That the House recognize that: (a) climate change is a real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity, that impacts the environment, biodiversity, Canadians' health, and the Canadian economy; (b) Canadians are feeling the impacts of climate change today, from flooding, wildfires, heat waves and other extreme weather events which are projected to intensify in the future; (c) climate change impacts communities across Canada, with coastal, northern and Indigenous communities particularly vulnerable to its effects; and (d) action to support clean growth and meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all parts of the economy are necessary to ensure a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren; and, therefore, that the House declare that Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires, as a response, that Canada commit to meeting its national emissions target under the Paris Agreement and to making deeper reductions in line with the Agreement's objective of holding global warming below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to have the opportunity to address the House of Commons today with respect to our government's motion asking all parliamentarians, elected by Canadians from coast to coast to coast, to acknowledge and declare that climate change is an emergency, that the science behind climate change is clear and that we all need to come together to meet our international obligations.
Why do we need to do this?
Let us listen to Greta, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden. What did she say? She said, “Our house is falling apart, and our leaders need to start acting accordingly.” However, it is not just Greta who is standing up. Young people across Canada are demanding serious climate action from us, elected leaders, who have the ability to act.
Louis and Sara, from Quebec, organized the world's largest demonstration, and they are calling for government action on climate change.
Every Friday, Sophia from Sudbury is out on the streets for Fridaysforfuture. Amelia from my riding of Ottawa Centre is putting posters across Ottawa Centre talking about climate change.
Let me tell members about Carter.
Carter is a young Inuit boy from Cambridge Bay. I met him when I was on a ship in the High Arctic. He sat down beside me and said that he was worried about what he was seeing in his community. He thought that some of the impacts he was seeing were being caused by climate change.
I was lucky to be on a ship with my amazing Environment and Climate Change Canada scientists. I had one of them sit down with Carter. Carter started talking about what was happening in Cambridge Bay in his community. He talked about things that broke my heart. He talked about how when hunters went out to hunt, their feet would get stuck in thawing permafrost like quicksand. He talked about the caribou disappearing, the food on which his community relies. Then he said the saddest thing. He talked about how, after a millennia of hunting on snowmobiles, hunters were now falling through the ice because they could no longer tell its thickness.
We need to come together as a country. We need to join governments from around the world that recognize we are in a climate emergency and we need to act like it.
Today, I had the opportunity to present our scientists' report on climate change in Canada. This report shows that Canada is warming at twice the global rate and at three times that rate in the north.
That means our oceans are acidifying. That means we see more extreme weather events and we will continue to see more and feel the impacts.
The Arctic and North Atlantic oceans will lose their summer pack ice.
As sea levels rise, our coastal areas will flood even more.
I do not need to tell Canadians just about the science; let us talk about what is happening.
Right here, in the national capital region, we have seen the impacts of climate change. Three years ago there was a flood, a flood that was supposed to be a once-in-a-hundred-year flood, that devastated communities. Folks were out of their homes. People were sandbagging. People were worried they were losing their homes and livelihoods. They rebuilt. Then what happened?
Last year in the summer, tornados we had never seen before hit the same community. What happened this year? Now these folks are dealing with another flood. This is a flood that was only supposed to happen once in 100 years. Now we are seeing these events every few years.
We can also talk about what happened in Quebec last summer. Temperatures were so extreme that people died. They died because it was too hot.
Look at what happened out west. Forest fires are burning longer and brighter than ever before. These have real impacts on people. I talked to a mother who worried about whether her kids should go outside because the air quality index was 10 or higher, which meant it was dangerous.
We know the science behind climate change. We know the impacts. It is important that we now come together as a country and act. We may not always agree in the House about which solutions are best, but surely we can agree on the problem, that climate change is an emergency like none we have ever faced before and that we all need to do more to ensure a cleaner, more prosperous future for our kids and grandkids.
Everyone needs to do their part to combat climate change and build a cleaner future for our planet.
I am the second longest-serving environment minister, and it has been a huge honour. I often reflect on when I started this job. Two days into the job, we were off to the Paris climate negotiations. I was not alone. The was there. Members of the opposition were there. All parties were represented. Premiers, indigenous leaders, business leaders and young people were there. We fought for an ambitious Paris Agreement.
After a decade of inaction, after a decade of stalling on climate action, my colleagues told me they were happy Canada was back at the table to be serious about climate action.
That is what we did. We pushed and we made an ambitious agreement, with recognition of indigenous rights and recognition of the importance of the markets. Then we came back to Canada.
What did we do after that? We had our own work to do, because this is not just about signing an agreement with the world. We need to do our part. For a year, we negotiated with the provinces, territories and indigenous peoples. We heard from Canadians, businesses, environmentalists and youth.
We listened to Canadians. We negotiated for a whole year, and we came up with a made-in-Canada climate plan that was made by Canadians. That was a very proud moment, because we showed that we could be serious on climate change, that after a decade of inaction we could have a serious plan that brought folks together and took serious action to not only tackle climate change but to grow a clean economy. The reality is that we do not have to choose. The environment and the economy go together in the 21st century. However, that requires work. That requires finding solutions that are unique to Canada.
Let us talk about our climate plan.
Yes, it is no longer free to pollute. I was extremely proud when the announced that it was no longer free to pollute in the country, because if it is free to pollute, there will be more pollution. We are giving the money back to people, because we know life needs to be affordable. We can do both. We can put a price on pollution to reduce emissions and put more money in people's pockets so they can have choices and can be part of the solution when it comes to tackling climate change.
We invested historic amounts in public transportation. We were the only party to say that those investments needed to be made.
Now we have public transit projects across the country. Right here in Ottawa, light rail transit will mean the largest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa's history.
We have also been investing in our entrepreneurs and inventors. I am seeing clean solutions across the country from coast to coast to coast. It is incredible to see businesses stepping up with clean solutions that not only we but the world desperately needs, which means that we can export and create good jobs right here.
We are also phasing out coal, but we are ensuring a just transition for workers and communities, because everyone has to be part of this transition. We are making historic investments in renewables. We have more than 50 measures outlined in the climate change plan that we made with Canadians. We are moving forward on that plan, and it is making a real difference.
However, we are committed to doing more. That is why we have a sustainable finance task force, with some of the brightest minds trying to figure out how to unleash the trillions of dollars that we need to move to a cleaner future.
That is why we have two experts, Vancity's Tamara Vrooman and Steven Guilbeault, from Quebec, advising us on how to do more in the transportation sector and build buildings in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We are committed to doing more. We are doubling the amount of nature that we are protecting in Canada. That is a good thing, because Canadians love nature, but we also have a biodiversity crisis that is made worse because of climate change. We just had a report that said the planet may be losing up to a million species, and climate change is one of the major contributing factors. We need to be doing more to take care of what we love—our land, our water, our air, our animals.
We are tackling plastic pollution. The creation of plastics creates emissions and so does getting rid of them, and we have too much plastic. We know that if we do not take action, we will have more plastic pollution in our oceans than we will have fish. That is a huge problem, and it is something that we can solve. We are wasting money by throwing out plastics that have value, billions of dollars. We will find ways to move forward, to ban unnecessary single-use plastics, to innovate and find other solutions and alternatives, and to work with countries around the world, because pollution knows no borders.
Unfortunately, we have an opposition of Conservative politicians from across the country who do not seem to understand that we are in a climate emergency, that we have to do more rather than less, that the science is absolutely clear, and that we have solutions that work.
Previously we had a Progressive Conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney. He tackled the biggest challenge I faced when I was growing up, which was acid rain. I was worried that we were going to poison our lakes and rivers, and Brian Mulroney stepped up. He pushed the United States to take action with Canada. He listened to scientists. He talked to our business people to find solutions. What else did he do? He put a price on pollution, and we were able to tackle acid rain.
We can do this. We are a great country. We can figure this out. However, the only way we do that is by coming together. Polarization will end any action on climate change. We have seen that story. We have seen that story south of the border. We also see it in places like France.
That is where the yellow vests movement started. Of course people want life to be affordable. Fighting climate change has gotten harder. I saw that when I was in France for a G7 meeting last week.
We need to bring Canadians together. In the three and a half years I have been in this job, I realize that yes, we need laws; yes, we need regulations; yes, we need investments, but most of all we need to bring Canadians together.
Canadians, whether a farmer in a small town in Saskatchewan, an Inuk who lives in Cambridge Bay, a person who lives in Prince Edward Island or downtown Toronto or Ottawa centre or British Columbia, care about our environment. Canadians care about clean air and clean water. They want to tackle climate change, but they also want life to be affordable. They also want good jobs. We can do both. We can make sure that the environment and the economy go together.
We know how to solve these problems, but we need to stop fighting with each other. People need to stop telling the kind of falsehoods we keep hearing from Conservative politicians and premiers in this country. They say fighting climate change costs too much, so we cannot do it. They think putting a price on pollution is just a way to fill government coffers, but that is not true.
It is false. We have a plan. We put a price on pollution and we are giving that money back. A family of four in Ontario will get $307.
We are taking action to put a price on pollution but giving the money back to families, such that a family of four in Ontario will get $307. That is more than 80% of what families pay.
Why would Conservative premiers want to not tell the truth? The truth is that we can tackle climate change and do it in a way that is affordable. Why would there be a sticker campaign to mislead Canadians? Why would there be advertising using taxpayers' dollars to mislead Canadians?
We are bringing this motion today. It is not a partisan motion. Everyone should be able to support it.
What does the motion ask? The motion asks that we recognize that climate change is an emergency, that the science behind climate change is clear, that we need to meet our international obligations.
I know we can do this. I know we are a country that has come together, that has faced so many challenges. Think about the efforts that we put in during the two great wars. We stood up. We stood up as a country. We built this great country, and we are blessed because we have amazing natural resources in this country. We have a beautiful country. Our unspoiled wilderness is one of the largest in the world.
Most of all, we have our people. We were elected by Canadians from coast to coast to coast, who expect us to stand up, who expect us to make decisions based on science, who expect us to take action to tackle climate change, who expect us to come together on the biggest challenge that we face and expect us to answer our kids. Our kids are marching in the streets, demanding that we step up.
