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432-00481 (Natural resources and energy)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

WHEREAS:

  • COVID-19 has caused a prolonged downturn in oil markets. Forecasting agencies are predicting the end of growth in oil demand as countriesshift to clean energy, and major global oil complies are writing off their oil sands investments.
  • The cost of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX) has more than doubled to $12.6 billion. Given construction delays, the overall price tag could be much higher, and Canadian taxpayers are on the hook.
  • More than 100 Canadian economists and energy policy experts have written a letter to the federal government questioning the economic viability of TMX, and calling on the Finance Minister to delay further spending that puts additional Canadian tax dollars at risk.
  • The federal government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline after the private sector walked away from the project due to financial risk.
  • As of September 2020, only 5.25 per cent of pipe has been laid on the TMX rout, while billions of dollars have yet to be spend and could be reallocated. Other pipeline projects already under development in Canada will meet the future need for the federally subsidized TMX.
  • Ambitious investments in the clean economy is required to meet Canada's Paris climate commitments and will create much needed jobs in sectors hard hit by the pandemic and by the downturn in the oil industry.
  • There is no place for Trans Mountain in the green recovery from COVID-19 that the government has espoused. Instead, public investments must build a resilient low-carbon economy, to address the twin economic and climate crises.

THEREFORE, we the undersigned residents of Canada, call on the Government of Canada to delay further spending on Trans Mountain until an independent cost-benefit analysis that considers economic and market changes since COVID-19 has been completed and to prioritize investments in clean energy now.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

The Government thanks the petitioners for expressing their views about Canada making additional investments in the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP).

The environment and the economy go hand-in-hand. When we create prosperity today, we can invest in the clean jobs, technologies, and infrastructure of the future — and help Canadians benefit from opportunities presented by a rapidly changing economy.

The key to creating prosperity is finding new markets for our businesses to sell their products and services. Nowhere is the need to diversify greater than for our energy sector, where 99 per cent of our conventional resources are sold to one market — and often at large discounts.

Canadians understand that we need to open up new international markets, in order to get a full and fair price, support workers and their families, and foster competitiveness.

The Government’s approval of TMEP was based on the confidence that:

  • strong environmental protections have been and continue to be put in place, and that the effects of TMEP can be mitigated through conditions and recommendations outlined by the National Energy Board, as well as measures including the historic $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan and the national climate plan.
  • consultations with Indigenous peoples involved meaningful, two-way dialogue, which fulfilled the legal duty to consult and helped identify new accommodation measures and conditions to appropriately address potential impacts on Indigenous rights and concerns expressed by Indigenous communities.

On February 7, 2020, TMC announced that its Board of Directors had approved a total cost estimate of $12.6 billion to bring TMEP into service by the end of 2022.

Once TMEP enters into service, TMC expects to earn tolls that more than cover the cost of constructing the TMEP. These tolls are underwritten by long-term agreements with shippers for 80 per cent of TMEP’s capacity for 15 and 20 years. The final toll charged to shippers will be determined only after the TMEP enters into service based on the final construction cost.

Trans Mountain’s experience with the current pipeline system also demonstrates the robust demand for export capacity to tidewater. Since the onset of the global pandemic in March 2020 and a corresponding collapse in oil demand, the Trans Mountain pipeline continued to be fully utilized while other pipelines struggle with demand.

In addition, the Government launched the second step of its engagement process with Indigenous groups on June 9, 2020, to explore the possibility of Indigenous economic participation in the Project. In this step of the engagement process, the Government is focused on building consensus on the form of economic participation in the Project preferred by participating Indigenous groups: equity and/or revenue sharing; and identifying or supporting the formation of one or more entities to represent participating Indigenous groups in negotiations with Canada.

By moving forward with TMEP, the Government is creating jobs, diversifying markets, accelerating Canada’s clean energy transition, and opening up new avenues for Indigenous economic prosperity.

Presented to the House of Commons
Laurel Collins (Victoria)
February 4, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00481)
Government response tabled
March 22, 2021
Photo - Laurel Collins
Victoria
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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