The House resumed from October 4 consideration of the motion, of the amendment, and of the amendment to the amendment.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for .
I rise today to speak in favour of the Paris agreement and the government's motion for Canada to participate in this global attempt to reduce climate change.
On December 12, 2015, Canada and 194 other countries reached the Paris agreement, an ambitious and balanced plan to fight climate change. The new agreement would strengthen efforts to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2° Celsius and to pursue further efforts to limit the increase to 1.5° Celsius. In addition, the Paris agreement aims to foster climate resilience and to lower greenhouse gas development.
There has been much said in the House, on a national level, about the benefits and risks of the Paris agreement. I thought I would bring the discussion to a sub-national level and focus on the role of local municipal governments, the roles of public and private corporations, and the role of civil society using the lens of my community of Oakville. It will require all of us working together to achieve the aims of this agreement, and my community of Oakville is an exemplar of the co-operation that will be required.
Oakville's vision is to be the most livable town in Canada. The town's 2005 environmental strategic plan recognizes that our quality of life rests on the quality of our environment and on our respect for our natural and cultural heritage.
In 2015 the town achieved milestone 5 of the ICLEI Federation of Canadian Municipalities partners GHG reduction program. This capstone achievement reflected the town's accomplishment of the target of a 20% reduction in corporate GHG emissions by 2014 from 2004. Oakville is only one of 30 Canadian municipalities to have achieved a milestone 5 level.
Council has now reset the energy and GHG reduction targets to ensure that the town is continuing to achieve measurable results. An example of this plan is the i-Tree 2016 study of Oakville's urban forest. There are two million trees in Oakville. Oakville's urban forest canopy coverage is about 28%. In Oakville, the total value of annual home energy savings provided by the tree canopy is $1,800,000. As a result of these energy savings, about 2,200 tonnes of carbon emissions are avoided each year, with an annual carbon value of $172,000.
Oakville's trees sequester about 5,900 tonnes of carbon each year, with an associated annual carbon value of $460,000. Oakville's tree root systems store approximately 148,000 tonnes of carbon, with an associated carbon value of $11.5 million.
We can grow our tree canopy by 50% in years to come.
With over 185 kilometres of on- and off-road cycling paths, over 300 kilometres of trails, 1,420 hectares of parkland, 31 waterfront parks, and more than 200 parks with playgrounds and sports fields, Oakville has recreational opportunities for everyone.
While our local tree canopy expansion plan will contribute to Canada's Paris agreement commitments, it will also continue to provide a superb living environment for residents. These are win-win carbon reduction strategies.
Oakville council has confirmed its commitment to support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally by harmonizing specific town reduction targets to match global targets.
The largest public corporation in Oakville is Halton Healthcare. The new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital is a thoughtfully designed, state-of-the-art centre of health care excellence. Although eight storeys tall and 1.6 million square feet in size, OTMH is highly energy efficient, incorporating many innovative technologies to reduce its carbon footprint. The energy efficient design measures put in place avoid electrical consumption of 16,700,000 kWh annually, enough energy to supply 1,850 homes in Oakville with electricity annually. It is saving dollars and reducing GHG emissions.
The new building, built to LEED® Silver standards, has been recognized by the high performance new construction incentive program for achieving a tier 3 level of more than 50% in energy savings. Construction of the new OTMH included a 500 kilowatt solar array, which was donated as a gift to the hospital by Hatch Industries.
To date Halton Healthcare has received energy payments totalling $154,000 while saving approximately 290 tonnes annually in GHG emissions compared to natural gas powered generation. These are win-win carbon reduction strategies.
The largest private corporation in Oakville is Ford of Canada. Ford is part of an automotive industry that is in active transition to a low-carbon economy. The auto manufacturing sector is a key driver for Canada's economy, contributing significantly to our nation's manufacturing GDP, and providing tens of thousands of direct and indirect high-paying jobs.
Auto manufacturing is highly energy efficient, emitting less than 1% of industrial GHG emissions in Ontario, and half of the GHG emissions per vehicle compared to European auto manufacturing, which is an important consideration as we move forward with globally competitive carbon-reduction targets.
Auto is one of the largest green-tech sectors in the world, investing more than $200 billion U.S. in fuel efficiency and green tech through to 2025. Another $100 billion U.S. is being invested in electric vehicle development. Many of the innovative energy-efficiency strategies are being designed and tested right here in Canada.
Through an unprecedented year-over-year improvement plan, the 2025 model year vehicles—our cars—are projected to consume 50% less fuel than the 2008 vehicles. Post-2011, this will result in an estimated cumulative reduction of 266 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
To assist the industry, policies that educate and increase consumer demand for these new vehicle technologies will be critical to ensure the adoption of alternative energy and electric vehicle choices.
As a cautionary note, as we push forward with the Paris agreement, let us remember that auto manufacturing is highly trade-exposed. That is why the design of the pan-Canada framework for climate change, avoiding layering of subnational regulations under federal regulations, is critically important to the competitiveness of Canada's auto manufacturing and, ultimately, the achievement of Canada's economic and environmental objectives.
Care must be taken to maintain and grow Canada's manufacturing footprint to avoid the migration of many thousands of jobs through carbon leakage to other jurisdictions that have weaker climate policy commitments. With care, this can be a win-win agreement for auto.
Finally, I will address the role of civil society.
In my community of Oakville, I found more than 40 environmental groups and agencies with which residents of Oakville are directly involved, most with a focus on climate change. Hundreds of Oakville residents are engaged in making a difference globally by making change happen locally.
At a climate change consultation I hosted in August, more than 150 Oakvillians came out to talk with me and their neighbours about their concerns. We had 10 table topics, including many specific to the Paris agreement, such as international co-operation and commitments, and carbon pricing. Attendees supported the Paris agreement. Some wished it went further, faster, and are prepared for disruptive economic consequences; others support the direction, but want to ensure that our economy and jobs transition smoothly to a less carbon-dependent economy. However, they all want positive action.
