Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks at the podium, flanked by South Shore-St. Margarets MP Rick Perkins and Foothills MP John Barlow during an announcement in Cranbrook on April 27. Trevor Crawley photo ( Cranbrook Daily Townsman)
Nicholas L. M. Allen
May 3, 2023
Conservatives look towards continued growth, not only in coal, but in Canada’s oil and gas industry along with agriculture, forestry and mining.
On April 24, Foothills MP John Barlow joined Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison and Rick Perkins, MP for South Shore-St. Margarets and opposition critic for innovation, science and industry to speak about how the Conservative party opposes the attempted takeover of Teck by Glencore.
All three of the MPs spoke out against the proposed purchase, with Barlow identifying the importance of the resources Teck produces in an interview on April 28.
“We want to protect what is a critical Canadian commodity, which is metallurgical coal, copper and zinc. These are important minerals to Canada’s future, not only in steel making, but electric batteries. All the things that we know are important to Canada’s economy,” said Barlow.
Barlow said his party wants to ensure these commodities are controlled by a Canadian company, “not a company like Glencore” which he said has poor environmental reputation along with questionable business practices, including ties to China. Their history involves accusations of child labour in their cobalt mines and dealings with rogue states such as apartheid South Africa, Iran and Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
“We want to ensure we have a company that is committed to Canada’s environmental standards when it comes to coal mines,” added Barlow.
Barlow added they also want a company committed to community, something they already know that Teck has in both B.C. and Alberta.
“[In the Crowsnest Pass] one third of the residents are employed by Teck. They are strong community sponsors to community initiatives, and I know that’s true not only in Alberta, but across the border into B.C. as well,” said Barlow, “These are Canadian jobs, and we want a Canadian company that we know is committed to Canada.”
Barlow explained how a Glencore takeover would mean the closure of the head office in Vancouver and the loss of “at least 5000” jobs and potentially more, including employees living in the Crowsnest Pass.
“When you have a community like the Pass that relies so heavily on an industry like that, it would have been devastating for the communities within Crowsnest Pass to lose such a strong employer, but also such a strong community supporter,” said Barlow.
According to Barlow, metallurgical coal is vitally important, so the Conservatives support natural resource industry and development. and the natural resource industry. He added that his party wants to see continued growth, not only in coal, but Canada’s oil and gas industry along with agriculture, forestry and mining.
“We know that these are not only important to Canada’s economy, but certainly to rural communities. Many of these projects are in rural and First Nation communities and we want to partner with First Nations and rural communities to ensure that they have the opportunity to grow,” said Barlow.
Canada is a resource country, added Barlow. He said Canadians should be proud of having the highest environmental standards in the world.
“We have to look at copper, lithium, coal, even agriculture, certainly oil and gas, LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) as strategic commodities,”
He talked about the Liberal government’s lack of support to Germany and Japan, “two of our most important allies and two of the strongest economies on the planet” came to Canada asking for LNG in a bid to cut ties with Russia.
“The Prime Minister turned his back on two of our most important allies, saying, there’s no business case for sending LNG to Germany and Japan. That is unacceptable. I was embarrassed of our Prime Minister and instead they go to Qatar to get their natural gas,” said Barlow.
He raised concerns that, instead of coming to Canada, they are now buying resources from a country with less strict standards.
“Do you think Qatar has the same employment, the same human rights and the same environmental standards that Canada has when it comes to our resources? Absolutely not,” said Barlow.
Barlow said he sees this potentially increasing emissions and fueling environmental issues around the world. Conservatives want the liberal government to send a clear message to Glencore that its proposed takeover would not be approved, explained Barlow.
“Because it’s over $1.2 billion, the value of the takeover, it would have to go through a national security review as well as a review of best interest,” said Barlow.
“Is this take over in the best interest of Canada? Clearly, it’s not.”