That, in the opinion of the House, given that the government's tax increases on gas, home heating and, indirectly, groceries, will fuel inflation, and that the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported the carbon tax costs 60% of households more than they get back, the government must eliminate its plan to triple the carbon tax.
He said: Mr. Speaker, today we are debating the government's decision to break its electoral promise by tripling the carbon tax on gas, home heating, groceries and all other essential items Canadians need to survive.
We have to recognize that this is a tax increase that will apply everywhere in Canada and will increase the prices in every province, even in the provinces where there is no refund from the federal government.
This tax hike comes at a time when inflation is at a 40-year high and nine out of 10 young people who do not already own a home do not think they ever will. It comes at a time when students are living in shelters because they cannot afford rent. It comes at a time when four out of five Canadians have to cut back on food because they cannot afford groceries. It comes at a time when Canadians cannot even fill up their car or truck to go to work. This is exactly the wrong time to raise taxes on paycheques, gas and other things.
Let us start by talking about fried green tomatoes. The little miracles of Manotick, SunTech tomatoes are from a beautiful little tomato farm about 40 minutes south of here, in the heart of the great Carleton riding, where some entrepreneurial farmers opened a greenhouse to sell beautiful local produce to residents in the area. They are delicious and they are legendary right across the region.
Unfortunately, the farmers learned that the carbon tax from the government would apply to the CO2 they release into the greenhouse. Now, of course, CO2 is required to expand growth and increase the produce that comes out of the greenhouse. This CO2 does not even go into the atmosphere; it goes into the plant life, something the Liberals may have missed in grade 4 science class. The reality is that it makes the tomatoes more expensive.
What is the consequence of the tax on these tomatoes? Well, it is, at times, more expensive to buy a Manotick tomato in Manotick than a Mexican tomato in Manotick. Why? It is because the taxes are lower in Mexico, even though the pollution is higher. What does this price signal do? It tells the customer to buy a tomato from the other side of North America, which has to be trained and trucked all the way up to Canada, burning fossil fuels the whole way there and increasing emissions along the way.
What happened to the local 100-mile diet that environmentalists used to promote? Well, this tax makes that diet more difficult and less affordable, the big logical fallacy of the Liberal carbon tax. It drives up the cost of domestic production and drives that production to foreign, more polluting jurisdictions that then require higher transportation costs and more emissions to bring products back to Canadian consumers here at home.
Our approach should be exactly the opposite. We should bring production home and have our food, our energy and our resources right here in Canada.
Let us look at the three falsehoods of the Liberal carbon tax.
The Liberals said it would help us meet our targets for emissions reduction. They have now been in power for seven years and have not hit a single solitary emissions reduction target. In fact, even in the year 2020, when large parts of our economy and our population were locked down and unable to even drive, they came nowhere close to reaching their targets. Let me tell the House how far they missed them. They missed them by 57 megatonnes. That is equivalent to all of the emissions of the four Atlantic provinces or equivalent to our entire electricity sector.
In other words, if we had turned off all of the electricity in Canada in that year, in addition to having been locked down during COVID, then we would have still fallen just short of meeting the targets the Liberals set for themselves. In order words, the carbon tax did not hit those targets. It did not come anywhere close and, in fact, we expect the emissions will again start rising now that the lockdowns are fortunately behind us. That is the first falsehood.
If the Liberals were really serious about reducing emissions, they had many options. They could have signalled their support for small modular nuclear reactors so that we could use our prodigious know-how to supply Canadians with emissions-free nuclear energy. We have the biggest supply of uranium as feedstock right in Saskatchewan and the best nuclear engineers right here in Ontario. We have a need for this electricity in provinces nationwide. We have provinces that have signed on to memoranda of understanding to replace high-emitting sources of electricity with small modular nuclear reactors, but of course our has said that he does not even agree with nuclear. I do not know where he expects electricity to come from, but certainly nobody is going to invest in creating these modular reactors if the Minister of the Environment himself is against them.
The Liberals could have backed up carbon capture and storage, of which the Canadian energy industry is leading in the world. It is the industry putting carbon back in the ground where it came from, the carbon trunk, which allows that carbon to go back to geological formations where it can be safely stored. The government was slow to support it and insufficient in that support.
The Liberals could have incentivized industry to further reduce emissions. They could have also used Canada's clean energy production to displace dirty foreign production. We have 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas right here in Canada. With the hydroelectricity in Quebec, Newfoundland and British Columbia, we can liquefy that natural gas without any emissions at all. In fact, we have the shortest shipping distances from North America to both Asia and Europe, allowing us to reduce the cost and the emissions necessary to get that energy to those markets. That clean Canadian natural gas could displace dirty coal-fired electricity around the world.
Liberals might want to dispute this today, but that was their contention not long ago. The showed up for a photo op to take credit for the previous Conservative government's approval of the LNG Canada project in northern British Columbia. He said at the time, “We know LNG produces...half the amount of carbon emissions as coal.” He then said that this project would have the effect of reducing global emissions by displacing dirtier sources of electricity in Asia. This is the quote: “So by sending Canadian LNG to markets that are today powered by coal, we will help those jurisdictions transition away from this energy source.”
According to Rob Seeley, president of E3Merge Consulting, “for every unit of GHGs that British Columbia produces to get that LNG to market, the overseas production of GHGs goes down by a factor of 10.” In other words, by replacing foreign coal-fired with our Canadian energy, we can reduce emissions.
Further, this same expert said:
Shipping LNG at design capacity from Kitimat to displace coal-generated electricity in China would reduce global GHG emissions by 60 to 90 million tonnes annually, equivalent to the annual production of GHGs in all of B.C....
Would that not be something? What an achievement that would be.
By the way, 60 million to 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gases is exactly what the Liberals promised the carbon tax would eliminate. It did not happen, but this project would have allowed it to. However, projects like this are not able to go ahead because of government gatekeepers standing in the way.
When this took office, there were 15 LNG proposals on the table. Not a single one has been completed, seven years later. Imagine the emissions we could have reduced and the paycheques we could have grown if we had gotten out of the way and allowed these projects to proceed.
We could export more of our civilian-grade uranium, so that foreign jurisdictions could shut down dirty coal and replace it with clean Canadian energy. We could support Quebec and Manitoba as they attempt to export and get better revenues for their hydroelectricity. There are countless ways we can combat the emissions of our country and the world without taxing and punishing our citizens, and if the Liberals had done that, maybe they would not have missed every single target they have set.
The second promise the Liberals made is that the carbon tax would make everyone better off. Everyone would pay this tax, but there would be a cheque in the mail that would compensate them for it. It sounds like one of those scam emails that I get that say, if I just give them my bank card information, they will make a big deposit and I will be rich, and it is always from an uncle on the other side of the world somewhere. It turns out that the cheque bounced.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, and I am looking at the numbers right here on the table he set out, the net cost to Albertans of this carbon tax when it is fully implemented will be $2,282 per household. In Saskatchewan it will be $1,464 per household, and in Manitoba, it will be $1,145 per household. In Ontario it will be $1,461. That is in net costs, so it is with the rebates the government has promised.
That is, by the way, the least of the problem. For the six provinces that do not get any rebate, they will be far worse off. We must remember that the carbon tax may be provincially administered in British Columbia, Quebec and some other regions of the country. However, it is federally imposed, so even if provinces have their own regimes, they will have to triple their carbon tax in order to meet the mandate the federal government has put in place, and they will get no rebate at all. Those provinces will be vastly worse off than the cases I just mentioned.
This, at a time when Canadians cannot pay for their groceries, cannot gas their vehicles and are fearing the cost that winter will hit them with in just a few short months. This is exactly the last time we need to raise a tax. Think about it. The Liberals are proposing to bring in a 40¢-a-litre tax on gasoline. How many of the single mothers, of the working farmers, of the welders or of the waitresses can afford to pay another 40¢ a litre in gas taxes. Every party in this House, except the Conservatives, want to hit those working people with those higher taxes. We will stand in the way. We will fight back. We will defend consumers against this tax.
The final falsehood is that the Liberals said this carbon tax would never go above $50 a tonne. That was it. They said at $50 a tonne they would be done. That was before the election. After the election they said the tax would have to be tripled. They said it was so ineffective that they needed to make it three times the size in order to do the job, and that is just what we know about. If they are going to triple the tax after just one broken election promise, we can imagine if they were, God forbid, given another mandate. What surprise would we hear the next day after the election? How high would the tax have to go, a dollar a litre in new taxes or tripling home heating bills?
What other costs would the Liberals surprise Canadians with if they got the chance? They have broken their promise on this. They have broken their promise on income taxes, which they said would go down. They have broken their promise on countless other taxes, and we can expect that they will only break more promises, because they need to raise taxes in order to feed their insatiable appetite for spending.
Canadians will not let them. Conservatives will run on a low-tax agenda in the next election, and we will win and deliver that low-tax agenda.
We forget sometimes that it is our small businesses that will be asked to bear a disproportionate burden. They get no rebate at all. Unlike large industrial corporations that get a complete exemption from the carbon tax, small businesses have to pay it on the cost of heating their restaurants, firing up their stoves in order to feed their patrons, transporting their goods and running their factories.
All of them have to pay those taxes, because they are not big enough to get the exemption that the large industrial corporations have received. Therefore, we can expect more small businesses to make up the difference by having to raise prices on consumers or lower wages on their workers, all making Canadians worse off at a time when they can least afford it.
Small and medium-sized businesses do not get an exemption. The tax will cost them more, three times more if the Liberals stay in power thanks to their coalition partners, the New Democrats. That is why we are going to keep standing up for our small and medium-sized businesses, which are creating jobs and providing goods and services to consumers. The Conservatives will always stand up for small and medium-sized businesses by cancelling this tax increase.
Of course, this tax comes on top of other taxes. The Liberals propose to raise taxes on paycheques. Starting January 1, they will raise EI and CPP payroll taxes, even though they have enough funds at the current rates to fund both of those programs, including with the regular increased benefits that can be expected. They want to jeopardize the paycheques of Canadians to raise taxes and run big surpluses in the EI account, which they then will use to fund overall government spending rather than to provide workers with protection against unemployment. Conservatives believe that EI should not be a cash cow for government. It should be a protection for our workers, and we will not support any increase in the EI payroll tax.
