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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 037

CONTENTS

Thursday, November 26, 2020




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 037
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Criminal Code

     (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the House

Citizenship and Immigration 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first and second reports of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.
    The committee has considered the main estimates, 2020-21, and reports the same. It has also considered the supplementary estimates (B), 2020-21, and reports the same.

Income Tax Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I stand today proud to table my very first private member's bill. The bill would help charities across Canada access up to $200 million a year in additional donations.
    Throughout the pandemic, charities have continued to step up and provide much-needed services to those in need, including food banks and homeless shelters. However, right now across Canada, donations are down and Canadian charities are struggling to raise much-needed funds during this pandemic.
    The bill would help charities by waiving the capital gains tax on an arm's-length sale of private shares or real estate when the proceeds of that sale are donated to a charity. This change would allow these kinds of donations to receive tax treatment similar to what public shares currently receive when donated to a charity. This common-sense and much-needed legislation would help struggling charities and give Canadians greater opportunities to give back.
    I hope all members in the House will support this timely and important bill.

     (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Petitions

Trans Mountain Pipeline  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise virtually to present a petition that comes from a number of my constituents. It relates to the Trans Mountain pipeline. The petitioners point out that billions of dollars more will need to be spent to complete building this pipeline, which increasingly does not even have an economic case.
    The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to abide by the commitment to stop subsidizing fossil fuels, halt construction immediately and not spend any further public funds on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

  (1010)  

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition on an issue that is close to the heart of the constituents of my riding of Davenport.
    Today I am tabling e-petition 2616. This petition was started by a passionate environmentalist, Domenica Tambasco, who is also a physician and who turns out to be someone I went to high school with. She very much recognizes the direct links between the health of Canada's population and the health of Canada's environment, two things that we know are inextricably linked.
    This petition calls on the Government of Canada to introduce legislation to enshrine an environmental bill of rights and responsibilities into Canadian law, recognizing the vital role of the environment as a determinant of health.
    I want to thank Domenica for her advocacy, and I hereby table her petition in this chamber on her behalf.

Herring Fishery  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to table a petition today on behalf of residents from Denman Island and Hornby Island in the Salish Sea. It is timely, especially since a new report cites that only 26% of Canada's wild fish population can be considered healthy, which is down a full 8% since 2017.
    The petitioners note the announcement by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that the Pacific herring population dropped by approximately a third from 2016 to 2019. The forecast for 2020 is 58,000 tonnes, down from 129,000 tonnes in 2016. Herring is the basis of the food web that supports wild Pacific salmon, killer whales, humpback whales, cod, halibut, seabirds and other independent species.
    The petitioners call upon on the government to suspend the 2020 Salish Sea herring fishery until a whole-of-ecosystem plan is developed to fairly compensate local fishers for economic losses and ensure that decisions are made with full participation of first nations and local communities.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition in support of Bill S-204, a bill that seeks to combat forced organ harvesting and trafficking.
    The bill would make it a criminal offence for a Canadian to go abroad to receive an organ that had been harvested from an unwilling person. It would also amend immigration law to create a mechanism by which someone could be deemed inadmissible to Canada if that person had been involved in organ harvesting and trafficking.
     A bill like this almost passed in the last Parliament, but we ran out of time at the end. The petitioners are hoping that this Parliament will be the one that finally gets the job done.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if a revised response to Question No. 97, originally tabled on November 16, 2020, could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 97--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
    With regard to flights on government aircraft for personal and non-governmental business by the Prime Minister and his family, and by ministers and their families, since January 1, 2016: (a) what are the details of all such flights, including the (i) date, (ii) origin, (iii) destination, (iv) names of passengers, excluding security detail; and (b) for each flight, what was the total amount reimbursed to the government by each passenger?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

Questions on the Order Paper

    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Privilege

Order Paper Question No. 97—Response by Minister  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to address the tabling of the revised response to Order Paper Question No. 97.
    With the encouragement of my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, my department has reviewed the original response to see if a correction was warranted. The original response was subject to administrative errors, which have now been corrected in the revised response that was just tabled. I would like to give the House a brief explanation as to how this occurred.
    The information requested is not centrally tracked by my department. An attempt was made to verify the accuracy of the information in the allotted time, but it required a cross-government document search and manual record collection. As a result, in the process of addressing the inaccuracies in the original response to Question No. 97, a manual search was undertaken to verify and confirm the information that is contained in the revised response that has now been tabled.
    I wish to apologize to the member for Peace River—Westlock for any inconvenience in receiving the information requested. I can assure members of the House that this was an honest administrative oversight that has now been corrected with the revised response. I have asked my officials to review how flight information is collected and released to ensure a better record-management system going forward.
    I want to make a brief statement in relation to the question of privilege raised by the member for Peace River—Westlock on November 18, 2020.
    In similar situations where members have raised complaints about responses to written questions, my predecessors have maintained that these cases are more a matter of debate. In my own recent ruling of October 1, 2020, I reiterated that the Speaker is not empowered to rule on the content of the government's response to written questions.

  (1015)  

[Translation]

    That being said, the Chair recognizes that it is important that members have complete and accurate information so that they can perform their duties and represent their constituents, which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader acknowledged in his speech on Tuesday.

[English]

    To that end, the Chair notes that a revised response to Question No. 97 has just been tabled, and in light of the subsequent comments by the minister, I consider the matter closed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

    The House resumed from November 25 consideration of the motion that Bill C-12, an act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to speak in support of Bill C-12, which was presented in the House yesterday. I am very much in support of our government's commitment to making Canada a net-zero nation by 2050, because the urgency to act on the global climate crisis is real and the challenge of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is also an opportunity to build back our economy more competitively, more sustainably and more inclusively. Attracting investments and creating jobs will benefit all Canadians.
    While the global pandemic has turned much of our world upside down, it has not changed our resolve to build a clean energy future and to make sure we are putting people at the heart of this transition. This is what I would like to focus on with my time today. Before I do that, I also want to say I will be sharing my time with the member for Sherbrooke. I look forward to hearing her comments.
    Climate change may be measured in tonnes of greenhouse gases emitted or saved, but it is lived by families and communities. A just transition is where the importance of climate change and government policy positively intersects with the lives and livelihoods of all Canadians.
    That is particularly true for those who have been especially hard hit by COVID-19 and the recession: women, youth, indigenous communities, immigrants, racialized people, people with disabilities, rural communities and northern communities, where I live. It is also true for so many workers and communities that are directly affected by the rapid transformation of the global energy sector, which is why creating good, well-paying jobs in the low-carbon economy is essential.
    It is essential that we build a sustainable and prosperous future for Canada and all Canadians. How do we that? This is the question that lingers in the minds of many who support the initiatives we have introduced around climate change. How can we do more? How do we play a larger role?
    A key starting place is to ensure workers have the right skills to succeed in the clean growth economy. As most know, I am a huge supporter of alternate energy development, but I am also a big supporter of the resource development sector in Canada, especially the mining industry. I know many of these companies are working hard to invest properly to ensure they have a clean growth economy. They are looking at alternatives for fuelling and powering their operations and reducing their carbon footprints.
    For example, we are working with communities and workers who have been affected by the phasing out of coal-fired electricity, with meaningful action to diversify their economies and create new jobs. One way we are doing this is with $185 million in new federal funding to support coal-dependent communities, including $35 million for skills development and economic diversification.
    Our government not only set targets and adapted a vigorous agenda around clean energy and climate change, but it is making the investments available so people, communities and companies can move forward in Canada to ensure that these happen.
    The remainder of some $150 million within the Government of Canada is now earmarked for new infrastructure projects, and so far this year we have invested more than $22 million in 36 projects across Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This funding has supported economic diversification initiatives in Leduc and Hanna, Alberta; a solar installation training program at Southeast College in Estevan, Saskatchewan; and similar projects in Atlantic Canada.

  (1020)  

     Right here in my hometown of Mary's Harbour, we are developing alternate energy to support and reduce the use of diesel generation in rural communities like the one I live in. This year, with a partnership from the federal government, we are the first remote community in Labrador to be able to combine hydro power and solar power to supplement, and reduce our dependency on, diesel and reduce our carbon footprint.
    We are looking forward to doing projects like this in all communities that have become entirely dependent on diesel and move them off diesel dependency. This would include projects like the Glencore smelter and the Trevali closure diversification initiative in northern New Brunswick. We helped Ignite Labs in Nova Scotia, and we also announced that we were moving forward with the Atlantic loop. The Atlantic loop will connect surplus clean power to regions that are moving away from coal. It is a classic win-win that makes electricity more affordable as we create new jobs for workers and their communities.
    I live in a region in Labrador that is one of the largest generators of hydro power. The Atlantic loop provides an opportunity for us to continue to fuel the economy with clean energy through massive development projects, such as those at Gull Island.
    We are looking forward to the opportunities this provides, not just for Newfoundland and Labrador and Atlantic Canada, but for all Canadians. We see it as a real win-win situation and are happy that the Government of Canada, our government, is moving forward with the Atlantic loop.
    That is just one example of how we are putting people at the heart of this energy transition. [Technical difficulty—Editor]

  (1025)  

     Unfortunately, the hon. member's time is up. I know there have been some technical issues, but there is time for questions and comments and I am sure she will be able to add anything during that time.
    The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I hesitated to interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary, but I think her speech demonstrated the lack of good Internet in her community. There were many gaps. I would ask if the clerks at the table would consider allowing her to provide her full remarks so the gaps could be replaced in the Hansard, because we missed quite a lot of what she had to say.
    I thank the hon. member. I do not think there would be any opposition to the parliamentary secretary tabling her speech so it can be included in the Hansard.
    Is it agreed the hon. member can table her speech so it can be properly reflected in the Hansard?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    [Accordingly, the balance of the speech as tabled is as follows]
    Energy efficiency is another example. By working with Canadians to retrofit their homes with better windows, appliances and insulation, and with smarter grids and building codes, they are seeing the benefits of the energy transition in their own homes. The benefits include lower monthly utility bills and more comfortable homes, all while creating thousands of good jobs and dramatically reducing our emissions.
    Here is a theme I keep coming back to: creating good, green jobs as we drive environmental performance. That has been central to our government’s economic response to COVID-19, including more than $1.7 billion to help clean up orphan and inactive oil and gas wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. This investment is helping as many as 10,000 hard-working Canadians to find ways to put their skills to use, while demonstrating Canadian leadership on climate change and environmental stewardship.
    For the same reason, we have announced a new $750-million emissions reduction fund, $320 million to assist the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore industry and $100 million for the Clean Resource Innovation Network. This funding will help make Canada’s oil and gas sector the cleanest in the world, so that good energy jobs are also green energy jobs and so that our move toward a net-zero economy leaves no one behind.
    We recognize the vital role that Canada’s petroleum sector plays here at home and around the world. We are investing in these communities to help them achieve their net-zero targets while ensuring their long-term success. We also recognize the need to nurture talent in the oil and gas sector. We are working with industry, provinces and territories to transform this key pillar of Canada’s economy. Further, we are making other generational investments to bring together economic growth and environmental protection. This includes new funding for smart grids, carbon capture and storage, and the next wave of batteries, made right here in Canada.
    We are creating good jobs in wind and solar energy, and emerging sources of clean energy such as tidal and geothermal. We have put together a made-in-Canada action plan for small modular reactors and a strategy for Canada to become a global leader in the clean production of hydrogen. We will drive the clean growth economy by making zero-emissions vehicles more affordable and investing in more charging stations across the country.
    We are setting a clear course for our net-zero future that enlists all Canadians. We have been incorporating indigenous knowledge and engaging meaningfully on how we review major energy projects, as well as supporting indigenous participation in and ownership of these projects. This fair and just transition will be smart and inclusive.
    Our recent Speech from the Throne doubled down on our promise to exceed our Paris commitments by the end of this decade and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It also launched our campaign to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels and higher. We are ensuring Canadians have good jobs they can rely on, particularly those hit hardest by the global pandemic. We are making direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, providing immediate training to quickly skill up workers and offering incentives for employers to hire and retain workers.
    We are aware that to be successful, our climate plan must put all Canadians, and all communities, at the heart of our efforts. Indeed the Throne Speech was clear on this. It stated:
    Canada cannot reach net zero without the know-how of the energy sector, and the innovative ideas of all Canadians, including people in places like British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
    This pledge to empower all Canadians includes getting more women working as employees and executives in the energy sector. We simply cannot afford to leave half of our workforce on the sidelines as we embrace a future built on innovation, ingenuity and imagination. Studies show that energy companies that have diverse leadership are more innovative and profitable. We can and should do better. We are taking action to advance gender equality through the Equal by 30 campaign. We are promoting women in the energy sector at various international bodies such as the G7, the Clean Energy Ministerial and elsewhere, not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is the smart thing to do. It is just good business. To date, more than 150 companies, governments and organizations have signed on to the Equal by 30 campaign. They are making important commitments towards equal pay, equal opportunities and equal leadership for women.
    While we are proud of our record of engaging and including Canadians in this fundamental transformation of our energy systems, we know that there is still more to do. We are prepared to do the heavy lifting to achieve net-zero emissions, grow our national economy and realize a clean energy future that leaves no one behind. Canadians ask no more and they deserve no less.
     Questions and comments, the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to get a few comments from the parliamentary secretary on pricing. This government appears to be making affordable energy seem costly, and thereby give the illusion that its policy is somehow affordable.
    Let us talk about the Atlantic loop. We all know the hydro coming online in Labrador is going to be very expensive compared with the alternatives. The government has proposed sharing that very expensive power with the rest of Atlantic Canada.
    Could the member talk about her government's plan to ensure ratepayers throughout Atlantic Canada, and in my home province of New Brunswick in particular, do not get socked with high prices because of the government's policy and being forced to buy power through the Atlantic loop?
    Madam Speaker, substituting power under the Atlantic loop does not necessarily mean using power that is already available through Muskrat Falls, which he quotes as higher-priced power. It includes the opportunity to develop additional power sources, whether in Labrador, other parts of Atlantic Canada or central Canada. Those are the things that will be considered. The Atlantic loop is about replacing [Technical difficulty—Editor] affordability of that power to citizens.

  (1030)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the government representative a question about the targets, which are not included in Bill C-12.
    Immediately following the Paris Agreement in 2016, the first ministers met and issued what is known as the Vancouver declaration on clean growth and climate change, which states, and I quote:
    First Ministers commit to:
    Implement GHG mitigation policies in support of meeting or exceeding Canada's 2030 target of a 30% reduction below 2005 levels of emissions, including specific provincial and territorial targets and objectives;
    Why is there nothing in the bill about specific targets and objectives?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I got most of my colleague's question. I apologize if I miss the mark here, because it did cut in and out.
    I think as a government we have demonstrated we are prepared to do the heavy lifting to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030. We have launched a campaign to do so. To date, we have already had more than 150 companies [Technical difficulty—Editor]. We will continue to improve on those as we go.
    I will go to the next question and comment, and then I will make statement. The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased that we are discussing moving towards a massive reduction of carbon emissions. It is necessary.
    My concern is that I have been in the House since the days when Stéphane Dion was telling us about the great plan for Kyoto. Year in and year out, emissions rose under Stephen Harper and under the Liberal government.
    When I see the Prime Minister reach out to Joe Biden and say that he is promoting Keystone XL, I ask myself how serious the government is if it is promoting a dead-dog project like Keystone XL that is going to massively increase our greenhouse gas emissions and sending the message to the Americans that we are not serious.
    When is the government going to get serious on moving off the oil sands and moving to a clear, credible transition?
    Madam Speaker, I must apologize. I actually actually lost the whole system during the middle of the member's question. I sincerely apologize.
     I would say to him that I know this is an issue that he is very concerned about, around climate change. We would certainly expect the member's support on this bill, as he has championed many of the things included in this bill in the past.
    Again, I apologize, and I appreciate the intervention by the Leader of the Green Party, in supporting me in improving my Internet access here in Labrador. We are well on the road to trying to do that, but as members know, it is a long—
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Since the member did not hear my question, I think it would only be fair that I get a chance to repeat the question. That way, we would get it very clearly on the record, the lack of action from the Liberal government on Keystone XL.
    That is not a point of order. It is actually a point of debate.
    Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

[Translation]

    With the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act, the government is introducing a bill that will help fight the extreme risks associated with climate change.
    The science is clear. Human activity is causing unprecedented changes in the Earth's climate. Climate change poses serious threats to the health and safety of humans, to the environment, including biodiversity, and to economic growth.
    Canada's climate is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet's. In our northern regions, it is warming three times faster. We can see the effects of that warming in many parts of Canada, and they will only intensify over time.
    These changes have many consequences. For example, scientists expect higher average precipitation in most of Canada. The availability of fresh water is changing, and the likelihood of water shortages in the summer is growing. A warmer climate will intensify some extreme weather conditions, such as heat waves and floods.
     Canadians are already feeling the effects of climate change and extreme weather events, including the increasing intensity and frequency of flooding, storms, fires, coastal erosion, extreme heat events, melting permafrost and rising sea levels.
    These effects pose a significant risk to the safety, health and well-being of all Canadians, our communities, our economy and our natural environment. It is important to ensure that Canadians are protected against the risks associated with climate change.
    Reaching net zero by 2050 is vitally important to mitigating the risks of climate change, not only for Canada but on a global scale. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that meeting that target is essential if we want to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reduce the risks associated with climate change.
    Limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C is especially important because it will have a considerable impact on the effects of climate change on all fronts, compared to a potential global temperature increase of 2°C.
    Limiting warming to 1.5°C would give us additional options to adapt to the effects of climate change. When Canada ratified the Paris Agreement, it committed to setting and communicating its ambitious national objectives and undertaking ambitious national measures to mitigate climate change in order to meet them.
    I would like to remind members that the Paris Agreement seeks to strengthen efforts to hold the increase in the average global temperature to well below 2°C and, if possible, to limit it to 1.5°C. Currently, Canada's nationally determined contribution, communicated in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is its target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The government is determined to meet this target, and even exceed it.
    The government has also committed to developing a plan to set Canada on a path to achieve a prosperous net-zero-emissions future by 2050, supported by public participation, including provincial and territorial governments as well as expert advice. Canadians know full well that climate change threatens their health, their way of life and the planet. They want climate action now, and that is what the government will continue to do by immediately introducing a plan that will enable Canada to exceed its 2030 climate targets and legislation that will aim for net-zero emissions by 2050.
    Before the government can reach its net-zero targets, it must first engage in a process that takes into account the considerations of the populations most affected by climate change. Although Canada's indigenous peoples and northern communities are exceptionally resilient, they are also particularly vulnerable because of such factors as their remoteness and inaccessibility, the cold climate, aging and ineffective infrastructure, and reliance on diesel-based systems to generate electricity and heat homes.

  (1035)  

    That is why the government is determined to move forward with the approach based on the recognition of rights reflected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In fact, the government will introduce a bill to implement the declaration by the end of the year.
    The government is also commited to strengthening its collaboration with Canada's indigenous peoples when it comes to climate mitigation measures. This commitment builds on existing initiatives. The government is contributing financially and collaborating on first nations, Métis and Inuit projects to monitor climate change in indigenous communities, build resilient infrastructure, prepare and implement climate change adaptation strategic plans or even develop green energy options that will help reduce dependence on diesel.
    The plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 would also contribute to making the Canadian economy more resilient, more inclusive and more competitive. With a view to creating a stronger and resilient Canada in the wake of this pandemic, climate action will be the cornerstone of our plan to support and create one million jobs across the country.
    Regardless of the global challenges associated with the current pandemic, climate change continues to worsen, and there is little doubt that 2020 will be one of the warmest years on record.
    It is important to recognize that climate change is a global problem that requires an immediate response from all governments in Canada, as well as from industry, non-governmental organizations and Canadians.
    However, the government recognizes the important collective and individual efforts that have already been made and wants to support this momentum to mitigate climate change. For example, as of 2024, the Société de transport de Sherbrooke will be using new electric buses with a view to completely replacing its bus fleet to make it green. I congratulate the municipal council and Marc Denault, chair of the STS board of directors, for this initiative.
    I also want to mention the important work of the Conseil régional de l'environnement de l'Estrie and of Jacinthe Caron, whom I have met several times. They are behind several green projects including the Embarque Estrie platform, which identifies public and active transportation options in the region on a web map. This type of initiative shows that it is possible to make a collective contribution to climate change mitigation and to work together.
    Furthermore, not too long ago, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change jointly announced a $100-million investment in the clean resource innovation network to support research and development projects that advance the environmental and economic performance of the oil and gas sector.
    Working across government will be an important part of our efforts to mitigate climate change. That is why the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act provides for consultations with federal ministers having duties and functions relating to the measures that may be taken to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction targets.
    The Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act will further our efforts to mitigate climate change by setting national climate change mitigation targets based on the best available science and by promoting transparency and accountability in relation to achieving those targets. Concretely, this bill will create a legally binding process to set and achieve climate targets, and require assessment reports, climate plans and examinations by the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development.
    This bill will help Canada achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and meet our international climate change mitigation commitments.

  (1040)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, listening to both the hon. member's speech and the speeches of some of her colleagues, the way they talk about our energy industry is troubling. I am proud to represent a region of this country that has world-class energy producers. Those hard-working women and men have contributed greatly to Canada's economy. They have world-class environmental protections and the most ethically produced energy in the world, so I take issue with the fact that the government continues to attack Canadian energy, oil and gas.
    My question is simple. Does the member acknowledge that Canada already has the most ethically and environmentally produced energy in the world?

  (1045)  

    Madam Speaker, I respect my colleague's concern.

