Madam Speaker, I am very proud to be here this morning participating in this discussion, which is an important one for our country and for the world.
If the right words and an upbeat attitude were all it took to resolve the climate change crisis, Canada would be a world leader, but the fact is that Canada has no credibility on this file because, year after year, it has failed to take action. I will support this one small step this morning, but it will obviously not get us anywhere close to meeting our international obligations, nor does it explain why the government refused to set the limits Canada needs to fulfill its responsibilities under our international obligations.
I am very pleased to speak on this issue. This is the fundamental issue of our time. It is the issue that our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren will judge us by.
I have been in this House for 12 years, and I have seen the complete lack of leadership and abdication of responsibility by Canada that has been a disgrace internationally. I remember being in this House when I was very young at the time, 12 years ago, and there was the now . He was telling us that the Liberals had this brilliant idea to meet Kyoto objectives. They would have voluntary targets. He was saying that voluntary targets are important and that we have to work with industry and we have to be positive in Canada.
We saw where that got us. It got us 12 years of inaction, of Canada looking like the laggard it has been. It is not good enough. We need to set the hard targets and put out a vision for what a green economy is about. There has been this false dichotomy all along that somehow we have to choose the jobs versus the planet. That has been as opposed to talking about how, when we actually start to look at moving towards a green economy, we can become much more efficient. We will become a much more positive country.
In my own region, because of the push to get to clear greenhouse targets, we have the Borden mine. The greenhouse gas emissions are being completely removed because it is getting rid of diesel. It is moving to battery power. As it starts to move in that direction, it realizes that it can actually cut down its energy costs. This is a really important thing to discuss.
It is not about replacing our sources of energy only. It is about reducing our overall energy use. It does not matter what kind of energy we use, it has an impact. This country has been completely wasteful in its attitude towards energy.
What does a green vision for a nation look like? Well, I would like to think that if we are going to go $30 billion in debt under the government, that it be a green strategy that says, “We are going to start to retrofit. We are going to encourage families to make their houses more efficient. We are going to work with first nations to get them off the diesel generators.” We can do so much to lessen our overall energy inputs.
However, what I see is a government that came in and said that the Stephen Harper targets were false targets. We all know that. We know that the past government had no intention of doing anything on the climate change file. However, the government has accepted the same targets as Stephen Harper. That is not good enough.
When the environment minister talks about keeping us at the 1.5 degree or 2 degree red line, it is an absolutely bizarre conversation in this House, that we can somehow limit the damage to the planet to this level, or we can get up to that level to limit the damage to the planet. We are going to keep carrying on and carrying on. We need to move beyond these tactics and ask what we are going to do as a nation.
The one thing I note, when the government talks about ratifying the Paris agreement and working with the provinces and territories, is that it is not talking about working with the municipalities across this country, which are on the forefront of the fight against climate change. There are so many strategies at the urban levels that could move us toward meeting many of these targets, but we have to work with them. The municipalities are also the ones that are bearing the brunt of climate change, from the extreme fires to the extreme floods. They are having to plan as they start to build infrastructure on how to mitigate the effects.
It is a bubble effect, the saying he can do this here, and within this chamber we can make these changes. Unless we are talking to the people who are on the front lines, we are going to fail. Nowhere is that clearer than with the fact that the government does not believe it has an obligation to discuss with the first peoples of this country that it can bring in these standards, put a carbon price on, and talk about the fictitious numbers they are going to somehow reach if we all stay positive. It is in Indian country that we are at the ground zero of changes that are already happening. These are the melting ice roads, the effect in communities where people cannot afford to go out on the land because the cost of fuel is so high, where the houses are not properly built. People are living in crushing levels of poverty because they cannot pay for the fuel that is being flown in or brought in on barges. We do not have a government that has any kind of vision about moving these communities toward more sustainable greener futures.
How are we going to talk about getting to a better position as a nation if we are not talking with respect, and with our international obligations that have been laid out in UNDRIP, with the first peoples of this country? This leads us to the government's recent pushing of megaprojects: the LNG project that has been described as a carbon bomb, the Site C dam. What is it, $9 billion to flood out all that land in the Peace River? Imagine what we could do with $9 billion in British Columbia if we were not destroying indigenous lands and farmland, and we were instead putting solar in houses or getting people on geothermal. That $9 billion would go a long, long way.
However, with these federal and provincial governments, we have this love of the megaproject. Whether it is a dirty or supposedly clean energy megaproject, they love the big megaprojects. However, they do not want to do the work that is necessary, the talking with indigenous people who are being affected by these projects time and time again.
Our has an enormous mandate from the Canadian people. He has captured the positive spirit that Canadians have. Canadians want action, and that is why they gave him this unprecedented mandate. They believed that this was the person who could take us to a better place in terms of where we need to be environmentally. When he went to Paris, so many Canadians were proud. They believed our Prime Minister when he said that Canada was back. Canadians want to take these steps and are ready to take these steps. However, if it is going to amount to tens of thousands of dollars or selfie photos in Paris, and coming back and saying that Stephen Harper's plan was not so bad, we will just be a little nicer about it, that is a betrayal of the Canadian people. It is a betrayal of the larger willingness of the Canadian people to get down and do the hard work of climate change.
I come from a blue-collar riding, from agriculture, from mining. Many of our people fly out on contract work to work camps. However, every one of them tells me they are worried about what it looks like for their children. They want a government that is going to start to make some changes. It is not sufficient that we tell ordinary Canadians to turn light bulbs off at night, or that we put a carbon tax on the hydro of poor Mrs. O'Grady. We are downloading the costs to people who cannot afford to pay it. This has to be done at a national level by securing hard targets for industry. We keep talking about a market solution. The market caused the problem. It is up to government now to legislate clear hard targets so we actually get to where we need to go.
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my friend and colleague the member for .
It is my pleasure to rise today and speak in favour of this motion.
Over the summer, I conducted several town hall and coffee meetings in Burnaby and North Vancouver. At these meetings and on the doorstep, my constituents regularly raised their concerns with regard to the environment and what action this government is taking on climate change.
I spoke of these concerns on August 19 when I presented a report to the TMX ministerial panel in North Vancouver. I would like to read the ninth section of that report, entitled “Decision within the Context of Climate Change”, as I believe it is pertinent to today's debate:
Climate change is an immediate and significant threat to our communities and our economy.
Within the first thirty days of its mandate, the Federal Government took a leadership role in Paris with regards to tackling climate change.
Canada is providing national leadership on this issue and working with the provinces and territories to take collective action on climate change, put a price on carbon, and reduce carbon pollution.
These targets must recognize the economic cost and catastrophic impact that a greater-than-two-degree increase in average global temperature represents....
This June, Canada committed with the United States and Mexico to a North American Climate, Clean Energy and Environment partnership.
I believe it is our responsibility to create a legislative and market environment where individual consumers and businesses make climate friendly choices not because they are compelled to do so, but because it is the best economic decision. [Pricing carbon pollution] is a means to accomplish this.
Marketwide policy changes will have a more persistent and significant impact on climate change than focusing on the economic and environmental balance of individual projects.
Properly implemented, these policies will also provide greater certainty to decision makers over the long term, eliminating some of the ambiguity that communities and the private sector currently face.
There are more topics and more detail covered in the report, and anyone who is interested can read the full report at terrybeech-parl.ca.
However, I do not want to just talk about carbon pricing today, because there are many ways that we can work to reduce our carbon emissions.
One of the most significant immediate actions the international community could take to combat climate change and contribute to the goals of the Paris agreement is to amend the United Nations Montreal protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. HFCs are a family of potent greenhouse gases used as replacements for ozone-depleting chemicals being phased out under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. They are greenhouse gases hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. HFCs are mainly used in refrigeration, air conditioning, insulating foams, and aerosol products.
Scientists estimate that globally over one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of HFCs is emitted every single year. That is the carbon dioxide equivalent of 291 coal-fired power plants or the annual emission from 211 million passenger vehicles. This number is growing rapidly as the demand for refrigeration and air conditioning is significantly increasing in developing countries.
That is why Canada and the parties to the Montreal protocol are working this year to negotiate an amendment for a global phase-down of HFCs, a move expected to avoid emissions of more than 75 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050. This equates to up to half a degree Celsius of global warming by the end of this century. What is more, for some applications, replacing HFCs with climate-friendly refrigerants and technologies can improve energy efficiency by up to 50%, which can significantly reduce energy costs for consumers and businesses. Canada has taken a leadership role internationally in efforts to promote an ambitious HFC amendment under the Montreal protocol, notably by joining forces with Mexico and the United States in putting forward a North American proposal to include a phase-down of HFCs.
Moving away from HFCs will not only make an important contribution to combatting climate change, but it will provide companies in Canada and around the world an opportunity to share their expertise in technologies using climate-friendly alternatives, thereby promoting green growth in Canada and internationally. Indeed, some Canadian companies are already ahead of the game by leading the transition to non-HFC technologies. For instance, some Canadian supermarkets are converting their refrigeration systems to very low global warming technologies that are energy efficient and yield significant cost savings. In particular, Sobeys has converted more than 70 of its stores to be climate-friendly, and it plans to extend such conversions to its 1,300 stores right across the country.
Meanwhile, major automobile manufacturers operating in Canada have started to manufacture new models with air conditioners using climate-friendly alternatives instead of HFCs.
Parties to the Montreal protocol are to conclude negotiations at their upcoming meeting from October 10 to 14 in Rwanda. In the lead-up to this meeting, Canada has been active in building support around the world for an ambitious HFC amendment. Notably, in July, the participated in an extraordinary meeting of the parties, where the minister met with representatives of key countries, such as China, India, and Saudi Arabia, which we need to bring on board to ensure a comprehensive and effective HFC phase-down.
The minister has also co-chaired several meetings of “high ambition” countries, which notably contributed to the adoption of a New York declaration by the Coalition to Secure an Ambitious HFC Amendment.
Canada has also explicitly recognized that implementing an HFC amendment will require additional resources to assist developing nations. In that regard, Canada strongly supported the statement in this year's G7 declaration in which Canada and other G7 countries committed to providing additional support, through the Montreal protocol's multilateral fund, to developing countries for the implementation of an amendment.
On September 22, Canada joined a group of 16 industrialized countries in a declaration signalling that they stood ready to provide $27 million in additional funding to the multilateral fund as soon as 2017 if an amendment was adopted this year. We are not waiting for the adoption of a global agreement in order to take action at home. The Government of Canada plans to publish, by the end of 2016, proposed regulatory measures to implement a phase-down of HFCs in Canada.
However, Canada represents only a small share of global emissions. This is why Canada has not only been pushing for an agreement under the Montreal protocol. It has also undertaken a range of other initiatives internationally to promote action on HFCs in advance of a global phase-down. For instance, Canada is co-leading an HFC initiative under the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, an international partnership composed of 50 countries and more than 60 non-governmental organizations. This initiative is active in promoting alternatives to HFCs worldwide through technology conferences, demonstration projects, and case studies. This will help galvanize political support across the globe for an HFC amendment under the protocol.
In addition, Canada has been collaborating with the World Bank to promote HFC reductions in the World Bank's investment and project portfolio.
In short, Canada is undertaking continuous and targeted efforts, both internationally and domestically, to champion concrete actions on climate change; and yesterday's announcement is just the beginning of what we can do.
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today in the House to speak to this important subject. The Paris agreement is without a doubt a watershed moment in the global community's fight against climate change, and it is an honour to be contributing to this historic debate today.
Canadians know that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. This principle is something I heard from many of my constituents when I hosted a town hall on climate change in June of this year. There is a firm belief in my community that a strong and innovative economy is closely related to a clean environment.
In my riding of Kingston and the Islands, we see innovation happening in many ways. For example, the Engineered Nickel Catalysts for Electrochemical Clean Energy group, an international research project based out of Queen's University, is on the cutting edge when it comes to developing new clean energy technologies. St. Lawrence College, another post-secondary institution in my riding, has emerged as a leader in renewable energy and has focused strongly on applied research and innovation. I highlight these examples because it is important to emphasize that both basic and applied research will have long-term benefits for both our economy and the environment.
