Bitumen is a solid shipped most safely by train

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, I know my hon. friend from St. John’s East is on the other side of the country all together, so he can be forgiven for not knowing anything about dilbit. Bitumen is a solid. While he just said in the House that the safest and most environmentally-friendly way to ship it was by pipeline, unfortunately he has it exactly backward.

Bitumen is a solid shipped most safely by train. It only becomes dangerous when people stir diluent in order to make it flow through a pipeline, thus creating dilbit, which is both noxious to human health and cannot be cleaned up.

My question is to the point about the claim of great economic dependency of our country on oil and gas. Did he know that at the height of the oil sands production, it represented 2% of GDP, therefore, 2% of our schools, hospitals, and social services, not a dependency?

Nick Whalen – Member for St. John’s East

Madam Speaker, I am happy to speak to that last point. I probably question the numbers because there is interrelation and collateral benefits to having such a strong industry, but I am sure it represents more than 2% to the Alberta economy. The MPs from Alberta would probably look at that last comment with a certain amount of trepidation and concern.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, depending on the price of oil, our oil and gas industry represents anywhere between 14% and 30% of our provincial GDP. It is a massively important part of the economy in the east coast. I am sure it is a massively important part of the economy in Alberta. Even if we just look at the losses of $50 million a day on average by selling our Alberta oil and gas resources through the U.S. rather than having more diversified markets, that amount pays for a lot of schools, hospitals, and additional opportunities to create a clean energy economy. To not do so is naive.