Federal MP Pierre Poilievre brought a message of solidarity for the Canadian Energy sector in his address to a breakfast crowd at the Calgary Petroleum Club last week saying “ It’s time to link arms with Canadians across the country … little by little, we are winning over national support from Canadians coast to coast. You have allies across this country “.
He strongly affirmed that Alberta’s problems are not market-related – they are entirely political, and he stressed that when damage is done through political decisions, those decisions can be reversed. He also pointed out the massive physical realities that exist across the country that favour Canadian energy growth. In his words…
“Canadians have the most educated population in the world, the most responsible resource sector in the world and sixty-six billion barrels of proven reserves. We have eight trillion dollars of wealth buried in the ground that could serve the world markets as soon as the government gets out of the way and lets it happen.”
He quoted the IEA’s projections that the world will keep consuming roughly 100 million barrels a day for the next 20 years. He also pointed out that even when taking into account the most aggressive, anti-petroleum actions around the world, the lowest estimates are that the world will continue to consume almost sixty-seven million barrels of oil per day.
According to Mr. Poilievre…
“Really it’s a question of…Who’s Oil is it going to be? The government here in Canada seems to think that we are better off with Foreign oil, that is harvested in less ethical and in a more environmentally damaging way than to produce and export our own clean and green industry to the world.”
“The truth is that Canadians nationwide increasingly understand that this is not just bad for Alberta, it’s bad for Canada. We spent twenty billion dollars last year buying foreign oil. We are buying expensive foreign oil in the East and selling it cheap in the West – Exactly the worst way to do business – Buy High and Sell Low. People across the country know that. I know that in my Ottawa riding, where the Energy East pipeline would have passed near the Rideau River, there was overwhelming support for it to go ahead. You have allies across the country.”
Mr. Poilievre suggested that the single biggest thing Canada can do to combat global emissions is to displace coal-fired generation abroad –especially in China, which has increased their coal-fired generation sixty-six percent in the last decade. The LNG Canada project alone will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale by sixty to ninety million tonnes because it will displace coal in China. This is equal to the amount of greenhouse gas reduction the government claims will result from the Carbon tax.
In Poilievre’s words…
”One LNG project that actually creates wealth, is going to do more to reduce greenhouse gases than a Carbon tax that will destroy wealth. While this (LNG Canada) project is big – it’s forty billion dollars – it’s one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever- it’s small in comparison to the need. In order for the Chinese to phase out Coal-fired electricity; they would need to import seventy-four billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Currently, with LNG Canada, we are going to export two billion. What the Chinese actually need are thirty-seven LNG Canada plants. That is the scale of the opportunity with which we are presented today. At the same time as we could bring about a great rebirth in Canada’s natural gas sector, we could do more to combat global emissions abroad than anything we could possibly do here at home.”
He also pointed out the irony that the current regulations which are supposed to protect the environment are making it more difficult to approve LNG projects that will protect the environment. It makes it hard for investors (who would be putting in fifteen or twenty billion dollars’ worth of investment per project) to believe in an outcome any time soon or any time clear.
His solution- He intends to champion a simplified, shortened process for the consideration and approval of projects like LNG Canada. He proposes to eliminate taxes to make projects more viable. Ironically, LNG Canada needed a Carbon tax exemption to go ahead. In other words, a Carbon tax exemption is leading to a reduction in global emissions. He intends to put forward a proposal for fast, fair and final approval with defined timelines so Industry and investors know exactly how long they will have to wait in order to get a “Yes” or “No’. It is, according to Mr. Poilievre, not only a solution to the problems that we face here in Canada, but also the environmental problems that we face all around the world. He believes a government in Ottawa can champion the Industry not as a problem, but as the solution to our environmental challenges.
In addressing a major topic of concern, Mr. Poilievre expects fierce reaction to any move by Ottawa against the Teck Frontier project approval not only in Alberta but across the country and especially by the First Nations who stood to be the greatest beneficiaries of the project. He intends to continue to make the case or the project alongside Premier Kenney and others who understand the necessity of the project going ahead. In closing, Mr. Poilievre stated he believes we are slowly winning over Canadians from Coast to Coast. He is working to set the stage for a revitalization of the Canadian Energy Industry.
Maureen McCall is an energy professional who writes on issues affecting the Energy Industry. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Petroleum Joint Venture Association.