I believe every Oakvillian wants to ensure that we conserve our environment, to leave as rich and sustainable an environment for our children as we inherited from our predecessors. I believe, based on the decisions and commitments of our town council and our public and private enterprises, and based on Oakville residents' engagement with civic groups and feedback from my consultations, that the vast majority of Oakvillians support the Paris agreement and want this government and this House of Parliament to proceed to join in the global fight against climate change.
I do not think our children and grandchildren will be concerned with which political party we represented in 2016. They would want to know why we did not act when we could to guarantee them drinkable water, breathable air, and a living environment.
I will be supporting this agreement.
Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to have a few minutes to speak on such an important topic. Climate change is the most serious threat that poses imminent, dangerous consequences to our communities, families, and economy.
The debate on whether this threat exists is over. Rapid change in climate is real. We have seen the damage it has caused over the past decade. Deadly storms, odd weather patterns, and the rapidly melting polar ice caps have produced a significant human and economic impact. This is a very real and present danger. It is a danger that is of paramount concern to all Canadians. This was demonstrated to me at a town hall meeting on climate change that I hosted with my fellow Mississauga MPs this summer. The over-capacity crowd at the town hall made it clear that people are looking to their government to take steps, to take leadership to change our current course. Leadership on this file over the past 10 years under the previous government's regime saw little to no action.
As a result, our reputation around the world was badly damaged. We made a promise, during last year's general election, to change course on climate change. We promised to stop the cycle of setting arbitrary, unreasoned targets.
We have worked with our provincial, territorial, and indigenous partners to achieve realistic targets. Since taking office, our government has taken steps to work with our partners, to establish realistic solutions, consistent with international obligations, that work toward growing the economy and protecting our planet for my children and all our children.
By signing onto the Paris agreement last October, just after we formed government, we emphatically signalled to the world that Canada is here to help.
I am very glad to be able to contribute to the debate today.
As we come to accept the reality of the extent of this climate disorder and start to take steps to curtail the current trend, let us double our efforts and reinforce our actions on the conditions that we must improve.
Already, global temperatures are one degree above pre-industrial levels, and rising. I mention pre-industrial, as this factor of industrialization significantly adds to the seriousness of the time we are at with climate change.
In addition, specific factors in our country substantially contribute to this disorder; namely, our geography and our climate. Our broad weather latitudes demand considerable fuel to warm us in winter and to cool us in summer. Our coast-to-coast-to-coast geography represents immense transportation requirements of fuel. Canada's reliance upon such primary industries as resource extraction and manufacturing adds further to the complications of our climate disorder.
The worldly repercussions of this disorder caused UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to declare that we are in a race against time. The rate at which temperatures are rising exceeds the capacity of our ecosystems to adapt naturally, so that our food production and our economic development are now threatened.
Here in Ontario, suddenly, climate changes or prolonged periods of drought and heat waves have had threatening consequences on our farmers. This summer alone, the weather has had devastating impacts upon our farmers' crops, their livelihood, and ultimately, our food source.
Even in my urban riding, extreme weather has taken its toll. In July 2013, the city of Mississauga was hammered by a flash flood of over 123 millimetres of rainfall in just a couple of hours. The result was mass flooding and power outages for many residents, causing extensive damage to their homes. They called it the 50-year storm—once in a lifetime. The sad thing is that we have had three so-called 50-year storms in the last 10 years.
Another example of this extreme weather was the severe ice storm that struck southern Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes in December 2013, when roads and trees were covered with 30 millimetres of ice, sending broken branches onto power lines and causing thousands of people to be without power for days and weeks following.
The Paris agreement on climate change awaits final ratification. I stand today to support its ratification. In signing this agreement initially in April on our behalf, our indicated that climate change would test our intelligence, our compassion, and our will, but we firmly believe that we are equal to these challenges. For Canada, this agreement would mean that our government is providing national leadership by working with provinces and territories to take action on climate change. We as a government realize that economic growth and implementing climate protection policies go hand in hand.
The Conference Board of Canada acknowledges Canada has a long way to go. Indeed, that is an accurate assessment for this vast and complex country. With our country's extensive geographic differences, significant adjustments in our technology and economy and attitude will be required. This government has promised to protect the environment and grow the economy. Vital to this is providing leadership, along with collaborating with our provincial and territorial partners to develop balanced solutions in establishing plans that are amenable to our partners in Confederation. Our government is providing this leadership. Appropriate federal funding and flexibility will be afforded to our territorial and provincial partners so they can design policies to meet the climate commitments we have made as a country, and so they can also keep in mind the economic requirements of their respective areas.
As our stated two days ago in his address to the House, “Because pollution crosses borders, all provinces must do their part.” New investments in green infrastructure, clean-tech manufacturing, and innovation, and incentives for clean investments are just a sample of the climate change assistance our government promised to its voters. In anticipation of the requirements of the Paris agreement and with awareness of the unique and demanding climate issues in this country, the 2016 budget provides full allocations for a framework that endorses and shapes a cleaner, more sustainable environment. As well, that same budget addresses the special economic requirements of the country as it adjusts to the intricacies of climate change.
Already, provinces and territories have envisioned a carbon-restricted future in some of their budgets, projects, and future plans. Some of our provinces have made an early start to their commitments by initiating their plans for carbon pricing appropriate to their own geographic and economic needs. It is promising to see the encouragement of electric and hybrid vehicles here in Ontario, for example. Even in my riding of Mississauga East—Cooksville, a constituent I met last week was telling me that he takes trees that have fallen due to the weather or that have been cut down because they are diseased, and reuses them for things like furniture, etc.
Forward thinking on counteracting carbon use was on the agenda of the Premier of Saskatchewan when he went to Paris in April with our delegates. He sought to promote carbon capture and storage technology. That is also really pioneering for that province. The world awaits such forward, intelligent thinking that is required in inventing technology for the impending non carbon age and in making the required economic adjustments and alterations in this upcoming era.
