That, given that the carbon tax will not reduce emissions at its current rate and it is already making life more expensive for Canadians, the House call on the government to repeal the carbon tax and replace it with a real environment plan.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the hon. member for , a beautiful riding in British Columbia.
The motion before us says that the Liberal climate plan, which is effectively a tax plan, should be replaced by a real plan that will move Canada forward to address its emission challenges, addresses the global challenge of green gas emissions and climate change and does it in a way that is respectful to Canadian taxpayers.
The reality is this. Right now the Liberals have brought forward something they call a climate plan. However, it is not a climate plan; it is a tax plan. How do we know it is a tax plan? If members remember back to when they rolled out this plan, a briefing was held by departmental officials from Environment Canada. The minister's own officials said that the foundational element of the government's so-called climate change plan was the carbon tax. Therefore, they admitted right off the bat that this was a tax plan. Of course, today the Liberals are denying that. I think Canadians understand that this is all about taxes.
There is another reason why Canadians have good reason to believe that this is nothing more than a craven tax plan to raise revenues for the government. The minister often gets up in the House and talks about the 50 different elements within her tool kit that the government is deploying to address climate change in Canada. It has a program of 50 different elements and it will let the provinces pick whatever elements they choose to meet their own targets, except for one tool. What is that tool? It is the carbon tax. Out of 50 tools, the one tool that the Liberals are going to ram down the throats of the provinces and territories, ram it down the throats of consumers and taxpayers across the country is the carbon tax.
We have to ask ourselves why this is the only tool the Liberals have made mandatory across the country. The only conclusion Canadians can draw is that this tax is an essential element in the Liberal government raising more revenues, tax revenues, in the future to spend on its own political priorities rather than on the priorities of Canadians. This is what we are left with. It is one of the reasons why we brought forward this motion, clarifying for Canadians that the Liberal climate change plan is nothing but a craven tax plan. Today, Canadians are already paying the price for that plan.
This is a cash grab from Canadians and they understand that this is on top of all the other tax increases they pay because of the Liberal government.
Members may recall that under the previous Conservative government, taxes on Canadians reached an all-time low, the lowest tax burden on Canadians for over 50 years. Today, Canadians pay, on average, $800 more in taxes than they did back in 2015. On top of that, the carbon tax is being layered on families. Fifty per cent of those families are within $200 of being insolvent. Along with the challenges Canadians have to face, where they struggle day to day to meet their mortgage payments, take care of their kids' educations, buy groceries and put gas in their cars, the Liberals are laying a carbon tax on top of that.
What is worse, and what the Liberals did not come out and confess, is the fact that there is GST layered on top of that carbon tax. Therefore, Canadians are paying a tax on tax. I think a lot of Canadians watching right now are wondering whether I am serious about this.
The price at the pump has gone up dramatically already and the government is charging GST on top of that. The Liberals claim that all this money will go back to the taxpayer, which is not true of course. It is a tax on everything. It will cost Canadians more when they fill up their cars with gas, heat their homes and buy their groceries.
The plan right now calls for this tax to move from today's $20 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions to $50 per tonne by 2022. Last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer came out with a report that said that in order for the Liberals to reach their Paris agreement targets, they would have to jack up that tax to over $100 per tonne of emissions, more than doubling what it would be in 2022 and more than five times greater than what that carbon tax is today. This is a craven tax plan.
The has said that when it came to gas prices, higher gas prices was exactly what he wants. That is a statement from our own Prime Minister. He said that this extra tax burden on already overtaxed Canadians was exactly what he wanted.
Let me talk a bit about the Paris targets.
We must remember that this carbon tax is a foundational element of a plan to meet the Paris emissions targets that Canada signed onto. Is the government actually meeting its Paris targets? The answer is, no it is not. The government is far off.
We know from internal environment ministry reports that in 2016, the government had already fallen 44 megatons short of its Paris agreement targets. In 2017, it had fallen 66 megatons short of its targets. In 2018, it fell 79 megatons short of its targets. However, it gets worse.
Last year, when the government calculated that 79 megaton shortfall, it had already created something out of thin air called the land use and land use change in forestry component. The acronym is LULUCF. It essentially says that Canada sequesters carbon in its natural landscape, forests, grasslands, wetlands and farmlands. We are sequestering this carbon. The reality is that the government has not done the science to prove that, in fact, a net sequestration is taking place.
Available science, which is spotty at best, indicates that since about 2000-01, Canada has been a net contributor toward emissions from our natural landscape. The government has said that the science may not be there, that the Paris agreement does not allow Canada to account for this 24 extra megatons of emission reductions, but it will take it anyway. It says that Canada is only 79 megatons short. If we factor in this unsubstantiated claim that the government will reduce emissions through natural landscape, it is actually 103 megatons short.
Is the government meeting its Paris targets, which was the goal of the carbon tax, the foundational element of the Liberal climate change plan? The Liberals are not even meeting those targets and they are falling further behind every year.
Is the Liberal plan a failure? Absolutely, and members will have to agree with me. If we look at what is being measured and accountability for what we are delivering for the plan, the Liberals are way off the mark.
Very briefly, we are going to be rolling out our own environment plan tomorrow. It is going to give Canada a better chance, the best chance, to meet its Paris targets.
Therefore, I strongly support the motion before us, replacing the Liberal carbon tax plan with a real plan to address climate change.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for for his contribution to our country and to our debate today by putting forward his motion, one I am happy to speak to and support. To me, this is an important subject, and I will explain why.
Climate change has had a serious impact on my riding and on British Columbia in general. I would like to give an example. The science shows us that our winters are not as cold as they once were. Because our winters are not as cold, the mountain pine beetle has managed to survive through the winter months and not be killed off. This, in turn, has allowed the pine beetle to thrive, and in turn, it has devastated our forests. That has created two problems. One is an economic problem. Throughout B.C. and my riding, we have had a number of lumber mill closures. This can have a devastating impact on small rural communities. It is simply devastating. One of the reasons for these mill closures is a lack of fibre. Because too much forest has been killed off by the pine beetle, there is not enough supply for timber. That is one major problem.
The second major problem is that all this dead timber, combined with our hot summers, has basically created a powder keg of fuel for a wildfire. Make no mistake. Be the cause lightning or humans, when there is a forest fire, this dead beetle wood is producing wildfire activity the likes of which British Columbia has never seen. This not only hurts tourism but can also harm human health. Those with respiratory issues have serious problems dealing with all the smoke and ash. There is also a loss of homes and small businesses and a massive cost for fighting those fires. It is all part of a serious problem.
However, here is the thing: the carbon tax does not stop this. It does nothing to help relieve the situation. The Liberals like to pretend otherwise, but after 10 years of having the carbon tax in British Columbia, our forest fire situation only looks more dire.
Let us overlook that fact for a moment and see if the carbon tax is working otherwise in British Columbia. Total greenhouse gas emissions in B.C. fell in the period between 2004 and 2008. Much of this paralleled what happened nationally with greenhouse gas emissions, and this was mainly attributed to the worldwide economic meltdown that occurred during the later part of that time frame.
In the summer of 2008, former premier Gordon Campbell introduced Canada's first carbon tax in the run-up to the 2009 B.C. general election. The B.C. NDP opposed the carbon tax at that time.
What has happened in B.C. since the carbon tax was introduced in late 2008? It is a great question. I hate to break this fact to the Liberal government, but total greenhouse emissions in British Columbia have gone up. Yes, they have gone up. In fact, there has been a 1.5% increase in emissions in B.C. since 2015 alone. Let me repeat that for the benefit of the . Since 2015, there has been a 1.5% increase in emissions in British Columbia, despite its having a carbon tax. In other words, the carbon tax is not working.
We have also discovered something else. It is called carbon leakage. What is carbon leakage? Let me give members an example. In 2008, when the carbon tax was first introduced in British Columbia, basically 100%, of all cement used in British Columbia was manufactured in British Columbia. Well, why not? Concrete is not exactly a lightweight, inexpensive product to import and then transport to other jurisdictions. What happened when B.C.-produced concrete became subject to a carbon tax in 2008? Naturally, it became more expensive. By 2014, B.C.-produced concrete accounted for roughly 65% of all concrete used in British Columbia, because cheaper concrete was being imported from jurisdictions with no carbon tax. That is a 35% loss of market share in B.C.'s own market.
Of course, our federal Liberal government knows all about this. That is why, quietly last summer, the Liberals started giving carbon tax exemptions to some of Canada's biggest polluters. However, there is no exemption for small business in their plan, or in my home province, for the average middle-class family. In fact, in B.C., the NDP has now turned the carbon tax into a billion-dollar tax grab that hits families and small business owners hard.
Ironically, the B.C. government is intervening in the carbon tax jurisdictional litigation, arguing that if other provinces do not have a carbon tax, B.C.'s competitiveness will be harmed. Of course, the same principle applies to Canada, where we try to compete with some of our major trading partners that do not have a carbon tax.
This is how carbon leakage is defined in British Columbia:
industries that compete with industry in countries that may have low or no carbon price. If BC industry loses market share to more polluting competitors, known as carbon leakage, it affects our economy and does not reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
To recap what we know from the British Columbia example, after 10 years of having a carbon tax, it has done nothing to prevent the serious climate-change-related problems we are facing in British Columbia. Worse yet, the evidence also shows that it has done nothing to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions. They have actually increased since the B.C. carbon tax was created. It makes British Columbia less competitive, all the while letting major polluters off the hook. Basically, all the carbon tax has done in British Columbia is act as a giant tax grab for the NDP government.
Here is another fact I will share on this point. The B.C. LNG project we often hear the Liberal government boast about, which, by the way, was first approved by the previous government, has been totally exempted from carbon tax increases. The only way this went forward was that it was totally exempted from future carbon tax increases, and it will be a major contributor to increasing B.C. greenhouse gas emissions. Honestly, none of this reconciles, and the facts clearly show that.
If members doubt the facts and evidence from British Columbia, look no further than our very own Parliamentary Budget Officer, who last week made it very clear that the present course of the Liberal government will completely and totally fail to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets it has set, unless, of course, the Liberal government desires to massively increase the carbon tax load for everyday citizens. That point could not have been made any clearer.
We are seeing mixed messages from the Liberal government on this. Will the Liberals or will they not massively raise the carbon tax if re-elected? We do not get clear answers.
