Petitions: Answers from the Government

In February, I tabled three petitions from constituents. This week, we received responses from the government.

1. Natural Resources and Energy

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

Whereas, Canadian oil and gas producers are global environmental leaders;

Whereas, Canadian oil is produced to the highest environmental standards in the world, and the Government needs to acknowledge the industry's pioneering efforts.

Whereas, Oil sands producers reduced GHG emissions intensity by 28% from 2000 to 2017.

Whereas, Oil & Gas is Canada's leading export and the number one private sector investor in the Canadian economy, representing 5.4% of Canada's GDP.

Whereas, Oil sands producers have spent $13 billion with Indigenous-owned businesses since 2012, including a record $2.1 billion in 2018.

Whereas, The Trans Mountain Expansion Project provided almost 8,000 jobs and contributed $76 million in personal, corporate, and sales tax. At its peak, the Project will employ 17,050 Canadian workers.

Whereas, Trans Mountain Expansion was needed yesterday to get our resources to market. The continued uncertainty of Canada's ability to get our energy products to tidewater erodes global trust in Canada's energy sector.

Whereas, The Fraser Institute indicates that Canada loses $16 billion annually because of lack of access to diverse markets for our oil. And the Parliamentary Budget Officer identifies that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project will mitigate this loss by $6 billion annually.

Whereas, pipelines are the safest way and cleanest way to transport oil and gas;

Therefore we, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to expedite the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Government response tabled

Response by the Minister of Natural Resources

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

The Government of Canada thanks the petitioners for expressing their views regarding the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project.

The government recognizes that TMX is in the public interest and is important to Canada’s economic future. It will help producers find new markets beyond the United States, and in the process get a fair price for their petroleum products. It will also create or support good, middle-class jobs in Canada. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has demonstrated that investment in oil and gas projects is part of the rapid clean energy transition, and supports Canada’s climate change goals.

Construction has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, in full compliance with public health orders and directives. All necessary health and safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among workers and communities. Construction is well underway across British Columbia and Alberta, creating 7,300 middle-class jobs -- including nearly 1,000 for Indigenous workers. As of February 23, 2021, approximately 120 kilometres of new pipeline have been installed since the Government of Canada’s approval of TMX. The projected in-service date is December 31, 2022.

The government remains committed to ensuring the project proceeds towards completion, while ensuring that the work meets all engineering, safety and environmental requirements. The Government of Canada will collaborate with all levels of government, Indigenous communities and the Trans Mountain Corporation to ensure that all necessary permits and regulatory authorizations are in place. To date, the Government of Canada and the governments of British Columbia and Alberta have issued approximately 90 percent of all necessary federal and provincial permits needed to allow construction to move towards completion in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

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 the importance of the oil and gas sector to the Canadian economy as well as views on expediting 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 is confident that the TMEP will generate a positive return for 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.

The Government also announced that every dollar the federal government earns from TMEP will be invested in Canada’s clean energy transition. It is estimated that additional tax revenues from TMEP alone could generate $500 million per year once the project has been completed. This money will be invested in clean energy projects that will power our homes, businesses, and communities for generations to come.

2. Taxation

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

Whereas, the current pandemic is causing significant disruptions to business models;

Whereas, during the 2019 Federal election, then federal environment minister said the carbon tax would be frozen at $50 a tonne annually as of 2022;

Whereas, the Liberal Government has repeatedly told Canadians that the Carbon Tax would be revenue neutral for most taxpayers;

Whereas, low- and middle-income Canadians are already overtaxed;

Whereas, the first-ever annual carbon tax revenue report indicates tax collections were as much as 21% higher than rebates paid to taxpayers in four provinces - Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick;

Whereas, the 'A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy' plan now proposes to increase the Carbon Tax to $170 per tonne as of 2030.

Therefore we, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to keep its promise to Canadians and not increase the Carbon Tax beyond $50 per tonne.

Government response tabled

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

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

The Government of Canada knows that climate change presents a threat to our long-term health and economic prosperity. Even in these challenging times, good environmental policy and addressing climate change matter.

Putting a price on pollution is an important part of Canada’s future, and the Government is doing this in a way that maintains affordability for households and ensures the competitiveness of Canadian companies. All of the direct proceeds generated by the federal pollution pricing system are returned to the province or territory of origin.  The price on pollution is revenue neutral to the federal government.

