March 19, 1979

LIB

Alastair William Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources; Minister of State for Science and Technology)

Liberal

Mr. Gillespie:

They would destroy the one significant policy instrument. I believe that Petro-Canada has a very important role to play from the point of view of importing foreign crude, whether it be Venezuelan, Mexican, or perhaps in the not too distant future, Norwegian. Petro-Canada has also been involved in discussions with Statoil, which is the Norwegian national oil company. This makes sense because Norway is a producing nation with a national oil company and is also a NATO ally of ours. My colleague, the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Danson) has discussed this aspect, this dimension of security with the Norwegians.

I believe that a Canadian national oil company working with the Norwegian oil company can help to develop and preserve Canadian energy security. I believe that there are a number of other opportunities where the Canadian national oil company can become effective as an importer of crude for Canadian refiners in providing Canadian energy security. However, I do not believe that the particular amendment which has been placed on the table by the New Democratic Party will advance this particular important dimension of Petro-Canada, for the reasons which I have already stated.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

Mr. Speaker, the minister indicated his willingness to answer questions before he concluded his speech. 1 want to ask him about his statement that Petro-Canada has the power to do the things which have been proposed in the amendment put forward by my colleague, the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie. That proposal calls for Petro-Canada to be the sole importer of oil. In view of the fact that the national petroleum corporation act under which Petro-Canada was set up gives Petro-Canada the power to be an importer of oil but not the sole importer of oil, what is the basis for the minister's contention that the power to make Petro-Canada the sole importer of oil already exists on the statute books of this country?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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LIB

Alastair William Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources; Minister of State for Science and Technology)

Liberal

Mr. Gillespie:

Mr. Speaker, the legislation creating Petro-Canada gives it the right, as the hon. member has said, to import foreign crude into Canada. I am not sure if we are talking about the same act, but the hon. member nods and I gather that he was referring to the same one. If the hon. member would read that act he would see that the powers are there to import foreign crude into Canada. I believe that those

Energy Supplies

powers may increasingly be used. It will depend a great deal on the international situation and the degree to which the refiners in Canada establish a direct buying relationship with western hemisphere crude sources.

I did make it quite clear in my remarks before the committee that I did not see at the present time that it would be particularly useful to contemplate Petro-Canada-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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NDP

Reginald Cyril Symes

New Democratic Party

Mr. Symes:

Answer the question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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LIB

Alastair William Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources; Minister of State for Science and Technology)

Liberal

Mr. Gillespie:

-negotiating for all the oil-and I made reference to that in my remarks a few moments ago-from, let us say, Middle Eastern sources, because I believe that there is an advantage in being able to pool and therefore to hedge our bets with respect to a very unstable part of the world. I am not sure whether we are on exactly the same point, but I think it is quite clear that Petro-Canada does have substantial powers, that it can be directed by the minister to enter into the importing of crude for use in Canada and by Canadian refineries.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask one more question. The minister has now conceded that Petro-Canada only has the authdrity, under the legislation which set it up, to import oil if the government so decides and, if the legislation which is now before the House passes, if the allocation board so decides. Could the minister tell the House where the authority to make Petro-Canada the sole importer of oil is contained in any legislation, if the minister insists on rejecting this amendment proposed by the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

It isn't; that is the point.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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LIB

Alastair William Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources; Minister of State for Science and Technology)

Liberal

Mr. Gillespie:

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to debate the fine print with the hon. member. Perhaps this involves a legal opinion. I would draw his attention to the fact that under the heading "Objects, Powers and Duties," section 6(c) of the Petro-Canada Act reads as follows:

-(c) to import, produce, transport, distribute, refine and market hydrocarbons of all descriptions;-

I would underline the word "import". Section 7(1), which deals with powers, reads as follows:

The corporation may do such things as it deems expedient for or conducive to the furtherance of the objects of the corporation, within and outside Canada, and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, the corporation may,-

Then I would draw the attention of hon. members specifically to subsection (/):

-(f) enter into any arrangements with any government or authority that seem conducive to the attainment of the objects of the corporation and obtain from any such government or authority any rights, privileges and concessions, and carry out, exercise and comply with any such arrangements, rights, privileges and concessions;-

I think it is clear that there are very substantial powers vested in the corporation, but I would want to seek a legal opinion on whether the fine legal point that the hon. member makes is a valid one.