Where does that leave us? It leaves us here with this motion, because it states the obvious. The carbon tax is not working. It continues to fail, so let us do away with this carbon tax so that we can focus on and find other ways to reduce our emissions. We have a collective responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. We cannot sit back, watch this carbon tax continue to fail and try to pretend that we are taking action on reducing emissions, when in reality, we are not. If anything, we are taking action to provide more carbon tax exemptions to major polluters, and much like the B.C. LNG project, to major projects.
We can pretend that this is not occurring, but it is. Why did the Liberal government provide a 95.5% carbon-tax discount on dirty coal power in the province of New Brunswick? Does anyone seriously believe that making coal power cheaper is any way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions? It is a total farce, and we sell ourselves and our future short if we continue to play that charade.
I care about our children's future as much as the members opposite, so let us stop the charade today. Let us admit that the carbon tax has failed. Not only has it failed, but it continues to fail. Yes, it may work in theory if everyone were on the same page, but carbon leakage is proof that we are not. Let us do away with the carbon tax and instead let us work together and focus on real, tangible ways to reduce our emissions and lower our carbon footprint.
That is why I am going to be voting in support of this motion today. Again, I thank the member for for his leadership on this file.
Mr. Speaker, as always it is an honour to rise in this House and speak about the topic of climate change, which is near and dear to my heart and something I consistently hear about from my constituents.
I am particularly inspired by the voices of the young Canadians I represent in Central Nova, who have brought this issue to the fore and insist that legislators at the municipal, provincial and federal levels take collective action to combat the existential threat that climate change represents.
For me, the starting point in this conversation is that climate change is not only real but primarily driven by humans' industrial activity. Sometimes, when we talk about climate change, we are guilty of causing apocalypse fatigue, which causes people to feel they cannot do anything meaningful about it. At other times, we dig into the technical details about CO2 concentration being at 415 parts per million, and we lose people's attention.
These are all important things to be addressing, but it is important to explain to Canadians that the consequences of climate change are very real. We are feeling them today, but we have an opportunity and, in my mind, an obligation to do something about it. We simply need to implement the solutions we already know exist, which can make a difference by bringing our emissions down and preventing the worst consequences of climate change from impacting our communities.
We are all familiar, of course, with the consequences of climate change. We see them in our own communities. On the east coast we have experienced more frequent and more severe storm surges and hurricanes. Recently my colleagues from New Brunswick have shown me pictures of their communities, which were literally under water. We can see the forest fires ravaging communities in western Canada, the heat waves in Quebec and Ontario that are taking the lives of Canadians, and the melting ice sheets in Canada's north. There is not a corner of this country that has not been impacted by the environmental effects of climate change.
I mentioned this during the debate yesterday as well, but the consequences are not purely environmental; they are social and economic as well. We see entire communities that have been displaced because we continue to build them in flood zones. Floods that used to take place every few hundred years are now taking place every few years.
We see indigenous communities that have traditionally practised a way of life that involved hunting cariboo, for example. That may no longer be an option because of the combined impacts of human activity and climate change on the species they have traditionally relied on to practise their way of life.
I do not have to look all across the country; I can see the economic impacts of climate change in my own backyard. We rely heavily on the lobster fishery in Nova Scotia. I represent both the eastern shore and the Northumberland Strait, which have vibrant lobster fisheries today that represent nearly $2 billion in exports for our provincial economy.
However, when we look a little south, to the state of Maine, we have seen a decrease of 22 million pounds in their catch over the past few years due to a combination of things like rising ocean temperatures, deoxygenation of the gulf region, and other environmental factors that are having a very real impact.
We are seeing a drop in industrial production and manufacturing in places that have been impacted by forest fires, and when we go for lengthy periods with droughts, we know that our agricultural sector suffers. There is a very real consequence to inaction on climate change in the prevention of economic activity. We know there are solutions. We have an obligation to implement the most effective ones that we know exist.
This brings me to the current motion, which attacks both the efficacy and affordability of our plan to put a price on pollution. I have good news for the members opposite. In fact, we know that putting a price on pollution is the most effective thing we can do to help reduce our emissions. We have identified a path forward on the advice of science, facts and evidence, including world-leading expertise, to ensure that as we put forward a plan that brings our emissions down, the affordability of life is not only not impacted but in fact made a little better for Canadian families.
Over the course of my remarks, I want to touch on the efficacy of carbon pricing. I will talk about some of its benefits and address the affordability, but also highlight some other measures we are implementing. We know that pricing alone is likely insufficient to get us where we need to be, but the attack built into the motion, that our government does not have a real plan, rings hollow from a party that has yet to produce a plan of its own.
I will take a step back and explain in broad strokes what carbon pricing really involves. There are more or less two different ways one can put a market mechanism to price pollution. One is a cap-and-trade system, where one sets an overall cap and industrial players that exceed their credits can buy credits from those that have reduced emissions, in order to bring emissions down across society over time. The other, perhaps simpler, way is to put a price on the thing one does not want, which is pollution, so that people buy less of it. If one puts a price on pollution and people buy less of it but the revenues are returned to households, life can be made more affordable for a majority of families. In a nutshell, that is how it works.
We know it works. We have seen other jurisdictions implement these solutions and have monumental successes. In the United Kingdom, which imposed a price on pollution over and above the European Union's cap-and-trade system, there was a rapid transition from coal-fired power plants to other, less-emitting sources. The United Kingdom has achieved magnificent reductions in recent history, in part because of the way it used a market-based mechanism with a price on pollution.
The example of British Columbia came up previously. One of the members who spoke earlier indicated that emissions have gone up to 1.5% and dismissed it as not possibly working. I commend my NDP colleague, who noted that one should not be cherry-picking data the way that member did. In fact, there has been a 2.2% reduction since the price on pollution came into place. More importantly, when we look at the example of British Columbia, despite population growth and serious economic development we can see that the per capita rate of consumption of greenhouse gases has actually come down significantly.
The report of the Ecofiscal Commission, which studied this in depth, estimates that emissions in British Columbia are 5% to 15% lower than they would have been had no price been put on pollution in the first place. Five per cent to 15% is a serious reduction from one policy tool alone, and we know we can do better by doing more.
However, it is not just the practical examples of which we have empirical evidence that show that this in fact works. We have seen support from folks who really know what they are talking about. Last year's Nobel Prize for economics went to Professor William Nordhaus for his development of the kind of approach we are now seeking to implement in Canada. In fact, he pointed specifically to the example in British Columbia of the kind of model that could work best.
Professor Nordhaus has identified a way to ensure a price is put on pollution, so that what we do not want becomes more expensive and people buy less of it, but affordability is maintained by returning the revenues to households. It is common sense when one thinks about it. It is quite straightforward, and it works.
Mark Cameron, Stephen Harper's former director of policy, has pointed to the fact that this is the right path forward. Even Doug Ford's chief budget adviser testified before the Senate, in 2016 I believe, saying something to the effect that the single most effective thing we can do to transition to a low-carbon economy is to put a price on pollution. Preston Manning has been arguing for this kind of approach for years.
When the partisan lens is removed, we see folks on different sides of the aisle who have a strong history with the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP, who all support this approach because they know it is the most effective thing we can do. In particular, I point to the recent Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decision that upheld the federal government's constitutional power to implement a price on pollution across Canada in provinces that would not come to the table with a serious plan. The court said that it was undisputed, based on the factual record before the court, that GHG pricing is not just part and parcel of an effective plan to combat climate change but also an essential aspect of the global effort to curb emissions.
This is why the court found it to be a national concern that some provinces would not have pricing, which gave rise to the federal government's authority to implement a plan. It is an essential aspect of the global effort to reduce emissions. That part was even put in italics, specifically so legislators would see that this is so important. We have to move forward with it if we are going to take our responsibilities seriously.
However, these are not the only voices; I can point to a number of others. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, whom the opposition members have quoted ad nauseam in this House, has said that putting a price on pollution is the most effective way to reduce our emissions. He also pointed out something I hope we will get into during questions and comments, which is that eight out of 10 families will be better off in jurisdictions in which the federal backstop applies. This is because we are returning the revenues directly to households. The only families who will pay more than they get back in the form of a rebate are the 20% in the highest-earning households in Canada. I believe it maxes out at $50 a year for the wealthiest families in Saskatchewan.
Meanwhile, in various provinces there will be rebates of between $250 and $609, depending on how much pollution is generated in those provinces. The bottom line is that eight out of 10 families, no matter which province they live in where the federal system applies, will receive more in the form of a rebate than their cost of living will go up. Therefore, the argument that this is about affordability rings hollow.
I point out in particular the comments this past weekend by Pope Francis, who has no political agenda. He is not a Liberal or Conservative when it comes to Canadian politics, but he has explained that carbon pricing is essential to combat climate change. He pointed to the fact that the world's poor and the next generations are going to be disproportionately impacted. There is a sense of injustice about it, that we are shoving this burden onto future generations, onto the world's poor and onto the world's developing nations. It is not right. Canada has an obligation to play a leadership role and take care of things at home as we help the world transition to a low-carbon economy.
If we move forward with a plan to put a price on pollution, there are also economic benefits. Again, citing the example of British Columbia, there has been a net job gain in that province as a result of its aggressive plan to tackle climate change. The Government of Saskatchewan, in an attempt to gain political support for its fight against the plan, commissioned a report that showed there would be a very limited economic impact. It then tried to bury the report; it did not want the evidence to get out because it conflicted with its ideological narrative that carbon pricing would somehow damage the economy. The reverse is true. It can help spur innovation and take advantage of the new green economy, which Mark Carney has flagged as representing a $26-trillion opportunity globally. If Canada is on the front end of that wave, we can expect to have more jobs in our communities as the world transitions to a global low-carbon economy.
I want to touch on affordability in particular, because this is front of mind for me. In my constituency office, the power company is on speed dial, because so many constituents come to my office not knowing where to turn. We know the cost of living has gone up over time. That is why we are trying to tackle those measures. Poverty has come down by 20%, which means 825,000 Canadians are not living in poverty today who were when we took office in 2015. The allegation that we are somehow seeking to make life more expensive is not true.
We understand the struggles of Canadian families who live in Pictou County, or Antigonish or on the eastern shore, places I represent. These are important issues that we need to tackle. That is why we are moving forward, not just with a plan to address climate change that can make life more affordable, but also by introducing measures like the Canada child benefit, which puts more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families and stops sending child care cheques to millionaire families that, frankly, did not need it.
