That the House call on the government to stop raising the price of gas by clearing the way for pipelines and eliminating the carbon tax on fuel.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for .
If there were an energy paradise in the eyes of the Liberal , it would be Vancouver. There gas prices are higher than at any time anywhere in North America.
Recently the Prime Minister visited Vancouver, and a reporter asked about the then $1.69-a-litre price. He said that this “is exactly what we want”. He was thrilled to see high gas prices, because he believes that high gas prices are the only way we can save our environment.
Of course, he inherited a massive family fortune. He is a multi-millionaire. He drives around in a taxpayer-funded limousine, as he did for most of his childhood. He has no worries whatsoever about paying bills. Because he has never had to worry about money, he does not worry about Canadians' money. As such, he has admiration for high gas prices in British Columbia in general and in Vancouver in particular.
The 's admiration for B.C.'s high gas prices is not new. It did not manifest itself only in that famous “exactly what we want” comment. Rather, it is the basis of his entire carbon tax program.
As the was beginning to roll out his plan to hike taxes on gas and other energy sources, he consistently pointed to British Columbia as the ideal model to replicate. He wants to do across Canada what the carbon-tax government has done in that province. That province has its own carbon tax regime, one the supports and one that he requires through a new federal law that mandates that provinces institute their own tax on gas and other fuels. The only difference between B.C.'s carbon tax and the one the Prime Minister is imposing in Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba is that B.C.'s is a little further along. The tax rate in B.C. is about $40 per tonne of carbon dioxide, whereas the Prime Minister's carbon tax this year starts at only $20.
Right now we can look to British Columbia to see the Liberal future. The has admitted that he plans to raise Canada's national carbon tax by 250% if re-elected. That is just by 2022. In the year 2023, which is not far off from now, it could go much higher than that. Internal government documents show that it could go as high as $300 a tonne, which would be more than 10 times higher than it is right now.
I say all of this as background, because British Columbia's tax rate is in line with where the wants to take the other provinces on which he has imposed the carbon tax in the next several years.
What has that meant? British Columbia now pays $1.79 a litre for gasoline. According to the records, this is the highest price per litre of gasoline ever recorded anywhere in North America. That is exactly what the wants.
We see this reflected right across the country. Carbon taxes have raised prices already in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick and elsewhere. These higher gas prices are only the beginning. The has made it clear that they will have to go up, up and away. Canadians will be paying the same $1.79 a litre right across Canada that British Columbia is experiencing right now.
That sounded wonderful to the in theory, but now, in practice, we see what it means. Single mothers who cannot afford to get to their jobs are going to struggle to feed their children. Seniors on fixed incomes who have to drive to get groceries are struggling to make ends meet. Small businesses, which enjoy no rebate of any kind for the carbon tax they pay, have no choice but to cut the wages or jobs of their workers. I had two of them in my office a couple of weeks ago. They lay foundations for homes. They said very clearly that they cannot pass the carbon tax cost along to their customers, because people cannot afford to pay more. Housing prices are too high already. These two gentlemen do not know what they are going to do. Right now, these two very middle-class guys are paying a heck of a lot more for a tax the has imposed here in Ontario.
Back to the British Columbian example, the claims that his tax will make Canadians better off, that somehow they will get more from paying the tax than it will cost them in the first place. He wants us to believe that if we give him our wallets, he will put more money back into it than we had before. When we ask where this has ever been done, he says, “In British Columbia”. That is where the whole idea of the so-called revenue-neutral carbon tax was first invented. Now we know that this was a fraud. Subsequent studies have shown that British Columbians are now paying more in carbon taxes in B.C. than they are getting back in any other form of compensating rebate or tax relief. In fact, of all the jurisdictions that have introduced their own carbon tax in Canada, in all those cases, the government has won and the taxpayers have lost. That is true not only in British Columbia but in Alberta, formerly in Ontario, under the previous Wynne government, in Quebec and in any Atlantic province that has its own tax. In every single case, the government is taking more and the taxpayer is keeping less. These are not opinions; these are mathematical facts. The reason is that politicians are with money the way bears are with honey. Once they get their hands on it, they just cannot stop.
The 's strategy is a good one. It is a good electoral strategy. He gives us a small cheque before the election and a massive bill after the election. He gives a few hundred dollars in enticements before people vote and many thousands of dollars in costs after they vote. We know this because the is running out of money. He has a $20-billion deficit. The cost of government has risen by 25% in just over three years. There is no way he can keep paying the bills without collecting more taxes. Therefore, he will raise taxes. He will ensure that he collects more than taxpayers keep. However, he will do it after the election, when he no longer needs voters but still needs their money.
Another way he is costing British Columbians is by having blocked pipelines. Most of the gasoline British Columbians use comes through the Trans Mountain pipeline, which was supposed to triple in capacity but for his bungling and obfuscation.
We will clear the way for pipelines. We will axe the carbon tax to make life more affordable, not just for British Columbians but for all Canadians, so that people not only get by but get ahead.
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise this morning to call on the government to stop raising the price of gasoline by clearing the way for pipelines and eliminating the carbon tax on fuel.
The Liberal government has entirely missed the boat when it comes to fighting climate change. It talks a good game. It gloats about its environmental plan, but in truth, this is not an environmental plan; it is a tax plan. It is a punitive tax plan that is increasing the cost of living for every single Canadian, including driving already skyrocketing gas prices even higher.
It is a pointless tax. It is not changing Canadian habits and it will not impact climate change one bit. It is an unfair tax plan that targets rural Canadians disproportionately. Rural Canadians have no other choice but to use their vehicles to drive their kids to after-school programs, to go grocery shopping and to get to work so they can pay for increased heating and fuel costs while the big polluters get exemptions.
I will share a quick story from my own riding. It is a very rural riding, so we have a couple of options. When there is no natural gas, people will usually use propane or oil. If they are being forced, through the carbon tax, to pay increased costs for that and go to electricity, for those who have enough money to change over their furnaces and boilers into electric baseboard heating, here in Ontario we have some of the highest electricity rates anywhere in North America, thanks to the failed policies of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne. Either way, taxpayers in rural Canada are being punished because of these bad Liberal policies.
Instead of going after the big polluters, the has made rural Canadians his foil. Over the last two years, Conservatives have asked the government dozens of times how much it will cost a middle-class family in new taxes, and each time the Liberals have refused to tell Canadians. We are now getting the picture of this, and Canadians simply cannot afford it.
Several provinces have recognized the Liberals' tax scheme for what it was and prepared their own locally developed environmental plans, only to have the impose his tax anyway. Prince Edward Island had a plan. In fact, it demonstrated that its carbon emissions had already dropped by 14%, which is better than half of the Canadian provinces. The Prime Minister rejected that plan and imposed the tax anyway. Why? It is because P.E.I. said that it would meet its emissions reduction targets without a carbon tax.
The government cannot possibly start having rogue provinces showing it how to actually reduce carbon emissions without taxing Canadians to death. That does not meet with the 's narrative. The idea that the carbon tax is revenue-neutral is laughable. Everyone knows what is going to happen when the Liberal government starts seeing new tax dollars coming in: The temptation to spend them on another pet project is just going to be too hard to resist.
The B.C. Liberal government, which brought in a provincial carbon tax in 2008, promised that every dollar raised would be returned to the people of B.C. in the form of lower taxes. For a short time, it appeared that it would be just so. However, former Liberal premier Christy Clark could not resist all that B.C. taxpayer largesse. The B.C. Liberal government began spending the money on, among other things, tax goodies to encourage filmmakers, filmmakers who, I am sure, fly in electric jets as they criss-cross the continent.
The current New Democrat premier, John Horgan, quashed the whole idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax from the get-go, treating it as another source of government revenue to be spent on whatever priorities the government of the day deems necessary.
In Alberta, former NDP premier Rachel Notley promised revenue neutrality, but never delivered it. At least here in Ontario, former premier Kathleen Wynne never made any pretense of returning the tax and was rewarded by being fired by Ontarians for wasting billions of taxpayers' dollars and refusing to come clean with the cost of an unrealistic energy plan and a poorly considered carbon tax scheme.
Make no mistake, Madam Speaker, this carbon tax ruse will raise the price of everything for Canadians. The Canadian Transportation Agency just raised the Prairie grain freight cost index, which represents hikes of 1.82% for CN and 3.7% for CP. The changes stem mainly from increases “in the fuel and material components”. Specifically, the CTA forecasts fuel price increases of 2.25% for CN and 2.79% for CP, taking into account increases in “fuel-related taxes”. I am sure the CTA made a mistake and actually meant to say, “fuel-related prices on pollution.” This increase in costs will be transferred to consumers on food, manufactured goods, fuel and anything transported by rail in this country. The cost of food at the local food truck is going up.
New Brunswick's Bangkok Food Truck manager, Adam O'Brien, says the federal carbon tax is already affecting the company's bottom line, and the burden of higher fuel prices and food costs will be passed on to consumers. O'Brien said it is unfortunate that customers will bear the brunt of higher food and fuel costs, but someone has to eat, no pun intended, that extra cost. “We don't want to raise the prices,” he said. “We don't want to do that, but unfortunately, dollars and cents, we have to make a profit, so we can keep our staff employed.” O'Brien expects each plate of food to increase by between $1 and $1.50. This is happening to chip trucks all across the country.
In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the 's carbon tax is being felt in education budgets. In its recent budget deliberations, the Greater Saskatoon Catholic school board is estimating a $200,000 hit to its budget because of the carbon tax. Saskatchewan's education minister said that the province had to introduce $14.5 million in inflationary funding for school divisions for this exact reason. Once again, taxpayers are on the hook to ensure that their kids can get to school and that they will be warm once they get there.
Despite B.C. having the highest carbon tax in Canada, emissions have continued to rise in British Columbia. As a result, British Columbians now pay more for gas than anyone else in North America. B.C.'s carbon tax is not helping the environment, either; it is just costing people more to get to work and to take their kids to hockey and soccer practice. At least they have the fitness tax credit to ease this; oh wait, the Liberals cancelled that too.
With gas breaching $1.70 per litre, it is not hitting just the wallets of average Canadians, but local government fleets of vehicles as well. Engineering, sanitation and parks departments, ambulances, fire trucks and police cars are costing cities and towns more money, which means they are costing taxpayers more money. The City of Surrey anticipates that taxpayers could be on the hook for an additional $150,000 to $180,000 to fuel its fleet in 2019, compared to 2018. A Metro spokesperson said that if gas prices stay at $1.68 a litre, taxpayers will contribute about $200,000 more to fuel its fleet in 2019. BC Ferries, which Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands residents depend on for access to hospitals, food and pretty much everything, spent just over $100 million on fuel in fiscal year 2018 and can simply pass along tax increases to its customers via fuel surcharges.
The and his Liberal government have further exacerbated the situation as anxiety continues to mount between Alberta and B.C. over the Trans Mountain pipeline. Alberta's premier, Jason Kenney, proclaimed legislation that would allow his province to turn off the taps on gas shipments to British Columbia. Alberta supplies as much as 80% of B.C.'s domestic fuel needs. Demand for fuel is high in British Columbia, and supply is limited because of the region's limited pipeline and refining capacity, issues that could be resolved by building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and yet the continues to delay any announcement on exactly when shovels will finally get in the ground on a pipeline approved years ago.
The B.C. NDP has stated that high gas prices can be resolved by having more refining capacity to meet demand. I am not sure who would actually invest billions of dollars to build refineries in B.C. when its government will not allow crude oil to be transported through its province. This sounds like the perfect investment for the current Liberal government. The truth is that none of this would be an issue today if the Trans Mountain pipeline were being built by the private sector. Private sector investment for refineries would be there and not fleeing to the United States, if it were not for the current Liberal government. Canadian taxpayers would not own a $5 billion-plus pipeline to nowhere.
