The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, delivers a keynote address at the annual Energy and Mines Ministerial Conference on August 14, 2017.

Speech

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Thank you Jean and good evening everyone.

We are here in the most beautiful of natural environments to talk about Canada’s future.

That future is suddenly within our reach —built on engaging with Indigenous peoples; earning the trust of Canadians; and ensuring that Canada is a global leader in the clean technology and innovation that will drive tomorrow’s low-carbon economy. All of the things we are working toward here in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea.  

Towards a Clean Growth Future in Canada’s Energy and Mines Sectors is now an achievable goal.

How did we get here?

It wasn’t by chance. It hasn’t been easy. And no one did it alone.

This annual conference — and its year-round work — has been a crucible for federal, provincial and territorial partnership; developing policies, aligning standards and strengthening regulatory regimes, enhancing public safety, national security and global competitiveness.

Our efforts here — our goodwill and hard work — have helped to find common ground and shared purpose in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, advancing domestic policy and national programs on everything from energy efficiency and interties to clean energy and new technology.

The goal? To take the conventional, natural wealth we have today and turn it into the low-carbon economy of tomorrow

As Prime Minister Trudeau told an energy conference in Houston earlier this year, “When we go camping, we light our campfires before the sun goes down. That doesn’t make us anti-daylight.”

We can — and should — be pursuing greater market access, more investments and improved competitiveness for our traditional sources of energy, even as we lead the way on clean growth.

It just requires new approaches, new ways of thinking, with a premium on invention and innovation and imagination.

That’s been our government’s ambition from day one, and what I would like to focus on tonight.

This time last year, our government had already began to reassert Canada’s important place on the international stage, providing leadership on the Paris Agreement on climate change and helping to found Mission Innovation, a global partnership to push clean-energy innovation and R&D like never before.

Closer to home, we were pressing ahead with a continental energy strategy and making a substantial down payment on the clean-tech revolution.

And, at the heart of it all, was a fundamental belief that no relationship is more important to Canada than the one with Indigenous people, and that advancing reconciliation and creating prosperity is a shared national goal.

Over the past 12 months, we’ve been moving those yardsticks down the field, often in unprecedented ways. We’ve been strengthening Canada’s influence abroad, promoting economic integration with our North American partners, investing in the low-carbon economy at home and rebuilding trust with Indigenous communities.

At the annual meeting of G-7 energy ministers in Rome this spring , we reinforced Canada’s approach — making our conventional sources of energy greener and leveraging them to fuel tomorrow’s clean-energy solutions —while fostering greater international collaboration and global energy security.

We echoed these positions and our priorities at the Clean Energy and Mission Innovation ministerial meetings, including a leadership role on bioenergy, carbon-capture technology and nuclear power.

The world is listening. It’s hungry for the resources we have, the expertise we’ve developed and the experience we’ve gained.

I saw that on our recent trade missions, to India last fall and to Mexico this winter. In June, we spent a week in China promoting not just our resources but our resourcefulness. There is a promising overlap between what the Chinese seek and what we can supply.

Similar opportunities exist south of the border. I’ve travelled to the U.S. several times this year — to Washington and Houston — and met face to face with my counterpart, Rick Perry, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, on three different occasions.

My message each time was as simple as it is compelling: nothing is more important to the U.S. economy than access to secure, reliable sources of energy, minerals and metals. And Canada is that source.

That message is getting through. Talk of a U.S. border adjustment tax has been laid to rest. That is no small feat, and a direct result of our charm offensive — a ground campaign waged with the support of Canadians from coast to coast to coast, including our federal opposition, provincial premiers, mayors, reeves, industry and union leaders.

This united front is more important than ever as a new round of NAFTA negotiations begins in Washington this week.

The good news is that Americans are free traders at heart, too. I’ve met with cabinet secretaries, American CEOs, the U.S. chamber of commerce and union leaders. Not a single person ever said they wanted more trade barriers.

We can build on this. We need to keep reminding them that we are their best customer, that we buy more American-made goods than China, Japan and the United Kingdom. Combined.

All of this trade means jobs. For both countries. In the United States, it translates into nine million jobs. Across every Congressional district. Creating highly integrated industries from steel and aluminum to energy and automobiles.

