Energy East Deserves Support
February 12, 2016
On January 28th a motion by our Conservative Caucus was presented in the House of Commons to recognize the importance of the energy sector to the Canadian economy and support its development by supporting the Energy East pipeline. The project is backed by the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick and would dramatically cut the amount of oil traveling by rail each day and scale back our dependence on foreign oil.
Thousands of Canadians contribute to our economy through the natural resource sector. At a time when our economy is struggling, the Liberal government needs to stand up for these Canadians and take a clear position in favour of Energy East. The oil and gas sector directly and indirectly employs over 360,000 people in Canada, accounting for almost 8% of GDP in 2013, while Energy East alone is expected to generate $10 billion in taxes for all levels of government. Our country ranks third in the world for proven crude oil reserves, and 73,000 existing kilometers of pipeline carry over $100 billion of natural gas, oil and petroleum products safely every year.
From 2008 to 2013 more than 99.99 percent of oil transported by federally regulated pipelines was done so safely, and thanks to the previous Conservative government, companies are liable for up to $1 billion of costs and damages, irrespective of fault. Pipelines are the most environmentally responsible way to transport our oil, and Energy East will displace the equivalent of over 1,500 rail cars traveling the same route each day.
Approximately 700,000 barrels of oil are imported every day to refineries in Eastern Canada, coming from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Nigeria. The Energy East project would strengthen Canada’s energy security by decreasing our dependence on authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records, rampant corruption and deficient environmental controls. Most of Western Canada’s oil production is exported to the United States, and 97% of our oil exports went there in 2013. Energy East will create access to higher value international markets which will further support the Canadian economy.
In my view, it makes no sense to import foreign oil while Canada is blessed with an abundance of natural resources here at home. Instead of turning his back on the thousands of hardworking Canadians who keep our economy moving, many of whom are now struggling to find work, Prime Minister Trudeau must show leadership and unwavering support for this project.