While amazing work is being done in my community and across the country, Canada cannot face this challenge alone. That is why my remarks today will focus on how the close relationship between the environment and the economy is clearly demonstrated through the collective actions we are taking in North America.
By ratifying this agreement Canada would be standing side by side with a number of our closest allies. In particular, I would like to recognize and congratulate two of our continental partners, the United States and Mexico, for their recent ratification of the Paris agreement. This serves as an example for the global community. I look forward to Canada's joining them shortly, along with other nations that have ratified this historic document. In partnership with our friends, the U.S. and Mexico, we are taking important steps to meet our Paris commitments. At the same time, we are growing our economies in a clean and sustainable way.
In March of this year, the visited Washington, D.C. He and President Barack Obama outlined their common vision for a prosperous and sustainable North American economy. They spoke of the opportunities afforded in advancing clean growth.
In their joint statement on climate, energy, and Arctic leadership, they recognized the importance of the Paris agreement as a turning point in global efforts to combat climate change. In short, they saw this as an opportunity to anchor economic growth in clean development, and I could not agree more. They emphasized their shared commitment not only to implementing the Paris agreement but also to advancing climate action globally through other important initiatives, such as hydrofluorocarbon phase-down through the Montreal Protocol.
The president and the also undertook to coordinate their domestic actions on climate change. For example, they made a shared commitment to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, the world's largest industrial methane source, and they reaffirmed their commitment to finalize and implement a second phase of aligned greenhouse gas emission standards for post-2018 on-road heavy-duty vehicles.
Beyond these commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they also agreed to work closely with indigenous and northern partners to confront the challenges they face in the changing Arctic. Indigenous peoples, particularly those in the north, are often hit the hardest by the effects of climate change. They recognize, perhaps more than most, that we must take decisive action now to protect our planet.
As such, it is incredibly important to take these steps to conserve Arctic biodiversity while working to build a sustainable economy. Part of this means incorporating indigenous science and traditional knowledge in our decision-making.
I am proud that our governments will coordinate domestic climate action and take steps to build a new Arctic leadership model based on partnerships with indigenous and northern communities.
Let me now turn to one of our other continental partners, Mexico. In June, the Mexican president visited Ottawa to affirm the importance of a renewed strategic partnership with Canada, including with respect to the environment. Our countries committed to advancing a North American approach to the creation of a clean growth economy. By this, they meant that we would jointly tackle the causes and impacts of climate change and promote and develop renewable sources of energy to meet our respective challenges.
These bilateral relationships with our partners in North America are incredibly important, but equally important is finding areas where we can all work together to advance a North American approach to climate change and clean energy.
At the end of June, Canada had the honour of hosting the North American leaders' summit, which proved to be an important moment for North American environmental affairs. In the leaders' statement on North American climate, clean energy, and environmental partnership, the three countries committed to a number of important items.
First is advancing clean and secure power, including a historical goal to strive to achieve 50% clean power generation by 2025.
Second is driving down short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons. This is a critical step, as these short-lived climate pollutants are up to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming. To achieve a reduction in pollution means we have to set bold and ambitious targets. For example, we have committed to reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by between 40% to 45% by 2025.
Third, we agreed to promote clean and efficient transportation through joint actions that would create jobs while reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gases, and air pollution.
Fourth, we committed to protecting nature and advancing science, including conservation and sustainable biodiversity, and to collaborating with indigenous communities and leaders to incorporate traditional knowledge into decision-making.
Fifth, we committed to showing global leadership in addressing climate change. North American leadership is also evident in our work under the International Civil Aviation Organization. Together, we are pursuing the adoption of a global market-based mechanism that aspires to enable carbon neutral growth in international civil aviation.
Furthermore, in July we made significant progress in Vienna toward an amendment under the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs. An HFC phase-down is one of the most significant measures that the world can take to combat climate change and contribute toward the objectives of the Paris agreement.
Our three countries will work together to build on this momentum next week in Rwanda during the 28th meeting of the parties to the Montreal Protocol. We will lead the global community toward an ambitious amendment on HFCs.
Continental co-operation was further demonstrated last month, when the participated in the annual Commission for Environmental Cooperation council session in Mexico. The CEC is an institution that for over 20 years has brought our countries together to work on our shared environmental challenges. This environmental agreement was Canada's first regional accord to clearly link trade policy with environmental protection, and serves as yet another example of how a healthy economy and a healthy environment must go hand in hand.
The minister and her counterparts from the U.S. and Mexico committed to build on recent regional commitments on the environment. They recognized the need to develop mid-century low-carbon development strategies, reduce short-lived climate pollutants, and phase down HFCs. Canada is now the chair of the CEC, and I am very much looking forward to seeing our country host the organization's annual meeting in Charlottetown next year.
In conclusion, this year has been a busy year for North American co-operation on climate change and the environment. The special friendships and alliances we have on our continent make a strong statement on multilateral collaboration. Going forward, we must continue to advance our shared objectives to reduce climate change while promoting clean economic growth.
As a member of the environment committee, I continually hear that the battle against climate change is taking place on many fronts. We need a comprehensive and holistic approach that includes investing in clean technologies, promoting innovation, funding basic research, expanding our protected spaces, and incorporating sustainable practices across governments.
As parliamentarians, I know we all take the issue of environmental protection seriously. The decision we make will have a profound and lasting impact on generations to come. Ratification is a big step in the right direction. That is why I am urging all of my hon. colleagues to support the motion we have before us today.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my friend from .
My grandparents were my inspiration for my involvement in politics. My maternal grandmother was a Jewish child who grew up in Nazi Germany, and taught us up the importance of universal human rights. My grandfather was an engineer who worked for Syncrude in Alberta in the 1970s and 1980s. My grandfather made sure that we understood the devastating impact that bad and capricious government policy could have on the lives of ordinary hard-working men and women, men and women who, from the stroke of a Prime Minister's pen, could lose the ability to make a decent living for themselves and their families. This is his story.
My grandfather was born in Toronto in 1922. His parents came to Canada during the Irish potato famine. Even in Canada, he grew up poor. He studied engineering at U of T. He told us that he got good grades in the first year, and then he joined a fraternity. He went on to travel the world, practising his craft in the U.S., the Philippines, Venezuela, and Ecuador, where he met my grandmother at a house party.
Neither of my grandparents were political people in the same way that I am, but they were people whose lives were affected by politics. They settled in B.C. upon returning to Canada, and then moved to Alberta in 1975. Then, along with an entire generation of long-term and brand-new Albertans alike, my grandfather saw the economic health of Alberta collapse around him under the weight of the national energy program.
This is a common Alberta story, but it was a shock for me to discover, upon starting university in Ontario, that many people in this part of the country had not even heard of the national energy program. For those unfamiliar, the national energy program was a policy of the last Trudeau government that forced oil produced in Alberta to be sold at below market prices. Predictably, oil companies reduced production as a result, reducing wealth and benefiting no one. The program cost Alberta between $50 billion and $100 billion. Bankruptcies increased by 150%. We took decades to recover.
Albertans are not bitter people. We are proud and optimistic Canadians. We are proud to do our share, and more than our share. We are not bitter people but we will never forget, and indeed we will be ever vigilant. People like my grandfather, who were hit by the national energy program, were not privileged aristocrats, they were not big banks and they were not oil companies. They were ordinary people who came to one of those beautiful places in the world where hard work was enough.
There is not much so-called old money in Alberta. When Alberta is booming, anyone can make it. It does not matter where people come from or who their parents are. If people are willing to work, then they can make it in Alberta. When Alberta does well, everyone does well. When Alberta does poorly, everyone does poorly.
The national energy program was a high-minded elite scheme that hit ordinary people hard. Here is another thing about it. It was just plain stupid. It did not make sense. Reducing Canadian oil production did not make the east better off, it did not move jobs to other parts of the country; it just killed them.
It is 2016, but 2016 is apparently the new 1980. The Liberal government has once again turned its back on ordinary, decent, hard-working women and men who work in Alberta's energy industry, and all the interrelated jobs in Alberta and from coast to coast.
The government has announced that it is intent on imposing a national carbon tax. If provinces refuse to participate, then the will impose a jurisdiction-specific tax on that province. To my knowledge, this is the first time in Canadian history that we have a prime minister who wants to impose a punitive tax on some jurisdictions and not others in response to what it views is supposed to be their areas of jurisdiction.
What happened to national unity? What happened to working with the provinces? What happened to consultation? This announcement happened while provincial environment ministers were supposed to be discussing the way forward. A prime minister has not behaved this disdainfully toward the provinces in 35 years.
Let us talk about the policy here. Imposing a carbon tax will make it harder to do business in Canada. It will make it more expensive to produce energy. It will make it more expensive to eat, to travel, to heat homes. In the process it will reduce the production and consumption of goods in Canada.
We can hope that Canadian energy production will become more efficient in the coming years, and thus reduce emissions, but a punitive tax is probably more likely to reduce emissions by reducing production. It is not much of a win if that production is replaced by production in less environmentally friendly jurisdictions. The economic theory predicts that taxing a thing reduces its production, but it does not predict the mechanism by which that will occur. In the context of international competition and an already struggling energy markets, it is most likely that a blunt-ended new tax will just see investments not get made.
Canada accounts for less than 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so doing our part does not mean cutting ourselves off at the knees to reduce that amount marginally. We can actually do much better than that. We can look for policy solutions that incentivize innovation without incentivizing reduced production.
I would support binding sector-by-sector intensity-based regulations which would require companies to innovate and reduce emissions, but which would also allow them to admit more if they were producing more. I would also support additional incentives for new projects which produced energy in more efficient ways, not just wind and solar but natural gas and energy production that involved effective carbon sequestration.
This is not just hypothetical. Conservatives in office reduced greenhouse gas emissions. GHG emissions went down by 1% from 2006 to 2014 because of this suite of policies, even while they surged under the previous Liberal government. Our critics will say that they went down because of the global economic crisis, an event, incidentally, that they only seem to remember when they talk about the environment. However, the facts do not support that at all. While we were reducing emissions in Canada, global emissions grew by 16%, and we were one of the countries least affected by the global economic recession. Further, while decreasing emissions by 1%, we oversaw GDP growth of 35%.
Other critics will say that emissions only went down under the Conservatives because of policies in Ontario, but in reality emissions increased in every province under the previous Liberal government. Then, under the Conservatives, emissions in every province either went down or increased by a much lower amount than they did under the previous government.
Emissions reductions were not just happening in one province. The facts show that under the leadership of prime minister Stephen Harper, real improvements on greenhouse emissions were evident in every jurisdiction from coast to coast. Those are the numbers and members can check them.
An approach that encourages cleaner production as opposed to less production is good for the environment and it is good for the economy. However, an approach that taxes Canadians and Canadian companies, forcing them to produce less and lay people off, is terrible for the economy and does nothing for the environment as other countries pick up the slack. Let us not forget that China is building a new coal plant every week. Maybe the wants to extradite our coal industry to China, but I would like to keep energy jobs in Canada.
This is just like the national energy program, a proposal that kills jobs and reduces production without actually addressing the problem that it is supposed to address. Some Liberals will say that a carbon tax is a market mechanism. This is sort of like saying that eating a doughnut on the bleachers at a basketball game counts as going to the gym. It is formally correct, but substantively misleading.
I am not sure that the Liberals and the New Democrats believe in market mechanisms in any event, but just to make the point entirely clear, I think it would be considered a market mechanism if it uses market forces to drive behaviour. However, the value of that market mechanism is entirely dependent on its effects. A market mechanism which incentivizes good behaviour is likely good. A market mechanism which incentivizes bad behaviour is likely not.
Here is a simple comparison for hon. members. The United States has experimented with private prisons. Private prisons insert market incentives into prison administration, but they are the wrong kind of market incentives because prison operators do not have any incentive to encourage rehabilitation. In fact, they have every incentive to encourage recidivism and therefore repeat business. One might say that private prisons involve a market mechanism, but it is still a bad market mechanism.