We know what the problem is: We have too much pollution. We know what the solutions are and we need to be coming together. It is so critically important that we recognize the science, that we recognize that we have an obligation to come together, as we said we would in Paris, to meet our international obligations, to be serious about tackling climate change, to not fight about whether we need to take action but come together and fight for more action and push each other to look at what more we can do, yet always remembering that people are at the heart of what we do. We need to make sure that we bring folks together.
I have learned in this job that I am the Minister of Environment and Climate Change for all Canadians, not only for environmentalists but also for people who work in the energy sector, for people who live in the north of the country and people who live in major cities. I recognize that. It means that every day I work hard with Canadians to find solutions.
When I look at what is happening, I see towns across the country taking serious action on climate change because they cannot ignore it. When there are floods, they have to be there. When Constance Bay is once again hit by another flood, the elected municipal leaders need to be there. They are there helping to fill sandbags, because they cannot ignore the science on climate change.
I see it with Canadian companies. There are so many incredible companies that are working so hard to tackle climate change. They are coming out with amazing, incredible solutions. Whether it is CarbonCure out of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, or Carbon Engineering out of Burnaby, these companies are finding amazing solutions. They are showing us what we can do, showing us that we have the ingenuity, that we know what the problems are and can figure out the solutions.
That is why I am asking everyone in this House to come together, to put partisan politics aside and vote for a very simple motion. It is not a complicated motion and it is not a partisan motion. All it asks is that everyone in this House stand together and recognize that the science behind climate change is clear. It points to the fact that we are in a climate emergency and that we need to meet our international obligations.
Canadians will be proud.
Canadians will be proud that we can put political differences aside and say that climate change is a problem but that we can tackle it. We were elected by Canadians to stand up and deal with hard issues, to represent them, to show leadership and to be their voices right here in the House of Commons. I ask everyone to recognize that we need to act. We have a climate emergency.
Greta is asking, and children across Canada and around the world are asking, will we be serious? Will we recognize that there is a climate emergency? Will we stand up and take the action we need to and act?
It is their future. We are only borrowing this planet, and we will pass it on to our children and grandchildren. We owe it to them to pass on a sustainable planet. We owe it to them to ensure that they have good jobs and that life is affordable. We owe it them to come together.
We need to take action now for our children and grandchildren. They are asking us to. They are marching in the streets every Friday because they want us, their elected representatives, to show leadership. Are we going to stand up and say that there is a climate emergency and we need to come together to meet our international obligations? It is simple.
It is a simple request, and it is actually very reasonable. It is reasonable that they would want us to act. It is reasonable that they would ask us to put aside our partisan differences and actually come together to tackle the most challenging problem we face with the Canadian can-do spirit. We can figure this out. We can provide the solutions the world needs, and we can be creating jobs.
I am very proud that our government has a climate plan that we worked on and developed with Canadians. At the same time, we have created one million jobs. We can do both, which is something we all must recognize. Taking action on climate change is not a choice about the environment or the economy. We can do both. We can grow the economy and take serious action on climate change. That is what Canadians expect us to do, and that is what we are delivering on.
However, if we do not come together, we may lose all of this progress. It is a simple request: that we all stand up for the science behind climate change; that we stand up and recognize that we are in a climate emergency; and that we stand up and say that, yes, we are going to meet our international obligations and we are going to come together to do that.
I hope all parliamentarians will vote in favour of this motion and recognize climate change science, the climate emergency and the importance of meeting our international obligations.
I know that we can do this. I have seen it across the country. I have seen that Canadians are committed to acting. Now we need to act like leaders. We need to be serious about tackling climate change. We need to come together, and we need to do it now.
Mr. Speaker, the has a difficult job, and I understand her frustration. She has to defend a climate plan that has failed miserably. She does not know where to turn, because the is jetting around the world, embarrassing Canada on the international stage.
However, she started her speech by claiming this was a non-partisan issue, when of course the motion before us is fiercely partisan. Then she said, in all those warm and fuzzy statements, that she hoped this House would come together, I guess suggesting there would be a Kumbaya moment. Then she launched into a fiercely partisan speech.
In fact, she went so far as to suggest that the Conservative premiers in Canada, namely in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and P.E.I., were liars. She said they were not telling truth, and we know that means. We are not allowed to call each other liars in the House, but she said in the House that those premiers were not telling the truth, as if she is the virtuous one telling the truth.
The rest of her speech was, of course, partisan, so how does she expect to bring this House together? How does she expect that Canadians are going to believe her, when her plan has failed so miserably?
Let me talk about the motion. I want to highlight a few parts of it. The motion states in part:
That the House recognize that: (a) climate change is a real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity, that impacts the environment, biodiversity, Canadians' health, and the Canadian economy; (b) Canadians are feeling the impacts of climate change today, from flooding, wildfires, heat waves and other extreme weather events which are projected to intensify in the future; (c) climate change impacts communities across Canada, with coastal, northern and Indigenous communities particularly vulnerable to its effects; and (d) action to support clean growth and meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all parts of the economy are necessary to ensure a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren—
So far, for the most part, we can come to a consensus on this. We might quibble about a few words, but there is general agreement that we have a very serious global climate challenge that needs to be addressed, and Canadians are prepared to do that.
The motion then goes on to say, “and, therefore, that the House declare that Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires, as a response, that Canada commit to meeting its national emissions target under the Paris Agreement”, and I would ask members to remember those words, “and to making deeper reductions in line with the Agreement's objective of holding global warming below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
That is the end of the motion, and the last part of it has some very serious problems for the government. It is the government's motion and the government's climate change plan, so how is that all working out?
Before I comment on that, I want to highlight that all of us in the House acknowledge that climate change is real, that we as humans contribute to climate change, and that we must do our part to address that challenge. I believe Canadians understand that problem. They understand that we face a global challenge that needs to be responded to globally, and that Canada can play a very helpful and constructive role in delivering a lot of the solutions required. I will get into that a little later.
This motion actually has nothing to do with taking meaningful action on climate change. This is effectively political posturing by the Liberals.
Let us think of the timing here. We are days before this Parliament comes to an end. We are on the eve of an election. For almost four years, the current government has done virtually nothing on the climate change file. The plan that the Liberals tabled with the premiers in Vancouver about six months after they were elected is an abject failure. They are scrambling because this is the last piece of their legacy that has any ability to survive, and they come up with a motion declaring a national emergency when actually the challenge is a global one.
It gets worse. The political posturing here is actually jaw-dropping when we place it in the context of the government's record of failure on the climate change file. It is the current government that adopted the Paris targets. By the way, those were the previous Conservative government's targets. Members may remember that the Liberals said they would take those targets but treat them as a floor. The Liberals said they were going to increase those targets. They accepted the Conservative targets and baked them into our Paris Agreement commitments. What happened? We were supposed to make progress. We were supposed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by a couple of hundred megatonnes by 2030.
Are we on track to do that? We all know we are not. In fact, the government's own documents show that in 2016 the Liberal government fell 44 megatonnes short of meeting its Paris targets. In 2017, the Liberals were 66 megatonnes short. In 2018, the latest report says they are 79 megatonnes short. We can see that this is going in the wrong direction. The report goes so far as to signal that by the time we hit 2030, the government could be up to 115 megatonnes short of its Paris targets.
This is the party that was doing all the virtue signalling in the last election. The Liberals were the “green party”. They were going to deliver for Canadians. They were going to go to Paris and sign on to really ambitious targets, which ended up being the Stephen Harper targets, and now they are not even meeting those targets. In fact, they are falling so far behind that they have become a bit of an international joke.
I know that because when the was at committee a couple of weeks ago, she was asked, point blank, if she was on track to meet her Paris targets. She said yes. Then she was asked if she could provide the committee with any proof that she is going to meet those targets. She responded by holding up this skimpy document with a couple of pages. She said it was right there, and she was pointing to a pie chart.
I have the pie chart here, and it has allocated very specific commitments. One of the commitments is that the Liberals are going to attribute 13 megatonnes of reductions to the role that forests play in Canada. The problem is they do not have any science to back it up.
They are asking for credits under the Paris Agreement, when the rules to establish those credits are not in place. In fact, even at the last United Nations meeting that discusses these issues, COP24 in Poland, Brazil was holding up consensus on these rules; there is really no immediate prospect that those rules will be in place.
The government is claiming credit for something it does not have the right to claim credit for under the Paris Agreement. It also claims credit for something called additional measures. Nobody knows what additional measures are. We have been trying to figure out what those measures are. They include things like federal, provincial and territorial policies and measures, including those under the Liberals' own failed climate plan, that have been announced but are not yet fully implemented.
Here we are talking about policies that may or may not be implemented and may or may not be effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and effectively what the Liberals are asking us to do is trust them. “Trust us; we know what we are doing,” they say. Their plan is failing and they are not meeting targets, but they want us to trust them because they have a plan to make up the difference, the 79 megatonnes or the 115 megatonnes that would still leave us 50% short of our Paris targets. They have a plan.
There is another problem with the pie chart that the minister held up at committee. There is a chunk of proposed policies that would lead to about 79 megatonnes' worth of reductions if we take them at their word. However, right there, in print, it says, “These measures are unmodelled.” That means fictitious or illusory. We can come up with a whole bunch of synonyms to describe what that means. “Unmodelled” means they have not actually done the work to figure out if these measures are even going to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they are putting them in the window so they can mislead Canadians into thinking they have a plan to make up the gap in their failed environment plan.
That is what is happening. It is a charade. By the way, the additional measures the Liberals talk about also include the carbon tax, which of course, right now, is $20 per tonne of emissions.
Let us talk about the carbon tax. We know that carbon taxes will not do anything to help the environment. We cannot tax our way to a cleaner economy. Here is the problem. It does nothing for the environment, but it puts an unnecessary burden on Canadian families and small businesses, who are already overtaxed.
We know that the tax burden in Canada for the average Canadian family has gone up by about $800 per year. We also know that 50% of Canadians are $200 or less away from becoming insolvent. Do we really want to tax them more? Yes, that is what the Liberal plan is. It is a tax plan. It is not a climate plan. Members should remember, the carbon tax is a tax on absolutely everything. It will cost Canadians more to fill their cars with gas. They know that across the country, because gas prices are skyrocketing.