If the government would simply recognize, as province after province in this country has recognized, that its carbon tax is a tax and not a plan, it could provide real relief to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Conservative opposition for giving me and other members the opportunity to highlight the two different approaches that are before Canadians, between the Liberal government and the Conservative opposition.
There are two different opportunities for the future. One is from the opposition where the government would take a step back, leaving Canadians without a real plan to deal with climate change or the rising cost of living. The second opportunity is where the government would take a step up, becoming a leader in both supporting affordability for the middle class and protecting our environment.
As members have heard today and in the last couple of months, Conservatives want to make pollution free again and make life less affordable for Canadians. They want to take money away from their constituents. However, we are fighting climate change and making life more affordable for Canadians.
I want to be clear that affordability is at the forefront of everything that our government does and has done, from the middle-class tax cut to the Canada child benefit, to the CPP expansion and new benefits for seniors and working Canadians. Our focus is always on creating more jobs and helping Canadians save and spend on the things they care about.
The motion put forward today shows us that the opposition does not care about our environment and has no plan to confront the very real dangers that climate change poses to Canadians' future, nor do they want to show any attention to middle-class Canadians, just like they failed to do during the decade they were in power. Instead, they want to block the plan that our government has put together, which is a plan that will protect Canadians, our economy and future generations.
Where the opposition's motion is blind to the effects of climate change, we are not, and Canadians definitely are not, because they see these effects every day. They see them when extreme weather events threaten their safety or their family's safety and when their business or livelihoods are at stake. We just have to look at what happened this past week in Ontario and Quebec where flooding has forced people from their homes and businesses.
Canadians are already paying the high price of pollution in structural repairs, lower property values and insurance premiums, not to mention the cost in emergency services. In fact, climate change is expected to cost Canada's economy $5 billion every year by 2020. We do not think that Canadians should be faced with these costs. However, we cannot wait. It has been over a year since the party opposite promised a climate plan, which they still have not delivered, yet it is now that we need action.
Our plan to put a price on pollution and give the money back to Canadians is based on scientific consensus and the advice of Nobel Prize-winning economists. It is based on an agreement with our international partners and years of co-operation in building the foundations for an effective and coordinated global approach to stopping climate change before it is too late.
There is consensus that carbon pollution pricing is the most effective and economically efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change. It is why many provinces and territories have already implemented or are on track to implement a carbon pollution pricing system. However, in communities that do not have a system that meets the federal standard, we are not turning our backs on those Canadians. We are discouraging pollution in the place they call home and reinvesting all the money collected back into their province. Canadians can then use this money to make cleaner and more environmentally sustainable spending choices.
As we have been saying from the very beginning, this is not just the right thing to do for our future, but it is the right thing to do for our economy. Our plan is not just the right thing for the future for the environment, but as was so eloquently mentioned by my NDP colleague from British Columbia, in the provinces that have had a price on pollution for some time now—in the case of B.C. since 2008 and Quebec since 2013—those economies have been growing steadily. Life has not been made less affordable because of it. Under the federal backstop, I would argue it makes life even more affordable for 80% of Canadians, as the PBO has reported, and it also helps to fight climate change.
Putting a price on carbon pollution signals to big business that it is time to innovate. It is time to invest in clean technologies and long-term growth opportunities that will pay off. As more and more countries realize that climate change is real, man-made and is happening now, we want them to turn to Canada to find the tools, the talent and the ideas they need to transform their own economies.
Already the global market for low-carbon goods and services is estimated to be worth $5.8 trillion. That is a lot of potential for Canada, but only if we can help businesses to make the smart investments now. For Canadians, we are taking the same approach. We are giving every dollar collected through the price on pollution back to Canadians, encouraging them to use that money to make more sustainable purchases.
Middle-class Canadians will get more money back through the climate action incentive rebate each year than they would ever have to pay. This is something that the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed in his latest report, as I have mentioned.
Rather than telling Canadians how to spend their money to reduce emissions, the carbon price allows them to make those decisions in a manner than best suits their needs. That will lead to more demand for sustainable alternatives, turning into even more profits and incentives for companies and entrepreneurs developing new ways to produce goods or provide services at reduced emissions. Helping Canadian businesses stay competitive has always been in mind when we designed our plan to fight climate change.
It is why in provinces that do not have their own plan for reducing carbon pollution, we are giving a portion of the funds raised to businesses. That is on top of the steps we have already taken to reduce the small business tax rate and help businesses of all sizes write off capital investments faster.
When we took office, it was our firm intention to help hard-working Canadians tap the benefits of a strong and growing economy. That is exactly what we have done. For a decade, this country's prosperity was not inclusive, but now it is.
We asked the wealthiest 1% of Canadians to pay a little more so that we could give the middle class a tax break. That tax break is helping over nine million Canadians.
We created the Canada child benefit. This summer, it will be indexed two years ahead of schedule, as it was last summer. Compared to the previous child benefit, this one is simpler and more generous and targets the families that need it most. Unlike the former child benefit, this new benefit is tax-free.
With the Canada child benefit, nine out of 10 Canadian families are getting more in benefits than they did under the previous system, and Canadian children are better off as a result. The Canada child benefit has helped lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. A few weeks ago, Statistics Canada reported that, under our watch, overall poverty in this country has been reduced by 20%, and child poverty is down nearly 40%. All Canadians should be proud of that. It certainly would not have happened if the Stephen Harper government were still in power in this country. Reducing inequality was not particularly high on its list of priorities.
The additional support provided by the Canada child benefit is making a big difference for those working hard to make ends meet. This additional support helps pay for the things that can make a real difference in a child's future, like nutritious food, sports activities or lessons.
Yesterday we announced that we are increasing the Canada child benefit for the second time as of July 20, putting more money in the pockets of middle-class families.
Thanks to the tax cut and the Canada child benefit, a typical family of four receives, on average, around $2,000 more a year, according to the OECD. That money helps families provide for their children, save for the future, and grow our economy, which benefits everyone. These two measures help families across the country. A couple with two children and two incomes—one an average salary and the other two thirds of that salary—now gets to keep nearly 85% of their gross income. For a single mother or father earning an average income with two kids, or for families with two children where only one parent earns an average income, the benefits are even greater. These families pay an effective tax rate lower than 2%. That is how it should be. In other words, these families get to keep 98% of what they earn.
For Canadians working hard to join the middle class, we also replaced the working income tax benefit with the Canada worker benefit, which is more generous. The Canada worker benefit puts more money in the pockets of low-income workers by encouraging more people to enter the workforce and stay there, since it provides real help to more than two million workers across the country.
In addition to being more generous, the Canada worker benefit will be more accessible than the program it replaces, since the Canada Revenue Agency will be able to calculate the Canada worker benefit for anyone who did not apply for it in their tax return. Canadians will start receiving improved benefits under the new Canada worker benefit in early 2020, when they file their 2019 tax return.
That is what we have done for Canadians just through the tax system. We have also done much more to help Canadians keep more money in their pockets and especially to reduce inequality across the country, with the results we have seen.
We know, for example, that buying a house or a condo is probably the most important investment that most Canadians will make in their lifetime. Aside from the fiscal plan that we have put forward, this is where we have come a long way in helping Canadians who need it most. Unfortunately, for too many hard-working Canadians, especially young people, the current market makes them feel like home ownership is beyond their reach, especially in larger cities.
To help, budget 2019 builds on our national housing strategy with new actions to improve housing affordability, especially for first-time homebuyers. To start, we are creating the first-time homebuyer incentive to give first-time homebuyers greater flexibility, both in purchasing a home and in managing its ongoing costs. It would allow eligible first-time homebuyers to finance a portion of their home through a shared equity mortgage with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC. With a shared equity mortgage, first-time homebuyers would save money every month, leaving them with more money to pay down their traditional mortgage sooner or to spend on other priorities. All told, the first-time homebuyer incentive will help make the dream of owning a home a reality for many more Canadians and make the overall experience easier on the pocketbook.
Budget 2019 also plans to provide first-time homebuyers with greater access to their RRSP savings to buy a home, raising the withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, all while increasing housing supply by making significant investments in building and repairing homes across the country.
Our efforts to help Canadians with the cost of living do not stop there. As with housing, we know that the price of electricity is leaving less and less money in people's pockets. We see rates rising, outpacing salary increases, making it more and more difficult for many to make ends meet.
Our government believes that more needs to be done and can be done to make sure that hard-working families can afford their monthly electricity bills. That is why budget 2019 proposes to invest $1 billion to increase energy efficiency in residential, commercial and multi-unit buildings. This support would go a long way to making Canada's homes and buildings more energy efficient, which will help reduce Canadians' electricity bills, whether they are homeowners, renters or building operators. It is the sort of investment that pays dividends today and for the long term. Like carbon pollution pricing, these measures are the right thing to do for Canadians and for our economy. Even when you do not take into account all the benefits of a greener Canada, like healthier communities, better technology and protected wildlife, the economic benefits are expected to be significant.
The opposition would prefer to ignore the pollution problem and hope that it goes away. Canadians know where that approach leads, and they know that we do not have a choice at this point. We cannot ignore the problem anymore. We can pretend that pollution is free and climate change poses no threat to our health, our communities and our economy. However, we must face the problem in a way that not only creates a positive impact, but also creates jobs and grows the economy.
During the last election, Canadians chose between the Conservative plan for austerity and cuts, and the NDP's plan which would hurt business growth. Our government came with a plan that can invest in the middle class, create jobs and build an economy that works for everyone. The results are quite telling. With a strong and growing economy, middle-class Canadians are seeing first-hand that our plan is working. Canadians have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, pushing unemployment to 40-year lows and giving Canada one of the strongest records of economic growth in the G7.
Middle- and low-income Canadians have significantly more support. As I have mentioned, according to the OECD, a typical family of four is $2,000 better off today than they were four years ago under Stephen Harper's Conservatives. There are 825,000 Canadians who have been lifted out of poverty by things like the Canada child benefit. That is a 20% reduction in poverty in Canada in a short three and a half years. Nearly 900,000 low-income seniors have received more from the guaranteed income supplement. One of the first things we did when we took power was to increase by 10% the guaranteed income supplement for low-income and vulnerable seniors. More than two million working Canadians will benefit from the new Canada workers benefit.
During their mandate for the country, the Harper Conservatives ignored the needs of the middle class, and failed to fight inequalities, failed to fight climate change.
Today, more Canadians are working, families have more money in their pockets, and we are doing our part to fight climate change and protect the environment, so I call on all members in today's debate to join Canadians, make the right choice and reject today's motion.
Madam Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my distinguished colleague, the member for .
I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to the official opposition motion. It saddens me that the Conservative Party has this tendency to try to politicize the debate and play partisan games with an issue as important as our collective ability to take responsibility and fight climate change and rising global temperatures.
Unfortunately, it looks like the debate may turn into a battle between the Liberal government and the Conservative opposition. They have blinders on that keep them focused on a single issue. They are either for or against pollution pricing, which the Conservative opposition calls a carbon tax and the Liberal government calls putting a price on pollution.
We in the NDP have a much more holistic, comprehensive and broader vision of all the actions that need to be taken to successfully tackle the challenge that our generation and we, as politicians, are now facing.
I think the amount of populist rhetoric and demagoguery surrounding pollution pricing is unfortunate. The NDP thinks pollution pricing is a valid yet inadequate tool, because it is too little, too late.
The Liberal government has dragged its feet for the past three and a half years and has an utterly pitiful record. Now the debate is turning into a clash between the two main political parties, exclusively centred on pollution pricing, taxes, costs and so on, even though there are many other things that could and should be done. The progressive and environmentally conscious NDP is going to expand the debate. We are going to open up new horizons and examine the full suite of measures that must be taken to effect real change.
