay.

Take the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, for example. After years of regulatory delays and political interference, the project’s future remains uncertain. The proposal to expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby . . . was first approved in 2016. However, the Federal Court of Appeal rescinded that decision last year, ruling that neither the environmental review nor the Indigenous consultation had been properly completed [in their view].

And despite a National Energy Board ruling that deemed the project in the public interest, the BC government continues, [the NDP BC government continues] to . . . [fight] the project and is pursuing legal means to block the expansion. Such delays and political opposition raises serious concerns about whether the pipeline will ever be built.

So what are the consequences of these delays? How is insufficient pipeline capacity affecting our economy?

We have an overdependence on the US market, increased reliance on more costly modes of energy transportation, and rising oil inventories in Western Canada. And . . . oil producers shipping their crude by rail, a higher cost mode of transportation (and a less-safe mode, as pipelines are 2.5 times less likely to experience an oil spill than rail transport). Higher crude-by-rail means that Canadian oil producers absorb higher transportation costs, leading to lower prices for Canadian crude and a wider price differential between Western Canada Select and US . . . West Texas Intermediate.

. . . Between 2009 and 2012 the price differential was roughly 13 per cent (of the US price). And that difference was seen as a cost of doing business in Canada.

In November 2018, just a year ago, Mr. Deputy Speaker, the price differential reached almost 70 per cent of the US crude price, meaning that Canadian heavy oil was sold at only 30 per cent of the value of its US counterpart:

In addition to the negative impacts on oil producers, these high price differentials also result in lower-than-expected royalties . . . and lower corporate income tax revenue for energy-producing provinces and the federal government. This is revenue that could have been used for vital services . . . [and we all know what they are].

In response to the drastic price discount, in late-2018 the previous Alberta government introduced a temporary production limit on oil producers in an attempt to address excess supply and insufficient export capacity. Since this limit was implemented, the price differential has narrowed [at the expense of production, Mr. Deputy Speaker]. But clearly, building new export pipelines remains the only long-term solution to ensure Canada’s valuable exports receive prices closer to world . . . prices.

The real issue [they go on to say] is that . . . heavy oil producers lost a staggering $20.6 billion in forgone revenues last year . . . Again, that’s roughly one per cent of our economy lost because we can’t deliver our product to international markets to secure better prices. This loss of revenue has far-reaching consequences . . . [in] investment . . . job creation and ultimately less prosperity for Canadians.

It concludes by saying:

Unless Canadians are willing to continue to incur large losses and less investment, Ottawa and several key provincial governments must cooperate to get pipelines built.

Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you know that and I know it and every member, at least on this side of the floor, knows it but the members opposite, not so much, Mr. Speaker. Their national leader, Jagmeet Singh, had this to say about pipelines on October 24th, 2019. Mr. Singh said:

Yesterday, I was happy to speak with Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. Ms. Notley repeated her support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and I told her that I continue to oppose the pipeline . . .

While we disagree on TMX, we share a concern for the workers. I know that the people of Alberta need their governments to have their backs and I want them to know that I will fight to make sure that no worker or community is left behind.

An incredible statement, Mr. Speaker. With something in the range of 200,000 unemployed oil and gas workers in Western Canada, I wonder what Jagmeet is planning to do to make sure that no worker is left behind. I’ll look forward to seeing that, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, meanwhile Justin Trudeau and his government have passed legislation making any pipeline approvals in Canada virtually impossible, as well as legislation to prevent tankers coming close to BC’s northern coastline, thus killing any chances for pipelines to be built in Canada.

And oddly enough, to remember that the years of Pierre Trudeau’s government — and once again a Trudeau, Mr. Deputy Speaker, a Trudeau divides our country east against west, English against French, and urban against rural — history has repeated itself. It’s shameful, Mr. Speaker, but the politics of the left, the NDP and the Liberals, are the politics of division. And between them, the Liberals and the NDP are tearing this country apart. It’s about the most shameful thing I have ever witnessed in politics, Mr. Speaker, and those members opposite are part of it. They are complicit in it.

There’s no difference and no divide between the federal and provincial NDP, Mr. Speaker, and here are some interesting facts to prove it, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to illustrate that there’s no divide between the federal and provincial NDP. Hailey Clark, provincially in Swift Current in 2016 and ran federally in Regina-Wascana in 2019. Glenn Wright ran federally in Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek in 2015 and ran provincially twice, in Biggar in 2011 and Rosetown-Elrose in 2016, and was recently elected to the Saskatchewan NDP executive as a member at large. Lon Borgerson, a name we all know around here, Mr. Deputy Speaker, ran federally in Prince Albert in 2015 and was recently nominated to run provincially in Batoche in 2020. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Ashlee Hicks ran provincially in Moosomin in 2016 and federally in Souris-Moose Mountain in 2019.

They’re the same party, Mr. Speaker, with exactly the same values. NDP MLAs [Member of the Legislative Assembly] expressed support for federal NDP candidates, Mr. Speaker. The member for Regina Lakeview endorsed Talon Regent in Moose Jaw-Lake Centre, Mr. Speaker. The member for Saskatoon Meewasin volunteered for Sheri Benson in Saskatoon West, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The member for Saskatoon University endorsed Erika Ritchie in Saskatoon-Grasswood, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on and on illustrating the fact that they are the same party, the provincial NDP in Saskatchewan and the federal NDP in Ottawa, Mr. Speaker. But I’m out of time and I support the motion.

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