The same is true of carbon taxes. One reduces one's carbon tax take by cutting production, killing jobs, and moving jobs overseas. Again, this might be markets in action, but it is still a bad outcome.
Many of us hear from time to time from representatives of different energy companies, but the government needs to spend more time listening to energy workers. "Bernard the Roughneck" is one of those workers, a young man who came to Parliament Hill two weeks ago to tell his story. This is what he had to say: “We've got people from all over this country coming to Alberta....These are places that you can go being an average person, and if you're willing to work hard and work more than 40 hours a week and bust your butt you can have something and you can have a decent quality of life. I would never have been able to get an education were it not for the oil patch.”
Bernard and so many other young Canadians did what my grandfather did. They came to Alberta, they busted their butts, and they made something for themselves and their families. Listening to Bernard's presentation struck a chord with many Albertans, because we or our families have been there before. However, now we are going back to a place of economic policy, which, to be frank, is just plain stupid. It will have a devastating impact on regional and national economies. We cannot let this happen again.
Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today to participate in what I hope to be a robust debate on the government's initiatives to lower greenhouse gas emissions. I had the chance to review the Paris accord as well as the Vancouver declaration, and while I do agree with the government's decision to ratify the Paris agreement, I cannot support the Vancouver declaration, which, in my opinion, encroaches on provincial and territorial rights.
After calling our previous Conservative government's carbon emission targets unambitious, I am pleased to see that the Liberals are in fact using the nationally determined contribution, the NDC targets, that we had set. This 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is an ambitious goal that once again shows that Conservative policies are the best policies.
I want to elaborate on why I cannot support the motion. The has repeatedly interpreted the Vancouver declaration as justification for the imposition of a national price on carbon on the provinces and the territories. The premier of Saskatchewan, the premier of Nova Scotia, and three territorial premiers have all opposed the imposition of a federal carbon tax and have openly disputed the 's interpretation of the Vancouver declaration.
The campaigned and made a promise to work collaboratively with the provinces and territories on a pan-Canadian framework for addressing climate change. That is what he promised just last year. He has now backpedalled again, just like he did with election reform, just like he did with the health accord. He has decided to just go it alone.
This now means that instead of working with the provinces and territories, the Liberals will impose a dictatorial price of carbon on any province that does not come up with one of its own. He has given two options. One is the cap-and-trade system that is being proposed in Ontario. I want members across the way to Google “cap-and-trade scandal Europe” and see what comes up. The other option he has given is a carbon tax, which we all know is a tax on everything.
As Premier Wall stated, this is not the collaborative approach that the promised when he was elected. Just yesterday, we learned that the price on carbon would start at $10 per tonne in 2018 and will continue to rise by $10 per tonne each year until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2022. This was a unilateral federal decision. While the Liberals claim to be working collaboratively with the provinces and territories, the Prime Minister decided to only give two options for implementing that price. I repeat, it is a direct price on carbon or a cap-and-trade system, which was full of fraud in Europe.
This proposal would cost individual taxpayers thousands of dollars every year and it would also be the contributor to a massive new tax on consumers, the equivalent of an unbelievable 11.5¢ per litre of gasoline. The Liberals' plan to increase the overall tax burden on Canadians is something that I and the Conservative Party are firmly against. While I think all members of the House would agree that we must do our part to lower greenhouse gas emissions, we must do so without raising taxes on hard-working Canadian families. It is possible to protect the environment without taxing Canadians and businesses to death.
Our previous Conservative government recognized that Canada had to do its part by addressing our own emissions, which represented only 1.6% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is important. We worked with the World Bank to assist countries that were especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. We invested in 19 new green technology projects under the Asia-Pacific partnership on clean development and climate. We invested in carbon capture technology, protected record numbers of parkland, and made historic investments in wetland and boreal forest restoration and protection, adding to Canada's capacity to absorb global greenhouse gas emissions. This is something we should be really proud of and something that Canada needs to be given credit for.
In fact, our policies were the first in Canadian history to see greenhouse gas emissions reduced. Our previous Conservative government had a plan and that plan continues today. We are the only party that is committed to preserving and protecting Canada's environment for future generations, while keeping taxes on Canadians and job creators low.
As the member of Parliament for , ensuring businesses remain competitive internationally is extremely important to me and to my constituents. With General Motors being a huge employer in my riding, it is vital that Canada remains competitive on the world stage. My constituents continue to voice their concerns and express to me that the Liberals' plan to impose mandatory carbon taxes will, first, kill jobs; second, as we have seen in Ontario, hurt Ontario's competitiveness; and third, eventually destroy the manufacturing industry in my province.
Both provincial and federal Liberals continue to implement job-killing taxes. We have seen increases to the Canadian pension plan, and now the Liberals are forcing a price on carbon. This is all happening while Ontario's energy rates have become the costliest in North America. These policies are making Canada, but more specifically, my province of Ontario, less competitive. These policies do not benefit manufacturers. They do not benefit hard-working Canadians, and they do not benefit my riding of .
The Conservative Party cannot support any policy that will increase the overall tax burden on Canadians. Instead of raising taxes, we should be looking at alternative solutions to lowering global greenhouse gas emissions.
Let us take a look at what is happening around the world today. We have 2,400 new coal plants being constructed or planned to be constructed in developing countries. At the end of 2015, alone, China and India managed to build 665 new coal stations, with plans to build additional 665 plants in the future. That is 1,330 new coal plants in just two countries.
With Canada contributing only 1.6% of global greenhouse gas emissions, our focus should be on helping other countries reduce their emissions from coal-fired power plants. We know the great technology in Saskatchewan. We have seen it. We have done it in Canada. The is failing to promote those technologies around the world.
This would have a bigger impact on reducing emissions globally, in comparison with implementing a mandatory national carbon tax on the provinces. As my colleague stated yesterday, it is scientifically proven that Canada could completely eliminate its carbon footprint and it would not stop or help resolve the issue of global warming.
Our previous Conservative government invested in carbon capture and storage technology, as I said. This could help other countries, such as China and India, reduce their emissions from coal-fired power plants, which ultimately would have a much larger impact on the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Once again, I am happy to support the Paris agreement, which commits countries, such as Canada, to finding solutions in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I am really pleased, as well, as I said earlier, that the Liberals recognized that the targets set by the previous Conservative government were not unambitious, as they repeatedly stated.
I do, however, have concerns about the way the Liberals have interpreted the Vancouver declaration, as it is clearly not the same way the premiers have interpreted it. In typical Liberal fashion, the actual meaning and significance of the Vancouver declaration was not made clear enough. The fact that numerous premiers have come out against the Liberals' plan shows that an agreement was not reached. It seems that the 's promised new era of collaboration with all levels of government has actually failed.
What we are seeing is Liberal collaboration, and basically, their idea of that is a fraud. They have already decided what they are going to do before discussions are even started. We have seen this over and over again. As I said earlier, it is the same with democratic reform. They made up their minds before they started the consultation. It is the same with the health accord. They have already made up their minds before opening these discussions. Instead of using a sledgehammer to force the provinces and territories, the Liberals are imposing this massive tax grab on Canadians against their will.
I think any Canadian who is reasonable understands the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Canadians are collaborative people. We want to work together. We want to work together with our partners around the world. However, we do not want to do it in a way that is going to kill our own economy.
As I mentioned, I am from Ontario. We have seen over 300,000 manufacturing jobs lost. These are good-quality manufacturing jobs. One manufacturing job in Oshawa has a spinoff of seven to 10 other jobs in the community.
Why have manufacturers left? It is very simple. Just next door, in the United States, instead of having the highest electrical rates, they have competitive electrical rates. They do not have new taxes such as the CPP doubling, and they certainly do not have a state or a national carbon tax. We need to use common sense here.
Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to rise here today to address hon. members and all Canadians about the importance of ratifying the Paris agreement.
Today the world is at a turning point as the effects of climate change are already being felt. We know that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history and that before that, so was 2014. Scientists now tell us that 2016 is on track to shatter those records. Decade over decade, we have seen increases in temperature. Climate change is real. We can already see and feel the impacts, from the heating oceans to rapid species extinction, to wildfires that rage longer and more harshly than ever before, and the list goes on.
With this great challenge of our time comes great opportunity.
In Paris, after intense and rigorous discussions, the world finally decided to act. For the first time in history almost 200 countries agreed that future generations deserve better.
The story of Paris was an overwhelmingly positive one, and we can be very proud of the role that Canada played. Our delegation included provincial and territorial premiers, mayors, indigenous leaders, and members of the opposition, who worked passionately to bring consensus. In Paris there was an understanding that by taking action now by reducing carbon pollution we would not only stave off the worst effects of climate change but also spark innovation and drive growth across our economy.
As I said, with this great challenge comes great opportunity.
Now here at home Canadians are demanding that we honour our commitment in Paris. Our MPs attended town halls across this country this summer. From Newfoundland to British Columbia, Canadians are calling for our country to lead. Thousands took the time to participate in our online consultations and in town halls in their communities. We have heard from Canadians, young and old, from businesses and labour organizations, from scientists, environmentalists, and indigenous peoples.
Canadians know that future generations deserve healthy cities, diverse economic opportunities, and pristine rivers and lakes. Ultimately, this is the legacy that we will all leave behind, and today, by ratifying the Paris agreement, Canada will become a leader in this new era.
The path forward will not always be easy, as there is much work to do. Years of inaction and indifference here in Canada and around the world have undermined our collective ability to protect our planet and protect our future. What should interest us now is doing something about it. That means ending the cycle in which federal governments have set targets without a corresponding plan. After years of inaction, today we are getting the work done.
During the election last year our party set forth a comprehensive plan to address climate change, and Canadians voted overwhelmingly in favour. We promised to invest in clean transportation systems, to upgrade our infrastructure for the 21st century, and to invest in renewable energy. In our very first budget we stayed true to our promises. We committed over $60 million for clean transportation, $2 billion to communities to improve their water infrastructure and make buildings more energy efficient, and over $1 billion to support clean technology projects.
Canadians wanted change and we are delivering.
Creating good jobs for middle-class Canadians is part of our commitment, as is our $120-billion investment in infrastructure over the next 10 years.
We will create jobs by updating our regulations in the construction and technology sectors. The new regulations will integrate scientific knowledge on climate change. We will create jobs in the area of new technologies and construction by investing in the infrastructure that supports alternative modes of transportation, such as electric vehicle charging stations and natural gas fuelling stations for hydrogen vehicles.
Throughout our history, as a nation, we have made investments to improve Canadians’ quality of life and to create opportunities, such as building our railroads and the Trans-Canada Highway.
We can learn from our predecessors, who had the courage to make tough decisions. We, too, can take this important step in the right direction and make the right decisions for future generations.
Canadians deserve a public transit system that relieves traffic congestion in our cities and reduces pollution. These may not be grandiose changes, but I can assure hon. members that these changes are essential.
We will continue to work with all levels of government to create an infrastructure plan that meets the real needs of Canadians, with a focus on sustainable communities and a clean economy.
Of course, there are cynics who say we should not try. They say that if we address climate change our economy will suffer. They could not be more wrong. The truth is that our economy suffers when we do not address climate change.
Earlier, I discussed the wildfires that burn each summer in our country, stoked by changes to our climate. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has estimated that the costs of recent fires could be $3.5 billion. Experts and insurance companies alike agree that the damage caused by the increased frequency of natural disasters will have a very heavy economic toll. This is a major reason to act.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. Simply put, there are billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of good, well-paying jobs on the table for countries that get this right. Engineering and design jobs in the clean energy sector; manufacturing jobs, whether of solar panels or electric vehicles; and jobs researching and processing biofuels are just a few examples.