In my province of British Columbia, the price of gas at the pump is $1.80. Somewhere around 65¢ of that is government taxes, and the Liberals are increasing that. Right now, that carbon tax is $20 per tonne of emissions. We know that by 2022, it will go up to $50 per tonne. We also know, from government documents that I would be glad to show everyone, that the Liberals want to move to a carbon tax of $200 to $300 per tonne. That works out to another 66¢ per litre of gas.
I hope Canadians who are watching these proceedings understand what is at stake here. This is a government that loves to spend. Liberal governments are tax-and-spend governments. We know that. It is baked into their gene pool. The Liberals are talking about $200 to $300 more per tonne in carbon tax alone, but there is another kicker. Are members aware that the Liberals charge GST on their carbon tax?
It is a tax on a tax. Does any of the GST they collect on the carbon tax go back to Canadians? I am looking at my Liberal friends across the way, because they know the answer: It is no. It goes into government coffers and is spent on the government's own political priorities.
However, it gets worse. The government has said that by the end of June, it is going to announce what it calls its “clean fuel standard”. We call it the “Liberal fuel standard”. I have had stakeholder after stakeholder in my office, the ones who will be impacted by this clean fuel standard, and I have asked each one of them how much cost this will add. The carbon tax started at $20. It will go to $50 by 2022 and will probably go to $200 to $300 per tonne in the future. Now, on top of that, we have this fuel standard. How much is that expected to add on top of the carbon tax? The lowest estimate from those stakeholders was $200 per tonne of emissions, and estimates went as high as $400 per tonne.
Members can see where this is going. This is a huge, oppressive tax burden being placed on Canadians under a plan that is not working.
I have already shown that the Liberal climate change plan is not working. The Liberals are not meeting their targets. A host of people have confirmed that the Liberals are not meeting their greenhouse gas emissions targets. I will list just some of the many people who have told the she is wrong, that she is not meeting the Paris targets and should not con people into thinking she is.
The environment commissioner for Canada has said that. The Auditor General has said it. The United Nations itself has commented on the fact that Canada does not appear to be on track to meet its Paris emissions targets. The Pembina Institute, Environmental Defence, and the Climate Action Network Canada, which are all friends of the , have all said that the government is not going to meet its Paris targets. David Suzuki himself has said that Canada will not meet its targets.
When we look at the Liberals' performance, we see that they have not delivered on what they promised. It is another broken promise by the .
Members may remember that he promised balanced budgets by 2019. Where is the balanced budget? We now know it will not be balanced until 2040. That is when we could see a balanced budget. When young Canadians understand that, they point out to me that my generation is going to be gone, but they are going to be left holding the bag. They wonder if they will have to pay back the money that has been borrowed. I have to say that yes, that is the case.
The budget is supposed to be balanced by 2040. That date represents another broken promise. Do members remember “small deficits”? A broken promise. Do members remember electoral reform? A broken promise. Then we have the environment plan, with the Liberals saying they are going to meet our Paris targets. It is a broken promise.
I now want to talk a bit more about the Liberal carbon tax.
Liberals are very sensitive. They have a very thin skin. Whenever they are criticized, they fire back and point to the B.C. carbon tax. To them, it is the paragon of virtue when it comes to carbon taxes.
Well, we know that all the promises made with respect to that tax have been broken as well.
It was brought in under the previous Liberal government in British Columbia under Premier Gordon Campbell. For full disclosure, he is a good friend of mine. I believe when he brought this measure forward, his motives were pure. The execution probably was not as good as it could have been, but I think he meant well.
He made three promises. The first promise on this B.C. carbon tax, which these folks are trying to emulate, was that the carbon tax would be capped at $30 per tonne. How did that work out? Today, the tax in B.C. is $40 per tonne, and it goes up every year by at least $5. British Columbians have been had on that one. That is one broken promise.
The second promise was that this was going to reduce overall gas emissions in British Columbia. Today we know that is a broken promise, because emissions continue to go up. Yesterday my NDP colleague from New Westminister suggested they are going down, but all the statistics show that emissions are going up, not down. That is another broken promise.
The third promise was that this tax was going to be revenue neutral, meaning that every dollar that is pulled out of one pocket from a taxpayer goes back in the other pocket in other tax relief. Does that sound familiar? That is really the Liberals' plan.
How did that work out in British Columbia? A new NDP government came in, and the first act of that government was to eliminate the revenue neutrality on that tax. That was another broken promise. Three promises were broken with respect to the carbon tax.
Have members ever asked themselves why, out of the 50 different policies and programs that the mentioned in her speech, the only one that is mandatory and is being imposed on the provinces and territories with the heavy hand of the current is the carbon tax? It is the only tool in that 50-tool tool kit. Why is that? Why have the Liberals selected that one and why are they are so intent on jamming it down the throats of the provinces and territories?
I know, and members know. It is because this is going to be a revenue-raising tool after the election. The Liberals are going to eliminate all these funny cheques they are sending out, and Canadians will be left holding the bag. That is the way it is under Liberal governments. If it happened in British Columbia, sure as shooting it is going to happen with the current Liberal government. The plan is failing. It is actually a tax plan.
Let us talk about who this tax hits the most.
We would assume that a benevolent Liberal government would look out for the most vulnerable, the working poor, the average Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet, and not make them bear the burden of the tax. Instead, the tax would be on the biggest polluters, but do members know what the Liberal climate change plan, the tax plan, will do? It will give the big polluters an exemption of up to 90% on this tax.
Think about that. The average consumer will pay 100% of the tax that is levied. Maybe these folks have great connections to the , because he said the big polluters would only have to pay 10% of the amount they should be paying and that they would get an exemption of 90%. When we add up all of the money that is collected under the carbon tax, what percentage of that do members think the big polluters will have to pay? Of that big pot of money that is going into government coffers from the carbon tax, what portion is being paid by the big polluters, the ones we would expect would pay the most? It is 8%. Canadians, consumers and small businesses are left paying the other 92% of that tax.
That is shameful. That should not be happening.
We should have a plan that treats our taxpayers with respect, that actually makes measurable improvements to the environment, measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We should not be misleading Canadians about our objectives and our achievements, yet that is what the government is doing. The Liberals are misleading Canadians about their plan, and it is a failed plan.
When we look at this failed plan and the carbon taxes, we see that gas prices in British Columbia are in the order of $1.80 per litre. If we think of all the other taxes that are being levied and about how the Liberal government is already committed to raising this carbon tax as the years go by, we can see that high gas prices are going to be a reality in Canada if the Liberals are re-elected in October of this year.
However, there is very good news: A plan is coming. We have promised that we will release our environment plan before the end of June. It will be a plan that understands that climate change is a global issue, a global challenge requiring global solutions, and that Canada is perfectly positioned to deliver on many of those solutions. We are world leaders in so many areas; why would we not leverage that excellence to help the world reduce emissions?
Our plan is going to be workable, it is going to be realistic, and it will give Canada the best chance to meet its targets.
I would like to close by moving this amendment.
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “that” and substituting the following:
the House recognize that:
a. climate change is a real and urgent global problem requiring real global solutions and that Canada can and must take a leadership role in developing those global solutions;
(b) human activity has an impact on climate change and its effects impact communities across the country and the world;
(c) Canada and the world must take urgent action to mitigate global climate change and combat its impacts on the environment;
(d) the government's own “Clean Canada” report shows the government is falling short of the Paris targets by 79 million tonnes;
and, therefore, as an alternative to its current proposal to tackle climate change involving a non-binding declaration, the House call upon the government to produce a real climate change plan that will enable Canada to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions according to the targets of the Paris agreement.
That is my amendment.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
I am very pleased today to rise to debate a motion calling for a climate emergency declaration by Canada. It is very important to declare a climate emergency. That is a call for all of us to work together with urgency to meet the biggest challenge this country has faced since World War II and perhaps the biggest challenge in human history. I will be supporting the government motion and I will try not to engage in a polemic about who was first.
An NDP motion was followed quickly by the government motion. That is a good idea. Unfortunately, the new Green member has chosen to engage in a polemic before he has even come to the House, somehow taking credit for what is going on here. I welcome him to join us and I welcome a similar motion from the Green Party. We have to work together in the country to meet the challenges of climate change.
Since the Conservatives just moved an amendment, I want to address that amendment very quickly.
The member for says that we should wait for the Conservatives' plan, I am a little worried about their plan, given their amendment today. Let me point out three things their amendment would do.
First, it would eliminate climate emergency from the motion. It would take away the most important thing about the debate going on in the House now, which is the recognition that we have very few years left to act before climate change becomes irreversible and its impacts make this planet uninhabitable.
Second, it says that human action has an impact on climate. Here we are, back to the Conservatives denying the source of climate change. We know it is human activity. We know we are causing the rise in temperatures and the great variations in our climate. Therefore, because we are causing it, we can do something about it.
The third thing the proposed Conservative amendment does is blame everybody else. Its emphasis is on global action. Yes, of course, global action is required. Action by all of us is required to meet those challenges. However, the Conservative amendment places all of the emphasis on other people and what other people are doing.
I hope the whole world will react as one in the attack on climate change. That does not excuse us from ensuring we meet our responsibilities in the House and through our government.
A lot of things have been thrown around about who was first, who has the longest record and who has the strongest record. I want to put on the record that I know there are members in at least two of the parties here, three if we count unofficial parties, who have long and strong records on the environment. There have been some false things said lately in my riding about my environment record, so I want to talk just for a minute about this.
As a student, on the first Earth Day in 1970, I joined with my fellow students to block traffic during rush hour, and I learned a very powerful lesson that day. We made a lot of people angry and we made no change. I learned at that time that it is much better to build the coalitions we need to bring about the required changes.
The second time I got involved in climate change was when I got a job working for an organization called Pacific Peoples' Partnership. It is an indigenous-led organization that builds links between indigenous people in Canada and the Pacific Islands. I became the executive director in 1989. Pacific Islanders brought two issues to our attention in 1989, 30 years ago. One was the great Pacific garbage patch, the plastic patch in the Pacific Ocean. At that time, it was, horrifyingly, as big as Vancouver Island, and I will come back to that in a minute.