Putting a price on pollution is obviously a good idea. Pollution should never be free, but will this measure be enough to help us meet our national emissions reduction targets? The answer is obviously no, it is not enough. The clock is ticking and we must act now. We are missing our targets. We are betraying our children and grandchildren, leaving them a planet that will be much warmer. A warmer planet has serious consequences on ecosystems and also experiences more natural disasters. I will talk more about this later.
This Liberal government's failures are overwhelming. The Liberals are great at breaking out the violins and delivering beautiful, teary-eyed speeches about future generations and our responsibility to the future of the planet and life on Earth, but then they turn around and do the complete opposite, making things worse and setting us back. This Liberal government is missing the Conservatives' greenhouse gas reduction targets. It's unbelievable.
With each passing year, we are falling further and further behind. In December 2017, Environment Canada said that we were going to miss our 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets by 66 megatonnes. In December 2018, the same department confirmed that we are going to miss those targets by 79 megatonnes. In other words, this Liberal government is not even capable of meeting the Harper government's greenhouse gas reduction targets. That is nothing to be proud of or brag about.
That is not even the worst of it. The icing on the cake came when the government bought a pipeline. The Liberals never mentioned during the 2015 election campaign that they were going to use public money to buy a pipeline that was so risky that even private investors did not want it. The Liberals are shifting the risk onto all Canadians in order to increase, to triple even, production of the dirtiest oil in the world.
How are we supposed to reconcile that with speech-making about being responsible, taking care of the planet and meeting our Paris commitments to limit global warming to 1.5°C? It is completely hypocritical. The Liberals are literally saying one thing and doing the opposite.
The NDP does not accept that. We will keep reminding the government about it in the months leading up to the next election. We paid $4.5 billion to buy a 65-year-old leaky pipeline, and we will put another $9.7 billion into its expansion; these are huge sums of money. Despite the opposition of British Columbia, indigenous communities, environmentalists and community groups, they want to force the pipeline down people's throats. About $15 billion in taxpayers' money, our money, will be invested in yesterday's energy, which is not going to stand the test of time. Even from an economic and financial point of view, it is a bad investment. Massive investments are being made in renewable energy by countries around the world, whether it is the United States, in spite of Trump, China or Europe. We are behind the times. We should be investing this $15 billion in good jobs for Canadians. We should be able to harness geothermal energy, tidal power, wind power and solar power. Instead the government used taxpayers' money to buy a pipeline. It was not even debated for one minute in Parliament and the House. The Minister of Finance issued an order in council, spent $4.5 billion and that was that, no problem.
When global demand for oil plummets, which is inevitable given the massive investments the rest of the world is making in renewable energy, investors will not be interested in the oil that costs the most to produce. That is what the Liberal government did with the Trans Mountain pipeline. In 20, 25 or 30 years, investors will stop buying oil because it will be too expensive. Saudi Arabian and Venezuelan oil will be much cheaper for those who still want to use this energy source.
We have a responsibility. That is what our children are telling us. Young people have taken an extraordinary stand. Unfortunately, the Liberal government is not listening to them. It is doing the opposite of what our children and grandchildren are asking it to do.
In March, the whole world took a stand. Millions of people in hundreds of cities around the world participated in a march to call for an emergency plan to deal with climate change. As a member from Montreal, I am proud to say that the biggest demonstration took place in Montreal, where 150,000 people took to the streets. High school, CEGEP and university students marched to tell us that we are not doing enough and that they are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences. Meanwhile, the Liberal government has been all talk. Its track record is an absolute disaster. Greenhouse gas emissions have increased every year since the Liberal government took office. The Liberals took three and a half years to put a price on pollution and then used taxpayers' money to buy a pipeline.
Urgent action is needed. The IPCC report has told us so. We have maybe 11 and a half or 12 years to rethink our economy and the way we consume energy, the way we produce goods, the way we use the things we buy, the way we travel and the way we build and heat our homes.
That is why the NDP will have a big-picture vision for all actionable sectors. We need to invest in renewable energy, public transit and transportation electrification for zero-emission vehicles, rethink our buildings and create sustainable buildings that are made of reusable construction materials and will have a long useful life.
We need to act on that big-picture vision, a comprehensive vision that will enable us to overcome this challenge. Unfortunately, neither the Liberal government nor the Conservative official opposition has a concrete, achievable plan that will meet the challenges of global climate change.
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in the House of Commons.
For Canadians who do not understand how the process works, we allow opposition parties to propose a few motions per year. The motion from the Conservatives today asks the government “to stop raising the price of gas by clearing the way for pipelines and eliminating the carbon tax on fuel.” This is weak sauce, as we say in politics, simply because while the Conservatives claim to Canadians that they understand how the oil and gas industry works and how the price at the pump works, they put forward motions like this that clearly show their unwillingness to think about the issue fully.
I will give members one example. In 2006, the NDP, then in opposition, asked the then Conservative government to establish a gas ombudsman, someone who would look at the price of gas at gas stations across the country. We have all had the experience that just prior to a long weekend or a significant date, suddenly the price at the gas pump accelerates dramatically. We told the then Conservative government to be consumer friendly and look at how the agencies were sometimes colluding and at how the stop in production at various times throughout the year caused prices to spike, which was fortuitous for the gas companies but a great disadvantage for working-class Canadians.
During their 10 years in office, the Conservatives were not preoccupied or at all concerned about the price at the pump. Now they see a political opportunity to bash away at the current government, which has lost a great deal of credibility as climate champions. I do not think anyone believes the anymore, even if he puts his hand on his heart, that the Liberals truly believe in fighting climate change, because actions speak much louder than words.
It is important to start where the Conservatives and the Liberals have common ground on this issue, because there is actually more common ground than I think Canadians realize.
The Conservatives and the Liberals both believe in Stephen Harper's climate targets. The Conservatives brought them in, and the Liberals are maintaining them as the targets for Canada through the Paris Agreement. As the Auditor General and the commissioner of the environment have pointed out, the Liberals are failing to meet even the Stephen Harper climate targets. In fact, just last year, our carbon footprint went up by 12 million tonnes under the government.
The Liberals keep claiming that they are fighting climate change and are doing all these great things, but the evidence shows that not only is the curve not bending down, it is continuing to turn up. Liberals say do not worry, we will get there.
Another point of agreement is oil and gas subsidies. As members know, again according to the Auditor General's reports, we give the oil and gas industry about $1 billion to $2 billion, depending on the year, in direct subsidies. A lot of Canadians ask why that is. In times of profitability, which is most of the time, this sector makes a lot of money. Why are we subsidizing it?
That is a good question. When Stephen Harper was prime minister, he told the OECD, with hand on heart, that Canada would get rid of them as a country by a particular date. He then did nothing about it.
In the last election, the Liberal told Canadians not to vote for the Conservatives, because they do not believe in climate change. He told Canadians that the Liberals did believe in it and would get rid of subsidies to the oil and gas sector. It is three and half years later. We just saw the last federal Liberal budget, and the oil and gas subsidies remain. The Conservatives and the Liberals are in total agreement.
We asked the federal government, given how much it is spending on subsidizing the oil and gas sector, how much it is spending on the so-called alternatives, which are increasingly cost-efficient, such as wind energy, solar energy, tidal energy and geothermal energy. For three years I have been asking the government for the numbers. What is it spending and encouraging on that side of the ledger? We know what it is spending on oil and gas, but what is it spending on the alternatives. The government will not tell us, and I suspect that the number is not very good.
The last important point for today on which the Liberals and the Conservatives agree is on the expansion of the pipeline sector in Canada for the export of diluted bitumen, particularly with the hope that it will move to Asia.
We export diluted bitumen off the west coast of British Columbia right now. One may think that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was for opening up the Asian market, because we cannot get any oil to the coast. We do get oil to the coast. About 330,000 barrels of oil will go there today. People might think that Asia is grabbing up that oil, thereby increasing the price for all Canadian producers and bringing in more tax. That is not the case. Where does all that oil go?
It goes to the United States. Virtually 95% of the diluted bitumen that hits the west coast goes to the United States. Clearly, expanding that is going to solve, exactly what problem?
Not only are the Liberals and Conservatives in violent agreement on the issue of expanding diluted bitumen exports, which is the lowest, rawest form of oil, the least valued form of oil that we can get for the Canadian economy because it produces the fewest jobs—there is no valued added whatsoever—but the Liberals went out and bought a 65-year-old pipeline for the golden price of $4.5 billion of our money. I love when Liberals say that it is turning a profit, without doing the full accounting of the pipeline. I love that they do not include any of the risk factors that normal business people who do things like accounting normally would.
The Liberals bought a 65-year-old pipeline with the plan to spend another $10 billion to $15 billion. It is such a great pipeline that no one else wanted to buy it. There was not a single oil and gas company anywhere on the planet, not the Americans, Chinese, Brits or the Dutch, that wanted it. It was such a fantastic deal.
Can members imagine wanting to sell their old used car? There is simply no one who wants to buy it except the Canadian government, which says that it got a deal. The beat-up old wreck is one of the best ever, and it is going to keep pouring more money into it.
Imagine that the Liberal government is in the rental movie industry and saying it is going to have better DVDs. Never mind Netflix, it is going to get better signage for its Blockbuster outlets. The Liberals say, “Trust us. This is how it is going to go. We are going to spend your money wisely.”
On all of these things, the Liberals and Conservatives agree. In fact, they have the same targets. They believe in subsidizing the oil and gas sector consistently. They want to increase diluted bitumen to the coast at great cost to our climate. They talk about a carbon price, which is an element of a plan, but it is not a plan in and of itself. We know about this in British Columbia. The B.C. government, back in the Gordon Campbell days, did not just bring in a price on carbon, it brought in a whole bunch of other initiatives.
The Liberals will not tell us how they are going to meet even the Stephen Harper climate targets, because they cannot. They have been in government for three and a half years, and what the Liberals said they were getting elected to fix has become worse by the numbers. There was an increase of 12 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere last year under the so-called climate-fighting government.
When Canadians pull back, they get very concerned. They read the same reports that we all do. There is the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, talking about how, if in 12 years we do not bend the curve dramatically, we are not only headed to 2°C or 2.5°C of warming, but we will go way beyond that tipping point. We know about the effects on the Arctic. We know the effect of melting ice in the north. We know the effects of increasing intensity of forest fires.
Allow me to speak for a moment directly of my constituency, Skeena—Bulkley Valley in northwestern British Columbia. We broke the record for forest fires two years ago. It was unprecedented. We had never seen anything like the intensity of the burns. We had almost every fire region in the province alerted with fire emergencies. The scope of it was something we had never seen before. Then, we broke the record again last year.
We have some very resource-dependent, hard-working, quite conservative communities in my riding. We had forest firefighters who had been in the business for 30 years, not exactly the tree-hugging David Suzuki types, coming to me and saying that these fires were different. They had been fighting these fires for three decades, and they had never before seen the intensity that they were seeing. They said that the normal patterns of the fires were different. The scale and speed and scope of what they were seeing was different, and it is the climate.
Farmers are not understanding how the precipitation works anymore, because we do not get the snowfall we used to get, or the consistent patterns.
We have seen flooding. The City of Ottawa, where Parliament exists, declared a state of climate emergency. We are watching flood patterns change. The 100-year floods, 500-year floods, are happening every two years.
This is exactly what was predicted. The only thing that the global climate scientists were wrong about is that they thought it would not start happening until 2030 or 2040. Here we are, not even in 2020, and it is happening now.
If members want to debate gas prices, that is fine; we can talk about that. Let us talk about companies that gouge Canadians at the pump. If members want to talk about carbon pricing, that is fine; we can talk about that. However, it has to be in a plan that gets us to where we need to go. As we know, Canadians use more energy per capita and produce more greenhouse gases per capita than any other country in the world.
We have a lot to account for. We cannot continue to stand on the world stage, waggle our finger at other countries and say to be more like Canada. That is not a solution today. However, it should be a solution for the future, and I think the NDP will bring forward that green and bold new plan that will fulfill that promise.