We have moved forward with a boost to the guaranteed income supplement, which puts more money in the pockets of low-income single seniors, some of the most vulnerable folk in the communities I represent, with up to $947 extra a year. That is why we moved forward with a tax cut for nine million middle-class Canadians and raised taxes on the wealthiest 1%.
Each of these measures was opposed by the official opposition. To hear them now criticize a plan based on the fact that it will make life more expensive creates some serious cognitive dissonance considering that they voted against all the measures that were making life more affordable.
In particular, this plan, as I have explained a number of times during these remarks, will also put more money in the pockets of eight out of 10 families in systems in which it applies. We worked with provinces for years leading up to the implementation of this system. In provinces like mine, Nova Scotia, there is in fact no federal price on carbon. It has come up with a cap-and-trade system that impacts about 20 major industrial polluters and places a modest surcharge on fuel. Nova Scotia's plan was accepted because it showed that it was taking seriously the threat that climate change constitutes.
It is only in provinces that would not come to the table with a serious plan that we are moving forward with it. We do not believe it should be free to pollute the atmosphere anywhere in Canada. The atmosphere belongs to all of us. When people operate industrial facilities that degrade that atmosphere, they should be liable to every Canadian for the damage they have done. That is why they are paying a price on pollution, and that is why citizens deserve the rebate that is paid out of these revenues.
None of this money is being kept by the federal government, contrary to what some of the Conservative members have suggested. If they have problems with the tax being kept by governments on the price of gas, I suggest they speak to some of the Conservative premiers who are currently railing against our plan to put a price on pollution. Those premiers have the ability to take the tax off gas and allow families to keep their hard-earned money. We are making polluters pay and giving that money directly to families.
The great thing is that we can see job growth when we move forward with an ambitious plan to fight climate change. In my community, there are examples like the Trinity group of companies, which is doing incredible work in energy efficiency. It started out with a couple of guys who were really good contractors. They realized an incentive was put in place by different governments, which we have since bolstered at the federal level over the past few years, to help homeowners reduce the costs of energy efficient products, whether smart thermostats, better doors and windows or more efficient heating systems. They use the products that have come down as a result of publicly funded rebates, which are helping homeowners bring their costs of living down by reducing their power bill each month. They have added dozens of positions to their organization.
In the community of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, companies like CarbonCure have developed carbon sequestration technologies that pull carbon out of the atmosphere to inject into concrete products to strengthen them for use in construction.
Speaking of construction, Canada's Building Trades Union has pointed out that as we upgrade our buildings and infrastructure, there is a potential opportunity to create four million new green jobs by embracing the green economy and fighting climate change. Those are serious numbers that will have a real impact on the GDP of Canadians. More important, for families, it is a job that people maybe could not get in the community they came from, so they may not have to move.
These are real, meaningful, human examples that are making a difference, not just for our economy but for families.
The motion on the floor suggests that we repeal our price on pollution and implement a real plan. I would like to draw to the attention of the House to the fact that there is so much more to our plan than this one policy onto which the Conservatives have latched. In fact, there are over 50 measures. I am happy to lay a few of them out for the House.
By 2030, and not many Canadians appreciate this, we are on track to have 90% of our electricity in the country generated from non-emitting resources. That is remarkable. We have made the single largest investment in public transit in the history of our country. This will encourage more Canadians to take public transit rather than drive their cars, so we can become more efficient and life can be made more convenient at the same time. We are phasing out coal. We are investing in energy efficiency. We are investing in green technology.
At St. Francis Xavier University, of which I am a proud alumnus, the flux lab, with Dr. David Risk, is developing instrumentation that is putting researchers to work. It has been commercialized because the oil and gas sector has realized that by using this instrumentation, it can detect gas leaks at a distance and increase its production without increasing its emissions. It is capturing gas that is currently leaking out of its infrastructure.
We are moving forward with these serious things.
In addition, we are implementing new regulations on methane to help reduce the fastest-growing contributor to global GHG emissions.
On the same piece, pursuant to the Montreal protocol, in Kigali, we have adopted a single new measure that will result in a reduction of methane emissions which will have the equivalent of a 0.5° reduction in emissions on its own. We are also adopting a clean fuel standard and vehicle emissions standards.
We are moving forward with the most ambitious plan in Canadian history to protect nature in Canada. This is serious. We need to take the opportunity before us to do something to protect our threatened ecosystems. With over $1.3 billion invested in protecting nature, we will more than double the protected spaces across our country.
Of course, we recently announced we would be moving forward with a ban on our harmful single-use plastics. At the same time, we are putting the responsibility of managing the life cycle of those products on manufacturers.
Most of these policies have a few things in common. They will help reduce our emissions and protect our environment, yet the Conservatives oppose them every step of the way. I have taken hundreds of questions in question period about our plan for the environment. Not once have I received a question from the Conservatives about what more we could do for the environment. It is always an attempt to do a less.
The fact is that we cannot turn back the clock. I look forward to seeing the Conservative plan tomorrow. When I hear the kind of commentary from members of Parliament on their side, it gives me great cause for concern. I doubt whether we can even start the conversation about what solutions are most appropriate when I hear comments that deny climate change is primarily due to human activity. This is not a time to be debating the reality of climate change; it is a time to be debating solutions and, more important, implementing solutions.
I want to encourage everyone at home to start pulling in the same direction. If people have children, they should talk to them at the dinner table. It is the most effective thing they can do to help change their minds about the importance of climate change. The kids are all right. They know what is going on and they want us to take action.
If people have the opportunity to take part in a community cleanup, to take part in a solo or co-operative cleanup, to take part in whatever is going on in their community, I urge them to embrace it. We are running out of time. We want to implement a solution to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. I only hope the Conservatives get on board.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my fantastic colleague from . I want to take this opportunity to congratulate him on all the work he does to promote cycling in this country and help reduce plastic pollution. My colleague from British Columbia is doing an outstanding job.
I listened carefully to the parliamentary secretary's speech, and I want to come back to the final point he raised when responding to our Conservative colleague's question. Indeed, contrary to what the parliamentary secretary said, certain industrial sectors in Canada are getting free passes and handouts in terms of the price they will have to pay for their huge contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. This is all being given to them because of fears that businesses in certain highly competitive industrial sectors will want to move away or shut down their operations in Canada.
In his argument, the parliamentary secretary used the market argument to justify giving these companies a free pass allowing them to emit 10% more greenhouse gases before having to pay. What he fails to mention is that there is absolutely no verifiable objective criterion to justify this exemption, this gift being given to certain industrial sectors. In theory, the underlying logic to this exemption could be justified, but it is impossible to know what objective, rational, and independent criteria the Liberal government is basing its reasoning on. Several environmental activists have already asked this question. This approach lacks credibility. Again, it looks like the Liberals are handing out gifts to their corporate industry friends.
I find it interesting that we are having this discussion on the price of pollution. I have to hand it to the Conservatives, they are certainly consistent. When they sink their teeth into something, they do not let go. They do not like the idea of putting a price on pollution, and they are moving the same opposition motion that they presented a month or two ago, as though nothing else were going on in our society or our country. It seems to be the only thing they want to talk about until the election. Suits me. Let's talk about it.
I am the NDP environment critic. I am pleased to speak about our extraordinary platform called “The Courage to Do What's Right”, which the NDP leader recently presented in Montreal. It is an extraordinary and comprehensive document that includes a multitude of measures to address the challenges of tackling climate change. I will come back to that in a few minutes.
If there is one thing we can fault the Liberals for it is their lack of coherence. The government sheds crocodile tears and plays the violin while talking to us about future generations, the importance of the planet, nature, frogs and little birds, but it does nothing. It has been dragging its feet for years. The Liberals' environmental record does not live up to its promises of 2015 or the speeches it continues to give. What happened last night is proof of that. The Liberal government made us vote on a motion declaring a climate emergency. That is important. Canada is a G7 country. The government took the initiative to declare a climate emergency and to say that we must roll up our sleeves and take action. However, the Liberals had us vote on this motion the day before the announcement about the Trans Mountain expansion. That took some nerve. It does not make sense.
The Trans Mountain expansion will triple oil sands production, which will rise from 300,000 to 900,000 barrels a day. This project poses an extremely serious threat to British Columbia's coastline and has no social licence. Many indigenous communities oppose it, as does the Government of British Columbia. It is completely incompatible with the Liberal government's ambition to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To increase oil production from 300,000 to 900,000 barrels a day is equivalent to putting another three million cars on the road.
The government's climate change plan involves putting three million more gas-guzzling vehicles on our roads. Someone pinch me; I must be imagining things. This is a nonsensical and wrong-headed plan.
It is no wonder that groups like ENvironnement JEUnesse are suing the Liberal government over its reckless disregard for future generations. Young people are concerned, they are protesting, they are organizing and they are taking the government to court because it is not fulfilling its responsibilities. It is not taking the courageous decisions needed to do our part to combat climate change, the greatest challenge of our generation. If we do not get greenhouse gas emissions under control and limit global warming to 1.5°C to 2°C, the consequences will be extremely costly. There will be social, human, financial and economic consequences. We cannot wash our hands of this. We cannot stand by. Unfortunately, the Liberal government is all talk and no action.
By contrast, the NDP, with our leader, the member for , has proposed an extremely ambitious and comprehensive plan. I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk about this plan today, because we are going after the biggest greenhouse gas emitters.
The government's mistake is thinking that taxing carbon or pricing pollution is a magic wand that will fix all problems. This is not the case. It is a necessary tool, sure, but it is not enough. I think this is very important to point out. This is why the NDP has proposed other measures to ensure that we take serious, responsible action. Our commitment is to cut emissions by 450 megatonnes by 2030. This is achievable and is consistent with scientific findings and the IPCC report.
First, we want to take action on housing. We want to complete energy efficiency retrofits on all existing buildings and homes in Canada by 2050. That will save Canadians money and also reduce our carbon footprint. We want to change the building code so that all new buildings are carbon neutral by 2030, meaning they produce no greenhouse gas emissions. This would be a regulatory requirement that would apply across the board. The government has not had the courage to do this, and it does not even seem to be interested in moving in this direction.