By pricing carbon pollution, by pricing what we do not want, we can also be proactive rather than reactive to the realities of climate change. Members do not have to take my word for it. This past summer, business leaders from across the country lent their support to pricing carbon pollution, including retail leaders such as Canadian Tire, Loblaws, IKEA, and Air Canada; energy producers such as Enbridge, Shell and Suncor; resource companies such as Barrick Gold, Resolute Forest Products, and Teck Resources; and financial institutions, including BMO, Desjardins, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, and TD.
Suncor CEO Steve Williams stated, “We think climate change is happening. We think a broad-based carbon price is the right answer”.
Cenovus Energy released a statement that, “Having a price on carbon is one of the fairest and best ways to stimulate innovation to reduce the emissions associated with oil”.
These companies understand that when we pressure industry, when we put the right incentives in place, we unleash the market potential of our inventors, engineers, and entrepreneurs to innovate and create. These companies understand that as the world moves forward toward a low-carbon economy, it is market pressure that will unlock Canadian innovation and allow us to stay competitive in the 21st century. We will continue to use older forms of energy, but we must take advantage of the staggering opportunities unfolding.
In 2015, there was a major global shift. Close to a third of a trillion dollars was invested globally in renewable power, almost double the amount invested in fossil fuels.
Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, recently said that renewable energy investments represent a future market in the trillions of dollars. As he reiterated in another speech in Berlin, "The more we invest with foresight, the less we will regret in hindsight".
It is now time to signal to investors that Canada will take an active part in a low-carbon economy.
John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, who represents the largest economy in the world, has said, “The global energy market of the future is poised to be the largest market the world has ever known”.
There is no time for cynics. The business case is clear. Canada must lead, and we are.
Today the opportunities for Canadians are growing. Canada is blessed with bountiful resources. Our forebears hunted and fished in our forests. Coal and oil helped thrust our ships across the ocean, and propelled our trains from the Canadian Shield to the Pacific Ocean. Today, this legacy continues and at the same time has evolved.
Wind, solar, and geothermal energy sources are plentiful and now course through our electric grid. Our buildings are becoming more efficient and our transportation cleaner. Today, education and research in renewables are occurring across the country. Just this summer, the Edmonton Journal reported that students in Alberta are scrambling to take courses in solar panel installation at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Other courses cannot keep up with demands. Many of those interested are electricians, and they see renewable energy as a natural progression for their trade. The same tools and knowledge that they use in one sector are transferring fluidly to the renewable energy sector. As one of the teachers in the article explained, the students know that this is the future and they are excited.
Since 2000, the amount of global electricity produced by solar power has doubled seven times. Wind power doubled four times over the same period. Here in Canada, Alberta is committed to generating 30% of its energy from renewables by 2030. In Saskatchewan, the province-owned utility, SaskPower, decided to one-up its neighbour and committed to 50% renewable energy by 2030. The opportunity for renewable energy extends into our oceans. In Nova Scotia, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy is leading Canada's efforts as a test centre of tidal energy technology. The latest research suggests that there are more than 7,000 megawatts of potential in Nova Scotia's Minas Passage alone, with a potential for 50,000 megawatts of energy through the Bay of Fundy.
The implementation of these technologies, and the research and know-how to create them, will require well-paying and skilled jobs from across our workforce.
Yesterday, I met in Montreal with environment ministers from every province and territory. First ministers stood together in March and committed to putting this country on a credible path to our Paris commitments. Since then, we have been working hard to do that. One of the topics on the agenda was how to price pollution. I will get to that, but first I want to say that carbon pricing was not the only subject on the table. Far from it.
Yesterday environment ministers came together and agreed on a framework for addressing climate change to send to premiers and to the . That framework included efforts to reduce emissions from our building stock, efforts to ramp up clean electricity across the country, plans for the collaboration of how we can adapt to the changes we are already facing, and ways to encourage innovation in clean technologies. Done right, this will create good middle-class jobs, grow our economy, and reduce pollution, including greenhouse gases. These are also essential pieces of a meaningful path forward on reducing climate pollution in this country. I want to thank all of my colleagues for the excellent work they have put into our discussions over the last six months.
Yesterday, we also spent two hours meeting with first nations, Métis, and Inuit leaders. In Canada, achieving the vision of the Paris agreement will require the inclusion and leadership of indigenous peoples. That is why the Canadian delegation played a key role in seeing that the agreement identified the need to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and consider traditional knowledge when taking climate action.
Our decision to include indigenous voices in Canada's official delegation demonstrates how seriously our government takes our commitments under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It reflects the deep commitment of our government to renew the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples. Ensuring indigenous voices are heard is the essence of meaningful collaboration, especially where issues are as complex as climate change. That is why indigenous peoples have been included in the working group process over the last six months and have submitted detailed proposals to ministers on their priorities for a Canadian framework on climate change. We will continue to bring indigenous peoples into the decision-making process, strengthening our relationship to create better outcomes for all Canadians.
We have invested in our future to upgrade our infrastructure and install clean technologies, but let us be clear, to advance our goals we must also price carbon pollution.
Let me just say that about 40 countries around the world are pricing carbon. Why? Carbon pricing is the most economically effective way to reduce emissions and stimulate clean innovation, which will all be critical to Canada's success in a changing global economy.
A rising carbon price is critical to putting Canada on a path to meeting its Paris climate commitments and to building the foundation for a cleaner and stronger economic future. A well-designed plan will secure Canadian competitiveness in jobs while buffering any disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations and sectors.
The idea is simple: let us put a price on what we do not want, pollution. Right now, polluters are not paying their fair share of the environmental damage they cause. Let us be clear: polluting is not free. The bill will always have to be paid. Right now, we are passing the true costs on to our kids and to our grandkids.
A price on carbon also sends a signal to Canadian innovators across all sectors that their ideas for reducing pollution are needed. This is a huge opportunity for Canada.
Over the last six months, we have worked with provinces and territories on a detailed examination of carbon pricing across Canada. Provinces have had months to come to the table with proposals and information about how carbon pricing can be done thoughtfully in this country. Our Canada-wide approach reflects this. It works with provinces and territories, building on their existing systems, and allows for regionally tailored paths towards a common goal.
By starting slowly and ramping up over five years, it gives businesses and households time to adjust and plan for lowering their carbon footprints. It allows provinces to keep and manage the revenues from carbon pricing as they see fit. Let me repeat: provinces will keep and manage the revenues from carbon pricing for themselves. Hyperbole and rhetoric aside, this is hardly a one-size-fits-all approach.
Canadians elected us on a clear mandate to implement carbon pricing, and reaction to our approach has been positive, from a wide variety of Canadians. John Stackhouse, senior vice-president, office of the CEO of RBC has said, “This climate policy makes economic and environmental sense. A rising Canada-wide carbon price is the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions, spur private investment and simulate clean innovation across the economy.”
Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff said, “today's carbon pricing announcement is an important and necessary step for our government to take towards meeting our Paris commitments”.
Guy Cormier, chair of the board, president and CEO, Desjardins Group stated:
Desjardins Group supports the federal government's decision to impose a price on carbon, in respect to the provinces' choice to either implement a similar cost or a cap-and-trade system. [Desjardins believes that] the time has come for all the sectors of the economy to include climate change considerations into their strategic plans, to take advantage of business opportunities, to reduce risks and to meet the needs of Canadians.
Shell Canada president, Michael Crothers said, “balancing Canadian economic development while protecting the environment will be enabled by a reasonable price on carbon”.
Insurance Bureau of Canada, Don Forgeron said, “IBC congratulates the Government on today's carbon pricing announcement. Severe weather is already costing Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. This is an ambitious approach that takes the first steps in limiting future damage.”
Let me go through the details of the plan. All Canadian jurisdictions must price carbon pollution by the end of 2018, and the price will be set to the national benchmark. To ensure that the plan will meet our targets, we will review it in five years, in 2022. We have been equally clear that the choices, a carbon levy or a carbon trading system, are both fair and flexible. Provinces that do not have a system are free to choose which one works best for them.
Furthermore, eight out of every ten Canadians already live in a province that prices carbon pollution. The provinces and territories have been early leaders in addressing climate change. Heeding the call of businesses and scientists, B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, have all implemented carbon pricing measures. B.C. and Alberta use a carbon levy, and either give money back to citizens through tax reductions or invest in energy efficient infrastructure and clean technology. Quebec and Ontario use a carbon trading system, where emissions are capped and industry must buy and sell credits when they want to emit.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
I am pleased to speak to the Liberal motion, to support the first element, which is ratification of the Paris agreement, and to strongly oppose the second part, which would unilaterally impose a federal carbon tax on all Canadians and against the express wishes of a number of provinces and territories.
I am sure members are not surprised that we are supporting ratification of the Paris agreement. It is effectively the continuation of our Conservative government's 2030 emission reduction plan.
It was, after all, our Conservative government that took Canada out of the aspirational but failed Kyoto agreement, which none of the world's major emitting countries joined, and of those who did, involved barely one-third of global GHGs, and which the Liberals signed without any due diligence or intent to fulfill. Of course history will remind us that the Liberals then did absolutely nothing to implement Kyoto. In fact, emissions under the Liberal government rose by 35%.
Our Conservative government joined the Copenhagen agreement and worked diligently to regulate reductions in GHG emissions across the major emitting sectors. At the same time, we campaigned to create an even better post-Kyoto accord, which would include all of the world's major emitters. If China, the United States, India, Brazil, and the other big emitters follow through on their commitments under the Paris agreement, we will now have the engagement that we in the official opposition and previously in the Conservative government sought.
We committed to Copenhagen, and now Paris, even though Canada generated less than 2% of global CO2 every year, because we believed, and we still believe, that Canada must play its part with all of the major polluters. As a result, our Conservative government was the first in Canadian history to achieve real, tangible, significant reductions of greenhouse gases, even as we enjoyed economic growth.
Members will recall we started with the transportation sector, the largest emission sector in Canada, and we created, in partnership with the United States, tailpipe regulations that would reduce car and light truck emissions by 50% by 2025 and would consume 50% less fuel. We set regulations for heavy-duty trucks and buses that would see emissions from these vehicles by 2018 reduced by up to 23%, which would mean up to $18,000 a year in savings for a semi truck operator in a 2018 heavy-duty model vehicle. We set marine emission guidelines and began work with the aviation and rail industries. We then moved on to the next largest emission sector.
When the opened this debate, he mentioned the benefits to reduced emissions from coal-fired electricity generating plants. However, I was not surprised that he did not mention that it was our Conservative government that imposed a ban on the construction of new traditional coal-fired units, the first government in the world to implement such a ban.
I was not surprised the did not mention our Conservative government's pilot project investment in a world-leading carbon capture and sequestration project in Estevan, Saskatchewan, which led to that provincial government's trail blazing billion dollar-plus investment in a commercial CCS unit at SaskPower's Boundary Dam. This project will enable Saskatchewan to benefit from an estimated 300-year supply of coal, not to leave it in the ground but to burn it cleanly, by capturing one million tonnes of CO2 per year and storing it safely in deep underground reservoirs.
The world is watching the Boundary Dam project, but the Liberals are looking the other way. The Liberals are also looking the other way on our other achievements, hoping Canadians do not remember that our Conservative government also protected a record amount of parkland and made historic investments in wetland and boreal forest restoration and protection, adding considerably to Canada's capacity to sequester GHG emissions in the old-fashioned way: nature's carbon storage.
After the transportation and coal-fired sectors regulations, we began work on setting emissions limiting regulations for the oil and gas industry and its sub-sectors. We found the industry willing to participate in the search for emissions intensity limits and compliance fees for over-emitters.
Our Conservative government pioneered the concept that compliance fees raised would remain in the province in which they were collected and would follow the tech fund research investment model created in Alberta.
Unfortunately, although other provinces with significant upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas operations were seriously engaged in those talks, time and circumstance did not result in completion of that regulations exercise. The circumstance was that in the wake of the recession there was real concern that Canadian producers, transporters and refiners would have been significantly wrong-footed in the highly competitive North American market.
In the absence of matching regulatory action by the United States, the quest for oil and gas regulations was shelved temporarily.