Our theory, our principle, is that a dollar left in the hands of the person who earned it is always better than in the hands of the politician who taxed it. We want this to be once again a country where hard work pays off, where the person who puts in that extra hour, takes that extra shift or earns that extra bonus keeps that money to give their kids a summer a camp or to give their family an opportunity for a small camping trip or, God forbid, to upsize their house or move from an apartment into a place of their own. This should be a country of opportunity, of boundless possibility, for anyone who is prepared to put in the work.
It is appalling to me that a single mom of three earning $55,000 a year who goes out and earns another dollar loses 80¢ in government clawbacks and taxes. That is according to a study by this very finance department of the current government. We are punishing the people who do the work of this nation.
Our workers deserve rewards for their work. Our small business owners who take risks and mortgage their homes to survive and to supply our communities with services and our people with jobs deserve to keep the fruits of their labour. That is why Conservatives will always stand on the side of the people who work hard, who pay their taxes and who play by the rules. We will put Canadians back in control of their money, their lives, right here in Canada, the freest nation on earth.
The new said just last week that the proposed investments in our affordability plan, which would double the GST tax credit, get dental care for those who cannot afford it and provide direct payments to Canadians having trouble paying the rent, were all akin to printing cash. I guess that was before members of his own party flip-flopped on their position and finally, albeit reluctantly, decided to support our proposed GST tax rebate, which will support 11 million Canadians.
Let us be absolutely clear. The suite of measures in our affordability plan will support Canadians with the rising cost of living without adding fuel to the fire of inflation. Members do not need to take my word for it. The former deputy parliamentary budget officer, Mr. Askari, the University of Calgary's Lindsay Tedds and Alberta economist Trevor Tombe have all pointed out that this support we have proposed to this House will not have an inflationary effect. Why not? It is because it is specific and targeted.
Our plan offers targeted and fiscally responsible financial support to the people who need it most, with particular emphasis on lower-income Canadians, who are most exposed to inflation. Obviously, our ability to spend is limited. That was true when interest rates were at a historic low in 2020, and it is certainly true today.
That is why we continue to act with prudence. Today, we have the lowest net debt and the lowest deficit in the G7. We still have a AAA credit rating. Our goal is to balance fiscal responsibility with the government's responsibility to come to the aid of the most vulnerable Canadians. That has always been our approach.
Thanks to the investments our government has made over the past two years, many of the measures in our affordability plan are already in place to help Canadians.
I would be more than happy to spend the time I have remaining going through the details of our affordability plan and how we will support Canadians through this challenging economic time. However, that is not really what the Conservatives would like to speak about. The Conservative motion, in fact, does not even mention affordability, not once. No, this is a motion against climate action, pure and simple, less than 48 hours after hurricane Fiona touched down in Atlantic Canada.
What the motion from the essentially says is that now is the time to give up in the fight against the climate crisis, although, to be fair, it is not as if my colleagues opposite ever really started. They are still too busy arguing among themselves as to whether climate change is even real.
Climate action is no longer a theoretical political debate; it is an economic necessity. All around the world, governments are investing in a green transition. Our most important trading partners, the United States and the European Union, are all putting serious climate measures into action now.
These are our clients. These are our markets. Without the innovation born out of and encouraged by a robust price on pollution, Canada has no future in the new global economy. Importantly, Canada’s national price on pollution does not make life any less affordable for the vast majority of Canadians. It is unfortunate the Conservative Party continues to spin this false narrative about Canada’s price on pollution while having actually no plan for themselves to tackle climate change.
Once again, the Conservatives are taking aim at the price on pollution. That is not surprising, coming from a party that is still torn over whether climate change is real. Our government sees what is happening, and we are taking action.
Clearly, if the Conservatives were in power, there would be no targets and no talk of achieving net zero. Rather, they would be talking about the oil-based economy and ignoring our vulnerable seniors, low-income workers and struggling families. The Conservatives believe that the federal government should not do anything to tackle the climate crisis or to help Canadians face economic challenges.
Despite our Conservative colleagues' indifference, our government is focusing on making life more affordable for Canadians by urgently investing in a just green transition.
Canadians understand that we must act to stem the climate emergency and reduce our emissions. It is an environmental and economic imperative, and yet the Conservatives continue to attack a policy that is widely recognized as the most efficient means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive innovation at the same time.
In fact, last Thursday, the member for described the federal price on pollution as “some kind of weird Ponzi scheme the government has cooked up.”
For the benefit of my Conservative colleague, I do want to remind the House of the definition of a Ponzi scheme, which is “a fraudulent investing scam promising high rates of return which generates returns for earlier investors with money taken from later investors.”
Putting to one side, for the purposes of this debate, the fact that accusing the government of engaging in fraudulent activities is certainly stretching the boundaries of parliamentary language, that the Conservatives believe that putting a price on pollution is a fraudulent scam is incredibly uninformed and also very telling.
The Conservatives have consistently shirked away from the fight against climate change and this first opposition motion from their new leader shows us that we should just expect more of the same.
Interestingly, though, this motion does not call for an end to the price on pollution, or carbon tax, if members prefer to call it that. The Conservatives now appear to want to keep the carbon tax in place, just not to have it increase.
To be clear, because we have heard a lot of numbers this morning, this price on pollution is going up by 3¢ in April, not tomorrow, not this year but next year.
In fact, this first opposition motion is an attempt to change the channel. It is an attempt to change the channel away from the responsible and the needed affordability plan that we have presented. It is a way to change the channel from the legislation before the House that will provide a tax rebate to Canadians.
The Conservatives are busy lining up speakers on debate. The Conservatives are busy trying to block the passage of our affordability plan, which will put money back into the pockets of Canadians now, not in six months from now, not next year. The affordability plan that we have put forward will put money back into pockets of Canadians now and the Conservatives are blocking it.
As the Conservatives come to grips with the debate and the reality of the climate crisis, our government is committed to and focused on supporting Canadians feeling the effects of global inflation. That is our priority.
Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today to address this motion concerning carbon pollution pricing.
I will start by stating the obvious. Climate change is real, it is happening now and parts of Canada are warming faster than the global average. The latest science warns that to avoid severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced significantly and urgently to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C. Canadians want and expect real action on climate change.
The government has a plan, the emissions reduction plan released in March. Canada can meet its climate targets. The economy will continue to grow. This plan is realistic and affordable.
Carbon pricing is central to this plan, because it is the most efficient and lowest-cost way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. it is based on the principle that it should not be free to pollute. Whoever creates pollution should be responsible for the cost. This is a fair and equitable approach.
Carbon pricing also lets individuals and businesses decide for themselves how best to reduce pollution. It does not dictate or ban anything; it makes certain activities a bit more expensive and rewards those who make cleaner choices.
We have also made affordability central to our approach. It is true that pricing carbon pollution is modestly increasing fuel costs, as my hon. friend from the Green Party said just a few moments ago, by about 2¢ per litre of gasoline this year.
We know every little bit counts, but carbon pricing has never been about raising revenues. Under our federal system, most households come out ahead, and low-income households particularly do much better. The average household receives more in climate action incentive payments than it faces in direct costs due to carbon pricing. This has been confirmed repeatedly in independent studies.
Outside of cities there are fewer options. People have to drive more. That is why the climate action incentive payment includes a 10% top-up for rural residents. We are not asking people to change their lives overnight. Taking transit or using an electric vehicle will not work for everyone right now. That is why we have the climate action incentive to ensure the policy is affordable for everyone.
Returning proceeds from carbon pollution pricing helps with affordability, but it also maintains the incentive to choose greener options. This is because the climate action incentive payment is not directly tied to a household's fossil fuel consumption. It is basic economics. If something costs more, people buy less of it. That is what carbon pricing does for pollution. Returning the funds does not change the equation.
Here is the real opportunity. Canadians who do make low-carbon changes benefit even more. Fuel efficient vehicles use less gas and therefore incur fewer vehicle costs. We are now increasing the rollout of electric vehicles. The government provides purchase incentives to bring the cost down. We are investing in more charging stations. The technologies keep improving, with longer range, better batteries and lower costs. Canadians are starting to do the math of rising carbon prices, volatile oil prices and tailpipe pollution versus less maintenance, no oil changes and charging at home. The equation is pretty simple.
We can look at our homes. Most of them are heated with natural gas. Better insulation, plugging leaks or a newer furnace, all use less energy, cut pollution and, importantly, save money. The government is supporting home energy retrofits through the greener homes grant, and this is being positively received by Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Canadians want to take action, they want to do their part and they want an approach that is fair and equitable. Carbon pricing is a nudge in that direction, and it is money back in their pockets to help use less and save more.
Let us not be nearsighted. Climate change is a global challenge, and the costs of inaction are high. Canadians want climate change action. The government owes it to them to be responsible and use policies that are the most efficient and cost effective.
Canada is not alone in fighting climate change and pricing carbon pollution. Around the world, markets are changing. Industries are moving away from products and services that create carbon pollution and are turning to cleaner and more sustainable options.
The cost of inaction on climate change is enormous. We are seeing that in Atlantic Canada right now. As emphasized in the most recent IPCC report, the costs of inaction are very high, including more severe floods, forest fires, heat waves and droughts, which all cause environmental and economic damage.
The Canadian Climate Institute's 2020 report “Tip of the Iceberg” confirms that weather-related disasters are costing Canada more each year, rising from tens of millions of dollars to billions of dollars annually in Canada.
Just wrapping up, our climate plan is working. Canadians have been clear about what they want, which is clean air, good jobs, a healthy environment and a strong economy. Our approach ensures that Canadians are well placed to benefit from the opportunities created by the global transition under way. Evidence confirms that putting a price on carbon pollution works. It spurs clean growth, supports jobs and cuts the pollution causing climate change. Pricing carbon pollution and returning proceeds to Canadian families and businesses is an effective and affordable way to combat climate change while supporting the sustainability of Canadian communities.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
I was saying that supply has decreased. This is partly because of broken supply chains, the war in Ukraine and the labour shortage. These are the causes. That means that, if we want to solve our problems, these are the things we must act on.