The second issue it wanted us to raise in Canada was global warming, as it was called then, as a threat to the habitability of the Pacific Islands, not requiring them to get swimming lessons, as it is often trivialized, but threats to the coral reefs, which protect the ecosystems of those islands. We are now seeing a huge die-off of coral reefs around the world, and increased storm surges. All of the Pacific Islands depend on a lens of fresh water that sits underneath the islands. With the storm surges, they were fearing increasing invasion of those lenses by salt water, which would make the islands uninhabitable.
That was, as I said, 30 years ago when I started working on the issue of climate change. We organized a tour of high schools and I published a series of articles, warning about the impacts of what we were then calling global warming.
I was elected to Esquimalt council in 2010. When we had the first emergency measures meeting, I asked what we had for oil spills, because we have long and beautiful coast in Esquimalt, and the answer was “nothing”. I was the first elected official in the country to move a motion against what was then the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
The second thing I was able to do on council was get Esquimalt to become one of the first municipalities in the entire country to adopt science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets. People asked at the time what that meant. It meant to me, and it still means in Esquimalt's policy, that we have to adjust those targets to what is necessary to keep the warming to 1.5°C or below. It was not simply saying that this is what we have to do; it was saying that we have to do this much and keep our eye on the ball and maybe do more as time goes on.
When I was doing a tour of high schools 30 years ago, I did not really imagine that, first, I would ever become an MP, but more important, that I would be standing here in this chamber when the great Pacific garbage patch was now not just bigger than Vancouver Island but bigger than B.C. and Alberta combined. I did not imagine that I would be standing here, when climate change is now clearly a threat to our very survival, and we would still be so far from any effective action to meet these challenges.
That is where I am disappointed with the government motion. As I said, I am happy to support it, because anything that brings us together to fight climate change is a good idea. However, I could not have imagined that this is what I would be standing here talking about, when reports show that we will soon have more plastic in the oceans than fish and when reports show that Canada will not meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets set in Paris, a reduction of 25% below 2005 levels by 2030, and that it will not meet those targets for 200 years with the current policies that are in place.
I am going to be supporting the government motion, despite what I would call omissions. One of the first of those, to me, is that there is no mention of reconciliation. On a side note, I have heard Liberals talking about our motion and saying that eliminating fossil fuel subsidies means cutting off power in remote indigenous communities. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have said that a climate change plan has to prioritize reconciliation, and that means dealing with those first nation communities that are the most affected by climate change: in the attack on traditional activities; in the flooding we have seen taking place; and in their dependence on diesel fuel, which makes life very unaffordable.
We have the example in my own riding of the T'Sou-ke Nation, which has become energy self-sufficient using solar power and now sells power back to the grid. That is what it means to prioritize reconciliation in a climate change plan to help first nations become self-sufficient on a renewable-energy basis that creates good jobs in their communities.
There is no mention of workers or jobs in the government's motion. I firmly believe that we cannot get the collective action we need on climate change if we have policies that leave certain parts of Canada, certain communities and certain kinds of workers behind. We know that the technology now exists for a transition to a net zero-carbon energy economy very quickly, and that will create good, family-supporting jobs in every community in this country.
We in the NDP have put forward some of our planks. One of those is an energy retrofit program to retrofit the entire building and housing stock in this country. That would create good jobs in every community and jobs that would use some of those same skills that people who work in the oil-based energy industry already have. A good example is geothermal. Geothermal energy uses almost the same skills, in terms of engineering, welding and all those other kinds of things, that are already used in the oil patch.
I want to conclude by saying once again that I believe that it is important to declare a climate emergency, because we are simply running out of time to change. It is no longer a question of the distant future. We have seen the massive forest fires around the country. We have seen the massive flooding. We are already in the midst of what is called the second great extinction. We are about to lose one million species of plants and animals. That will destroy the web of life that our very existence depends upon.
Many Canadians have already taken individual action to reduce their carbon footprints, but personal action alone will not meet these challenges. We must come together in urgent and major collective action to address the threat of climate change. We need a declaration of a climate emergency and plans to attack that emergency very, very quickly.
Mr. Speaker, declaring a climate emergency sends an urgent warning that must be followed by concrete action, of which there is no mention in the government's motion. The time for half measures has long passed. If we want our government to take action to achieve the Paris Agreement targets, we must not stand idly by. We do not have 30 years to act, we have 11. It is our responsibility to take drastic action right now, as we are being asked to do by the scientists and young people who protest in the streets every Friday. We have to take our heads out of the sand and swallow our pride.
The members and political parties of this place must take stock of their actions. What have we done in the past 30 years? What have we done in the past four years?
Yesterday, the was upset with the Conservatives. I believe she should instead be upset with her own government and her own record. Whenever she has to make a difficult choice between a polluting industry and the environment, she always chooses the polluting industry.
According to a recent report from Oil Change International, which examined energy investments from 2012 to 2017, Export Development Canada provided 12 times more support for the oil and gas sector, which received $62 billion, than for clean technology, which received a meagre $5 billion. Just last December, oil and gas companies received a new investment of $1.6 billion. This is a concrete example of how the federal government is not putting its money where its mouth is.
All the Liberals have to show for after four years is the purchase of an old pipeline for $4.5 billion. Scientists say that the project will cost three times more money. Let us also remember that the was not even appointed chair or vice-chair of the cabinet committee on the environment and climate change. Moreover, greenhouse gas emissions are up across Canada, as confirmed by the Department of the Environment.
The Department of the Environment said it will take Canada 200 years to reach its targets for 2030, which is only 11 years away. According to the Environment Canada report, these targets will only be reached in 2230. This makes no sense.
The Conservatives, the NDP, the Green Party and the Bloc Québécois all need to incorporate climate change action into their policy agendas. We all need to have a plan for limiting the impact on Quebec and Canadian families.
We need to act now and revolutionize our ways of thinking, because the facts are stark and troubling. The temperature is expected to rise by 5°C to 6°C, one million animal species are facing extinction, and we are seeing more and more natural disasters each year. The flooding is still not fully under control. Forest fires recently broke out in Ontario. Last year, Quebec experienced one of the deadliest heat waves in its history. The list goes on. Everyone knows what we are going through.
Every Friday, thousands of kids and teens march through the streets to demand that the provincial and federal governments take concrete, measurable action and follow up to monitor our progress. Scientists say there is not enough follow-up. Normand Baillargeon has been interviewed on this subject many times. Canada has no costed plan for meeting its targets, the same feeble targets that the Liberals criticized when they were first set by the Conservatives. Over the past year, our GHG emissions have risen by 12 million tonnes. Young people are reminding us that we are heading in completely the wrong direction.
If strikes do not get the message across, legal action might. On June 6, we will find out if ENvironnement JEUnesse gets the go-ahead to sue the government for infringing on the environmental rights of people age 35 and under. They are also demanding concrete measures and an action plan, and they want the Liberals and provincial and national governments to meet their obligations.
Everyone keeps saying that the environment is the number one issue for young people. It affects us all, of course, but young people will have to live with the consequences of what we choose to do and not do at this point in time for longer.
Now the government says we should declare a state of emergency. It is sounding the alarm, but there are no concrete measures in today's government motion.
Why is there no date? Nobody knows when the Paris Agreement targets will be met. Why are there no solutions to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies right away? The Liberals say they put it in their budget, but fossil fuel subsidies are not going away for years and years.
Why is the government not investing in renewable energy industries? Many environmental groups are saying that we should. I would like to quote Équiterre, since the Liberals like to brag about recruiting Équiterre's co-founder, Steven Guilbeault, as an adviser. According to Équiterre, investments in renewable energy create six to eight times more jobs than fossil fuel investments.
Our country agreed to dramatically cut fossil fuel subsidies. Before the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, every Quebecker and every Canadian was giving $100 to the oil industry. That is more than the United States' $60 per capita average. The Liberals have committed to continuing the process over the next six years by buying the Trans Mountain pipeline and increasing that amount from $100 to $600 in tax dollars per Canadian. That money is going to end up in the pockets of multinationals that do not need it.
That money could be used to invest in more equitable markets and green energy, but the government continues to focus on fossil fuels. The Trans Mountain pipeline will triple oil sands production and increase oil tanker traffic sevenfold. That does not make any sense.
How will such decisions help us meet our Paris Agreement targets? The Liberals are unable to answer those questions.
I am not making this up. On February 10, we invited the constituents of Salaberry—Suroît to draft motions that may eventually be presented to the Government of Canada. It seems like the Liberals are at an impasse. They no longer know how to come up with creative legislation.
I have some of the motions drafted by my constituents on February 10. They call for clear product labels that show their environmental impact and make them easier to recycle; targets to be set for the transition to a circular economy; binding greenhouse gas reduction targets in legislation requiring compliance with the Canadian government's commitments under the Paris Agreement on fighting climate change; legislation requiring disclosure by major banks and Canadian pension funds of their investments in fossil fuels; and a mandatory national system for assessing building energy efficiency, which would require amending the National Building Code of Canada.
I would now like to acknowledge in the House the citizens who drafted these motions. They worked with the following five resource people who volunteered their time: Lorraine Simard, Laurent Lenoir, Lorraine Caron, David Funk and Karel Ménard. I thank them very much for their time.
Furthermore, entrepreneurs in my riding would appreciate some help with some products they believe can support the energy transition. However, Canada is not doing much to promote these new technologies and innovations. The government prefers to give $12 million to Loblaws.
For the time being, there are no plans to update the National Building Code of Canada to reflect climate change. There is clearly a lack of political will to take drastic action.
To use a term Quebeckers relate to, we do not need a quiet revolution, but a meaningful, far-reaching green revolution.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
I stand today in the House to call on the House to declare that Canada is in a national climate emergency. To address that, we must not only meet our national emissions targets under the Paris Agreement, but we must go further. As I say that, I pause, because this is a real and scary truth, and fear is a difficult emotion.
When I was thinking about this debate today, I thought about when I was a teenager and saw a film called If You Love This Planet. It was about the dangers of nuclear weapons. What I felt when I saw that film was fear. Fear can be immobilizing, and that is a danger when we are talking about something like a climate emergency. We cannot be immobilized. We need to take action, and we need to take action now.
Today, as we participate in this debate, we are facing that fear and putting a direction and a course of action as to how we will respond, because our country is on a path to transition to a low-carbon economy. We are on that path and we cannot falter; in fact, we need to speed up. For me, seeing how we are proceeding with the transition to a low-carbon economy is what gives me hope and strength to know how we are going to move forward.