Second, there is transportation. The transportation sector is a major GHG emitter. There are two things we need to achieve. First, we want to electrify personal and freight transportation, and we want to make sure we do both, not just personal transportation. Second, we want to electrify transit.
Electrification of transportation is crucial. We are going much further than the current Liberal government. We pledge to waive the GST on all models of electric or zero-emissions vehicles made in Canada. Not only will this make it easier for consumers to own a zero-emissions electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, but it will also provide an important boost to help the automotive sector make this transition.
Our plan includes major investments in public transit totalling $6.5 billion over the course of the NDP's first term in office. We will work with municipalities to reduce the cost of using public transit. Ultimately, we want public transit to be free, as it is in other places around the world, because we want to encourage people to use public transit more as well as active transit, such as walking and cycling.
Third is renewable energy. This government continues to subsidize oil and gas companies to the tune of billions of dollars a year. That needs to stop. We will divert that money to the renewable energy sector, which is already creating far more jobs in Canada than the fossil fuel sector.
We will make that happen by setting up a climate bank that can issue loans and provide loan guarantees to businesses, investors and people who are building green energy projects and renewable energy developments.
That is the NDP's game plan. I think it is much more ambitious than what any other party in the House has to offer.
Canadians and Quebeckers will judge its merits on October 21.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today as we talk about the most important issue that is facing our planet and humanity. The Conservative motion today is:
That, given that the carbon tax will not reduce emissions at its current rate and it is already making life more expensive for Canadians, the House call on the government to repeal the carbon tax and replace it with a real environment plan.
I am going to speak about an environmental plan and how we can get to that conversation. However, before I do that, I want to read an important quote from Greta Thunberg. We all know that she is a leading climate activist globally. She says, “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
I am going to target my speech to this motion and around the fiscal responsibilities of what is happening today. We know that the PBO did a report in 2014 and guesstimated that the cost of climate emergencies would be about $900 million a year to the Canadian economy. That has actually turned into $1.8 billion, so at the time he very much under-calculated the true cost of climate emergencies and how quickly we were going to see climate change happen. He also predicted that by 2050 we would see the cost escalate to $40 billion to $50 billion. When I think about Greta Thunberg, I think about my children and the children of our country. I think about ensuring that we do not leave them with a huge deficit and that we pay for pollution now instead of expecting Greta and other children around the world to inherit this huge economic deficit.
In our country, we are seeing skyrocketing temperatures that have never been seen before. Canada is the fastest-warming country in the world, now at 1.7° above 1948 temperatures, which is our baseline. We are looking at 2.3°C in the far north, where it is the fastest warming in the world. As I have raised here in the House, we are seeing changing weather patterns. We had the biggest windstorm in Vancouver Island's history in December. In February, we had the biggest snowstorm. In March, we had the biggest drought. We had forest fires that started in May and right now most communities in coastal British Columbia and certainly all over Vancouver Island are on water conservation orders. It is affecting our salmon, our economy, our food security and our way of life.
I will go to the motion. The Conservatives have been opposing the carbon tax. They have raised the carbon tax issue. I did a Library of Parliament research question. About two months ago, the Conservatives had asked 762 questions in question period opposing the carbon tax. Those are lost opportunities to bring solutions to the government and to call on the government to take action on a list of items that the Conservatives could be bringing forward. They are perhaps talking about some of that tomorrow. I am extremely disappointed that the Conservative Party of Canada did not roll out its platform yesterday so that today we could be debating its proposal. It would have been good for a healthy debate. We need to put partisan politics aside and have a healthy debate about this most important crisis that is happening in all of our planet's history.
I am extremely disappointed. The Conservatives point to the government, saying that the Liberals have no real plan, but we still have not heard the Conservatives' plan. This really affects the credibility of today's motion, which is just in opposition.
The Progressive Conservative Party of the past was willing to take action on climate leadership like with acid rain, putting a cost on polluters and ensuring that they paid the price. The Conservatives are not listening to some of their own leaders. Preston Manning is very much in support of a carbon tax, putting a price on pollution and ensuring it is carbon neutral. Therefore, when we look at the changes and evolution of the Conservative Party, I am concerned to see this motion come forward without the Conservatives' plan being presented to us.
We have heard from the Liberal Party about the importance of balancing the environment and the economy. We could not agree more.
However, we hear about the government purchasing a pipeline for $4.5 billion, and now, today, the Liberals are going to consider making a decision. If that decision has not already been announced while I am rising right now, it is to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline and invest $15 billion, which would be the largest purchase by the public in Canadian history in fossil fuel infrastructure, and at a time when we need to go in the other direction and invest in clean energy and renewal. Therefore, I am extremely disappointed to hear the government talk about balancing the environment and the economy when it could invest $15 billion into clean energy right now and into electrifying our country. There are so many opportunities and tools that the government has to bring our emissions down and take real climate action.
When I look at jurisdictions around the world, they certainly differ from the beliefs of my friend for . He believes that the carbon tax in British Columbia and Quebec has not worked when, in fact, they have had the fastest growing economies in our country. In British Columbia, it has been an enormous success. When the member attacks the B.C. Liberal government of the past that brought it in and the B.C. NDP government that is carrying forward an important policy that is supported by the B.C. Green Party, he is taking a shot at all political parties in British Columbia that are united on one thing: knowing that we have to put a price on pollution and that polluters need to pay their fair share. That is just the reality.
We cannot leave it for Greta and other young people in our communities who we are hearing from. The youth climate action, as we have heard, is doing Friday walkouts, joining children from around the world demanding that we take action. By “we”, they mean right here in the House of Commons and leaders from across political parties standing united to take action. They are demanding it. I have children in my riding from G.P. Vanier and Mark R. Isfeld secondary schools in Courtenay who have walked out of school and called on us to bring their important message to Ottawa to be heard here in the House, and I am doing that today. Children in Port Alberni at Wood Elementary School are walking out of school, demanding we take action.
I have been privileged to sit on the climate caucus here in Ottawa, which is an all-party, multi-party caucus, with my good friend for from the NDP, my friend for from the Green Party, my friend for from the Bloc Québécois and my friend for from the Conservative Party. It is one opportunity where we actually put our partisan politics aside and become united on an important issue. Sadly, only about 10 or 12 of us show up on a regular basis, and we need more. We need to make it a party so that climate caucuses meet right here in the House of Commons and have a healthy debate about how we move forward and not go backward.
Today, I look at models around the world. California is an excellent model that has taken real action, such as curbing climate emissions on vehicles. Californians have taken a multi-tasked approach where they work with people who are facing real challenges in communities, who are facing huge economic hardship, and shifted that through cap and trade. They have improved their GDP by 37% since 2000 and have reduced emissions by 35%, and that is per capita. This is just another example of a jurisdiction that has taken leadership. Norway has invested in $1 trillion in oil and gas, while our country put $11 billion aside. In Norway, they are earning $50 billion in interest alone and investing in clean energy and strategies that will lower emissions. In fact, 53% of their vehicles are electrified in Norway. Therefore, it can be done. There are 45 countries around the world that have a price on pollution and a carbon tax, as well as an additional 25 jurisdictions, provincial or state, in various countries around the world.
We have heard from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the IPCC, that we need to reduce emissions by 45% from 2005 levels, and our commitment in Paris, by 2030. We have to take drastic action.
I could speak all day about solutions and creating jobs, clean energy and investing in electrification, and ending subsidies to big oil and gas, which, again, could finance so many opportunities and solutions, such as retrofitting buildings. The number of things that we could do is endless. We could have a full debate about that, and I wish we were.
We are in a climate crisis, and I want to close on what Greta Thunberg had said, “I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic [and] act as if the house was on fire.”
We are in the House. Let us act like it is on fire.
Mr. Speaker, today we are debating the following motion that Conservatives have put forward:
That, given that the carbon tax will not reduce emissions at its current rate and it is already making life more expensive for Canadians, the House call on the government to repeal the carbon tax and replace it with a real environment plan.
As part of debate on this motion today, I would like to break down what climate change is, what causes it, and then show why the Liberals' carbon tax scheme, which is currently at $40 a tonne, will not reduce emissions in Canada, why it exacerbates global climate change and why it is harmful to our economy, but I will do so in the following context.
Earlier in debate today, the member for said that by raising this motion, the Conservatives were “playing with the lives of future generations”. Recently, something awesome happened to me. I became a stepmom and a step-grandmother. To one tiny, very sticky human being, I am known as nana. My stepson Kepi is watching the debate today and my stepdaughter Tori really cares about this issue because she has a son. This one is for them, not for the member for .
What is climate change and what causes it? Climate change can be broadly described by global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid- to late 20th century onward and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. Climate change is caused by changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, for example industrial emissions, cars, volcanoes, forest fires; deforestation and land use changes; sulfate aerosols; and soot particles or black carbon. If that is what it is and what it is caused by, then how do we reduce it?
Let us start with the Liberal plan, which is the subject of the motion today. To the member for and everyone who has mentioned children as the reason for debate on this issue, Liberals have staked their children's future on a $40-a-tonne price on carbon. If we know what the causes of climate change are, as I read them out, then the policy objective should be to put in place a policy instrument that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. That is what we are managing to, to save the planet for our children. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us as legislators to ask, given the severity and gravity of this, if the Liberals' purported plan would work.
Those who have a background in economics will know that there is a concept called price elasticity. I am oversimplifying this, but it means that if a price changes on a good, people will buy more or less of it. When the price changes on goods and people buy more or less of them, those are highly price-elastic goods. When the price of goods increases but people still have to buy them and their consumption does not change, those goods are called price-inelastic.
I am raising this because this concept is super important when we talk about whether a carbon tax would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If an additional price is put on carbon, and I mean things like gas in our tanks, what we use to heat our homes or electricity, if it is produced by fossil fuels, if the government is going to put a price on that and that is its purported way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in theory, Liberals are hoping and praying that people will buy less carbon because the price has increased.
The government has refused to table or make public any sort of data that it has from modelling the price elasticity of carbon. That is really unfortunate, because it does not allow us as legislators, given what is at stake for our kids, to look at whether this is actually going to work.
The reality is that, in Canada, where it is very cold and we have to use fossil fuels to heat our homes and to drive around, as we do not have the same sort of transit infrastructure that a small European country would have, there really is not a substitute good for carbon. In Canada, carbon is price-inelastic, which means that putting a price of $40 a tonne on carbon, as the Liberals have done, is not actually going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
The reason this motion is before the House today is that this is an important issue, but if we want to save the planet for our kids and we know that it is not going to work, then we have to talk about other solutions, not just cling to it out of political expediency.
