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432-00551 (Natural resources and energy)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following:

Whereas, a recent Statistics Canada report highlighted that from mid-May to Mid-October 2020, 81% of excess Canadian deaths of men aged 0 to 45 came from Alberta and British Columbia;

Whereas, men are three times more likely to commit suicide with suicide being the second leading cause of death for men aged 15 to 34;

Whereas, studies show that more young men die by suicide in a time of societal stress:

Whereas, prior to COVID-19, the Alberta economy was already hard-pressed due to an energy downturn, an oil-price war and a federal government that targeted Alberta's natural resource sector and was unwilling to support major pipeline and investment projects;

Whereas, Unemployment rates in Alberta have reached more than 11%, with the province having one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada;

Whereas, Unemployment, increased drug use, high suicide rates and economic instability have each contributed negatively to Albertan families.

Therefore we, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:

1) Approve shovel-ready construction and development projects across the country, cut red tape and let Albertans get back to work;

2) Actively promote and seek investment in Canada's natural resource sector and ensure that both the Keystone XL and TMX expansion are completed;

3) Encourage and support local communities, families, and organizations who help connect, support, and inspire men;

4) Quickly create the 988 national suicide hotline, which was proposed by the Conservative Party and has received unanimous support from all parties.

Response by the Minister of Natural Resources

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Mr. Marc G. Serré

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring the energy and natural resource sectors continue to create and sustain middle-class jobs, prosperity and opportunity across the country. This includes supporting resource communities and workers as they transition to cleaner technologies to help meet Canada’s climate action objectives. The government also supports and promotes the competitiveness of Canadian companies by encouraging investment, opening access to new international markets, and getting resources to those markets.

Because of this commitment, the government announced targeted funding to support sectors of the economy affected by the COVID-19 pandemic— including more than $2.8 billion for the oil and gas sector. This support is helping maintain and create approximately 10,000 good jobs, while enhancing the sector’s environmental performance so it can continue to play a key role in Canada’s clean-growth future.

Ongoing support to the oil and gas sector includes:

  • Providing up to $1.72 billion to help the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia clean up orphan and/or inactive oil and gas wells. This support is expected to create thousands of jobs, including an estimated 5,200 in Alberta alone, and provide lasting environmental benefits.
  • Making available up to $750 million through the new Emissions Reduction Fund to lower greenhouse gas emissions in Canada’s oil-and-gas sector, with a focus on methane emissions. The fund includes $75 million to help the offshore oil industry create and maintain jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador through greenhouse gas-reduction efforts.
  • Expanding eligibility of support programs to help Canadian businesses access the financing they need during this period of uncertainty to keep workers on the job.
  • Investing $320 million “to support jobs and ensure a sustainable, long-term, low-emitting future” for Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil industry. The investment will help create and sustain jobs in a range of areas: health and safety; maintenance and upgrades of existing offshore infrastructure; research and development; environmental services; and clean technology.

The government continues to support the Canadian energy sector’s competitiveness, working with provinces to unlock the potential of their natural resources. In addition to ongoing investment in and support for the oil and gas sector, the Government of Canada is also working closely with the Government of Alberta to attract foreign investment in projects across the province.

The Government of Canada is deeply disappointed in President Biden’s decision to revoke Keystone XL’s permit. Workers in Alberta and across Canada will always have support. That is why the Prime Minister spoke directly with President Biden about the project’s merits immediately after the November election. The Prime Minister expressed Canada’s disappointment in that decision since then, including during the President’s first virtual foreign visit on February 23. The Canadian embassy has for years advocated strongly in KXL’s favour, and Ambassador Hillman and others in the government worked hard – often in concert with the Government of Alberta – to make the case to high-level officials in the incoming administration.

While the Government of Canada acknowledges that the President’s decision fulfills an election campaign promise, the government will not waver in its support for Canada’s workers.

The Government of Canada remains deeply concerned about all Canadians who have lost their jobs, whether a result of this decision, the pandemic, or other changing economic circumstances. The government continues to support the affected communities, including Indigenous communities that depend on jobs in the energy sector. For generations, important parts of Canada’s economy have been powered by the natural resources sector and its workers. The Government of Canada remains committed to developing natural resources sustainably and to creating good jobs for all Canadians.