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to this official opposition motion concerning gas and natural resource development. I am also very pleased to inform the House that I will be splitting my time with the member for , who I am certain will give a passionate speech like the ones we have become accustomed to hearing from her over the past three years.
Everybody gets up in the morning saying that we must stop polluting, we must save our planet and the future of the environment is important. The difference is that some believe we must tax people to reach this objective while others believe that we need to help people so we can get there.
The Conservative Party's policy is to help people and businesses pollute less. Just 10 days ago, in Victoriaville, our leader stated that he will soon unveil our environmental platform to Quebeckers and Canadians. We already know that this platform will focus on technologies and on exporting Canadian hydroelectricity know-how and other innovative technologies developed in Canada. Most importantly, concrete and positive measures will be introduced to help Canadians and businesses pollute less.
This government prefers to keep piling on the taxes instead.
The Liberal policy is not environmental policy, it is tax policy. Instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it raises taxes on Canadians. Later on, I will come back to the highly questionable theory that taxing what they call pollution could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Liberal plan, which was released two years ago and has been in effect since April, creates a tax on pollution, but not on all forms of it. For some reason, the big companies emitting the most pollution are exempt from the Liberal carbon tax. However, parents who have to drive their kids around, people who need to drive to work and people who do not have access to public transit because of their daily routine, their activities and their geographic location are not exempt. Quebeckers are also feeling the effects of the Liberal carbon tax, because all goods brought in by truck or other means of transportation are getting more expensive. The Liberal carbon tax is fuelling higher gas prices, and this has a direct impact on how much consumers have to pay for products.
What is more, the price that is currently being taxed could go up significantly. When we were in power, we called for a study to determine what the real cost would be to the public if there was a carbon tax. Their document was supposedly made public when this government was sworn in. We wanted to obtain that document. When we get to the details of the results, they are redacted. We see nothing at all. The reality and facts about how much the Liberal carbon tax would cost consumers were totally obscured.
The fact that major polluters will not have to pay this tax is another display of this government's hypocrisy. It makes no sense. In fact, the only environmental plan the Liberals had to offer was to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline at a cost of $4.5 billion.
There are two things I never thought I would see in my lifetime. First, I never would have imagined that the Liberals would cancel the credit that we Conservatives had created to help people use public transit. I never would have guessed the Liberals would do that. Second, I never would have thought that a government with the least bit of intelligence would take $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money and hand it over to an American company in Houston for a pipeline. It is an idea so ridiculous that only the Liberals could have cooked it up. That is the legacy associated with those folks across the aisle, who, let us hope, will no longer be in government six months from now.
As for taxation, the Liberals keep saying that it is the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but that is not true. The facts speak for themselves. It does not work. Look at Quebec, where, for the past three or four years, we have had what is known as a carbon exchange, another form of the Liberal carbon tax.
The carbon exchange has been in place in Quebec for some time now. An analysis of it was done, based on real, concrete results, using real people in real life, in a real situation in an actual Canadian province, Quebec.
What were the results? The document I have here was tabled in the Quebec National Assembly on November 29 by the Premier of Quebec. The Standing Orders prevent me from showing it to members, but it is entitled “Inventaire québécois des émissions de gaz à effet de serre en 2016 et leur évolution depuis 1990”. It is a report on Quebec's environmental footprint, particularly as it pertains to the carbon exchange, which is a way of taxing pollution. What were the results? I would like to quote the Premier of Quebec, who said the following before the Quebec National Assembly on November 29:
...the only numbers we have right now are those for 2016. They show that, over the past two years, from 2014 to 2016, there has been no reduction in GHG emissions. On the contrary, GHG emissions have increased.
He went on to say:
This report shows that Quebec produced 78.4 megatonnes of emissions in 2014, 78.55 megatonnes in 2015 and 78.56 megatonnes in 2016, so we can see that emissions are rising.
The Premier of Quebec said this based on a report on Quebec's carbon exchange prepared by the Quebec Department of the Environment. The result is that there has been no drop at all in GHG emissions.
Now the Liberals want to lecture us, saying that we are against putting a price on pollution and that we want to continue polluting everything. First of all, they are hypocrites, since they are not taxing the biggest polluters. Second, pollution pricing has no effect on reducing greenhouse gases. Quebec's experience speaks for itself. On May 5, 2015, when he was leader of the second opposition group, the current Premier of Quebec published a news release calling the carbon exchange a new $100 tax on the middle class.
That is why we believe that taxing people to reduce pollution is not the right thing to do. It does not work. If we want to reduce pollution, we must implement incentives to encourage people to pollute less, such as the tax credit we created for bus riders. The Liberals abolished that initiative. We must help people manage their pollution better. That is a smart solution. We must help businesses pollute less instead of taxing them. That is an effective solution. At the very least, we should not say that we want to put a price on pollution and then avoid taxing the biggest polluters.
That brings me to the whole pipeline business. As I said earlier, the Liberals’ expertise in pipelines amounts to taking $4.5 billion of taxpayers’ money and sending it to the United States. It is ludicrous. It is patently ridiculous and unacceptable.
Quebec knows about pipelines. There have been pipelines in Quebec since 1942. The first was built between Montreal and Maine to export oil in order to help defend Europe against the Nazi menace. There are currently 2,000 kilometres of pipeline in Quebec. Nine pipelines run under the St. Lawrence River. In 2012, we built and inaugurated a brand-new pipeline between Lévis and Montreal. It is 248 kilometres long and pass through one of the most densely populated areas in the province. It runs under 630 lots and 26 waterways, including the St. Lawrence River, but it works. There are 2,000 kilometres of pipeline in Quebec. Nine pipelines run under the St. Lawrence. We built a 248-kilometre pipeline just a few years ago, and it works.
The planes in Dorval use four million litres of fuel every day. How does the fuel get to Dorval? It is not transported by train or by truck, but by pipeline. Yes, we have pipelines in Quebec, and no one has been killed. We are aware that things need to be done properly, and we are capable of doing that.
I would like to point out that, in our opinion, the energy east project is dead and buried. Building pipelines is not the government's job. It is up to private companies to build pipelines in a respectful way. That being said, the energy east project is dead, and we need to be clear on that. We are not afraid of pipelines, and we certainly do not try to frighten people over them.
No, my main issue is that in Quebec we have experience with putting a price on so-called carbon pollution, experience with what I would call the Liberal carbon tax.
We have a cap and trade system in Quebec, which has existed for four years, and we have data on that. The data was tabled by the Premier of Quebec on November 29, a few months ago, at the National Assembly, and it is crystal clear. I cannot show the document to the House now, but I will table it after my speech if members would like me to.
The document is published by the environmental ministry of Quebec, the Quebec government. It is crystal clear regarding the real effects of the cap and trade system we have in Quebec. The results for 2014, 2015 and 2016 show zero lowered greenhouse gas emissions. This is the reality.
We are not talking about a study by people who think they are right because they are right; no, we are talking about reality. We have experience with the cap and trade system in Quebec, which is like the Liberal carbon tax, and the reality is that there has been no decrease in pollution.
Our plan is very clear. It will help people reduce their pollution and it will help businesses reduce their pollution. Based on our technology and our Canadian experience in exporting our knowledge, we will do that six months from now when people realize we need a strong Conservative government in Canada.
Madam Speaker, the current Liberal government is making life more expensive for middle-class Canadians at a time when the majority of families can least afford it. The average middle-class family is already paying over $800 more in taxes because of the Liberals' tax hikes, while the wealthiest 1% of Canadians, of course, pay less. Almost half of Canadians are currently within $200 of not being able to pay their bills at the end of the month, and now the Liberals have decided to increase the cost of everything with their job-killing carbon tax.
When asked if Canadians were going to pay higher costs for fuel, the said that was “exactly what we want”, because of course he does not have to worry about money. It does not matter if they are talking about fruit or vegetables, meat, dairy, diapers or formula. Every single product in Canada is going to be more expensive because everything is shipped on planes, trains and transport trucks that use fossil fuels.
Canadians, particularly rural Canadians, do not have alternatives to paying the carbon tax, so life just gets more expensive. That is why the Liberals have a tax plan and not an environmental plan. They tax Canadians who have no other real options. The Liberal carbon tax is universally regarded as too low to actually reduce emissions or cause a wholesale transition, but high enough to make Canada less competitive, to drive jobs and businesses to other countries without carbon taxes, and to be yet another layer of costs and red tape the government is imposing on families and on the private sector in Canada. Who is going to pay this tax? Everyone will pay it, and it will hurt middle-class families, Canadians with low and fixed incomes, the working poor and rural Canadians the most.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer pointed out that major emitters will pay only 8% of the total revenue collected by the Liberal carbon tax, leaving the remaining 92% for families and small businesses to pay through higher gas, grocery and home heating costs. Thankfully, a Conservative government would give every single Canadian a 100% exemption from the carbon tax by cancelling it.
If the carbon tax does not hike gas and diesel prices enough, then Canadians will be shocked to hear about the potential costs of the new Liberal fuel standard. That new policy will force refineries and natural gas suppliers to incorporate higher percentages of renewable fuels or to provide credits to electric car owners for reducing emissions. In short, it will increase the price of gasoline, diesel and natural gas for cars, trucks, homes, businesses and factories.
I asked both the and the just last week how much the clean fuel standard, CFS, will raise the cost of a litre of diesel, but neither of them had an answer. The environment department's website confirms that there are “no models within the Department designed to model emission reductions, credit supply or economic impacts of a CFS policy in detail”. Therefore, just like with the carbon tax, the Liberals cannot say if their fuel standard will actually reduce emissions. They do not know how much damage this policy will do to the Canadian economy and how much it will cost individual Canadians. However, they are still moving forward with it and planning to announce regs this spring.
The kicker is that the Liberals' own analysis showed what Conservatives have been warning for years: that their carbon tax will kill jobs and businesses in Canada. Big companies' operations are emissions intensive, and they cannot pass through their carbon costs while they compete internationally. Therefore, the Liberals have provided them with 80% to 95% exemptions from the $20-a-tonne carbon tax, so that these businesses can, in the 's words, stay competitive and keep good jobs in Canada.
Even so, not a single Canadian refinery in provinces where the Liberal carbon tax backstop applies can meet the 20% reduction standard set by the Liberals. In fact, of the 200 refineries in OECD countries, only 10% would be able to meet the standard. Canadian refiners will simply all be forced to increase the price of fuel in order to purchase credits, because the Liberal approach is not an environmental plan; it is a tax plan.
However, there is no exemption for these same businesses from the Liberals' fuel standard. The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada says it will be the equivalent of a $200 a tonne carbon tax. Other private sector proponents and economists warn it will be anywhere between $150 and $400 a tonne combined with the carbon tax. It is the first of its kind in the entire world, because the Liberals aim to apply it to solid and gaseous fuels and to industry buildings and facilities, not only to transportation fuels. It is a reckless, risky experiment that the Liberals are rushing through, with consultations actually taking place now, five months after they announced the policy. The reality is that the Liberal fuel standard will potentially cost 10 times the full price of the Liberal carbon tax, which the Liberals have already admitted will kill jobs and businesses in Canada.
More and more Canadians are beginning to realize the importance of the oil and gas sector for every community across the country. It is in fact the largest private sector investor in the Canadian economy. Canada's responsible resource development is the major factor behind closing the gap between the wealthy and the poor in Canada.
Energy in the form of oil and gas is Canada's top export, at $125 billion in 2018. To put that in context, that is 65% more than the value of automotive exports. Electricity exports were $3 billion, almost a rounding error compared to oil and gas exports.
Just this month, Canadians found out that because the Liberals cancelled the energy east and northern gateway pipelines and are delaying the Trans Mountain expansion, oil producers lost $20 billion in sales this last year alone. Over 115,000 oil and gas workers have lost their jobs, in addition to the tens of thousands of family businesses and individual contracting jobs that have collapsed. Another 12,500 jobs will be lost this year, and over $100 billion in energy projects have been cancelled since 2015.