Today, I will outline some of the things we are doing. I do not have enough time to speak about all of the actions that are being taken, but I will be talking about the price on pollution, building retrofits, investments in public transportation and a zero-emission vehicle strategy, and phasing out coal-fired electricity. Those are all steps that are being taken right now as we transition toward a low-carbon economy.
Before we go further, I would like to address one factor that has given me reason to question, and I know that I have had questions from others about what our government's climate plan is, and that factor is the Trans Mountain pipeline. I opposed the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, but there is one thing I must emphasize. I disagree with people who say that this purchase negates all of the other work that is being done to transition to a low-carbon economy. It does not. There is much work that is being done right now, and there is much more that needs to be done. We need to keep pushing.
I give a shout-out to all the activists and environmentalists out there, because they are the ones who helped to clear the path and to push us down that path further toward a low-carbon economy. We need that strength. As we push forward, we also need to mark where we have come from, where we are now and where we want to go, what the further steps are. It is a road map. Without a road map, it can be dispiriting because we cannot just push without looking forward, looking backward and seeing what we need to get to success.
What have we been doing over the past three and a half years to transition to a low-carbon economy? The single most important piece, and I cannot emphasize this enough, is putting a price on pollution. Here I want to thank some of the environmental activists out there. Citizens' Climate Lobby has been wonderful in coming out and taking the time to speak to MPs and educate communities about the importance of a price on pollution. Its work has been tremendous.
Last year, Paul Romer and William Nordhaus won the Nobel Prize for economics. Both studied a price on pollution, and what they found was that it works. It works because it signals to consumers and to producers which services and which goods have a higher carbon effect on us. It also encourages innovation, and that is exactly what we need: We need to innovate.
When William Nordhaus looked for a place to point out as a success story, he pointed to British Columbia, which has a system very similar to the plan that is being rolled out nationally. He pointed to the fact that not only does British Columbia have a strong economy, but it has lowered per capita gasoline use and improved vehicle fuel efficiency. The price on pollution has worked, and it has been there for over a decade.
Here I give a shout-out to the activists, because this is where we need to stand strong together.
The price on pollution is essential, but there is a lot of pressure right now to dismantle that system. There are court cases in Saskatchewan and in Ontario. I was very pleased that we won the court case in Saskatchewan in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, but there is a lot of pressure. Right now, in Ontario, the Ontario government is rolling out a $30-million ad campaign to convince people that a price on pollution is not the way to go. Rather than using the money for planting trees and fighting climate change and doing what we need to do, the Ontario government has chosen to use that money to fight the climate plan, to fight this essential building block.
This is an active battle. The price on pollution must stay. We need it as an essential building block for a low-carbon economy. To everyone who believes we need to do this and believes there is a climate emergency, we need to come together and fight to make sure the price on pollution stays.
As I was studying the sources of our emissions and what we need to do, one thing I found surprising was that it is buildings that are the largest CO2 emitters in cities. In fact, in the GTHA, 44% of our emissions come from buildings. A lot of work is being done right now to address that issue. Some of it relates to retrofits, model building codes, energy efficiency regulations and innovation. All of these are important steps in trying to reduce the emissions coming from our buildings.
The largest source of the greenhouse gases coming from our buildings is what we use to heat and cool them, and in Toronto there have been federal investments in the Enwave deep lake cooling system. That system cools all of downtown Toronto's hospitals in a low-carbon way. It does not produce all of those emissions, which is exactly what we are trying to move away from. It also cools many of Toronto's downtown buildings, including university buildings and office buildings. Through federal investments, we have allowed that system to expand, and that is exactly the innovation we want to see.
We have also put in place energy efficiency regulations to improve the energy performance of over 20 categories of appliances and equipment. This will decrease GHG emissions by about 700,000 tonnes by 2030.
Another thing I care about deeply is emissions from transportation, and I have been working on this issue. About 25% of Canada's emissions come from transportation. Our government has made historic investments in public transit, and we are also deploying electrical vehicle charging stations and implementing a zero emissions vehicle strategy. All of these things will come together as part of the transition to a low-carbon economy.
I am a TTC rider and I use public transit. I know that the system in Toronto faces many problems related to overcrowding and maintenance issues. In my own community, we feel deeply the need for a relief line.
Our government has made investments there. In fact, almost $5 billion was allocated for public transit in the city of Toronto. However, there are some hiccups right now with the provincial government, and that is causing some complications. Despite this, I can say that all of my Toronto colleagues and I are championing and will champion the city's public transit system. We will stand by our city leaders to make sure Toronto gets what it needs to have a strong transit system.
So far, we have funded maintenance, which, as I said, was much needed, and we have addressed the need for buses. We have helped to purchase electric buses, and we have also invested in active transportation, such as in expanding bike sharing and bike parking. I would love to see a national active transportation strategy.
The last piece is about coal. I note that 11% of Canada's electricity supply is from coal-fired electricity, but it is responsible for 72% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector.
Ontario moved away from coal-fired plants many years ago, and we felt the difference. We used to have 50 smog days a year, and we are now down to zero. That is a tremendous difference, and it has an impact on our health. It is something we need to do.
We are moving on a just transition away from coal-fired plants. In talking to members today, I am building out that road map.
We have a long road to travel, but we are on it, and we need to work together to make sure that we continue in our transition to a low-carbon economy.
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the motion before us today that declares a state of climate emergency in Canada.
It is clear, I think, to a large majority of Canadians, and certainly to a large majority of Quebeckers, that the situation with respect to climate change is in fact urgent and requires significant measures. While my Conservative colleagues refuse to face the urgent need to take action, I want to remind them that not having a plan for the environment at this point is completely irresponsible, especially considering the scientific evidence we are seeing on a weekly basis. It is irresponsible to future generations not only from an environmental standpoint, but also from an economic standpoint, and I will expand on that during my speech.
Climate change is a global problem that threatens our environment and our society as a whole. Sudden increases in global temperatures are causing drought, flooding, landslides and powerful hurricanes. We do not have to look very far to see the devastating effect this is having on many Canadians who, at this very moment, are fighting to save their houses from the flooding that has occurred two out of the past three years. Many people assumed these were 100-year floods and so did not expect them to reoccur so soon.
In 2016, it was estimated that more frequent and more intense meteorological events in Canada would cost the federal disaster financial assistance arrangements program about $902 million annually. In addition there are health costs associated with extreme weather conditions, costs expected to reach more than $1.6 billion annually. Costs associated with property damage caused by climate change reached an average of $405 million a year between 1983 and 2008. Since 2009, however, those costs have increased dramatically to $1.8 billion, and they are estimated to reach as high as $43 billion by 2050.
Our government is not the only one concerned about those figures. In a recent article, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, and the Governor of the Banque de France, François Villeroy de Galhau, urged the financial sector and central banks in particular to play an increasingly active role in transitioning to a greener economy. This is how they put it:
Climate change is a global problem, which requires global solutions, in which the whole financial sector has a crucial role to play.
They added that fires, floods and other damage caused by climate change negatively affect health, decrease productivity and destroy our heritage. They noted that insured losses have risen five-fold in the past three decades.
Extreme weather conditions are costing countries dearly. They threaten Canadians' health and safety, our communities and our livelihoods. Even so, the official opposition still refuses to acknowledge the need to take urgent action on climate change. I can think of no good reason why the opposition would fight tooth and nail against our measures to curb climate change.
Canadians pay for climate change in many different ways, such as structural repairs, lower property values, higher insurance premiums, assuming they can get coverage in the first place, and higher costs for food, health care and emergency services. Unlike the official opposition, we know that pollution is not free. Just a few weeks ago, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled that the greenhouse gas pollution pricing act is constitutional and that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions is one of the great existential issues of our time.
We could not agree more. It is clear to the members on this side of the House that we need to act now to fight climate change. Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time, and accelerating clean growth is one of the commitments we made in the Paris Agreement. We take our Paris commitments extremely seriously, and I think all members of the House should do the same.
Canadians understand that a healthy environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. They understand that their quality of life today and their economic prosperity tomorrow depend on making a commitment to protect our natural heritage and preserve our environment for future generations. That is why the government has made major investments to protect the quality of Canada's air, water and natural areas for our children and grandchildren, for future generations, and to ensure that Canada has one of the cleanest, best performing economies in the world.
In order to fight climate change, the government has already allocated $5.7 billion over 12 years to support the implementation of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. This is above and beyond the historic investments made by the government in green infrastructure and public transit.
This plan was developed with the provinces and territories and in consultation with indigenous peoples. It will allow us to create a healthy environment for generations to come and also support a clean and robust economy.
This framework supports Canada's target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, while also meeting the need to adapt and build resilience to climate change. The framework complements provincial and territorial measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it provides ways for governments, businesses and civil society to seize the many economic opportunities offered by the global economy and clean growth.
In budget 2017, the government increased financial support for Canada's clean energy sector by allocating more funding to promising businesses in the form of equity financing, working capital and project financing.
Nearly $1.4 billion in new funding has been provided to Canadian clean-tech companies through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada to help these firms grow and expand.
In the 2018 budget, we improved Canada's weather and water services by allocating an additional $120 million over five years to protect people and communities from the devastating effects of the extreme weather we are now seeing.
In our most recent budget, our government proposed investments to make zero-emission vehicles an easier and more affordable choice for Canadians. Not only do these vehicles help people get around, they also improve air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The costs of inaction are far greater than the costs of combatting climate change. We cannot ignore the problem, and we cannot pretend that pollution comes without a price. Climate change threatens our health, our communities and our economy.
We must tackle the problem head on to fix it, while at the same time generating economic benefits.
Week after week, Conservative politicians across the country bury their heads in the sand and go to great lengths to ignore one of the most important—if not the most important—issues of our generation and our planet.
I would ask all members who are participating in the debate today to join us, to join the government, in supporting today's motion. There is no time to lose.
I am prepared to answer any questions my colleagues may have.
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for , our chief opposition whip.
After several hours now of overheated Liberal rhetoric and revisionist history, it is time to get back to some basic facts. Climate change is real; climate change is a global problem, and climate change demands a global solution.
