Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the federal government has owned one-third of the Norman Wells oilfield since 1921. Since 1998, the federal government has collected approximately $1.069 billion in profits from Sahtu oil and $174 million in royalties. Imperial Oil profits are twice as much, Mr. Speaker. The federal government also collects taxes on this revenue.
Mr. Speaker, at the same time, the Sahtu region has the second highest percentage of households in core need. People are leaving their homes or people are not getting homes because they can’t find jobs or the cost of living is too high. I can’t imagine what life would be like in my region if those billions of dollars were not being sucked away; or, as we put it, we got the raw deal.
Mr. Speaker, a 1985 document called the NWT Oil and Gas Royalty Regime was tabled in the Legislative Assembly when the Norman Wells oilfield started to be developed. That documented stated: “if the GNWT may be soon receiving, collecting and even setting royalties...” I’d like to know the definition of “soon,” Mr. Speaker. Twice, Mr. Speaker, 25 years later, Mr. Speaker, we have no royalty regime, no revenue-sharing agreements, while the gas flows to Zama, Alberta. Really, the pipeline flows into the pockets of oil tycoons and coffers in Ottawa.
Mr. Speaker, 25 years later this government is preparing a response to recommendations of a report on another major oil and gas development, a
development that makes the Norman Wells oilfield look tiny in comparison. Yes, we are negotiating impact agreements; yes, we have signed a socioeconomic agreement, but the benefits of the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline will be peanuts in comparison to the profits that are made by southern companies and the federal government.
The Minister has already said that the GNWT will not be negotiating an equity share. We are not making any visual progress on devolution. Mr. Speaker, once again the people of the Sahtu may be watching more profits and more opportunities go by. That’s $1.6 billion collected by the federal government since 1998 that could have been ours had the federal government been more assertive in negotiating a fair deal when the gas started to flow in 1998. If I had $125 million I would be the federal government walking away from the profits made from the oil in the Sahtu in a single year.