With the announcement two days ago of our new carbon plan, the potential is there for this to help our middle class and job creation, and to help our businesses be more competitive on the world stage. If we take the appropriate approach, keeping in mind our provincial counterparts' priorities, by working together we can achieve the results we want.
Canada already has an excellent reputation in the world when it comes to a technological zone for such forward thinking and inventions. We invented the Canadarm, for example. The innovative, flexible, hard-working, compassionate, never-give-up attitude of Canadians puts us in the right place to take on climate change.
We can do our part the Canadian way conscientiously, superlatively, and compassionately. Let us support the ratification of the Paris agreement. We need to do our part, and we will.
Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to represent my constituency of Langley—Aldergrove and to speak before you, a member of Parliament who is so well respected. I will be sharing my time with the member for .
I was honoured in the last Parliament to be the parliamentary secretary to the minister of the environment—actually five different ministers—and then to be chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. That is because the environment is so important to me and my community. We need to move forward and clean up some previous environmental practices, which is one of the first things we did when I became the parliamentary secretary in 2006. The Sydney tar ponds was one of the most overstudied and well-known contaminated sites. I was honoured to present the funding and then to see the finished product, the cleaning up of the city tar ponds. The previous government was committed to a sustainable environment.
I was also honoured to work with a former Liberal MP, John Godfrey, on the Sustainable Development Act, working across party lines for a cleaner environment. Over my political career, I have found that the more we work together, the more we can move ahead. It is almost like oars in a boat: if everyone is rowing in the same direction, great progress can be made. But if everyone is rowing in different directions, they will end up turning around in circles. In dealing with the environment, it is so important that we put aside politics, keep our promises, and move forward.
Today's motion is 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. We support that. The 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 was a plan the previous government committed to. We were on track to meet those targets. The fact is that with the growing economy under the previous government and the growth in jobs, we were at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dramatically reducing pollutants that were causing health problems. We were getting it done, growing the economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants.
The second half of the motion calls on the House to support the March 3, 2016 Vancouver declaration calling on the federal government, the provinces, and the territories to work together to develop a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. That is where I have great difficulty, where I think the government has taken the whole process off the rails so to speak.
On Monday, the announced in a very dictatorial the way it was going to be. I harken back to the promises made during the election when the Prime Minister said that he was committed to working with the provinces. However, on Monday, we saw that all come to a screeching halt. He promised that he would not impose a climate change plan on the provinces. He called that nonsensical, but on Monday he deviated from that and told the provinces, “This is what thou shalt do”.
We have to work with one another. We have to show respect for one another. I have found great success over the years in working with different environmental groups. In my riding of Langley, there is a group called LEPS, Langley Environmental Partners Society. It is successful in working in a non-partisan way with anyone interested in improving the environment. Over the last 11 years, we have planted together 1,000 trees a year. It has helped me distribute these 1,000 trees a year, thus more than 11,000 trees handed out in the riding in total. Trees are good. I love it when we come together as a community in partnering and working together on the environment.
A healthy environment is not just for this generation but for future generations too. We have a responsibility to show respect, work arm-in-arm with one another, and improve that. That is not what is happening with the action of the government. I hope that the government will pause and that it will consider changing course.
I just heard from the Liberal member across the way. I encourage him to rethink his thoughts. He told the Premier of Saskatchewan to double down. What does that mean? The said it is because of the lack of leadership being seen from the provinces that he has had to force this on them. Then we have members of his caucus saying, “Premiers, you need to double down”. That is not working together on a common cause. The target of a 30% reduction by 2030 is achievable if we work together.
Canadians have said they would trust the new government to come up with a plan that would help us achieve that target, that 30% reduction by 2030, but the government also promised no new taxes. The even admitted today during question period that it is a tax. It is a new tax on Canadians, and how will that new tax affect Canadians? Will it reduce greenhouse gas emissions? The previous government was able to reduce taxes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberal plan is to increase taxes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We can learn from past practices of what works and what does not. The previous Liberal government made aspirational commitments and emissions went up. Taxes went up; emissions went up. That is not the Conservative way, in which we reduced taxes and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan has been proven not to work, but how does that plan affect Canadians? I have a number of seniors who have retired and are on fixed incomes in the riding of . I am hearing from them already since the made his proclamation that thou shalt and that there would be a carbon tax, a new tax on everything. What does that mean? It means the government is advising seniors that they need to get another sweater, a little bit thicker sweater because they will have to turn down their thermostats. Their natural gas heating will go up and of course their food will cost more because it is transported from within or outside of communities. To drive to the doctor, to physiotherapy or home care, everything will go up: food, transportation, heating. It is endless, the cost of all goods.
What have the Liberals told Canadian seniors? I am honoured to be the critic for seniors. I have asked the Liberals to please appoint a minister for seniors and to please establish a national seniors strategy, because right now one in six Canadians is a senior. There are more seniors than youth in Canada right now, and that is changing very quickly. In six years it will be one in five. In 13 years it will be one in four. There is a major demographic shift and it is happening in a very short period of time and the government is not ready. What is its plan? It will increase the taxes on everything on every Canadian, particularly the Canadians who are on fixed incomes. The solution to that is that the government will give them an extra $70 a month. That is for those who are single. If they are living together, they get nothing extra but they will have to get a thicker sweater so that they can survive those winters.
Fortunately in Langley we have very mild winters, but much of Canada is very cold in the winter. Is that the solution of the government, to get a thicker sweater or an extra sweater? It shows disrespect for Canadian seniors. It shows disrespect for the provinces. It is not a plan. A tax is not a plan. I hope the government will reconsider what it is doing because it is not right.
