May 15, 1980

?

An hon. Member:

Like a shooting gallery.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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PC

Lloyd Roseville Crouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crouse:

An hon. member says like a shooting gallery. I am not quite sure I know where to begin. To put it in the language of the people I represent, I think perhaps in light of what I heard today someone, perhaps it falls on me, should attempt to get this government back on course. It is obvious it is off course. It has lost its sense of direction and is out there

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wandering around in a fog of uncertainty not knowing where it is going.

I say that because during the recent election campaign we saw some pretty heavy brass. We had more Liberal brass in Nova Scotia-some could have come to see me, but they did not, they went to see others-than we have flotsam and jetsam along the coast. There was a lot of talk about energy, a lot of talk about oil, and we even had a lot of gas down that way. Before I place my question-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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?

An hon. Member:

Ask your question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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PC

Lloyd Roseville Crouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crouse:

I have 20 minutes sir. You had the same amount of time. I think I can use it any way I choose. I hope I am correct. The Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources indicates that I am correct. I read from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald of Saturday, February 2:

In the most major speech of the campaign to date, in Halifax last Friday, the Liberals through their leader Pierre Trudeau presented the Liberal's energy program for the 80s. A program designed to achieve energy security at a fair price for all Canadians. The Liberal program featured the following seven major commitments.

I will not read them all because the Liberals are well aware of them, even though they are not introducing them. One reads:

Liberals realize Canada needs to substitute plentiful resources such as natural gas for the energy resources we are short of like oil. Therefore under "Made in Canada" policies, natural gas will not be pegged to rising international prices. It will be set at a lower made-in-Canada level to encourage people to switch. Massive exports as those endorsed by Joe Clark would be thoroughly investigated so Canadians would always have first claim to their own natural gas resource.

There would be a natural gas pipeline to ensure all Canadians access to their resources.

Liberals would take immediate action-

I hope the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources listens carefully to this.

-to begin negotiations for construction of a natural gas pipeline to Quebec City and the maritimes. Initially it would carry natural gas east but when maritime supplies are ready, the pipeline would be like a natural gas railroad with a return delivery facility as well.

On the same date the Prime Minister appeared in Halifax. I read just a short excerpt from his speech:

But in order to switch, people must have access to gas. Nowhere is access needed more than in eastern Canada. I am announcing today, as part of our program, that a Liberal government will take immediate action to ensure the full co-operation of all parties in the construction of a natural gas pipeline to Quebec City and the maritimes. The pipeline will have reversible capacity-

I presume this was made with the full knowledge of the National Energy Board.

-so that maritimers will have the opportunity, both to use western natural gas now and to send offshore gas to central Canada later. Like the railroad in the 1880s, energy pipelines in the 1980s have the potential to be a steel link uniting the nation.

That is a very fine promise, a very fine pledge. For a starter, I would like to ask the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources how does he reconcile his speech today with the undertaking, firm pledge and promise made by the Prime Minister in Halifax.

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May 15, 1980

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Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

Mr. Chairman, I am very happy to have the opportunity of answering the question raised by the hon. member. I am glad to see that he is such a faithful reader of Liberal policy. Indeed, he read exactly and quite accurately the statement of the Prime Minister.

As I indicated, this government believes that a gas pipeline extending all the way to Halifax and Cape Breton is a matter of high priority. We stated in the campaign, as the hon. member read, that a Liberal government would take immediate action to ensure the full co-operation of all parties in the construction of a natural gas pipeline to Quebec City and the maritimes.

As soon as we received the report from the National Energy Board, immediate consideration was given to it in cabinet. After extensive consideration of the matter in cabinet, a decision was rendered today to accept the conclusion of the Energy Board report as a first and major step in the realization of the full pipeline about which the hon. member talked.

The hon. member will realize, once he has had an opportunity to consult, the reasons for the decision of the National Energy Board. I recommend to him particularly pages 6-127, 8-49, and 11-6. He will see, for instance, that the government of New Brunswick, as I indicated, has expressed some concern about, in particular, the environmental and economic aspects of this project. The Energy Board has suggested, as I have indicated, that further examination be made of the environmental aspects of this project and also that consideration be given to the economics of offshore natural gas. As far as the government is concerned we are asking Q and M to carry on those environmental studies as expeditiously as possible so the people of the maritimes are assured that there will not be serious damage to the environment by the construction of this project.

In the second place, we intend to study ways and means, with the corporations concerned, to determine whether the exploration off Sable Island could not be accelerated in order that as soon as possible we might be in a position to make a final decision on the realization of the whole pipeline. We are determined there will be no lessening of our drive to convert Atlantic Canada from oil, but we want to do this in co-operation with all the provinces concerned-I do not think we should run roughshod over any province in a matter as important as this. We should also make sure that this is the best decision for the residents of the maritimes.

As I said, we are attaching a very high priority to this question. We are determined that the pause which is being requested by the Energy Board will be as short as possible, and we intend to do everything we can to see to it that the short time taken in obtaining the information which is required will not result in a delay in scheduled delivery of natural gas to the maritimes.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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PC

Lloyd Roseville Crouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crouse:

I thank the minister for that answer. For his information, I have been reading the National Energy Board's

decision of May 15. There are some interesting contradictions in that report as, I am sure, he will agree. For example, I find one on page 11:

The board wishes to stress that Q and M has not satisfied the Board that the pipeline could be constructed in an environmentally acceptable manner.

I could not help but wonder why this would be so. Then again, I note at the bottom of page 11-10:

The board believes that the evidence adduced on offshore resources raised significant uncertainties as to the configuration of the Q and M pipeline and the board is not satisfied that the pipeline facilities proposed to be built and operated by the Q and M are and will be required by the present and future convenience and necessity.