What are the solutions, then? What should we do? First, we need to help those that are affected by inflation. We need to increase support for seniors. The Bloc Québécois has been saying this for a long time, but it is truer now than ever. Seniors live on a fixed income. They have been hit hard by inflation. We need to help them.
We also need to help low- and middle-income people. They are also suffering from inflation. We need to be prudent in the way we help people. We cannot implement measures across the board. If we try to help everyone, we will just be stoking inflation. We need to target the people who are really in trouble and help them more.
Then, we need to increase the supply of social housing. That is clear. Rents are higher because there is a shortage of housing units. You do not need a doctorate in economics to understand that. When something is in short supply, prices rise. We need to increase the supply of social housing.
We also need to eliminate our dependence on oil. I forgot to mention that the causes of high inflation include the increase in oil prices and the war in Ukraine. We need to transition to renewable, clean energies. That is what we need to do.
The extremely populist Conservative Party is doing the opposite. Conservatives love oil and they have no qualms about saying so; they eat it on their cereal in the morning. They say that the solution is to stop punishing oil consumers. They want to lower taxes so that people can consume more oil.
Are they helping our seniors? The answer is no. Are they helping people in difficulty because of their income? The answer is no. They are helping Suncor, Imperial Oil and so on. Once again, those who are producing dirty oil will be rewarded by the Conservative Party's immoral policies, and this is just the beginning.
If there is an election in three years, I can only imagine what we will be debating here in the House. What a horror show it will be. It will be the bogeyman all covered in oil. That is what will happen, and it is no laughing matter; it will be appalling. I hope that he will not light up a cigarette.
Then they attack the central bank, the Bank of Canada. That is something else. I taught for a long time. I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics. The Bank of Canada often hires the most talented economists. It is internationally known as one of the best banks. In 1991, when it decided to adopt a policy focused on fighting inflation, it was only the second bank in history to do so. For 30 years, it kept inflation within a range of 1% to 3%. It worked.
That no longer works because of the pandemic. This is an exceptional situation. Should we blame the bank? The answer is no. We need to trust it and allow it to remain independent from political power, or the situation could become dangerous. If things go off the rails, people will flock to cryptocurrency, which is not a good idea. When I heard the leader of the Conservative Party extolling the merits of cryptocurrency, I was taken aback. I told friends of mine that I did not understand what he was saying. No one understood, although most of them have a doctorate in economics. I do not think they were the ones who were wrong.
We are getting to the solution. The Bloc Québécois thinks that increasing the GST credits is a good idea, a good solution. The government is on the right track.
Let us look at what the Conservative Party is proposing. The Conservatives claim that, if we reduce that tariff, everyone will benefit. That is false, because any such reductions will be offset by an increase in payments to Canadians who are struggling the most to make ends meet. The ones who will profit from this obscene populism will be the oil producers. Really, now. My colleague from asked the leader of the Conservative Party a question, and the leader in question did not even know that there is a carbon exchange in Quebec.
We still have a long way to go. If the Conservatives want votes in Quebec, they will have to learn more about the Quebec nation, what it is and what it wants.
What does the Quebec nation want? It wants less oil and more renewable energies. The Bloc Québécois is here to remind everyone of that.
In Quebec, we believe in the potential of renewable energies. That is how we will be able to protect ourselves from future oil price shocks. Quebec will consume less and less oil, and that is the direction we need to take for the sake of the planet and our future economy.
Madam Speaker, it is always a bit difficult to speak after the . He is such a colourful speaker that I cannot hope to outdo him, even when I dress in yellow.
He is an economist, and he explained clearly that a better knowledge of the technical details is necessary before proposing measures that could have major repercussions on the public.
Of course, we all agree that inflation is very real and that it affects everyone, all the people in all the ridings we represent, and we want to propose solutions. However, before rushing to introduce concrete measures, we need to know whether or not it is the right thing to do.
Today feels like Groundhog Day. Back in June, the Conservative Party moved a similar motion with almost identical wording. That motion talked about the rising cost of living and proposed, once again, to abolish the carbon tax in order to put money back into the pockets of Quebeckers and Canadians. However, I find it a bit odd to hear the Conservative members from Quebec say that this measure will put money back into Quebeckers' pockets when the carbon tax does not even apply in Quebec.
As my colleague clearly explained earlier, the carbon market is working very well in Quebec. Unfortunately, the goal of this Conservative measure may not actually be what they say it is. They are proposing a solution to inflation, which is a very real problem. However, instead of helping families, this measure would help the oil companies, which are not currently doing their part. Families are doing their part and getting money in return. It is a system that works quite well, and that is what the Parliamentary Budget Officer has said.
The Conservatives have a gift for twisting people's words. Just yesterday, during the debate on hurricane Fiona, I made a connection between extreme weather events and climate change. In response, the Conservative Party leader said the Bloc Québécois was in favour of importing foreign oil into Canada. That is not it at all. We want to cut fossil fuels out entirely and invest in renewable energy.
They did the same thing with the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report. The Conservatives hand-picked one section and put their own spin on it. What the Parliamentary Budget Officer actually said was that the general consensus among economists is that explicit carbon pricing is the most cost-effective approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I think we can trust the Parliamentary Budget Officer on that. Of course, he did not study Quebec's carbon market, which the Bloc Québécois considers to be the best system. It works very well in Quebec, anyway.
I will not repeat all the causes of inflation, since my House leader did an excellent job of that earlier. However, I would like to emphasize the repercussions that inflation is having on people in my region, eastern Quebec.
The average salary in the Gaspé region is $52,000 and in the Lower St. Lawrence, it is $40,000. That is not a lot of money for a whole year. With the rising cost of living, the cost of groceries, the cost of gas and the price of housing, people are already struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis, and have been for many years. They have to count their pennies and stick to their budgets. Now they are really stretched to the limit.
I visited a few farms this summer. With skyrocketing input costs and shortages of parts needed for farm equipment, our farmers' job is getting harder and harder. We are talking about the people who help put food on our tables three times a day. Inflation is having an impact on these people and on the people they feed.
As I have said before in the House, a protest was organized recently by low-income people in the RCM of La Mitis, in my riding. Their slogan was: “I paid my rent. Now I have a place to starve to death”. These people were telling us that they have to choose between paying the rent and buying groceries. They have to choose between food and shelter, both of which are basic needs. We are at a point where people are having to choose between these two basic needs. It is frightening to see what an impact inflation is having on the people in my riding.
Over in the Avignon RCM, in Chaleur Bay, the Gaspé wardens' table offered financial incentives for building housing. Obviously the spike in construction costs has turned off the developers. There are not a lot of people who want to invest, and that is leading to a housing shortage in the region.
The housing investments that the federal government is making are good, but sadly insufficient. Often these big amounts go to large cities, and the regions are overlooked. We are seeing a positive demographic shift in the Gaspé and Lower St. Lawrence for the first time in 20 years, and we would love to welcome more people, but we have nowhere for them to live.
The same goes for the labour shortage. We are eager to bring in workers from other parts of Quebec or Canada and from around the world, but there is nowhere to put them. That is having a direct impact on the people in my region.
Gilles Dufour, executive director of Moisson Mitis, told us that requests for assistance have increased by between 30% and 40%. That is not insignificant. Every holiday season, I like to go and help distribute Christmas baskets to those most in need. We are seeing just how much those numbers are going up. Also, fewer people are available to help out or to donate goods or money because they are dealing with the rising cost of living. It is a vicious cycle and we are having trouble helping each other out.
I believe that we all agree with the first part of the Conservatives' motion. Inflation is very real and we must find solutions. However, I do not believe that scrapping the carbon tax is the magic solution.
As I mentioned, this is the second time they have tried to pass this in the House, but a majority of members rejected it because we know there are other solutions on the table. Of course we have to have these debates and use all means necessary to implement measures quickly. The Bloc Québécois has proposed several measures and I will come back to that. My colleague spoke about solutions that could be implemented.
I think the Conservatives are misrepresenting what the Parliamentary Budget Officer, or PBO, said about the carbon tax. This tax would not cost households 60% more, as the Conservative Party is claiming. Once you dig deeper into the facts and into the technical details, it becomes clear that this claim is incomplete and lacking specifics. As I said earlier, the tax does not apply in Quebec. It applies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The government committed to giving the proceeds of the gas tax directly back to individuals and families through climate action incentive payments.
The PBO did his analysis in March 2022. In his report, he said that the federal carbon tax is set to rise by $15 per year from $50 per tonne in 2022 to $170 per tonne in 2030. The Conservatives claim it is 60%, but the PBO based his analysis on the 2030 price per tonne, which is $170, so that is not the current price, but the Conservatives are muddying the waters. That will not happen until 2030-31, which is when some families might feel the pain.
We know oil companies are not contributing their fair share. They should be paying more. Eliminating the carbon tax will not help us fight climate change and meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Yes, there is room for improvement. Nothing is ever perfect, but for the time being, that is not the solution that will put money back in people's pockets, certainly not for the low-income families that get that tax refunded.
What we need to do is focus on the subsidies being given to oil companies, the money being taken from the wallets of Canadians and Quebeckers and given to oil and gas companies.
I am running out of time, but we will have plenty of time to talk about this later.
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
People are struggling with the cost of living. They are struggling with rising inflation. They are struggling to pay for gas, groceries and housing. They are worried about their future and are worried about the future of the planet. They are doing everything right, yet they are struggling to afford basic necessities while billionaires and big corporations are getting richer than ever.
The cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation are being driven by corporate greed. Corporate profits are rising twice as fast as inflation, and as said a number of times today, wages are rising only half as fast. Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals want to acknowledge the fact that big corporations are benefiting from this crisis and that big corporations are using this crisis as an opportunity to raise prices beyond their increased costs. They are making massive profits while families are hurting.
The Conservatives want to inflame the anger and frustration. They applaud when we talk about Canadians struggling and massive corporations making record profits. Canadians are rightly frustrated and angry, but the Conservatives fail to provide solutions that would actually make a difference in people's lives. They do not want to address the fact that big oil companies are making record profits off the backs of Canadians.
When the New Democrats called for a tax on the excess profits of huge corporations to help make life more affordable, both the Conservatives and the Liberals voted no. The New Democrats believe we need solutions to deal with the cost-of-living crisis that actually support families and workers.
Cutting the price on pollution will not help Canadian families struggling with the cost of living. In fact, the vast majority of Canadians get more money back in rebates than they pay at the pumps. Those with the lowest incomes get the most back, so no, cutting the price on carbon will not help working people. It will only help big oil pad its bottom line and delay climate action.
With the increasing intensity of extreme weather, climate fires and floods, Canadians know we cannot afford to back down in our fight against the climate crisis. Report after report shows that having mitigation and adaptation now is far less expensive than paying for rebuilding infrastructure that has been destroyed or dealing with the aftermath of climate fires, flooding and hurricanes. More than that, it also saves people's lives.
The and the Conservatives may not believe in fighting the climate crisis, but Canadians know better and expect their government to take action. While the New Democrats support a price on pollution, it is not a silver bullet. The Liberals have not been taking the action that matches the urgency or scale of the crisis we are facing, and they continue to let big polluters off the hook.
Carbon pricing must be fairer. The New Democrats would roll back loopholes the Liberals have given to the biggest polluters and make them pay their fair share. Both the Conservatives and the Liberals need to stop standing up for corporate interests and start standing up for working people.
We are calling for a tax on the excess profits of big oil to help make life more affordable while fighting the climate crisis. Big oil is benefiting while working families are hurting. Canadian oil and gas companies are forecast to rake in a record $147 billion this year. It is hard to even imagine what that number means. That is $147 billion just this year, but instead of investing these record profits in promised emissions reductions to clean up their own pollution or even investing to create good jobs for workers in clean energy, oil and gas companies are paying out huge dividends to their rich shareholders.
Amazingly, at the very same time, oil and gas CEOs are lining their pockets and delaying climate action. They have the audacity to tell the government they need more time and more subsidies to meet the Liberals' already weak climate targets. At a time when oil and gas companies are making more money than ever, it is unacceptable that they are not paying to clean up their own mess and are instead begging for more corporate handouts. However, it is not surprising, because the Liberals have been giving billions of dollars each year to these big oil and gas companies. This is nothing more than corporate greed.
The New Democrats have asked and will continue to push the Liberals to do something to take on this corporate greed, but both the Liberals and the Conservatives have said no. They said no to making CEOs pay what they owe. They said no to making sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share. They are fine with the ultrarich getting richer and richer while workers continue to struggle to make ends meet.
Solutions to deal with the rising cost of living should not put further burden on the shoulders of families. Big corporations and wealthy CEOs should not be getting away without paying their fair share. The New Democrats support putting a price on pollution, but the Liberals' carbon pricing system continues to let big polluters off the hook. Under their flawed system, Canada's biggest polluters pay the lowest carbon tax rate. Loopholes mean that oil and gas companies only pay a tiny fraction of the cost of their pollution, as 80% to 90% of their emissions are exempt. Suncor only pays one-fourteenth of the full carbon price. These loopholes need to be closed so that big oil pays what it owes for its pollution.
While a price on pollution is important, it is not nearly enough. The Liberals have continued to fail when it comes to meeting the urgency of this crisis. Instead of expecting the carbon tax to be a silver bullet, the Liberals need to make bold investments in clean energy, in energy-efficiency homes and buildings and in public transit. The Liberals need a real plan that supports workers and creates jobs in communities across Canada. They need to stop giving billions in subsidies to oil and gas companies, the same companies that are profiting off the backs of Canadians.
We need solutions to deal with the cost of living that actually support families, that help workers, that make life more affordable and that do not put further burden on the shoulders of families. The Conservatives believe people should be left to fend for themselves while billionaires reap the benefits. Then there are the Liberals, who are so far out of touch with the reality of working families that they need to be forced to act. When it comes to climate change, they like to say all the right things but then fail to do the right things.
We know the support that Canadians are getting right now is not enough. Families are still hurting while oil and gas companies are getting richer and richer. We will continue to call on the Liberals to put in place an excess profits tax on oil and gas companies to provide relief for struggling Canadians.
Last week, the UN Secretary-General called on countries to implement a windfall profits tax on fossil-fuel companies, saying, “Polluters must pay.” The Conservative government in the U.K. has already put a 25% windfall tax on oil and gas profits. The EU has announced plans for a tax on windfall profits. Spain, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria have all implemented a similar levy. It is shameful that the Liberals have so far refused to make big polluters pay their fair share.
Last week, the appeared to change his tune, saying he is not against a windfall tax but that he is waiting on oil and gas companies to show their commitment to climate action. It is clear this is a fantasy being sold by the environment minister and the oil and gas lobby. A new report from The Pembina Institute shows that oil and gas companies are paying out huge dividends to their shareholders instead of investing in climate solutions.
While the Liberals and the Conservatives are more interested in helping corporations maximize their profits, the New Democrats will continue to fight for Canadians, workers and communities. We need climate action and we need it now.
Madam Speaker, I want to take this opportunity as I rise in the House to talk about what is happening in another part of the world. It deserves our attention and it is important to note. Since the brutal murder of the young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, a widespread grassroots feminist movement has been rising in Iran. These people have the exceptional courage to stand up for freedom and democracy. I want to commend their courage. I am extremely worried about their situation, and I hope that the federal government will use every political and diplomatic tool it has to stand up for human rights, especially the rights of women in Iran.
Today we are discussing a Conservative Party motion. It is the first motion moved by the new Conservative leader during an opposition day. I thought a new leader would bring in new ideas and renewal and that we would finally talk about other things; but no, the new Conservative Party leader wants to talk about the carbon tax. For 10 years that is all the Conservative Party has been talking about, incessantly. They are absolutely obsessed with this. When they do not know what else to do, they talk about the carbon tax. I just want them to know that it is over, case closed.
The carbon tax is a good tool that works. It is not necessarily a cure-all. It will not solve every issue, but it works well in terms of putting pressure on the market so that companies and consumers adapt and change their behaviour to reduce their carbon footprint.
It is rather funny to see the Conservatives today doubling down on this obsession yet again. This is actually a market mechanism, so I do not understand. They love the free market and capitalism, and this tool relies on supply and demand, on prices and costs. However, they do not support it.
The Conservatives are also missing the point by thinking that suspending or cancelling the price on pollution is really going to make a difference in people's lives. There is no doubt that we are currently facing inflation and a rising cost of living. We see it with housing, heating, gasoline and groceries. The prices of some products are going up 12%, 13%, 15%, and sometimes even as high as 30%. The carbon tax is not responsible for that and getting rid of it will not change anything.
As my colleagues pointed out earlier, it makes no difference whatsoever to Quebeckers, because the federal carbon tax does not exist in Quebec. Where were the Conservative members from Quebec when there party was planning its opposition day? Maybe they were asleep at the wheel of their gas-powered car, pun intended.
The NDP wants to help people in tangible ways, so it forced the Liberals to take action on a number of fronts that will produce results. Bill , which was introduced when we came back to the House, is proof. The bill includes some very interesting provisions that we have been pushing for for a long time. The NDP caucus secured major gains for people, starting with the $500 rental housing benefit top-up. No, that will not change the entire housing market overnight, but it will provide some relief and may help people. In Quebec, 580,000 Quebeckers will collect that cheque because they are already on the list of people who need the federal housing benefit.
The second measure doubles the GST tax credit. Millions of people in Canada will benefit from that over the next six months. It can range from $250 to $500 per person. This is intended for the most vulnerable people in our society, those who need help the most. It is not an inflationary measure, since the proposed measures are not uniform. This is not intended for people who earn $70,000 or $100,000 a year; this is for people who are really struggling to pay for groceries or housing right now. The NDP made this happen. The leader of the NDP demanded this for six months, and he finally got it in Bill .
As for dental coverage for children, many people told us during the last election that it would be great if teenagers, seniors and children had access to coverage for essential dental care, which is obviously not aesthetic. We tried to get a real dental care program for this year, but it was too hard to get it up and running in time.
Therefore, as a first step, we are offering a compensation cheque. This is a temporary step, an interim step, but still a significant one. People who do not have supplemental insurance and who wish to take their child to the dentist must keep the bill so they can receive a maximum amount of $650 for this year, as well as a maximum amount of $650 for next year. We are then talking about a maximum amount totalling $1,300 per child.
I think that while waiting for next year, this can provide significant assistance to middle-class families who do not have supplemental insurance. Next year, we will be able to offer a program that will enable people to go to the dentist and to receive immediate payment or get their bill reimbursed. Next year, we will extend the program to include teenagers, people with disabilities and seniors aged 65 years and up in Quebec and across Canada.
Just because the NDP secured this win, it does not mean that it will stop working hard or putting pressure on the government to do more, because a lot more needs to be done. However, we think that the measures being implemented and what we asked of the government are real solutions. The tangible actions we forced the Liberal government to take will provide real benefits to the lives of ordinary Canadians. In contrast, the Conservatives' solution is extremely ideological and, in reality, it will not help all that many people. In fact, it goes against all the efforts we should be making to combat climate change.
They present the carbon tax, which is a price on pollution, as a bad thing. Are the Conservatives saying that polluting should be a right? Are they saying that pollution should not cost anything and be free of consequences? Systematically, year after year, under the Conservative government and, now, under the Liberals, we have missed our greenhouse gas emission targets, which is extremely worrisome. Canada lags behind most other countries. We continue to subsidize oil companies that are currently making record profits. We do not have the spine to tax them more, while the CEOs keep pocketing millions of dollars.
Now the Conservative Party is presenting a 25-year-old idea, one that is outdated. Furthermore, it comes at a very odd time when eastern Quebec, the Magdalen Islands and a good part of the Maritimes have just been devastated by hurricane Fiona.