Members do not have to take my word for it. This year, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, a non-partisan agent of Parliament whose job it is to do this type of modelling, said that the Liberals' carbon tax would need to be $102 per tonne in every province and territory in order to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set by the government, which it is purportedly managing to.
When asked if she would raise the tax to this level, the said no. Praise the Lord the answer was no. Essentially, the Liberals have said that they are setting a $40-per-tonne price on carbon. They know it is not going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and they are not going to raise it to a higher level.
What have we done in four years? The Liberals' own released report this year shows that Canada is actually further from the Paris target than last year. New numbers released by Environment Canada show that Canada is on track to fall 79 megatonnes short of its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target, and that is up from 66 megatonnes last year.
These guys are standing here doing something that I like to call apocalypse porn. It is where people stand and talk about all the terrible things that are happening and focus on that to deflect any sort of legislative inquiry into the efficacy of their policies. We know it is not going to work. That is why the motion is in front of us today. Liberals shut down debate when any of their climate plans are questioned. If they know that their plan will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions and they will not raise the tax, then why have they put this forward?
I could speculate at length about that. I think this is a cash grab for the Liberals' out-of-control spending. This is a way for some of the senior cabinet ministers to get on speaking tours and perhaps position themselves for jobs in the industry of people who do not really have plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but make a lot as environmental consultants.
I think that is what they are managing to, and that is really unfortunate, given that the member for appealed to the children. I do not want my kids to see a Liberal carbon plan where what the Liberals are managing to, instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, is jobs after politics, because they have said the right things but have done nothing.
I want to debunk some of the talking points that the Liberals have been throwing out today in opposition to the motion. First of all, they are citing the Nobel Prize-winning economist who said that this is the way to fight climate change. Let us go through some of the work that Dr. Nordhaus actually did. He acknowledges that the carbon tax raises many practical design and implementation questions. There are issues with cross-border taxes on carbon emissions and issues with administrative inefficiencies.
In fact, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the cost of administering the carbon tax in Canada, which, as I have shown, is ineffective and does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is $174 million, outside of the cost to Canadians in their pocketbooks. There is no price elasticity data by the Liberals to show that the $40 per tonne would actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For comparison, the United Nations report the Liberals often cite actually estimates that the government would need to impose effective carbon prices of $135 to $5,500 per tonne of carbon dioxide by 2030. This does not take into account any sort of economic growth modelling or what would happen to the growth of the Canadian or global economy at this point in time.
There are other things that this professor talks about in terms of some of the inefficiencies and uncertainties that could be applied to the Liberals' ineffective plan.
In one of his books, he writes, “The exact pace and extent of future CO2-induced warming are highly uncertain, particularly beyond the next few decades.” Yes, there might be a consensus view, but he notes, “Science does not proceed by majority vote.”
He notes that costs are key:
People want to be assured...that [carbon emissions] targets are not simply the result of overly concerned environmentalists who are intent on saving their ecosystems at the expense of humans.... People want to compare costs and benefits.... It will not be sufficient to say: “Ecosystems are priceless”, or “We must pay any cost to save the polar bears.”
He also notes that modelling is hard. The Financial Post said:
Of his own computer exercises looking into the implications of climate tipping points, he emphasizes that the assumptions he makes “are at the outer limit of what seems plausible and have no solid basis in empirical estimates of damages”.
This is a complex issue with complex economic modelling, which the Liberals have not explained to Canadians. They have not talked about the fact that the $40-a-tonne price on carbon will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet they are asking Canadians to pay a very high cost for that. It is morally bankrupt and it is wrong.
Nordhaus also notes that all countries, the poorest countries included, need to be included in globally binding emissions structures in order for this to have any effect. However, the Liberals are not doing any of the things cited by this economist, absolutely zero.
A few other things have been raised in debate today. The member for cited B.C.'s carbon tax. He cited this 2.2% emissions reduction as if it were a victory. However, he is looking at data in the context of the Lower Mainland, B.C. It is warmer there, and there is more public transit. The price elasticity for carbon there might be different from that in rural Saskatchewan. If we are looking for a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, it has to be a solution that applies to the entire country without harming our economy.
Members opposite brought up Preston Manning. I think Preston Manning's approach on this is absolutely wrong. I question why Preston Manning is doing this. I would even go as far as to speculate that he is doing this to raise funds for his think tank, not to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I would be happy to debate Preston Manning, on any stage, on the same data I have put forward, because this is not right and it will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
Members opposite have also cited the Pope. Members cannot stand in the House of Commons and say that we need a science-based, empirical response to climate change, not produce their own data and then cite religion, from a man who would not even meet the litmus test to run as a Liberal candidate.
Members opposite have talked about revenue neutrality. I will explain this concept for those listening and for my stepson, Kepi. According to the government, and only a Liberal would say that, revenue neutrality means paying a tax and getting an equal amount of money for it. That is crazy, because, as members know, it costs money to take money away. People are paid from the $174-million administrative cost. People will not get the same amount of money back in a cascading tax that affects every single level of production. This has been borne out by data reports in British Columbia, which have shown that the tax has become regressive. It is not revenue-neutral anymore.
Furthermore, with respect to the purported rebate that is going to Canadians, which the government said was factually correct, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, in an announcement, showed that the average carbon tax rebate Canadians received in 2018 was significantly lower than the amount the Liberals claimed Canadians would receive.
If it is not reducing greenhouse gas emissions, people are paying more and it is not revenue-neutral, why would we accept this as the status quo when talking about what we are doing for the children? It is just crazy.
In addition, the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens all say that this will not affect the economy. That is bunk. I will tie this into the concept that the Liberal carbon tax actually exacerbates climate change globally, because when we tax goods that are produced under high environmental standards, such as we have in Canada, we actually displace them with goods coming from higher-carbon jurisdictions. A perfect example of this is steel production in Canada.
When our steel producers in Ontario were subject to a carbon tax and Chinese steel was not, and the Chinese government was able to dump steel in Canada at lower prices, that was actually displacing goods in Canada that were produced under lower emissions standards.
We, as a country, can put a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions until the cows come home, but as long as we are buying goods from China, India, Brazil and the United States, we are not going to tackle the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. There needs to be a globally binding system that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, with binding targets, for this to work.
What should we do? Tomorrow, my is going to announce a very comprehensive plan that addresses many of these issues. Again, I do not want to scoop him. We need a made-in-Canada solution that addresses the fact that we have a regionalized economy. It is cold here. There are not a lot of substitutes for our products. We have a wealth of technology that needs the right incentives to be adopted. We need energy efficiency standards. This is just me thinking up things.
Our global climate action cannot be the going on a photo op tour where the most environmentally friendly thing she did was sit at a table covered in grass and drink cocktails. That was not Canada using its role on the world stage to incent climate action.
I want to speak to the Conservative record. The Liberals can say that the Conservatives do not have a plan until the cows come home, but there is one inconvenient truth: there is only one time in Canada's history when we saw a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions while the economy grew. It was under Stephen Harper's government, when we imposed regulations on passenger vehicles. I would also argue with the member for about any reductions they saw in B.C. What about the passenger vehicle reductions we put in place?
The coal-fired regulations on Canada's coal-fired sector came in under a Conservative government, because we believe, and here is the underlying point, that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without undermining the Canadian economy. I am standing here as an Alberta MP, because these guys have used their apocalypse porn to put my riding out of work. The Liberals have done nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They have stood here and railed, “What about the children?” The Liberals have done nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and they have put my riding out of work. That is morally bankrupt. That is crass politics.
Members should be concerned about what political party they stand for after this debate. It is partisan. The Liberals stand here, apocalypse porn and all, behind policy instruments that do not work, and then they want me to look at my children and my grandchild and say, “Yeah, it was great. It was non-partisan. We did nothing.” That is wrong.
I was actually at an event with Al Gore, and I debated Al Gore. I wish that event had been public, because it was a lot of fun. There is a lot of inconvenient truth about the buzzwords that come out of these communities that do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We have a responsibility to take action in Canada. Conservatives have done that. In fact, the last Liberal government saw greenhouse gas emissions rise by 30% when it was in government. The Liberals are probably on track to do the same here.
This should be partisan, because these guys have made this all about falsehoods, all about policy, and have done nothing to materially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The said that it is time to be debating solutions and implementing those solutions. The kids are all right. They want us to take action. They do. However, a price on carbon that does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and puts people out of work in this country, and allows countries like China to get away with producing goods in a high-carbon jurisdiction while we buy them, is not action. That is politics. That is morally bankrupt.
Since this might be one of the last times I speak in this House in this Parliament, I want to thank all my constituents in Calgary Nose Hill for giving me the opportunity to fight for them. It is important. I would just say to them that we fought hard. We fought the Liberal government at every turn, and we have had great success in holding it to account and making it step back on some of the policies.
Now the time to fight goes to my constituents, so I ask them to join us.
Mr. Speaker, I am going to be sharing my time with the hon. member for Winnipeg North, and I look forward to his comments after I have had a chance to speak.
Our government is taking climate change seriously. We know that climate change is real and that we have a plan to tackle it. After the Paris Agreement negotiations in 2015, Canada set out a plan to tackle emissions to do its part to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C. We spent a year working with provinces and territories, engaging indigenous peoples and listening to Canadians from across the country. Two and a half years ago, we released our national climate plan, the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. I went through that plan last week. It is an 86-page document that says what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.
The plan is designed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. It is going to help us to adapt to a changing climate and spur clean technology and innovation. Our plan includes putting a price on carbon pollution across Canada, something we are talking about today, because we know it is effective and puts money back in the pockets of Canadians. As part of an overall plan, 90% of the revenues that are collected are going straight back to families through their tax returns in provinces where pollution pricing does not exist, such as in Ontario.
The other 10% is going back to businesses to help them reduce their carbon footprints with the climate action incentive fund, which supports these types of projects and measures that are undertaken by SMEs, municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals as well as not-for-profit organizations. The recipients of these funds will benefit from funding projects to decrease their energy usage, save money and reduce carbon pollution. It is also an economic plan for these types of organizations.
