OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 05/07/12 -- The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, today made the following statement in response to a campaign of misinformation by some environmental advocacy groups:
"The Opposition and certain environmental groups today again came out against jobs, growth and economic prosperity.
"However our Government remains committed to passing the Budget Implementation Act, and in particular, the plan for Responsible Resource Development. This is an important piece of legislation for Canada's future. There are tremendous economic benefits in store for Canadians if the country's natural resources are developed responsibly and efficiently. More than 500 major resource projects worth half a trillion dollars are scheduled to come on line over the next 10 years, creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs and generating massive economic growth right across the country.
"I want to reiterate that the Government's plan for Responsible Resource Development will, in the coming weeks, be fully examined by a Parliamentary sub-committee in an open and democratic forum. This study will be a public exchange with witnesses from every side of the debate. The membership of the committee will be set by each party's whip to ensure the relevant critics can study these important changes.
"I have been engaging Canadians in discussing this important issue for many months now. And the voices of Canadians - not just the well-funded voices of organized groups - have been heard and will continue to be heard.
"The need for this legislation is urgent. The world economy presents both great opportunities and challenges. Now is the time to make the right choices to assure prosperity and security for Canadians for generations to come.
"The world will not stand by and wait while Canada endlessly deliberates the merits of its resource potential and squanders its legacy. Extraordinary potential exists in every region of our country - natural gas in B.C., oil and minerals on the Prairies, the Ring of Fire in Ontario, Plan Nord in Quebec, hydro power and oil and gas in Atlantic Canada and mining in Canada's North.
"Canada's natural resources sector directly employs more than 750,000 Canadians. Mining and energy account for more than 10 percent of Canada's $1.5 trillion economy and more than 40 percent of our exports.
"The oil sands alone are responsible for close to 400,000 direct and indirect jobs in skilled trades, manufacturing, clerical jobs and the financial services sector, in every region of the country.
"According to the Canadian Energy Research Institute, proposed pipeline expansion and projected increases in oil production would generate, on average, 700,000 jobs annually across Canada in the next 25 years, add a total of $3.3 trillion in economic activity, and contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to governments to fund crucial social programs.
"We need to tap into the tremendous appetite for resources in the world's dynamic emerging economies - resources we have in abundance. Responsible Resource Development will ensure timely, efficient and effective project reviews and promote business confidence and capital investment, while strengthening our world-class environmental standards.
"The Responsible Resource Development plan will modernize the current outmoded regulatory review of major resource projects and eliminate needless duplication with the provinces while enhancing meaningful Aboriginal consultation. We will also invest $165 million in strengthening environmental safeguards, including tanker and pipeline safety, and for the first time provide enforcement of environmental assessment conditions under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, as well as toughening enforcement of National Energy Board conditions on new pipeline projects including financial penalties of up to $400,000 for infractions. These are the facts.
"Canada is known for its high environmental standards and they will be enhanced, while we seize the enormous opportunities presented to our country in the global market so that we can secure prosperity for future generations of Canadians."
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Media may contact:
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Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa
Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa