Hon. Alastair Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and Minister of State for Science and Technology):
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member inadvertently misquoted my position: that is not a new tactic on his part. Hon. members will realize that I have repeatedly stated in this House that the situation is serious. Hansard will show that I have said it is a serious situation, but I have also said that it is a manageable situation. 1 believe it is manageable and I have indicated to the House why.
We have some excess oil producing capacity in the west which can be traded for offshore oil which would, therefore, take care of the eastern refineries. I have reported this to the House on numerous occasions in the last couple of weeks. What the hon. member for Northumberland-Durham does not realize is that Venezuela is a different kind of source of supply for Canada than is the Middle East. We have had a very long history of supply from Venezuela. Venezuela has been our major supplier; roughly 40 per cent of our imports come from Venezuela. 1 was in Venezuela about a month ago and at that time I sought the assurance of the Venezuela government and Petroleos de Venezuela, the national oil company of Venezuela, that they would continue to supply Canada. They gave me that assurance.
In the case of Exxon and Imperial Oil we are dealing with a very special situation because Imperial Oil gets all its oil from Venezuela. That is the difference between Imperial Oil and the other companies the hon. member mentioned. I think I would have been remiss if I had not insisted on the undertak-
ing that Imperial Oil establish a direct contracting relationship with Venezuela so that Exxon cannot siphon off supplies which should be coming directly to Canada.
Subtopic: MEASURES TO ENSURE ADEQUATE SUPPLY OF OIL TO CANADIAN REFINERIES