Mr. Speaker, as we draw near the end of the time allotted for this debate, I would like to begin my remarks by noting that as the stood in this place on Monday and announced his $40-billion carbon tax, provincial representatives walked out of an environmental ministers' conference in Montreal, shocked to hear of this unilateral action from the media. If Canadians needed any further evidence that sunny ways are over, that was it. While I believe that all of us should do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we have to be realistic and understand that a one-size-fits-all approach cannot work in Canada.
I also believe that Canadians pay enough in taxes. As a member who represents a constituency with energy-intensive industries like mining, agriculture, and manufacturing, I am concerned that this new Liberal levy for the environment will be little more than a transfer of wealth from western Canada to Ottawa via some kind of new taxation.
The 's contention that this initiative will be revenue neutral is hard to believe. It is hard to believe that a policy that will increase the federal government's accounts receivable by over $40 billion each year can be revenue neutral. This will become the second-largest source of federal revenue going forward, putting it ahead of the sales tax, the corporate income tax, the customs import duties, employment insurance premium revenues, and crown corporation revenues. Canada has entered an era of long-term deficit spending with no plan to return the country to balance. The temptation for the current government in particular to put these carbon revenues into general revenues will be strong.
Emissions have no borders. Canada should participate in international initiatives to reduce GHG emissions. It is in our best interest when our neighbours are environmentally responsible and the reverse is certainly true. It needs to be repeated that when a manufacturing plant moves 30 kilometres down the road to a jurisdiction that has lower costs for energy, nothing is gained. All that occurs is job losses.
Greenhouse gas emissions are an international issue. Therefore, attempts to reduce them must involve all emitters, not just those in Canada. Pollution can be exported. Many developing countries would be happy to inherit the energy-intensive factories that will no longer be economically viable here in Canada with a new carbon tax. It goes without saying that Canada's environmental laws and their enforcement are much more stringent than those of nearly any other country. A factory moving overseas where oversight is less stringent can actually be detrimental to the international fight against greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada competes on just about everything. Canadian railways compete with U.S. railroads and U.S. trucking. Airlines, which already lose five million passengers per year to border airports, compete with international carriers. While President Obama committed the United States to the Paris conference targets, it's another thing for an outgoing president to act on that commitment.
A downtown-Toronto condo dweller will have a lower carbon footprint than someone living in Iqaluit or the producer from the Prairies. A small technology company in Montreal will have a lower carbon footprint than a trucking company that hauls automobile parts across the Ambassador Bridge. A homeowner living in the temperate climate of Victoria will undoubtedly need less natural gas or heating oil to warm his or her home in the winter than someone living in Saskatoon. Our federation is designed to accommodate the different realities of our regions.
When Canada agreed along with Mexico and the United States that 50% of its electricity would come from renewable sources by 2025, a standard that we surpass today, the was basking in the legacy of provincial investments in hydro power. However, the Prime Minister should not boast on the international stage that Canada is a leader in green power generation, given that under his made-up term of social licence it would be impossible presently to build these large-scale facilities that provide base load power to our cities.
For any environmental policy to last and to be effective, it needs to have buy-in from all who are involved. If environmental policy is built on a platform of animosity between the federal government and the provinces, that policy will be doomed to fail.
The Premier of Saskatchewan does not support this ill-conceived plan to raise taxes. The premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and the three northern territories also have serious doubts. As the fine print of the minister's plan is released, I am sure we will see more provinces question this massively expensive experiment in economic and social planning.
For a policy the claims was built on unanimous accord at a first ministers' meeting, there is a lot of discord in regard to what was agreed to in Vancouver. This sledgehammer approach taken by the is disrespectful to both the provinces and their elected representatives, who are all contributing to Canada's economic prosperity. Is this the new era of co-operative federalism the has been so keen to champion?
I am curious about what the penalty will be should Saskatchewan not meet the standard set by the . Typically, when the federal government wants to partner with the provinces on something, the federal government puts in at least some amount of funding to get things started. I cannot help but think that the has decided to redesign our entire economy and put the odds against the three prairie provinces.
This carbon tax will not impact Canadians uniformly. Saskatchewan does not have the geography required for large-scale hydro dams, nor do we have the population size or density, for that matter, to make the economics of nuclear power viable. To my knowledge, combines do not run on solar power. In any year with lower than expected crop yields or low commodity prices, this new tax will have a far greater impact on my region than on any urban area.
The , his , and countless MPs here have repeated that putting a high tax on carbon is good for the economy and good for innovation. This statement must be challenged.
At its most basic level, this new tax is an additional cost for businesses and consumers. In any business, any additional cost is detrimental. What this new tax will do is make Canada's energy-intensive industries, like farming and mining, less competitive than those of other countries. The contention that increasing costs for businesses will make them more innovative is very naive. Every business, regardless of its sector, seeks to reduce the cost of inputs relative to its overall outputs.
I would like to conclude by pointing out the incredible inconsistency the Liberals are showing with this new $40 billion tax.
The Liberal government is actively supporting, through subsidies, the manufacturing of new aircraft and vehicles, which are two sectors that contribute the most to Canada's overall emissions. At the same time, the mining energy that produces the fuel to power these planes and cars is being ignored, and even worse, targeted.
For many years, as Ontario and Quebec were net recipients of equalization, it was British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador that financially supported our federation through a strong mining sector. Now, as commodity prices are lower, Ottawa is about to add to the pain that workers out west and out east in Newfoundland are experiencing.
The needs to reopen the dialogue with all premiers in order to develop and implement a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan that will actually work, as they are best positioned to understand the economic realities of their provinces. Going in alone, as the is doing, will ensure failure.
Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member opposite's statements and concerns, and I am not going to comment on the Premier of Alberta, who has welcomed this initiative. We now find out that the “P” in NDP stands for pipelines, apparently.
The newly minted Conservative Premier of Manitoba has said that they are working very hard on a plan that they think will excite Manitobans, and they look forward to further discussions with the federal government on the issues. They understand the new spirit of federalism that has taken hold, and they are working very hard.