[Translation]

    As we have said from the beginning, we cannot achieve net-zero emissions without the energy sector's ingenuity and know-how. A number of Canadian oil and gas companies have already committed to net-zero emissions, and they are innovating to meet that challenge.
    Canadians, industry, international markets and oil and gas companies know that achieving net-zero emissions is good for our economy and our environment, and we are taking action to get there.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    I am sure she is committed to fighting climate change, but I have my doubts about her government, just as I did during last night's emergency debate on the French language, which I watched. There were a lot of good intentions and fine words. The government says that it is going to take action and that it is going to do this or that, but nothing much actually gets done.
    One of the key promises the Liberal government made a year ago was to plant two billion trees. We saw the Prime Minister taking selfies with Greta Thunberg and that sort of thing. Things were really going to get moving. Two billion trees is a lot, but I would imagine that a lot of trees can be planted in a year.
    My question is simple. Since the Liberal Party was elected, how many trees have been planted in Canada, and how many of those were planted in Quebec?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    For years now, ever since 2015, our government has been taking concrete action to protect the environment. Some of those measures include eliminating single-use plastics, buying hybrid buses, which I talked about in my speech, installing more charging stations, increasing protected areas from 13% to 25%, making significant investments in green infrastructure and introducing measures to encourage businesses to invest in clean energy.
    Those are all concrete actions our government has taken over the past few years, and that is what we will continue to do.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, climate change is the number one issue for people across this planet. The people of my riding, especially indigenous and young people, were expecting the government to take real action in this bill. The government does not even have a milestone target for 2025. They have nothing, so there will be no accountability, or even a progress report, until 2028. The environmental commissioner currently does not have enough resources to do the regular work and is not truly independent.
    Does the member agree that the environmental commissioner should be an independent officer, like the official languages commissioner?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    It is true that there is no 2025 target, but the Paris Agreement is structured around 2030, as are provincial plans, including British Columbia's and Quebec's, and the whole world's plans.
    Bill C-12 provides for greater accountability and transparency by introducing an obligation to set a target and develop an emissions reduction plan, both of which must be tabled in Parliament within six months of the act coming into force. There are also legally binding procedures that require the current government and future governments to set national climate targets.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to participate in the debate on Bill C-12, a bill that does absolutely nothing for the environment. By way of analogy, I want to explain a little about what the bill actually does and what it does not do.
    In 2015, Stephen Harper passed balanced budget legislation as part of the budget. The idea was that he would put in place a law that would require the government to, in most situations, run a balanced budget. That was a good idea and one that was advanced by many fiscal Conservatives who believed on principle that if there were a law in place requiring governments to run balanced budgets, they would be much more likely to balance budgets going forward.
    The problem was that in 2016 the Liberals came in. Every time a budget is passed, a new law is also passed. Therefore, what did they do? They repealed the balanced budget law.
    In my province of Alberta we had a balanced budget law in place that was actually repealed by another premier of that same political stripe. The idea is certainly desirable, that we might have legislation in place that would bind the actions of future governments. It might have some rhetorical impact, but it only goes so far, insofar as a subsequent government, or maybe even a subsequent group of people from the same party, could repeal or slightly amend the legislation in order to allow them to continue on the course they are on.
    The parliamentary secretary is reminding me that I am splitting my time with member for Edmonton Riverbend. I want to thank the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader for being so helpful all the time. I look forward to further feedback from him as we go.
    It was at least credible as an exercise for a government that was already running a balanced budget to put in place balanced budget legislation. Imagine how absurd it would be if today we had a government that was not running a balanced budget and had no intention of running a balanced budget, putting in place legislation to require a government in 2040 to run a balanced budget.
    That would be a little silly. It would demonstrably be an excuse for not having a plan. It would putting in place legislation to bind a future government to have a plan that it does not currently have, recognizing full well that the future government could repeal the law that required it to have a plan, or at least extend it.
    This brings me then to Bill C-12, a bill that does not present a plan for action for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is simply a framework by which the government would put in place a plan that it would be expected to follow by achieving certain targets at certain distant points in the future.
    I have no problem supporting a bill that calls on government to act, to put in place targets and act on those targets in response to future events as we move forward. However, it should not escape members of the House that we have yet another case in another important policy area where, instead of putting forward an action plan, the government is choosing symbolism. It is choosing statement over substance.
    The Liberal government has been in place for five years and we still do not have anything like a serious environmental plan. Instead, what we see from the government are warm words, attempts to demonstrate its feeling and solidarity and aspirations for distant dates. What frustrates me about the issue of the environment is that we have serious challenges in terms of our environment. They require a serious response, a response that understands the opportunities and the trade-offs, and that makes choices today about how we move forward toward the realization of targets that have been put in place.
    Imposing new taxes is not going to cut it. That is the Liberals' approach. When they are talking about action, they are talking about putting in place new taxes. The new taxes on Canadian industry and Canadian activity only is simply going to chase jobs and opportunity beyond our borders. If the Liberals succeed, as it seems they are intent on doing, in shutting down our energy sector, those investments will still happen. Global demand for energy is going up. People need energy.

  (1050)  

     The question is not if can we shut off our use of energy. The question is if we can find ways of producing energy and delivering energy that are more efficient and more effective. Can we provide that quality of life to people around the world who require an increase in the use of energy, but do it in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
    If we recognize that the problem is not going to be solved by reducing the use of energy, and that it is only going to be solved, generally speaking, by increasing the efficiency of energy production, that should push us not only to lead in the production of energy that is clean, efficient and effective, but also to lead in a way that recognizes the existing technology.
    It is great to talk about wind, solar and other alternative sources of energy, but we have to recognize as well where the existing technology is today and how we can make concrete, meaningful improvements to the use of existing technology that providing energy to people right now to meet their energy needs.
    That is why I believe that a real environmental plan should be pro-Canadian and pro-Canadian energy. We should encourage the development of Canadian energy, and we should also encourage our energy sector to continue on the road they are on, in terms of improving efficiency, improving effectiveness and delivering more energy to more people in an efficient way.
    We have colleagues in this House from all other parties who, frankly, attack the development of pipelines, who attack efforts to find new markets for Canadian energy. We know, by and large, that the issue for them is not really about the transportation. It is generally about wanting to shut down the production of that energy, but they do not think about what will replace Canadian energy if we shut it down. It is going to be energy from other countries.
    A member from the NDP was just attacking the Keystone XL project. We have had other members attack other projects in this place. It was the Liberal government that imposed arbitrary regulations, which killed the Energy East pipeline project. We have politicians from all parties, aside from the Conservatives, who are attacking energy projects, but they do not think about what the alternative would be. Should the United States be importing more energy resources from Venezuela, which has lower environmental standards and lower labour standards?

  (1055)  

[Translation]

    Should Quebec be importing more oil from Saudi Arabia?

[English]

    Should we be taking more energy resources from outside of Canada? I would like Alberta to be able to supply Quebec with more of its energy. Of course, the Bloc is not going to like that, because it would be great for national unity if Alberta energy were fuelling Quebec's energy needs.
    The fact is, though, that more Canadian energy, cleaner Canadian energy with continually improving innovation and standards, would be good for the environment, not bad for the environment. It would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
    We can do even better than that. We can make Canada a super power in terms of the development of clean energy technology. We can incentivize the development of new technology and then export that technology around the world. We can meet our environmental obligations by helping developing countries access the technology that we have here, helping them access it to address environmental challenges that are both local to those places, but also global.
    This is our contribution. This would be a great vision for environmental improvement and economic development, not to shut down our energy sector, but to mobilize and unleash our energy sector as an engine for technological development that can actually respond to the challenges of climate change and other environmental challenges that we see around the world. That is the real vision for the environment and the economy that has been lacking from this government. It would prefer to send signals and demonstrate its interest, without actually taking action.
    Can we achieve the targets in Bill C-12? Can we get to net zero by 2050? I believe we can, but we will only get there, not by putting in place legislation that merely sets out targets, but by supporting and unleashing the development of our energy sector as a clean energy hub for the world. That is what we need from the government.
    We need a government that truly understands the importance of addressing our environmental challenges and supporting our workers through pro-Canadian energy approach. That is not what we have from the government. That is what we need going forward.
    Madam Speaker, the member said we have no plan. I would like to ask the member this. If he and his party are going to try to make the case during this debate that we have no plan, why have they spent so much energy, effort and passion contradicting, voting against and denying the many items in our plan that are now reducing greenhouse gases?

  (1100)  

    Madam Speaker, there is no plan. All the government talks about is using the environmental challenges we face as an excuse to raise taxes and shut down Canadian energy. Of course, Conservatives are opposed to those things, not only because they are bad for our economy but because they do not help us achieve our environmental objectives.
    I will remind the member that Stephen Harper was the first and I believe the only prime minister in history to put in place a plan that reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Some members would like us to have done more and to do more going forward, but I will take that record against Liberal increases in greenhouse gas emissions any day of the week.
    Liberals do not understand that the solution is not shutting down Canadian energy and higher taxes. It is, rather, unleashing our economy to pursue that potential that is going to allow us, together, to respond to these environmental challenges.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    Since he loves talking about Alberta and the oil industry so much, I have a question for him about that. CBC reported recently that thousands of jobs were lost in Alberta because oil prices fell by about 30% in March. With that in mind, I would like to know whether he still thinks it is a promising industry that will help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero one day.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to ask him why he and his party refuse to support energy transition measures by investing in green technologies that could help create green jobs in his province and for his constituents. When I say “green technologies”, I am not talking about oil. In fact, if I may comment briefly on the Keystone XL pipeline, I would remind him that even the Americans do not want it. President-elect Joe Biden has been quite clear on that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is an important question to respond to: What is the future potential of the energy sector in Canada? It is important for the member to know that while there is an economic impact, no doubt, of fluctuations in the oil price, investors understand that oil prices go up and oil prices go down and investments are significantly informed by an assessment of the long-term confidence they can have in that market. That is why, even when oil prices have been low, we have seen significant investments made in the energy sector in other jurisdictions.
    We have a particular challenge here in Canada and that has to do with market access. It has to do with the fact that there are great energy projects that make it most of the way through the process, but then Liberal MPs publicly lobby cabinet to kill those projects and they are not able to proceed.
    We have a challenge in Canada facing the energy sector, but it is not a problem of price because the price is always fluctuating and decisions are made on long-term horizons. The problem we have is politics. I have been told by ambassadors that Canada is seen as a country with political risk when it comes to investment in the sector. It is not a technical problem. It is a political problem.
    Madam Speaker, the member and his Conservative colleagues have said they are worried about how much getting to net zero will cost, but the costs of meeting our targets and stopping dangerous climate change are so much lower than the costs of missing these targets. In fact, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy has projected that by 2050 and in the years leading up to 2050, it will cost between $21 billion and $43 billion a year. Wildfires, flooding and extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and intensity, and people are worried about their kids and their future but also about the present impacts of climate change.
    Does the member agree that the climate crisis poses a serious threat to our environment, our health and our economy?
    Madam Speaker, it is very important to be clear about the areas on which we agree and the areas on which we disagree. Conservatives agree that we should work toward that 2050 net-zero target, but the difference between our parties is that New Democrats seem to believe that the way to get there is to shut down highly productive parts of our economy and simply allow that energy to be produced in less clean, less effective ways in other parts of the world.
    Conservatives do not believe that we should get to net zero by shutting down our economy. We believe we should work toward that goal by technological improvement through things like carbon capture and storage and green technologies that can work within and in concert with our energy sector to address the challenges we face, while providing people all over the world with the energy that they vitally need.

  (1105)  

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to join members from beautiful Edmonton Riverbend, albeit it is a little snowy here today.
     I am pleased to participate in the debate to speak to Bill C-12. I want to start specifically by addressing how bills like this impact my home province of Alberta.
    Most Canadians are aware of how tough the times have been here in Alberta over the past several years. Thousands upon thousands of jobs have been lost in the energy sector and my city of Edmonton has an unemployment rate of over 12%. Calgary is about the same. These two cities already had some of the highest unemployment rates in the country before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has made the situation even worse. Unfortunately, many businesses will not reopen and many Albertans will have no jobs to return to after the pandemic is over.
    Why have times been so tough for Alberta? Federal government legislation that appeared designed to decimate the energy industry and rapidly deplete the oil and gas industry has been introduced. Bill C-69 overhauled federal environmental assessment processes for construction projects, effectively deterring investment in Alberta. Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports in northern B.C., making it impossible to export Alberta oil to new markets. On top of all that, we suffered through a regulatory attack like no other from the Notley NDP government, which really set us back decades. Just as all this was occurring, the government announced a new clean fuel standard, which is yet another blow to Alberta.
     Honestly, it will be impossible for Alberta to fully recover, with yet more regulation that makes our province unattractive to investors. Our leading-edge energy industry will not be competitive against other countries if we have so many regulations tacked on by the federal government.
    To help counteract this attack, the Alberta government just launched a natural gas strategy that would see the province become a leader in hydrogen production and liquefied natural gas for export. Natural gas will be regulated under the clean fuel standard. No other jurisdiction in the world is applying this type of standard to liquefied natural gas. However, the clean fuel standard will once again exacerbate the economic depression, as reported by Canadians for Affordable Energy, which estimates this standard will cause 30,000 job losses nationally and at least $20 billion of capital will leave Canada. Alberta will disproportionately experience this loss, but all Canada will be impacted.
    I agree with my colleagues across the aisle that it is well intentioned to strive toward net-zero emissions. However, we do differ on how to get there. Harnessing the energy sector and its talent is, in my opinion, key to meeting that target. We must include energy industry stakeholders when developing any environmental plans. From what we have been hearing initially on Bill C-12, the government has failed to do just that.
    At the end of the day, climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. For decades more, the world will continue to use oil and gas. The question then becomes as to whether energy will come from democratic countries like Canada with strong environmental protections or from dictatorships with no environmental protections or respect for human rights.
    Domestic energy production, including oil and gas, is an important part of making our country more self-reliant and more resilient in the future. In today's world, we cannot afford to become reliant on energy from any other countries and, quite honestly, we have no need to. Getting to net-zero emissions in the energy industry requires a plan, not just a plan to have a plan. What we see here is a mission to develop a plan in the future and the government's plan is already being poked full of holes. The focus could have been on harnessing energy and the use of technologies from sources such as nuclear and wind carbon capture, with the government providing incentives similar to those that were used to stimulate the early development of the oil sands. Many governments have a long record of practical and successful environmental initiatives.
    Under our previous Conservative government, Canada successfully tackled acid rain, expanded national parks and removed dangerous chemicals from the biosphere. We must persevere on our shared environment for future generations without sacrificing the jobs Canadians need today or damaging the economic engine that helps fund our vital social programs.
    Our recent report from the Canada Energy Regulator found that, even with policies in place to curb emissions, oil and gas will still make up two-thirds of energy sources in 2050. This report also found that there will be increased demand for natural gas, which I mentioned before as a fuel that will become more heavily regulated under the clean fuel standard. This is again a deterrent for investors in foreign markets. We have an opportunity to help with emissions globally, by being part of the switch from coal-fired plants in Asia and other parts of the world to natural gas, a much cleaner form of energy.

  (1110)  

    Exporting our natural gas, technology and talent to other parts of the world will go a long way in the fight against climate change. Removing coal-fired plants makes a huge dent in emissions globally. We all agree everyone has a role to play in tackling climate change and Canada is no exception, but aggressively regulating our energy industry when there is still known demand for its products is short-sighted.
    We can do more good globally by using our technologies in oil and gas to help tackle climate change both abroad and in Canada than by abruptly shutting it down. Natural gas is a huge opportunity for Canada to be a world player in other markets. More excessive regulation by the federal government not only hinders this opportunity but threatens the livelihoods of many Canadian families.
    The bill before us would set targets to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. This is a laudable goal and I want to be clear it is one I fully support, but it is once again a big shiny object over here being used to distract Canadians when the government cannot be clear on what the vision of its plan is to get there.
    Is this a bill to strike a 12-person committee? If it is, then be honest and tell us that. Do not promise this is a visionary piece of legislation that requires three ministers to walk across an open field that some communications person somewhere decided would make good optics to distract the Canadian public.
    We see the government continue to make new environmental commitments, while still failing to meet its previous climate promises. The government's own projections show it is not even close to meeting its current commitments, yet it is setting new targets that are higher and even further into the future. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Canada is on track to significantly miss its 2030 emissions commitments. What about the two billion trees promised in the last election? I have not seen a single tree planted by these guys. Actually, there is not even a plan to plant a tree, let alone a budget to do it.
    I, for one, would really like to work with my colleagues across the aisle to produce a comprehensive plan to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and to meet net-zero emissions by 2050. I have kids and I desperately want their future to include a safe and healthy environment. It is hard to support the government when it delivers an optical illusion of a plan that continues to include more regulations and taxes that hurt our economy by deterring investment in Canada. Life has become more expensive for Canadians as a result. Eventually Canadians are going to ask, “At what cost?”
    I truly believe here in Canada we can develop a plan that harnesses the technology and brainpower of our energy industry to help other countries transition to energy sources that are much less harmful to the environment. We can make Canada and Canadian energy independent instead of importing oil from countries with brutal regimes and human rights abuses. We can remove regulations and red tape, and at the same time make Canada more attractive for international investment.
    I am here and fully on board with achieving a net-zero goal. We can do this by creating a comprehensive plan and policies. We simply need the government to work with us in opposition as opposed to continually pretending to the world it cares without any necessary targets required. I plead to the government to please consider working with us, especially at the environment committee, to strengthen the bill so we get it right for all Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, on the day the bill was released, the member for Edmonton Riverbend tweeted a question on Twitter asking if net zero was achievable by 2050. Then we listen to the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, and it seems to me there is a lack of commitment to be able to achieve that net-zero target.
    I am wondering if my friend from across the way can provide his thoughts on whether the Conservative Party would be committed to hitting the target of zero emissions by 2050.
    Madam Speaker, through you to the parliamentary secretary, forgive me for consulting with my constituents on certain questions that are before the House.
    Obviously my personal view is that we can certainly get to net zero, but it is working with the opposition. It is not going through with a photo op of walking across a field pretending this is something that is visionary. There is no plan here.
    We are hearing over and over again in Alberta that this, on top of everything else that has already been put on us, is just so debilitating to jobs and the economy. We have already suffered through Bill C-69 and BillC-48, the clean fuel standards and now this: a plan to have a plan. Again, I want to make sure we get this right. I am more than prepared to work with the government to do that, but we need to do it and we need to it soon.

  (1115)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I salute my colleague who sits with me on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
    I must say that I do not agree with several elements of his speech, including the idea of continuing to develop fossil fuels. We must free ourselves from our dependency on fossil fuels, because we have other resources at our disposal.
    According to Climate Transparency, Canada has the highest per capita GHG emissions of any G20 country. We must act. Someone once said, “I would put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we do not have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” This was Thomas Edison speaking in 1931. We are just 90 years behind.
    We have a variety of energy sources in Canada, and we should quickly look to using biomass, wind, solar, geothermal and other types of energy. What does my colleague think of that?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I share a lot of time together with my colleague at the environment committee. It is nice to see her.
    Industry is already onside. It is not this adversarial relationship, which I think a lot of people across the country envision it to be. The energy sector is not pushing back against provinces like Quebec and environmental groups. It is essentially working toward this target already.
    I will share a quote. Cenovus Energy said, “Cenovus’s long-term ambition is to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”
    Canadian Natural Resources Limited says, “With a strong commitment to reducing GHG emissions, our long-term aspirational target is net zero emissions in our oil sands operations.”
    To say that the oil and gas sector in my province is the problem and that it ignores everything else is completely false. It certainly has been working at this for a very long time, ensuring we get this right.
    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives say that they are worried about how much getting to net zero will cost. We have heard projections that right now it is costing $5 billion a year, in wild fires, in flooding, in the various impacts of climate change. The predictions have indicated that it will be $21 billion to $43 billion a year by year 2050. That means we are running huge deficits for the future.
    Does my colleague not agree that it is fiscally irresponsible for us to not take action now to tackle climate change?
    Madam Speaker, I would advise him and the New Democratic Party to look at the costs already. I quoted the unemployment numbers in my city. It is at 12%. Twelve per cent of the people we run into in my city are unemployed. This is a heavy energy sector. A lot of people who live here work up in Fort McMurray. Calgary is much the same. We are seeing more and more of this already because of the last five years of increased regulation by the Liberal government.
    It is frustrating, because we want to do more. However, we certainly need to work together to get this right.
    I have a number of thoughts that I would like to share with the House in regard to Bill C-12, noting that the government's first priority and focus continues to be on the pandemic. There should be no doubt about that.
    It has been interesting as we have been dealing with legislation over the last couple of weeks and today. Once again, we are bringing forward somewhat historic legislation, this time dealing with a very important issue related to the environment, of which I know Canadians, as a whole, would be very supportive. I am absolutely confident of that fact. However, when we look back at the legislative agenda and the types of legislation we have brought forward. I find interesting to witness some of the voting that takes place.
    For example, related to the pandemic, we had the wage loss and rent assistance program legislation, which was critically important. It received the unanimous support in the House and was passed. It was consider in committee, it went through third reading, was sent to the Senate and received royal assent. That is good news for small businesses in all regions of our country.
    Then we have this legislation, Bill C-12. It seems there are different attitudes on this bill. In listening to the Conservative critic, I believe the Conservative party will support the legislation going to committee. On the other hand, it was interesting hearing the former leader of the Green party say that she would not be supporting the legislation. The NDP and the Bloc will support the legislation going to committee at least.
    Therefore, on the surface, it seems that we recognize the value and the importance of this legislation. It was really quite encouraging when the minister indicated to all members of the House, like other ministers, that if the opposition wanted to be constructive and work collaboratively with the government, the government was very open to ideas and ways to make the legislation even better.
    However, let us be very clear. If we look at the last federal election, the leader of the Liberal party, today's Prime Minister, indicated that we wanted to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and that we would bring in a legislative framework that would allow that to happen. Bill C-12 is yet another fulfillment of that election commitment. As I said, I believe Canadians would be very supportive of this.
    This is an important issue, if members think of carbon and what it does to our atmosphere. Reference has been made to two ways we can deal with it, such as carbon capture and storage. Incredible companies and individuals have looked at ways technology could advance the capture and storage of carbon. Another way is through nature, such as tree planting. I would encourage my colleagues across the way to stay tuned. They will hear more about tree planting going forward. I have had the opportunity to participate in tree planting ceremonies or activities in the last year.
    Net zero by 2050 is achievable. This legislation allows us to set that framework in which we will see regulations. It would create a very important advisory body, which would include individuals of stature, to look at achieving net-zero emissions. It would provide the current government, and hopefully future governments, the opportunity to ensure we stay on target.