That statement raises considerable doubt in my mind, despite all the promises made by the Prime Minister and the minister of energy, that we shall ever see this natural gas pipeline in Halifax. So I should like to know, and perhaps the minister can give me an idea, how many millions he estimates it will cost to cushion Nova Scotia's electricity costs against rising oil prices, say, for the next seven or eight years, since we are dependent on expensive foreign oil for the generation of something like 70 per cent of the energy required by industries in Nova Scotia. How much does the minister estimate this is likely to cost, and where does he believe the money will come from?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

On the subject of the pipeline itself, the hon. member has quoted a certain section of this report, but I might point out that the report goes on to mention that the information obtained from the east coast offshore areas should determine what type of pipeline ought to be built later on. As far as the environment is concerned, the hon. member was wondering on what basis the Energy Board was making its conclusion. Surely, it was making it on the basis of the evidence which it had received. But it is interesting to note that on page 6-127 ten different, specific areas are mentioned about which the board is requesting Q and M, the Quebec and Maritime Corporation, to come up with environmental studies and additional information. So there are numerous areas where it appears to the board that further environmental information is required.

As to the point raised by the hon. member concerning oil-generated electricity, he is quite right in saying that the cost is high. He mentions that the high costs result from the need to import oil supplies. However, I am sure he knows that this imported oil is paid for by all Canadians, thanks to policies established by a Liberal government in 1974. Consequently, Canadians are paying for their oil a price which is well below the world price or the international price or the price of imported oil, and the citizens of Nova Scotia are benefiting from this national policy of a single price for all Canadians below the world price. We have fought for this policy. We campaigned in the last election for this policy, and I hope we will get the support of the hon. member's party, or, at any rate, of members of his party coming from the maritimes, for our policy which aims at establishing a price in Canada which is not tied to world prices.

May 15, 1980

Nonetheless, even at prices which are lower than world prices, the production of electricity from oil in Nova Scotia is expensive. The hon. member asks how much it costs. That will depend, obviously, on the forecast of prices he makes. It will depend mainly on the kind of agreement we can get with the government of Alberta. I can tell him that at my last meeting with the government of his province, the government of that province presented me with a potential bill of $555 million representing federal subsidies they would like to obtain over the next seven years solely for the cushioning of the cost of its oil-generated electricity and helping in the transformation from oil. This is over half a billion dollars for the province of Nova Scotia alone.

At that time I indicated that indeed this was a matter we were ready and willing to look at, because it is essential that the electricity produced in Nova Scotia be "off oil" but obviously the federal government needed to have the resources from any future oil agreement which would allow it to help a province like Nova Scotia.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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PC

Lloyd Roseville Crouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crouse:

Basically, what the minister has told the committee tonight is that when campaigning, and this includes all the Liberals who campaigned in Nova Scotia, he and his colleagues were aware, as the Prime Minister must have been aware, of the views of the National Energy Board as they apply to this problem. In effect they railroaded the people of Nova Scotia with that promise. I stress the point that there is no equivocation in that speech by the Prime Minister. The words are: "We will immediately bring that gas pipeline to Halifax". That is the statement, and it has been indicated tonight that it was nothing more than an election promise.

I will go on to two other questions. I have more if my time permits, but I would like to ask the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources if he is prepared at some future time to indicate to the National Energy Board, in support of a re-application of Q and M, that he is prepared to subsidize the cost of the transmission of gas to the maritimes in the same way that the government now subsidizes domestic oil shipped to Montreal.

I do not want to ignore the entire panel, so while I am on my feet I would like to leave one with-somebody is calling out "stop". If he does not wish to participate in the hearings here this evening, he is free to leave or he is free to rise and seek to ask a question. I do not like being interrupted, and if the hon. member would stand and indicate who he is-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Denis √Čthier (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Chairman:

Order, please. The hon. member for South Shore has the floor.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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PC

Lloyd Roseville Crouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crouse:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope you will keep the rabble on the other side quiet because this is a committee-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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?

An hon. Member:

Shut up.

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Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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PC

Lloyd Roseville Crouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crouse:

He says I should shut up, Mr. Chairman. I think you should ask him to withdraw that. That is not being very parliamentary or constructive.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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PC

Donald W. Munro

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):

Out, Olivier.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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PC

Lloyd Roseville Crouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crouse:

Yes, perhaps he should leave because he is suffering from pain in the belly or something.

I have a very simple question for the President of the Treasury Board. Would he give us an update on the privatization program for certain Crown corporations? Maybe I could have both of those answers in sequence.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

Mr. Chairman, first, I am sorry that the hon. member has distorted so obviously the statement that he himself quoted at the beginning of his own intervention. He read it into the record, and I am sure the public will be able to see his statement for what it is, a straight distortion of a statement made by the Prime Minister. The statement he just made is completely false, and he should withdraw it.

When the hon. member reads Hansard tomorrow he will see that the words he read into the record were not attributed to this party or to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said, and I quote again for the record, in case the hon. member forgot what he himself read, "A Liberal government will take immediate action to ensure full co-operation of all parties in the construction of a natural gas pipeline to Quebec City and the maritimes".

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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PC

Lloyd Roseville Crouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crouse:

That's right.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

That is on the record. That is what we stand by, and that is our commitment. We are not welshing or withdrawing from that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

Indeed, in order to ensure the full co-operation of the parties concerned, I have already consulted with the governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and I have already reported to this House on some of the issues and the problems.

The hon. member should remember that in January and February his party was in office. He must have remembered that, although he may not have had the chance of participating very much in that government.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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?

An hon. Member:

He was in New Zealand.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
Permalink

May 15, 1980