Expanding this interconnected relationship through NAFTA will bring even greater rewards, which is why we’re discussing ways to create a comprehensive picture of North America’s net import reliance for strategic minerals and metals. 

The clean-tech revolution represents new opportunities for Canadian mining firms, first by producing the minerals and metals needed in the modern economy, and then using these breakthroughs to drive the industry’s own clean growth.

Our mining sector is already among the fastest adopters of advanced green technologies.

Our government is eager to help by investing in new infrastructure, such as the Tlicho all-season road in the north, and providing incentives for new investments, including the extension of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit this year.

We are supporting new discoveries, encouraging sustainable mineral resource development and ensuring regulatory certainty.

Which brings me to our government’s discussion paper leading to reforming the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Our goal — like yours — is to get sound resource projects built that will create good jobs, healthy industries and sustainable prosperity for generations to come. And to do it the right way, with an environmental and regulatory system that is open and transparent — one that ensures modern safeguards, advances reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and enjoys the confidence of Canadians.

We can draw a lot of lessons from the mining sector. After all, there’s a reason why Mines and Money London, Europe’s largest mining investment conference and exhibition, recognized Canada with the Best Country Award last winter:

  • The Canadian brand is recognized around the globe for mining innovation, environmental performance, Indigenous engagement and corporate social responsibility; 
  • The Toronto Stock Exchange is responsible for more than half of the world’s equity financing for mining and mineral exploration; and
  • Canada’s exploration and mining industry is our largest employer of Indigenous people, with more than 11,000 Indigenous jobs and more than 370 active agreements between mining companies and Indigenous communities.

Canadian miners boast some of the most socially innovative offerings — here at home, and in more than 100 countries around the world.

We want to see Canada become the uncontested global leader in sustainable mineral development, with a unifying plan to realize that goal. A plan that would help position the minerals and metals industry for long-term success as a transformative, high-tech industry, one that is inclusive and attractive to investors.   

While Canada has been endowed with rich geology, it’s our expertise, our vision, and our drive that will ensure our continued prosperity as an innovative natural resources leader.

The same is true of our energy sector, and North America is its launching pad.

Some 86 different pipelines criss-cross our border with the U.S., and no fewer than 34 transmission lines link our countries in a truly integrated grid. We supply more electricity and uranium to the U.S. than any other country, and we already provide America with 43 percent of its crude oil imports.

This energy integration benefits both our countries by increasing our energy security, lowering energy and capital costs, and enhancing the reliability of supply.

Our two countries are also working together on clean energy. For example, harmonizing our energy efficiency standards has lowered operating costs for businesses and helped create an integrated market for the clean technologies that will transform our traditional resource sectors and open up entire new industries.

Each of us here has a role to play in all of this. Our job is to maximize the benefits of Canada’s vast resources.

We need to bear down on the future together.

Our Generation Energy seeks to do this by encouraging a national conversation that invites often-unheard voices — including women, youth and Indigenous peoples — to help shape Canada’s energy future.

This national forum will be taking place October 11th and 12th in my hometown of Winnipeg. I encourage you to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share your vision of what Canada’s energy future should look like a generation from now.

A Canadian Energy Strategy is also part of this nation-building exercise.

Together, we can expand upon the work the Council of the Federation has done to promote energy efficiency, spur energy technology and innovation and build infrastructure. Through interties, smart grids and natural gas infrastructure, we can accelerate the phase out of coal-powered electricity while developing cleaner sources of energy.

We have federal resources to support these efforts, including an unprecedented $21.9 billion investment in green infrastructure. Through bilateral agreements, national programs and the Canada Infrastructure Bank, we will build major projects and invest in other specific emission-reduction strategies and clean technologies.

We can help rural and remote communities reduce their reliance on diesel.

We can create a national network of charging stations for electric vehicles. And we can support clean technology in Canada’s natural resource sectors.

By strengthening Canada’s investment climate, improving our competitiveness and enhancing environmental stewardship, we can get more shovels in the ground, create more good jobs for Canadians and grow our economy for decades to come.

We’ve come a long way in less than two years, but these are still early days.

Our goal is to work with you, and with all Canadians, to ensure our resource sectors are thriving, competitive and innovative

Together, we can create the prosperity we all want while preserving the planet we all cherish.

Thank you.


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