Response by the President of the Treasury Board

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): GREG FERGUS

The Government of Canada is committed to reduce the administrative burden on Canadian businesses and industry and improve their competitiveness while continuing to protect Canadians’ health, safety, security, social and economic well-being and the environment. One example of this effort is the one-for-one rule, implemented in 2012, as currently represented in the Red Tape Reduction Act. Its objective is to control the administrative burden that regulations impose on businesses. Since its introduction, annual net burden has been reduced by approximately $58.4 million. Most recently, in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the net administrative burden imposed on business decreased by $34 million, the largest annual reduction since the introduction of the rule. The Government is undertaking a legislated review of the Red Tape Reduction Act to identify ways to further reduce unnecessary administrative burden on businesses and identify potential improvements to further benefit the Canadian economy. A number of initiatives are underway as part of the Government’s efforts to modernize the regulatory system with an objective to simplify regulations, eliminate regulatory barriers, and encourage innovation. The federal Government’s Targeted Regulatory Reviews are an example of such initiatives. These Reviews examine regulatory requirements and practices that are creating bottlenecks to growth and innovation and identify solutions that support economic development, increase investment, and accommodate emerging technologies and businesses across Canada.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

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

On August 30, 2018, the Government of Canada acquired the Trans Mountain Corporation to ensure that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) was completed, for the benefit of all Canadians.

TMEP as it stands today is very different from the project that Kinder Morgan proposed in 2017. It has been designed to a higher standard for environmental protection, undergone rigorous consultation with Indigenous groups and will support union jobs in B.C. and Alberta. These enhancements have improved TMEP, ensured that construction proceeds in the right way, and that it will support the Canadian economy today and into the future.

To date, Trans Mountain and its contractors have hired approximately 10,250 people, of whom;

  • approximately 1,100 are Indigenous people,
  • approximately 4,905 are residents of Alberta; and
  • approximately 4,420 are residents of British Columbia.

Overall, the Government of Canada is working with the Trans Mountain Corporation to ensure the safety of all workers and community members and that construction proceeds as quickly as possible. 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.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Jennifer O'Connell

As demonstrated by the unanimous support received, there is great interest in exploring the implementation of a three-digit National Suicide Hotline number in Canada, and the first step to establishing the hotline is a need to gain a better understanding of the regulatory, technological and resource implications.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is responsible for administrating telecommunication numbers in Canada, including three-digit numbers, and is currently conducting outreach with key stakeholders on the implications of providing such a number as a crisis line. Should the CRTC choose to pursue this matter, it would likely initiate a public proceeding in order to build a fulsome public record in an open and transparent manner. This record could identify potential obstacles and propose solutions to overcoming them. It may also determine whether to assign a three-digit number to access mental health crisis/suicide prevention services in Canada.

The Government of Canada recognizes the impact suicide has on families and communities, and working together to connect people to appropriate supports and resources will help to prevent suicide. The Public Health Agency of Canada has facilitated discussions for the CRTC with key stakeholders and other national and regional organizations with a focus on suicide prevention, and feedback from these stakeholders has been supportive. Furthermore, the Government of Canada is investing $21 million over five years to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to develop, implement, and sustain a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service. The Canada Suicide Prevention Service currently provides people across Canada with suicide prevention crisis support from trained responders via phone (24/7) and text (evenings).

Response by the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Andy Fillmore

Given the significant health and socio-economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Infrastructure Canada has implemented a number of changes to the existing Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to increase our immediate infrastructure investments while also maintaining the long-term goals of the Investing in Canada plan. Some of these changes include the creation of a new COVID-19 Resilience stream and the temporary expansion of eligibility under the Public Transit, Green Infrastructure, and Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure streams. These changes will see federal support moving out more quickly to communities across the country, including in Alberta.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians and communities across the country, including Alberta.  Since 2015, Infrastructure Canada has approved 350 projects representing almost $5 billion in federal funding to support a range of investments in communities across Alberta. These investments are supporting public transit investments in Calgary and Edmonton, critical wastewater improvements across the province, including in communities like Vermilion and St. Paul, as well as investment in crucial community and recreational facilities that support communities by providing opportunities for healthy activity and community-building.

These community investments support and encourage local communities, families, and organizations to help connect, support and inspire all residents in healthy activities. Investments in community parks in Edmonton, or improvements at Medicine Hat College or the University of Lethbridge to make more inclusive spaces for Indigenous peoples, are all specific examples of these investments at work to support Alberta’s hard working men and women.

Presented to the House of Commons
Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock)
February 23, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00551)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Arnold Viersen
Peace River—Westlock
Conservative Caucus

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

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