In hindsight, if regulations had been imposed on the oil and gas sector three years ago, they almost certainly would have had to be suspended to protect the Canadian sector and our national economy when resource markets collapsed.
In my home province of Ontario, economic storm clouds are building over the provincial Liberal government's misguided embrace of a failed European model of cap and trade, which comes into effect January 1. Carbon markets have not worked anywhere in this world. The decade-old European market, which saw billions of dollars originally invested, saw most of those same billions evaporate when the market crashed as a result of speculation, fraud, and organized crime manipulation.
We saw another carbon market crash this year in California when that state government's latest option of carbon credits raised barely 2%, or $10 million of an intended $500 million target.
Yet now we see in Ontario a lemming-like determination to follow the failed European and California cap-and-trade models. All Ontarians will have to pay for the carbon market through higher consumer prices, except essential major polluters that will get a major windfall of free carbon credits from the Ontario government. This effectively means a big cash transfer from ordinary taxpayers to these major polluters.
Ontario will sooner or later inevitably see this complex voodoo economics-driven carbon market collapse on itself.
A wise man once described cap and trade as the dumbest way to implement carbon pricing. That was before the Liberals' national carbon tax, unrealistically conceived by the same brain trust responsible for the Ontario cap-and-trade cash-grabbing boondoggle, estimated to be $1.9 billion to be scooped annually from the pockets of taxpayers and go into Ontario general revenues.
An escalating national carbon tax, unilaterally threatened without serious analysis or consultation with the provinces and territories that have very different but legitimate ways of countering climate change, is a flagrant violation of the spirit of our federation.
Our Conservative Party, as the official opposition, believes that economic growth and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. We believe in and support open and co-operative federalism, but we oppose the Liberals' high-handed encroachment on areas of shared jurisdiction.
We in the official opposition believe that Canada can and must find the right balance between protection of our environment for future generations and growing our economy to ensure the long-term prosperity of all Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from , Ontario, for sharing his speaking time with me. I would like to point out to the House that my colleague was once the environment minister. He has a lot of credibility.
This morning, I had the pleasure of speaking in the House and to those watching at home on the House of Commons network. I hope the message will be heard, that this government will not put up more smoke and mirrors and that it will respect Parliament by changing its motion in order to allow our country to continue thriving and to adjust the government's position on the environment.
Yesterday, the said that he would impose, and I repeat “impose”, a carbon tax on the provinces and territories. The word “impose” escaped the lips of this Liberal Prime Minister. Again, during the election campaign, he pulled the wool over the voters' eyes. I have here a long list of broken promises. He talked about a small $10-billion deficit. The deficit is now $30 billion. He said he would bring back letter carriers so that Canadians could get home mail delivery. Where are the letter carriers? The Liberals promised to increase the greenhouse gas reduction targets. Our targets were very good. We acted responsibly and they decided to adopt our targets. They promised to lower taxes for our SMEs, our job creators. That is another broken promise. They said they wanted to work with the provinces and territories, but now they are going to impose their carbon tax plan on them.
They may have once again wasted taxpayers' money by hiring an international firm to evaluate their election promises, which they have not kept. I will provide them with answers and it will not cost much. I will offer my services for free. I can tell them very simply right now that, in the past year, they have not delivered much. There. That just saved $200,000.
Let us get back to the real issue. Canada must ratify the Paris agreement as indicated in today's motion, which reads:
That the House support the government’s decision to ratify the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed by Canada in New York on April 22, 2016...
Why should we ratify this agreement? Previous agreements have raised our collective awareness. The 1998 Kyoto protocol applied only to developed countries. That was a step forward. The 2009 Copenhagen accord, a somewhat binding agreement, involved only 26 industrialized and emerging countries. The Paris agreement was signed by 195 countries. Do my colleagues know what is being said about that agreement? It is being described as historic because it is the first agreement on global climate issues to be signed by so many countries.
We must be responsible. We must not mortgage the future of generations to come. This government is causing a financial mess that our children and grandchildren will have to clean up. Can the Liberals pay some attention to the planet for our future generations? Let us try to help give them a better future by leaving them a healthier planet. I am a father, and I believe that I am a responsible family man. As such, I must call on this government to ratify the Paris agreement and meet the targets set out therein. I am doing so on behalf of my daughter Ann-Frédérique, my son Charles-Antoine, and all of the young Canadians who will make up the Canada of tomorrow.
Stop claiming that we, the Conservatives, are the environment's worst enemy. No one on this side of the House in the official opposition gets up in the morning with the intention of destroying the environment. No one. When we were in government, we introduced a number of measures to fight climate change. For example, we created the clean air regulatory agenda; we established new standards to reduce car and light truck emissions; we established new standards to reduce emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and their engines; we proposed regulations to align ourselves with the U.S. Tier 3 standards for vehicle emissions and sulphur in gasoline; we sought to limit HFCs, black carbon, and methane; and we established new rules to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Furthermore, we put in place measures to support the development of carbon capture technologies and alternative energy sources; we enhanced the government's annual report on main environmental indicators, including greenhouse gases; and we, the Conservatives, even abolished tax breaks for the oil sands.
All these measures resulted in a good environment report card for Canada and confirmed the reduction in greenhouse gases.
In 2014, the last full year our government was in power, we reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Canada's share of global emissions decreased by more than 15% between 2006 and 2014. I did say 15%, which means that our share went from 1.9% to 1.6%; we represent 6.9% of this lovely planet. These results were not obtained under the Liberals. We, the Conservatives, reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
As a Conservative member, I held consultations in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, in the beautiful Quebec City area, and I formed a committee on economic development using green technologies in order to help the minister of the environment do her work. Yes, as a Conservative, I worked on sustainable development and I am doing my part just as everyone has a responsibility to do their part.
It makes me sick when we are labelled anti-environment because it is just not true. We are the party that knows that sustainable development and economic development go hand in hand. I would remind the House that greenhouse gas emissions dropped under our watch and that at the end of our term we left a budgetary surplus. The Liberals have to acknowledge that. It is a fact. The Liberal government has already squandered it all.
We think that course of action was worth pursuing. That is why we are in favour of ratifying the Paris agreement. Still, in light of what we have seen from this government, it must not be allowed to impose a new tax because it does not know how to manage things. It is easy for the federal government to impose a tax and tell the provinces and territories to participate and collaborate when it holds a gun to their heads and calls that negotiation. The government encroached on provincial and territorial jurisdiction over health and infrastructure, and it is doing so once again here. Any claim to collaboration and flexibility is just an act.
Yesterday, the arrogantly—if I may use the word—told Parliament that he did not need the House of Commons, and the provinces and territories are being subjected to that same cavalier attitude as he runs roughshod over provincial and territorial jurisdiction.
A new tax will have a devastating impact on Canadian families. The government must not increase the tax burden; it must give Canadians breathing room and enable them to improve their quality of life.
Here is how we think the motion should read. This is what we agree with and are prepared to vote in favour of: “That the House support the government’s decision to ratify the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed by Canada in New York; and that the House call upon the federal government, the provinces, and the territories to develop a responsible plan to combat climate change that does not encroach on provincial or territorial jurisdiction or impose a tax increase on Canadians”.
We need to try to come up with creative solutions that will have an impact on climate change, and not on Canadian families' wallets.
For our part, we reduced greenhouse gas emissions while balancing the budget. Actually, we did so while leaving a surplus. What is more, we did not stick Canadian taxpayers with the bill. We are asking this government to do the same thing, in other words, to not impose additional taxes on Canadian taxpayers and families.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathering on traditional Algonquin territory.
As we all know, climate change is a threat unlike any other. We know action needs to be taken to address what I believe is the biggest threat to our lives, our country, and our planet. That is why I will be voting in favour of the motion.
Taking action against climate change is a moral imperative. I do not believe there is another option if we care about our children, our grandchildren, the future of our land and our waters.
To meet this threat and to minimize the potential for its devastating impacts requires global action, global co-operation, and global collaboration. Indeed, our world needs the historic Paris agreement on climate change. It was as a result of our commitment to inclusion and engagement that the delegation to Paris included indigenous leaders from regions across Canada, including from the Arctic and from the north. They are the front line in experiencing the impacts of climate change.
In Canada, achieving the vision of the Paris agreement will require the full inclusion and leadership of indigenous peoples. As Canada's first ministers committed to in the Vancouver declaration, we are working in partnership with the provinces and territories to establish a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change to reduce our emissions and to ensure Canada takes full advantage of the opportunities associated with the emerging low-carbon economy. This affects all Canadians, and indigenous peoples and northerners in particular.
Going forward, we need to work with our provincial and territorial partners and with indigenous peoples to ensure that all of our voices are heard. For far too long governments did not listen to the warnings from our elders about how traditional knowledge of the patterns of nature did not apply the way it used to, how the ice was thinning and disappearing, how forest fires were becoming more frequent, how new fauna and flora were appearing while others were disappearing.
These changes are having real impacts on real people, and are affecting the ability of indigenous people to exercise their rights, their ability to connect with the land, and their food security. We must listen to the solutions and the traditional knowledge that indigenous people can share if we are to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
We are committed to acting. Budget 2016 includes $10.7 million over two years to implement renewable energy projects in off-grid indigenous and northern communities that rely on diesel and other fossil fuels for heat and power. That kind of partnership is essential and I hope it is only the start of what can be accomplished. We will invest close to $130 million over five years to strengthen the science we need to inform decision-making, protect the health and well-being of Canadians, build resilience in the north and indigenous communities, and enhance competitiveness in key economic sectors.
Good things are happening, especially in the north. We can learn a great deal from the spirit of collaboration reflected in the close links among aboriginal peoples around the circumpolar region through the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the Gwich'in Council International, and the Arctic Athabaskan Council. The very existence of these organizations is due to the fact that indigenous nations took it upon themselves to find a way to speak in unison on issues of shared concern.
The visible effects of climate change, from melting permafrost to waning sea ice, make the Arctic a region that demands our attention. Indeed, in the wake of the Paris conference, the Arctic is the focus of global attention. The world will be watching how we in Canada respond to the real and urgent concerns expressed by indigenous peoples in the north, and northerners in communities across the country. Ratifying the Paris agreement will move us globally in that direction and hopefully will slow down the effects of our warming planet.
I would like to speak a little more on the effects of climate change in the north. As I mentioned earlier, we are seeing vegetation changes, animal migratory changes, and permafrost melting. All of these things are causing abrupt shifts in traditional practices such as hunting and trapping, as well as practical problems such as maintaining infrastructure on melting grounds.
The north is experiencing the impacts of climate change right now. That is a real threat to the sustainability of our communities. This threat is in addition to the high cost of energy and limited infrastructure that already challenge the sustainability of rural and northern remote communities.
Recognizing this, the Government of the Northwest Territories has been working actively to reduce its carbon footprint. Between 2001 and 2011, the territorial government reduced its emissions from operations by 30%. In addition, NWT ranks second in the country on a per capita basis of installed solar power. The feasibility of wind development is also being investigated in the Inuvik region next year.
We in the Northwest Territories understand that a carbon price is an important measure to get people to stop using the fuels that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, but the very high cost of fuel in our communities is already an incentive to reduce consumption. Northerners do not choose high-carbon options. They are one of the only choices.
In addition to the relative high cost of electricity due to our long winters and the use of heating oil, heating costs in some of our northern communities are seven times the cost of those using natural gas in Edmonton.
The NWT government and residents are being diligent and responsible in controlling emissions of greenhouse gases in the Northwest Territories and preparing for climate change impact. Even though the north only accounts for a small fraction of Canada's overall greenhouse gas emissions, there is a commitment from all levels of government to find a way to reduce our carbon footprint.
It is my hope that we at the federal level will continue to assist northerners in their work to provide reliable, affordable alternatives to carbon-intensive fuels for our communities and businesses. Budget 2016 was a great first step.