March 19, 1979

Energy Supplies

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Walter Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, on the last submission of the minister, I think he should indeed seek an opinion. He did not answer the question put by the hon. member. I think the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowi-chan-The Islands (Mr. Douglas) has a point here.

I want to deal with one matter raised by the minister, namely his view that our party is opposed to Petro-Can, which he called "a significant policy instrument in Canadian imports". What is the meaning of the word "significant"? How is this instrument, Petro-Can, more significant than any other instrument available to the Canadian government?

For years and years the Canadian Commercial Corporation has been available to the government for the purpose of acquiring-acquiring supplies of oil, acquiring this, acquiring that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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PC

Donald W. Munro

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):

Take supply and services for instance.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

The Canadian Commercial Corporation has been in existence for years. I would ask hon. members to look at the objects of that corporation and see whether it does not allow it to do things that the government wishes done by Petro-Can. That power has existed for a long time. I would assume that the Canadian Commercial Corporation is a very "significant" corporation with respect to purchases.

In an aside, the hon. member for Esquimalt-Saanich (Mr. Munro) mentioned the action taken by Mr. Goyer when he was minister of supply and services. Without the benefit of a corporation he managed to import a large amount of oil. Of course, he suffered from a congenital inability to distinguish between good oil and bad oil, but that is not the issue. The issue is that he did without the benefit of a corporation like Petro-Can; Petro-Can did not even exist at that time, of course. The point is that the Government of Canada is the ultimate authority, or should be, not some Crown agency.

It occurs to us to wonder why it is necessary to put all the cards on the Petro-Can table when in fact the Government of Canada has the ultimate power. If it is important to Venezuela, if it is important to Mexico, if it is important to other countries in the world to deal on a government to government basis, why not deal on a government to government oil company basis with those countries? If the minister is trying to argue that the government of Venezuela will deal only with Petro-Can, I cannot accept that; I believe the government of Venezuela would be delighted to deal with the Government of Canada.

When the minister says that this is only an instrument but an instrument which we must have or the country suffers, then I say he has strayed far from the facts. This may be because he lacks the knowledge or sees a little politics in the issue.

There is another matter which I want to deal with very quickly. With or without Petro-Can, in the absence of a system that can lead us to self-sufficiency in this country, can the minister make any guarantees that we will be free from

break-up or interruption of importation? The answer is no. With or without Petro-Can, is the government prepared to say, as I asked in the course of the debate on Petro-Can, that those in this country who depend on imported oil can rely on an appropriate price? The government has not said that. The question was asked recently by the Leader of the Opposition but it was evaded. The minister cannot give that kind of assurance and, if he did, he would be misleading the House.

The situation is the same whether we are dealing with or without Petro-Can. From what I have heard in this House from the minister and others, competition for supply governs price. Who in this House, including the minister, is prepared to say that there will be a certain price or a certain supply with or without Petro-Can? Certainly not the minister; he knows that much.

It is important that we understand and that the minister understand that Petro-Can certainly can be an instrument to import, but to put it ahead, in terms of its resources, of the Government of Canada, to put it ahead of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, or to put it ahead of the minister, is, I suggest, stretching credibility to the utmost.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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LIB

Alastair William Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources; Minister of State for Science and Technology)

Liberal

Mr. Gillespie:

Are you dealing with the amendment?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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LIB

Barnett Jerome Danson (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Danson:

This is the worst House leader we have ever had.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

As the minister knows, last Friday we were prepared to have this matter completed but the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. McRae) got into the act and extended the debate, much to the chagrin of the minister. I ask the minister to examine the course of the debate in order to ensure that he does not mislead himself, and therefore mislead the House, on the number of speakers. I think it is important that the House and the country know that this bill was held up in committee for two full days.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


[ Translation]


SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED

LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 40, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway (Mrs. Holt)-Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission- Representation on commission; the hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Ritchie)-Official Languages-Alleged improper designation of "bilingual"; the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Rae)-Health and Welfare-Funding of medical care program.

March 19, 1979

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED
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PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS

LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

It being five o'clock, the Elouse will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper, namely, notices of motions and public bills.

Shall notice of motion No. 7 stand?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
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March 19, 1979