Mr. Clark: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I’ll continue. I appreciate that. Speaking about Government Motion 2, am I upset with the B.C. government’s repeated attempts to block the lawfully approved Kinder Morgan pipeline? Of course I am. I’m a proud Albertan, and I will always stand up for the best interests of my home province.
I can also tell you that my constituents are angry not only with the attempts of B.C. to block the lawful construction of the Kinder Morgan pipeline but also about the failure of Energy East and of Northern Gateway and all of the barriers big and small that have been put in the way of the development of Alberta’s energy industry. I can tell you that I’ve had many conversations with my constituents, most recently this Friday, a constituency day, in a coffee shop in my constituency, where it was made abundantly clear to me that my constituents are very upset with the repeated attempts to block lawful access for Alberta’s natural resources to global markets. It’s especially frustrating when our neighbours to the south continue to grow their energy production and steal Alberta’s market share while supporting many of the protests that have stalled energy development in our province.
Now, we all know about the story of growing energy production in Texas and North Dakota. The growth in shale oil has made the U.S. a net exporter of crude. But a constituent pointed me to the extent of urban drilling in one of the most densely populated locations in the United States. Do you want to guess where that is? Los Angeles, California. Over the past 125 years L.A. has produced 9 billion barrels of oil and still today pumps 12 per cent of California’s oil, with nearly 80,000 people working directly or indirectly in that industry. There’s a refinery, the El Segundo refinery, that is the state’s largest, processing 269,000 barrels of oil a day. The Wilmington oil field in L.A. has over 1,200 wells right on the coast of Long Beach. There are many other producing wells all throughout greater Los Angeles and some even in beautiful Beverly Hills.
In 2015 a California government report showed that many grades of California crude have substantially higher carbon intensity than Alberta oil sands crude and, in some cases, twice as much. Some blends of other country’s crude, Venezuela and Nigeria in particular, are three or even four times as carbon intense as Alberta’s crude.
So why do I bring all of this up? Because compared to what happens in the United States in one of the most dense urban areas of the country where there is substantial oil production, for our neighbours in British Columbia to attempt to block a single pipeline, which is a twinning of an existing pipeline, it would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic and frustrating. It’s frustrating to my constituents, Madam Speaker, and it is incredibly frustrating to me.
What is just as frustrating is to witness the ham-fisted way that Alberta’s NDP have made the case for pipelines. Yes, we know there is economic benefit from pipelines. Alberta, by a recent report, loses $7.2 billion a year as a result of lack of market access. The federal government loses a direct $800 million a year. Private investment is constrained by $5.3 billion a year. The overall cost to Canada’s GDP from lack of market of access is $15.6 billion a year. That is a substantial, substantial amount of money.
In addition to the economic benefit, we know that the science is rock solid, that pipelines are by far the safest way to transport Canada’s products to market. This includes those double-hull tankers that use not only the latest GPS technology but also pilot ships to ensure they safely navigate the inner harbours on the way to open ocean. By the way, in the 62 years – 62 years – that tankers have been transporting crude oil from the Vancouver port, there have been zero incidents. That’s zero incidents of tankers spilling, absolutely none, in all the years since 1956, when GPS wasn’t even science fiction.
But in addition to the safety and the economic benefits of pipelines, there is a strong environmental case to be made. This government has let our province down because they haven’t told British Columbians that we share their desire to address climate change. Alberta’s and B.C.’s interests are and should be aligned. British Columbians should know that Albertans share their desire to reduce carbon emissions, or at least some of us on this side of the House share their desire to reduce carbon emissions, which is exactly what the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion will do. How? Alberta innovators, including government, academia, industry, and more, are working to reduce carbon emissions from oil sands. The Clean Resource Innovation Network, which includes COSIA and many others, is finding ways to reduce and maybe even remove carbon from Alberta’s oil sands from extraction to end use. How many people in B.C. know about the carbon Xprize? It’s a $20 million incentive to move new and emerging CO2 technologies from the lab to real-world demonstration. To translate: Alberta is leading the charge to a low-carbon future.
If we apply some of the economic gains realized from attracting global prices for a product that’s still in demand – we’ve heard repeatedly today and we know that even with the emergence of electric vehicles, global energy oil demand will continue to grow. We know that if we can attract global prices for that product – economists have said that there is a strong case to be made for investing the revenues that we will derive from the legitimate, safe, and legal economic activity of producing oil and gas in this province – if we invest some of that in reducing carbon emissions, we will have tremendous environmental and tremendous economic benefit. These investments would not only reduce carbon emissions from hydrocarbon production and use but would allow Alberta entrepreneurs to do what Alberta entrepreneurs do best: to create the companies and technologies to address a problem the world is grappling with, to attract capital to our province, to diversify our economy, to innovate and create those technologies that we can sell to the rest of the world.
Now, the crude shipped through the Kinder Morgan expansion will also displace higher carbon crude produced in places like Venezuela and Nigeria, and I can promise you that neither of those countries’ environmental or social standards are anywhere near Alberta’s. Let me be absolutely clear. Alberta’s energy industry has the most socially and environmentally responsible energy production in the entire world. Our regulator is second to none anywhere in the world. We export our regulatory expertise around the world. The world is trying to produce oil and gas in the same way that Alberta does, in the safe and socially responsible manner. Having worked in that industry, I can tell you, Madam Speaker, that I have seen it first-hand. It’s absolutely true. That is the story that we need to be telling our neighbours in British Columbia and telling the world.
But in addition to making this case to British Columbians, we need to ensure that Ottawa steps up. This is a project that has been approved after thorough vetting by one of the if not the very best energy regulators in the world. The pipeline is safe, it is in the public interest, and it absolutely must be built. The federal government must step up and aggressively send that message to B.C. And the Alberta government needs to step up and aggressively send that message to Ottawa, that Ottawa needs to invoke section 92(10)(c) of the Constitution, that this is a project in the general interest of our country. While it is okay, as this motion says, to urge the federal government to take action – and I will give this government credit for some what I would call gentle nudging of Ottawa – they have pushed, but they haven’t pushed nearly hard enough. The NDP needs to be very specific about what they want Ottawa to do. They should declare loudly that Ottawa should employ their powers under the Constitution to declare this Kinder Morgan pipeline a project in the general interest.
In the end the Alberta Party caucus will likely support this motion. We look forward to seeing the amendments that come forward. We do think that there are some areas and opportunities for improvement. But it’s not nearly good enough for the Premier to talk about just the fact that there is a carbon tax in an attempt to gain social licence for building that pipeline. It is not enough for this Premier or this government to simply make the economic case for pipelines. And it is not enough for this government simply to threaten another trade war. Alberta’s and B.C.’s interests are much more closely aligned than we think. It is up to this government to make that case and to ensure that the Kinder Morgan pipeline is built.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.