This motion from the official opposition completely disregards the true urgency of the climate crisis, and that these disasters, hurricanes, droughts, floods and forest fires will occur with greater frequency and intensity. We will be increasingly unable to control the planet's climate and temperature and people will suffer more, infrastructure and homes will be destroyed and villages and roads will have to be moved. That will come at an enormous cost. The Conservatives never talk about the cost of inaction in the face of the climate crisis. Even people who are not what one would call big bad socialists are worried. Insurance companies in Canada are worried because they know it is going to cost tens of billions of dollars in the coming years.
The Conservative Party is completely disconnected from this reality and is suggesting that we get rid of the one measure that sort of works. I will come back to this, but even though this measure more or less works, we should be doing more. The Conservatives' motion is completely irresponsible and shows no regard for future generations or for the people who will suffer and are suffering from climate disturbances and the increase in so-called natural disasters. We must do more.
I now want to talk about what the Liberal government is not doing. Not only does it refuse to eliminate oil subsidies, but it has also failed to develop a plan for a just transition. We need to come up with a strategy to support the industries and the unions that represent all of the workers across Quebec and Canada to ensure that we make this energy transition, not only for the sake of the environment and the climate, but also to save jobs and create new ones in renewable energy or find new ways of working in existing sectors.
This is 2022. In 2019 the government promised to introduce a bill concerning a just green energy transition that respects workers. It has yet to do anything, even though this objective is spelled out in the mandate letters of the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Labour. We are still awaiting such a bill.
I hope it comes soon because we need it. We need it if we want to solve this problem, meet our targets and respect Canada's commitments on the international stage. It is quite unsettling: Canada cannot seem to make good on the promises it makes out there. Canada signed the Paris Agreement and made commitments. The Canadian government signed the COP26 declaration, but it does not act in a consistent way.
The Liberals are extremely good at patting themselves on the back and bragging about their targets on the world stage, but they are unable to follow through. Now is the time to act.
Madam Speaker, for starters, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from .
Before I get down to business, I just want to say that this is my first speech in the House since my mother passed away this summer. She was my greatest supporter. She tuned in to every single one of my speeches, interventions and television appearances.
I feel a little emotional about speaking today, knowing that she is watching but will not be sharing her thoughts with me afterward. I know she is there, as supportive as always. She was always there throughout my career. Thanks to her, my family, my brothers and I always had enough to eat. She made sure we never went hungry, even in tough times. Cancer took her life this summer. She was sick for just a few months. She was in good shape.
I just want to acknowledge my mother, who is watching us. I am sure I will hear her comments after my speech, which I already know will be excellent, because that is what she always told me. A mother is a mother, after all. Wherever she is right now, I am thinking of her.
Madam Speaker, today we are debating the motion moved by the leader of the official opposition, which reads as follows:
That, in the opinion of the House, given that the government's tax increases on gas, home heating and, indirectly, groceries, will fuel inflation, and that the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported the carbon tax costs 60% of households more than they get back, the government must eliminate its plan to triple the carbon tax.
I would like to begin by setting the record straight on a few points.
I heard my Bloc Québécois and NDP colleagues boasting about the fact that Quebec has its own carbon pricing system. They said that the carbon tax does not apply in Quebec and that the leader of the official opposition should take into account the fact that Quebec has its own system.
However, they seem to be forgetting one very important thing. Unfortunately, not everything we consume in Quebec is produced in Quebec, so Quebeckers will inevitably pay more when the Liberal government triples its carbon tax.
Not only will Quebeckers pay more because everything will be more expensive, because everything that is transported or passes through another province will be more expensive, but the federal government has made it clear that the provinces will have to adjust and ensure that their carbon pricing system reflects the figures that the Liberals want to put in place.
What does that mean?
That means that the Bloc and the NDP are supporting further federal interference in the system that was established in Quebec, in order to force Quebec to make changes to its laws to meet the federal government's tax objectives.
In other words, the poorest will once again have to pay the price for decisions made by this Liberal federal government and backed by the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. That is the reality.
I do not understand how the Bloc and the NDP can ignore this situation, this clear and specific reality.
They can use words like “hypocrisy” to describe what happened and our leader's position, but what is really hypocritical is what the Bloc Québécois is trying to sell us. They know full well that Quebeckers, fathers and workers will end up paying more because of the Liberal government's decision to triple the carbon tax. Ultimately, the government's intention is to force the provinces that are not imposing the carbon tax to increase their system.
The worst part is that the government's carbon tax has successfully demonstrated that its targets do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. The Liberal government failed to meet any greenhouse gas reduction targets with its promise that the carbon tax would be capped at $50 per tonne. After the election, we learned that the government intends to triple the carbon tax because it was a failure and they were unable to meet their greenhouse gas targets. Now people will have to pay three times as much. They will not be able to use their vehicles because it will cost them more, so they will emit fewer greenhouse gases. Where is the logic in the current Liberal government's attitude, other than making workers and families pay for its policy that fails to reduce greenhouse gases?
That is the reality. At this time, with the carbon tax and the government's desire to make Canadians pay more and more in taxes, with its excessive spending policies and its use of public funds to create new programs, and considering Canada's rising debt levels and record deficits, it is not surprising that everything is more expensive.
Let us imagine a mother who goes to do her grocery shopping. The first thing she sees at the grocery store is how much more fresh fruit and vegetables cost. In the meat section, a small package of chicken that used to cost $8 now costs $16. We are told that meat prices have increased by 6.5%, but that is an average of different kinds of meat. The cost of basic meat, the kind we buy to feed our families, has gone up a lot more than 6.5%, according to statistics.
Dairy prices have gone up by 7%. We need to put bread and butter on the table, but the price of bread has risen by 15.4%. In the fresh produce section, prices are up by 13.2%. Many fruits are not grown in Canada. It is expensive to ship them. We cannot produce all fruits, because many do not grow in Canada.
We are feeling the effects of this inflationary crisis. Transportation, which will be hardest hit by the tripling of the carbon tax, is the main reason prices are going up, and things are going to get even worse. The price of sugar is up 11%; fish is up 8.7%. That is what families have to contend with.
People can argue about the effects of the carbon tax, claim it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and say we all need to do our part, but experience has shown that it does not work. For it to work, people have to pay three times more tax. The government decided it was up to individuals, and only individuals, to make all the sacrifices and go without so that it can move toward meeting its own targets.
I recently witnessed what goes on at grocery stores. This is what happens in times of crisis. Stores put out flyers on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. It used to be that people would wait until the weekend to do their shopping because sale items would still be available then. That is no longer the case. Visit a grocery store any Thursday or Friday. The place is packed, and there are lineups everywhere.
People want to be sure they get the products that are on sale that week at the grocery stores so that they can put a bit more food in their cart. That is what we are seeing at the grocery stores today.
I would love for the to go to the grocery store every Tuesday and Thursday for two or three weeks to see what is going on. Then he could go to the store on Saturday and Sunday, and he would see that there is absolutely nothing left on the shelves, no more of the discounted products, because everything sold out quickly since people have no choice.
According to the statistics, 24% of Canadians say they have cut back how much food they buy. That means a quarter of Canadians are buying less food because everything costs more. We are in Canada. Things like that should not be happening here.
I also wanted to tell Mike's story, but I am running out of time.
We cannot allow the Liberals to make people across Canada pay the price for their decision to triple the carbon tax. If this tax hike goes through, things that people cannot afford today will become even more unaffordable tomorrow.
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in the House of Commons on behalf of the good people of Cumberland—Colchester. As we found out last night, we were hit very hard by hurricane Fiona. I think it bears repeating that our thoughts and prayers are with all the folks out there who continue to suffer without power and to dig out from the storm.
Primarily, we need to think of the carbon tax as exactly what it is. It is a tax. It is another tax that businesses and individuals have to pay. We are here now, of course. If other parliamentarians are not aware of this, then they must be living under a rock, but we are at the highest rates of inflation in decades. It harkens back to those days in my life in 1999 when we were coming out of those very high inflation years. Indeed, in 1990, when my wife and I bought our first car, we needed a loan and interest rates were at 18%. My lovely father-in-law was a great accountant and someone who always needed to teach one an interesting lesson. Interestingly enough, he was kind enough to give us a loan for 12%. Those kinds of things are where we are headed to now.
A big concern that I have is the cost of living. If we are talking about raising taxes, we cannot do so without talking about the cost of living. Every day, my constituency assistants receive calls from people who are unable to afford their lives. As we might say, they are being priced out of their own lives. I have spoken in the House previously about people who have had to sell their wedding bands in order to buy food.
We know that where I live, in rural Canada, it is going to be important to understand that winter is coming. I know that is a bit of a cliche from a TV show, but winter comes every year, and it is still coming. I think we need to understand what it costs to fill a barrel of oil now. Many people in rural Canada still live in single-family dwellings with oil heat, especially in Atlantic Canada. It is going to cost about $1,500 to fill one barrel of oil. Of course, if we get a bad winter it may last six weeks, but it may only last a month. When we are talking about $1,500, we all know that is a significant amount of money.
We also know that people at the current time cannot feed themselves. We have heard multiple times that the cost of groceries has gone up 10%. On top of that, the carbon tax, of course, will add many more difficulties and much more hardship on the people who live in Cumberland—Colchester. Another thing of interest is that I am very perplexed as to why the government would continue to have only one solution for a complex problem. Why continue to beat Canadians over the head with more taxes, more taxes and more taxes to fund the free-fall spending of the Liberal government? I fail to understand that.
Previously, I was a physician. What we do know is that for complex problems there are often multi-faceted solutions. For instance, when people suffer from cardiovascular disease, we know that people may take medications. We could suggest that they just take their pills, go out, eat whatever they want and live their lives. Is that appropriate? Could it make them live longer? Yes, but does it make people any healthier? I would suggest to the good folks out there that it would not actually make them healthier. How do we help people become healthier? We ask them to exercise more. We ask them to get better sleep. We ask them to help their mental health problems.