I recognize that one or two premiers are struggling with this, and we have built a timetable into the process to make sure that we get as close to unanimity as possible.
I am also taken by the member's fascination with my riding and the condominiums of downtown Toronto. She is aware, of course, that not all residents of this country will experience climate change in the same way, nor will they experience the pollution that climate change generates in the lungs of children and families that live in those condominiums. I note that she routinely supports the island airport and routinely supports jets there. Jets, particularly short haul, are the highest single source of per capita greenhouse gases in this country.
If the member has such concern for the residents of different parts of this country, I wonder if she can put aside her regional focus and broaden her understanding of things like communities that live in condominiums, or in the far north, and actually come up with a collaborative process that succeeds in reducing greenhouse gases while transforming the economy while moving this forward.
Does the member have any ideas she can add that will cut greenhouse gases, while we build a new economy, and that will help the residents of my riding who happen to live in condominiums, which she routinely disdains and casts doubt and aspersions towards?
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
Because climate change is the challenge of our time, I stand in support of ratifying the Paris agreement. Here is why action is so badly needed. Climate change impacts are already being felt in my riding. We already see hotter water harming chum, chinook, and coho salmon returns on the Englishman, Cowichan, and Nanaimo rivers and at Mill Creek. Salmon are also harmed by drier rivers resulting from reduced snow pack.
Two decades of pine beetle infestation in our province have led to dozens of mill closures and tens of thousands of job losses. Ocean acidity has increased 30% and is expected to increase up to 150% by the end of the century. Worldwide, since 1975, oceans have absorbed 90% of the excess heat from global climate change.
This has already had big economic costs for us. B.C.'s $2.2 billion fishery and aquaculture sector, with its 14,000 jobs, is at risk. Worldwide, fisheries stand to lose $10 billion of their annual revenue. Climate-change-caused ocean acidification killed 10 million scallops just north of my riding. That was three years' worth of production, and the CEO of Island Scallops Ltd. said:
I'm not sure we are going to stay alive and I'm not sure the oyster industry is going to stay alive.
Power generation is affected too. In 2009, we saw the lowest water inflows in 46 years at Vancouver Island power plants.
Forest fires cost British Columbia $877 million over the last five years.
Drought, disease, and pests threaten food security on Vancouver Island, which already imports 95% of its food.
The good news is that acting on global climate change can boost small business and good local jobs. Climate action is a win-win for our local economy and our global environment. We are already innovating and cutting greenhouse gas emissions in my riding and are adding good-paying, sustainable jobs.
Nanaimo Harmac Pacific mill is energy self-sufficient and uses biofuels, including wood waste, to generate 55 megawatts of power.
The Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre captures methane to convert to electricity, and it is powering 300 homes.
Nanaimo is home to Canadian Electric Vehicles, which for 25 years has been making industrial vehicles, from electric trucks to Zambonis to electric bobcats.
Two groups are right now building energy conservation affordable housing in Nanaimo. Low energy use equals low operating costs equals greater affordability.
Vancouver Island University carpentry students dedicated 5,000 hours of volunteer time to building Habitat for Humanity's most recent build.
Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre is building affordable housing right now using passive energy designs, which use 80% less power than normal.
This is good news countrywide. Canada's green-building sector has $128 billion in gross annual output, and it employs more direct full-time workers than the forestry, mining, and oil and gas industries combined. We need our government to support local initiatives and remove barriers to innovation right here at home.
We have the know-how here in our communities. We want climate leadership that supports, and does not impede, cutting greenhouse gas emissions right here on our coast.
I talked with Nanaimo renewable energy entrepreneurs at the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Summit a few years back. They said that the Harper government and our B.C. government put up more barriers to their industry than anywhere they know in the world. They are both manufacturing and selling outside our community and outside our province. That is a lose-lose for the environment and the economy.
Canada cannot afford to stand on the sidelines when it comes to tackling climate change and transitioning to a cleaner, greener economy. With 50,000 people employed directly in more than 800 clean-tech firms, Canada could be a global leader, but it needs federal government financing and policy support.
It is time we had a truly balanced, sustainable approach to developing our energy resources in Canada. This means creating lasting, sustainable prosperity while making Canada a global leader in the clean technology sector of tomorrow.
The bad news is that it feels as if the Liberals are repeating their old pattern of breaking promises. In the early 90s, I was involved through the environmental NGO community with a group called the Economic Instruments Collaborative. We were working with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, TransAlta, and Lafarge cement. These were the biggest polluters in Canada. We were working together to try to design economic instruments to deal with air quality problems, one of which was global climate change. The Liberals at that time had been elected in 1993 on a platform to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2005. Instead, the Liberals ignored the collaborative regulatory design on which we had worked together and had achieved this amazing consensus between disparate groups. They chose not to implement that. Instead, emissions increased by over 30%. By 2005, to our shame, the United Nations reported Canada's pollution had increased more than any other signatory to Kyoto.
Therefore, while the New Democrats support the ratification of the Paris agreement, we are concerned that the Liberals have shown no plan and no real effort toward achieving its targets.
Canadians elected the Liberal government on the promise to establish national emission-reduction targets. That was in the Liberals' platform. Now in government, they are backtracking to what they used to call “catastrophic” Harper targets, and Canada is still without a national greenhouse gas reduction plan. All spring, Liberals in the House kept telling us we have committees. However, committees do not reduce emissions.
Carbon pricing will not guarantee a greenhouse gas reduction either, and it will not meet the Paris targets. Carbon pricing without emission reductions leaves it to the market to decide how much pollution we get; and leaving it to the market is how we got into this mess in the first place.
Conservatives compounded the mess. There is no question. They disgracefully put Canada on the climate fossil map, as the first signatory to withdraw from Kyoto. They defunded the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, a group we sorely need right now. They failed to monitor or regulate emissions from the fossil fuel industry. Also, they continued to give their corporate fossil friends billions in annual tax breaks.