Putting a price on carbon is going to reduce emissions by 50 million to 60 million tonnes by 2022. It will also promote innovation, providing incentives to reduce energy use through conservation and efficiency measures.
However, our plan is much more than pricing carbon pollution. Our plan includes over 50 concrete measures in policies, regulations, standards and investments to reduce Canada's emissions, drive clean growth and help Canadians adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The Government of Canada has also invested $28.7 billion to support improvements in public transit. Through this investment, we are making it easier for Canadians to choose lower-emission transit options. The Ontario government has put a freeze on some of these projects, but we are hopeful to see further investments in Guelph, including alternate-fuelled buses through the municipality, greening its fleet, and the incentives in place by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to create charging stations. We invested in 26 new buses a few years ago. Those buses were purchased in a way that is going to help our community to have more people on the bus.
Outside our community, we are looking at the ongoing concern of establishing an all-day, two-way GO train service to and from the GTA. We have a lot of commuters who are getting through traffic on the 401 to get to work and then facing delays getting home to their families. However, the multi-billion-dollar project to expand Ontario's GO Transit network has taken two major steps forward, on May 30 of this year, with the Canada Infrastructure Bank's announcing an investment of up to $2 billion and the province's short-listing four consortia to advance to the next stage of procurement on this project. That project is attracting international investment; it is not all being funded by Canadians through the infrastructure bank, which is one of the measures that our government has brought forward.
The rail expansion that we are talking about is officially known as the GO regional express rail on-corridor project. It involves significant construction work along the greater Toronto and Hamilton area rail corridor, as well as a new train maintenance facility and upgrades at Toronto's Union Station. The wide-reaching project also incorporates rail electrification, refurbishment and maintenance on trains, and oversight of train control and dispatch operations, among many other aspects, and introducing data as a way to help us move trains from point A to point B.
The overall approach that we are taking is strategic. It is something along the lines of what Guelph has developed, a community energy initiative. Now we are looking at the same types of principles nationally to see where the main contributors to climate change are. Industry is the largest, including oil and gas, but it is all industry, amounting to 37% of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada or 269 megatonnes.
We are looking at small business retrofits across the board. In Guelph, we have Canadian Solar that is doing great work on providing solar panels across Canada. Linamar in Guelph is developing the car of the future.
We are looking at new processes within our manufacturing industry. One of the members across the way mentioned VeriForm, which is just in Cambridge, southwest of Guelph, that is looking at how to reduce the climate change impact on businesses.
We have introduced an accelerated capital cost allowance to write down costs in the first year. Instead of paying taxes, people will pay for greening their businesses to reduce the cost of operations.
We have also looked at transportation. Twenty-three percent of greenhouse gases, 171 megatonnes, are emitted through transportation. We are looking at how we can reduce those through EV incentives that we have now introduced. We are also promoting EV within our communities through a not-for-profit organization called eMERGE that has held a couple of car shows to show the community how we can transition to electric vehicles. In fact, we have had many owners displaying their cars and saying what their challenges have been and how they are overcoming challenges to show that it really is not that hard to get into an EV.
We are looking at active transportation, increasing bike lanes, and as I mentioned, increasing the number of buses in our fleet, getting new buses in our fleet, providing fare boxes at bus stops and four special transit vehicles, all of which are funded through the federal government's support.
We are looking at our built environment, the buildings and the 12% of greenhouse gas emissions, or 87 megatonnes, that are emitted through building heating and cooling. FCM now has a green fund that we have doubled so that we can put climate action incentives in place to help people save money on the operation of their building and, at the same time, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
As well, 11% is coming from electricity. How do we provide a better way of getting electricity other than using fossil fuels? We are looking at research into cold-water aquifer development so that we can get geothermal working on our side to provide heating and cooling in urban buildings.
Forestry, agriculture and waste draw a lot of attention with 17% of greenhouse gas emissions, or 127 megatonnes. I am proud to say that Guelph and Wellington County were the recipients of a $10-million fund through the smart cities challenge to reduce food waste and promote clean technology companies that are focused on providing sustainable food and reducing food waste. We are looking at that developing and going into the future.
Beyond all of these, looking at the different areas of greenhouse gas emission opportunities, we are also looking at adaptation and climate resilience. We are looking at the floods and forest fires that are happening and how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions through adaptation programs.
I was a member of the Rotary Club in Guelph. It just completed a 10-year program of planting 60,000 trees in our area. It is looking at how to sequester carbon and promote more oxygen into the atmosphere. Even though the Ontario government is cutting tree-planting programs, Guelph is looking at ways to increase its tree canopy to a 40% target within the municipality.
Flood resilience is another area. We all experience floods. Even though Guelph is not on a major river like the Ottawa River, we still get floods. The federal government has provided support for sewer upgrades and snow storage areas and flood resilience programs, all helped by federal funding.
Clean technology, innovation and jobs is where we are all heading. It is a new economy. We are looking at the opportunities that climate change provides for us to develop the technology of the future. I co-founded an organization I am so proud of, Innovation Guelph, that is working with Bioenterprise in Guelph. It received $5.6 million and is helping 135 new start-up companies to develop solutions around clean technologies.
Looking at this nationally, Sustainable Development Technology Canada is providing funding support for companies across Canada to develop these types of solutions. It has also launched joint funding opportunities in collaboration with Emissions Reduction Alberta and Alberta Innovates, which I also visited during my term here. It has partnered with the Ontario Centres of Excellence to enhance Ontario's greenhouse gas innovation initiative. SDTC estimates that its projects have reduced annual emissions by 6.3 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent, generated $1.4 billion in annual revenue and supported growth of more than 9,200 direct and indirect jobs since 2015.
We have also funded the upgrade of the community energy initiative in Guelph with $175,000, which is going into projects in Guelph to try to help us move forward into the future.
However, our work is not done. The transition to a low-carbon economy does not occur overnight. We recognize that evidence-informed policy requires ongoing support, so we established a new independent climate change and clean growth institute to provide trusted information and advice for years to come. We are going to review these findings to help us contribute to take strong action on climate change, which includes the price on carbon but does not exclude all these other things we are doing.
I am thankful for the time I had to talk about climate change as it relates to Guelph.
Mr. Speaker, when I think of our environment, virtually from day one, this government has had a developing climate action plan that is healthy for the environment and the economy at the same time. We often talk about Canada's middle class, those aspiring to be a part of it and helping them through different measures. We recognize that we can do both at the same time. We can continue to develop the economy and ensure we have a healthier planet for future generations.
I want to highlight a few thoughts and then provide a little more detail on some of the politics.
When we look at the budgets and legislative measures, it is fairly impressive. We have committed hundreds of millions of dollars through budgetary measures over the last few years, such as over $2.3 billion in funding to support clean technology in one form or another; $21.9 billion in green infrastructure funding, which will support things like electricity infrastructure, renewable energy and so forth; and $2 billion for disaster mitigation and adaptation funding.
Along with these budgetary measures, we have legislative measures, such Bill , the oil tanker ban; Bill , the environmental assessment legislation; our fisheries in Bill .
From day one, this government has been on track to bring forward positive legislation and budgetary measures. This demonstrates very clearly that we understand how important the environment is not only to Canadians but to the world. These types of actions put Canada in a good place with respect to strong international leadership on this very important file. I believe Canadians want us to do this as a government.
We can look at some of the initiatives that government can take, and we hear a great deal about the price on pollution. For years now, the Conservative Party has been a lone voice in the House of Commons. The New Democrats, the Greens and, to the best of my knowledge, the Bloc understand that a price on pollution is the best way to go. It is not only the parties in the chamber, but it is very well received in many provincial and territorial jurisdictions. In fact, the majority of them already had some form of a price on pollution in place.
When we are talking about the national price on pollution, we are talking about areas where there is no plan in place, where there is no price on pollution and the federal government is imposing one. The good new is that 80%-plus of constituents I represent as the member of Parliament for Winnipeg North will be better off financially as a direct result of the price on pollution. However, the Conservatives in their spin and misinformation that they funnel out of their Conservative war room virtually on a daily basis are telling Canadians something that is vastly different from reality and truth. This is not a cash grab.
The Conservatives ask about the GST on fuel at the pumps. I remind them that they put the cascading tax on the pump price. I remind the Conservatives that their Party ignored the environment to the degree that it now demands the type of attention it has been given over the last few years. We just voted last night on the emergency facing our environment. Once again, the Liberals, the Greens, the Bloc and the CCF all voted yes that we did need to take the environment far more seriously. They recognized that it as an emergency. Only the Conservative Party voted against that motion.
The Conservatives say they have a plan. They have been saying that for a long time now. For the last 400-plus days, all they have been doing is criticizing the price on pollution, even though it is widely respected and acknowledged as the best way to deal the reduction of emissions.
However, now Doug Ford has apparently met with the federal Conservative leader and hammered out a plan. Tomorrow, Mr. Ford will share his plan with the rest of Canada. He took Ontario out of the old plan,. Now he will present a national plan, worked on with the federal Conservative Party. I look forward to seeing that plan. A little more transparency on the environment is long overdue when it comes to the Conservative Party of Canada.
It would be nice to compare our plan with the Conservative plan. Our plan talks about hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in clean energy and working with the different stakeholders. I will provide some tangible examples. In the last budget, there was an incentive for individuals to buy electric vehicles. Other provinces, like the beautiful province of Quebec, had a complementary program that would give the residents of Quebec a more substantial discount. Tesla reduced the price on a vehicle in order to get under the threshold. The biggest winner in this is the consumer, followed by the environment.
Governments can make a difference. To get a better appreciation of that, look at what happened in the taxi industry in the province of Manitoba with the Prius car. It was through government action. Government actions can make a difference. We came in with a plan after working with indigenous communities, provincial governments, municipalities, school boards and the private sector in developing ways to reduce emissions in every region of our country.
Through this debate, I have learned that the Conservative Party opposes supporting private sector initiatives with public dollars. That became very clear in the last number of weeks. I am anxious to see how the Conservatives might spin on that dime as they try to convince Canadians they care about the environment. In reality, there has been no indication that is the case.
Mr. Speaker, I thought all along that the member for just liked to debate so he could hear himself. However, I digress.
I am pleased to speak today to the Conservative Party of Canada's opposition motion on the topic of climate change and the environment. I will be sharing my time with the member for .