The stretch here, of course, is to understand that climate change is real and to question how we will solve that problem. They continue to push tax upon tax to solve a problem. In my mind, and I think in the minds of Conservatives across this great country, people understand that that is a solution based on only one facet of the problem. Clearly, we know it is, given the significant cost-of-living challenges of Canadians at this time and what they are really unable to afford. As, my great colleague from pointed out, gasoline it is costing another 40¢ a litre.
In parts of Atlantic Canada, buying a car still poses a great difficulty. There may be many people in larger cities, and perhaps across the aisle, who can afford fancy electric cars for $60,000, $70,000 or $80,000, but we know that in parts of rural Canada there are people who buy cars for $2,500 or $3,500 because that is what they can afford. We know now that adding on top of that is going to be difficult.
One of the big concerns I have is that people in Cumberland—Colchester are going to be specifically and proportionally disadvantaged by having to pay more for gasoline. We do not have mass transit. We do not have subways. We do not have those kinds of things. People rely on themselves to get to where they need to go, because that is where we have chosen to live. Therefore, should we be disproportionately affected by another 40¢ per litre on gasoline? To me, that is not really a possibility.
One of the other important things to figure out is who is paying this tax? We understand very clearly from the government that large corporations can apply for an exemption from the carbon tax. That does not really make a lot of sense to me, because we know small businesses are not eligible to have an exemption from it. We also know that small businesses are the backbone of Canada; they are the economic drivers. Therefore, small businesses have to pay the tax and large corporations do not.
We also know that individuals will end up paying more. We know that an average household is now paying $1,400 more annually for the carbon tax.
I always look at this as a shell game, that game where the ball is hidden under shells, then they are moved around and we guess what shell the ball is under. We want to know where that shell is, who is paying the tax and how much is it. These elusive answers make it more difficult to find any type of support for a carbon tax.
We need to look at other technological examples of how to do that. We know that our western partners in the great province of Alberta have the cleanest oil in the world. We also know that there are other technologies, such as carbon capture and storage. We also look to things like small modular reactors to produce pollution-free electricity.
When we look at those kinds of things, it becomes very clear that there are multiple solutions to a problem as opposed to continuing to talk about a carbon tax, which we know very clearly was originally promised at $50 per tonne and is now set to more than triple to $170 per tonne.
I would also be remiss if I did not talk about the specific situation in Nova Scotia. We know that it has made significant strides in greening its economy and reducing greenhouse gas. We also know that Premier Tim Houston has sent very pointed letters to the to help understand better what Nova Scotia's position is.
To quote Premier Houston, he said that his government would outpace federal greenhouse gas reduction targets while costing Nova Scotians less than what they would pay with a federal carbon pricing system. He said, “our path to 2030 is more effective, it’s more affordable and it’s more visionary than a carbon tax.”
According to provincial documents, Nova Scotia's legislated greenhouse gas reduction target is to be at least 53%t below 2005 levels by 2030. The objective of the federal carbon tax is to be 40% to 45% below 2005 levels.
The other part of this is that it behooves us to understand that if we are to continue to not allow the provinces to be creative and if we are to continue on with this Ottawa-knows-best approach, this again is absolutely untenable. Why would Canadians believe in this carbon tax when clearly, as I have stated in multiple different ways, there are other ways to reach these targets? Continuing to bash Canadians over the head at a time when inflation is at a 40-year high is really an untenable position.
Canadians are hurting. Our offices hear from them every day. I am absolutely astounded that the members across the aisle are not hearing from their constituents as well to understand how difficult it is to function in today's world from a financial perspective. Therefore, I would suggest that perhaps the members opposite need to listen to their constituents to understand how difficult it is and then, as we might say in the vernacular, axe the tax.
Madam Speaker, I want to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from this afternoon.
I am pleased to rise to speak to the Conservative opposition motion before us today. I want to say on the record that I love opposition days, which give us the opportunity to debate and talk at length about policy with our colleagues.
The motion before us today reads, and I quote:
...given that the government's tax increases on gas, home heating and, indirectly, groceries, will fuel inflation, and that the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported the carbon tax costs 60% of households more than they get back, the government must eliminate its plan to triple the carbon tax.
I take exception to the claim that carbon pricing is a tax. Merriam-Webster defines a tax as a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services and transactions.
In my view, this is a program designed to set a price on carbon with all proceeds being reinvested, not used for government programs. It is therefore not a tax in the traditional sense of the word.
It is important, because on this side of the House we talk about pricing pollution and pricing carbon. That is essentially what we are doing. The Conservative Party obviously talks about it as a tax, but a tax, in a general sense, is for the general collection of government revenues. It is not often recognized by my opposition friends that the way in which the federal backstop program actually works is it returns the revenue that is collected.
Yes, that is a collection on a macro level and there can be a differentiation between households and businesses, but that is the whole idea. We are trying to price a negative externality that is associated with GHG emissions, because this is about climate. I know that affordability is a top-of-mind issue. No one on this side of the House would disagree, but at the same time, what I have not heard in the conversations this morning, particularly from His Majesty's loyal opposition, is much conversation about a real plan to reduce emissions. We have to take those two conversations hand in hand.
I did ask in my question for the member for why the Conservative Party was against a core Conservative principle, and that is that this government takes the view that we want to put a price on carbon, such that there is a market incentive for changed behaviour for businesses and individuals to be able to adjust accordingly. This is what I find ironic about the Conservative position. Notwithstanding that, I have not heard much at all about climate in the couple of weeks since the member for has become the official opposition leader. Nor have I heard much of an alternative.
It seems like we are going to rely on technology. Therefore, how is the government going to incentivize the private sector to take on that technology? Is it going to be through government subsidies? Is it going to be through a regulatory model? There is not much conversation on what that holds.
At the core of what we are talking about in carbon pricing is setting that price to change behaviour and draw investment from the private sector to make some of those technological innovations, which it seems the Conservative Party perhaps thinks will be done out of the goodness of one's heart without an actual economic model to do so.
It is important to recognize that economists and organizations around the world recognize that carbon pricing is the cheapest way to reduce emissions. I recognize that the member for certainly has a level of distrust against international organizations. We have seen that with the World Economic Forum in the way that he has criticized that organization. I do not know if that extends to the OECD, but the OECD does recognize carbon pricing in this domain. It is yet to be seen what the Conservative Party's take is on that view.
Instead of allowing the market to decide, incentivizing individual households, businesses and the economy, the Conservatives want to have, again as I mentioned in my question, big bossy government programs. They want government, at a large macro level, to intervene as opposed to driving private sector innovation and ingenuity. I have yet to hear a compelling reason as to why the Conservative Party does not understand or believe this is a principle that can be used to reduce emissions.
Again, let us remember why this is being done. It is being done in the context that we have a climate emergency. We have to be able to reduce emissions.
We were in the House last night talking about hurricane Fiona and I was very careful not to make those two connections, because we wanted to ensure the debate was really about providing support to Atlantic Canadians. Although the member for was on record as saying that climate and hurricanes had no connection, which I was appalled to hear as I watched the debate from my hotel room. There is a connection. The frequency of these storms is tied to the work we have to do on climate. The Conservative Party, in one breath, seemed to talk about that yesterday, and then it has comes up with no real tangible solutions in its motion today.
I would also like to challenge the part of the motion on home heating. In my region, Atlantic Canada, there is no carbon tax levied on home heating because the provinces have introduced their own carbon pricing systems. Therefore, this motion would have little effect in Atlantic Canada at this time.
This government recognizes that it is imperative to focus on both affordability and emission reductions at the same time. That is precisely why we have put in place a $250-million program to help low-income residents move away from using oil to heat their homes. A total of $120 million from this program will be earmarked for the Atlantic provinces.
I want to make sure I am on the record saying that I am proud of the way our Atlantic caucus advocated for that specific program. There are a lot of Atlantic Canadians who still use home heating oil to warm their homes, and this money is going to go directly to support their transition in order to make sure we can avoid the volatility of their energy bills, which we have seen in the global market on home heating oil.
I also want to say it is very clear that the Conservatives are taking a complete opposition to carbon pricing. It is very clear for most in this House that there is very little in the way of tangible offerings on what else they would do. I take notice that it is not just carbon pricing that can reduce emissions. I agree that it needs to be a whole, full approach with other elements as well, but we do not hear anything from them. I do not even hear the Conservatives proposing to make amendments.
It has been three years or four years since the government introduced its backstop formula. Instead of having concrete questions on how we could improve and amend that formula, they simply say they do not believe in this, without providing any alternatives. Yes, Canadians are concerned about affordability. We are as well. They also care and want a government that is serious about tackling climate change. It needs to be part of it. It cannot be one or the other; it needs to be both at the same time.
There are two more things. The Conservatives will talk about technology and working with large companies to be able to reduce emissions. That is all well and good. They do not recognize that those policies would come with costs to consumers as well. The entire idea of the federal backstop is to return revenues to households so we can incentivize individuals to make a change.
There is very little recognition from the Conservatives that their vague policy statements or lack of a plan, whatever it may be, would come with its own inherent costs. There is never a recognition from that side.
On affordability, last week this government introduced two different measures I hope all members in this House will support. They are the doubling of the GST rebate, along with dental care and housing affordability. These are measures the government is focused on. We do not want to compromise on reducing emissions. In fact, we want to help people make a transition so we can both reduce emissions and support affordability at the same time.
The Conservatives have a view that it needs to be one or the other. We have a view, on this side, that it needs to be both at the same time. I look forward to taking questions from my hon. colleagues.
Madam Speaker, as always it is a true pleasure for me to rise in this venerable House to speak to the opposition motion on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport. I would like to state that I agree with neither the premise of the Conservative motion before us today nor the ask of the motion. Our federal government is doing all it can to support our most vulnerable in Canada and those most impacted by inflation and the rising costs of living.
I am also a firm believer in carbon pricing and that the federal government needs to continue to move as urgently as possible to meet its Paris Accord targets and its net-zero target by 2015. Climate change is accelerating faster than has been predicted and it would be the height of irresponsibility for the federal government, indeed any level of government in any province or territory across Canada, to slow down its efforts toward achieving net zero by 2015. If anything, we need to double down on our efforts and be very clear in showing our progress to Canadians.