Liberal decisions are not looking very climate friendly right now either. Approving the Pacific NorthWest liquid natural gas project is inconsistent with the federal government's commitment to lead on climate change and clean innovation. At 10 million tonnes, it will be one of the largest carbon polluters in the country. There was no meaningful consultation and accommodation with indigenous communities. That feels to us like the Site C dam problem as well. This summer, at the site of the proposed dam, indigenous leaders showed me B.C. Hydro pulverizing old growth forests and mulching a carbon sink during reservoir preparation, and this is all to power further fossil fuel production. It is an embarrassment for us.
We are looking for real climate action. We are looking for ratification of the Paris accord, but we need regulation, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and support for innovation to create sustainable jobs.
As legislators in the House, we have a sacred duty to future generations, to the people, to the animals, to make it right for our planet, and for the first time in Canadian history, to actually lead on climate change.
Mr. Speaker, I support the ratification of the Paris agreement. I support aggressive action to cut carbon pollution and to create clean energy jobs. In fact, I ran to represent Victoria here in Parliament, in large part, because I just could not stand on the sidelines any longer, as the Conservative government drove our country further down the road toward the enormous economic, social, and environmental costs of climate change.
Never before has one generation handed such a hefty bill to the next. We owe it to young Canadians to do everything in our power to reduce that bill. The next generation deserves a healthy environment and a prosperous, resilient, sustainable low-carbon economy.
I am proud to support the ratification of the Paris agreement, but I fear that the targets now shared by the Liberals and the Conservatives, as well as the recent decisions of the government with regard to Site C and the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal, are simply inconsistent with our obligations to that international agreement, to indigenous peoples, and to young Canadians, who will bear the burden of our inaction.
We meet today as the people of Haiti are digging out from the destruction of yet another hurricane, Hurricane Matthew, and millions of Americans are evacuating their homes on the eastern seaboard as the storm approaches. In Florida, a state of emergency has been declared. Families are stocking up on gasoline and bottled water, and shop owners are boarding up their businesses as we speak today.
This is just one storm, but it illustrates a trend Canadians are seeing across our country and around the globe. A changing climate is bringing more extreme weather, more ice and wind storms, more fires, and more floods. The Calgary floods, for example, cost Canadians $6 billion, and only a third of that was covered by insurance, leaving families and governments to pick up the tab. The Fort McMurray fire destroyed 2,400 homes and became the costliest disaster that insurers in Canada have ever seen.
Canadians know that climate change is not coming; it is here. If we do not take aggressive action, the costs are just going to keep climbing. The Liberals' plan to go back to Stephen Harper's plan, Stephen Harper's targets, and Stephen Harper's timeline is deeply disappointing to my community in Victoria and, indeed, to many Canadians who care deeply about the future of our planet.
Five years ago, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy wrote a major report. It forecast that climate change will cost Canadians $5 billion each year by 2020. That is about the cost of the Calgary floods each year.
We owe it to look down the road, not look at the short-term vista only, and to think about what we are doing to our children's and grandchildren's futures. I had the opportunity to meet last night with David Suzuki to talk about the carbon pricing that the Liberals have put on the table, and I can say that he was as deeply disappointed as the people in my riding are with what this plan would actually accomplish.
By the middle of this century, that bill I mentioned that the round table talked about is expected to grow to $20 billion a year and $40 billion in the worst case. That is the equivalent of several Calgary floods and Fort McMurray fires each year. That means more damage from storm surges, particularly in Atlantic Canada, as sea levels rise and as the Greenland ice cap melts. A drop in air quality means more hospital visits in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver. There is not a single member in the chamber who wants to see that happen, so let us talk plainly about what needs to happen next.
To avert catastrophic climate damage, we need to reduce the pollution that we pump into the air each year. The more we cut pollution, the lower the bill for future generations. It is really that simple. That pollution is measured in megatonnes or millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
In 1990, Canada emitted 613 megatonnes. A Liberal government then signed the Kyoto protocol, promising to reduce emissions by 6% by 2012, but by 2012, our carbon pollution had actually gone up from 613 megatonnes to 710. By 2014, according to Environment Canada, our emissions reached 732 megatonnes, 20% higher than when we signed on to Kyoto.
The fact that pollution keeps going up has never stopped governments from making promises. At another summit, this time in Copenhagen, the last government pledged to reduce Canada's emissions to 611 megatonnes by 2020, effectively bringing them back to where they were in 1990. Are we on track? Environment Canada projects that carbon pollution will get worse between now and 2020. According to its data, we will miss our target by 116 million tonnes. Let us not forget that the target, the one chosen by the Conservatives and then xeroxed by the Liberals on the way to Paris, is not nearly enough to save future generations from the enormous costs I spoke of earlier.
The best science shows that a tipping point will be reached if our planet heats up more than 2° above the pre-industrial level. Once we cross that tipping point, the damage to ecosystems and to our economy could be catastrophic and irreversible. That is why article 2 of the Paris accord calls for nations to work together to hold temperature increases to “well below that 2° red line”, and ideally to 1.5°. That is the goal of the Paris agreement and what I stand here to support.
The hard truth is that the targets set by Stephen Harper and now supported by the Liberals will not meet that goal. In fact, they knowingly undermine it. One virtue of the Liberals and Conservatives sharing the same climate goals is that it simplifies the math, because Mr. Harper's targets were already part of the calculation made by the UN Climate Secretariat last year before the Paris accord.
It does not have to be that way. The Americans and the Europeans are on track to meet the Copenhagen targets. They are cutting their pollution. Their economies are not stagnant. The American economy is growing.
We have a choice. Adapting to climate change is the defining challenge of our time. We can buckle underneath it. We can let it slam the brakes on our economy and tear down our infrastructure and damage our health, or we can rise to meet a challenge that will organize and measure the very best of our energies and skills as Canadians. We in the NDP intend to see Canada rise to this challenge. We have always done it before and we will do it again.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
I thank the right hon. member for for his motion.