I want to say that only the Liberal government could talk about the environment for four years, break its promise to meet the Paris accord on climate change and end up taxing Canadians to cover up its incompetence, overspending and environmental management.
As I get into my presentation, for those who know me and my background, I have always strived to put forward ideas and solutions to the many issues facing my constituency and our nation. While I am not as good as giving one-liners or the pithy comments of social media that seem to attract the most attention, in my own way I have tried to reach out and build consensus to get things done.
Today, I want to apply that attitude to the larger issue of the environment, conservation and climate change. Like many members in the chamber, I represent a constituency that is geographically large. All across Westman, farms and communities dot the prairie landscape, as they have for many generations. Almost half of the people I represent live outside the city of Brandon in the 20-plus municipalities located in the riding.
These are some of the most hard-working, down to earth and determined people we will meet anywhere in this great country of ours. Living in rural Canada has its unique challenges. With those challenges also comes a way of life like none other. Our connection to the land, air and water is strong, because our livelihoods quite literally depend on it.
As someone who farmed for most of my life, I firmly believe that if we take care of the land, it will take care of us. My father raised my brother and me on those words, and I have lived by them. I want to immediately dispel any notion that farmers or rural folks who oppose the carbon tax do not care about the environment. They do care. They care about it immensely. They just have a serious issue about being forced to pay a new tax imposed on provinces that will disproportionately impact rural people.
Let us put ourselves in their boots for a moment. Many families must drive long distances to get to work. Many seniors have to drive into Brandon to go to either the doctor or the optician. Parents have to drive their kids to various towns for sports or choir practice.
Let us never forget students at Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College who still live on the farm or in their rural community and make the daily commute to the city to attend classes. These are not optional things that people can just decide not to do or do less. There are no subways or bus routes for their purposes. Trust me; if people did not have to drive in our blustery winters, they would not.
From the very beginning, I believe the government has mishandled the rollout of the carbon tax.
First and foremost, many Canadians, particularly many of the people I represent, have trepidations about the federal government's priorities at the best of times. Saying the federal government is about to impose a new tax but not to worry because people will not feel the pinch, while at the same time it will combat climate change, is not the best way to get buy-in from those who have skepticism.
Second, when we tried in vain to get the financial data out of the , it was so heavily blacked out that it was meaningless.
Third, when the Province of Manitoba put forward a plan that would have reduced carbon emissions, the federal government rejected it. Officials were told that no matter how many tonnes of CO2 their plan would reduce, it had to include a $50 a tonne carbon tax.
My province tried to work in good faith with the federal government and was told to go pound sand. No wonder it has decided to launch its own court case. If that is the way federalism now works in this country, it is not hard to understand why premiers are concerned about the Liberal government's other initiatives, such as Bill and Bill .
It also troubles me that, in Canadian politics, the litmus test on one's commitment to the environment is now centred on supporting a $50 a tonne carbon tax. While that may be the case in some circles, I can assure MPs that everyday Canadians do not use this lens when talking with their family and friends. It is not that my Conservative colleagues or people who oppose the carbon tax do not care about the changing climate; it is that we do not believe the carbon tax is the best way of addressing it.
Tomorrow, our leader will outline the vision and present an alternative to what is being imposed by the current federal government. Due to the already challenging political discourse on this issue, I can only imagine the over-the-top language being drafted now in response. I want to urge the Liberals to hold off on issuing their canned response before the speech has even been given. The Liberals have been waiting ever so patiently, so I fully expect that they will be paying close attention. I want the government to recognize that there are more ways to deal with climate change than applying a tax on the fuel that families put in their minivans.
I want the Liberals to recognize that applying a carbon tax on the energy used to drive farmers' grain only adds further cost to the industry that is already facing challenging commodity prices and markets that slam shut. I want them to start listening to farmers who have ideas that can reduce and sequester carbon without applying a new tax. The agricultural industry has made great strides in environmental management that benefit society, virtually by its own innovation at its own cost. There are proven models out there that have had tangible and meaningful results.
I have always been a proponent, as examples, of implementing an alternative land use services program and the expansion of wetland restoration programs. For those who have not listened to the member for , I can assure them his message about eating more beef and how it is good for the environment is grounded in empirical science.
Over the years as a farm leader, an MLA and now an MP, I have dealt with many issues that impact our environment. Back home, people do not apply a litmus test to determine our commitment to an issue. We focus on bringing people together to work on solutions. Perhaps one day those values will rub off on all of us in this chamber when we must wade through our differences.
I want to give just one example from which we can learn. Manitoba has been prone to floods for as long as history has been recorded. Being at the bottom of the basin, we have had to deal with spring runoff and localized flooding that has impacted communities for generations. It was a Progressive Conservative premier, Duff Roblin, who implemented a series of public works projects that protected communities in the Assiniboine and Red River basins, and particularly impacted the flooding that would have occurred in the city of Winnipeg in 1997. Since then, there have been significant enhancements to flood protection up and down the Souris, Red and Assiniboine rivers. I want to say that this issue in Manitoba is non-partisan.
Our previous federal Conservative and provincial NDP governments both invested in projects that protected the city of Brandon and the towns of Melita, Reston, Souris, Deloraine, Elkhorn and Wawanesa. We also expanded the Red River Floodway, which was completed under budget.
It was after the most recent flood that many people in the Assiniboine River basin decided that we needed to work together. Under the leadership of Allan Preston and Wanda McFadyen, they spearheaded an initiative that brought the governments of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Dakota under one organization, alongside municipalities, farmers and conservation districts. We all live within the same watershed, and we had to stop working in silos.
We know a one-size-fits-all approach to water management does not work, and that is why a one-size-fits-all approach will not work with a carbon tax. That is why it was so frustrating to see how the federal government tossed aside the climate change plan put forward by Manitoba. Without a change in attitude, more and more Canadians will look at the rigid position taken by some in the government and tune out. We also know that climate change is a global problem that requires global solutions. The current approach does not reflect that reality.
I firmly believe that Canada is well positioned to provide these solutions. Tomorrow we will start outlining our alternative to the carbon tax and begin the conversation on what will replace it. I encourage my Liberal colleagues, particularly those who represent rural areas, to join me in supporting this motion. I ask them to please stand up for their constituents, repeal the carbon tax and replace it with a real environmental plan.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to this motion. Canadians do care about the environment. Canadians care about the environment, and they care about climate change. Constituents in my riding of Perth—Wellington care about the environment and climate change. They tell me that. Small businesses, families and the agricultural community care about the environment. After all, farmers are the original conservationists. They are closest to the ground, closest to the natural resources and closest to the natural environment that they depend on for their livelihoods and way of life, so they care about this. They care about what we as a country and we as a Parliament are doing for the environment and to combat climate change.
I also hear from my constituents about the negative impact the policies of the Liberal government are having on their families, their communities and small businesses in Perth—Wellington. They tell me on their doorsteps, write to my office and send emails, and I see it on social media. They are concerned about the rising cost of living. They are concerned about the impact and effect the carbon tax is having on the cost of taking their kids to soccer practice, driving to a part-time job, running their businesses and caring for their families. They are concerned about this. They are concerned that they are being taxed and taxed again, and seeing no tangible impact of those changes.
Today's motion is very simple. It calls on the House to express its opinion that we should repeal the carbon tax, which it has been shown will not meet the Paris targets. In fact, it will fall far short of meeting those targets. The motion calls on the House to endorse a real environment plan. I am proud to say that tomorrow Canadians will see what a real environment plan looks like.
The government fails to understand that people in my riding and Canadians across the country are not wasteful people. They care about the environment, and they care about their communities. They do not waste. They are already making changes where they can. They have made their best efforts and are continuing to make their best efforts, because they care.
I recently came across a comment by a small business owner just outside of St. Marys, Ontario. She wrote that as she listened to our stumble over the question regarding how his family were changing their lifestyle to help the environment, she thought of her husband, whom she called the unintentional environmentalist. He has flown on an airplane once in his life, in 1991, to attend a friend's wedding in B.C. His idea of a holiday is a day trip to a local museum or pioneer village, or a train ride to Toronto to watch a ball game. A fun Saturday night is staying home watching the game on TV. He has never used a fast-food drive-through. He does not even drink coffee.
On the rare occasion that he goes out for something to eat, he always goes into the restaurant to dine. When he goes to work, he packs a lunch in a reusable container and fills his water jug from the tap. His favourite drink, milk, is purchased from the local variety store in recyclable jugs. He shops locally, and the limited clothing in his closet comes from work, the township or sports team sources. His little Honda only leaves the driveway when there is a purpose, and he does multiple errands where possible. Christmas and birthday gifts are books, given and received, not trinkets from offshore. One can see his footprint is quite small.
That is reflective of so many Canadians, so many of my constituents and so many Canadians across the country who are making an effort. Then they see the Liberal government taxing them more, and they see a who, when asked the very simple question of what he personally and his family are doing, stumbled over his own words and made some incoherent comment about a “drink box-water bottle-sort of thing”. That is not good enough for Canadians. It is not good enough for Canadians who are making a real effort to reduce their carbon footprint. It is not good enough for Canadians who are struggling to get by because of the cost of having the Liberals in office.
Rural communities like mine are struggling because of these costs. They do not have the benefit of mass transit systems that our urban cousins have. Someone who works in Atwood but lives in Listowel cannot take a bus to work; someone who lives in Stratford cannot take a subway to St. Marys to visit family, and a person in Arthur cannot take a transit bus to Mount Forest for appointments. It is not possible, yet this carbon tax is putting an added burden on these Canadians.
I often hear about the cost of heating people's homes, and of course the carbon tax is increasing the cost of heating homes. Luckily, the Conservative Party has proposed to lower the cost of heating homes by removing the GST portion of the HST from home heating to help families get ahead.
The problem we see is that the Liberals are not talking about an environment plan. It is a tax plan. It is a tax plan that they claim takes with one hand and gives back with the other hand, but we see them reaching into both pockets. Their rebate plan was clearly not as advertised: We saw Canadians in Ontario being told they would receive $307 back, yet the vast majority received far less than promised.
We see the Liberals, at every opportunity they get, fearmongering. They say that anyone who is opposed to the carbon tax is somehow a climate change denier. They use strong-man arguments to try to paint hard-working Canadians and the opposition as climate change deniers. However, at the end of the day, we know that the Liberals are just using empty, symbolic gestures rather than taking real action. Real action is what Conservatives take.