  (1120)  

    Yesterday, during the debate, I heard a Conservative member say that we had to ensure someone from the oil and gas industry would be on that board. The Conservative Party said that it was an absolute necessity; it was not an option. Then the NDP critic said absolutely not, that there should not be executive members from the industry on that board. That was the essence of what she said.
    This is not new. Often we get extreme positions coming from the New Democrats and the Conservatives that are completely opposite. What they do not necessarily realize is that the best way to secure the economic development we desire collectively is to recognize the importance of the environment. If we work with stakeholders, we can achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
    I would encourage both members who spoke on behalf of their respective parties to read what the minister clearly indicated; and that is that we will have levels of expertise on that advisory group, which will include industry representation.
    I asked a question of the previous Conservative member about a tweet yesterday. It was from the member for Edmonton Riverbend. We introduced the legislation and the member planted a seed of doubt by asking if it was even achievable. I then listen to the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. From a Conservative perspective, no doubt it was a great speech. For those who want net-zero emissions by 2050, not so.
    In fact, we should all be concerned about what the member said in his speech. He said that it was no problem. Heaven forbid the Conservatives form the next government. They could wipe out the legislation through their budget. The member has somewhat implied this, that they do not have to live up to the legislation the Liberals are putting into law today. After all, a future Conservative government could incorporate the wiping out of this legislation in a future Conservative budget bill. That raises a few red flags.
     The Conservative Party needs to tell Canadians exactly what its intent is. Will the Conservatives stand by this legislation? Based on what I have heard, I am not convinced the official opposition is committed to net-zero emissions by 2050.
    The Conservatives are already planning ways to can get out of the legislation. The critic has said that the Conservatives have a number of changes they would like to make. We look forward to seeing those amendments once it gets to committee stage.
     We have targets, the first one being in 2030. Within the next six months, we will see how achievable it is. Once we get to 2030, every five years after that it will be renewed. Therefore, there is a high sense of accountability. Those annual reports from the advisory body will also ensure there is more accountability and transparency. Unlike the Conservative Party, this government takes the issue seriously.

  (1125)  

    I do want to remind the hon. members that when someone has the floor, to please hold their thoughts and wait to ask questions later. A lot of heckling was going on, and that is unacceptable.
    Questions and comments; the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg for his lucid thoughts today.
     He mentioned the accountability and transparency of the government. We have asked for details on its carbon tax. The member for Carleton called it the carbon tax cover-up. The government has never given any of them.
    The member continues to talk about how much action the Liberals have taken. With the bill, they are going to create an advisory board to help guide the minister. Have they been basing all their decisions on just their own input?
     Oil and gas includes B.C. LNG and includes coprocessing. Will the member commit to pushing the minister to ensure there is a place for industry, with a significant role, on the advisory panel?

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, the member made reference to the price on pollution and I would like to throw that example back at him. In the first five years, we had a pan-Canadian approach. We worked with provinces and ultimately put into place a price on pollution. Only the national Conservative Party of Canada was outright against a price on pollution. Shame on them for not recognizing it.
    In our first mandate, we also emphasized the importance of public transit and a phasing out of coal. The Conservatives are consistently found wanting when it comes the dealing sincerely and genuinely with our environment.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-12 follows the classic Liberal pattern. It is not an action plan; it is an intention plan. I have long had the intention of exercising, but I have not done it. It is important to be aware of the difference.
    The bill talks about requiring the setting of national targets. It does not talk about setting a national target of 30% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels, as the Bloc Québécois has proposed.
    Our colleague also mentioned carbon capture. Over the past four years, the government has invested $24 billion to support the oil and gas sector, but during the same period, it has invested just $950 million to support the forestry industry, which is the best industry for capturing carbon.
    I repeat, this bill is not an action plan; it is an intention plan.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member is not being fair regarding what the legislation is ultimately doing. At the end of the day, with this legislation we are putting together an advisory body. We are putting into legislation a law that would ultimately ensure that we head toward our target of net zero by 2050. I see that as a positive thing. I suspect it is one of the reasons the Bloc, from what I understand, is supporting the legislation.
    We are hopeful that we will continue to get support from the Bloc and other parties once we get into committee, where we will be open to ideas. However, the false impression that the bill is not of substance is, I think, a real stretch.
    Madam Speaker, the member across the way mentioned that the last question was not fair. I am curious if he thinks it is fair to Canadians to put off climate accountability for 10 years.
    The Liberals are saying they are putting in five-year milestones, but for some reason they left out 2025. The world's top scientists are saying the next decade is the most important if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, so why are the Liberals leaving out the most important years?
    Madam Speaker, we should be careful when we use the word “hypothetically”, but, hypothetically, if we had said 2025 the member would have said, “Well, why not 2022?” There is never, ever any pleasing the New Democrats.
    At the end of the day, this is a reasonable target. We are talking about 2050. Within the next six months we will have a well-established strategy going forward. Once we hit 2030, it will be every five years afterward. The bill would create an advisory body that will ensure there is an annual report, which also includes a higher sense of accountability.
    Madam Speaker, I come to this esteemed chamber from Halifax, the heart of our great nation's maritime coast, Canada's ocean city and my hometown.
    We are a city shaped by the ocean. Our jagged coastline cuts into the Atlantic where surf-pounding shores are home to a proud people whose livelihoods for generations have relied on those deep blue waters. Along my riding's shoreline, there is cove after cove, including Ferguson's Cove, Herring Cove, Fairview Cove, Portuguese Cove, Duncan's Cove, Sandy Cove, and on and on, and the great Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin. Each one is unique in its own way, but they are brought together by a shared identity as coastal communities.
    In my time as a member of Parliament, I have spent untold hours in these communities, knocking on doors or attending the many festivals and neighbourhood events, like the famous swordfish supper in Sambro. However, in recent years, with greater frequency, there is another reason I travel to these communities, and it is one that brings me no joy at all. In what has become a troubling routine, I find myself putting on my rain jacket and boots and heading out to these communities to survey the wreckage from the latest hurricane and the damage to my constituents' homes, fish shacks, wharves and boats.
    In 2019, following Hurricane Dorian, I remember standing on a bridge in Herring Cove alongside constituents as we watched a detached roof float by us. The storm surge from that hurricane had compromised the breakwater protecting the cove and had lifted whole fish shacks from their resting places, smashing them against the rocky shoreline. We watched as one family climbed onto the splintered wood of their now unanchored fish shack, floating in the cove, to collect what few belongings remained.
    Last week, I met with a group of constituents in Ketch Harbour to discuss the ongoing efforts to rebuild the community wharf that was destroyed in the same hurricane, more than a year ago. It was a devastating blow to a community that relied on that wharf as its town square. Earlier that summer, my daughter and I had enjoyed ice cream cones purchased from a makeshift ice cream stand on the wharf, with the proceeds funding the local community hall. However, the wharf is gone, at least for now.
    I could tell story after story about how extreme weather events have impacted my city and constituents. I know my colleagues in the House understand this experience too, for many have taken on the same heartbreaking routine in their own communities, whether it is helping to mobilize volunteers to sandbag shorelines against 100-year floods now occurring nearly every year, or working to protect whole towns, forests and national parks from raging climate fires. The stories of devastation go on and on.
    The science is clear: Climate change is escalating the severity and frequency of these severe weather events. For a coastal riding like mine, it is a flashing red alarm and all hands on deck. We are in a crisis, and we must act urgently to reduce emissions, fight climate change and protect our communities. At its core, that is the matter before the House today with Bill C-12.
    Hurricane Dorian hit Halifax just days before the 2019 election, and in that electoral race, our party, the Liberal Party, released its plan to continue our work to fight climate change. In our first mandate, we enacted the strongest climate plan of any government in Canadian history, as the moment required, with over 50 measures, including pricing carbon pollution, phasing out coal, protecting nature, investing in renewables and putting a climate lens on government-funded infrastructure, a measure quite personal for me. It was born out of a private member's motion I had passed in my first year as a member of Parliament, Motion No. 45.
    We turned the tide of inaction after 10 years under the Conservatives. Still, we recognized at the end of our first mandate that we needed to go further, and faster. Time, after all, is not on our side.
    Today, as we debate Bill C-12 at second reading, we are carrying out one of the key promises we made to Canadians in 2019 when they looked at our record and plan and elected our Liberal government to do what is necessary to fight climate change again.
    Included in our platform was a promise to exceed Canada's 2030 emissions goals, while setting legally binding, five-year milestones to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act, is a key step in ensuring that we reach that target, fulfill our promise and get to net zero by 2050.
    I would like to speak about the measures within Bill C-12.
    The act would require that national targets and plans for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada be put in place with the target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. It would further require that the government make available, for the public to see and assess, its planning and progress toward those stated targets.

  (1135)  

    The act would require the government to establish its 2030 target within six months of the act's coming into effect, along with its emission reduction plan, and by 2027, the government would be required to publish its first progress report under the act. From there, in 2035, 2040 and 2045, the government would be required to set targets and provide its plan to get there by the subsequent five-year milestone.
    The act would include a number of important accountability measures that impose consequences on any government that does not achieve its target. In such a scenario, the act requires that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will provide an assessment report to Canadians that includes the reason why, in their view, Canada failed to meet its target and a description of the steps the government is taking or will take to address the failure to achieve the target.
    In recognizing the important role of Parliament and officers of Parliament, the act would also require the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, supported by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, to examine and report on the government's implementation of the measures it includes in its plan to reach its targets. Further, input from Canadians is essential to climate accountability, and to this end the act establishes an independent net-zero advisory body, a group of up to 15 experts from across the country in fields such as business, labour, indigenous knowledge and clean technology. It will include environmental leaders. This advisory body would provide advice in an annual public report, and an official government response would be required.
    The purpose of the bill is to provide accountability and transparency to Canadians as their federal government, today and in the future, works to reduce emissions and fight climate change. It is what Canadians want and it is what we owe Canadians as we face one of the most urgent crises of our lifetimes.
    I would like to speak briefly now to the current state of climate politics in Canada.
    When I consider the massive challenge before us, I am troubled by the degree to which politicization of the issue of climate change has led to gridlock, inconsistency and inaction across governments as far back as the 1990s. This trend is not unique to the federal government or to Canada, but it is one that we must overcome.
    Action on climate should not be political. It should not be ideological. It should be based on science, based on evidence and based on all of us as parliamentarians looking out for the well-being of the people we represent in this place.
    I think about the constituents I mentioned earlier, those I stood with on the bridge in Herring Cove following Hurricane Dorian. They did not care if I was a Liberal, Conservative, New Democrat or Green. They wanted to know what I was going to do as their representative in this place to help them, stop this crisis, fight climate change and protect our environment for future generations.
    I believe the legislation we are discussing today, Bill C-12, will hold all governments accountable regardless of political stripe, accountable to Parliament and accountable to Canadians, today and in the future. I look forward to debate on the bill here and at committee, and I will remain hopeful that all members will come together in the interests of the people they represent to act and act now.

  (1140)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened to my colleague very carefully. Of course, he comes from a very beautiful part of the country and he described it eloquently.
    My one concern is that the government is typically very good with words and symbolism. I am going to give a specific example. One would think that if we commit to planting a certain number of trees, it is not actually that difficult a task to do. The provinces do this in Canada every year.
    If you promise to plant trees and cannot actually follow through, how can Canadians ever trust you in something that is so much more difficult to do and more complex? We have a little cynicism as we listen to the debate today, so maybe you can tell us what is so difficult about following through with your commitment to plant trees.
    I want to remind the hon. member to address the questions and comments through the Chair.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, going back to the 2015 election cycle, I note the Liberal Party promised that if Canadians sent them here to be their government, we would take the most dramatic action on climate change the country has ever seen, and this is just what we did.
    There are plenty of reasons to believe we will follow through on our commitments. We provided $28 billion to support urban transit, $26 billion in green infrastructure, investments in smart grids and green vehicles, a $2-billion low-carbon economy fund, $1.5 million for the oceans protection plan, over $1 billion for nature conservancy and protection of biodiversity, and over $2 billion to support clean technology in Canada. I could go on and on; the list is pages long.
    There are plenty of reasons for Canadians to understand that we will follow through on our commitments.

  (1145)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is clear that all of us, or almost all of us, agree that Bill C-12 has some interesting elements.
    However, I do have one concern. I think it is insane to put off the targets until 2050 or use 2050 as a deadline. Things are changing and moving so fast, and 2050 is 30 years away. If we do the math, 30 years from now, Canada will probably have gone through 12 to 15 successive Liberal or Conservative governments. Obviously, we will be independent by then, but I am referring to them.
    I would like to know what my colleague thinks about this. Climate change is the number one global priority. We talk about it constantly, and there will be more bills. How can we even consider such a long-term mission? We are talking about 30 years. I cannot buy that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think the member is asking if it is possible for Canada to hit this target. Of course it is not going to be easy, but we can and will achieve it. We are going to be working with Canadians across the country. It is what they expect and have asked of all of us.
    The target is, as he said, 30 years into the future. I would tell him to look at the progress we have made on some of the things that I have already listed: clean power, action on the environment and on habitat. We are going to be drawing on the experience and expertise of Canadians across the country to make this happen, and we are very confident that we can do it.
    Madam Speaker, the number one location in the world for a solar economy is south central Alberta. When I was in Edmonton, I met with energy workers who were frustrated because they are being sold down the river by the ideology of the Jason Kenney government. We see large international investors walking away from Alberta because of a lack of commitment.
    The energy workers I met with are retraining themselves for a clean energy future. They asked me where the government is, both federal and provincial, with the huge opportunities there are to retool the economy in the west. Jason Kenney is not going to do it, we know that. The question is: Where is the federal government on the investments we need to start building solar and wind energy projects in the west?
    Madam Speaker, as the member knows, a number of Canadian oil and gas companies have already made commitments to net-zero emissions, including Enbridge, Suncor and Shell. They are innovating. They are rising to the challenge right in the very heart of Alberta. That is why we heard in the throne speech that this government will be undertaking the largest upscaling and rescaling of the Canadian workforce that we have ever seen, investing more in that effort than has ever been invested before.
    The truth is that we cannot get to net-zero without the ingenuity and know-how of Canada's energy sector and its very smart workers.
    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Regina—Lewvan.
    Bill C-12, which we are discussing, purports to improve transparency and accountability as the government moves towards a net zero target by the year 2050, which of course is 30 years down the road.
     Before I get into the details of the bill, I just want to say that we, as Conservatives, acknowledge that Canadians love their environment and love their open spaces. As a father of four daughters, when I was a little younger, I spent a ton of time walking mountain ridges, hiking through valleys and on our lakes and rivers. We have done it all through beautiful British Columbia. We love our environment. I want to preserve that environment, not only for my daughters but for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
    I believe Canadians are responsible. They want a responsible approach to protecting our environment while not sacrificing our long-term prosperity and the jobs that prosperity creates. As we move forward with a net zero project, we want to make sure that it is our own environmental plan: a Canadian plan, driven by Canadian stakeholders and Canadian citizens, not by activist groups that in many cases are funded by foreign sources. We want this to be a homegrown solution.
    When I talk about solutions, this is a global problem that calls for a global solution. The Liberal government has always been focused inward. It asks what we are doing in Canada, not what can we do for the world. We have all kinds of opportunities to solve that global problem.
    Let me get back to the legislation itself and highlight three important elements within it. First, the legislation would require current and future federal governments to establish a framework to get Canada to net zero carbon emissions. Let us be clear, this framework is not an action plan and it certainly does not identify any additional tools that the government might use in reaching its 2050 target.
    What does it mean to be net zero? I am going to try to briefly summarize what that is. It is a situation where the greenhouse gases that are caused by humans are balanced, or offset, by human intervention to remove the carbon from our environment. There are many different ways we could do that. Perhaps the most obvious is to plant a tree or trees, because trees sequester carbon dioxide and store that carbon within their trunks and branches. That is a simple situation that every Canadian would understand.
    However, Canada has many other areas where it is a world leader. Carbon sequestration can take place in things such as zero-till farming. Our farmers are leaders in this area of reducing tillage to make sure that we are not emitting more carbon than we absolutely have to.
    We have some wonderful examples of carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS as it is called, in Canada, such as the Boundary Dam project in Saskatchewan, and Carbon Engineering in Squamish, British Columbia, close to where I live and where I often ski.
    These are opportunities for Canadian companies that have found a way of extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or from emissions, and reusing it. They are repurposing that carbon in other ways. For example, in Squamish, Carbon Engineering simply sucks the carbon dioxide out of the air. The company adds hydrogen and creates a new fuel. It is the cleanest fuel, and it can be used in something as simple as a car.
     Clean fuels. Canadian innovation. That is something we do not hear a lot about from the Liberals. All they talk about is taxing. They make plans but those plans never materialize. The Liberals have had five years.

  (1150)  

    Canada is also a leader in such things as hydrogen and nuclear technology. I am talking about 21st-century nuclear technology: modular nuclear technology that is safe to use. There is tremendous potential in that area.
    The second thing this legislation does is call for the creation of an outside 15-member advisory board. Where have we heard that before? Let us remember the great electoral reform project that the Prime Minister touted in 2015 during the election. The 2015 election was going to be the last time we were going to have elections under the first past the post system. He established a committee that was supposed to consult with Canadians, but the fix was in because he already had a preferred method that was going to favour Liberals. When the committee brought in the information that it had received from key stakeholders, he realized it was not going the way he thought it would, so he dropped the whole thing and fired his minister. That is what we get from the current Liberal government.
    That is my fear. That is why I am skeptical about this legislation and especially this 15-member advisory board. Who is going to be on that board? Why will the Liberals not tell us? Will there be industry leaders on that board? Will the oil and gas industry be represented? Will they appoint members who are not married to the Liberal Party or insiders, such as Gerald Butts' friends, for example? Are they the ones who are going to populate this board? If so, this is going to turn into another disaster like electoral reform.
    The second question I have on that particular issue is, why did the government not table a framework and a plan back in 2015? The government has had five years to table a plan to move forward to provide Canadians with the tools they need so that we can reduce our emissions across Canada. There is a very easy answer to that question. It is because the government has failed to meet the targets that the Liberals themselves set at the Paris climate conference.
    I was at that conference. I joined the Canadian delegation. I wanted to see what was going on there. The Liberal government had taken the Stephen Harper targets, which were going to be the floor, and the moment they got back from Paris the Liberals were going to ratchet up those targets. What happened is that we still have the same targets. There was no intention of making the targets stricter. Today we know from virtually every organization that is credible, including the IPCC, the Auditor General of Canada, the Climate Change Commissioner and even the government itself, that it is far from meeting the Paris targets that were set for 2030. What makes Canadians believe that the current Liberal government is going to meet its 2050 targets?
     Why is the Prime Minister making another promise that we know he will never be around to fulfill? That is the question Canadians should be asking themselves.
    Conservatives in the House support this legislation. It is not because we trust the Liberals: we expect they are going to monkey around with this, as they normally do. However, this legislation is intended to increase transparency and accountability as Canada moves forward with its 2050 targets.
     This is the problem with transparency and accountability. As my colleagues in the House will remember when the government was first elected in 2015, the government provided mandate letters for every minister, then and since, that say the Prime Minister expects them to raise the bar on openness, transparency and honesty. It is baked right into those mandate letters. I refresh myself by reading them from time to time. I want to make sure that the Prime Minister actually did that, because what we have today is the most unethical government our country has ever seen.
    The Prime Minister himself, on three occasions, has been charged with violating or is alleged to have violated the ethics laws of Canada. Twice, he has been convicted. There is a third case pending, and we expect he will be convicted on that one as well.

  (1155)  

    He is the first Prime Minister in Canadian history to whom this has happened. It is an ethical failure. How can we expect the Liberal government to fulfill its commitments to transparency and accountability in this legislation, Bill C-12? If Canadians are watching this today, they are going to start scratching their heads and asking themselves how many times the Prime Minister has promised and not delivered. He has become the chief promise breaker of this country. It is a sad reflection on our country.
    Some have described this legislation as a “nothing burger”, as there is really nothing to it, just like Seinfeld, but I will conclude by saying this: We support this legislation—

  (1200)  

    I have already allowed additional time for the member. Maybe he will be able to add more through questions and comments.
    Continuing with questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I am glad to speak today in the House. I have a couple of comments and two questions in particular.
    The hon. member spoke to how he loves to take walks, appreciates nature and wants to protect our environment for future generations. My first question is this: Why has he and the Conservative Party of Canada voted against every single measure we have put in place to meet the challenges of climate change, such as a price on carbon pollution, a budget that put in place record investments in public transportation and others?
    The second question is with respect to the balance he would like to achieve of protecting the environment and supporting the economy. How does the hon. member reconcile the Conservative Party's opposition to this bill and many others, and its approach toward companies like Shell, which has recently come forward with its own 2050 goals and milestones, and the many industries that are stepping up to meet the challenge every day?
    Mr. Speaker, is the parliamentary secretary reading off talking points? He obviously did not listen to my speech. Although I am a skeptic, we are supporting this legislation.
    To get back to the parliamentary secretary's first question as to why we have voted against the government's legislation, it is because its environment legislation is invariably tied to more taxes for Canadians, such as the carbon tax and the clean fuel standard. The list goes on, and this will continue. Canadians should prepare themselves because under a Liberal government there will be more taxes placed on their shoulders. That is why we do not support the legislation. It is deeply flawed.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I grew up surrounded by nature. There were mountains, lakes, rivers and forests as far as the eye could see. The environment has been one of my chief concerns since I was a little girl. However, growing up in a remote community meant that we could not be as environmentally responsible as we wanted to. When we were very young, we learned how important it was to take care of the environment for future generations. There was the Kyoto protocol in 2005 and the Paris Agreement in 2016. We have a duty to take care of our environment because we are only borrowing it from our children, yet we are putting off our responsibility until 2050.
    Can my hon. colleague tell me what measures could be introduced quickly, well before 2050, to truly make the environment a top priority for the sake of future generations?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for that excellent question, which I take seriously. I also do not want to pre-empt our new leader from coming up with a climate plan that makes sense and does not impose a massive tax burden on Canadians.
    We intend to come forward with a plan that is committed to our 2030 targets. We aspire to also get to net zero by 2050. We are supporting the legislation, but we will build a climate policy that respects the provinces and territories, focuses on making industry pay, not consumers and ordinary Canadians, and includes market-based principles to incentivize positive economic and environmental change in Canada.
    I hope that answers the member's question.
    Mr. Speaker, we know wildfires, flooding and drought are having huge impacts right across our country, especially for wild Pacific salmon, which my colleague cares deeply about.
    Right now we are running huge environmental deficits to future generations. We need real action, urgent action. There is no real accountability with this bill when it comes to a milestone target, and 2030 is too far out. We will not even be able to check in until 2028 to see how we are doing.
    Does my colleague agree we should be having a milestone target of 2025 so we can measure where the government is? Also, what recommendations does he have beyond just technology? Does he not see the sense of urgency that we need to take on so we are not leaving huge deficits to future generations?