Canada, which generates barely 1.6% of global GHG emissions, must still do its part. That is why the leader of the official opposition will lay out the most comprehensive climate policy ever proposed by an opposition party in Canadian history, just a few weeks from now.
The motion before us fails to acknowledge that Canada today falls far short of its emissions reduction targets, so let us just take a look at Canada's targets under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
When they came to office, the Liberals embraced the same targets set by the previous Conservative government, to reduce GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. When those Conservative targets were set, it was not with a carbon tax imposed on commuters and soccer moms and small businesses. We focused on the major emissions sectors. Working with the scientists at Environment Canada and the scientific community beyond, we developed meaningful regulations that did not hamstring hard-working Canadian taxpayers or the Canadian economy.
Transportation was the largest emitting sector, with about a quarter of Canada's total annual emissions. With our American counterparts, we developed continental tailpipe regulations that are still reducing emissions today. These regulations, which came into force in 2012 and built on existing regulations, require that all cars and light trucks built between 2017 and 2025 be required to cut emissions by an average of 5% every year. These regulations will see tailpipe emissions reduced to 50% of what they were in 2008.
There is a cost. The new technology adds somewhat to the cost of each new model year, but there is a significant offsetting benefit. Fuel consumption will also be reduced by some 50% from 2008 levels by 2025.
When the Liberals, with gesticulation and hyperbole, hysterically defend their carbon tax, which is indiscriminately imposed on commuters, soccer moms and small business transport companies, they are actually imposing a cost on top of what these motorists are already paying for environmentally responsible technology and significantly reduced emissions and fuel consumption. The bottom line is that the Liberals are riding on reductions that are still being realized today as a result of the previous Conservative government's regulations on large emitters.
Similarly, the previous Conservative government achieved reductions by regulating the coal-fired electricity generating sector, which effectively banned the construction of any new coal-fired units that use old technology.
It is true that we did not hit our overall targets, but it is also true that we did not compromise the economic well-being of hard-working taxpayers or the competitiveness of our economy overall. We worked to protect the environment at the same time as we worked to protect the economy.
We made progress. Emissions were reduced, in sharp contrast to the world's major emitters, who blithely signed the Kyoto and Copenhagen accords and then did nothing. I am talking about China, which generates almost two-thirds of global GHG emissions, and whose emissions are still rising. I am talking about the United States, India, Brazil and so many other countries whose representatives, along with this Liberal government, partied the nights away in Paris and signed the Paris Agreement with toasts of champagne and foie gras tasties.
That brings me back to the motion before us and its preposterous objective of deepening targets, which would risk our economic well-being and achieve precious little in global terms while the major polluting countries keep pumping out ever-increasing amounts of GHGs.
Again, the motion fails to acknowledge that Canada continues to fall far short of its emissions reduction targets.
We have proposed an amendment to the motion that would recognize the reality we face, that Canada is failing to meet its targets under the Liberal plan. It would demand that the Liberals table a real environment plan, not a revenue plan and not a tax plan, to lower emissions and achieve Canada's targets.
We know that small-business owners and their employees care about the environment and have implemented a wide range of environmental initiatives. However, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has just released a policy position paper that reveals that 87% of business owners in the four provinces where the federal carbon backstop tax is positioned say that they are opposed to the carbon tax and that the majority of these business owners will not be able to pass on their costs to consumers.
The CFIB numbers also show that small businesses will pay almost 50% of the carbon tax, with 50% paid by households. While the Liberals claim that households will get back 90% of their carbon taxes paid in rebate payments, small-business owners will get back rebates of barely 7% of their carbon taxes paid. With just about every aspect of the 's climate change policy position, this motion has little to do with meaningful action and everything to do with desperate virtue-signalling politics.
The was elected, promising sunny ways, transparency, accountability, rainbows and unicorns, but he is running away from yet another scandal and trying to distract from it. He finished a dismal fourth in a British Columbia by-election. He is desperate and he is trying to find anything to change the channel.
The Liberals have had three and a half years to come up with a real plan for the environment. Meanwhile, Canada is falling further and further away from emission targets, even as the Liberals attempt to defend the carbon tax, which hits hard-working taxpayers and small businesses, while allowing at the same time massive exemption for the big polluters.
Again, climate change is real, climate change is a global problem, climate change is a global challenge and climate change demands global solutions. In contrast to the Liberals' failed plan, their high-carbon hypocrisy, in just a few short weeks, the Conservatives will lay out an environment plan that our Conservative leader promises will provide the best chance of reaching Canada's targets, the most comprehensive climate policy ever proposed by an opposition party in Canadian history.
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to address the House today on an issue that is important to all Canadians.
I want to read into the record the amendment we are debating at the moment, which was proposed by the member for at the end of his excellent presentation earlier today. It reads:
the House recognize that:
(a) climate change is a real and urgent global problem requiring real global solutions and that Canada can and must take a leadership role in developing those global solutions;
(b) human activity has an impact on climate change and its effects impact communities across the country and the world;
(c) Canada and the world must take urgent action to mitigate global climate change and combat its impacts on the environment;
(d) the government's own “Clean Canada” report shows the government is falling short of the Paris targets by 79 million tonnes,
and, therefore, as an alternative to its current proposal to tackle climate change involving a non-binding declaration, the House call upon the government to produce a real climate change plan that will enable Canada to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions according to the targets of the Paris agreement.
That is the difference between our amendment and the government motion. The government motion fails on a couple of significant levels. It does not talk about the global nature of the problem and, specifically, it does not address the fact that the government is falling further and further behind the targets it agreed to in Paris a couple of years ago.
We heard the member for reminded the House earlier that those were the targets set under former prime minister Stephen Harper. Those are the targets we are talking about today. The targets set by the former Conservative government were such good targets that the Liberal government embraced them, but it is failing to meet them.
The comments from the yesterday, declaring that the was a high carbon hypocrite, goes right to the member putting forward this motion in the House today. There are 22 sitting days left in this Parliament before we go back to our ridings for the summer and then the House dissolves due to the upcoming election. However, sanctimonious Liberals on the other side are asking how we cannot say that this is an emergency. They have had an opportunity for three and a half years to bring forward this motion. For three and a half years, they have had an opportunity to bring about a climate plan to reduce emissions to meet the targets they agreed to in Paris, and they have utterly failed.
What the Liberals have come up with instead is a carbon tax, a tax that punishes average working Canadians, while it lets the big emitters off the hook. It lets them continue to target the people we represent in our ridings for doing things Canadians have to do, things like heating their homes, driving to work, driving to school and taking their aged parents to a doctor's appointed. The government has decided to embrace a climate plan to punish those people for living in Canada.
I hear laughter on the other side. We hear laughter from the Liberals when they think about that. They do not care about those people. They care about people like the owners of Loblaws, the owners of a multi-billion company, who get $12-million gift of free fridges that they would have bought on their own. That is called a climate plan to these Liberals. They are looking out for those people. Some emergency from the perspective of the Liberals.
The climate is such an emergency to Liberals that the got on his taxpayer-funded private jet and flew to Tofino for a couple of days of surfing. By the way, it was on Earth Day. He got on his private plane, burned the fuel and got to have his holiday in British Columbia.
A survey released this week by Toyota Canada shows that over half of British Columbians are rethinking their holiday plans because of the price of fuel. They cannot afford to fill the tank in their vehicles to go see their family or take the vacation they have been looking forward to all year. Rich British Columbians will have no problem reaching into their pockets, getting out a couple more $20 bills or $50 bills and paying for that extra price of fuel.
Similarly, the has no problem reaching into taxpayers' pockets and taking a private jet to Tofino. There is no way to get to Tofino on public transit. People have to drive there. It is a long, beautiful drive, one that I have made before, and it requires a vehicle with a full tank of gas. The has made it many times, but on a taxpayer-funded jet. He is a high-carbon hypocrite.
He did the same thing during the height of the SNC-Lavalin scandal when he used the taxpayer-funded private jet to take another vacation in Florida. He does not pay for the fuel and he does not care about the carbon tax. He went to Florida with the family when he needed some downtime, which is fine, but then he flew back to Ottawa for a private meeting and a photo op, and then back to Florida again, and then back to Ottawa one more time.
It is a climate change emergency, according to the Liberals, but it is an emergency for somebody else to pay for, because they should not have to change their ways and the should not have to change his ways; he just wants Canadians to change theirs. He wants them to drive less to get their kids to school, drive less to get their kids to their soccer practice, drive less to get their mom or grandmother to the hospital or to the doctor. That is what the government is doing. We have seen it time and again.
We have also seen that they actually do not believe in it. John Horgan, the premier of British Columbia, is a classic example. He also, like the , has virtue-signalling motions like this one, but he actually increased the carbon tax higher than what is mandated under the national carbon tax plan. He jacked it up on April 1. He jacked up the price of fuel even more than he was required to under the law. Then, two weeks later, when the price hit $1.80 a litre, he said it was a crisis and that we needed to do something because people were paying too much for fuel, but we all know that this is exactly what he wants and exactly what the wants. He said as much when he was in British Columbia a year ago. They want Canadians to pay a price for living in this country, and in a large portion of this country, people are living in remote areas where they have to drive to do the things that are necessary.
What happens when we do not treat this as a global issue? We have seen what happens when the Liberals do not treat this as a global issue. They think that Canada is an island unto itself and that if they impose additional costs on businesses and individuals, it has no impact.
What have we seen since the current government took office? We have seen the greatest flight of capital this country has ever seen. We have seen billions of dollars, nearly $100 billion, fleeing the country, primarily out of the energy sector, and setting up shop in other places that are not putting a carbon tax on their businesses. In the case of Royal Dutch Shell, it was an $18.4 billion flight of capital. For ConocoPhillips, it was $17.7 billion; Devon Energy, $7 billion; Kinder Morgan, $4.5 billion; Marathon Oil, $3.3 billion; Chevron Energy, $1.5 billion; Murphy Oil, $937 million; Apache Corporation, $927 million; Statoil ASA, $832 million; Total S.A., $560 million, and the government celebrates it. The Liberals celebrate that flight of capital, because it is from the dirty industries that they do not like to talk about.
