MP Report by Bob Zimmer
Responsible Natural Resource Development – A Practical Point of View Part II
In my last MP Report I discussed how, in society today, we all use natural resources, and how we can support the responsible development of these resources while also being good stewards for the environment.
In this report, I would like to focus on the economic and social benefits to our community in developing our natural resources responsibly. As the 21st century unfolds, it is increasingly clear that Canada’s energy and natural resources are massive assets to our country in the global economy. This is especially true given that few countries are as blessed with natural resources as we are, allowing us to become more competitive in attracting investment dollars.
Economically, our natural resources industries, including energy, mining and minerals processing, and forestry, account for more than 10 per cent of our gross domestic product (total value of goods and services produced in Canada) and provide close to 800,000 jobs in Canada.
In the next 10 years, more than 500 new projects representing over $500 billion in new investments will be proposed for Canada in the natural resources sector. In British Columbia, companies are looking to invest $83.9 billion over the next ten years.
This investment will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and economic growth across Canada. From manufacturing to the service sector to the financial sector – every sector of Canada’s economy has something to gain from resource development.
Socially, the resource sector generates tens of billions of dollars worth of tax revenues and royalties annually for governments to fund our many compassionate programs. For example, over the past five years, the oil and gas industry has contributed an average of $22 billion a year to government revenues, revenues which help to pay for everything, from education and health care, to roads and bridges.
In fact, our Conservative Government has committed to increasing health care transfers to the provinces. Under our new investment, health care funding will increase from $30 billion per year in 2013-14 to more than $38 billion per year in 2018-19. Total funding for health care over that five year period will be at least $178 billion.
One of the reasons why we have the funding to do so is thanks to the tax revenues from our natural resources.
As the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters has said, “We often think of energy and resource developments in remote terms – geographically removed from the lives of most Canadians. The fact is that all Canadians stand to benefit in very real ways from the wealth created by these developments.”
But we must seize the moment, while being environmentally responsible. These opportunities are not going to last forever. We’re going to have to compete with other resource-rich countries for those vital job-creating investment dollars. And, acting on this opportunity means putting in place a world-class regulatory system to review major projects. That is why our Conservative Government is acting in Economic Action Plan 2012 with our plan for Responsible Resource Development.
Responsible Resource Development is founded on four pillars:
1) to make project reviews more predictable and timely while still maintaining thoroughness;
2) to reduce duplication of project reviews;
3) to strengthen environmental protection; and
4) to enhance Aboriginal consultation.
Responsible Resource Development will create good, skilled, well-paying jobs in cities and communities across Canada by streamlining the review process for major economic projects.
The time is now for Canada’s immense resources. We know that it is not only possible, but absolutely necessary to ensure timely, efficient and effective project reviews, while at the same time act as good stewards of our environment as we continue to develop our natural resources. We CAN do both!