I suspect that when most of us look back on our time in the House, we may well point to this motion as one of the most consequential votes of our careers. This is one of those rare moments when what is before us transcends parties and has implications for decades to come. The motion is about how this country will respond to the great challenge of our time, and how we will honour the principles of Paris.
Since coming to office, our government has been guided by some important principles: that environmental responsibility goes hand-in-hand with economic prosperity, that engagement is better than estrangement, that Canada works best when Canadians work together, and that no relationship is more important than the one with indigenous peoples.
These values have guided our actions and informed our policies. The motion before us today reflects those same values. The Paris agreement highlights the urgency of our environmental responsibility while pointing us toward new economic opportunities, and it speaks to the necessity of co-operation toward a common goal.
The agreement also reflects a compelling reality that while the transition to a lower carbon future might be long, the trajectory is clear, that we simply cannot continue along the present course but are at a pivotal moment, a time when the world truly begins the historic adjustment toward more renewable sources of energy.
Our government understands the imperatives of this moment. We are committed to making Canada a leader in the new clean energy economy of the future, and our actions have reflected that commitment.
We began by signing the Paris agreement. We became one of the founding members of the mission innovation agreement, the ambitious global agreement to double government investment in clean technology. We have signed a far-reaching agreement with our North American partners on climate, clean energy and the environment, and may I say with some local pride that much of that work was done in my home city of Winnipeg.
Our first budget invested $1 billion in clean energy and technology; $2 billion in a low-carbon fund to work with the provinces; more than $100 million in energy efficiency; and billions more in public transit and evergreen infrastructure, including charging stations for electric vehicles and fuelling stations for alternatively fuelled vehicles.
Now we have set a benchmark for pricing carbon pollution starting at $10 per tonne in 2018 and rising by $10 each year to $50 per tonne by 2022. This will help Canada meet its climate change targets while providing greater certainty to Canadian businesses.
Our government has been moved and inspired by the perspective of indigenous people, a perspective that reminds us of our responsibility to those who have come before and those who will follow, of our enduring relationship to the land and the water and the air. It is also a perspective that places a great deal of emphasis on relationships. As Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde has said so well, “Before you build anything, build positive, respectful relationships”.
This, too, has been reflected in how we have developed and implemented public policy. We have reached out to tap the common sense of Canadians on how best to move us along the continuum toward a lower carbon economy; and it is a continuum, because while it is exciting to think about the clean energy, low-carbon economy of the future, we are not there yet, and we will not be there for years to come.
Even in light of the Paris agreement, as the world continues to transition to renewable sources of energy, the demand for fossil fuels will continue to rise. By 2040, a growing middle class in developing regions, such as Asia, will be consuming more barrels of oil every day, and to meet that demand, the world will have to make trillions of dollars in investments.
At the same time, the percentage of natural gas in the global energy mix is likely to increase as a natural transition fuel, cleaner than coal or oil, and more accessible than many renewables. For a country like ours, which is rich in both of these resources, this has profound implications.
We could simply say that we are going to shut down the oil sands and natural gas production and let others meet this global demand, let others have the jobs and reap the benefits. This is certainly one option, or we could say, let us use this period of increasing demand to our advantage. Let us build the infrastructure to get our energy to global markets sustainably and use the revenues to fund Canada's transition to cleaner forms of energy.
In other words, let us leverage the fossil fuel resources we have today to deliver clean energy solutions for tomorrow, which is why the has said that the choice between pipelines and wind turbines is a false one. We need both.
Provinces such as Alberta are demonstrating that a forward-thinking energy-producing jurisdiction can also be a leader in combatting climate change. That is the way forward for Canada. That is our vision for the future, to use the coming decades to meet rising global demand for oil and gas while funding the next generation of renewable energy.
That is only possible if we receive full value for our resources, and that is why our government has been clear that one of our key responsibilities is to help get our resources to market in an environmentally responsible way.
The problem is that Canadians lost faith in how major resource projects were assessed. Our challenge is to restore that trust, and that is what we are working hard to achieve. We have expanded consultations to build an environmental review process that carries the confidence of Canadians. We are meaningfully engaging with indigenous communities. We will initiate a modernization of the National Energy Board. We established an interim strategy with principles to give proponents certainty and the process transparency.
Will all of these efforts lead to unanimity on any particular project? Not only do I doubt it, I know it will not.
We understand that there are strongly held views on all sides, which is why it is so important that Canadians have the opportunity to be heard. At the end of the day, Canadians will be able to say, whether they agree with the decision or not, that the process was fair, the evidence was weighed, and their voices were heard.
Today's motion is consistent with our government's long-term plan to help combat climate change, build up our clean technologies, restore Canadians' trust in how we go about evaluating major resource projects, and get our energy to global markets. It advances good-paying, clean economy jobs for Canadians, and positions us at the forefront of what is both the great challenge and opportunity of our time, the transition to a lower carbon future.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” The best time to have been serious about climate change may have been years ago, but the second-best time is now.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak in favour of the ratification of the historic Paris agreement. It is one that sets the stage for the world to come together to meet the challenges posed by climate change and displays a level of leadership on this file not seen for far too long.
As someone who has spent a good portion of his life working in the climate field and educating Canadians on the science and solutions to the climate crisis, I am proud to count myself among the members of this government who are working towards meeting this multi-generational challenge.
I am proud, because this government understands that the Paris agreement, although historic, is simply the beginning of something much larger. Indeed, it was among the first key steps in this government's plan to meet this challenge, and many steps have been taken since then by our government under the leadership of our , our , and our .
The data is in, and the facts speak for themselves. Here in Canada, we are already seeing the impacts of climate change and a changing climate. We are seeing thawing permafrost, coastal erosion, the arrival of new diseases, as well as more frequent extreme events, such as flooding, droughts, and heat waves.