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I share a province, a beautiful province, and we both share a deep concern for the declining wild salmon populations on the west coast. From time to time, we get to work together in moving forward with policies that are hopefully going to make a difference there for the salmon.
    With respect to there being no accountability, he is absolutely right. This legislation purports to establish accountability and transparency measures, but in fact there is nothing in the government's history that would indicate it is prepared to actually follow through on that.
    On whether to set a target for 2025, the government did not even meet its 2020 target, and it is way off its 2030 target. It is missing it by a country mile. Why would we set another target? We want to see action and results.
    Mr. Speaker, I am going to start off with a quote from George Bernard Shaw: “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past but by the responsibility for our future.” I think that is a timely comment as we are talking about a bill that is not going to take effect until 2050.
    I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-12, the important issue of climate change and how we must rise to meet the challenge of the country. I want to take this important time to point out some things about Canadian energy producers and why our industry can be a part of the solution to climate change, not a contributor to the world problem.
    First off, we cannot talk about climate change without acknowledging that this is truly a global issue. The atmosphere cannot distinguish between two sides of a political border or even opposite sides of the planet. Environmental policy abroad impacts us here at home, and vice versa. When it comes to the planet, all of humanity is interconnected, whether we like it or not.
    There is no question that Canada must do its part to fight climate change through increasing the use of renewable resources, employing Saskatchewan's innovative carbon capture and storage technology, expanding our use of nuclear power generation and using new technology to make our existing infrastructure greener and more efficient. I am confident that we can, should and will be leaders in the fight on climate change.
    I will say once again that climate change occurs, and human activity influences this. However, our strategy must always keep the global nature of this problem in mind. Canada is not an island and cannot assume that rivals, or even allies, will follow our lead. We need to work with countries from around the world collaboratively to find ways that Canada can minimize environmental impact in the short term while investing in long-term solutions.
    When we measure the total life-cycle emissions of liquefied natural gas and coal based on extraction, production, shipping and burning, liquefied natural gas burns roughly 40% cleaner than coal. If Canada were to expand its production capacity and increase LNG exports to developing countries currently using coal to bring electricity to underdeveloped regions, we would be taking a huge step forward, a concrete step in reducing emissions in the short term.
    China currently has a coal-fired electrical generating capacity four times larger than the United States' and plans to increase that number by over 25% in the coming years. If only a quarter of China's coal-fired plants transitioned to liquefied natural gas, it would result in emission reductions of around 750 megatonnes per year, based on current levels. For reference, Canada's total emissions in 2019 were 729 megatonnes.
    The old saying “perfect is the enemy of the good” comes to mind here. While this government repeatedly fails to meet its emissions reduction targets, our energy industry, which is a world leader in environmental sustainability, continues to be crippled by regulations like Bill C-48, Bill C-69 and the ineffective job-killing carbon tax.
    Instead of leading a global strategy to reduce emissions based on research and development, technological innovation, and finding economically viable climate solutions, the Liberal government has reduced Canada's ability to compete and receive a market share with countries with zero track record when it comes to fighting global emissions.
    Canada needs to strive toward energy independence, create a business environment that mobilizes green innovation in the private sector and export those green innovations around the world. Shutting down energy production in Canada would do nothing to impact the behaviour of countries whose entire economies relies on oil production. If anything, it would drive up global oil prices due to decreased supply and create even more incentive for oil production abroad.
    Until we have long-term renewable energy solutions that are economically viable, natural resources such as oil and natural gas will continue to be a part of our way of life. It is not a matter of choice, but a matter of necessity. None of this is to say that it is acceptable to sit back and do nothing about this issue.
    My colleagues on the other side of the aisle often scapegoat Conservatives as people who are indifferent about the environment or claim that we do not care about our children's future. Nothing could be further from the truth. We care, and we also want to work hard to bring our climate crisis under control.
    We need to find solutions to these problems to guarantee the future of my three children, James, Sinclair and Nixon, alongside that of every child in Canada. We want them to grow up on a healthy planet.

  (1210)  

    We need to reduce global emissions to avoid reaching the point of no return. I also know that Canada cannot sabotage our own industries as the rest of the world sits back. We cannot be the only country making drastic changes to our energy production capacity, and we cannot assume that we are setting an example for others. Currently, I cannot think of a single country that is looking to emulate Canada's emission reduction strategy and hamper its own ability to grow its economy.
    If Canada wants to be a world leader in the fight against climate change, what we do to change our share of global emissions is not enough. We must invest in economically viable green energy solutions that we can export to the rest of the world. Canada has been behind countless green energy innovations. We have been an examples to the world.
    One source of Canada's climate innovation is the careful management of our vast boreal forest spread across the country. Canada's network of forests is massive at over 347 million hectors, or 9% of the world's total forest area. Canadians continue to plant hundreds of millions of trees every year without the help of the federal government.
    Canada's forest industry alone plants an additional 600 million trees every year, making its commercial activities sustainable for generations to come. Canadian energy companies are doing their part as well. Syncrude has planted 11 million trees, Suncor has planted 8.9 million trees, and the faster forests initiative has planted over five million trees, just to name a few.
    Using forests as a natural climate solution is about keeping thriving forest ecosystems alive. Around 70% of carbon in the forest is stored within soil and debris on the forest floor. I know the government has set a target to plant two billion trees, but they have planted zero. Even on Father's Day, my wife asked me to plant five trees in our backyard, so I am doing more than our federal government.
    Alongside capturing and storing carbon emissions, our forests are also home to another solution: biofuels. Canada exported 498.3 million dollars' worth of wood pellets in 2019, a solid renewable biofuel that grows back and recaptures the carbon that it emits when the biomass is burned.
    I also want to talk about carbon capture and storage solutions. As a Saskatchewan MP, I am proud of the innovations we have made and are leading on this technological front. As an innovator and pioneer, Saskatchewan is proud of our carbon capture. Experts agree that carbon capture and storage is a solution that simply works.
    Dr. Julio Friedmann, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, says that when industrial facilities implement variations of this solution, they see emission reductions of between 55% to 90%. About 300 million tonnes of CO2 is captured from large-scale carbon capture, utilization and storage facilities every year. The technology is effective and could lead to real world emission reductions in the short term if we embrace it. The downside is that currently 70% of this is done in North America when it should be done throughout the world.
    These are just a few examples of solutions that can drive economic activity, create jobs and act as long-term investments in emissions reductions. None of them involve new taxes, energy austerity or hurt our economy. In fact, all of the solutions I have raised would create new jobs and increase economic activity, instead of dampening it.
    I believe in green innovation and I believe in clean technology, but I also know that shutting down Canadian oil and gas production would do nothing to change the course of history. The only way that Canada can have a meaningful impact on this issue is the same way we changed health care forever, through the development of revolutionary technologies like insulin and pacemakers. Both of these inventions saved millions of lives around the world and would have never been possible without Canadian ingenuity and perseverance.
    We can meet these ambitious targets. I have unlimited faith in the sheer intelligence and capability of Canadians, but I also know that if we are not focused on solutions, we cannot be embraced by the rest of the world. It will be too little, too late, and our contributions will be in vain. We need the rest of the world to join us in our commitment to reducing emissions.
    Net-zero emissions does not mean net-zero growth in the oil and gas industry, the agricultural industry and the manufacturing industry. We need to continue to rely on those very important sectors in our community.

  (1215)  

    For every step taken, we must take into account Canada's existing obligations to provide secure energy to all of our global customers.
    Before we go to questions and comments, I want to make an observation that today's motion before the House is garnering, as one might imagine, great interest by hon. members, both here in the House and tuning in on Zoom. For that reason, I am going to ask members to keep their interventions to no more than about 45 seconds, both for questions and responses, so that we can at least have three questions in a five-minute period. We will try to do that to make sure that we are not pushing the time limits of other members who wish to participate in the debate today and in other days ahead.
    Questions and comments, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
    Mr. Speaker, the member spoke at great length about innovation and Liberals wholeheartedly agree that innovation will play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, in addition to that, we have had top experts in the world, both in the scientific and economic fields, talk about the need to put a price on carbon pollution, to invest in public transportation and subsidies for electric vehicles and so forth, all of the things that my hon. colleague and the Conservative Party of Canada voted against.
    I am wondering if my hon. colleague perhaps has a peer-reviewed study or some form of information that we are not aware of that would show that the only way to achieving net zero or reducing GHGs is by simply investing in innovation.
    Mr. Speaker, I hope my hon. colleague did not have me on mute, because last time he said we were opposing the bill and had not listened to the speech by the member from B.C. who said we would support it.
    A lot of times we have looked at the targets brought forward by the government and said we were not going to meet them. Conservatives have good ideas. We have an environmental plan that does not just tax Canadians, like the Liberals enjoy doing, increasing taxes every year. The carbon tax increases every April 1. It is the worst April Fool's Day joke in the country.
    Conservatives continue to bring forward positive investments in innovation and technology to make sure we can meet our climate targets. Liberals are not even going to meet the targets they have made for 2030, so I will take no lessons from them.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the part of my colleague's speech on workers. Indeed, there will be no change if we do not think about workers.
    However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in 2018 that we needed to leave 80% of fossil fuels in the ground if we wanted to meet the Paris Agreement targets. What does my colleague think of that? When he talks about exporting our energy resources can he move on to something other than fossil fuels?

  (1220)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I talked about biomass and wood pellets and naturally renewable fuels. I am extremely proud that my province is working hard to meet the target of 50% renewable energy for all of our power sources by 2030. We can all set targets.
    Also, there is renewable energy that we can export from Manitoba, which is hydro, and hydroelectricity from Quebec. There are many options. I do not believe we need to leave 80% of our fossil fuels in the ground. That would absolutely damage our economy and would bear poorly for future generations in terms of having secure jobs in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, the member said that the Conservatives have a climate plan, but in 2019, when they received grades on their election platform and climate policies, they got a D in emissions reductions.
    This bill, which I hear the Conservatives are planning to support at least being sent to committee, does not have adequate accountability measures built in. I am wondering if the member agrees that we need to strengthen the advisory body, but also make the environment commissioner independent so that the Liberal government and future governments are actually going to be accountable to Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, one thing I can say is that she will not have to worry about the commissioner because the NDP will never be in government, first of all, but I am looking forward to the opportunity to maybe have discussions around what the commissioner should or should not be.
    When they talk about a D for our climate plan in 2019, our climate plan was very good going forward. I have talked to groups across Saskatchewan and the country. They say that only 60% of Canadians voted for a climate plan. I do not believe that is true. I believe 100% of Canadians voted for a climate plan, because the Conservatives have one. I am looking forward to the next campaign to deliver an amazing environmental plan for Canadians from coast to coast.
    Mr. Speaker, in 2009, the Harper government agreed to the Copenhagen targets to reduce emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by this year. All eight provinces and all of the territories, representing 85% of the population, met that target. However, two provinces actually increased their greenhouse gases to wipe out all of those other gains. They were Alberta and Saskatchewan.
    Now British Columbia is joining with fracking the northeast to export LNG and it is going to blow its target right out of the water as well. I would like to know what the plan is. What happened to the Harper plan to meet those targets?
    Mr. Speaker, I fear that while many of my colleagues may have the video on when they are on Zoom, it might be on mute. I would really like to repeat my first comment: We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
     I think my Green colleague should keep that in mind.

[Translation]

    This is a watershed moment in the history of Canada and the world. We know that, to deal with climate change, we must transform our communities and industries and this transformation comes with incredible potential for growth. We are on the eve of a financial and global economic realignment and we must act now to provide Canadian businesses a long-term competitive advantage and ensure that the use of smart and clean technologies increase in a draconian way immediately.
    Canadian industries will have to make important decisions that will affect several generations, decisions on investments in assets that will last for decades much like the consequences of their emissions.
    Our plan is simple. We are supporting Canadian industry and investing in the cleanest solutions that generate the least amount of emissions possible and at the same time establishing a clear legal framework through Bill C-12 to set national targets and develop plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada in order to achieve net-zero emissions within 25 years.
     Net-zero emissions is not just a plan for protecting the environment and managing climate change, it is also a plan for building a cleaner and more competitive economy.
    Bill C-12 proposes the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act, which will force the current and future federal governments to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In doing so, we will be binding our government and all the ones that will follow. By imposing accountability, both politically and legally, we will earn the trust of Canadians and our industries in achieving net zero within 25 years.
    It was precisely to hold Canadian governments accountable for climate change that I got involved in federal politics in 2015, leaving behind a career as an environmental lawyer.
    At the core of this legislation is the requirement that the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change establish the initial 2030 target and an emissions reduction plan within six months of the act’s coming into force. I would be surprised if it takes that long. Both documents must be tabled in Parliament. A progress report must also be tabled by 2027. That is accountability.
    The act requires the tabling and publication of targets, plans, progress reports and assessment reports. That is accountability. The legislation stipulates the content of milestone year plans, progress reports and assessment reports. That is more accountability.
    It is important to note that, in the event that a target is not achieved, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, after consulting with the other ministers, will be required to include two elements in the assessment report: the reasons why Canada failed to meet the target and a description of the actions that the Government of Canada is taking or will take to address the failure to achieve the target.
    In addition to the strong parliamentary accountability mechanisms mentioned earlier, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, supported by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, will have to examine and report on the Government of Canada’s implementation of the measures aimed at mitigating climate change within five years of the coming into force of this act and every five years thereafter.

  (1225)  

    For each of the baseline years 2035, 2040 and 2045, a target must be set and an emissions reduction plan established at least five years in advance of each of these baseline years. The target and the emissions reduction plan must be consistent with the purpose of the act, which requires that the establishment of national greenhouse gas reduction targets be based on the best available science, the objective of achieving net zero in Canada within 25 years and Canada’s international climate change mitigation commitments.

[English]

    We are talking here about accountability. We are talking about a series of measures that would hold Canadian governments, this government and future governments, to account. We have never before had such legislation in Canada. It is high time we pass the bill. It would be good for Canada. It would bring confidence to our industries, which know the world is heading toward net zero and that their competitive advantage will be augmented by investments now in efficiency in net-zero technologies.
    We would be sending, through Bill C-12, a clear signal to Canadians, first and foremost, that climate change is real, climate change is a crisis and that it deserves action right now. It deserves the accountability of all governments, this government and future governments. We are also be sending signals to industry and to the provinces about the seriousness with which we take this issue.
    We will be sending a signal to the whole world that Canada will not fall victim to what Mark Carney has described as “the tragedy of the horizon”. Just because something is far off does not mean it will not hit us right between the eyes. It is already. My riding of Pontiac had massive floods in 2017 and in 2019. We are already paying the price.
    The bill contains the word “must”, 27 times by my count, in association with an action by a minister or some agent of government. Canadian environmental law is replete with discretionary provisions, meaning responsible ministers can quite often make decisions as they see fit and are not imposed an obligation at all times. The bill would impose 27 “the minister must”.
    That is so important and should give Canadians a great deal of confidence. It means we will not just be generating political accountability through the bill, not only will we require the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Finance come before the House and account for the targets, the plans and the progress, but we will be enabling the public, if those duties are not fulfilled by those ministers, to bring the government to court. They will have the opportunity to do so. Therefore, there would be judicial accountability and political accountability.
    It is not only in our environmental self-interest, it is in our economic self-interest. Our government has absolute commitment to achieving net zero by 2050. I look forward to the day when the Conservative Party of Canada gets on board and agrees that this has to be done. I look forward to constructive contributions from members opposite in all opposition parties. We know a bill can be improved and we know there are expectations on the part of Canadians that we will collaborate to make a great bill even better, which is what will happen through the committee process.
    I look forward to the discussion with my hon. colleagues.

  (1230)  

[Translation]

    Before moving on to questions and comments, I want to repeat my instructions regarding the time allocated to each member.
    Because today's motion is garnering a lot of interest, I am going to ask that members keep their interventions to no more than 45 seconds so that we can have three questions in a five-minute period.
    We will now return to questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I cannot agree more that accountability is the key in this endeavour.
    To that end, since the Prime Minister announced the promise to plant two billion trees, how many trees has his government actually planted? I would just like the number, please.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member is aware that we are governing through a pandemic and our focus right now is on dealing with pandemic matters. However, I think what he is trying to point out is that it matters to Canadians that governments follow through on their commitments, and that goes without saying. It matters also that civil society be engaged and work with government toward the objectives that are set out by the government.
    I would like to point out some of the comments, for example, by Shell Canada in relation to Bill C-12. It said, “Shell’s ambition is to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society. We applaud the Government of Canada’s action today, and look forward to working with them and doing our part to help Canada achieve this goal.”

  (1235)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    He and I discussed Bill C-215, my bill on climate accountability. He told me that it was not the opposition's job to introduce bills like that but the government's. However, it seems his government completely missed the boat in the case of Bill C-12, because the government is not taking its responsibilities. The bill lacks accountability and transparency. His government promised to raise the 2030 target, which is not only the Paris Agreement target but also the target set by Stephen Harper's Conservative government. Let us not forget that.
    Can the member tell me the real reason why the Liberals did not enshrine the 2030 target in the act? Is it because they already know they are not going to meet it?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. Let me be very clear: I have never discouraged her from introducing a bill. I think that it is important to have discussions. However, it is reasonable for a government that is serious about climate change to introduce its own bill.
    The Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement, for its part, wrote that Bill C-12, “on net-zero accountability, is a significant and necessary step forward”.
    The David Suzuki Foundation said that “This climate legislation could be game-changing. It promises to be a foundation for Canada’s path to meeting climate goals, domestically and internationally. Moving forward with climate accountability is exactly what the climate emergency calls for.” I could go on.
    This legislation lays a solid foundation, and we will work with the Bloc Québécois to make any necessary improvements.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned the “tragedy of the horizon” and said that we needed climate action now. That is ironic, given the bill would not only put off climate accountability for the next decade, but it would also put off actually creating a climate plan for six months and would give another three-month window. That is after royal assent. It would probably be up to a year before we would see a climate plan.
    How does the member justify using quotes about the “tragedy of the horizon” when this is exactly what the bill is?
    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to my learned colleague, it is disingenuous to suggest that this bill is not all about establishing a clear process, with rigid timelines, that make it very clear to Canadians that the government will have to come back to Parliament with targets, with plans and have those plans evaluated and developed with independent expertise. Canadians have been asking for that. We committed to doing this in the election and we are delivering it.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the member talked about certainty. Over the last half decade, the Canadian industry has had everything but that.
    Implicitly, the member, time and time again throughout his speech, talked about the need for certainty, the need to have plans, targets and whatnot. However, the entire premise of his speech forgets the fact that the Liberals have been government for five years and the Canadian energy industry has suffered, which has resulted in untold job losses and a significant impact on the livelihoods of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I obviously disagree with the member's statement.
    It is important to point out that much of Canada's business and industry is behind the net-zero target and the certainty this bill would provide. I would cite Goldy Hyder of the Business Council of Canada, “Transparency around net-zero emissions targets is essential, business leaders agree”—
    We are over time at this point. We will now go to resuming debate, the hon. member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay.
    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today today to speak to Bill C-12, an act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, as it is officially known. I like to call it the climate action accountability bill.
    I really am very happy, because this is the kind of legislation I have been waiting for ever since I was elected, just over five years ago. This bill does not go far enough as far as accountability is concerned, as I will mention later, but it is a good first step. We could strengthen that with amendments when it goes to committee.
    This bill requires that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change sets greenhouse gas emission targets at five-year intervals starting in 2030 and ending, of course, in 2050 with the goal of net zero. I will say right now that I think this is the bill's greatest flaw. Science tell us that the coming decade, from now until 2030, is the most critical time for action on climate change. Now is the time when we have to be bold. Now is the time when we have to make sure we are not just kicking this down the road any longer.
    Why is there not a goal for 2025? The Liberals have been in power for five years and have been talking the talk about climate action all that time, yet we have gotten nowhere on emissions reductions. In five years, the least they could have figured out is where we should be by 2025. That is the number one criticism of the bill. We need a 2025 target.
    We also need a truly independent climate accountability officer whose only job is to monitor government action and effect. The environmental commissioner has other important topics that should be dealt with and is underfunded already on that front.
    The advisory body this bill calls for should have a real specific role in setting targets, and the targets should not be set based on what the government feels is achievable without rocking any boats. They should be targets based on science and what we must do.
    Another reason I am happy that this bill is finally coming forward is that Jack Layton tabled a similar bill in 2006. That is right, 14 years ago. That bill actually passed through the House of Commons, thanks to the fact that we were in a minority government at the time. People often think of minority government as not accomplishing anything, but the fact is that most of the good lasting actions by Canadian governments have come during minority Parliaments. That is another reason why we should embrace proportional representation in our electoral system, as they do in New Zealand and many other countries, but I digress.
    Unfortunately Jack's bill was killed by the Conservatives in the Senate, an all too common example of anti-democratic action by that unelected body. I witnessed the same fate when my private member's bill was killed in the Senate last year, along with many others, as a handful of Conservative senators sought to stop Romeo Saganash's bill on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Happily, I hear there is a movement to change Senate rules so that private members' bills cannot be summarily stopped by a few unelected senators, but I digress once again.
    I ran for office five years ago because friends and colleagues told me they felt we needed more scientists in the House of Commons. It is indeed an honour and privilege to be here. When Canada went to the Paris talks in 2015, shortly after that election, I was proud of the commitments we made there. However, I was deeply disappointed the following spring when MPs were literally instructed by the Liberal government to go back to their ridings to find out what we should do to meet those Paris targets.
    We knew what we had to do. We had a long list of necessary actions to decarbonize our energy systems, electrify our transportation, retrofit our buildings to become energy efficient, and on and on. We knew we had precious little time to do it. Instead, we were told to spend six months or more talking to our constituents. I did that. I held town halls on climate change. The overwhelming message at those town halls was that we have to get on to it. People wanted to know why we were asking them, because we knew what we had to do and that we should just do our job.
    I will not go into the litany of past commitments and broken promises by both Liberal and Conservative governments on climate action. It is clear that even the best intentions are stifled when the going gets tough. What the Liberal government did commit to at Paris was to use the old Harper climate target of bringing emissions down to 511 megatonnes by 2030. When it made that commitment, our emissions were at 720 megatonnes. By 2018, three years later, they had risen to 729 megatonnes. We are going in the wrong direction.
     The Conservatives often give the excuse that Canada should not act on climate change, because we are a small country when it comes to population and there are much bigger contributors to global emissions.