Real action is what Conservatives will take once again in October when we are given the honour, hopefully, of serving this great country. It was a Conservative government, under Brian Mulroney, that introduced, signed and ratified the acid rain treaty. Contrast that with the Liberal government, which signed the Kyoto protocol and then did nothing. I am proud to be a member of the Conservative government that, during its time in office, actually saw emissions decrease.
We often talk about coal-fired power plants. In fact, it was a Conservative government in 2001 in Ontario that began the process of phasing out coal in Ontario, having a meaningful and real impact on emissions in Perth—Wellington and across Canada. In my riding, many people heat their homes with natural gas. It is fascinating that the Liberal carbon tax gives a more favourable rate to coal than it does to natural gas, which is a far cleaner use of electricity and energy. Once again, the Liberals do not care about that. They care about revenues and money, and that is exactly what the Liberal plan is: a tax plan.
Yesterday we saw the Liberals vote in favour of declaring a climate change emergency, which is a symbolic gesture but has no meaningful or tangible impact. The NDP member for said, “I have to comment on what just transpired. The Liberals are slapping each other on the back because they passed a motion that is meaningless.”
That is exactly what we are seeing with the Liberals: meaningless gestures rather than taking real action. Real action is what we will see tomorrow, when the Conservatives unveil our plan.
I realize that my time is running short, but I want to make a few final comments. The carbon tax is not benefiting our environment. In fact, in 2016 Canada was 44 megatonnes over its Paris target. In 2017, that number rose to 66 megatonnes. Last year, it was 103 megatonnes above the Paris commitment.
Then we find out from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the only way the Liberals will even come close to hitting their Paris targets is if they increase by five times the cost of the carbon tax, from $20 today to $102. That means people in ridings across Ontario and Canada could be paying as much as 23¢ per litre of gasoline more into the coffers of the Liberal government.
Under the Conservative plan, we will have the best chance of meeting our Paris targets. Under the Conservative plan, we will have a meaningful commitment to the environment, a meaningful plan to combat climate change and a meaningful plan that will benefit all Canadians, rather than the tax plan that we see from the Liberals.
Mr. Speaker, today I will be sharing my time with the member for .
I would like to pick up on a point the member for discussed in his speech a few moments ago. He talked about his constituent, the unintentional environmentalist, who had only taken one flight and is continuing to do a number of things that are environmentally friendly to protect our world.
The irony is that the member did not bother to tell his constituent the full story. The fact is that although there is a price on pollution, there is also the climate action incentive rebate. The fact is that because the member's constituent lives in a rural riding, he will even get a top-up to the normal rebate. As a result of being so environmentally conscious, the member's constituent is going to be further ahead than the vast majority of Canadians. Of course, the member did not bother to inform his constituent of that very important information.
The Conservatives will stand here and accuse this side of the House of playing politics. This is fascinating to me, because over the last three and a half years, I have listened to Conservatives talk about CO2 being plant food. I have heard Conservatives talk about how we are demonizing CO2. I have never heard them reference anything about climate change, yet suddenly, within the last month, we have started to hear Conservatives utter the words “climate change.”
I would love to ask the Library of Parliament to do a summary of the number of times the Conservatives said “climate change” during the last month versus the preceding three and a half years. I bet they have said it more in the last month. Do members know why? It is because they have started to do the polling, and they are starting to think they might have had it wrong on this one and had better start talking about climate change now.
What are they relying on? I will tell the House what they are doing. Tomorrow they will make their big announcement. They know that they have to thread the needle very tightly, because they also know that they represent Canadians who do not believe in climate change. They need to be careful. They need to make sure that they bring forward a plan that does not offend those people either.
What we are going to hear tomorrow is a whole bunch of rhetoric from the Conservatives about how we have to do more for our environment and that the Liberal plan is a horrible plan and at the same time, we are hoping that they bring forward something that is meaningful that we can have a real and honest debate about.
At the same time as they are starting to change this messaging, someone forgot to tell the member for , the deputy leader of the Conservative Party. In a tweet, she said:
Bottom line is there's no solid connection between climate change and the major indicators of extreme weather. The continual claim of such a link is misinformation employed for political and rhetorical purposes.
She must have received the message right after she tweeted that out, because it did not take long for them to pull that message off the Internet, because it did not fit the new narrative the Conservatives have suddenly adopted.
Tomorrow we will see this “plan” that will somehow try to appease those who do not believe in climate change, because that is their base. We will also see them try to put it just enough over the fence so they can pull in some of those people who do not quite know where they stand. How am I doing? How is that for the war room? I am pretty sure that is bang on with how the Conservatives are trying to play this one out.
Of course, they will scare people by claiming that this is a tax and will not tell them the full story, which is that there is a rebate back-ended on this. All the money that is collected through the price on pollution goes right back into the pockets of Canadians. The Conservatives do not want to tell Canadians that part.
This is not a tax. This is a market incentive tool, a tool used to change market behaviour. That came out in the conversation and the questions I had earlier with the member for when she proceeded to educate us on economic models and price elasticity. She said that fuel is an inelastic demand, and therefore, it is impossible to change the price elasticity of it or to change demand for it. The reality of the situation is that after time, the price elasticity will change as new options come into the marketplace.
That is why, while putting a price on pollution, this government has also been doing a number of things to help change that price elasticity, such as putting in a rebate for electric vehicles, investing in green technology to change the way business looks at things and making large emitters pay more.
Did members know that globally, money is gushing into any kind of fund that has a green infrastructure or green asset attached to it? There is $31 trillion currently available in anything that is labelled green, because even the marketplace knows this. Even economists know this. We are seeing world-renowned, Nobel Prize-winning economists saying that this is the solution. We are seeing religious leaders saying that this is the solution. Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper said, in 2008, that a price on pollution is the way to go. It is what is going to make changes and make us make different choices in the marketplace. Preston Manning, another famous Conservative, said the same thing.
The bottom line is that while we continue to listen to the rhetoric from the other side of the House, we know that having a plan that incentivizes our market to make people make different choices is the right way to go. It is a fundamental principle of any economic model. The Conservative Party of Canada, which says that it is the saviour and the only party that understands how the economy works, is somehow the only party in this House that is fighting against putting a price on pollution. Every single other party in this House recognizes and knows that putting a price on pollution is the way to go.
I stand by this decision. I stand by this policy. I know it is the only way to go. I know it is the right way to go. I know that Canada and the world will be better off when we listen to these renowned individuals, as opposed to the Conservative Party of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the speech by my colleague from .
It was very interesting.
I would like to talk about Canada's “Changing Climate Report”.
Science is the foundation of the Government of Canada’s action on climate change, and our scientists provide the information we need to make strategic decisions.
Canada's “Changing Climate Report”, which was drafted by world-renowned scientists from Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada and by Canadian university experts, is one of the scientific contributions that provide the evidence we need to make sound policy decisions and to protect our environment, our communities and our economy.
The report was released in 2014 and is the first comprehensive, autonomous assessment of why and how Canada's climate is evolving and of how it is projected to change in the future. Some of Canada's best scientists conducted this peer-reviewed assessment, which was based on already published research. The report represents the work carried out by the international climatologist community. It will help inform decisions regarding adaptation and will help the public gain a better understanding of Canada's evolution.
We rely on scientists to give us the evidence. During the 10 years under the Harper government, scientists were muzzled.
We, on the other hand, prefer to rely on evidence and scientific consensus when making decisions. The science is clear: Canada's climate is warming more rapidly than the global average.
This will continue, and global carbon dioxide emissions from human activity will largely determine how much more warming Canada and the world will experience in the future.
Reducing human emissions of carbon dioxide will reduce how much additional future warming occurs. However, no matter how much warming occurs, this warming is here to stay. It is effectively irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia.
Canada’s “Changing Climate Report” is a comprehensive scientific assessment that will inform the development of sound policies designed to protect the environment, our communities and the economy.
The people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, located along the Mille-Îles River in the Montreal area, believe in having sound evidence. Unfortunately, we have had 100-year floods in 2017 and in 2019. There can be no doubt that climate change is real, and my constituents take their environment to heart.
The report will also help raise public awareness and understanding of the changing climate and enable strong adaptation to reduce our vulnerability and strengthen our resilience to climate change. It tells us strong mitigation action is required to limit warming.
In the development of the report, key stakeholders were engaged to ensure this information is presented to serve a broad range of public and private sector adaptation decision-makers.
This key reference document is relevant across many sectors and informs Canadian planning and investment decisions that will last decades.
When the time comes for the provinces and territories to prepare development plans, they need data to show where the flood plains are, whether climate change will affect those areas and what is going to happen.
The assessment confirms that Canada's climate has warmed mainly in response to emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity. The effects of widespread warming are already evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the next five years. The report covers changes across Canada in temperature and precipitation, including extremes, snow, ice and permafrost, freshwater availability and changes in oceans surrounding Canada.
The report provides a riveting account of climate change in Canada. Canada’s climate has warmed and will warm further in the future as a result of human influence, and this phenomenon is irreversible. In Canada, the rate of past and future warming is, on average, about double the global average. The climate in Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. The annual mean temperature in Canada increased by 1.7ºC over the past 70 years. The temperature in winter increased by 3.3ºC over the same period. The increase in annual mean temperature is even more marked in the Canadian Arctic, where it rose by 2.3ºC. To sum up, Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world and the Arctic is warming three times as fast. It is quite worrisome. We must do something about this.
Canada's oceans have warmed and the acidification process has begun. They are now less oxygenated, which is consistent with the trend observed around the world over the past century.
The effects of widespread warming are evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the future. These effects such as thawing permafrost, shorter snow and ice cover seasons, longer growing seasons, more extreme heat and earlier spring peak stream flow will continue because some further warming is unavoidable. Precipitation is projected to increase for most of Canada, although summer rainfall may decrease in some areas. Changing temperatures and precipitation, and also changes in snow and ice, have important implications for freshwater supply. The seasonal availability of freshwater is changing with an increased risk of water supply shortages in summer.
A warmer climate will intensify weather extremes in the future. Extreme hot temperatures will become more frequent and more intense. This will increase the severity of heat waves. That is why a report written by scientists is so important to both private enterprise and the public sector. It will help us make the right decisions in order to take climate action.
Since I am out of time, I will continue to explain why this report is so important after question period.