Propaganda about the oil sands seems to get away with teh aura of fact

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I think the debate around jobs needs to bear in mind that the number one goal of the labour unions of northern Alberta, the Alberta Federation of Labour and Unifor, is to protect jobs. However, it should be noted that these organizations are against the Kinder Morgan expansion. We know they are against it because they recognize that, just like shipping raw logs off Vancouver Island while our sawmills need resources to process them at home, shipping raw bitumen out of Canada instead of having upgraders and refineries is shipping out the jobs.

I know there are some unions that want the jobs in construction, but those are short-term jobs. The long-term jobs are in following Peter Lougheed’s original plan and having upgraders and refineries.

It is a mind-boggling reality that the jobs argument is so badly misunderstood in this country, because propaganda seems to get away with the aura of fact, and those of us who bring fact-based critique to it are somehow clinging to a sort of nirvana world. We would rather see Canada solve this problem by thinking like a country.

I wonder if my hon. colleague from Courtenay—Alberni wants to add anything to this issue of shipping out raw resources.

Gord John – Member for Courtenay-Alberni

Mr. Speaker, as a Vancouver Islander, the member knows all too well that we have seen raw logs go up tenfold in 10 years, in the name of jobs, while we have seen mills close.

I live in a community that is deeply affected by this, a community with the highest unemployment rate in southwestern B.C., because we have chosen to ship raw logs out of our community in the name of jobs. Well, those jobs have not happened. In fact, it has been the biggest job-killing practice I have ever seen. We are also building ferries, because the government decided to remove a tariff to build ferries outside of our country, in the name of jobs, so that it would be cheaper for ferry users. That generated $118 million, which could be used in building port infrastructure, doing maintenance, and shipbuilding here in Canada.

We keep hearing that we need a pipeline, in the name of jobs, to ship raw bitumen to another country so that it can be refined there.

It is exactly this spin that is killing jobs in our country, and it is misleading people. What we need is to invest in clean energy, jobs for today and jobs for tomorrow, and stop shipping our raw resources. This rip-and-ship mentality has to end. This is an opportunity right now for the leadership and the courage that young people and people across our nation so desperately need and demand.