  (1240)  

    The fact is we are the worst emitter on a per capita basis, and the rest of the world notices what Canada does or does not do.
    A couple of years ago, I travelled to Argentina with the then Minister of Natural Resources for a G20 meeting on energy. The topic was energy transitions toward a cleaner, more flexible and transparent system. I was impressed by the presentations from countries such as Germany, Japan, the U.K. and China. They talked about bold action over the coming decade.
    The U.K. minister, in particular, had a memorable way of summarizing his country's actions. First, was “walk the walk”, meaning legislate the targets and have accountability. At last we have something like that here. Second was, “put your money where your mouth is” and make significant investments now in clean energy transition. Finally was, “have your cake and eat it too”, meaning reap the benefits of the good jobs that are created by those investments.
    What did Canada say at that meeting? Our Minister of Natural Resources stood up and said that they probably heard we just bought a pipeline, and spent the rest of his time explaining why that was necessary, in some Orwellian way. One could almost hear the face-palms in the room. The only thing that kept us from being at the bottom of the heap in that G20 meeting was the fact that the Americans were there, talking about clean coal.
    We found out this week, from the Canada Energy Regulator, of all places, that those pipelines, the Trans Mountain expansion, will not be necessary; nor will Keystone XL. It turns out that if we are serious about meeting our climate targets, which this legislation would signal we are, we will not need either of those projects to handle oil exports.
    There are many things in this bill that I like, beyond the fact that the government is admitting that politicians are bad at keeping promises without some external body looking over their shoulder and carrying some sort of stick. The Liberals are acknowledging in print that we must limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C, and that we are almost there so we have to work fast. The bill does reference the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the first step we must take in any transition to a clean energy future.
    The Prime Minister recently said of the lack of a 2025 target, “ultimately the accountability for government's actions or inactions is from Canadians themselves”. These are not the words of a climate leader. They are the words of a climate follower.
    We will support this bill at second reading, but the Liberals must work with us to strengthen the accountability provisions by creating a 2025 target and a more independent commissioner dedicated to this job. Canadians expect nothing less than this, and not just Canadians. Let us remember that the world is watching and expecting Canada to do the right thing. My granddaughter in New Zealand will thank us.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was listening to my colleague's speech. He is being fairly critical of the government and the former government. One of the things that came across my mind is this: Would he level the same sort of criticism at the New Democrats in British Columbia? We have to remember the single greatest public-private investment was in LNG. That is a significant investment. It goes against everything that the member has just said. I wonder if he would state very clearly that he opposes that particular project.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not like the fracking of natural gas. There are projects that the NDP government in B.C. has moved ahead with because the projects were very far advanced, when the NDP took office three and a half years ago. I do not agree with everything that government does, but I support it, in that the New Democrats have the best climate action plan of any government on the continent and I am confident that they will lead the country in those actions.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    Every week, I see him in the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, where we study the forestry industry. In this regard, since we studied this issue in the resources standing committee, we know that the forestry industry is probably one of the best sectors for fighting climate change. Unfortunately, when it comes to natural resources, both the Liberal government and the Conservative Party are stubbornly committed to investing in the oil and gas industry.
    Would my colleague agree with me that it would be an excellent start to provide better support to the forestry industry in the fight against climate change?

  (1250)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I agree forestry is well placed to help us in our battle with climate change. The fact is often pointed out that the forests are sequestering carbon. What I would like to see and what we are studying right now at committee, is to find out exactly what best practices forestry can use to make sure that we are maximizing that benefit that forests can provide. We can do all sorts of things poorly, but we want to find out what forestry can do to help us, to help the trees meet our climate targets.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I asked the question to the Liberal government outlining the need to make sure that industry, particularly our energy sector, is concerned. The member was asked about LNG. The member says he does not support fracking. It is kind of rich for the NDP to say it does not want those who are actually putting forward the capital, who are actually doing what it takes. For example, Teck Frontier had the support of first nations and it was to be a net-zero project. LNG has the capacity to displace dirty coal sources and supply British Columbians with jobs. The member's community of Penticton has WestJet service from Calgary because of the investments of oil and gas workers and people who were investing in the wineries of the South Okanagan, which are very good.
    Why does the member believe that oil and gas is dirty, or its workers or managers are not fit to be on the advisory board?
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP is in favour of hearing from workers in the oil and gas sector in that advisory capacity. We are more concerned about hearing from CEOs or executives of oil and gas companies because frankly the reason that we are here today is that the push-back from the oil and gas sector has delayed and delayed our actions on climate change. We will need that oil and gas for years to come, but we need to move to cleaner fuels and cleaner energy. We need people on that board who will say “this is what we have to do and must do this”, not “we cannot do this”.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Centre.
    I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-12, an act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. As I understand the legislation, there are generally five main objectives: one, require the government to produce three specific reports, namely an emissions reductions plan, a progress report and an assessment report with respect to future emissions goals, to be tabled in Parliament; two, provide for public participation; three, establish an advisory board to reach zero emissions; four, write a fourth report on financial implications through Finance Canada; and five, write a fifth report to be tabled every five years by the environment commissioner.
    I will say at the outset that I am generally in favour of more accountability and transparency and support the spirit of this legislation, but it does seem overly bureaucratic. In addition, it raises a number of red flags regarding the actions of the government as they relate to public accountability on environmental reporting and its progress to date.
    In 2016, I worked as a political aide for the hon. member for Abbotsford. It was a new Parliament and there was general agreement that those on the environment committee wanted to work together for the well-being of Canada. This collaboration led to a June 2016 report entitled “Federal Sustainability for Future Generations—A Report Following an Assessment of the Federal Sustainable Development Act”. It received unanimous support.
    The purpose of the report was to address the gaps in the Federal Sustainable Development Act outlined by former environment commissioner Julie Gelfand, who described the law as “a jigsaw puzzle without the benefit of the picture on the box.” The commissioner noted that the reporting required under the law gave readers a sense of progress, but “sufficient information was not included to provide a fair presentation of the progress being made”.
    The committee wrote that the legislation did not meet expectations and there was general agreement by stakeholders that it lacked the enforcement necessary to improve how the government addressed environmental sustainability. The committee members recommended expanding the definition of “sustainability” in the act to include not just environmental considerations, but also thorough considerations of economic and social factors. Understanding sustainability more broadly would be instrumental in applying goals and targets that factored into all aspects of our government decision-making.
    Some of the other considerations included enabling a whole-of-government approach to sustainability; assigning responsibilities to central agencies of the federal government; considering Canada's commitment to sustainable development internationally; considering short-, medium- and long-term targets; ensuring that the government respond to them; and setting additional measures for improving enforceability. The report was tabled in June 2016.
    One year later, Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act, was tabled by the member for Ottawa Centre. In her speech, she highlighted that the committee was instrumental in her approach to the bill. She thanked committee members and noted that this legislation would make Canada one of the greenest countries in the world, that sustainable development was at the forefront of the government's considerations, that it was about meeting the needs of future generations without compromising the present and that it would expand the definition of “sustainable development” to three core pillars: economic, social and environmental.
    All in all, Bill C-57 and the original law, the Federal Sustainable Development Act, would mean a few things. The government would need to write a series of reports. There would be parliamentary oversight and regular reporting. It would set targets and strategies on sustainable development in line with these reports. There would be an expanded advisory board to improve public participation and hear from first nations. Sustainability would be a whole-of-government matter, and the environment commissioner would be required to review progress and report on whether the government was meeting its targets and doing what it said it would do.

  (1255)  

    Upon review of the 2019 report entitled “Achieving a Sustainable Future”, as required under the Federal Sustainable Development Act, the government outlined 13 main goals: effective action on climate change, greening government, clean growth, modern and resilient infrastructure, clean energy, healthy coasts and oceans, pristine lakes and rivers, sustainably managed lands and forests, healthy wildlife populations, clean water, sustainable food, connecting with nature and safe communities. All in all, this is a pretty comprehensive set of goals and targets.
    We could argue that net-zero emissions cannot even be considered unless there is real and concrete action on at least 12 of the 13 existing targets in the federal sustainability report and, consequently, the act. I cannot think of many Canadians who would have a problem with the Government of Canada pursuing any of these objectives in a reasonable fashion.
    However, here is the major problem. As of November 2, the Government of Canada has still not brought into force Bill C-57, which brings forward needed improvements to the government's approach on sustainability. The issues the environment committee sought to address in 2016 still exist. The environment commissioner outlined them in detail, noting the jigsaw puzzle without a picture on the box. The majority of environmentalists in our country also saw them as something wrong with the legislation.
    Nothing the member for Ottawa Centre said on Bill C-57 in 2017 about creating the greenest environment has even been operationalized, and given that the minister has come before Parliament with a suite of new bureaucratic measures that would invariably duplicate existing objectives passed within Bill C-57 and are contained within the Federal Sustainable Development Act and its report, I cannot but be skeptical about this approach. Why not try to address some of the tangible things we can do to improve our environment today toward a net-zero future, as outlined in the existing and stated goals, which are already subject to Governor in Council review, thorough parliamentary oversight and consideration by the Auditor General and by extension the environment commissioner?
    For example, Canada's regulatory framework under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act needs to be updated for new battery technology. What about the 13 goals, particularly clean growth and effective action on climate change? The Canadian Environmental Protection Act has not been substantially updated since its introduction by the Conservatives. We could do dozens of things there to improve product standards, help vulnerable populations and update our air quality monitoring systems.
    Let us think about safe communities. We could plant a billion trees and reduce our environmental footprint. Let us think about conservation, clean water and healthy wildlife populations. We could work with like-minded countries to sign international agreements that would allow Canada to share our technological expertise. Let us think about effective action on climate change. We are still trying to operationalize those aspects of the Paris accord.
    We could continue so much work on protecting habitats and, subsequently, species at risk. We could work more closely with our first nations brothers and sisters to take meaningful action to protect wild salmon and conserve the remaining spawning habitats along the Fraser River. We could even develop an economic plan to incentivize investors in strategic areas like modern agricultural techniques, systems software and satellite technology to reduce our environmental footprint. We could help companies like Carbon Engineering scale its technology in Canada.
    What I see in the legislation before us is simply another example of Liberals talking a really good game yet doing next to nothing to make real progress right now. Is the government trying to make everyone laugh by requiring Finance Canada to write a report on risks and opportunities? It will not even commit to a 2021 budget. What a farce. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says the government lacks accountability and is not updating our public accounts and information on how the government is spending money.
    What would have been more beneficial for our country and for the Minister of Environment to consider doing would be something like the following. He should bring into force an updated Federal Sustainable Development Act, and include within it an updated strategy with five actions every year the government could take during its mandate to move toward a sustainable future so it would be subject to the review of the environment commissioner. We could give Canadians certainty about the actions being taken and the consequences of such actions in real time.

  (1300)  

    We could set a standard for excellence today both in transparency and accountability, which are sorely lacking in the government and this legislation, and finally get to work and actually do something.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon for that excellent summary, especially of the Federal Sustainable Development Act.
     Quite frankly, the record of the Liberal government is one of failure with respect to the environment. I harken back to a time when the Conservatives really cared about the environment. They expanded national parks and eliminated acid rain, thanks to Brian Mulroney, and did so many other things, such as shutting down coal-fired electricity generation.
    The Federal Sustainable Development Act was a comprehensive piece of legislation that was modified by the current Liberal government. Does the member remember who introduced that act? What impact has it had in shaping our environment in Canada?

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Federal Sustainable Development Act was supported comprehensively by former Conservative environment minister John Baird.
    To the point made earlier by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Conservatives supported the Federal Sustainable Development Act update in Bill C-57 in the last Parliament. For the member to say the Conservatives do not care about the environment and do not want the government to improve accountability on environmental reporting is completely false. He should refer back to Bill C-57, which has still not been enacted and put into force by the government.
    Mr. Speaker, we have seen right-leaning Conservative governments in the U.K., Germany, Poland and Japan all working toward a just transition and moving toward clean energy. In fact, the European president has said, “The European Green Deal is not just a necessity: it will be a driver of new economic opportunities.” They have done this by taking real action to phase out high-intensity fossil fuels.
     Why are the Conservatives not jumping on board? This is an opportunity for a just transition for workers. Instead, they continue to promote an agenda that will leave us with huge economic and environmental deficits.
    Mr. Speaker, I am in complete disagreement with the member's characterization of the Conservative Party of Canada.
    In my speech, I outlined concrete things the Government of Canada could be doing right now. For Canada to be a leader on the environment, we need to address some of our competitive disadvantages, update the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and do things that will allow Canadians, our businesses and our private sectors to take meaningful action to improve the environment.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to a sentence my colleague said, when he wondered why we are not taking concrete action right now to improve our environment.
    I was a little surprised. When it comes to the environment, the concrete action that can be taken is generally based on the fairly simple polluter-pays principle. Everyone in the environmental field agrees on that.
    However, every time that there is mention of a carbon tax, the Conservative Party is always up in arms. I would therefore really like to understand what my colleague thinks is the concrete action that can be taken to support the environment.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in 2017, my riding suffered massive forest fires. My constituents heard about the government's plan to plant a billion trees to protect the Bonaparte River, yet it has taken zero action. They would like to see concrete actions right now. Why does the government not move on that right now? Also, the first nation forestry companies would love to have some support from the federal government to improve our watershed. That is one concrete action the government could take.
    With respect to a carbon tax, let me point out that the NDP exempted the carbon tax for the investment in natural gas production in British Columbia, as did the federal Liberals. Let us be real. The carbon tax is not competitive and, when push comes to shove, they do not even apply it where they really want to see investment.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are here today to talk about Bill C-12, an act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.
    I am happy to discuss the bill, because it is such an important matter for this country going forward.
    My first challenge with the bill is why the government needs to include words like “transparency” and “accountability” in a piece of legislation. These principles should be part of all government legislation and all government action. Unfortunately, that is the way this government sees things or demonstrates its actions. In fact, these actions are about anything but transparency or accountability.
    It is important to go back to what the Paris Agreement is. The COP21, the conference of the parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held the carbon levels we were supposed to reach above pre-industrial levels to two degrees by the year 2050. We are doing our utmost to hit that. This requires, obviously, world action including Canada.
    Planetary warming is going to happen around the world, and we need to contribute to making sure that we get everybody on the same page of reducing planetary warming. There are 7.5 billion people who live on the planet, and that would rise perceptually to 9 billion by 2050. All of these people emit carbon. All of these carbon-emitting entities depend upon carbon-based activities, including agriculture, livestock, heat and energy to fulfill their lives, which is the first tier of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
    I have been in the House for just over a year. I was elected in Calgary Centre partly to give voice to some reasonable voices in the energy industry in Canada and actually show how we could move forward on this file without submerging ourselves, as a country, and making sure we move forward with common sense.
    Interestingly, when we look at all the energy industries in Canada and the associations that represent them, they are all fully on board with getting to net zero by 2050. It is part of all of their advertisements and governance charters going forward. They are also the industry, people should remember, that pays the most taxes in Canada and that contributes the most to exports for a balance of payments, which is significant for this country.
    Also, whenever we buy fuel, we think about what fuel means in Canada, which is getting from place to place and getting our goods from place to place, including our food and clothes. That is where 45% of the cost of the input from petroleum products goes right back into the government's pocket: what we call “economic rent.” When we compare, dollar to dollar, which energy source is more efficient, which is costing more and which is contributing more, we need to level the field. We need to understand that if we did away with oil and gas, which is what I am hearing some of the members in the House say, we would effectively be doing away with not only a very important industry to Canada, but a very important tax base to Canada. We would then have to replace that with taxation from Canadians generally, and the government would find another way to tax Canadians. However, let us look at that contribution and make sure that it is considered in this discussion.
    The Liberal government continues to fail on the environment file. The Liberals have yet to come up with a plan that works, because they do not really understand energy, and I do not mean just fossil fuel energy. I mean all energy: the contributions to energy, how energy is produced and what the effects of producing energy are. There is always an effect to producing energy, even if it is in storage, whether it is hydro or uranium. There is an effect, no matter the sort of energy we get our power from.
    We talked about listening to the science, yet in my short time here, I am challenged to find a member on the government bench who actually understands science. Please guide me.

  (1315)  

    At the same time, the government ignores the multitude of scientists who have provided significant input on this file. I recall the task force for resilient recovery. In the midst of a pandemic, Gerry Butts and his rent-seeking friends jammed an agenda forward. Canada was suffering a pandemic. Is this transparency? Is this accountability? Do not let a good crisis go to waste.
    Gerry Butts had a lot of success. He camouflaged a $107-billion speculative program, at least, into a $49.9-billion talking point that was largely reflected in the throne speech. This is not a talking point. This is Canada's environment. This is Canada's future we are talking about. The task force said “it is time to go big”, which means playing roulette and betting Canada's future on red 36. Canadians deserve better stewards of their future.
    In reading the task force report and then reading the government's throne speech, one notices that the paraphrasing in the throne speech is astounding. These reports had the same author. Who paid them? Who will pay them? Will it be the 15 advisers in this legislation? Not one of the task force members was a scientist, which is interesting. The report is littered with the moralistic right-speak of public policy experts: people who are interested in their own agenda, which is often their own financial agenda.
    Perhaps we should look at the 15-member advisory board that is proposed in this legislation. A potential path forward that the government should consider, in my opinion, is for 15 advisers to be appointed to the Minister of Environment. Perhaps the government could commit to appointing 15 people who actually represent the 15 sectors that contribute to Canada's economy. There are enough public policy experts in the bowels of every government department. We do not have to hire others and get their input on what they should already have from their officials. We do not need more public policy experts. Bring in the economy's real experts: those who are contributing to Canada.
    While we are talking about transparency, it is timely to discuss the regulation currently being constructed by Environment and Climate Change Canada: its so-called Clean Fuel Standard. In effect, it is a hidden carbon tax on Canada's productive industries. It is inequitably applied. The industry is waiting, once again, to see how the government may exempt them. A little influence in the government never hurt.
    It is about picking winners and losers. It is not about transparency and definitely not about accountability. It is not about Canada's environment. It reminds me of the manufacturer's sale tax from years ago that had to be cancelled in the 1980s because industries left Canada. Industries still produced goods for Canadians elsewhere, but jobs and taxes left Canada. Everything left Canada, and it is what we now call carbon leakage because there was the same production and Canadians still bought the same goods that were produced elsewhere. This is an example we do not want to repeat.
    There is a lot that has to happen in the energy industry. There is a lot that we need to make sure gets better, and we need to continue to reduce carbon. I am hopeful this bill gets us part of the way there. I am hopeful the government will start taking this file seriously.
    To this point, all I have heard is partisan shouting out of that side and blaming past governments for what they did not do. It is the Liberals' turn to step forward and move this file forward. We are trying to work with them.
    Mr. Speaker, in the interests of putting partisanship aside and in the interests of science, the IPCC said the world needs to get to net zero by 2050, and 45% below 2010 levels by 2030.
    Does the member agree with the IPCC's science?
    Mr. Speaker, the IPCC has its own scientific explanations. We have to look at what that means. Every party I know has committed to going forward with meeting net zero and getting toward it as quickly as possible. If it happens by 2049 or 2051, moving in that direction is exactly what we need to continue to do.