Those companies have not gone out of oil and gas; they are developing oil and gas in the United States. They are developing oil and gas in the offshore of Brazil. They are developing oil and gas in Kazakhstan and places that do not have the same high world-leading clean energy policies that this country has. We develop the cleanest, greenest energy in the world, and we should celebrate it, because that is something that all Canadians can be proud of.
The motion that the government has brought forward is an attempt to distract from its fourth-place finish in a recent by-election in British Columbia with 22 days left in the sitting of this Parliament. The Liberals are not taking emissions seriously, which is proven by their 79-million-tonne shortfall on their own targets. That is why we will support our amendment and not their motion.
Madam Speaker, climate change is an emergency for our planet and it is important that the House come together.
I have heard in the House already that we need action and not more words, but when we look outside of this place, we see that some Canadians and some of our constituents do not fully understand the need for immediate and stronger action. It is incredibly important as a sign of leadership for every single one of us in the House to stand and say that this is a climate emergency and that we need stronger action from this government.
I will be splitting my time with the member for , who I know is a strong supporter of climate action as well.
We have known that this has been an emergency for some time now. In the fall, I was one of a handful of MPs to call for an emergency debate in the House and note that climate change is an emergency.
Of course, it is not just political leaders in Canada or political leaders around the world who are noting this; scientists for too many years have been telling us that it is an emergency. In the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the authors say that if we do not act now, in the next few years we will face very serious consequences for our planet.
The consensus of over 15,000 scientists from over 180 countries is this:
Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse. Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and agricultural production....
The document goes on to say:
To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual.
Without question, climate change presents us with a challenge, but it is our international, our intergenerational and fundamentally our moral responsibility to do our part.
What does doing our part mean? It is helpful to assess where have we been and where do we need to go. We know the previous Conservative and Liberal governments have not done enough. The last Conservative government did the bare minimum. While we are not yet on pace to meet our international obligations as this Liberal government, without question we have made significant and meaningful progress.
Let me quote Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University:
In just four years, [new federal] policies have transformed Canada from a global pariah under the Harper government to a model for climate action under [this Prime Minister]....
In climate policy, experts agree that Canada is finally a global leader.
It is not a partisan writing that and it is not a Liberal writing that; it is a professor at Simon Fraser University, a professor in this very subject matter.
What are these new federal policies that have made Canada a leader in tackling climate change? Most of the attention has been on pricing pollution, and for good reason. We have a provincial Conservative government in Ontario spending $30 million to spread misinformation about the plan, yet it remains the most efficient and effective solution to tackling climate change. Of course we know it is not the only solution; we clearly need additional actions when there is such political consternation over pricing pollution alone.
What has this government done in the last four years? I am going to go down a long list. Taxing is all we hear about from my colleagues in the opposition, so here is a long list for the members opposite: green procurement rules; accelerated phase-out of coal-fired electricity; strong methane regulations to reduce these emissions 40% to 45%; HFC regulations to implement the Montreal protocol; and the pricing backstop, about which, as a side note and contrary to that $30-million misinformation campaign, the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer notes that 80% of individuals and families will actually get more money back, meaning that it is the top 20%, the wealthiest and most polluting Canadians, who are going to pay, and even those individuals will pay a very small sum to do their part on the most pressing challenge of our time.
We have also implemented the clean fuel standard; net-zero building codes; incentives for electric vehicles and EV charging stations across the country; public transit investments; infrastructure investments, such as in housing, that factor in the need to upgrade and have retrofits to tackle climate change by reducing building emissions; and clean-tech investments, including strategic innovation fund investments.
We have the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean tech. We have the low carbon economy challenge, part of the low carbon economy fund. That is $2 billion to invest in businesses doing their part to reduce emissions. It also ensures that provinces that are actually doing their part have funds to invest in these renewable energies as well. Of course, there is the food guide and investments in plant-based foods in Saskatchewan.
Are we where we need to be? The answer is no, we are not. It is fair to point out that we are not where we need to be. However, have we made significant and meaningful progress in a very short period of time, when we look at how difficult this issue is and how intractable the opposition from the Conservatives is? Without question we have.
Based on the most recent analysis, we have a 200-million tonne reduction model, based on the measures we are implementing. There are 24 million tonnes to account for forestry. There are 79 million tonnes that are unmodelled.
The opposition members are saying that we are short. Not quite. That is short on modelled measures, but they are not modelling our public transit investments. They are not modelling our clean tech investments. Of the 79 million tonnes we are short on the current targets, yes, we need to do more, but we are not so very far short. We are certainly not short those 79 million tonnes, because we know that certain measures we put in place will make a significant impact. They just cannot be easily modelled.
What more do we need to do? I would say that we are well on the way to meeting the current target, but of course, we know that the 2030 target, and we can call it the Harper target, is itself insufficient. Did it make sense for us to spend a great amount of time in this place over the first three and a half years suggesting that we needed stronger targets, when we had 10 years of complete and total inaction and there was no way we could meet that stronger target? I would say no. The focus should have been on strong action.
We are now at a place where meeting that Harper target is feasible heading toward 2030. We know, though, that it is insufficient. What do we need to do next? The Paris Agreement itself contemplates a ratcheting up of these targets. At the next opportunity, 2020-2021, there will be an opportunity for Canada to attend an international conference and say, alongside other countries, that we are all ratcheting up our targets and holding ourselves more accountable so that we do more. We need to ratchet up our 2030 target at the next opportunity.
We also need to think further ahead, for the sake of our planet. The U.K. climate change committee, an independent advisory committee, recently, at the beginning of this month, called for net zero by 2050. I was recently in Brussels and met the European Commission's director-general for environment. They are also putting materials together calling for net zero by 2050.
We need more ambition here in Canada. We have come a long way. We have made significant and meaningful progress, but now is the time to call it a climate emergency. Now is the time for more ambition. We need stronger 2030 targets, and we need to aim for net zero by 2050. We need strong accountability measures and clear updates on that path to 2050.
Targets are not enough. Not only do we need to ratchet up our targets, we need to strengthen every single step we have taken to date and every single policy measure we have put in place. Therefore, the price on pollution should not stop in 2022. We should build on the investments we have made in retrofits. We should build on the investments we have made in electric vehicle infrastructure. The currently voluntary targets for EVs should in the future probably become mandatory targets.
We can finally say that Canada is a global climate leader and is on the right path. We simply need to double down on our current efforts to get where we need to be to do our part to tackle the most pressing issue of our time. This is an emergency. The Liberal government understands that and is acting as if it is an emergency. I wish every member in the House, regardless of party, would acknowledge that fact and vote to call this an emergency in the coming weeks.
Madam Speaker, as best we can tell, this tiny blue-green planet, Earth, is home to the only life forms in our far-reaching universe. As far as we know, this is it; life only exists here on this one rock orbiting the sun. What a remarkable privilege that is, and what a remarkable and overwhelming responsibility.
Let us consider for a moment, across history and across species, all that had to come together to create the extraordinary conditions for life on Earth: to be suspended just so, between the sun's gravity and the earth's own centrifugal force, with just enough eccentricity of orbit to give us the majesty of the seasons; a magnetic field to protect us from cosmic rays and solar flares; a moon to give us tides; and an atmosphere to retain water and oxygen, the foundational ingredients of life as we know it.
What began three and a half billion years ago as bacteria, no more than single-celled organisms, today walks the earth as you and me and all living things that surround us. It is only here, only on this planet.
Let us consider the astounding breadth of human experience over time, the accomplishments of ingenuity and discovery, the progress we have made, the people loved and lost and every act of bravery, courage and passion. Despite the vastness of the known universe and everything we have accomplished, it happened only here. For us, this could be the end of it.
I am called from the very core of my being, as a life-long environmentalist, to use my voice in today's debate, because if passed, this motion introduced by the will acknowledge and declare beyond any shadow of a doubt what so many Canadians already know, that there is a national climate emergency in Canada. Its approval would also set the Parliament of Canada on course to take the action necessary to meet Canada's emissions targets under the Paris Agreement. I believe this may be the most consequential vote I will ever cast in this place, and I implore my colleagues from all corners of this House to join me in voting yes.
I am a proud son of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada's ocean city. I am also a city planner who spent a career making my city and others more livable, prosperous and sustainable.
I am also a dad to Daisy Isabella Fillmore, a smart and beautiful 12-year-old girl who talks to me every day about our climate and our environment, and who, just last night, sent me a text message saying, “Daddy, can you please pass a bill to ban plastic straws?” Therefore, on her behalf, I am absolutely committed to the biggest fight of our time, and it is largely why I came to this place.
Halifax is perched like a jewel on the east coast of Canada, a city that has been shaped by the sea. While the Atlantic Ocean has always been a tremendous asset, increasingly it is going to become a threat. That is because Halifax has one of the fastest-rising sea levels in the country, and both the frequency and severity of extreme weather events are increasing rapidly. For these reasons, our city itself declared a climate emergency just this past January.
Last year, Globe and Mail reporter Matthew McClearn wrote extensively about this growing threat of sea-level rise, including its impact on Halifax. Here is what a local commercial real estate professional told McClearn when discussing flood risk on our beautiful downtown waterfront:
If you look at the five-metre contour [line], you can see that basically all of the buildings on our waterfront, from the casino right through to Bishop's Landing to the Port of Halifax, all of those buildings—the complete line of them—would be impacted. Perhaps catastrophically.
The outlook is just as troubling for other coastal communities in Canada as well, particularly in our north, which is warming at nearly three times the global rate.
Let us make no mistake, communities in central Canada are far from immune. In the last month alone, floods in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick have had a devastating impact. Here is what CBC's Isaac Olson reported from of Montreal just a few weeks ago:
Annie Pépin's kids were playing outside with her father Saturday as she cleaned the kitchen after supper. Sirens, and the blaring of a police cruiser's loudspeakers, shattered the evening calm.
“Evacuation now! Evacuation now!” she recalled hearing. “I got outside and I looked at my kids and they were screaming and crying. And then everybody was running.”
A 50-metre section of a natural dike holding back the Lake of Two Mountains had been breached in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, an off-island suburb northwest of Montreal.
Water immediately began pouring into the town. Witnesses heard trees snapping under the rushing torrent.
Some residents would return days later by kayak and military escort, paddling into their living rooms in waste-deep water to collect pets and belongings and to survey the devastation to their homes and their neighbourhood.