Let me speak a bit more to the issue of the rising costs of living in Canada. It is indeed a serious concern. As we well know, the pandemic has caused financial challenges and uncertainty for many Canadians. We also know that inflation, a global phenomenon that is a lingering result of the pandemic and exacerbated by worldwide events, is making life harder for a lot of Canadians. The job market is very strong and businesses are doing well, but we also know that despite this, it is harder for a lot of Canadians to pay their bills at the end of the month. That is why the federal government support programs continue to be so important.
We have an affordability plan that includes many important measures. This is support to the most vulnerable people in our communities, to help them at a time when the cost of living is a real challenge for many Canadians. For example, the enhanced Canada worker benefit puts up to $2,400 more into the pockets of low-income families, starting this year. This results in more than $1.7 billion in new support this year alone, and it will make life more affordable for our lowest-paid workers.
We have also increased old age security by 10% for seniors 75 and older, which will provide up to an additional $800 for more than three million seniors over the first year.
We have signed agreements on early learning and child care with every single province and territory. This is to achieve the goal of an affordable universal system of early learning and child care, so that every mother who wants to go to work has the comfort of knowing that her children are being well cared for and well taught.
Furthermore, benefits including the Canada child benefit, the GST credit, the Canada pension plan, old age security and the guaranteed income supplement are indexed to inflation, as is the federal minimum wage, which we increased to $15 an hour and indexed to inflation, making it now $15.55 an hour.
Just last week, the federal government tabled two important pieces of legislation to address commitments we have made. Bill would double the goods and services tax credit for six months. This would provide 2.5 billion more dollars in additional targeted support to the roughly 11 million individuals and families who already receive the tax credit, including about half of Canadian families with children and more than half of Canadian seniors. Single Canadians without children would receive an extra $234, and couples with two children would receive an extra $467 this year alone. Seniors would receive an extra $225 on average. The proposed extra GST credit amounts would be paid through the existing GST credit system as a one-time lump-sum payment before the end of the year.
Bill would enact two important measures: the Canada dental benefit and a one-time top-up to the Canada housing benefit. The Canada dental benefit would be provided to families with income under $90,000 who do not have access to dental insurance, starting this year. Direct payments totalling up to $1,300 over the next two years would be provided to cover dental care expenses for each child under 12 years old. This is the first stage of the federal government's plan to deliver dental coverage for families with adjusted net income under $90,000. It would allow children under 12 to receive the dental care they need while the government works to develop a comprehensive national dental care program.
The one-time top-up to the Canada housing benefit would deliver a $500 payment to 1.8 million renters who are struggling with the cost of housing. This more than doubles the federal government's budget 2022 commitment, reaching twice as many Canadians as initially promised. The federal benefit will be available to applicants with an adjusted net income below $35,000 for families or below $20,000 for individuals who pay at least 30% of their adjusted net income on rent.
These pieces of legislation represent the latest suite of measures to support Canadians with the rising cost of living. I am proud of how our federal government is being thoughtful and deliberate about how we are supporting Canadians who are most in need, while also being very conscious about not unleashing too much new spending so as to worsen current levels of inflation.
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a number of events in my riding. I heard from many parents who were very anxious to have their day care operators sign on to the federal national day care plan so that they can save 50% of their costs per child by the end of this year. I also heard from low-income seniors who are really happy to hear about the dental care benefit. While this year they will not benefit from it, as it is only available to children in households of $90,000 or less and if they are under the age of 12, they are very excited about the prospect of being able to access it by the end of next year. It will be a lifeline for many.
On the topic of housing, as it has been said many times in this House, the federal government made a significant commitment in budget 2022 to double the number of new homes that we will build over the next 10 years. The federal government, provinces and territories, cities and towns, the private sector and non-profits are all pulling together to build the homes a growing country needs.
The federal government's affordability plan is delivering targeted and fiscally responsible financial support to the Canadians who need it most, with particular emphasis on addressing the needs of low-income Canadians who are most exposed to inflation. Many of the most vulnerable Canadians are receiving more financial support now than they did last year, and they will continue to receive new support in the weeks and months to come.
I would be remiss to not thank the opposition for bringing up the subject of climate change. Climate action is an economic necessity. The global economy is changing, and the future economic growth will be more and more dependent on clean energy. It is no longer up for debate that a national price on pollution is the most effective market incentive for climate action, and Canada's climate action incentive puts more money into the pockets of eight out of every 10 families in Canada.
Budget 2022 included climate action measures ranging from a new Canada growth fund, which will help attract the investments we need to build a cleaner and more prosperous Canada, to an innovation and investment agency, which will help our traditional industries thrive in a changing global economy and our small businesses continue to grow and create good middle-class jobs.
The federal government understands that many Canadians are struggling with the cost of living. The targeted support programs I have mentioned offer real help to the most vulnerable, are fiscally responsible and will not further fuel inflation.
In addition, we will continue to put a price on pollution. The federal government will continue to urgently implement the many measures we have announced over the last almost seven years, and we will ensure that we meet our Paris accord targets and our net-zero targets by 2050. Our ability to live, our quality of life, our future depends on us accelerating our fight against climate change and not stopping, as the Conservatives are asking us to do.
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time today with the amazing member for .
I have been looking forward to participating in today's debate to prove once again that the Liberal government is so misguided it actually thinks taxation would cause us to fix climate change. However, its own record shows that it continues to drive up emissions while costing Canadians more by raising carbon taxes on everything we do, not just a certain part of our economy but everything we do, whether it is heating our homes, feeding our families or driving our kids to sports.
We need to address how this is hurting us, especially in my province of Manitoba. I can tell the members across the way in the Liberal Party that the net cost to Manitobans, the fiscal and economic impact is $1,145 per household. If we look at the average cost per household in what we define as the middle class, it actually goes up to $1,600 per family. That is atrocious. The Liberal government is pickpocketing the middle class to the tune of $1,600 and making life more unaffordable.
We are talking about a carbon tax that is going to triple from where it is today, more than triple. It is going up to $170 a tonne. Right now it is at $50. That would keep driving up the costs of everything we do: the cost of living, our affordability, whether or not we could afford to go out and buy a new car or a new home. Everything would be impacted. I really feel for the people in my riding of Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman. We are a rural riding. People have to drive great distances. It is not like the people who live in a city who can just drive across town to take their kids to a hockey game. We often have to drive hours to get to the next-door community arena so the kids can play sports or to go to the school to watch a basketball game that the kids are participating in. Everything continues to add up.
Canadians who are living on fixed incomes, like our seniors, are the most impacted by the Liberal government's failed policies. We know that often in rural areas we have to drive for doctor's appointments, and specialists are always in the big cities like Winnipeg. That means getting in the car, driving down the highway and paying more and more just to go see the doctor, never mind if they have to go to Winnipeg or an urban centre for shopping or to visit family.
This is impacting our seniors. The Canada pension plan index continues to lag way behind what is happening with the cost of living. It has been exacerbated because of the carbon tax. It is falling farther behind.
I do not think the Liberals understand this, but the lifeblood of Canada is diesel. Everything we do is based on diesel, including the food we grow, the crops we transport and the products we ship around the world. The food is farmed with a tractor, and later it goes onto a truck, a train and a ship. We need to make sure that we are protecting the competitive advantage we used to have as Canada. We need to be protecting our food growers in this country. However, the Liberals are trying to put them out of business.
The Canada trucking industry said that, last year, the carbon tax cost the trucking industry $528 million. They are expecting that next year it would cost the trucking industry $1.2 billion in extra carbon taxes, and in 2030 it would go up to over $3 billion. Those costs are going to be built into the costs of everything we buy. Whether it is shipping clothing across the country, shipping produce in from offshore or shipping our own farm-raised products to markets across this country, it is going to mean higher costs for food for every single Canadian.
I do not know how the Liberals figure they are going to get out of that. Maybe they are going to take more of Canadians' tax dollars to try to buy their votes back, which is a Liberal thing to do, but we are undermining affordability for Canadians. We are undermining the productivity of our industries right across the board with this carbon tax, and we are diminishing our competitive advantage in the world market.
We are an exporting nation. We have to export to create jobs. We have to export to get rid of the surplus goods we produce here, including our agriculture products.
When the carbon tax first came in, it cost an average farmer $14,000 a year. It has gone up since then, and now the Liberals want to triple the cost of how much people pay in carbon tax to put fuel in their tractors and trucks, and to use natural gas to dry their grain and heat their livestock barns. Whether they have poultry or hogs, they have to be able to heat those facilities, and every time they do that, the government is saying, “Gimme, gimme, gimme. I want my carbon tax.” It is not going to change the farmers' habits. It is a necessity of how we raise our food.
This is having a huge impact, and to add insult to injury, the Liberals are charging GST on top of the carbon tax. It is a tax on a tax, and it is something the Liberals love to do. It is not about adding value; it is about adding tax. It is about putting more in government coffers and doing nothing with it to fight climate change.
We should be investing in best practices to fight climate change, such as carbon sequestration, which we can do on farms. Actually, with the fertilizer mandate that is coming forward from the Liberals, where they want nitrogen fertilizer to be reduced by 30% because they think this will reduce emissions, members can guess what happens.
An hon. member: Oh, oh!
Mr. James Bezan: Madam Speaker, if the member for wants to listen, he will actually find out why the Liberals' policies are so misdirected. It is because they are going to force more and more farmers to try to farm more land. However, guess what we cannot produce in this country. We cannot produce more agricultural land. What we are not farming now is not farmable, but what will happen is that crop production is going to push into what is right now marginal land for pastures and grass and supporting our ranching industry, which is very sustainable, from a climate basis. These are carbon sinks, but now we are going to be forced to till them at lower productivity with less fertilizer, which reduces the potential of that land even further.
I know the member for thinks he can dig in any part of the country out there and is going to grow potatoes, but he cannot. There is only certain land that can produce potatoes or root crops, but especially when it comes down to growing cereals, soybeans, corn, wheat or canola. We have specific land capabilities, and if we are going to farm that marginal land, we are destroying wildlife habitat. If we are going to farm that marginal land, we are removing carbon sinks and being detrimental to the overall climate change policy.