  (1320)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    However, I find it rather odd to hear him say that oil is good because when people go to the grocery store, they send money to the government. Based on available figures, the federal government has invested $70 billion in fossil fuels over the last 40 years, including $19 billion in the last four years, and $2 billion this spring.
    Sooner or later, we are going to have to transition away from oil. Even in Quebec, the Legault government just passed legislation to prohibit the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035. Does my colleague agree that, if we want to curb greenhouse gases, sooner or later we will have to transition away from fossil fuels? If so, what date does he propose?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have noticed that many jurisdictions around the world are moving toward banning the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030, 2040 or 2050. That is part of the transition we talk about.
    The other part of that transition looks at the actual environmental benefit of what is replacing internal combustion engines. People have to look at the full cycle cost, and the full cycle CO2 cost, of replacing internal combustion engines. Eventually, we have to get to the actual math, which is part of the science, that asks why we are shifting but our CO2 footprint is actually increasing.
    I am going to challenge the member who asked the question to look at the actual consumer rebate of $13,000 in Quebec, once the subsidies are removed, for an electric vehicle. What does that mean to the public, but what does it also mean to the environment to have a whole bunch of inefficient electric vehicles being produced, along with their batteries, and along with the pollution effects from those industries? That is the challenge we have, going forward.
    Mr. Speaker, the world's top scientists are telling us that we must dramatically reduce our emissions by 2030 if we want to avoid the worst consequences of severe climate change. The IPCC has been very clear that we need to stabilize global temperature to 1.5° if we want to avoid the catastrophic issue that is facing us. We need to go beyond Stephen Harper's targets. Right now, the government has a milestone target of 2030. That means the next progress report will not be until 2028.
    I am hoping my colleague agrees with me, that we need to listen to science and we need to set a much stronger target than 2030.
    Mr. Speaker, the issue around 2030 and, actually, 2040 and 2050, is that they are interesting dates. Let us recognize that each one of these targets is politically set: 1.5° is a political number, 2° is a political number and 2030 is a nice, round political number. Is it going to be worse from now until 2025 than it will be from 2025 until 2030? All of these are dancing on the head of a pin, as far as what is worse and what the measures are.
    The whole point is to start getting to better solutions. That means more efficient energy for this country.
    Mr. Speaker, to my hon. friend from Calgary Centre, I think it is terribly important to disagree as forcefully as possible with the notion that 1.5° is a political target, as 1.5° has emerged from the intense work of thousands of scientists globally in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was commissioned by governments to find out exactly what the difference is, in terms of impacts, between a 1.5° global average temperature increase and a 2° increase. Both of those figures are embedded in the Paris Agreement. They are critical to ensure human civilization survives. That is not hyperbole. That is science. The member for Beaches—East York had it just right. If we do not achieve 45% reductions globally by 2030, we cannot have a prayer of reaching net zero.
    I ask my hon. colleague for Calgary Centre to reconsider what he calls science and what he calls politics.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am sorry the member misunderstood my statement. The number arrived at is 1.5°C, but if we get to 1.49°C, I am saying that is actually better. This is not a line in the sand. That is my point to the member. I hope she takes it in the spirit it was intended. The number 2°C was decided on in the 1992 accord as what we needed to get to, and we needed to make sure in 2015 that we had methods for getting there.
    In all good spirits, I am certain the member did not mean to misinterpret my remarks to say it was political or non-scientific. They are numbers that people can attach themselves to. If we get to 2.01°C versus 2°C, or we go to 1.98°C or to 1.49°C versus 1.5°C, I think we are still talking about those numbers. They are not lines in the sand. I appreciate the member correcting me on the misuse of the phrase.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the virtual House today to participate in this extremely important debate on Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act.
    Before I get into my remarks today, I would like to notify you that I would like to share my time with the hon. member for Beaches—East York, who will make a speech after me.
    As I said, it is my pleasure to participate in this important debate. It is a topic that is extremely important. It has been important to me throughout my entire life. It is something my constituents care about and remind me of all of the time and this legislation as proposed provides an accountability framework. It certainly does not provide the content of a plan for moving forward. It really defines a framework for accountability and that is a positive step forward.
    Canada and countries around the world are facing unprecedented economic, environmental and social challenges, which are all occurring at the same time. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant loss and uncertainty in Canada. Almost half of households lost work at the peak of the pandemic, impacting the ability of families to pay rent and put food on the table.
    Responding to the pandemic and ensuring that Canadians can move forward into a recovery phase that ensures there are good jobs and a solid plan for a strong, resilient, competitive and sustainable economy matters more than ever. We need a road map for the future, one that takes into account our current reality but also where we want the world to be in 10, 20 and 30 years from now.
    What we know is that the world is changing. Countries are responding to the fallout from the pandemic, but many are doing so in a way that takes into account the equally urgent crisis of climate change. In some respects, the current public health crisis pales in comparison to the larger and impending crisis that will see the effects of human activity, which has harmed our natural world for generations, leading to the alteration of weather patterns, mass extinctions, the loss of biodiversity and even the collapse of ecosystems, which ultimately threatens the habitability of our planet.
    The science is very clear that we face a catastrophic future if we do not dramatically alter the amount of pollution we are putting into the atmosphere. I learned recently of a remarkable independent film called The Magnitude of all Things, and that film masterfully depicts a phenomena called climate grief, which is the loss we are all feeling from the destruction of our home.
    The science is clear that we need to bend the curve on GHG emissions now and achieve net-zero emissions globally by 2050. Countries around the world are responding to this imperative and they are also moving to take advantage of the clean growth opportunities that will come with it. Those are significant and Canada has enormous advantages, ranging from our vast natural resources to our skilled population, our commitment to research, our innovation and our entrepreneurial spirit. We need to seize the opportunity now. We need to do our part to demonstrate our commitment to the rest of the world.
    From forest fires and floods to melting permafrost and coastal erosion, Canadians are experiencing the impacts of climate change every single day. Our climate is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. In the north, warming is nearly three times as fast. The effects of warming are already evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the near future. We can see this with wilder weather and seasons and lots of flooding. There is much evidence of these weather patterns changing.
    In December 2015, at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Canada played a leadership role in reaching a historic agreement to address climate change. Canada was also one of the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement and help push it over the threshold to bring it into force in October 2016.
    Through the Paris Agreement, we committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global temperature increase to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement, Canada developed the first climate change plan in our history to include joint and individual commitments by federal-provincial-territorial governments and to have been developed with input from indigenous peoples, businesses, non-governmental organizations and Canadians from across the country.

  (1330)  

    The pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change was adopted in December of 2016, and this was a huge step forward. In fact, one of the reasons I got into politics in the last federal election was that great work. The pan-Canadian framework outlines over 15 concrete measures to reduce carbon pollution, help us adapt and become more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate, spur clean-technology solutions and create good jobs that contribute to a stronger economy.
    Between 2005 and 2019 the federal government invested $60 billion to drive down greenhouse gas emissions, generate clean technologies, help Canadians and communities to adapt to the changing climate, and protect the environment. Carbon pollution pricing systems are in place in all provinces and territories, and we have introduced regulations to reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector and to improve emissions standards for light- and heavy-duty vehicles.
    As we work to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2030, we have worked with communities and workers affected by the transition to a low-carbon economy. We are developing net-zero energy-ready building codes to be adopted by 2030 for new buildings, and we have adopted a climate lens to ensure that future climate impacts are considered and addressed in federally funded infrastructure projects. To ensure Canadians have access to climate science and information, we established the Canadian Centre for Climate Services.
    Our plan is working. Our most recent projections show a widespread decline in projected emissions across the economy. The policies and measures now in place, including those introduced in 2019, are projected to reduce emissions by 227 million tonnes by 2030. However, we know that a great deal of work remains to be done. The 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change also invited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to prepare a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. I have that report here, and I have been reviewing it.
    In 2018, the special report on “Global Warming of 1.5°C” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that global emissions must reach carbon neutrality by around 2050 to limit warming to 1.5°C. There are clear benefits to limiting global temperature increases to that level. The IPCC's report made it clear that, to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, an aggressive and long-term commitment to action is needed. Every bit of warming matters, and this is why it is urgent to take action now. Increasing ambition is what science tells us is needed to address climate change, and it is built into the Paris Agreement.
    We are currently working on strengthening existing and introducing new greenhouse gas emission reduction measures, which will allow us to exceed our current 2030 target. On top of that, we know that we need to look to the longer term, which is why we committed to enshrining, in legislation, the government's goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Along with this system of five-year targets, emissions reduction plans, progress reports and assessment reports are key enabling components of our work to achieve a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
    Our government has committed to implement a number of new measures to help us reach these ambitious targets, while creating a million new jobs and growing the economy. This includes a commitment to plant two billion trees to help sequester carbon, retrofitting 1.5 million homes to improve energy efficiency and save Canadians money on their energy bills, making it easier for Canadians to purchase and drive zero-emission vehicles, and supporting northern, remote and indigenous communities as they transition from diesel to renewable energy systems.
    These measures and more, which the government plans to announce soon, will help put Canada on a path to a strong zero-emissions economy, one that is inclusive for all Canadians.
    I am going to stop there. I had a few more remarks, but I understand that my time is limited. I will stop there, but I am thankful for this opportunity.

  (1335)  

    
    Mr. Speaker, how can the Liberals claim that this bill offers more transparency and accountability when his government has not been transparent whatsoever on the costs of their carbon tax and whom, ultimately, that costs? The member for Carleton calls it the “carbon tax cover-up”.
    Would the member be open to seeing amendments at committee stage toward ensuring that socio-economic and fiscal impacts as a part of any action plan should be included so consumers know exactly who is paying the bill, in what part of the region and in what sectors?
    Mr. Speaker, I always find the hon. member's questions helpful in clarifying where the government stands. This framework for accountability does provide numerous points in time, such as monitoring, an advisory board or advisory function. There are reporting requirements. Many aspects of the legislation provide a container for accountability on our plans, targets and reporting on progress. We can continue to evaluate our progress toward defined targets. We really need this to ensure that any governments that come into power are bound to climate targets and take this crisis seriously.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I must say that a lot of what the member for Whitby said in his speech was music to my ears. He is obviously aware of all the damage that global warming is doing to the environment and human health.
    However, since he talked about two billion trees, if we overlook the fact that that none of them have been planted yet, those trees would reduce greenhouse gases by 30 megatonnes by 2030, while the Trans Mountain project with its barrels of oil would increase greenhouse gases by 620 megatonnes by 2030. I get the impression that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question comes up often in some of the debates on this topic. I understand that this is a challenging issue that requires a full-court press from all stakeholders at all levels of government. It requires us to transition entire industries and move toward essentially all of us changing the way we live, purchase, govern and do business. Every part of our existence is going to have to change for us to fully address and get to net-zero—

  (1340)  

    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Mr. Speaker, this debate and discussion is so vitally important. Where I am feeling somewhat cynical is that I was elected 16 years ago when Stéphane Dion brought in his bill that would have clear targets and Canada would meet them. He even names his little dog, Kyoto, after the program. Year in and year out the emissions continued to rise, and emissions are predicted to continue to rise in the oil and gas sector.
    The Prime Minister is pushing Joe Biden to move on the Keystone XL pipeline, while the Liberals put $12.6 billion into Trans Mountain. How can they expect Canadians to take them seriously, that they actually will get to net zero, when they continue to subsidize the industry to such a massive extent?
    Mr. Speaker, I share my hon. colleague's concerns.
    The way I look at it is we are attacking this problem from many different angles at the same time. It is not as simple as saying we can cut off support immediately just as, to the same degree, we cannot phase out single-use plastics overnight. There are times, transition, stages and phases of this work. We have to be respectful of workers in the oil and gas industry and those industries just as much as we need to support all other aspects of this problem that need to be addressed.
    Our government has stepped up and provided a really holistic plan with some very ambitious targets. I think the—
    We are going to take one more question and response.
     The hon. member for Fredericton.
    Mr. Speaker, for the record, I agree that this should not be a partisan issue. I do not want to feel like a little green mosquito, just trying to pick away at this. I want the government to succeed. I want to be excited by climate legislation.
    However, with all due respect, this is not it for me. The member talked about the catastrophic changes we are facing and the grief that we are feeling because of this. Is 10 years before we start looking at actual accountability an adequate response to this?
    I think about the youth who are constantly contacting my office and the ways they are feeling about this. They are looking to the government to be bold and to provide really concrete actions today.
    Mr. Speaker, in no way do I think the hon. member is a green mosquito. I honestly feel like she is a partner on an issue about which we all feel passionately. I really value her perspective.
    It is a point well taken. I have heard from numerous other members that they are looking for a target to be set for 2025. Bills in the House only get stronger through debate. I value that perspective and I see your point. Hopefully as we move forward, as the points are debated, we will move to improve the bill even more.
     I am quite excited about it. It is a step forward, for sure, but I understand your concerns.
    I would just remind hon. members to direct their comments to the Chair. Using the third person works very well for the House, as members know.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Beaches—East York.
     Mr. Speaker, as we live through these difficult times and face the COVID crisis, we have to direct our energies to the crisis in front of us. However, we cannot forget about the climate crisis that looms large. We have to bring that same sense of effort and determination to address it.
     When thinking about addressing that crisis, I look at it through three lenses: ambition, accountability and action.
    The bill before us, Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act, is about accountability but also about ambition. I want to start with what is very good in the legislation on ambition, which is the commitment to net zero by 2050.
    In the last Parliament, I was lucky to join two other colleagues from the Green Party and the NDP to call for a climate emergency debate in the wake of the IPCC report on 1.5°C. I introduced a bill on net zero by 2050 in the House. I was very happy to see that in our platform and the throne speech. Now it is realized as a commitment in this legislation.
    In the purpose clause, the legislation says the purpose is “to promote transparency and accountability...in support of achieving net-zero emissions in Canada by 2050”. Importantly, in the preamble, the IPCC is explicitly cited. The IPCC concluded, “achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is key to keeping the rise in the global-mean temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and minimizing climate-change related risks.”
    Of course, 2050 is a long time away, so we need to turn that long-term ambition into short-term practical action and we do so in the course of the legislation by way of five-year milestone targets. That is important. We talked about carbon budgets in our platform. It is important for everyone in the House to support the bill going to committee. When it gets to committee, I am certainly interested in hearing from experts about the difference between the carbon budget process and the milestone process that our government has proposed. It is very important that we not just talk about net zero by 2050, but look at shorter-term milestones and targets as well. That is an important ambition.
    When it comes to accountability, it is important to highlight a series of positive measures in the legislation.
     We first see progress reporting, a requirement of one progress report per milestone at least two years before the milestone. We see a requirement to table assessment reports and an important requirement for the government to table an emissions reduction plan in Parliament to tell the public how we will meet these shorter-term targets and get to net zero by 2050.
    We also see a requirement for an expert advisory body that is to not only advise the minister but report annually to the minister and the minister must respond in a public fashion. These are important accountability mechanisms. We see a requirement for annual reports from the finance minister on how the government is taking key measures to manage financial climate risks.
     Last, we see a requirement for an independent environmental commissioner tasked with examining and reporting on our progress and holding us to account if we fail to meet the necessary progress.
    I started with the positives, but let me speak to some of the challenges. Before I get to the challenges, when I speak of accountability ambition and action, this is not an action plan. For anyone looking at this plan, saying we are speaking about the importance of climate change and asking where the action is, this is not the action plan. We have seen significant action over the last five years, and I can get into the details of that. We have seen projected 2030 emissions between 2016 and 2019 go down 25% because of the policies we put in place, but this is fundamentally about accountability and brings with it a commitment to greater ambition.
    It also kicks the can down the road too far. I mentioned turning that longer-term ambition into short-term action. While this is a very strong framework for accountability, there is a significant “but”. That is because this act, as structured, provides the first milestone target as 2030. What this means is that the first progress report would not be required until no later than December 31, 2027.
    Clearly, we need a more urgent and credible reporting timeline to meet the act's goal of transparency and accountability. There are a few ways of answering this challenge, in my view. A number of environmental organizations and colleagues have proposed that we move up the first milestone from 2030 to 2025. This would mean that an initial progress report would be required by the end of 2022, and there is some sense in this. Very smart environmental advocates have called for this solution to address the challenge that I have described.

  (1345)  

    There is another way of addressing this challenge, though. When we look at science-based ambition, we have a 2050 target in this bill, a net-zero, science-based target from the IPCC, and we could have a science-based 2030 target in this bill as well.
    What does a science-based 2030 target mean? We talk about net zero by 2050, but the IPCC also tells us that, on that pathway to one and a half degrees, the world needs to be 45% below 2010 levels by 2030. What does that mean in a Canadian context? In 2010, our emissions were 691 megatonnes, and 45% below that is 380. That should be our minimum target.
    If we look to the Paris Agreement and the fact we are a highly developed country, we might argue credibly that we actually ought to go further. At a minimum, on the science, the target for 2030 should be 380 megatonnes. If we establish that target in a science-based and serious way, then in the course of this act, we could provide for earlier progress reports.
    I would certainly be comfortable with a strong science-based 2030 target. If we do not have a 2025 target, but a strong science-based 2030 target, I would certainly be comfortable with earlier progress reports in 2030, 2025, 2027. With those, this would be a very strong bill.
    I have heard from other advocates that we could strengthen the advisory body's role in setting targets and in progress reporting. We could better ensure its independence. I have seen suggestions to require the minister to consider expert advice when setting targets. There are reasonable questions about capacity issues in the environmental commissioner's office to do this serious work.
    This is the framework we are looking to. In the U.K., as an example, the climate change committee that was established through legislation in 2008 has great resources. We need to ensure any independent body standing up to do the accountability job has the necessary resources to do that job effectively.
    As I mentioned previously, the difference between milestone targets and carbon budgets has also been raised with me. All these considerations will rightly be addressed by experts at committee, and I sincerely hope we see proposals from all parties and constructive work at the environment committee to improve this bill. It is a strong framework but it absolutely does need to be improved.
    To close, I just want to emphasize that accountability and ambition are important, but at all times we must be guided by science. Our ambition must be set by science and this accountability act should be as robust as possible. Then of course everything depends upon serious climate action.
    I know there are questions about impacts on the economy. This bill, in the preamble, recognizes the importance for the economy to move toward a clean transition, but this is really about jobs as much as it is about climate action for our kids.
    We have made significant progress since 2015, so let us, united across party lines, build on that progress. Let us bring, as I say, the same determination and scale of response to the climate crisis that we have brought to the COVID crisis.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was initially concerned my friend's speech would contain unqualified praise for the government, but he stayed on brand and offered some criticisms. I appreciate that.
    One of the frustrations for me in our debates about climate change is that we spend relatively so much more time talking about targets than about the action that will allow us to move toward those targets. We had a big discussion about which targets are appropriate for what year, but we also have to make decisions based on immediate actions and trade-offs.
    He alluded to some of that, but I would like to ask him specific questions in that context. What does he think about supporting the deployment of greater nuclear technology? What does he think about supporting carbon capture and storage within the energy sector? Also, what does he think about doing more to support the development and export of natural gas as an alternative to the continuing use of coal in other countries around the world in conditions that are not up to the level even of coal use here in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, speaking from Ontario, there is absolutely a continued role for nuclear, but new investments in nuclear, looking at the math, do not seem particularly cost effective.
    When it comes to carbon capture and storage, every plan I have seen includes it, but there is no sense of the science behind what that means and how we actually realize it. At the moment, there is no credible plan for carbon capture and storage at scale to get us to where we need to get.
    In answer to my friend on the question about action versus ambition, of course we need both. I mentioned we have had significant action over the last five years and that we need more of it, but we also need the right level of ambition. The machinery of government moves slowly and it moves toward an end goal. If we do not get the goal right, then all of that work will have been for not.
    As a baseball player for much of my life, if I am told it is a five-inning game or a nine-inning game, I manage my bullpen differently, so let us get the innings right.

  (1355)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when I was a teacher, I often saw students who had problems and knew the solutions, but could not solve their problems because they did not know how to go about implementing the solution.
    This bill is a step in the right direction, but is does not identify how the objectives will be achieved.
    Is there a concrete, down-to-earth action plan to go with this bill?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is not an action plan, nor should it be construed as one. When we talk about ambition, accountability and action, this is an accountability bill that sets out important ambitions that will require the government to act, but it should not be construed as an action plan.
     I mentioned the U.K. We know that since it established its Climate Change Act 2008, which stood up an accountability framework, it has moved much more quickly than we have. Accountability matters.
    Mr. Speaker, it seems from the member's words that he cares deeply about addressing the climate crisis, so it is confusing to me that he would stand behind a bill that puts off accountability for 10 years.
    What is also confusing is that the member said this is not a climate action plan. Where is the government's climate action plan? This bill gives the government an additional nine months after royal assent to create that plan, yet in its throne speech it said it would table a climate action plan to exceed 2030 targets immediately.
    In what definition of “immediately” does it take a year to get this kind of action plan? How does the member stand behind the Liberal government and its inaction?
    Mr. Speaker, this is a frustrating question in some respects in that it suggests there has been no action. The actual numbers in the report from Environment Canada show that in early 2016, projected 2030 emissions were 815 megatonnes. If we fast-forward to early 2019, that same report is showing it at 592 megatonnes. It is absolutely not where we need to get, but for the first time in my lifetime we have a government that has acted in a serious way on the most important issue of our time.
    To suggest that we need to stand where we are and do no more is wrong, but to suggest there has been inaction is equally wrong. Yes, we need to do more. I mentioned we need to improve this bill, but of course I stand behind it at second reading. I am asking for it to be improved at committee.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague seems quite enthusiastic. He talks about the government's commitments and actions.
    There is a group in Quebec called Mothers Step In. These are mothers and grandmothers who are very worried about climate change and rightly so. They even have a manifesto calling on the federal government to adopt a coherent plan to help meet targets and enshrine them in the bill on climate.
    The government has good targets, but if it is so certain it will achieve them then why not include them in the bill as this group is asking for?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there is a target in the bill. It is net zero by 2050. As I articulated in my response, I think we should have the big numbers we see from the IPCC of 2030 and 2050 as the timelines, and then five-year commitments in the interim. Having a science-based 2030 target established in this legislation is absolutely something I would support.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Community Support

    Mr. Speaker, as Canadians prepare to buy holiday gifts for their family and friends, I urge them to think local, shop local and support the local small businesses that support our communities.
    For some people, tomorrow is Black Friday; for others, it is Buy Nothing Day. I urge everyone to buy nothing from Amazon this holiday season. During this pandemic, Amazon earned massive profits, but it does not pay fair wages, and it has not paid its fair share of taxes in Canada or anywhere else. That is why I am adding my voice to those of the Progressive International coalition in saying it is time to make Amazon pay.
    After the shopping mayhem is over, what I really want people to think about is Giving Tuesday. The non-profit sector provides valuable services to our communities. They deserve our support, now more than ever. I hope people will open their hearts and their wallets to help their favourite non-profit continue their important work.

  (1400)  

Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum

    Mr. Speaker, I recently visited the Archaeology Alive exhibit at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum, winner of the 2020 Ontario Museum Association Award of Excellence in exhibitions. The exhibit focuses on the Jean-Baptiste Lainé site, a remarkable late 16th century indigenous community of 1,700 people that was situated in what is now in my riding of Markham—Stouffville.
    The exhibit was developed collaboratively with the Huron-Wendat Nation of Wendake, Quebec.

[Translation]

    I thank the Huron-Wendat Nation for its knowledge and dedication to this exhibit.

[English]

    Working with indigenous communities will ensure that their histories are shared, so we will have a better understanding of the central role of indigenous peoples in Canada's history.
    I send my congratulations to Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum staff and curator, Krista Rauchenstein. I had an amazing tour of the exhibit.

Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, Saskatchewan held municipal elections. Local leaders play a vital role in providing critical services to our communities.
    Today I would like to recognize some from my riding: Jim Krushelnitzky of Pierceland and Gordon Stomp from Air Ronge will not be returning as mayors, after serving their communities for decades.
    A few of the newly elected leaders in my riding are: Mayors Colin Ratushniak of La Ronge, David Krawetz of Big River, Joe Fike of Goodsoil, Julie Baschuk of Air Ronge, and Reeve Harvey Harriott of the Rural Municipality of Meadow Lake.
    Some returning mayors are: Merlin Seymour of Meadow Lake, Duane Favel of Île-à-la-Crosse, Nick Daigneault of Beauval, Rod Fisher of Debden, Bruce Fidler of Creighton and Carl Lentowicz of Denare Beach.
    There are so many more I would like to honour, and I appreciate everyone who put their name forward. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with all of them on behalf of northern Saskatchewan.

COVID-19

    Mr. Speaker, as the COVID-19 second wave hits, it is more important than ever that Canadians take action to protect themselves, their loved ones and their neighbours.
    We know the drill: We wash our hands, practice physical distancing and wear a mask. However, we can do more, we can be smart. The COVID Alert app works. It tell us when we have been close to someone who has tested positive. We can then get tested quickly and break the cycle of infection.
    Some 5.4 million Canadians have already done so. They know their privacy is secure and their health is protected. It will only be truly effective if everyone is connected.
    Recently, I initiated a friendly challenge with the great member of Parliament for Milton to see which of our ridings could get the most COVID Alert app downloads. We have already had a lot of success, and of course, Don Valley West is going to win.
    I want to now encourage all my colleagues from both sides of the House to find creative and fun ways to promote the COVID Alert app. We do not often have the chance to save lives.

