Remarks by The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, on Canada's Energy Future
May 31, 2018
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Good afternoon everyone.
I want to acknowledge that we are gathered on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional meeting ground and home for many First Nations and Métis peoples.
This week, our government announced that it has reached a financial agreement with Kinder Morgan to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline and ensure that its expansion project moves forward.
In arriving at this decision, we have been steadfast that the approach we have taken of environmental leadership and jobs for the middle class is right for Canada and right for Canadians.
Let me take a moment to review how we arrived at where we are today.
The TMX Pipeline had to pass a high bar.
Immediately after we were elected, our government improved how we assess projects. That included opening the doors to public consultation, filling important scientific gaps, actually accounting for carbon pollution and accomplishing the single deepest Indigenous engagement process in the history of this country.
This was no easy test — and we approved the project, in the interest of Canadians, subject to those improved and crucial standards and conditions — 157 conditions, to be exact.
We knew that to do energy differently in this country, we needed to act differently. These conditions are in place to ensure we protect both communities and our waters. We launched the Pipeline Safety Act to ensure that all pipelines operate with world-class safety.
We co-developed, with partners, the Indigenous Advisory Monitoring Committee, to ensure Indigenous leaders keep watch and advise on the project throughout its life cycle.
And we built Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, to take action on the scientific recommendations on how best to manage shipping dilbit, and how to restore and protect the iconic and brilliant species of our oceans.
All this will be in place before the line is operational.
While this pipeline expansion has become a symbol of energy debate in Canada, it is also an example of how real change happens.
Better science. Real co-development with First Nations and Métis partners. A climate change plan. Public participation. Environmental protection. These are all values we will continue to build into Canada’s energy decision-making.
The majority of Canadians support this project. The majority of Canadians understand we are in a transition to a clean growth economy, and we will not get there overnight. But we will get there.
We will get there by working together, creating the good jobs, and livelihoods, of our neighbours. We will get there by building the path forward together. A path that brings workers with us, brings jobs with us, and brings following generations with us.
Canada is blessed with abundant natural resources from coast to coast to coast. Those natural resources have brought jobs to our communities, strengthened to our country and provided opportunity to Canadians throughout our history.
Over the past two and a half years, I’ve had the honour of travelling this country, meeting the people who work in those industries, and learning about what the sector means to them and their families.
Sometimes, as I’m sure you can imagine, conversations about natural resources can be difficult.
Misconceptions about the energy industry persist. Misconceptions that cloud people’s views about Alberta and the resources that you work so hard to develop for the benefit of all Canadians.
Some people say this is done without consideration for safety. Or for the environment. They’re wrong.
We have never accepted that we have to choose between a healthy planet and a strong economy. Canadians want both, and they can have both. It takes hard work, but we know it’s possible. And Albertans understand that, perhaps better than anyone.
I’ve also heard from many Albertans who feel as though their backs are against a wall. You’ve faced fires, floods and the worst economic downturn in a generation. Jobs, homes and even lives have been lost.
Brad, from Edmonton, recently wrote to our government. He asked if we support the energy sector, and if he and his co-workers have a place in our vision for Canada’s future.
I’ll tell Brad what the Prime Minister has said many times — that there is no path to prosperity in Canada without a thriving, vibrant energy sector.
Alberta isn’t just part of our nation — it helps drive it. There is not a hospital, school or road in this country that hasn’t benefited from the hard work you do and the wealth you generate.
Our government understands that — as the Trans Mountain Expansion decision makes clear.
You, your work, and your industry are what has made Canada what it is today. We thank you. And we stand with you.
The conversations we have had as a country over the past few months have been about more than a pipeline. They have been about Canada’s future and how we get there.
We all agree on the end goal: clean air, clean water, good jobs and a better world for our kids. Whether you wake up in Alberta or British Columbia, or Newfoundland and Labrador or Nunavut, you wake up wanting the same thing.
Today, Canada’s economy depends on the unrestricted flow of resources to market. For too long we have relied on one trading partner for our oil and gas exports. In a changing global trade economy, it makes good sense for Canada to diversify our trading relationships as we diversify our economy.
Canada is an energy leader in the world, and we will continue to be just that. The world is changing, and Canada is changing with it.
It has not always been easy, or smooth, but it is an approach that our government is fully committed to.
One where Canada is a leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy and a global energy supplier of choice. One where Canada does not shy away from the challenges of our times, but rises to meet the opportunities of a lifetime.
These energy projects are controversial.
They divide political parties — witness the Alberta and British Columbia provincial governments.
They divide Indigenous communities — look at those who support and those who oppose the project.
There are those who feel so deeply that they will protest in the street and get arrested — two members of Parliament have already done so.
The right to protest is a cherished Canadian liberty. We live under the rule of law.
We know that there will not always be consensus. The decision we took on this project wasn’t easy, but it is the right one.
That’s why the Prime Minister speaks proudly of our support of this project, and what it means to Canada's energy future — both to oil sands workers in Fort McMurray and to protesters on Vancouver Island.
I’ve stood up for this project and everything that it means on Parliament Hill, in town halls, and in speeches from coast to coast.
And we haven’t just left it at words.
We have intervened in court cases brought forward by the B.C. government and successfully demonstrated federal jurisdiction in these matters.
We have brought in processes to ensure permits are issued in a timely manner in the face of political interference.
The decision we took last week was not just about providing certainty to industry — it was to provide certainty to all Canadians. No political interference should ever get in the way of someone trying to provide for their family. And it is that principle that guided us to our decision.
We recognize the political dynamic at play these days. We are facing unprecedented headwinds.
To succeed, we need to make big decisions that will get us from where we are today, to where we want to be. Supporting this project is one of those big decisions.
Let me be clear. This investment is the exception to the rule. Billions of dollars in resource projects move forward every year without this kind of intervention. That’s the rule in Canada. That’s the norm. But exceptional times call for exceptional measures.
Many of you here have added your voice to this dialogue and have spoken as part of the majority of Canadians who support the Trans Mountain Expansion.
We have heard you and will continue to lead this project through to its completion.
We will not lose sight of what is important. We will not lose sight of what this means for workers, for families and for the future of Canadians.
Now more than ever, all of us must work to bring Canadians together for a common good that will last a generation and more.
Let’s move forward, together.
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