Canada, literally the world's most responsible energy-producing country, is now the only top 10 oil producer in the world with a carbon tax. Under the Liberals, more energy investment in Canada has been lost than at any other time in more than seven decades. This is a result of policy, not external factors.
The consequences for the entire Canadian economy, for every government and for every community across the country will be significant. It will mean less money for pensions, health care, schools, social programs, charities and recreation. It will mean fewer jobs for highly skilled young Canadians and experienced industry leaders, and fewer opportunities for indigenous communities. It will have especially detrimental impacts for rural and remote regions, where economic opportunities are limited and where natural resources development is often the only source of income.
The Conservatives know how to set the conditions for the private sector to develop major energy infrastructure. Under the previous Conservative government, the only two proposals for pipelines exclusively for export beyond the U.S. were proposed because companies had confidence in investing in Canada. As well, four major pipelines were constructed under the previous Conservative government.
The reality is that when the Liberals took office in 2015, three companies wanted to build major pipelines in Canada, and today every single one of them is gone. The outright cancelled northern gateway, even though he had the option to redo indigenous consultations and get it right. Then he imposed delays and a double standard on energy east, which were deliberately designed to force the private sector builder to back out. TMX, of course, remains stalled because of Liberal mistakes.
The lack of pipeline capacity is related to increased gasoline prices in British Columbia. B.C. refineries cannot get enough crude or refined petroleum through the existing pipelines, which is, in fact, why British Columbians are facing record prices at the pumps. This is the obvious and logical result of blocking pipelines, and the Liberals want to replicate it across Canada.
Canada has never had an anti-oil and gas government like the current Liberal government. There is the ban on shipping oil on B.C.'s north coast, which the Liberals announced a month after the 2015 election. There is the power they gave themselves just before Christmas, to do the same thing on every other coast in Canada. There was the removal of the new oil and gas well exploration and drilling tax credit during the height of catastrophic oil and gas job losses, while allowing the foreign funding of anti-energy activists to stop Canadian resources and block Canadian pipelines. There was even the funding of these activists with Canadian tax dollars through the Canada summer jobs program last summer on top of the government's “no more pipelines” Bill , and, finally, the virtually unilateral banning of offshore oil and gas exploration and development just a couple of weeks ago. These are all examples of the layers and layers of Liberal anti-energy policies that are causing such uncertainty and killing businesses and jobs.
It makes no sense whatsoever, because the International Energy Agency predicts that global oil and gas use will climb for decades. We are home to the world's third-largest crude oil reserves, and we are the fifth-largest producer of natural gas, with enough supply to meet our own needs for the next 300 years. It makes no sense whatsoever for Canada not to be able to produce all sources of energy and ship it to global markets, because, by all measures, Canada is and has long been the most environmentally and socially responsible oil and gas producer in the world. Every time a resource project or a pipeline is cancelled in Canada, that money and those jobs go to other countries with much lower environmental, consultation, transparency, safety, labour, and civil and human rights standards than Canada.
Canada's energy industry is an environmental leader. The intensity of emissions from Canada's oil sands has fallen significantly over the last several years and will continue to decline. In fact, half of the commonly traded crude oils in the United States have the same or higher emissions than the average Alberta-produced crude oil. The increase in Canadian oil and gas production will actually lower predicted global emissions growth if Canadian oil can displace higher-emitting sources of oil and gas around the world.
In short, the world needs more Canadian energy, not less. The question for Canada is whether our country will continue to be a world-leading resource and energy producer. Do we want to play a leading role in that responsible production or allow countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia to supply the world's increasing energy needs?
The choice is clear. The responsible development of Canada's oil and gas is good for Canadian workers and it is good for the planet.
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in this chamber to offer my thoughts on the motion before Parliament. Today's motion purports to be about the price of gas, and connects it to our environmental plan and pipeline capacity in Canada. I am sure that the member who put the motion forward understands that regulating the price of gas is not within the federal government's purview and notwithstanding the recent debates we have dealt with on our plan to put a price on pollution.
However, what the motion is really about is affordability, our environmental plan and pipeline capacity. I hope to address each of these issues. I will start first with a subject that is very important to me, which is the need to have an effective plan to combat climate change and ensure that Canada does its share to help reduce its emissions to prevent some of the catastrophic consequences we have heard about.
It is perhaps trite to begin by saying that climate change is real and we have an obligation and an opportunity to do something about it. We see extreme weather events across Canada and around the world. Whether it is the recent floods in eastern Canada or forest fires in the west, we have a number of consequences being felt very directly in our country.
We know from a recent Environment Canada report entitled “Canada's Changing Climate” that Canada is experiencing warming at twice the global rate. I do not mean to suggest that this has to be a story of doom and gloom, because there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know that if we adopt smart policies today, we can achieve reductions in our emissions that will prevent the most severe consequences from coming to pass. It is in that spirit that I would be happy to outline some of the measures we are implementing to ensure Canada does its part in the global fight to combat climate change.
The plan we have put forward and have been working on for the last numbers of years, implementing piece by piece, one after the other, has over 50 measures. We are going to have 90% of our electricity generated from clean resources by 2030. On that same schedule, we will have phased coal out as a source of electricity in Canada. We are making investments in energy efficiency for small organizations, homeowners and large organizations to help everyone in Canada pull in the same direction to bring their contribution to our emissions level down.
We are investing in green technology and green infrastructure. We are making the largest investments in the history of public transit in our country, to encourage more people to ride mass transit in order to take more cars off Canadian roads. We are making electric vehicles more affordable with recent measures included in budget 2019. As well, we are investing in helping to train the workforce in industries that are converting toward cleaner technologies, for instance, coal workers.
Of course, we are moving forward with a plan to put a price on pollution, which I have talked about at length in this House on a number of occasions. I want to take this opportunity to help educate the public on what this policy does. We hear a lot of noise coming from one side and the other, and I find we are in this bad habit of talking past one another rather than engaging in the merits of the policy in a substantive way.
What we are planning is not some policy idea that came out of an exclusively Liberal room. We have engaged with experts to figure out the most effective thing we could do in order to reduce our emissions. I point members to the winner of last year's Nobel Prize in economics, who won the prize for developing a plan that more or less mirrors what we are trying to do. It is one that would put a price on pollution but return the revenues collected directly to residents in the area where the price applies. Relying on advice of folks like the winner of last year's Nobel Prize in economics, we have moved forward with a plan to do just that: put a price on pollution and return the revenues to Canadians in the jurisdiction where it applies.
We started out by trying to negotiate with the different provinces and territories to find a plan that would work for them. Where the provincial or territorial government would not play a leadership role and enforce a minimum standard of price stringency, we said that a federal backstop would apply. This path is one that has garnered support from folks who are usually on the opposite side of the aisle from the Liberal Party of Canada. It has garnered support from the likes of Mark Cameron, Stephen Harper's former director of policy, who has been advocating for a fee and dividend system for some time.
It has garnered the support of one of Doug Ford's advisers, although it has been walked back a little. If we look at the testimony of one of Doug Ford's budget advisers who testified before the Senate, he said that the most effective thing we can do to transition to a low-carbon economy is to put a price on carbon emissions.
We can look at Conservative stalwarts like Preston Manning, who is urging his colleagues to stop fighting progress on the environment and adopt a market-based model to bring emissions down.
I would also like to draw attention to the recent decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. It did not deal with the political issue but dealt with the legality and constitutionality of our plan. In identifying it as a national concern, a minimum standard being applied by the federal government and provinces that would not come to the table, it spoke to the effective and essential nature of GHG pricing in the global effort to reduce emissions.
What it said was that carbon pricing is not just part and parcel of an effective plan to reduce emissions but an essential aspect. It put that in italics to draw the attention of the reader, that it is an essential aspect of the global effort to reduce emissions to prevent the consequences of climate change. It went further to explain that because of the global nature of the problem, it requires countries like Canada to engage on the international stage to adopt international agreements that would identify a strategy to bring our emissions down.
It pointed to the Paris Agreement. It stated that in a country like Canada, it would obviously be difficult to meet the targets outlined in an international agreement like the Paris Agreement if some provinces refused to put forward a minimum pricing standard. It surveyed the evidence, and there was no question that the record before the court demonstrated that GHG pricing was both effective and essential if we are going to achieve meaningful reductions in our emissions.
It is important to recognize that our plan does not simply put a price on pollution, but it makes life more affordable for a vast majority of Canadians. In provinces where our plan applies, namely Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, because big emitters also contribute to the revenues that are collected, families are left better off. In Saskatchewan, through the climate action incentive this year, when residents of that province filed their taxes, they would have received $609. That would more than offset any costs associated with our price on pollution. In Ontario, the number is a little more than $300. In New Brunswick, it is a little more than $250. In Manitoba, I think the number is $339. That goes directly to families.
We have a plan that has demonstrated an essential aspect of the global effort to reduce emissions. We have found a way, based on expert evidence such as the plan put forward by last year's Nobel Prize winner in economics, that will leave families better off at the end of the day. This is a win-win situation. Despite some of the noise that we hear from opponents of the plan who are trying to grab lightning for political purposes, when we dig into the facts, it is impossible to ignore that this is an effective policy. It is going to do the right thing for our environment and reduce emissions as well.
One of the things I am concerned with is that we have spent so much time on this one policy that Canadians may not understand it is one of 50 policy planks we have implemented to help reduce emissions. As I mentioned, 90% of our electricity will be generated from clean resources by 2030. We are phasing out coal and making a large investment in public transit. There are a number of different investments and initiatives we have undertaken that will have a meaningful impact.
The effects of climate change also have a very serious impact on nature and wildlife. I know during one of the questions from an NDP colleague during the previous speaker's turn, he drew attention to the recent UN report that indicated we are facing a potential mass extinction of one million of eight million species in the world. If members look at recent data, they will see that on average about 60% of different vertebrate species have been lost in the last half-century.
Canada is one of five countries in the world that has three-quarters of the world's remaining wilderness. We have an opportunity and an obligation to do whatever we can to protect nature and to fight climate change so we can preserve our natural environment for future generations.
The motion also addresses the issue of pipeline capacity. One of the things I want to draw attention to is that the previous government had a very difficult time getting major projects built, because it did not have an effective environmental assessment process to properly consider the impact of projects. It ended up fighting projects in court rather than building them in the ground.
What we have done is ensure that there is a little more work done at the front end but the timeline is not extended. It gives certainty to businesses, but it also allows environmental considerations and the perspective of indigenous people to inform the process so that we are less likely to be fighting about projects during and after the approval process and can move forward with them.
For example, we are seeking to move forward in the right way on the TMX project, taking in the perspectives of indigenous communities and those who are concerned about the environment to ensure that we can get our resources to market and Canadian producers do not have to consistently take a haircut on the price they get when they export or sell to the United States rather than to customers all over the world.
One of the things I want to focus on during the time I have today is that this motion is really about the affordability of life. There is no concern that is potentially more important to many of the people I represent. I come from a riding where the median income is somewhere in the range of $22,000. Getting by on that kind of income is exceptionally difficult to imagine.
One of the things we have focused on from day one is growing the economy and making sure that the economy operates in a way that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest Canadians.
When we look at our record of economic growth, the results speak for themselves. The Canadian economy since we took office has added over 900,000 jobs, primarily full-time, private sector jobs. Our unemployment rate across the country and in my home province of Nova Scotia is at an all-time low. It is at the lowest level in over 40 years, when we started to keep track of those statistics.
There is something special happening in the Canadian economy today, but it is not happening by accident. It is happening because Canadians are working hard, they are working together and they are benefiting from polices that have created an environment that encourages economic growth.