[Translation]

Ghislain Roy

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to acknowledge the involvement and dedication of Ghislain Roy who on October 28 received the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec award of excellence in volunteering.
    Since 2014, Mr. Roy has been the president of the Fondation Héritage whose mission is to create permanent funding to ensure the conservation of the St. Teresa of Avila cathedral in Amos.
    Our cathedral needs major maintenance and restoration work costing millions of dollars. With a dedicated team, Mr. Roy has already obtained financial commitments to the tune of $1.8 million of which $600,000 comes directly from the community. The Roman-Byzantine architecture of Amos' cathedral makes it unique in North America.
    We must acknowledge our heritage and work on keeping our monuments in place. Our grandparents, and my great-uncles in fact, worked on building the cathedral just a century ago. Now we need a financial contribution from the federal government.
    At this point, I can only express my sincere disappointment that Ottawa has not responded to the many appeals from Ghislain Roy and his team. That must change now.

  (1405)  

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, I strongly believe that housing is a fundamental human right. This week, we announced the members of the national housing council who will help us ensure the best way for Canadians to access that right. The people most in need of access to that right are those experiencing homelessness. With winter approaching, this is a top concern for residents of Davenport and Toronto.
    For too long, governments have tried to manage the problem, and we have failed. It has long been time we move from managing to eliminating the problem. In our throne speech we promised to immediately and urgently eliminate chronic homelessness in Canada. We have started on that promise with a $1-billion investment in the creation of rapid housing, while continuing to protect the homeless further made vulnerable by COVID. Since the pandemic began, we have invested $157 million in the reaching home program, $200 million for food banks and $100 million for women's shelters.
    In government, we will work for a future where housing is guaranteed as a right and all Canadians have access to affordable housing.

Agriculture and Mental Health

    Mr. Speaker, the incidence of mental health problems in Canada's agriculture sector is reaching crisis proportions. Farmers, ranchers, producers and their families are increasingly experiencing high levels of stress, depression and even suicidal thoughts.
    In May 2019, my Conservative colleagues and I from the Standing Committee on Agriculture issued a supplementary report on this issue called “Mental Health: A Priority for Our Farmers”. Stakeholders said that all levels of government need to act quickly, and many organizations, primarily spearheaded by female farm entrepreneurs, have been working hard ever since.
    I am also proud of the Chicken Farmers of Canada, which has just completed its two-month mental illness awareness campaign. Although its campaign ends this Friday, this issue needs to remain top of mind for all of us. We must continue to generate even more public awareness and thoughtful discussion.
    Together, we can all work to tackle the tragic rise of mental health illness within Canada's vital agriculture sector.

[Translation]

Community Organizations in Brome—Missisquoi

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to acknowledge the community organizations in Brome—Missisquoi for their hard work throughout the pandemic. Our caregivers centre, youth centres and volunteer centres all managed to quickly adapt to the new reality and continue their essential work.
    Our food banks redoubled their efforts after many people lost their jobs and needed to turn to food banks to feed their families. More than ever, our mental health centres are supporting people to help them through this difficult time.
    The additional workload has made things difficult. During my meetings with organizations in my region, I learned that many of them are now stretched to the limit in terms of resources and volunteers. As the holiday season approaches, I encourage everyone to lend a hand by donating food, money or time.
    In closing, I want to thank all the staff, stakeholders and volunteers of the organizations in my region for their resilience and their dedication to our community. They are making a real difference.

Egmont

    Mr. Speaker, one of the privileges of being the member for Egmont is representing the vibrant Acadian regions of Évangéline and West Prince. These communities have built much of their rich history by preserving their culture and language.
    I am proud to be part of a government that has done so much to support this major contribution. My family, especially my grandmother, is directly descended from the first Acadians to have settled in my homeland. That makes me proud.
    As an MP, I am continuing to perfect my French. I am told that I am the first member for Egmont to have delivered a statement in the House entirely in French in a long time. I would like to thank my teacher, Therese Evraire.

[English]

Innovator of the Year

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to congratulate Saskatchewan entrepreneur Murad Al-Katib for being selected CEO “Innovator of the Year” by The Globe and Mail for his incredible innovations in crop proteins.
    Known affectionately at home as the “lentil king”, Murad's company AGT Food exports its products to over 100 nations and has 29 manufacturing plants in five different countries. Murad and AGT have also donated enough food parcels to feed around 15 million people in Iraq, Syria and other countries.
    Whether he is in the boardroom or coaching football, Murad has the heart of a champion. He strives for excellence in everything he does and it shows in the business he has built. Murad and AGT Food continue to showcase not only the potential of Saskatchewan agriculture but the power of Saskatchewan entrepreneurship.
    I would ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating Mr. Al-Katib on this notable accomplishment and thank AGT Food for its excellent contribution to Canada's agricultural industry.

  (1410)  

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, I have heard repeatedly from constituents and organizations like Mainstay Housing and Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust about the dire need for affordable housing.
    During the pandemic, the need to isolate safely is critical, yet COVID-19 has exposed inequalities. Those who are marginalized do not have the luxury of safely isolating indoors, so tented encampments have popped up in Toronto, including in my community.
    To address this quickly, we have launched the rapid housing initiative. It is a $1-billion program that will quickly build 3,000 new permanent affordable housing units with $203 million dedicated to Toronto alone. Importantly, the RHI is targeted at the most vulnerable, people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The program will rapidly develop new modular housing, convert non-residential buildings and rehabilitate buildings that are abandoned or in disrepair.
    Personally, I have already commenced the work to ensure that the RHI will include saving and expanding rooming houses in Parkdale—High Park, which help so many in my community stay safely housed. Housing is a basic human right. Each of us deserves a safe and affordable place to call home.

COVID-19 Vaccine Access

    Mr. Speaker, on August 24, Professor Attaran wrote in Maclean's that the Liberals were dithering on vaccine procurement. He predicted that the vaccine would be coming to Canada months late.
    Two days later, I attended a Zoom meeting, hosted by the Liberal member for Guelph, for afternoon tea and spirits and a conversation with COVID-19 experts. The panellists included Ashleigh Tuite, Jeannette Comeau and Doug Manuel, who are at the top of the field. What better opportunity for me to find out if the professor was right? I asked moderator Tara Bingham from AstraZeneca a pointed question: Had Canada prepurchased any vaccine doses for Canadians from her company?
    She hesitated and then replied that she was not a panellist so she would call me later. My heart sank. No answer said it all.
    The Liberals knew that Canada was at the back of the line three months ago. The Prime Minister says we will not get a vaccine in December like everyone else because we have no manufacturing capacity. That is utter nonsense. Canadians will not get a vaccine anytime soon because he failed Canadians again.

Victims' Rights

    Mr. Speaker, this week is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week. The Conservative Party has always stood for the rights of victims, highlighted by the passing of the Victims Bill of Rights during our time in government. My advocacy on this issue has been inspired by my constituent Lisa Freeman, whose father was murdered in 1991.
    The current government has continually failed to address the concerns of victims, especially during COVID-19. Repeatedly, victims’ rights advocates have had to push the government to ensure victims and their families are included in the Parole Board process. All victims and their families are asking for is not to be revictimized by the system that is supposed to protect them, while luxuries such as in-person visits have been allowed for convicted murderers and rapists. These are very simple changes to make.
    Conservatives will continue to advocate for victims and their families until the government finally takes meaningful action.

[Translation]

Services to the Public

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is not delivering the goods on many fronts.
    Several examples come to mind, including pharmacare and the fight against climate change, but, today, I would like to draw the attention of the House to a very straightforward issue: direct services to the public.
    It is appalling. People are spending hours on the phone, but nobody is there to answer their questions. We are living in uncertain times. A bunch of programs have been introduced, but their criteria are not always clear. Canadians have the right to get clear answers to their valid questions.
    The Department of Immigration is plagued by the same paralysis. People have been waiting for months for answers to their questions about family reunification, regular status for essential workers, foreign students or permanent residence applications. This government is disrespecting Canadians. This has to change. It needs to allocate the necessary resources to serve the public properly.

  (1415)  

Fred Sasakamoose

    Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday we learned that Fred Sasakamoose, the first indigenous hockey player to play in the National Hockey League, had died of COVID-19 at the age of 86.
     During his hockey career, Fred Sasakamoose, a member of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, played 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1953-54 season. He also played for the Moose Jaw Canucks, the Kamloops Chiefs and the Chicoutimi Saguenéens.
    After leaving hockey, Mr. Sasakamoose got involved in indigenous affairs, serving as chief of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. He also focused on promoting sports for indigenous youth and received the Order of Canada in 2018.
    On behalf of myself and the Bloc Québécois, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

[English]

Holodomor Memorial Day

    Mr. Speaker, from 1932 to 1933, the world witnessed one of the worst atrocities ever committed. Over the course of 15 months, several million Ukrainians were slowly starved to death by communist dictator Joseph Stalin and his brutal regime in what is known as the Holodomor.
    Ukrainians who were living on some of the most fertile lands in Europe were robbed of all their food by Stalin and his thugs. This included their garden produce, livestock, poultry and crops. In one sadistic policy, the Soviets weaponized food and created a man-made famine. What was the crime? They were Ukrainian patriots, proud of their language, culture and faith. Stalin said that the death of one person is a tragedy, but the death of a million is a statistic. We must never allow Stalin's sad words to ring true.
    This Saturday, on national Holodomor Memorial Day, we remember every man, woman and child who perished in the Holodomor and honour the survivors of this genocide.
     Vichnaya Pamyat. May their memories be eternal.

Girl Guides of Canada

     Mr. Speaker, this week, I attended a very special meeting of the 595th Brownies; the 70th, 93rd, 104th, 145th and 292nd Guides; and the 90th and 695th Pathfinders and Rangers as they prepared for their women in politics badge and the Canada cord, with excellent questions.
    I hope the girls and young women know they are smart and talented, can accomplish anything they dream and will do things we cannot even imagine. I hope they know how proud I am of them and know that politicians are there to serve them, that the House recognizes their service in their communities and that if they choose a life of politics there is absolutely a place for them.
    I would like to thank the troop leaders for the skills they teach and the inspiration they provide, because when the world seems hard, these leaders remind their troops that the opportunities are endless.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister could not answer whether the government negotiated the right to manufacture vaccines here in Canada. At committee, the head of the Public Health Agency suggested the government did not do that.
    Let us try this one more time. Did the government negotiate the right to manufacture vaccines here in Canada, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, when this pandemic began, as we all know, Canada had no viable manufacturing capacity suitable for a COVID-19 vaccine. Underinvestment in vaccine production capacity began decades ago, in the previous century, and we realized right away that we had to invest in our flexible domestic production and ramp up our facilities, which is exactly what we did.
    Rest assured that when a vaccine is ready and approved, we will be one of the first countries to get doses from the manufacturers of Canada's vaccine portfolio.
    Mr. Speaker, we know there is no plan when the Minister of Health is here and not answering questions on a pandemic. It is rubbish. In fact, “rubbish” was the word one of the experts used for the government's answer to vaccine manufacturing. The National Research Council has a facility in Montreal that could manufacture millions of vaccines.
     We know that most of the world will receive the vaccine before Canadians do. Why did the Prime Minister negotiate deals to put Canada at the back of the line for COVID-19 vaccines?

  (1420)  

    Before we go to the Minister of Health, I want to remind hon. members that we are not to state whether someone is present or not. It is part of the rules, and I am here to enforce them.
    The hon. Minister of Health.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite fails to understand that Canada is the country best positioned, with more doses of vaccine per capita than anywhere else in the world. In fact, we have seven leading candidates that we have procured, and three of them are under regulatory review. We are the only country that is reviewing all three leading candidates right now.
    If the member will not listen to me, how about the president of Moderna? He said, “Canada is certainly one of the first countries to have an agreement with us, and will be serviced very quickly.”
    Mr. Speaker, the robust portfolio they talk about ensures that Canadians will have the most vaccines in 2023.
    Last night, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs gave three answers to the same question about when vaccines would be arriving. First it was January. Then he said it was sometime in 2021. Then it was the first quarter. In one interview, Canadians saw that the Liberal government has no plan when it comes to a vaccine rollout for Canadians.
    The question to the minister is simple: On what exact date will the vaccine for Canadians be here?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is trying to confuse Canadians right now.
    We know here on this side of the House that we have worked incredibly hard as a government to procure seven leading vaccines, more per capita than any other country in the world. In fact, three of them are under regulatory review right now. We are the only country in the world to have those three being simultaneously reviewed.
    I have to say that the future looks bright for Canadians. I am proud of the work of my colleagues to make this happen.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, thousands of businesses have shut down during the pandemic. Many Canadians have lost their jobs. When Canadians heard the good news about a vaccine, they started to feel hopeful again, but this government has no plan for the vaccine and is last in line to receive them.
    My question is simple: When will Canadians get their vaccines?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canada is one of the best countries positioned to receive the most doses per capita than any other country in the world. In fact, three of the leading candidates are under regulatory review right now. We are the only country in the world that is reviewing the three leading candidates.
    When the president of Moderna, one of those three candidates, says, “Canada is certainly one of the first countries to have an agreement with us, and will be serviced very quickly”, that should give Canadians the confidence that we are doing the job and we are getting it done.
    First to review, last to receive, Mr. Speaker. That is the record of the Liberal government.

[Translation]

    On October 23, the health ministers of Quebec and Ontario wrote a letter to the federal government regarding a plan for the vaccines. They did not get a response. More than two billion people around the world will get the vaccine before us.
    Why will Canada get the vaccine after many other countries?
    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is fishing, and quite clumsily at that. He is misleading Canadians, and I think he is going about it rather awkwardly.
    Members know full well that Canada has agreements with seven of the companies that are producing the vaccine. We have the best portfolio in the world and the largest number of vaccine doses.
    We will be there. When the vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready.
    Mr. Speaker, while the Government of Quebec is trying to plan for the COVID-19 vaccine, it has yet to hear anything from Ottawa. It was not until this week, in November, that the federal government said that we would not have a vaccine before or after Christmas. Come on. Quebeckers have been making huge sacrifices for eight months now. They are anxiously awaiting the vaccine, and they deserve to get information.
    When, exactly, will they have the vaccine? Will it be in March, in July or in 2028? When?

  (1425)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have always said that we will work incredibly hard to ensure all Canadians have access to the vaccine. That is exactly what we have done on this side of the House. We have focused on what matters, which is ensuring we have well-placed purchase agreements with manufacturers, leading candidates, three of them under regulatory review. We are the first in the world to have all three of those candidates simultaneously seeking approval from Health Canada.
     As the member opposite knows, I work closely with Minister Dubé in Quebec. I will continue to ensure that he is fully informed and participates in the plan to deploy vaccines to Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Émile de Girardin once said, “Governing means looking ahead.” I believe the government members have no idea what that means. We have been waiting for months.
    The federal government should have closed the borders quickly to halt the spread of the virus. It did not. It should have approved rapid testing to prevent the second wave. It did not. It should have increased health transfers so that Quebec could take care of sick Quebeckers. It did not. It should have obtained vaccines as a priority. It did not. This government deserves a big fat “F” for this monumental failure.
    Will it at least have the decency to answer the Government of Quebec? When will we have a vaccine?
    Mr. Speaker, the only “F” our government deserves for its pandemic response is an “F” for “fantastic”.
    Members must understand that we are talking and negotiating with the Government of Quebec on a regular basis. The Prime Minister will be speaking with the Premier of Quebec this evening. Moreover, as we mentioned earlier, we have agreements with the seven vaccine manufacturers. They are being reviewed by Health Canada. When the vaccines are ready, Canada will be ready.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister blamed the Conservatives for the fact that Canada could no longer produce vaccines. It is not a surprise for anyone that Conservatives let down Canadians when it came to health care, but what does the Prime Minister have to say about 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and this year? Why is the Prime Minister making Canadians wait for a vaccine?
    Mr. Speaker, in contrast to the other side, our government has been aggressively pursuing new bio-manufacturing capacity. We have taken serious action since well before the pandemic.
     In our first mandate, we restored the ability for ISED to invest in life sciences, which had been pulled back by the previous government. We have accelerated our investments significantly since the pandemic, with major investments in our manufacturing capacity, Medicago, the National Research Council in Montreal. We are on our way to building a beautiful portfolio of vaccines. It will be delivered when Health Canada says they are ready.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we are right in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19.
    People are afraid, but the vaccine announcements gave them a little hope. Now, however, the government is not sharing its plan with us. What is the plan for the vaccine rollout? When will we have the vaccines? What is the actual plan?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have the best portfolio in the world, more doses per capita than any other country, three of the leading vaccines under regulatory review, expedited, working in partnership with the Americans and the European Union, so we can share our data and approve those vaccines even more quickly. We have a plan.
     We are working with provinces and territories at all levels. Let me remind the member opposite that they are actually experts at immunization. Every single year they deploy immunization, as is their health care responsibilities. We will be there to support them, including by providing the vaccines.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, there is nothing of substance behind the government's talk of a white paper.
    The Liberals have been promising official languages reform for five years now. Let the record show that nothing has been done and nothing is being done. What has it been doing for the past five years? A little of this and a little of that. A unanimous motion was adopted calling on the Minister of Official Languages to introduce a bill to modernize official languages.
    We want to know if she intends to do that.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague wants to know what we have been doing for the past five years.
    We have repaired the damage done by the Harper government and cleaned house with respect to official languages. That being said, the Conservatives' current strategy clearly involves courting Bloc votes. They are motivated purely by political interest, because none of it is in line with their values and none of it will ever be actioned.
    Yesterday, the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, speaking on behalf of the NDP, even pointed out that every time a Conservative government takes power in Ottawa or the provinces, they suppress francophone rights.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, I suspect that there is some bickering going on in the Liberal caucus.
    First, there is the member for Mount Royal, who has never tried to hide his opposition to protecting the French language with Bill 101. Then, there is the member for Saint-Laurent, who denies that French is on the decline in Montreal. Then, there is the Quebec president of the Liberal Party of Canada, who has been liking all kinds of tweets disputing that French is on the decline.
    The minister is losing the game. By delaying the modernization of the act, she is giving in to pressure and waving a white flag, masked as a white paper. Why will the minister not stand firm against pressure from the Liberal machine and introduce a bill before Christmas?
    We announced in the throne speech that we would introduce a bill to modernize the Official Languages Act.
     However, our objective is to bring in some broader linguistic reform, because the French language is a minority language in Canada. We are the first government to acknowledge that since this is a minority language, we must do more to protect and promote it.
     That is what we must do, not only across the country, as we have been doing for the past 50 years, but also in Quebec, in particular. That is what we will do.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot even tell us when she will introduce her modernization bill, but she is trying to lecture everyone here in the House.
    I am going to give her the opportunity to take a leap of faith and express her real desire to defend the French language. The Government of Quebec and the parties in the National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion calling on the federal government to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses in Quebec.
     I am giving the minister the opportunity to clearly state in the House for all Quebeckers to hear that she agrees with the Government of Quebec's request. Does she agree, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that our government recognizes the importance of the legacy of Bill 101.
    As the member for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, I see it every day when I meet with the families of newcomers whose children speak to me in French. I am pleased to see the high schools in my riding filled with people from around the world who speak the common language of Quebec, French.
    Under the circumstances, we will of course continue to work with the Government of Quebec. My conversations with my counterpart in Quebec, Simon Jolin-Barrette, are ongoing. I look forward to the introduction of his bill. As for us, we will do our work and reform the Official Languages Act.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, there is a difference between signing a contract for a vaccine and when the average person in Canada will actually receive it.
     This week, we have heard from the Americans that in December they are going to vaccinate 20 million of their people and in January 30 million, which means by the middle of January, the Americans will have vaccinated the equivalent of the entirety of the population of Canada.
    I know the minister will say that she has a big portfolio. Will 33-plus million Canadians be vaccinated at the same time that 33-plus million Americans are?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that, in fact, we do have the biggest portfolio per capita in the world. We do have a plan with the provinces and territories. We are working incredibly hard, including with our American and European counterparts, to make sure we are able to deliver vaccines to Canadians.
    We are going to stay focused on that goal. We are not going to sow division among Canadians. We are going to ensure we work together to protect Canadians and move forward. We will get through this together.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister talked about working with the provinces, but hours ago the Ontario health minister said that province is no longer expecting the delivery of any vaccine in early 2021. On Friday, the government tabled projections that showed that roughly 2,000 per month will die of COVID as we move forward.
    In April, will the minister have to stand here and apologize to the families of 8,000 Canadians for the fact that they died because she could not roll this vaccine out?
    Mr. Speaker, what will help save Canadians lives is if the member opposite and the Leader of the Opposition stop their members from sharing fake and dangerous news like the members for Lethbridge and Carleton. We will stay focused on saving the lives of Canadians instead of spreading conspiracy theories.
    In fact, the member for Calgary Nose Hill is focused on keeping us together, rather than pitting us apart because the virus thrives on us working at opposite ends. We need to work together. We need to stay together. We need to support provinces, territories and Canadians. That is exactly what this government has done since day one.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, that answer, when Canadians are looking for a plan on when they are going to get a vaccine, will be remembered as desperate political flailing. The question I asked is one that is on the minds of every Canadian. It is at the heart of the mental health crisis in this country. It is at the heart of jobs lost in this country. It is at the heart of separated families in this country.
    I ask again, I beg the minister, when is she going to tell Canadians when they are going to produce a vaccine and give it to Canadians? Will she have to stand here in April and apologize to the families of 8,000 dead Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, my heart goes out to all Canadians who have lost a loved one to COVID-19. Our hearts break for them, I will tell members that we are going to continue to work day and night to protect Canadians from contracting COVID-19 and spreading COVID-19. The vaccines, indeed, are a light at the end of the tunnel, and we are working across government to make sure that we have access to the vaccines and we can deploy them.
    In the meantime, I call on all Canadians to do everything we can together because we know that collective action is going to protect our lives.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we all thought we would have to put up with bloody COVID-19 for another few weeks. The media were reporting that pharmaceutical companies had discovered a vaccine and that it would be here in January at the latest.
    Quebec is already buying freezers to store the vaccine doses that Ottawa promised. There is just one little problem: The Prime Minister forgot to mention that he has no clue when we will get the vaccine.
    Does the Prime Minister understand that reserving vaccine doses is all well and good, but what we need to know is when they will be here?
    Mr. Speaker, we are going to work very hard with Quebec.

