Cancelling Keystone XL is not a crisis compared to the climate crisis

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Madam Speaker, with the minister’s words, this is an existential crisis ringing in my ears. I will remind the minister that the only existential crisis being debated tonight is the threat of global warming becoming a run away, self-accelerating and unstoppable threat to our children’s future.

I would also remind him that it is extremely unfair to say to those who think this was a good and right decision that we are somehow joyous and not caring about workers losing their jobs. I would no more say that people who are supporting the oil sands are deliberately and consciously threatening my grandchildren’s future than I would say it was right to be celebrating as though it does not matter when people suffer an immediate downturn in their economic prospects. We must bring in a just transition act. We must ensure that workers have transferable skills, which they do. They are very resourceful. They are very willing and able to move to other industries.

I think I may be the only member in this place who actually read the entire state department environmental impact statement on the Keystone Pipeline when it was delivered to former secretary of state, John Kerry. Nothing about the project has changed in the fundamentals of why the Obama administration turned it down. We know the Trump administration approved it against all the evidence, and I suggest to my Conservative friends if they really wanted our current Prime Minister to help protect Keystone, the only thing he could have done was gone into the United States to campaign for Donald Trump, which is something I am sure—

Hon. Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South—Mount Pearl)
2021-01-25 19:26

Madam Speaker, we are singularly focused on those workers because they are the ones who built this industry and the ones who will lower emissions. Ensuring they are part of the solution is extraordinarily important. In fact, we will not be able to reach net zero without these men and women.

Making sure they are okay is exactly what we attempted to do during the pandemic with the $1.7 billion to look after orphaned and inactive wells. Not only is that the right thing to do environmentally, but it will also make sure that these talented and experienced men and women are kept in the industry and kept in play as we look to the next few months and years, and in fact right now as we attempt to lower emissions in this country and achieve net zero by 2050. These are the men and women who will do it.