When I look at the investments we have made in infrastructure, I see that we are building out communities to strengthen them, put people to work and create opportunities for growth in the future.
If I look at the twinning of Highway 104, in my own backyard, between Sutherlands River and Antigonish, what I see is a project that will have 500 people working at peak construction and that will make for safer and more effective transportation for people and businesses going forward.
When I look at investments in things like the Pictou Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, where we helped build a new trades innovation centre, I see the 125 people who were working onsite at peak construction. It is also going to educate the next generation of skilled workers.
When I see investments in the Halifax Stanfield International Airport and a new logistics park and cold storage facility, I know that it is going to help get our products to new markets so that our fishermen can put more money in their pockets and keep rural communities alive.
I see trade deals that create opportunities for local exporters in my community that are actually having a real and tangible benefit for families. There are a number of policies I could point to, examples in my own community, through which people are better off.
On the efforts on international trade, it was not long after we secured market access to our largest trading partner, the United States, that Michelin announced that it would be adding or making permanent a total of 350 jobs at its tire production facility in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.
The fact is that we are creating an environment in which the economy can thrive, and Canadians are taking advantage. However, left unchecked, economic growth may not benefit everyone equally. It tends to favour the richest members of society. As the rich get richer, it is important that we put checks and balances in place to ensure that most Canadians are not left behind. That is why we are moving forward with programs like the Canada child benefit. This plan has been a remarkable innovation in social policy that has helped lift over 800,000 Canadians out of poverty, 300,000 of whom are children.
This plan changed the previous government's approach to child support. It puts more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families and stops sending child care cheques to millionaires. The people who need the most, get the most, and the people who have the most, do not need it, so they do not get it.
Frankly, it is not families like mine that need the extra support at the end of the month. I earn a good salary working as a member of Parliament. It is families like the ones I speak to when I knock on their doors who tell me that the cost of food is getting too high, and they are eating less healthy because of it.
When I talk to my constituency staff and they tell me that people have called because their power is about to be shut off in the middle of winter, I know that it is those people who could use a little extra help.
It is not just the Canada child benefit we can point to that is actually helping people who are more vulnerable, ensuring that everyone benefits from the economic success our country has been experiencing. If we look at the support we have added for seniors living in Canada, the beefing up of the guaranteed income supplement is going to help the most vulnerable low-income single seniors by putting almost $1,000 more a year in their pockets.
I spoke to a senior during the last campaign, and she told me that she received an update to the amount she was going to receive. She got a raise of 44¢, and she wrote to the previous prime minister and asked, “Should I save this up for a rainy day, or should I spend it all in one place and host a party for my friends?” To know that individuals like her are going to have up to $947 extra at the end of the year is meaningful, because I know it is going to go to a person who could use the help.
We are looking at programs like old age security. We reverted the age of eligibility from 67 to 65 to ensure that we did not screw up the plans of seniors who have been scheduling their retirement for some time. To ensure that the next generation of seniors can have a secure and dignified retirement, we beefed up the Canada pension plan as well to ensure that their needs will be met after their careers are over.
We can point to investments in the Canada workers benefit that will help Canadians who are working but are struggling to get by because the cost of living has gone up.
These are not the only reforms I can point to. We have made changes to the EI system around parental leave. We have introduced proactive pay equity legislation. We have made investments in health care by transferring more money to the provinces than has ever been transferred before, with carve-outs for mental health and in-home care for seniors. The fact is that we have created a circumstance that not only spurs economic growth but ensures that the most vulnerable Canadians are not left behind in the process.
When I see protests bubbling up around the world in the spirit of the French Revolution, which tried to take down the aristocracy, I know that people are frustrated, and the frustration is real. It is one thing to talk about the number of jobs that have been created in the economy, but unless the people living in my neighbourhood are better off, it does not mean too much.
When I see families that are benefiting from a tax cut, I know that they are doing well, because they are spending it on things like a new outfit for their kids for the first day of school that they may not have been able to afford before. I know that they are spending it on signing their kids up for swimming lessons. I know that they are taking their kids to join the soccer or basketball team, things I benefited from growing up that I took for granted, not realizing that the kids who may have lived next door to me could not afford to take part in those organized sports.
Our entire focus as a government is to help protect the environment and create an economy that is growing and working for everyone, not just the wealthiest Canadians.
I will not be supporting the motion on the floor, because it seemingly is an attempt to mislead Canadians about the economic impact of our plan for the environment. At the same time, the opposition refuses to produce one of its own, and it suggests, somehow, that Canadians are worse off and unable to afford the cost of living, despite the fact that the investments we have made leave them objectively better off.
When it comes to this fact, people do not have to take my word for it. We have an officer of Parliament, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, whose job is to ensure that there is transparency in government spending and to explain to the public the real impact of the measures the government has implemented. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has indicated that families under our plan across Canada will be $2,000 better off, and when it comes to our price on pollution, eight out of 10 families will be better off, and the families that will pay more will be restricted to the wealthiest 20% across Canada in the first year of this plan, maxing out at $50 a year for the wealthiest 20% of Canadians.
We are moving forward with a plan that is going to protect our environment, grow the economy and make sure that everyone has a chance to succeed, not just the wealthiest.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for .
There are many Canadians from coast to coast who are excited about October 2019. In my travels across the country, I have talked with many who are excited about the opportunity to elect a government that will stand up for their needs as Canadians. These are people of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds, but they are saying the same thing to me: They want to see people put first. I agree with them that it is time for a government that will do that.
One might ask what it means to put people first. It is a great question.
In the fall, I found myself in eastern Europe. I was there as part of a delegation representing Canada at the Council of Europe. During my time abroad, I engaged in bilateral meetings with my counterparts from Georgia, Ukraine, Romania, Armenia, Germany and the U.K. Here is what was top of mind for all of these countries: the rule of law, border security, the safety of their citizens and the economic well-being of their countries. These issues should in fact be top of mind for all of us, but here in Canada they are not. In fact, under the current government, we are struggling in all of these areas. To put people first would be to return these priorities back to Canada's repertoire. Sadly, this is not the case in Canada, but it is time to return.
We have a who is more concerned about maintaining his appearance and pursuing his own agenda than he is about acting in the best interests of Canadians. Though there are many examples from which I could draw today, there are two specific scenarios I will discuss: energy development within Canada and the carbon tax that is being imposed.
With respect to energy development, we currently have a who cares more about appearing to consult with first nations people than about actually consulting with them in order to move forward with building the pipeline. In the effort to maintain his appearance, he is ignoring their voices and what would benefit them and the entire Canadian population. Instead of taking a stand for unity, the is creating disunity in this regard.
We have a who purchased a pipeline with the money of Canadians in order to appear as if he is committed to developing Canada's energy sector. Meanwhile, he is ramming through Bill , which will block all future pipelines. Again we see a who wants to save face in one area, but is doing a completely other thing on the side.
It should be noted that Canada has the most environmentally sustainable oil and gas production in the world, with the highest standards and strictest conditions for environmental remediation and water usage, but rather than develop our own industry, the would rather bring blood oil in from places like Venezuela or Saudi Arabia, where people are treated inhumanely.
In my travels I have seen a number of Alberta bumper stickers. That is the province I am from. The bumper stickers say, “Please God, give us another oil boom; we promise not to waste it away this time.” This bumper sticker causes many people to chuckle, but it is certainly more than a funny quip; it communicates an urgent need not only for Albertans but for all Canadians.
We all know that the development of the oil and gas sector results in job creation, but there is much more to the story that must be considered. Canada needs pipelines because we are competing with countries around the world to be the first to find a buyer for our product. Without pipelines, this process is significantly thwarted.
Furthermore, let us consider the fact that pipelines are the most environmentally safe and sustainable way to transport our commodity to market and generate revenue, which results in provincial and federal tax dollars. Canadians know those tax dollars are exactly what pays for the hospitals we visit when a loved one is sick, the schools our children attend in order to be educated and the roads on which we drive in order to commute to work.
Oil and gas development has created high-quality, good-paying jobs for Canadians from coast to coast and helps our country as a whole. Much of the prosperity Canada has traditionally enjoyed exists because of our commitment to responsibly developing the natural resource sector. We need the Trans Mountain pipeline and we need it built now. It is time for the to stop his commitment to his appearance and start defending the needs of Canadians.
Despite the fact that the Trans Mountain pipeline received government approval in 2016, it should be noted that Kinder Morgan, the company building the pipeline at the time, announced that it could not proceed with construction in the spring of 2018 because of regulatory uncertainty. The government simply was not willing to give it the provisions it needed in order to go forward with the project. As a result, it pulled out and took its investment south. This only hurt Canadians. It certainly did not serve us.
However, in an effort to save the project, the actually bought the pipeline, to the tune of $4.5 billion, and that money came from taxpayers from coast to coast.
It was then reported by the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the and the Liberal government had overpaid for the pipeline. It was not worth the amount they put on the table.
Not only that: It is clear to the House and to Canadians that the has actually been dishonest with them, that he has spoken untruths. He promised that he would get this pipeline in the ground and act in their best interests, but when he put up the $4.5 billion, it was again for the sake of appearances. Meanwhile, in the background he is working very hard through legislation in the House to stop that pipeline and any other pipeline that this country might require in the future for its well-being.
It should also be noted that under the former government, there were four pipelines that were successfully built without using a single dollar from Canadian taxpayers. That is what a government does. It puts people first by drawing in investment and by being true to its word.
It must be understood that Canada's energy industry holds a ton of potential, and not only prosperity, which is important, but it can also be used as an instrument of peace, freedom and security around the world, and this point must not be be lost on Canadians. For this reason, it is important to note that the leader of the opposition has announced a plan where he will be undoing this damage and moving us forward as we create a prosperous Canada.
On the carbon tax, again we have another example of the being more concerned about looking as if he is doing something for the environment than actually doing something for the environment. How do we know this? We know this because the is imposing a carbon tax on Canadians from coast to coast, but he is allowing the largest emitters off the hook. They are only paying about 20% of the total revenue that will be generated from the carbon tax. Meanwhile, soccer moms, farmers and everyone else in this country are going to be paying their fair share.
We also know that in Canada we are not going to stop heating our homes, driving to work, putting clothes on our back, glasses on our faces and contacts in our eyeballs. However, all of these things are somehow related to fossil fuels. We are not going to stop living life. Therefore, let us be realistic for a moment and acknowledge our current reality, because overnight it cannot switch. Our current reality is that we are reliant on fossil fuels, so, yes, let us hold in hand the desire and ambition to turn towards greener technology. Let us advance in that direction and let us care for our environment. However, let us also acknowledge the real life that we live and keep the lights on.
The real life that we live does require the use of fossil fuels. That said, our behaviour is not going to change because of a carbon tax, which is the stated intent by the Liberal government. As a result, we know that with the largest emitters being let off the hook and the fact that our behaviour is not going to change because of basic necessities of life, that this is in fact just a desire to collect extra revenue. It is a tax on everything, but not an environmental plan.
Meanwhile, here is what we are committed to going forward. We do believe that our planet should be stewarded. We do believe that our environment should be looked after. I am extremely proud of calling Canada my home. I believe that this includes conserving our land, protecting our waterways and natural habitats, investing in green technologies and making sure that we recycle and reduce waste wherever possible. It means scrapping one-time-use plastics and working with other countries from around the world in order to better take care of the environment. This is a positive plan for Canada. This is a plan that puts Canadians first. This is a plan that the Conservative Party of Canada endorses. Meanwhile, the is simply concerned about his image and generating revenue.
Mr. Speaker, I am really pleased to stand and speak to what is a two-part motion. One part is about the carbon tax, and the other is about getting the Trans Mountain pipeline built.
As I give my comments, I am going to put a British Columbia lens to it, because I think a British Columbia lens will be very important. We often hear members in the House hold up British Columba's carbon tax as this great example of something that has been in place for a number of years. However, they do not tell the whole story. A part of the story is missing.