It is also important that the federal government understands the potential harm that increased carbon prices could have on the fragile resource-based economy of the Northwest Territories if implemented in a manner that does not work for us in the north. Carbon pricing can penalize northerners by raising their already high cost of living or discouraging the economic development northerners need to support themselves and their families.
I am confident that a supportive approach that recognizes the unique realities of the north will be followed. Through ongoing discussions, partnerships, and innovation, along with investment in green energy, clean growth, and better infrastructure, we in the north will continue to reduce our greenhouse emissions in support of the Paris agreement and the Vancouver declaration. In doing so, we will underscore our commitment to ensure all Canadians, including northerners and indigenous peoples, are partners in this global effort.
I was fortunate to attend the Paris climate change conference, COP21, as the Bloc Québécois representative. I must say that I really felt that I was part of a historic event.
COP21 was much more than a gathering of nations. It was nations, cities, municipalities, NGOs, bankers, businesses, business groups, scientists, and more. It was absolutely the largest international conference ever organized. That shows just how important the issue is.
When Laurent Fabius brought down his small gavel to declare that the final declaration was adopted and no one, not a single person, objected in the least, we all realized that something had changed in the world. It is now clear that climate change can no longer be denied.
The said so herself: “Climate change is real and we no longer have time to debate it. The clock is ticking for us to do something about it.” This change in attitude was striking for Canada, to everyone's great relief, including mine.
Parties to the Paris agreement agreed on the facts, which is new. The agreement also spells out a target that applies to everyone, and that is major progress too. Climate change skeptics have been consigned to the dustbin of history alongside flat-earthers.
Agreeing on the facts and on a target is a good starting point, but we still have to do the work. Nobody wants the temperature to rise by more than 2°C. Some said that 1.5°C would be better. Unfortunately, what the states agreed to at the Paris conference will cause the temperature to rise by 3°C, which will be catastrophic. We know we are headed for failure, so we need to change course immediately, but the government is doing just the opposite by adopting the former Conservative government's targets.
Those targets call for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. That first date is important, and the target is virtually meaningless. France's target is 40% by 2030. Quebec's is 80% by 2050. Germany's is 95% by 2050. Sweden threw down the gauntlet to the whole world when it announced its goal to be the first fossil-fuel-free country on earth.
However, it is important to note that Quebec and the rest of the world use 1990, and not 2005, as the reference year. It is no accident that Canada is choosing to ignore the 15 years between 1990 and 2005. It is quite simply a free pass, a free ride for the oil sands industry.
I find it troubling that this government is still thinking about promoting the development of this industry, one of the most polluting industries in the world. I can barely contain my frustration at hearing the claim to be a champion of the green economy, while the energy east project is still on the table. The Liberals do not know how to respond; the Conservatives criticize the Liberals; and the NDP criticizes the assessment process, as if that would in any way change the nature of that project.
From the very beginning, the Bloc Québécois has been standing up in this House and saying what everyone else thinks but would not dare say: energy east is about energy from the last century, and the oil sands will kill COP21.
The energy east project will increase oil sands production by 40%. That is huge. The government would have us believe that this is a historic day and things are going to change, but as the expression goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Now that it is clear that the government has no intention of reining in dirty oil, we need to ask ourselves who is going to pay the price, for as modest as the Liberal-Conservative targets are, Canada is still headed towards utter failure. Without a major change, Canada is going to miss its target by over 60%. Frankly, at this rate, Ottawa will not see the slightest reduction until 2050.
I cannot emphasize enough that this expected failure does not even take into account the pipeline projects currently on the table, which are being considered against all logic.
If the government does not assume its responsibilities and does not establish an effective strategy that takes into account the efforts made by each province, Quebec will once again pay the price. By choosing 2005 rather than 1990 as the reference year, by ignoring 15 years of explosive GHG growth caused mainly by oil, Quebec's efforts are being swept aside. In those 15 years, Quebec's emissions remained the same. By comparison, greenhouse gas emissions in Saskatchewan soared by more than 50%.
While Canada was pretending to work towards compliance with the Kyoto protocol, Quebec was keeping pace with the rest of the world, not by giving lovely speeches or expressing noble intentions, but by working very hard. Quebeckers bet on the modern era and on the future. We invested billions of dollars to reduce our environmental footprint. For example, our aluminum smelters replaced their old polluting cells at great expense in order to decrease their emissions by 27%. They cannot replace their major cells a second time.
We do not need a calculator to figure out that it would be a joke to require the paper mills, who have already reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 68%, to work on reducing them by another 30%. That is bordering on 100%, which might push them to close up shop.
To achieve any sort of result in fighting climate change we have to face reality. It must become expensive to pollute and profitable to respect the environment. Those who have made the effort should be able to reap the rewards, and those who have done nothing should pay the price. Otherwise, we are left with good intentions and, worse yet, the polluters are rewarded.
So far nothing in the Liberal plan aligns with this responsible approach. By refusing to set an emissions ceiling, the government seems to be saying that its targets are like New Year's resolutions: we make them on January 1 and we break them on January 2, without any consequences.
There are some things that only a country can do, such as setting emissions ceilings that apply to everyone and setting binding targets that take into account the efforts that have been made since 1990, so as not to penalize the good students by asking them to do twice as much work. As a former teacher, I understand that perfectly well.
We need to ensure that everyone participates in the carbon market, even polluters. Otherwise, we will end up with a market with too many sellers and too few buyers, which is not very effective. Ottawa can and must do this.
Some people in Canada will not be happy, but this needs to be done anyway. Canada could take a number of measures within its areas of jurisdiction. We could be here all afternoon talking about what actions could be included in a proper plan, but that would not do any good as long as people refuse to make polluting a costly venture and being environmentally responsible a profitable one. There is a price to pay for polluting, a real price. For now, Canada is basically choosing not to pay it and is hiding its head in the sand so that it can stay in the 20th century longer.
Wilfrid Laurier said that the 20th century belongs to Canada. We say that the 21st century will belong to Quebec. There is more than one nation in Canada and there is also more than one environmental and economic reality. Some provinces have more work to do than others. Those provinces could shut down coal-fired plants, for example. Since Quebec is ahead of the game, we could take measures regarding the electrification of transportation, something that we are already working on.
When I listen to the debates in the House and look at the past 20 years of inaction on the part of successive governments, I get the impression that Canada is trying to buy time until it can get every last drop of oil out of the ground.
The Stone Age did not end because there was no more stone, but rather because the human race found ways to do things differently and to do them better. The same goes for oil. Quebec is already looking elsewhere and has already begun the shift pretty successfully.
The 21st century is tailor-made for Quebec to become one of the most prosperous places on the planet. We want nothing to do with the oil age. Quebec should already be considered a big winner on North America's carbon market. We should be the pioneers. We must find our own source of energy, one that is ours alone, with Hydro-Québec, a source of energy that will completely change our trade balance. The oil age is not our age; Quebec wants nothing to do with it. Understandably, this will drive Quebeckers to ask themselves whether this country, this oil-fuelled nation, is also theirs.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
It is an honour to rise today to speak to the ratification of the Paris agreement and the economic opportunities for Canada. Addressing climate change must transcend politics. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to work on this together, all countries, all levels of government, all parties. Doing nothing is not an option.
Through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, our government worked hard helping to create an agreement to reduce our global emissions and to mitigate the impact that climate change has on those most vulnerable in our world.
Canadians should be proud of the positive role their country has played in the international negotiations. In December 2015, 197 countries representing 98% of global GHG emissions signed on to the agreement, highlighting that the world is taking action to significantly reduce its carbon footprint. Many countries, including Canada, are in the process of taking the necessary steps for the agreement to come into force as soon as possible.
The Government of Canada embraces the fact that, in the 21st century, growing our economy and protecting our environment go hand in hand. Taking action on climate change provides economic opportunities while maintaining a sustainable environment and thriving communities in Canada.
The world is shifting to clean technologies and deploying clean energy faster than ever before. Due to sustained technological progress, the costs for renewable energy have been falling significantly over time and have become cost-competitive with those of fossil fuels in certain regions. Technological improvements to energy storage have also been gaining momentum, which will facilitate wider deployment of renewable energy.
Clean technologies can also create new opportunities for traditional resource sectors in Canada and will provide new employment opportunities. Focusing Canada's efforts on science skills, business leadership, technical skills, and immigration of highly qualified workers will be paramount to accessing these opportunities.
As an example of the magnitude of these opportunities, the International Energy Agency estimates that the full implementation of climate pledges at Paris would require the energy sector to invest $13.5 trillion in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies from 2015 to 2030.
The year 2015 saw a record investment of $329 billion in the global clean energy sector, up from $62 billion in 2004. The clean technology sector is already an important contributor to Canada's economy. Around 50,000 people are directly employed in more than 800 firms in the Canadian clean technology sector, and the Canadian clean technology sector grew by about 8% per year from 2008 to 2013, which is more than three times as fast as the economy as a whole. During that same period the global market grew at an even faster rate of 10%, suggesting that Canada has opportunity for further growth if it can keep up with the progress being made by other countries.
In March 2016, the and the provincial and territorial first ministers signed on to the Vancouver declaration. The Vancouver declaration entailed several commitments from first ministers, including the implementation of GHG mitigation policies in support of meeting or exceeding Canada's 2030 target of a 30% reduction below 2005 levels of emission, including specific provincial and territorial targets and objectives; an increase in the level of ambition of environmental policies over time; the promotion of clean, economic growth to create jobs; and an enhanced co-operation between provinces, territories, and the federal government.
In delivering concrete results to Canadians, the Vancouver declaration also established a pan-Canadian framework for combatting climate change, under which four working groups were put in place to identify options for action in four areas, including clean technology. One of these federal-provincial-territorial working groups focuses on clean technology, innovation, and jobs, and will deliver options on how to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and drive innovation across all sectors to transition to a low-carbon economy, leveraging regional strengths.
We are looking forward to the final report, which will be published this fall, providing policy options for federal, provincial, and territorial partners to implement in their respective jurisdictions. This report highlights the strong potential to improve environmental, economic, and social outcomes for remote and indigenous communities to work toward energy independence through greater deployment of clean technologies. It is also important that these new approaches to encourage clean growth across the country should not result in higher costs for essential goods and services in those remote areas.
It is recognized that the adoption of clean technology can be a tool that will both improve the environment and provide economic opportunities to northern and remote indigenous communities, which can act as agents of change to help guide Canada to a low-carbon economy. We also recognize the utmost importance of effective engagement and collaboration with indigenous peoples and communities for this effort to be fruitful.
While work is under way to develop options and measures this fall through the pan-Canadian framework, the federal government is already taking action to seize the economic opportunities of climate change.
Budget 2016 recognized that protecting the environment and growing the economy go hand in hand. It noted that the global clean technology market is growing rapidly, presenting Canadian businesses with an immense opportunity to showcase their ingenuity and support sustainable prosperity for all Canadians.
The commitments included in budget 2016 total almost $2.9 billion over five years to address climate change and air pollution issues. These commitments include $2 billion over two years starting in 2017-18 to establish the low-carbon economy fund; $128.8 million over five years starting in 2016-17 to Natural Resources Canada to deliver energy efficiency policies and programs and maintain clean energy policy capacity; and $56.9 million over two years starting in 2016-17 to Transport Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada to support the transition to a cleaner transportation sector, including through the development of regulations and standards for clean transportation technology.
It is well understood that climate change is a threat to Canada's ecosystems, communities, and the economy. Given the seriousness of climate change, action from all sectors of the economy is required, and the shift of businesses decarbonizing their processes and products has already begun.
It is important for Canada to act quickly to enable a smoother transition, allowing businesses to take the best long-term decisions and thrive in a low-carbon economy. One key measure to provide this clear signal to businesses about the path Canada wants to take when it comes to GHG emissions is carbon pricing. Carbon pricing uses the market to drive investments in low-carbon innovations, leading to the development and adoption of clean technologies, energy efficiency, and reduced emissions. It creates financial incentives for consumers and producers to shift consumption and investment decisions to cleaner alternatives, which consequently foster innovation. A national approach to carbon pricing will be a central component to the pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change.
