In only one or two minor ways would I like to see the motion amended. My real concern, however, is that in some respects it does not go far enough, particular-
October 25, 1973
ly in the matter of an oil pipeline. Later in my remarks I will be more specific about this proposal. Canada is in many ways the most fortunate country on the face of the earth, yet it is perhaps one of the most fragile. We are a country of diversity, of peoples with different points of view and of geography with extreme variances. We are so diverse that we seem to be always going in different directions.
There is one common element which, when called upon, will always, I believe, pull us together and in a crisis will always see us through. That common element-is our love for Canada-Canada, that magnificent, fragile flower, that land that makes us perhaps the most fortunate people on the face of the earth. When Canadians are threatened, when our security is questioned, we are as one. I believe that in the growing energy problem and in the degree of our indebtedness to foreign powers, compounded by the sudden threat of the Arab nations to withhold oil supplies to the area of the country east of the Ottawa valley, we are threatened, our security is questioned, and we will react as one.
I said earlier, Mr. Speaker, that we are in many ways the most fortunate power on the face of the earth. What other country, for example, has reached our degree of industrialization and has adequate proven and potential energy reserves? I contend that no other country on the face of this earth is in such a fortunate position. Yet it would be very easy for us to squander these resources. It would be very easy, for short-term gains, to give or sell these resources to a foreign power or powers and then find ourselves in short supply in the not too distant future.
I believe that as Canadians who are concerned, not just for our own generation but for our children and our children's children, we must take positive action to ensure two things. First, we must insist on the security of supply of our energy resources. Second, we must see to it that these resources are developed by Canadians for Canadians. Anything less would be to sell ourselves short and to deny future generations of Canadians the opportunities for full participation in the magnificence and largesse of Canada.
I will dwell shortly on the notion of security of supply and, specifically, the supply situation itself. However, I would first like to make a few remarks about our energy policy. For reference purposes I will refer to phase I of "An Energy Policy for Canada", volumes I and II-a very comprehensive document. This document has been criticized, and the government with it, for not adopting an immediate energy policy. If the critics would look carefully at this document they would see it embraces most, and perhaps all, of the elements of a complete policy and is most useful when we are faced with sudden changes in the energy scene such as those caused by the Arab-Israeli war.
The real merit of the document, I feel, is that it gives us a basis for debate and consideration of all the elements involved in an energy policy in a rapidly changing world. We are encouraged to look at the whole notion of growth and whether there are limits to growth. I happen to be one who is very concerned about these limits to growth. I think that increasingly we shall have to consider this
question. The document deals with Canadian resources, present and potential, and with the whole question of Canadian ownership. It talks about foreign investment and the amount of foreign investment.
I think we have strange notions about the amount of foreign investment which any country should accept. If $40 billion, $50 billion or $60 billion are to come into Canada over the next 10 or 15 years, we could be in very serious trouble, both because of the effect on the Canadian dollar and because we might not be able to sell other goods should the country to whom we would normally be selling these goods expend most of its foreign exchange in buying energy. This would present a new problem, one which we have not yet considered.
This document deals, also, with the argument about public versus private ownership in the resource sector, and with the debate about industrial strategy, including research development by Canadians. These issues are well documented. Finally, we are encouraged to consider the effects of our energy policy on the environment, both physical and human. In this debate, we must consider, for instance, whether the environmental and social diseconomies involved would make James Bay or South Indian Lake viable projects. I believe that they are not, that they will most certainly lead to disaster, environmental and social. We are encouraged to look at the same effects in connection with nuclear power plants and various pipeline projects. Only when all these and other considerations have been reviewed and debated can we begin to adopt a really comprehensive series of policies. The debate today will bring us, I hope, closer to that set of comprehensive policies.