[English]

    The fact that Quebec is actually procuring the materials it will need to store in particular the Pfizer vaccine is good news. It means we are all working together. It means provinces and territories are working with the federal government on a deployment plan that will ensure we have what we need in place to help all Canadians, including Quebeckers, get access to these vaccines.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec wrote to the Minister of Health on October 23 to ask for an update on the vaccines.
    Not only did Quebec never get a response, but the Prime Minister half-heartedly told us a month later that there has been a slight setback and that the vaccines will not get here on time. What a complete mess. Quebec will be vaccinating people, not Ottawa. Quebec is introducing lockdown measures to protect Quebeckers, not Ottawa.
    When will we have a specific date for the vaccine?
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc may not like this, but there is good co-operation between Ottawa and Quebec. It might instead prefer us to be at odds with each other, but that is not the case. We are working to procure the requisite refrigerators as well as syringes. We are working to procure and distribute the vaccines, because it is the responsible thing to do.
    When the vaccines will be ready, so will Canada.

  (1440)  

    What a complete mess, Mr. Speaker. The federal government has been suggesting for months now that we will soon be able to vaccinate those most vulnerable. This week, we learned that is not true. Seniors have been asked to make sacrifices for the past eight months.
    Things may have gotten a little easier for us, but not for people 70 and over. They were asked to not go outside or see their loved ones for the past eight months. After eight months, this week's news that the vaccine will not be ready for December or January is devastating.
    When can we expect the vaccine? We owe seniors an answer. When?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite does not realize that, in fact, Quebec and Canada are working hand in glove to make sure that we are ready to deploy vaccines when they become available. The officials are working at their level, ministers of health meet on a weekly basis, and people are planning.
     That is exactly why Quebec is moving to procure the kinds of devices it needs and we are also procuring, by the way, devices for provinces and territories; and, we are purchasing the vaccines and we will deliver them to provinces at no cost. That is true collaboration. We will be there for the people of Quebec.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, how can anyone believe anything that the minister and this government say?
    The Quebec health minister, Christian Dubé, never heard a peep in response to the infamous letter he sent to the federal health minister. Minister Dubé turned to the media this week to express his frustration about the lack of communication.
    We were just told that the ministers meet on a weekly basis, and so do the bureaucrats. Why does the Quebec health minister need to write a letter and tell the media that he has received no reply? This is not working; no one believes it.
    Can the minister confirm that immediately after question period she will pick up the phone and call Christian Dubé?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Minister Dubé and I have had a conversation, and we have spoken. Minister Dubé is a participant at the health ministers meeting, which meets every single week to confirm the work that our officials are doing together to ensure that we can deploy the vaccine when it arrives and to talk about a number of other pressing measures.
    I will be there for Minister Dubé, as I was for Minister McCann beforehand. We will continue to be there for the people of Quebec and we will work hand in glove.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, will the minister be able to explain to Minister Dubé, who has ensured that all the necessary infrastructure is in place to be ready to vaccinate Quebeckers, why we will not have any vaccines and, if there are any, that it will be in very limited quantities for a small number of Quebeckers?
    Why do Quebeckers and Canadians have to wait nearly a year to be vaccinated? Will the minister explain that to Minister Dubé in their next conversation?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite notes, we have the best vaccine portfolio in the world, with the most per capita doses available to Canadians. In fact, three of the promising candidates are under regulatory review right now, expedited review I might say.
    We are working with Americans and with the European Union to share data so that we can very quickly review the safety data. As soon as the vaccines are safe, we will be deploying them with Quebeckers and with all provinces and territories.
    Mr. Speaker, Australian airline Qantas declared this week that international travellers will be required to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 before they are permitted to fly. If other airlines follow suit, thousands of Canadian families will continue to be separated from their loved ones abroad while other countries with vaccines, like the U.S. and U.K., are able to get back to normal.
    The Liberals have no rollout plan for vaccine distribution. Canadians are completely in the dark about this. Now, Canadians could be locked out of international travel because of Liberal mismanagement. I have a simple question: What is the date that vaccines will be available to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have told the member opposite and the House, in fact, Canada has one of the best portfolios in the world with seven promising candidates; more doses per capita than any other country; three of the promising candidates under regulatory review; and a deployment plan that is being built with provinces and territories, which, by the way, have expertise in immunization and are trusted partners in delivering on their responsibilities in health care.
     We will be there together to get Canadians through this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I would encourage members opposite to be on team Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, on August 31, the Prime Minister said the National Research Council would be able to produce hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses starting in November and millions by the end of this year. Now, not 90 days later, he says Canada has no capacity to produce vaccines at all. Health officials also confirm the government failed to negotiate the right to produce vaccines in Canada as other countries have done. This means Canadians will have to wait for vaccines.
    Can the Prime Minister explain his blatant reversal, and why he did not negotiate the right to produce vaccines in Canada?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians understand that before this pandemic began, Canada had no biomanufacturing capacity that was suitable for a COVID-19 vaccine.
    We are not going to be taking lessons from the opposition on this, certainly not from the Conservatives, because they sold out our industry at the time. The fabled crown jewel Connaught Laboratories, in the 1980s, went bye-bye and so did so many others.
    It is because of these problems, even through the 2000s, when investments in the life sciences were taken away from ISED. We have had to recover territory over time, and these investments that we are making right now are only going to help as we bring forward our vaccine portfolio to the benefit of all Canadians.

Post-secondary Education

    Mr. Speaker, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 second wave. Young people across the country are once again feeling the brunt of its economic impacts. New Democrats successfully passed a motion this week calling on the government to re-establish a moratorium on interest on student loans. This would help struggling students who are facing economic hardships.
    When will the government introduce that moratorium, when will it provide the support students need and when will it turn its words into action?
    Mr. Speaker, throughout the pandemic, we have put in place significant measures to support students. Our government will continue to make significant investments in students and young Canadians.
    To help students get through this difficult time, we put in place a six-month moratorium on student loan payments, helping over a million young Canadians. For students who began resuming their repayment, we put in place measures to help them with their loans. Under the repayment assistance plan, borrowers only pay what they can afford and only start repaying their loans when they earn at least $25,000 per year. We have also doubled Canada student grants and will continue to be there for students.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our government has been there to support Canadian workers. More recently, we have transitioned from emergency supports to a more flexible EI system and a suite of recovery benefits for Canadians who are not eligible for EI, are sick, are self-isolating or need to provide care for a child, family member or dependent. Now that we are in the midst of the second wave, some jurisdictions have already announced an extended winter break for students to curb the spread of COVID-19.
    Can the minister confirm that parents who cannot work because they must care for a child or family member will be supported through the Canada recovery caregiving benefit?
    Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes. In situations where schools are closed for an extended period of time due to COVID-19, workers who have to take care of a child under the age of 12 or a family member who needs supervised care would, of course, be able to receive the Canada recovery caregiving benefit. It is there to support workers: $500 a week for 26 weeks.
    We will be there for parents, we are there for workers and we will continue to be there for Canadians.

Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, tempers are flaring in the Commons today because we are in the second wave of a pandemic, people are getting sick, businesses are struggling and Canadians are seeing millions of citizens of other countries getting vaccines in the coming days and weeks, yet the government will not even answer a question on when we will see them in Canada. The Liberals talk about a team Canada approach, but when we asked in January about flights from China, they called us intolerant. When we asked about masks, they said masks were not important. When we pushed for rapid tests, they blamed the provinces. Now, when we ask about vaccines, they say they are reviewing, not receiving.
    When are Canadians going to see the first vaccines?
    Mr. Speaker, our main goal is to get safe and effective vaccines to every Canadian. We are currently in line with Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the EU for vaccine delivery and, in fact, we have secured a contract with Moderna, one of the most promising candidates, while the U.K. only secured its agreement last week.
    We have the most diverse portfolio in the world. We are working very closely with Health Canada, in terms of the regulatory process, and when a vaccine is ready, we will be ready, too.

  (1450)  

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, once again, the government's message on China is confusing.
    The minister was at committee this week and delivered two contradictory messages. The Canadian Press reported the government has already put in place a new framework on China, while the National Post reported that the government has not put in place a new framework. If we cannot figure it out and the media cannot figure it out, then how on earth is China, or anyone else, supposed to figure it out? To be effective, Canada must act in a rational and predictable way. The Liberal policy on China is anything but that.
    When will the government get its act together and develop a clear, coherent policy on China?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to answer this question again. I think the member asked me that question, and I am sure he listened to me when I testified.
    It is very simple. We are going to be firm and smart. We have been firm and smart when it comes to asking for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and obtaining consular access. We have been firm and smart when it comes to the Uighurs and asking China to uphold its international human rights obligations. We have been firm and smart when it comes to Hong Kong, and we are going to continue to be firm and smart. That is Canadian policy when it comes to China.
    Mr. Speaker, what a ridiculous response that was. “Firm and smart” seems to mean doing absolutely nothing, and maybe on a good day sending thoughts and prayers to the victims of the regime.
    On the issue of foreign interference and elite capture, John McCallum told us at committee that he cannot divulge the names of clients, but if the government were to bring in a foreign agents registry, he would find a way to do that. I want to ask the government to do John McCallum a favour and give him the opportunity to disclose the names of his clients by bringing in a foreign agents registry.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said at committee, reports of harassment and intimidation of individuals in Canada are deeply troubling, and allegations of such acts being carried out by foreign agents are taken very seriously.
    Chinese government representatives in Canada, like all foreign government representatives in Canada, have a duty under international law to respect the laws and regulations of Canada.
    As we have said, the safety and security of Canadians is paramount. We will take all appropriate measures to protect their safety.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is lagging behind our trusted allies and being soft on China, and failing to stand up for pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
    The limited Liberal economic immigration program for Hong Kong excludes pro-democracy activists, like 24-year-old Joshua Wong. He is facing a five-year prison sentence for unlawful assembly, which is an equivalent crime in Canada, however it is widely understood that these prison sentences and charges on pro-democracy activists are politically motivated and influenced by the Communist Party of China.
    Will pro-democracy activists like Joshua be barred entry into Canada, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, to suggest that Canada is not being tough when it comes to Hong Kong does not bear with any facts.
    In fact, Canada was the first country in the world to suspend our extradition treaty, to suspend exports of sensitive equipment, to impose new measures on travelling and to introduce immigration measures complementary to those of our Five Eyes partners.
    We will continue to be at the forefront of the response. We will continue to be firm and smart when it comes to responding to the imposition of national security law in Hong Kong.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, last night was a first in the House of Commons. Four hours of emergency debate on the status of the French language in Montreal is unprecedented for the federal government.
    There was four hours of fine speeches on the importance of Quebec's national language, but how many solid proposals were made by the government? None.
    French has to be the language of work and the common language of all Quebeckers. That is why the Bloc Québécois is introducing two bills.
    Why is this government unable to say that it will support us?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague. We had a very nice evening yesterday. We expressed our love for French. It was nice to see and it was very inspiring. I think that we are sending the right message to Quebeckers and Canadians across the country.
    The Bloc Québécois's current strategy is to be confrontational. They are creating a scenario where there has to be an enemy or an antagonist. However, the reality is that we all agree.
    We agree on protecting the French fact in Quebec and across the country and we will work together on achieving our common goal.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is the problem. Everyone is giving speeches on the importance of the French language, but who wants to do something about it?
    This requires strong messaging. In Quebec, things happen in French. That is why an adequate knowledge of French must be a condition for citizenship. It is our common language. That is why Bill 101 must apply to federally regulated businesses. It is our language of work. These are two longstanding and concrete Bloc Québécois proposals.
    Will the Liberals finally take action to counter the decline of French in Montreal?
    Mr. Speaker, we should ask ourselves who in the House can take action to counter the decline of French across Quebec and Canada.
    The reality is that we are there and we will take action. I just want to reassure my colleague. We will do it properly, of course, and together with Quebeckers, Canadians and all francophones in the country because this issue is just too important. We have an historic opportunity and we must seize it.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, at the health committee, Dr. Tam admitted that because of a lack of access to testing and delays in results, the COVID app is not effective. In fact, only 5% of Ontario coronavirus cases used the COVID Alert app to report their infection. Clearly, the $10-million Liberal COVID app is not a silver bullet. To ensure the app is effective, Dr. Tam said absolutely access and rapid turnaround are important.
    When will the health minister provide Dr. Tam the tools she needs? When will she ensure and provide rapid and home-based testing to all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite is slightly confused about who provides testing in this country. Canada does not provide the testing. It is solely within the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories, which have the responsibility for providing health care to Canadians.
    Here is what we are providing. We are providing the tools the provinces and territories need: well over five million rapid tests since the beginning of October for the provinces and territories, personal protective equipment procurement and a variety of other tools and medical devices the provinces and territories need. We are going to continue to be there.
    In terms of the COVID Alert app, I would encourage all members to download it to encourage the members in their constituencies to download the app. Certainly the more Canadians who use it the more useful it will be.

Air Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, CBC recently reported that Nav Canada is considering closing the air traffic control tower at the Regina International Airport. This plan would reduce safety, reduce flights and reduce the economic recovery in my home province.
    My question for the Minister of Transport is simple. Will he provide Nav Canada with the funding needed to keep the air traffic control tower open, or will he continue with this mean-spirited cut to our province? Why do the Liberals treat western Canadians as second-class citizens all the time?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure my colleague that when NavCan does an examination of service needs across the country, it does so with safety in mind. I also want to reassure him that Transport Canada will also be examining any proposed plans.
    The reality of course is that the number of aircraft in the air has diminished drastically in the past few months, and an organization like NavCan has a responsibility to make sure it has the proper service-level needs. That is exactly what it is doing at this time.
    Mr. Speaker, various news outlets are reporting that Nav Canada is planning to shut down the air traffic control towers at airports in Regina, Windsor, Prince George, Whitehorse, Fort McMurray and Sault Ste. Marie. Air traffic control towers provide vital real-time information to pilots about weather conditions and runway traffic, the loss of which would put the safety of Canadians at risk.
    Will the government commit today that there will be no closures of air traffic control towers?
    Mr. Speaker, NavCan is our air traffic controller and has a worldwide reputation for safety. It is, in fact, an enviable record of safety.
    As my hon. colleague will probably know, about two-thirds of the number of aircraft that were flying in 2019 are no longer able to fly because of the COVID pandemic, so the number of aircraft in the air has been considerably reduced.
    NavCan has a responsibility to evaluate service-level needs across the country, and Transport Canada will be there to oversee it.

  (1500)  

[Translation]

Social Development

    Mr. Speaker, this week the government launched calls for proposals for three programs: the Black entrepreneurship program; the community support, multiculturalism, and anti-racism initiatives program; and the supporting Black Canadian communities initiative.
    I am pleased that my government has introduced these measures to help Black communities in particular combat discrimination.
    Could the Minister of Small Business talk about why these programs are important?
    Mr. Speaker, Black entrepreneurs contribute significantly to our communities and our Canadian economy.
    This week, I announced the launch of two of the three pillars of this unprecedented program. The call for proposals has been launched.
    We recognize that systemic racism exists in the business world and that we must combat it. We are proud to implement this important program.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, $16 billion is the amount that Canadians did not receive last year as a result of the discount for our most valuable export product: Canadian oil. This is the result of bad decisions and a constrained pipeline infrastructure to deliver environmentally produced Canadian oil to key markets.
    Can the government tell the House its plans to coordinate with the new U.S. administration so that long-planned and existing pipelines can provide the most environmental solution to U.S. refineries?
    Mr. Speaker, in the past years, we have approved Line 3, with 7,000 jobs created. For Keystone XL, our support is unwavering, with 1,500 jobs created. We are building LNG Canada, with thousands of jobs. We got TMX approved and are getting it built, with 5,600 jobs created so far. We approved NGTL 2021, with thousands of jobs. Orphaned and inactive wells got a $1.7-billion investment, with thousands of jobs created. With the wage subsidy, more than 60,000 resource workers stayed on the job in the pandemic.
    That is our record of supporting the oil and gas workers.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister strongly hinted he will block the proposed Fort McMurray to Alaska railway. The Alaska to Alberta railway trade corridor will create new markets for Canadian products, including in oil and gas, mineral extraction, agriculture and food security in the north.
    Does the Minister of Infrastructure agree with the Prime Minister's musings on the A2A railway proposal?
    Mr. Speaker, we have not yet received an application, and we cannot review an application we do not have.
    This government supports good projects, and we know they only get built after they have gone through a fair and thorough review process. That is how our government approved TMX and the Line 3 replacement pipeline, creating thousands of jobs.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, it has been seven months since the worst mass murder in Canadian history sadly took place in my province of Nova Scotia. The families of victims continue to call for information on this tragic event. The report of the inquiry is only due in 2022, and in the meantime, families are having to fight and beg the government for answers.
     This week marks the 15th federal Victims and Survivors of Crime Week. Will the Minister of Public Safety commit to providing an update to the families before Christmas and respect their right to information, as protected by the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, we will continue to take steps toward creating a criminal justice system that treats victims and survivors of crime with courtesy, compassion and respect. This includes the ongoing implementation of a Canadian victims bill of rights at the federal, provincial and territorial levels. Through the victims fund, we have made more than $28 million available to provincial and territorial governments and non-governmental organizations to increase awareness and knowledge of victims issues, legislation and services available. It is by working collaboratively at all levels of government that we can continue to empower the resilience of victims and survivors and ensure that their voices are heard.
    Mr. Speaker, natural disasters are increasing in frequency and severity. Flooding continues to be the most costly natural disaster in Canada, causing over $1 billion in direct damage each year. Water damage goes beyond the destruction of property. It also places an emotional toll on individuals as their homes are destroyed and families are displaced.
     Can the Minister of Public Safety update the House on what the government is doing to help Canadians reduce their financial and physical vulnerability to flooding?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member for Lac-Saint-Louis has quite accurately pointed out, flooding is the most frequent and costly natural disaster in Canada. That is why this week we announced the creation of an interdisciplinary task force on flood insurance and relocation. The task force will examine options to protect homeowners who are at high risk of flooding and examine the viability of a low-cost national flood insurance program. It will also consider options for the potential relocation of residents in areas of the highest risk. Together, we will work to prevent and mitigate the impacts of floods for all Canadians.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, millions of Canadians are struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table. The pandemic has only made this problem worse, and many people are facing job uncertainty. The Prime Minister promised that by the end of 2020 he would bring fairness to workplaces across Canada, but he continues to side with big business and betray workers.
     Canadians deserve to earn a fair wage for the work they do. Will the government commit to its promise to help hundreds of workers by implementing a $15 federal minimum wage now?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree that hard work deserves a decent wage. We know that good quality jobs are a driver of a strong economy along with people being compensated appropriately.
     A $15 federal minimum wage is a commitment we made during the campaign as well as one that was reaffirmed in my mandate letter. My priority to this pandemic has been the health and safety of workers across the country. We know a successful restart depends on a safe restart. However, I look forward to moving forward on this commitment. I also look forward to the member's support.

Post-Secondary Education

    Mr. Speaker, a beacon of hope we are holding onto during this pandemic and under the threat of the climate crisis is our confidence in the next generation to be innovative and implement solutions to repair the world they inherit from us. However, we are not adequately providing them with the tools and support they need to achieve this aim.
     The average student loan debt in New Brunswick is $40,000, significantly higher than the national average. How are they supposed to build back better if they start their career at adult life with such a burden on their shoulders?
     Students deserve more than a failed summer program and having to pay their loan, while facing such devastating socio-economic uncertainty. What is the government doing now, in a concrete way, to support students through this? At the very least, is the minister in support of suspending the collection of interest—
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, it is really important that we have issues facing youth being raised in the House of Commons. That is exactly why the Prime Minister ensured there was a full voice at the cabinet table. Young people are not only the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of today.
     That is why when it came to a response to the pandemic, we put forward a $9 billion suite of programs. Students will not be left behind. Youths will not be left behind. They are part of a decision-making table. We will continue to raise the right voices.
     Right now we have the state of youth report being written and I encourage young people to get involved. Having their say is instrumental as the way we build back even better and consciously more inclusive.

  (1510)  

[Translation]

Points of Order

Supply Management  

    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
     That the House recognize that the government should respect its promise to supply-managed producers and processors affected by the last three economic agreements by: (a) revealing details without delay related to the compensation that will be paid to dairy, egg, chicken and poultry producers and processors for the duration of the compensation agreements; and (b) budgeting this compensation to make it predictable until the end of the agreement.
    This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask those who are opposed to the motion to express their disagreement.
    Accordingly, all those opposed to the hon. members' motion will please say nay.
    There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.

    (Motion agreed to)

    Mr. Speaker, as far as I know, under the rules of procedure of the House, members are not allowed to talk on the phone in the chamber. If members look at the recording, they will see that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the veteran member for Winnipeg North, spoke on the phone several times today during question period.
    I would like to know whether the rules have changed. If not, the member should be informed that this is not permitted.
    Mr. Speaker, the parties were told that it is the only way we can notify people at home that it is their turn to reply.
    If the opposition would prefer that ministers who are not here not be allowed to answer questions, it can make that suggestion.
    Mr. Speaker, I just want all members to know that I was not informed of the new policy. Maybe that information should be shared with all members of Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, the House Leader of the Official Opposition is aware of it. We have discussed it.
    If there is some other way to proceed or some other technology, I would like to see it, but for now, it is important to the opposition and to democracy to ensure that all ministers, whether they are here or elsewhere, be able to answer all the questions. That means we need some way to ask them to answer, and that is the only one we have at the moment.

[English]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the official opposition and all parliamentarians, I would like to ask the House leader for the agenda for the remainder of this week and next.
    Mr. Speaker, that question was really well put, probably the best question today.

[Translation]

    This afternoon, we will continue debate at second reading of Bill C-12 on net-zero emissions. This evening, the committee of the whole will study the votes under Department of Health. Tomorrow and Monday, we will be debating Bill C-7 on medical assistance in dying.

[English]

    We hope to complete third reading of Bill C-7 on Monday to give the Senate enough time to pass the bill before the court-imposed deadline of December 18.
    On Monday afternoon, at 4 p.m., the Deputy P