It is clear that there are economic benefits to acting on climate change, and Canada has significant advantages and the expertise it can leverage to capture its share. It can count on some of the best scientists and researchers in the world to find novel solutions. It has a well-educated and highly skilled workforce.
As many countries are moving rapidly to develop and sell clean technologies across the globe, Canada needs to focus its efforts to stay in the game. To successfully compete in the global market while capitalizing on current and future economic opportunities, Canada will need to be strategic in its approach to clean technology development, commercialization, and adoption. This will allow economic growth and environmental preservation to go hand in hand and will allow all Canadians to continue to enjoy a country that is sustainable, prosperous, and innovative.
Mr. Speaker, the scientific evidence is unequivocal: the earth's climate is warming.
Climate change is real and Canadians are already feeling its negative effects. Whether it is the increase in the frequency of droughts or coastal flooding, or the accelerated melting of sea ice in the Arctic, the large-scale repercussions of climate change are pushing Canada to take appropriate action.
Previous conclusions are not far-fetched. They are based on an international scientific consensus supported by decades of rigorous scientific analysis and detailed assessments of the state of scientific knowledge about climate change.
Considering that global warming is real and that it is already affecting Canada, perhaps more than other countries, to a considerable extent, it is imperative that we adopt the motion we are debating today, that we continue to work together, and that we call on science to help us face the major challenges that climate change poses for Canada.
Every country in the world emits greenhouse gases that expand throughout the earth's atmosphere, which is why we need concerted global action against climate change. That is the very essence of the Paris agreement, which is based on scientific evidence.
Last December, Canada attended the Paris conference filled with ambition and determination. We worked on an ambitious but balanced agreement. Under this agreement, countries set targets for themselves and report on their progress in a transparent manner. They must also each review and improve their pollution targets every five years.
This agreement is based on sound scientific evidence. Under this extraordinary agreement, each country will take practical measures to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.
In order to meet the targets set out in the Paris agreement, the Canadian first ministers agreed to work together to develop a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change and implement it by 2017. This framework will build on the measures being taken by the provinces and territories, be supported by an extensive engagement effort by indigenous people and Canadians, and be guided by facts and science.
In support of this pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change, Canada has established four working groups, with its provincial, territorial, and indigenous partners, in order to take measures to reduce emissions and meet our commitments. We look forward to these four reports being released later on this fall.
Let us be clear. The people of Pontiac and I appreciate the 's leadership on pricing carbon pollution. Canada is determined to build a cleaner and more innovative economy where there are fewer greenhouse gas emissions, the environment is protected, and high-paying jobs are created for the middle class and those working hard to join it.
We cannot afford not to act. The former national round table on the environment and economy, which was killed by the former government, estimated in 2011 that the economy-wide cost to Canada of climate change will accelerate, rising from an average value of $5 billion in 2020 to between $21 billion and $43 billion by 2050. The round table found that the average cost by 2050 would amount to roughly .8% to 1% of GDP. It found that in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal, climate change will result in additional deaths from heat and pollution in the order of 3 to 6 deaths per 100,000 people per year in the 2020s. This impact will worsen in future decades. The risks of flooding are clear. As many as 16,000 to 28,000 dwellings will be at permanent risk of flooding. Therefore, the economic costs could be in the trillions of dollars.
This is why our insurance rates are going up, and Canadians know this. Canadians are already paying.
A 2015 study by the Insurance Bureau of Canada found that the direct and indirect impacts of weather effects of climate change on our communities will be great. For example, the cumulative estimated cost of weather effects in Mississauga from freezing rain attributed to climate change could reach over $30 million by 2040. An extreme climate event, such as a 1-in-25-year freezing rain event occurring in 2040 will be estimated to cost as much as $15.7 million.
However, the costs go beyond freezing rain and flooding. They go to the very heart of what it means to be Canadian.
Let us talk about outdoor rinks. A 2014 study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that as a result of weather changes from climate change, we will not be able to skate on outdoor rinks as long as we have done previously. On average, the availability of outdoor rinks will decline by about three to four days per decade through 2090. This means that the Rideau Canal here in the national capital region will be available an average of 40 days in the 2040 horizon, but as few as 15 days in 2090. That is down an average of 50 days from the 1972 to 2013 period.
I want my two children to enjoy the opportunity to skate on ponds and play hockey, and I want their grandchildren to have that same opportunity. The people across Canada and the people in Pontiac demand action. For 10 years, they have seen the federal government fiddle while the world burns.
We all know that the time for talk has passed. It is time for action. It is urgent that we take steps to reduce emissions, reduce the impact of pollution on our health, and reduce our environmental footprint. We have to help developing countries transition to a cleaner energy future. We have to help Canadian communities adapt to the inevitable reality of climate change.
Canada needs a price on carbon. It may be a carbon tax, a cap-and-trade system, or a combination. Ultimately, it does not matter as long as there is a price on carbon. As long as it is coordinated, it will be in the best interest of Canada's environment and our economy.
However, a price on carbon alone will be insufficient to meet our targets. We need performance-based standards and regulations. This has to be conceived as a human rights issue. It is not just an economic issue. It is not just an environmental issue. It is about human rights.
Climate change poses a serious threat to any number of human rights, including the right to life, water and sanitation, food, health, culture, development, and a healthy environment.
Recognizing the impact on human rights, the parties agreed to a more ambitious target for the Paris agreement. The preamble to the Paris agreement clearly states the following:
...Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights...
Yes, ratifying the Paris agreement has human rights implications, but it is also an incredible opportunity. Canada can and must create green, clean-energy jobs.
By continuing to invest through our infrastructure funds and through our innovation funds, we need to accelerate the elimination of carbon in our economy. We can create a better future for all Canadians in so doing.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
Before I start my speech, I was interested in my Liberal colleague across the way saying that the Liberals wanted to eliminate carbon from our economy. It shows a lack of science understanding on the other side. I would suggest to him that he should look up the photosynthesis equation, which is the most important equation on earth, and the first element is carbon dioxide.
I rise in the House to speak to the proposed ratification of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020, better known as the Paris agreement.
The motion before us can be supported in one sense, but is significantly improved by our amendment to ensure we do not encroach on provincial and territorial responsibilities, and we must not raise taxes on Canadians. Therefore, I would support the motion as amended. However, it seems clear that the has no intention of seeking consent from or co-operating with the provinces in this regard.
Aside from the actual content of the agreement, what most Canadians will likely remember best from Paris is the return of Liberal excess and entitlement. The great junket cost taxpayers nearly $1 million. Canadians will also remember going forward that this is the agreement that the Liberals believe gave them the right to unilaterally impose a carbon tax on them.
That aside, we recognize that Canada must do its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but not at the expense of seriously harming our own economy. I would also mention it is good to see that the Liberal government has adopted the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target set by our previous Conservative government, but it is how we get there that matters most.
I am very proud to represent the vast rural constituency of Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa in west central Manitoba. My riding is primarily agricultural and, in addition to producing grains and oilseeds, my riding is the largest producer of canola in the entire country. Our land supports thriving cattle and hog industries, and commercial forestry which supports many jobs in the northern region. My constituency is also blessed with vast tracts of natural habitats and numerous lakes that support hunting, angling and trapping, activities that are critical to our way of life and our thriving tourism industry.
My constituents have a deep commitment to conservation. They live with and among a beautiful environment with wildlife and there are dozens of wildlife and fisheries conservation organizations supporting many fish and wildlife enhancement projects every year. This is the kind of environmental conservation that does not get the recognition it deserves: good, honest people on the land doing good, honest conservation work that benefits the entire country. I am very proud to represent those people in my constituency.
As an example, wetlands are critical to my riding and to environmental conservation across the country. By way of example, many Canadians may not know that just one acre of wetlands gained or restored equates to roughly a full year of carbon emissions from 160 cars on the road. We never hear anything about landscape conservation from the Liberal government when it comes to climate change, although it is equally or more important than much of the activities it is proposing. Partnering with groups that promote wetlands conservation and restoration does far more than targets and frameworks.
However, by focusing so much on carbon emission reductions, the Liberal government is ignoring this very significant environmental opportunity and it is a major opportunity.
Aside from wetlands effectively sequestering carbon, they also purify water, conserve biodiversity and improve flood control. Our Conservative government, through our national conservation plan, supported significant wetlands and other habitat conservation programs that delivered multiple benefits for the same cost. I would urge the government to do the same.
Interestingly in the previous Parliament, the environment committee that I was a part of did a major study on Great Lakes water quality and the loss of wetlands around the Great Lakes was implicated in the decline of water quality in Lake Erie in particular.
Again, the government has an opportunity to spend money efficiently and deliver multiple benefits, and I am using wetlands conservation as an example, and in the case of the Great Lakes, improve Great Lakes water quality and sequester carbon and conserve biodiversity at the same time.
Now that is Conservative-style environmentalism. I know the Liberals are not really familiar with efficient conservation that delivers real benefits, but I would urge them to adopt that kind of conservation.
This is not to say that projects to expand wetlands to protect wildlife habitats are the only options when it comes to reaching environmental targets. However, we must avoid having our sole focus on mandating compliance and regulating businesses out of existence. There are many technological advances that have and will continue to be made to limit emissions and ensure sustainable development.
I wholeheartedly support advancements in clean technology development and innovation, especially in Canada's national resources and renewable energy sectors. However, government programs must deliver concrete and measurable results for businesses and the environment, and the key word being “measurable”.
Surely, it is not just the Conservatives who recognize that governments are notoriously bad at picking winners. We must not subsidize using taxpayer money in the hopes of innovating in these areas if it is not economically viable. Governments can play a role in investing and incentivizing to create a climate for investment, but we must not lose focus on what matters most, actual and real results for environmental dollars spent.
My riding is one that would be tremendously impacted by any federally imposed carbon tax. How the Liberals cannot realize that a carbon tax will disproportionately hurt Canadians living in rural and remote areas is beyond me. How it will hurt agriculture is obvious. It takes a lot of energy to produce the food to feed our country, and the world. As one farmer said humorously, a Prius cannot pull an air seeder.
Farmers who are already working within margins can ill afford to have the tax burden on their businesses and families increased. The fact is that people in rural areas will drive places even if a carbon tax is imposed on them. My constituents will not stop driving their children to school or sporting events. They will not stop going camping in our beautiful wilderness and national parks. They simply will not stop living. However, what they will do is end up paying more to the government coffers, with no beneficial effects on the environment. The Liberals are better off to give the carbon tax money to the conservation groups in my constituency that will do real good for the environment.
Where we live, we do not have mass transit. We cannot bike 30 kilometres every day to go to work. Many of my constituents live on modest incomes, and they will be deeply affected by these taxes.
As verified by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in its report on a carbon pricing policy for Canada, and I happened to have been a member of the national round table at that time, “Given income constraints, lower-income households are also less able to adjust their behaviour and spend on technology or energy efficiency measures in response to a price.” In other words, poor people will be hurt the most.
It is clear that the Conservative Party of Canada is the party of the working people. The people in my constituency and all of our constituencies exemplify that. The fact is that the Liberals need to realize that all they are doing is hurting the good, hard-working people who live in rural and remote parts of our country.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates that a new carbon tax could result in the average Canadian family paying $2,500 more in new taxes per year. According to the PBO, Canadian incomes will decline 1% to 3% on average thanks to the Paris agreement. These findings are in addition to the tax hikes the Liberals have proposed.
The fact is that countries that implement policies to spur wealth creation generate the best environmental outcomes. To phrase it simply, getting rich is good for the environment, and the math proves that. Our environmental quality in Canada is the result of wealth creation policies, largely put in by Conservative governments, I might add. Increasing taxes on Canadians while their economies struggle is simply irresponsible.
It is also unfortunate that too many advocates of climate change mitigation like this fail to actually do the math on the environmental effects and get lost in their ideological beliefs. Take for example the Liberal steadfast support of wind energy. Advocates have also failed to mention that wind turbines can have negative effects on the environment and wildlife, not to mention local communities.