British Columbia introduced a carbon tax, and at that time I reluctantly decided to watch and see how things would go with this particular carbon tax. I have a few things to say about it. First, it certainly did not do exactly what the government said it would do, in terms of reducing the emissions. However, the government did say that it was going to make the tax revenue-neutral. There was a small decrease in rural property taxes. There was some money that flowed back to the citizens. There was a process to audit that money and how it was returned to the citizens to prove that revenue neutrality was maintained.
This went on for a few years. When the NDP government was elected, the first thing it did was to take the revenue neutrality away from the carbon tax. All of a sudden, it became a tax grab for the province. There was no more offsetting in terms of money in, money out. It became a tax grab, pure and simple. The government was going to spend it wherever it wanted.
That is a cautionary tale for Canadians. In Ontario, Alberta and the other provinces, right now people are being told by the government that this is a great deal and that they will get more money back than they spend. Canadians should remember the example of British Columbia that the government holds up so often as the way to do things. What is going to stop the Liberal government when it starts to realize that its spending is so out of control that it cannot afford to send out those cheques for carbon tax rebates anymore? Quickly, the citizens of this country will have been hoodwinked into another tax grab by the Liberal government, because there is nothing that compels the government to keep it the way it is right now. That is a lesson from B.C., that it will take nothing for the government to change what it is doing.
On top of that lesson, in my opinion British Columbia has the worst kind of carbon tax, in terms of its not providing offsets. What British Columbians also have right now are some of the highest taxes in the country, in terms of the highest gas prices in the country. This is what the provincial NDP government says it wants. It wants gas prices high, and it wants people to change their behaviour. The said that this is what a carbon tax is for: to raise the prices so people change their behaviour.
I want to give a couple of examples of people who are having to change their behaviour, but perhaps not in the way the anticipated. Someone I know fairly well was laid off from her job a number of years ago. She took her severance money and took a big risk. She put her severance money into starting up a small business. It was enough to keep her going, to pay her bills, to have some success in running her own show.
A few months ago, she was diagnosed with cancer and was going to need treatment. When small business operators have cancer, they are suddenly not bringing in any money. In Kamloops, when people need cancer treatment, they have to go to Kelowna. Not only does she not qualify for employment insurance and has meagre savings, but she has to travel back and forth to Kelowna to deal with radiation therapy. That is a two-hour drive every time, and she has had to do this for weeks and weeks.
Every time she goes, she fills up her gas tank and wonders how she is going to deal with this, as it is costing her more and more. Maybe she will find some program someday that will reimburse her for those costs. In the meantime, she is struggling every minute, every day, to simply fill up her gas tank to drive a couple of hours to Kelowna to get the radiation treatment for her cancer. Can my colleagues imagine the stress that this adds to her life?
During this time, when she was dealing with record sky-high prices for filling up her tank, she noticed something about the . No one begrudges holidays for the Prime Minister, but when she saw him fly from Ottawa to Tofino and back to have a holiday, she said, “He is trying to change my behaviour. I don't see him trying to change his own behaviour for a minute.” I just had to tell members how that made her feel, when she could barely afford to put gas in her tank, that the Prime Minister wants her to change her behaviour but he is not doing a thing in terms of his carbon emissions.
I have another example. In rural Clearwater, there was a shutdown of the mill for six weeks over the Christmas period, and another shutdown has just been announced. It is going to be only for a week, maybe two weeks, but there are continually shutdowns. What happens when a mill shuts down is that the employees do not get paid for six weeks. They might get a bit of EI, but they do not get their pay for one week. They live in a rural community and lots of them need trucks to do their jobs. They are going into the bush. As they see gas prices hitting $1.60, $1.65, $1.70, they are saying, “Oh my goodness, I am not going to be getting a paycheque for next week. The mill is closed down. There is no money coming in.” How does that change their behaviour? They are having to make decisions in terms of not being able to buy meat for their families and having to use rice and do other things, simply to fill their trucks with gas. They do not have choices as people do in Vancouver, where they can make decisions around public transit. They are people who have to live with the carbon tax creating increased challenges in their lives.
I think colleagues can see that the carbon tax is creating huge challenges, especially at the gas pump. Certainly, a small measure of help would be for us to look at whom it is really hurting and how it is hurting them.
The other part, of course, is the Trans Mountain pipeline. I talked about Clearwater. The people in that community have been looking forward to that pipeline going through the community. Maybe the mill is going to be shut down for a week or two, but they saw other opportunities. They saw that there would be potential work digging to put the pipeline in. There were local contractors and restaurants all looking forward to this construction season happening right now.
As we look at the Trans Mountain pipeline, that is another important piece of the puzzle. I think that some analysts say it would give increased capacity. That would help with the shortage issue in B.C. and actually help with gas prices in B.C. However, the other, more important thing is that it would provide an opportunity for all Canadians.
This really is a motion with two parts that go very well together. It talks about the carbon tax on the one hand, and it talks about the Trans Mountain pipeline on the other.
I toured the Trans Mountain pipeline in the winter. It was a wonderful opportunity. I toured it looking for the stories that were positive, because we hear too many negative stories. I talked to first nations, who saw a huge opportunity. I talked to communities and mayors. There are enormous opportunities.
Members should really think about this motion and think about the people who are being impacted, and how the carbon tax and the Trans Mountain pipeline need to go hand in hand in terms of this motion. Hopefully, they will think of that cancer patient I just talked about or the mill worker who is really struggling with decisions about how to put food on the table.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for .
I would like to thank the hon. member for for his motion. Unfortunately, I cannot support it. Canadians expect more than simplistic solutions to the complex problems that they are facing, that we all are facing, and that we must address together.
Instead of proposing simplistic solutions, we have a climate plan with more than 50 measures. These measures include putting a price on pollution, accelerating the phase-out of coal-fired electricity while ensuring a fair transition for workers and communities, and making generational investments in clean technology, green infrastructure and Canadian ingenuity.
I am an Albertan. I am an Edmontonian. I know first-hand that the previous government's approach to pipelines hurt workers, communities and, frankly, all Canadians.
When the Federal Court of Appeal made its decision on the proposed Trans Mountain expansion project in August 2018, we had an important choice to make. We could have gone along with the failed approach that the Conservatives touted, an approach that disregards the courts, has no plan to protect the environment and coastal communities and has no meaningful two-way dialogue with indigenous communities, but we knew then, as we know now, that Canadians are counting on us to get this right so we made a decision: We committed to doing the hard work necessary to move the process forward in the right way on the Trans Mountain expansion project.
In particular, we must act in accordance with the directives handed down by the Federal Court of Appeal. However, we have heard very little about that today.
Instead, we have seen a lot of finger pointing, expert assessments swept under the rug and history being rewritten. We have also heard attacks against our energy sector. The Conservatives are trying to disparage our energy sector. In fact, in recent weeks and months, a final decision was made to invest $4.5 billion in a petrochemical facility in Sturgeon County, not far from Morinville, where I grew up. This project will create jobs for 3,000 workers at the peak of construction, as well as several hundred permanent jobs once the facility is operational.
Inter Pipeline announced two new $3.5-billion facilities in the industrial centre that will create more than 2,000 direct full-time jobs at the peak of construction and more than 200 full-time jobs once all the facilities are operational.
Moreover, Nauticol intends to develop a $2-billion methanol plant south of Grande Prairie, which will create 1,000 direct construction jobs. These projects add value to our products, and innovation in the sector will help fight climate change.
The motion states that we should be clearing the way for pipelines to be built. The fact is that the previous government failed to do exactly that. It failed to get our oil to new markets. This is a Canadian resource that supports communities across Canada, including that of my own family, and supports good, middle-class jobs in my home province.
When the Conservatives began in government in 2006, 99% of Canadian oil went to the United States. When they finished in government in 2015, 99% of Canadian oil was still heading to our greatest and best customer, the U.S., until it was no longer our greatest and best customer. This has led to our resources being sold at a discount, a discount so deep that it counts in the billions of dollars per year, and all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, have seen and felt the impact.
The Conservatives and the conservative press have tried to refute this, but the facts speak for themselves. The Conservatives boast about a pipeline flow reversal and a connection to an existing pipeline, but it is an empty boast and it does nothing to help workers in our energy sector and the families that depend on those workers to have well-paying, middle-class jobs. This includes my constituents and their families and friends and my family and my friends. These are jobs that build strong communities. They are jobs that keep our economy going.
If we had not lost a decade under the previous Conservative government, we would not be in the situation we are in today, and in 2015, Canadians rejected that failed approach.
We have listened to Canadians. Our government is committed to developing Canada’s abundant resources the right way.
The environment and the economy go hand in hand.
That is why we approved the Line 3 replacement project. It is because the environment, the economy and energy all go hand in hand.
Line 3 is almost complete on the Canadian side. It will add 370,000 barrels of new export capacity for our oil, and it has created thousands of jobs during construction.
That is why we have always supported the Keystone XL project. Keystone XL is moving forward here in Canada. Our continues to strongly advocate on behalf of this project south of the border.
That is why these projects are not happening in isolation. They are moving forward in tandem with a comprehensive climate plan. It is the strongest climate plan Canada has ever had.
Of course, the Conservatives think we should simply put our heads in the sand and hope for the best. They believe the planet is not going to warm up that much. They say it is only water vapour. The science has to be wrong. It is only thousands of scientists; there are probably three in the world who disagree with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, so the Conservatives want to focus on those three.
Canadians expect and deserve better. Future generations are counting on us to get this right.
With respect to TMX, we followed the recommendations of the Hon. Frank Iacobucci, the former Supreme Court of Canada justice who was appointed as a federal representative to oversee the consultation process with indigenous peoples and provide guidance during the process.
We listen to what the consultation teams hear on the ground, and we respond accordingly. These teams now have about 60 members, which is twice as many as they had initially.
We have made it clear that a final decision on the project will not be made until we are satisfied that the Crown has adequately fulfilled its duty to consult and that we have mitigated and taken into account any impact on indigenous communities. We will then make a decision on the project based on the National Energy Board’s reconsideration report, strengthened by our draft principles, which now guide major review projects.
Unfortunately, the Conservatives voted to defund and kill this very reconsideration process.
Let us be clear. We will do the right listening. We will do the accommodations needed. We will proceed at the right time in the right way so that the Trans Mountain expansion can unfold in the right manner.
The Conservatives have shown their complete disregard for this process. To kill the NEB's review of marine shipping and to end our consultation with indigenous communities would have stopped the project outright. We knew that, and we are proceeding with a better way.
In 2019, the approach needed to develop resources is a detailed approach that takes into account both the environment and our constitutional duty to consult indigenous peoples. In fact, that is the only way to proceed.
The motion before us today needs us to make sure that we do this right. The motion today would have us skip crossing our t's and forgetting to dot the i's when dealing with major resource projects. It would bring us back to the old ways of barging ahead without taking the time to do things right. It would try to short-circuit the courts, disregard our constitutional duty to consult and ignore the urgency of a changing climate.
That is not the way our government is going to proceed. It is not the way Canadians need us to proceed. They told us they want a better way forward. We have listened to Canadians and we have heard Canadians and we are now acting.
We are putting in place a system in which Canadians can have confidence, a system that will allow great projects to be built across this country. It is the right time and the right way to do this. It is a system that will create good, well-paying middle-class jobs. Our environment and our economic health depend on it, and so does our future.
That is why I call upon members of the House to reject this motion and for all of us to work together to build a better Canada that works for everyone.
[Member spoke in Cree]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to have the opportunity today to speak about how we must invest in the middle class and build an economy that works for everyone, an economy that provides more good, well-paying jobs for the middle class and helps those working hard to join it, an economy where everyone, no matter their age, can live and work with pride.
At the same time, people across the country want to protect their children and grandchildren from the dangers of climate change. They want to invest in technologies that will help us lower the cost of living and reduce the emissions that cause climate change.