Climate change is real, it is happening and it is happening here.
As members of Parliament, together we represent every corner of this country and every single Canadian. While not every riding borders an ocean or sits downstream from a fragile dike, not a single one of us, not a single one of our constituencies and not a single one of our constituents will be spared the effects of unchecked climate change.
The effects of climate change will be omnipresent. It will create serious national security challenges. Let us consider that this month, as tanks rolled into Ottawa to support residents following the declaration of a state of emergency, there were more troops deployed within Canada than deployed around the world.
Climate change will also create serious public health care challenges. More people will die from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress. Already air pollution causes seven million deaths a year.
Climate change will also create serious international migration challenges. The UN projects that by 2050 there will be at least 200 million climate refugees. Some projections put that number significantly higher, up to a billion. Let us consider that in 2018, the number of refugees worldwide, including Syrian refugees, totalled just 25 million.
Climate change, left unchecked, will have devastating impacts on our economy. Research shows that within four decades the cost of climate change to the Canadian taxpayer will reach between $21 billion and $43 billion annually. Fighting climate change is not just the right thing to do; it is good economic policy, too. The World Bank has estimated that climate change will open up to $23 trillion in clean investment opportunities around the world.
Historically in Canada, provinces with a price on pollution have been shown to be our country's strongest economic performers. In fact, last week we learned that, in the very same month that our government put a price on pollution in Ontario, we had the single-largest job gain on record. So much for that “job-killing carbon tax” the Conservatives warned us about.
On this side of the House, we have been saying it since day one: The environment and the economy go hand in hand. If one does not have a plan for the environment, one does not have a plan for the economy. It has been 382 days since the Conservative leader promised a climate plan, and still we have seen nothing. Last we heard, he promised to release his climate plan next month. I guess we will see. Perhaps he is waiting to get it back from the oil industry lobbyists with whom he recently met in secret. In any case, I will not be holding my breath.
To their credit, my colleagues in the NDP have begun to release parts of their climate plan. Of course, no one can say just how long it will stick. In recent weeks, the NDP leader has been flip-flopping on environmental issues and backtracking on previous positions, including LNG development in B.C. However, it does appear that on this particular issue, the NDP leader has finally arrived at the very firm position of “Well, who knows?” Wishy-washy is not much of a climate plan, either.
As for this team, we have a strong plan to fight climate change, and we are acting on it. It has more than 50 measures, including putting a price on pollution, protecting marine and terrestrial habitat, investing historic amounts in public transit, making electric vehicles and home energy retrofits more affordable, supporting clean technologies and phasing out coal power.
On a personal note, I am quite proud to say that our plan also includes a climate lens on all federally funded infrastructure projects under our investing in Canada plan. This is the result of my private member's motion, Motion No. 45, which I introduced in 2016 and which passed with support from all parties in this House, except the Conservative Party, unfortunately. That is what it will take to rise to the challenge of a national climate emergency: working collaboratively across party lines, regional divides and international borders to secure the political will and to undertake the necessary work to fight climate change tooth and nail.
We are running out of time. The effects of climate change have begun, and we have already lost too much. We learned recently that one million species are at risk of extinction, and climate change is one of the leading causes. It is an important reminder that this is not just about us. We share this place, after all, all of us together on this one planet, the only one in the vast universe known to sustain life. This cannot be how it ends.
I thank Daisy and all my constituents in Halifax for speaking to me so passionately about this.
It is now time to declare a national climate emergency in this country, and get to work.
Madam Speaker, this is a very important subject that I care a lot about.
First, I would like to remind the House that the Conservatives get up every morning to try to protect our planet, unlike what the Liberals would have people believe. Climate change is unacceptable, but it does exist. I am a Conservative, and I am stating loud and clear that climate change is real.
Today, the Liberals are waking up after three and a half years in office. They are waking up as the election season approaches, but given their environmental track record, they will be embarrassed to go talk to their voters.
Today, we are debating Motion No. 29, which states:
That the House recognize that: (a) climate change is a real and urgent crisis....
I will not read the entire motion. I simply want to say that this was urgent 50 years ago, 20 years ago and 10 years ago. It was urgent three and a half years ago, it was urgent yesterday, it is urgent today and it will be urgent tomorrow, too. We need to act and we need to come together to protect our planet.
The Liberals falsely label us. I would like to talk about the fable of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant is a hard worker. She prepares for the harsh winter ahead by storing food. We could liken her to the farmer, who cultivates his land and knows the seasons well. The grasshopper is the complete opposite. She is lazy and spends her time singing without worrying about the coming cold. We could liken her to the artist, who lives in a dream without worrying too much about reality and the seasons. In our context, the ant represents the Conservatives, and the grasshopper obviously represents the Liberals. They whiled away their three and a half years in office, and now they are waking up. The environment is now an important issue for them. It took three and a half years. The government's attitude is rather appalling.
Earlier, it was said that this is urgent. On April 22, 2016, Canada signed the Paris Agreement, which was ratified on October 5, 2016.
Ms. Alexandra Mendès: Was it actually 2016?
Mr. Joël Godin: I would like my colleague opposite to listen to what I am saying. She has a mouth and two ears, and she should use those two ears.
As I was saying, the Paris Agreement was signed in April 2016, so this is nothing new. It was being worked on before it was signed. It was worked on globally, in other words, with other countries around the world. We can now say that Canada will not achieve its Paris targets. We will say it. We will rely on the credibility of our public servants, our qualified people. The Auditor General has said so. The United Nations, which must be credible, also said so. The commissioner of the environment said so as well. Unfortunately, the Liberals are blind to this.
I was talking about the grasshopper earlier. The Liberals would probably be represented by the grasshopper. Summer is coming to an end for the grasshopper, with the election right around the corner. Let this serve as a warning to them. Let me do them this favour, so they can present their mediocre environmental record.
I am a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. I had an opportunity to meet with the minister, who appeared before the committee. She is one of the grasshoppers. I asked her a very clear question.
I will read the question so I am not accused of twisting words. Hon. members and people at home can consult the record themselves. It is available to all Canadians. This was my question:
Minister, with respect to your much-touted environmental plan, I would like to know—and the question is simple—whether or not you will be meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gases.
The minister said yes. Everyone can see her response for themselves in the transcripts, which are public. Earlier today, the bragged about being the longest-serving environment minister. How can she say with a straight face that Canada will meet the Paris Agreement targets? There is a word that we cannot use in the House, and I will not say it, but it is unacceptable to not tell the truth.
What credibility do the Liberals and the Minister of Environment have on the world stage? The minister will not meet the Paris Agreement targets. Again, it is the Auditor General, the United Nations and the environment commissioner who say so.
On another subject, during her testimony, the minister took a swipe at me by remarking that she had been waiting 365 days for us, the Conservatives, to release our plan for the environment. My answer was that whether we do or do not release a plan, it does not change anything right now. We need to take action to fight climate change, and the Liberals have been sitting on their hands for 1,300 days.
Why did they draw on the Conservatives' expertise in the environment? Because we have credibility. That is why they used our targets. The Liberals called us incompetent and claimed our scientists had not done a good job, yet when they got to Paris, they realized the previous Conservative government had done an amazing job. They proved it by adopting our targets.
It is absurd that the government is counting on us to get it out of trouble again by handing over our environmental plan. I would remind the Liberals that our leader has pledged to release our plan by the end of the session. That is even ahead of schedule, since it should normally be presented during the election campaign. We are presenting it ahead of schedule to give the Liberals another chance to take action. Time is short, obviously, but we are going to meet their demands and present it, even though we do not have to. We need to be conscientious and rigorous. We have an environmental plan that will enable us to meet the Paris targets. Yes, the Conservatives can do that.
In committee, I also told the minister that the previous Conservative government was successful in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. It was under a Conservative government that Canada saw the most significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions in its history. The minister claimed that was because we were in a recession. However, just yesterday, when I asked her a question during oral question period, the minister said that she would create thousands of jobs and that she had a plan. She needs to be consistent. If she is creating jobs, her plan will not work. We implemented a plan that worked, but she said it was due to the recession. That does not add up. She is making conflicting statements.
Yes, we can encourage economic development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but her speeches are fraught with inconsistencies. How can we accept the arrogance of this minister and this government, who, much like the grasshopper, woke up one morning and suddenly realized that we need to look after the environment?
The environment is an everyday problem. It is a local, provincial, national and international problem that needs to be addressed holistically.
For example, not all of the plastic that washes up on our shores comes from Canadian production. It comes from all over the world. Here in Canada, we are lucky to have a lot of shoreline, but there are problems that go along with that. Because of ocean currents, plastics from other countries around the world are washing up on our shores. Are members aware that only 5% of the plastic that is cleaned up along our shores from east to west comes from Canadian consumption? That means that 95% comes from other countries. We need to look at this problem from a global perspective. When working on a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need to realize that we are, unfortunately, not working in a silo. There is no way to remain separate. We cannot deal with this all on our own. We need to work with all those involved.
We, the Conservatives, have taken concrete action, and we will continue on that same path.
In Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, the riding I have the privilege of representing, I have taken some very solid, very targeted actions to improve our environmental footprint. I collaborated with local stakeholders to create a circular economy committee.
Yes, we, the Conservatives, are working for the environment. Yes, we, the Conservatives, are aware of climate change and taking concrete action.
In addition, a group of grade five students from a school in Stoneham in my riding presented me with a poem about the environment. They also prepared a petition that I will soon be presenting here. Together, we will succeed.
The strange thing about the Liberals across the aisle is that they are just now waking up and deciding this is urgent.
It is urgent every day. This is nothing new. We need to take charge and improve our environmental behaviour. Industries, citizens, governments and all stakeholders in a society need to row together to get results.
I want to come back to the fact that the Minister of the Environment does not tell the truth when she is asked the question.
I will be asking her this question again in a moment. I want to warn her that I will be asking the same question today about the Paris targets. I am giving her a hint, and I hope she will be able to tell us the truth.
I am not making this up. As I said earlier, the Auditor General, the United Nations, the environment commissioner, journalists and print media are all saying it. This is coming from specialists, journalists, the Conservatives. The Liberals are the only ones who do not see the truth.
I just want to read out a few headlines. One asks why Trudeau's climate plan is not working—