For example, one study concludes that of all wind energy facilities, about 368,000 bird fatalities occur every year. These things are Cuisinarts for birds and bats. It is also important to note that many of the bird species killed by wind turbines are SARA-listed species, and endangered bats are also victims of wind turbines.
In 2014, Australia abolished its carbon tax after it was proven harmful. The Ontario Liberal government has accepted its green energy failures.
I hope the Liberals will heed these warnings and adapt their means of achieving these targets away from taxation and regulations and toward partnerships with on-the-ground organizations and incentives for Canadian businesses and families. This is the key to both our continued wealth creation and sustainable economic growth and environmental protection.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to stand today to speak to the Paris agreement, which was completed in December 2015.
Paris is a great city. It is known as the city of light, a city with a long and exciting history, one filled with many events that helped define global politics and power to this day. There has been a direct connection to North America in these agreements. First, there was the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which is very important to the British North American colonies, which became the Canada we know today. It was important because it ceded all remaining French territory in North America to other powers, mostly Great Britain.
Then there was the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which led to the end of hostilities between the United States of America and Great Britain after the Americans were victorious in the American revolution. Then there was the Treaty of Paris of 1815, which marked the end of the Napoleonic wars in Europe for the second and final time, thankfully. Then in 1898 there was another Treaty of Paris, which when signed led to the dissolution of the remnants of the Spanish Empire and the end of the Spanish-American war. More recently, in 1973, the Paris Peace Accords occurred, which led to the end of the war in Vietnam. It seemed to take as long to decide the shape of the table to negotiate the agreement as it took to complete that accord.
That leads us to 2015, where a different kind of conference took place. That would be the Paris agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Canada had a delegation present, including the , our party's environment critic, the hon. member for , as well as many other officials. The result of the conference was an agreement reached about the climate change priorities of 191 member states. This is a major agreement and it certainly could have short-, medium-, and long-term implications for Canada, indeed, the entire world.
The modern world in which we live is all about how humans can adapt to challenges that are thrown our way. That is why I believe that mitigation, adaptation, and adaptability will be the most important parts of what we discuss here in Parliament with respect to the Paris agreement.
We know that climate change has occurred and it is continuing to occur. What we decide to do about it and the approach we take to tackle these issues is what is important here today. Humans and mother nature combine to create challenges. One explosion of a major volcano and there is a huge effect on the atmosphere. We cannot control mother nature. Usually when we think we can or attempt to do so, we get a rude wake-up call.
However, we can work with the decisions human beings make on this planet. I believe there is a difference in philosophies between the parties in the House about the best way to tackle the climate change issue we face. I believe that there are a great number of adaptation techniques that are currently being applied that are helping us deal with climate change.
For example, we are on the precipice of some very advanced, clean coal technology, which may allow us to re-examine the use of clean coal in some parts of the world, including parts of Canada. I want to be clear that we are not talking about the dirty soot-spewing coal of production in the past, but a much cleaner and modern alternative. That is one example of adaptability.
Windmills are interesting and an increasing power source, but it is taking more and more coal mining to make the steel to make the blades than ever before. Where is that happening? Not in the added-value economies of Canada. That whole production process has some environmental drawbacks.
I believe that there are other power sources. We had the stuff for decades and we will now more likely to be able to focus on it. For example, what about harnessing the tidal power of the Bay of Fundy?
Being an older guy, I know the history of technical advances in Fort McMurray, for example. I first witnessed this process in 1974, and more recently, just a few years ago. Incredible technologies have changed the process since the first plant was built in 1966.
If we go millions of years back in history, we could find ourselves in the Mesozoic era where dinosaurs ran free across the earth. No, I am not a dinosaur. I was not there. The poor dinosaurs could not adapt as well, as we know. Their species became extinct. In fact, not to digress, but the heartland of Canada's dinosaur deposits were discovered over 100 years ago in my constituency, in the UNESCO World Heritage Dinosaur Provincial Park.
The dinosaurs are gone and we humans have to innovate to make sure that we survive the climate change challenges we face. I think the House sees that we are making great strides in terms of technology and expertise right here in our own backyards, right here in Canada. If we are looking at places where we can use money to leverage expertise and resources, I believe the best place we can spend that money would be right here in Canada.
We have the expertise. There are many highly educated, motivated, and innovative citizens. On the issue of climate change, we could really lead the world in developing new climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies and strategies. If the government plans on spending money, let us do it here so we can give Canada a boost, and then lead the rest of the world.
The environmental issues my constituents and all Canadians face would be best tackled by people in their communities. It is my desire that the Paris agreement confirm the ability of our communities, constituencies, and regions to make decisions about how to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. Municipalities have been leading the way for many years.
Industries, such as agriculture in my riding, have developed techniques that reduce the carbon footprint. There are innovative businesses in communities right across the country that are ready to be part of the solution. CCR Technologies, from Brooks, in my riding, is an innovative business. It is a great example of local companies making a difference in the world, and recently at Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan. It is working on some very interesting projects we have heard about.
The right approach is to support Canadian industries, domestic companies that are working on innovative clean technology solutions that can be world class.
With this in mind, our party will support the first part of the motion, which agrees with the spirit of the Paris agreement. What we do have an issue with is the second part of the motion, which relates to the Vancouver declaration. It is problematic. I have concerns when the federal government uses its powers to encroach upon the rights of the provinces to deliver their own climate change plan. It is very important for legislators and decision-makers from all levels of government to respect each other's jurisdictions. Our party has some concerns with respect to interfering with provincial affairs. That is one of the reasons that our side is proposing an amendment to the second part of today's Liberal motion.
We do indeed support a strategy to deal with climate change. We believe it is important for all Canadians to have a stake in the solution and that a broad, science-based, market-based solution to climate change strikes the right balance for any strategy. Adding more to the tax burden of tapped-out Canadians is an approach we cannot support, which is one of the reasons we are offering an amendment.
Another issue I have some concerns with is applying a one-size-fits-all solution that would potentially meddle in provincial affairs and put some provincial governments in an impossible situation. It could also unfairly affect certain parts of Canada.
I have some specific concerns about how supporting the Vancouver declaration could impact northern and Arctic communities. This is one of the reasons why many of the northern territories legislators came out firmly against a one-size-fits-all approach. They are watching the sea ice and permafrost conditions up close and first-hand.
It is critical that we strike the right balance. We believe that a strong economy, along with robust environmental policies, is the correct course of action. We also believe that these two concepts are by no means mutually exclusive, but can go hand in hand.
Unfortunately, we have forgotten some of the tried, tested, cultural, and science-based climate mitigation strategies that do not require billions of dollars when practised effectively. I speak of some of the wetland and boreal forest conservation that can be very beneficial to ecosystems and the environment.
Last week, for instance, I met with the Ducks Unlimited people. They were talking about a lot of excellent conservation projects that they work on across Canada. I have visited some of those in my own constituency. People often forget that a major part of Ducks Unlimited's mandate is conservation and the members of Ducks Unlimited, at least in my area, tend to be ranchers and other land users. These people are experts at conservation by design. They have a vested interest in making sure that conservation is always a top priority in their daily activities.
Indigenous people from the Prairies understood the value of forest fires in the regeneration of a varieties of plants and ecosystems. In recent years, national parks have begun to replicate this understood cultural and environmentally positive practice with controlled burns in parks.
Too much of the debate is centred around the desire to spend a lot of taxpayers' money on projects that do not deliver any benefit but are more or less feel-good projects. I would much favour environmental strategies that focus on tangible results, such as funding conservation priorities and by working with organizations like Ducks Unlimited to achieve our common goals.
We are happy to support the first part of the Liberal motion and offer an amendment to the second part.
Mr. Speaker, given the shortness of time, I want to focus on a couple of key themes in this debate about our response to and our plan for climate change and the Paris process.
The first thing I want to remind all colleagues is that this has nothing to do with ideology. It is not ideology, it is not voodoo; it is science. There are 2,200 Nobel Peace Prize winners and IPCC scientists telling us that we have to hold global temperature increases to between 2°C and 4°C. We have droughts, we have floods, we have sea levels rising. Ask the mayor of Miami. We have the insurance industry that blew the whistle two decades ago and told us there was a canary in the coal mine. Major storms are becoming more frequent, claim costs are way up, and insurability is way down. Ask Lloyd's of London.
Scientists are also telling us that if we see a 4°C to 6°C temperature increase by 2100, then 30% to 40% of all known species—and we do not know all the species yet—will be threatened. As one of my kids might say, “Houston, we have a problem”.
First, we must stabilize global emissions by 2050 and then reduce them. That is what we have decided to do as a planet, and it is clear why we are doing this. It is the right thing to do. In fact, it is the only thing to do.
I believe that our plan is about a new generation of politics. It cuts across genders, it throws out the old notion of a left-right spectrum, and cuts across all age groups, all socio-economic clusters, all cultures, all Canadians. Why? It is because there is only one atmosphere, one world, one people, one destiny.
Apparently, we are so insane on this side of the House that we want to get as much as we can from the $3 trillion environmental technologies market, which Goldman Sachs says is only getting bigger, and getting bigger faster. I think we are all with Sir Nicholas Stern from the London School of Economics, who has said that we can pay now and make the shift and prosper, or pay later and pay an awful lot. That is why he called on the planet to invest 1% of global GDP now to avoid a potential loss of 20% of global GDP by 2050. This is about winning the race and leading the world.
We are heading as a country and a planet at breakneck speed into a carbon-constrained future. As one of the world's top environmental economists once said, we did not get out of the stone age because we ran out of stones. We are also not going to get out of the fossil fuel age because we are running out of fossil fuels. We are going to transition from the fossil fuel age to a new carbon-constrained world.
We spent last week debating national security. This debate, in my mind, is partly about national security, but it is largely about natural security and whether we are going to learn as a species to live within the carrying capacity of the planet. Scientists have told us there is a theoretical threshold that we do not want to cross. They do not know where it is. That is why we continue to invest in science. That is why we have so many data collection points on climate all over the world, in order to monitor and know the effects.
We do not want to play Russian roulette with the atmosphere, do we? No one wants to play Russian roulette with the carrying capacity of the planet, because we have all agreed to take a precautionary approach. We have to take a long, hard look at the planet's carrying capacity to sustain us, and our economies and consumption patterns, all the while assimilating our waste.
We should also be cognizant of this: two billion more people will be coming to join us on this planet in the next 30 years. We cannot feed 900 million of them now, so how in the name of God are we going to deal with this challenge? How are we going to move with our agricultural production processes? How are we going to deal with the consumption trends?
I should say here that I will be splitting my time with the member for . I am sure that member will be coming back to many of these themes.
I want to close before today's statements by members by saying this. When we burn fossil fuels, we are asking our atmosphere to assimilate greenhouse gases. Is it not interesting to note that when construction containers are filled up with waste, a tipping fee has to be paid to drive them over and dump the waste into a dump site, but when we burn fossil fuels we pay very little, if anything, for the privilege of emitting greenhouse gases into the one solitary atmosphere we have.
That is why pricing carbon pollution is all about crossing the Rubicon. Every single economist tells us that this is the right thing to do. In fact, let us be honest, Stephen Harper as Prime Minister of Canada went to London, England, where he gave a global energy superpower speech and said that by 2018 carbon would be priced at $150 a tonne in Canada under his cap-and-trade system.
This is about internalizing a cost that heretofore has remained outside our economic measurement, outside our economic accounting. It is time for us to internalize that cost, because it will have a profound influence on efficiency.
This is a race about becoming the cleanest economy in the world. Therefore, we have to choose. We are competing. What does it mean to be the cleanest economy in the world? It means being the most efficient economy in the world, most efficient with energy, most efficient with material and matter, most efficient with water. That is the race we are embroiled in, and the jurisdiction that gets it best is the jurisdiction that is going to win, that is going to have the jobs, that is going to create the wealth, and that it is going to lead the way in a trajectory for the future.