There is no question that big oil has been exiting the oil sands

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, I want to return to this issue. It is obviously controversial in this chamber. Why is it that big oil has been exiting the oil sands? There is no question it has been. There is Marathon, Total, Statoil, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and Imperial Oil.

I want to read the hon. member two quotes. This is what two large companies from the industry say about their departure. This is what was reported in Reuters in May of this year.

Norway’s Statoil said it aims to cut its carbon footprint more aggressively as measures to reduce global warming could reduce the value of its assets, leaving some of its reserves stranded underground.

Fortune magazine, referring to Shell stated:

If Shell failed to prepare for this new energy landscape, it could wind up saddled with massive stranded assets: buried oil and gas that its shareholders paid billions to find, but that, because of softening demand, the company found itself unable to profitably drill and sell.

There is a real phenomenon happening globally of large corporations examining the threat of the carbon bubble and they could end up with stranded assets. Unfortunately, bitumen is about the most heavy carbon-intensive fossil fuel product out there in the petroleum area. I wonder if my hon. colleague has any comments on that.

Michael Chong – Member for Wellington-Halton Hills

Madam Speaker, with respect to Norway, in some ways it is much easier for them to make the case for reducing emissions than it is for us, because Norway, granted through foresight, built up a trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund and now has that asset to depend on its future interest and capital gains to fund all the programs that Norwegians have come to rely upon. We do not have that here in Canada, anywhere near that scale, so I think Statoil and Norway sovereign wealth fund are in some ways in an enviable position that we simply do not find ourselves in.

What I do know is this. I believe that every major resource project in the country should undergo a proper and full environmental assessment, but if we want to combat climate change and reduce emissions, the right way to do it is not by denying the construction of new pipelines, new highways, or things like that. It is to actually properly price carbon, either through a regulatory approach or other approaches that will actually result in a reduction in emissions, rather than targeting the method by which we transport those products.