Now to the supply side of our problem. Since the motion deals with petroleum, I shall confine my remarks to this area. However, I would remind all hon. members that ultimately the debate concerning supply must take into consideration the various alternate energy forms and their intermodal aspects. Our most immediate concern must be for the major current supply-Alberta crude and the future of this commodity in our economy. We are told-I refer here to page 87 of volume 1 of the document to which I have referred-that the proven reserves of conventional crude amount to 9.7 billion barrels, of which over 99 per cent are to be found in western Canada, exclusive of the Territories. Of the potential reserves we might expect to recover, only 5 billion barrels out of a possible 83 billion will come from western Canada. When I use the term "western Canada", I principally mean Alberta but I am also including Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Thus, the western Canada supply, both proven and potential, consists of less than 15 billion barrels-less now, since these figures were arrived at in December of 1972.
I had the opportunity last winter to comment on the remarkable equanimity displayed by the three to five opposition members from the province of Albera on the National Resources and Public Works Committee on the subject of this potential supply. We are told that at current rates of production Alberta crude will last not more than 15 years or, in accordance with the present exponential growth rate, perhaps less than ten years. How, last winter, could these members have been so sanguine about the bleak future?
October 25, 1973
I visited Alberta on three occasions last summer and early this fall. I detected in the earlier visits a sense of well-being in relation to this matter. However, during my visit last weekend I was startled to hear expressions of concern such as I had not heard before. The people of Alberta are beginning to realize that they have been deceived, that their economic security depends upon, virtually, a single industry-in an industrial sense-in addition to agriculture and ranching, and that this security is in danger. The government of Canada and the government of Alberta must immediately address themselves to the fact that the industry surrounding the production of Alberta crude could be wiped out in little more than ten years.
It was, I suspect, the debate surrounding the tar sands project which sparked the present concern about the short term of Alberta crude. It was only when Mr. Lougheed struck out in his efforts to justify the immediate letting of some spicy contracts that he admitted the short duration of conventional oil and used this fact as justification for rushing headlong into the tar sands approach.
I believe that eventually we shall need the tar sands, that eventually they will become Canada's greatest single energy source. I do not, however, believe there is any real need to launch into this project without a great deal of care and concern. I do not believe there is any need to let ourselves panic into giving these resources away to the lowest bidder. I said "lowest bidder" because I believe that eventually the people of Canada will have to make a much higher bid for these resources if they are disposed of now.
There is in existence a very fine document labelled "confidential" but which has nevertheless been given fairly wide circulation. It was prepared for the executive council of the cabinet of Alberta by a large group of top civil servants. It is entitled "Fort McMurray Athabasca tar sands development strategy." Let me read just one or two choice extracts from this document, which I consider to be a very fine document. There are many other extracts I could read expressing similar views.
Alberta is not under any pressure to develop synthetic crude oil from the bituminous tar sands for the purpose of meeting either Albertan or Canadian petroleum requirements. The pressure to develop synthetic crude from the tar sands emanates from markets external to Canada.
Here is a further quotation:
The tar sands offers a unique opportunity to change the historical trend of ever-increasing foreign control of non-renewable resource development in Canada. Here is a reserve of the greatest magnitude which does not require highly speculative investment to find and prove.
That is not a document of the Committee for an Independent Canada; it is a document of the Alberta government. Another statement talks about research into the extraction process, mining methods and experiments in situ. It reads:
We are not aware of any research with respect to tailings disposal, reclamation or revegetation. This apparent emphasis on winning the resource is again an indication of the heavy influence of the conventional crude oil industry.
There is a whole series of statements of this kind in the document. What has Mr. Lougheed done with this excellent document containing advice from a committee of 41 top government employees from every department of gov-
ernment, including the Research Council of Alberta, the Alberta Housing Corporation and the Energy Resources Conservation Board? He has completely ignored this exhaustive report and based his policy on odds and sods, including a report from a New York consulting firm. What, Mr. Speaker, must be done with these reserves? I believe the resolution before us today holds the real answer and is entirely consistent with the report of the Alberta government.
I believe the Government of Canada must acquire an interest in the tar sands along with the government of Alberta.
Topic: PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic: BUSINESS OF SUPPLY