A Canadian green deal is based on balance. Failing to invest in a cleaner more sustainable future threatens the things that Canadians rely on for their success: an affordable cost of living; good, well-paying jobs and resilient communities. It would make it harder to help those who are poor, because it would make it difficult to ensure that we have those things to pay for those services.
Climate change, as we know, is real, and we need to take action today. Budget 2019 made significant investments to protect Canada's environment while also creating new jobs and making life more affordable for Canadians. These investments go hand in hand with efforts to help more people find a home, find and keep good jobs, retire with confidence and get affordable prescription drugs when they need them. The budget also delivers on a promise of a stronger middle class, and advances the plan to protect the health of all Canadians, the health of our economy and the health of future generations.
During their 10 years, the Harper Conservatives ignored the needs of a better future for all, the needs of the environment, of the middle class, and especially the needs of those who are most poor in our society who want government to work for them. Today, more Canadians are working, more families have more money in their pockets and Canada's middle class is growing.
The current leader of the Conservative Party, as well as Ford and Harper, all spent time cutting services and are cutting services today, like local library services, day care centres and even tree planting. This is absolutely unconscionable. The priorities of Ford and the current leader of the Conservative Party are about slashing funds for city services while moving forward with a pricey campaign promise to bring beer into convenience stores. They want to make it cheaper and more affordable so that we can drink beer. “Where is the sense in that?”, said Mayor John Tory. “Cutting public health programs and daycare programs to find the extra money to pay the Beer Store to change their contract?” That is what he said.
In Manitoba, in alliance, the leader of the Conservative Party and Pallister continue to cut services, including emergency services at a hospital in my riding, the Misericordia Health Centre. They are about to cut it at the Concordia Hospital. Gone. They have been reducing services in health care right across the province.
In fact, Premier Brian Pallister is leaving money on the table, including $547 million for public transit, which is important to having a good climate change program to ensure we protect the environment. The Manitoba government left $451 million of green infrastructure dollars on the table. Where is the Canadian green deal in that, a deal based on balance? It is not with the Pallister government. It left $61 million behind for community, cultural and recreation infrastructure. We need more good programming to ensure we do not have the meth crisis we have in Winnipeg right now, and to ensure that young people do not have to join gangs in order to find something to do. The government also left $112 million of rural and northern programming on the table. It is absolutely unconscionable.
On this side of the House, we have taken action to ensure there is a price on pollution right across Canada in 2019. We have implemented a federal backstop system in jurisdictions that do not have a standard that meets that standard at the federal level. As part of this plan, the federal government will be returning the bulk of the direct proceeds from the fuel charge in the form of a climate action incentive payment directly to individuals in the provinces, meaning it is costed so that those dollars are going back to the citizens. The residents of Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have a government that is looking out for them and for all citizens. Their families can claim that climate incentive on their personal income tax returns. The remainder of the direct fuel charge proceeds will be used to support small and medium-sized businesses and other particularly affected sectors in these provinces.
The Canadian green deal is about balance. It is balanced to help reward good behaviour that will have an impact in protecting the environment and stop, or even at some point reverse, climate change.
As the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed last week, most households will receive more in climate action incentive payments than their increased costs resulting from the federal carbon pollution pricing system. People are going to be better off under this plan.
We know that climate change is not just an environmental issue but also an economic and social issue.
Our government's plan will grow the Canadian economy, build a nation of innovators and create good, well-paying jobs that strengthen the middle class.
Budget 2019 proposes significant investments and, above all, enables the government to implement new measures to help Canada's middle class and all those working hard to join it.
In budget 2019, our government announced several actions that build on our plan to help Canadians and support our communities. For example, we intend to lower the energy costs of Canadians by investing $1 billion to help increase energy efficiency in residential, commercial and multi-unit buildings. The budget also proposes to provide new infrastructure to help build cleaner and healthier communities through a major municipal infrastructure top-up investment of $2.2 billion. We are helping communities. This will double our government's commitment to municipalities and help communities fund their infrastructure priorities, including public transit, water and green energy projects. However, this is not all that we are doing.
We asked the wealthiest 1% of Canadians to pay a little more so that we could give the middle class a tax break. That tax break is helping over nine million Canadians.
We have also created the Canada child benefit, or the baby bonus. This baby bonus is important to the people of Winnipeg Centre. In 2018-19, every month, on average, we make 8,490 payments of the baby bonus to citizens in Winnipeg Centre, helping 15,510 children. It is helping to lift thousands of children out of poverty. It is $790 on average, which is $6,733,000 a month directly into the economy of the people of Winnipeg Centre.
This is not all that we have done. We have also helped seniors in my riding. We have made 9,580 payments under old age security, for an average of $6,520 under the guaranteed income supplement; 4,620 payments for an average of $6,490; as well as our top-up, which came in the last budget, of 2,620 new payments, for a total of $1,040 a month, to seniors in Winnipeg Centre. That is $96 million which is going to help Canadians advance in life.
In closing, I would like to say that Canadians want a plan that will enable them to prosper in a world where the climate is changing. Our government is investing in a cleaner and healthier future for all Canadians.
We have made a lot of progress since the fall of 2015, since the decade of darkness. However, we know there is more work to be done, and we are not going to lose sight of that goal. We will keep helping the middle class and those working hard to join it. Our government will work hard for Canadians to build an economy where everyone has a fair and true chance of succeeding, lifting thousands of Canadians out of poverty. We will ensure that our government works, not just for the few as under Harper, not just for those who might vote for them, but for all Canadians no matter what their political stripe, so that we ensure we are all better off in the future.
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to speak in the House on an issue of importance to my constituents. I want to let you know that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for , and I know we are all very anxious to hear from him after question period.
The previous Liberal speaker led quite nicely into what I wanted to say. He proved once again how out of touch the Liberal government is with the everyday needs, the everyday concerns of average British Columbians and of average Canadians. For those just tuning in, he said in his speech that if people are worried about high gas prices, they should just change their behaviour. In my riding, gas is $1.52 for a litre of fuel. It has been up to $1.80 plus in metro Vancouver, but we can just modify our behaviour.
If construction workers are driving a pickup truck full of drywall to go to work to feed their family, they should just modify their behaviour—stay home that day and maybe do not go to work. Maybe they should be hauling drywall on top of an electric vehicle. Maybe they should be driving a Prius when they have to do heavy construction labour building homes in my riding of Chilliwack—Hope. Just modify their behaviour.
If people need to take their mother to the doctor's office in my riding, which has limited transit options, maybe they should tell her to wait in the rain for the bus if she can get it, or tell her she can get her prescriptions next week; she does not need to go to the doctor. Why are people complaining about the high price of gas? They should just modify their behaviour. If they want to take their kids to school, why do they not just modify their behaviour?
Has the member ever been outside of to a rural community? Do any of the Liberals represent rural Canadians who have to drive to work? They have to drive to school. They have to drive to get to doctor appointments, but for the Liberals, people are just exhibiting bad behaviour. People made a bad decision when they decided to live in rural Canada in one of the most rural countries in the entire world. That is a bad decision, and people should modify that decision.
It is an outrageous attack on rural Canadians to have that kind of attitude from the Liberal government, to tell them to modify their behaviour as if everyone lives within walking distance of a SkyTrain. That is the Liberals' attitude. They also have the attitude that everyone can just pay for it, that everyone has the ability, because that is whom they are connected to. That is whom they listen to.
We saw it with their $12-million gift to a multi-billion dollar company, Loblaws, a company that has more money than most Canadians can ever imagine having. The government took money from average, everyday Canadian commuters and gave it to a multi-billion dollar company—$12 million for something that Loblaws would have bought on its own.
That is whom the Liberals look out for. We saw it with SNC-Lavalin. Liberals look out for the big corporate interests and their big wealthy friends. In British Columbia, the person driving a luxury SUV whom Liberals are looking out for can peel off another $20 when the gas price goes to $1.75. It is nothing to them. They just reach into their wallet and peel off another couple of twenties and say they are doing something for the environment while they do not change a single behaviour.
The people I represent have to make choices and do not have hundreds of dollars left over at the end of every month and are struggling every month to make ends meet under the government. They do not have the option to just reach into their pockets and pull out another couple of extra twenties. They reach into their rainy day fund. They reach into the money they might have put away in an RRSP. They reach into the money they might have put into their children's future education fund. When people do not have that money available to them because of high gas prices, because of the increased cost of living, they do without, something that the Liberals have never understood.
My colleague, the member for , referenced again today that it is clear that the does not have the faintest clue what it is like to sit down at the kitchen table and try to balance a budget for a family. He has never had to do it. He has never had to run a small business where the cost of fuel determines whether he will make a profit from month to month.
There are now non-profit, volunteer organizations in British Columbia that drive people to cancer appointments and are seeing their operations devastated by this increase in the cost of fuel, and the Liberals say that they should modify their behaviour. I guess maybe they should go to one fewer chemo treatment. What is being said is that people should modify their behaviour. People are polluters if they go to work, go to school or take their children to activities that help them become better rounded individuals.
I have to touch on this. In British Columbia, we have a provincial government that has completely failed its people. First of all, it has taken Alberta to court to stop it from building a pipeline into the province. Now it is going to court to insist that Alberta continue to send oil and gas to British Columbia. It is outrageous. We know that the pipeline, if it were built, would reduce the price of wholesale fuel, refined fuels, in the Lower Mainland by about 20¢ a litre. If we combine that with the carbon tax in British Columbia, which is 9.8¢ when we add the GST, it is 30¢ a litre right now as a result of the Liberal government's inability to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built and the NDP's carbon tax.
The NDP has a carbon tax that was brought in by the B.C. Liberal government, and it has now made it completely revenue-neutral to the government. The government gets all the money now. There is no rebate in taxes. This is a preview of exactly what will happen across the country if these Liberals are re-elected. People should not fool themselves. The $1.75 prices we are seeing in British Columbia are coming right across the country, as well as the fact that the government will see that revenue pool and take it all.
Right now the Liberals are saying things like they are going to give it all back, which is a great scheme. If we give them our wallet, there will be more left over when they give it back to us. What a great scheme. That is how it always works with the government, is it not? It always gives back more money than people give it on the front end. Just pay the government and trust that we will get more afterward.
We know what happened in B.C. With the stroke of a pen, the NDP government took all the money for itself. It took all the money for itself, and it is forced to have a carbon tax by the federal government. Therefore, we have a two-step process in British Columbia that needs to be undertaken. The first step is to get rid of the federal government that requires a national price on carbon. That is job number one. Given the results in the by-election last night, I would say we are off to a good start, because after the next federal election, there will not be many Liberals left in British Columbia because of the attitude we have seen here today—things like telling people to modify their behaviour and that they are bad people if they use their vehicle, even though they have no other options. Then we will work on getting rid of the provincial carbon tax.
On the Trans Mountain pipeline, this is something that the government has bungled from day one. First of all, it added on 10 months' worth of additional hearings, which were supposed to ensure that this pipeline met the requirements for consultation with indigenous communities. We were told that it had to be pushed off almost a year so that the government could meet the requirements of the court. Of course, it held those expensive hearings and did not change a single recommendation. The only thing it did was delay the decision.
Does that sound familiar? Again and again, the government has delayed and delayed the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion decision. That now is coming home to roost. For a pipeline that was supposed to be in service this year, not even a shovel has turned this year. Another construction season will be missed this year.
British Columbians know more than most what it is like to live in a very unaffordable region. The government has done more in three and a half years to make life less affordable than any government in history. That is why job one is to replace the government with one that understands the needs and the concerns of everyday Canadians and does not think they are bad Canadians for driving their kids to and from sports or going to work to feed their families, that does not think they need to modify their behaviour and that thinks they are doing their jobs and looking out for their families. That is job number one. We will help them get ahead when we replace the government in October.