Homeowners in flood-prone areas have already borne serious losses, as we have seen from events in Alberta, Toronto, and elsewhere. The 2016 parliamentary budget officer's report tells us that Canadian insurers have paid at least $1 billion per year in claims for losses resulting from weather events in the last six years alone. Seniors are also living with increased heat-advisory days. Young Canadians are experiencing increased asthma diagnoses. Canadians in general are experiencing the hardships posed by a changing climate. The examples go on and on.
The changes in climate we are seeing now are the result of past and present emissions, and are already locked in. Therefore, even if we were to cut our emissions to zero tomorrow, the climate would continue to change because of the lag between our actions and the lifespan of those emissions in the atmosphere. That is one of the main reasons why action is urgent.
Six months ago, we began, as we promised Canadians we would, by consulting them. With the momentum of the Paris climate agreement talks, our government began these consultations by meeting with provinces and territories. Together we released the Vancouver declaration and, with it, launched a national conversation about how Canada should address the climate crisis.
Our government understands the importance of meeting the international commitments that we made in Paris. We also know that leading our country through a transition to a stronger, more resilient, low-carbon economy will ultimately improve our quality of life here in Canada. As such, early on in our mandate, a concrete plan for a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change began to be developed. It is a framework that was reflected in our first budget, I might add, and one that outlines investments in green infrastructure, green jobs, science and technologies, and much more. Further, it outlined direct investments in adaptation and mitigation, and this latter point is especially important, particularly for those communities most at risk in the northern regions of our country.
While strong mitigation actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can help us avoid unmanageable situations in the future, strong adaptation measures will ensure that we manage the unavoidable impacts we are currently facing and will continue to face moving forward. Adaptation and mitigation are not either-or choices. Both are equally important and demand action.
There is already considerable work under way all across the country to adapt to the changing climate. In budget 2016, our government committed $129 million to build the science base to inform decision-making to protect the health and well-being of Canadians, to build resilience in the north and in our indigenous communities, and to ensure and enhance the competitiveness of key economic sectors. We have also made significant commitments to renewing Canada's infrastructure and protecting Canada's communities from the impacts of climate change.
Adaptation is not just about newer, bigger, or stronger physical infrastructure. It is also about how we as Canadians live resilient lives and live in resilient communities. It is the decisions we make about where and how we live, how we run our businesses, and how we support our neighbours. It is also about relationships with indigenous peoples. Indigenous communities have strongly expressed to us that climate change threatens their very physical, cultural, and social well-being, and even survival.
It is clear that climate change impacts touch every region and sector of our country, including the north. Our government is working alongside Inuit governments, the United States, Sweden, and Finland to finalize a governance model focusing on the resilience of the Arctic states, indigenous peoples and communities, and the ecosystems on which they depend.
The federal government is once again a partner. We are working with all orders of government, including indigenous peoples, the private and not-profit sectors, and academia, strengthening our ability to make prudent decisions because our government recognizes that by mobilizing other governments, stakeholders, and Canadians to tackle this challenge, we are protecting our people, our communities, our assets, our economy, and our environment from the inevitable impacts otherwise.
Indeed, our government also recognizes that adapting to climate change comes with a host of other significant benefits, including things like cleaner air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, enhanced biodiversity, more vibrant public spaces, and a strengthened social fabric. Our government is committed to working with all Canadians to make Canada stronger, more resilient, and more prosperous. In addition to these historic steps that we have already taken, the latest step of putting a price on carbon is crucial and one that would help Canada meet its commitments outlined in the Paris agreement.
That will help our government 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.
A floor price on carbon, such as the one that was announced, will help Canada reach its targets for greenhouse gas emissions while providing businesses with greater stability and improved predictability. After decades of inaction, after years of missed opportunities, we will finally take the measures necessary to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren.
We are focused on real, concrete, and sustainable measures to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and grow our economy. Our approach will ensure that all Canadian jurisdictions put a price on carbon pollution by 2018.
Eighty percent of Canadians already live in a jurisdiction where there is a price on carbon. However, other measures are necessary. It is important to put a price on carbon across the country. Every province and territory will have the opportunity to decide how to implement carbon pricing, whether it be by putting a direct price on carbon pollution or adopting a cap-and-trade system.
Setting a price for carbon pollution will give Canada a significant advantage while we build a clean-growth economy and it will help our businesses to become more innovative and competitive.
Canadians know that putting a price on pollution will promote innovation and the creation of new, stimulating employment opportunities for Canada's middle class. The people of my riding of and Canadians across the country know that reducing our greenhouse gas emissions will make our economy more competitive and help grow it in a sustainable way.
Let us just take a moment to ask and even answer some of the key questions that may be posed regarding the ratification of the Paris agreement and our plan to meet the challenges of climate change and our commitments set forth in the Paris agreement. In the process, it may allow me to debunk some of the assertions that have been put forth by some hon. members of Her Majesty's loyal opposition.
First, would this plan take the money out of provinces? The answer is no. No matter how hard the opposition members try to say otherwise, the money and all revenues received from the price on carbon would be given back to each province, and the provinces would decide how these funds should be spent.
Second, would this help us reach our GHG reduction goals? The answer simply put is yes. Pricing pollution is one of the most efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reach our objective to protect the environment and create a clean-growth economy.
Third, would ratification of the agreement and our plan to meet our obligations under it create opportunities for Canadians? The answer is yes. Through market incentives created by putting a price on carbon, our investments in green infrastructure, public transportation, and science and technologies will help us realize new and exciting job prospects for well-paying jobs and grow the economy and help the middle class and those working hard to join it.
In conclusion, I just want to add the following. In addition to the economic opportunities and health and security benefits just presented, this is simply what we as members of Parliament have been called here to do. Canadians have been calling for action on climate. The majority of Canadians support putting a price on carbon. They understand that the implications of inaction far outweigh the implications of action—