Liberal Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson recently blamed former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government for current failures to expand Canada’s liquified natural gas (LNG) capacity.
Wilkinson made the comments on Tuesday during a heated exchange in the House of Commons natural resources committee with Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs who accused the Liberals of losing out on hundreds of billions in revenue for Canada.
“The biggest issue has been the regulatory delay, regulatory hurdles and opposition to pipelines. Your LNG failures cost Canada $108 billion in government revenue, $500 billion in new investment and 100,000 good paying Canadian jobs while you ceded the global market to Americans and to dictators and hostile regimes with lower environmental and human rights standards,” said Stubbs.
“Will you actually accelerate approvals for LNG projects just like the Deputy Prime Minister claims you guys want to do? And on what date? Will Canada actually export LNG to our free and democratic allies around the world?”
In response, Wilkinson called Stubb’s assessment a “series of statements” and claimed that it was the Harper government that “gutted the environmental assessment process” and lost a “social licence” from the public to be trustworthy on developing natural gas projects.
“I would say that one of the challenges we had in this country was the gutting of the environmental assessment processes by the Harper government, which ruined the ability to actually achieve social licence because nobody trusted that environmental issues were being addressed,” said Wilkinson.
Wilkinson’s comments come at a time when Canada’s window of opportunity to supply Europe with LNG is quickly closing.
European LNG imports skyrocketed by 63% last year as the continent moved to alleviate its dependence on Russian energy and Canada is missing out big time, according to industry experts.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has quashed any hopes that Canada could become a major LNG supplier across the Atlantic.
During a diplomatic visit to Canada by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in December, Trudeau told the media that there lacked a “worthwhile business case” to export gas to our European allies.
A recent poll by Nanos found that a vast majority of Canadians support expanding the country’s oil and gas sector.
The survey found that 74% of Canadians saw the industry as being critical to the country’s economy and another 64% believed that oil and gas exports need to increase.