In jurisdictions that have not proposed their own fuel charge consistent with the federal benchmark criteria – Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta – the federal price on pollution is in place. In those provinces, approximately 90 percent of direct proceeds from the fuel charge are returned to residents of those provinces through Climate Action Incentive payments. Most households get more in Climate Action Incentive payments than the increased costs they face from the federal pollution pricing system. The remaining fuel charge proceeds are used to support small businesses, schools, universities, municipalities, and Indigenous groups.

Our Government will continue to take further action as required to ensure that the health of Canadians is protected, that families and businesses are supported, and that our economy remains strong in the face of uncertainty.

To this end, our Government recently proposed to increase the price on pollution through to 2030, and will continue to provide support to Canadians so that the majority of households will continue to be better off. Going forward, the federal price will continue to be revenue neutral for the Government of Canada, and we remain committed to ensuring that the federal price on pollution remains affordable, and to helping households to make investments to increase energy efficiency and further reduce emissions.

Continuing to increase the price on pollution is a central part of our proposal for a strengthened climate plan. Pollution pricing can help us achieve our environmental goals and economic ambitions at the same time.

3. Environment

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

Whereas, the reduction of global net carbon emissions is a critical endeavor in our fight against climate change;

Whereas, the Liberal Government committed to net-zero emissions by 2050;

Whereas, the Liberal Government committed to exceed Canada's 2030 goal by introducing new carbon reducing measures;

Whereas, Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) is a leading measure to reduce global carbon emissions.

Therefore we, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to introduce new tax incentives to attract CCUS investment to Canada.

Government response tabled

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

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

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of accelerating action to fight climate change. As the Government of Canada works to rebuild a more sustainable and resilient economy, it will examine whether a proposed tax incentive for Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) should be considered in the context of its environmental and fiscal priorities.

Strengthened Climate Plan

Canada’s strengthened climate plan, “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy”, was announced in December 2020. It proposes measures to cut energy waste, provide clean and affordable transportation and power, build Canada’s clean industrial advantage, and support nature based climate solutions. It also proposes to put a rising price on pollution through to 2030. The plan is supported by an initial $15 billion in investments that will create jobs, grow the middle class, and support workers in a stronger and cleaner economy. This is in addition to the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s $6 billion for clean infrastructure that was announced in the fall.

CCUS technologies will play a role in helping Canada exceed its 2030 Paris Agreement emissions reductions target. Under the proposed strengthened climate plan, CCUS projects can benefit from credits that are generated under pollution pricing regimes, and the Clean Fuel Standard if projects reduce the carbon intensity of fuels for fuel suppliers. The plan also provides direct support that may be available for CCUS investments through a new Net Zero Accelerator that will provide $3 billion over five years via the Strategic Innovation Fund. The fund is expected to face high demand as it aims to rapidly expedite decarbonization projects with large emitters, scale-up clean technology, and accelerate Canada’s industrial transformation across all sectors. Certain projects could also be complemented by funding under the $1.5 billion Low-carbon and Zero-emissions Fuels Fund to increase the production and use of low-carbon fuels. As well, investments by Sustainable Development Technology Canada will support further advancement of pre-commercial clean technologies.

As announced in the strengthened climate plan, the Government proposes to develop a comprehensive CCUS strategy and explore other opportunities to help keep Canada globally competitive in this growing industry. It is important that governments continue to work with stakeholders to determine the best approach to leveraging this technology in Canada.

Tax Support

The Accelerated Investment Incentive that was announced in the 2018 Fall Economic Statement provides an enhanced first-year allowance for certain eligible property that is subject to Capital Cost Allowance rules. CCUS projects are typically capital intensive and can benefit from a more rapid expensing of capital for the purpose of calculating business income tax. The incentive applies to property acquired after November 20, 2018, and that is available for use before 2028. A phase-out will begin for property that becomes available for use after 2023.

Support for Sectors Reducing Emissions

The Government of Canada has also announced support for high emitting sectors of the economy to assist them with their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the Government’s COVID economic response plan, $2.8 billion has been allocated for the energy sector to support workers and reduce emissions. This includes $750 million for the Emissions Reduction Fund to help oil and gas companies reduce methane emissions, $1.7 billion to the Western provinces and the Alberta Orphan Wells Association to support work to clean up orphan and inactive oil and gas wells, and $320 million for Newfoundland and Labrador to support workers in the offshore sector. This funding will sustain jobs in the energy sector while cleaning up the environment. In addition, the Government has committed $185 million to support communities and workers affected by the phase out of coal-fired electricity through measures aimed at skills development and economic diversification.