This is very short-sighted on behalf of the Liberals, and it is something that continues to worry me. As the of the King's official opposition said this morning, the Liberals brought forward this policy even though they have been promoting, for the seven years they have been in government, to buy local because it would reduce the cost of transportation of the food we eat. Reducing the transportation distances and using less fuel to get it into urban centres will be good for the climate.
What happens with this model of carbon taxing and tripling the carbon tax is that we are putting the local farmer at a huge disadvantage and allowing individuals who are producing in non-regulated countries around the world, such as those in Latin America, those in South America and China, to bring those food products here. That, to me, is unconscionable. It should never be allowed to happen. Our own food security is being undermined by the Liberals and we have to stop it now.
Madam Speaker, today I rise to speak to the first opposition day motion of the fall. It is one that has great significance given the cost-of-living crisis that Canadians are currently facing. As we all know, this unprecedented situation is due to record-breaking inflation while wages stay the same. People are working harder and falling further behind.
This 40-year record inflation, not seen since Pierre Trudeau, means life has become more expensive for Canadians trying to pay rent and buy food. Housing is twice as expensive as it was in 2015 when the took office. Food prices are up 10.8% on average. The average family of four is now spending over $1,200 more a year to put food on the table. However, the government is resorting to one-time rebates and a bunch of platitudes rather than solving the problem. Life is getting more expensive for Canadians.
Last week, I spoke to Bill and how the current government’s spending and money printing have caused record-breaking inflation. However, an equally impactful aspect of inflation has to do with the tax that is being applied to everything. The imposition and tripling of this new tax in Nova Scotia will make fuel cost an extra 40¢ per litre by 2030 for moms taking their kids to hockey and for those forced by the policies of the government, like me, to heat their home with oil from Saudi Arabia. It is a tax that will cost families hundreds of dollars a year when they are trying to make healthy meals. It is a tax that will make home heating more expensive for seniors living through frigid Canadian winters. I am talking, of course, about the carbon tax.
If the was serious about making life more affordable for workers, families and seniors, he would cancel the carbon tax increase immediately. The carbon tax hike is coming at the worst possible time for Canadian families, which are struggling with rising costs. Instead of freezing taxes, the Liberals are raising taxes on people who are struggling to make ends meet. Of course, the Liberals will try to pretend that their cherished carbon tax is the only way to address climate change, but this, of course, is false.
Take my own province of Nova Scotia, for example. The provincial government has some of the most aggressive targets in the country for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We have more wind power in our power grid mix than eight other Canadian provinces. We surpassed the federal government's 2030 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 13 years early. Our electricity generation from coal is down from 76% in 2007 to 52% in 2018 and will be eliminated, as all coal-fired plants will be closed with the creation of the Atlantic Loop. Our clean electricity generation has tripled in the last decade. Energy efficiency programs prevent one million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Also, a new 2030 goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% to 50% below 2005 levels has been legislated, and this is more aggressive than the federal targets.
All of that work is in a small province, the vast majority of which was done with no prompting or pressure from the federal government. Nova Scotians have stepped up to fight climate change. We are punching above our weight, all without imposing a new tax on everything.
While the NDP-Liberals stick to their ineffective high tax, we say this carbon reduction can be done through technology, not taxes. Nova Scotia has shown the way and is the model. The federal government rejected Nova Scotia's common-sense environmental policy, which would tackle climate change without making life more expensive for those who are struggling.
The Liberals have blinders on. All they want is more tax and more money from hard-working Canadians to spend on their woke agenda. Nova Scotians live in the highest taxed jurisdiction in the country. The imposition of this tax makes no sense in a region where climate change has been taken seriously for more than 20 years.
The Liberals think that imposing taxes will actually change the weather. They never met a tax they did not love. We reject the point from the Liberal Party that this tax is revenue-neutral, and so does the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
The common rebuttal by the Liberals is that eight out of 10 families will receive more money in rebate cheques than they pay out. We have yet to see any cheques in Nova Scotia from the federal government. That is magic math. It must be the new math where one plus one equals three.
However, members do not have to just take it from me. They can take it from the independent, non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer, who stated, “most households in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario will see a net loss resulting from federal carbon pricing by 2030.” By then the carbon levy will have increased to an incredible $170 a tonne. As the PBO said, “The moment you decide to decarbonize the economy in a relatively short period of time — and we’re talking here less than 10 years to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions — it’s clear that there is going to be a cost.”
Additionally, the PBO expects that, in the end, Albertans will end up paying $507 per household on average more than they get back. The PBO has calculated that, by 2030, the net loss on average for households will be $2,282. The PBO goes on to report, “Most households under the backstop will see a net loss resulting from federal carbon pricing under the HEHE plan in 2030-31.” He continues by stating that household carbon costs, which now include the federal levy and GST paid on top of the carbon tax, lower income and that the amount they paid exceeds the rebate.
Trudeau’s tax is bad for Nova Scotians. It will have no effect on the excellent work Nova Scotians have done and will continue to do to reduce our carbon footprint. There is an alternative to this dogmatic—
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
Today feels like Groundhog Day because, once again, we are here talking about the price on pollution. It could almost be 2015, which was one of the first times this topic was brought up in a federal election, but there have been three federal elections since then where putting a price on pollution was one of the main items at the ballot box. It almost feels as though, for the last five years, we have not been having discussions with the premiers across the country about whether or not the federal government had a constitutional ability to bring in a price on pollution. It is almost as though we did not have a Supreme Court of Canada case affirm that Canada does indeed have the ability to do this, and that Canada does indeed have to act on a problem that is this fundamental to our country and to the entire world.
I also find it somewhat tone deaf that we are having this discussion today, in the wake of seeing the devastation that has happened in Atlantic Canada, where hurricane Fiona swept through and caused immeasurable damage to communities and loss of life. We know that this event was only made possible because of climate change and warming sea currents. In the past, these types of hurricanes would have died down over colder water, but now, with warming ocean currents, we are seeing much more severe weather events, such as the hurricanes that are now hitting our shores.
I also find it tone deaf given the devastation we saw in my province of British Columbia last year, where we saw temperatures reach nearly 50°C, with heat domes boiling billions of organisms alive. We saw devastating forest fires, and we saw the atmospheric river, which was the most devastating weather event in our country's history.
I find it particularly tone deaf because not only is this motion the first Conservative motion being put forward, but it is also being put forward without any alternative climate policy at the same time. Therefore, it is clear to me that this motion is not about supporting Canadians with affordability measures. Instead, it is really about blocking climate action.
I find it puzzling that Conservatives portray themselves as being in favour of market-based systems for getting value for money in government spending, but in opposing this policy, they are eschewing what is seen quite widely, including by the IMF, as the most effective and efficient way of reducing pollution. This is pollution that we know is not otherwise accounted for but has a major impact on local human health and on worsening climate change, and I just mentioned some of the major events that we have seen recently. By failing to put a price on pollution, we are allowing this externality to not be properly accounted for, and we know that this particularly impacts the most vulnerable among us.
The Conservatives also portray themselves as the party focused on affordability, but this is going against a policy that we know provides more money in the pockets of eight out of 10 Canadians families, particularly low-income Canadians, who are most at risk with the rising cost of living. Of course, we know that the less one pollutes, the more one saves when one gets the climate action incentive.
I find it particularly puzzling because the Conservative Party just last year ran on a platform that included putting a price on pollution, albeit the proposal was a very inefficient and convoluted one. However, this is very puzzling to a member from British Columbia, where we have had a price on pollution in place for almost 15 years. This policy was, in fact, brought in by the right of centre party in my province. We have seen that, by bringing in this policy, it has not impacted the economic growth in my province, which has been among the leaders in Canada ever since.
It is also puzzling because we know that the alternatives are no better. Focusing on regulations alone, we know, is highly costly. We know that, by simply investing in technologies, the government would then be forced to pick winners, which is essentially gambling to a certain extent on one of the biggest challenges that our generation is going to face.
It is also reckless that by abdicating responsibility to act and to repeal policies for climate action, the Conservative Party is letting its intransigence and opposition to climate action cause uncertainty for business, which is impacting the types of investments we need to see business make in technologies and measures that are going to mitigate their emissions. It is also impacting the way we can see growth in clean tech, which the Conservative Party has said it wants to support.
Over the course of the last few months, the environment and sustainable development committee has been undergoing a study on clean tech. What we have heard from nearly all the witnesses is that having policy certainty in place and having a predictable climate policy is essential to providing the certainty and confidence that businesses need to see to invest now in programs and make investments that are going to take five to 10 years to be fully put into place.
By opposing climate action, the Conservatives are also completely ignoring the catastrophic financial costs of climate change-fuelled weather events in Canada, which have a direct cost on people.
I mentioned the flooding in B.C. last year, which was the most expensive weather event in Canadian history. The forest fires in Fort McMurray cost almost $10 billion to rebuild. We know that hurricane Fiona is also going to cost billions. We all pay for these costs through the rising price of goods, taxes and lost productivity, which leads to inflation when it causes supply chain disruptions, which we saw in B.C. last year. It also impacts the price of the food we are buying when we see climate change-fuelled droughts and other wet-weather events disrupting agricultural production.
I will put it in some other language I know the Conservative Party will understand very well. We cannot opt out of inflation by investing in crypto. We opt out of inflation by getting off our reliance on fossil fuels, where we are at the mercy of global markets that can be upset by the actions of a foreign dictator. To reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, we need to incentivize the switch to clean, domestically controlled energy sources that are not at the mercy of outside influences. The best way to do this is by pricing pollution as well as supporting the switch to cleaner alternatives. Whether it would be affordability, national security, economic growth or climate change, pricing pollution is our most important and effective tool.
The solution to affordability is not to make emissions free again. The solution involves targeted solutions like the ones we have brought in over the last seven years and the ones that we propose to bring in through Bill and Bill . These new measures include the Canada housing benefit, which will deliver an extra $500 for low-income renters. It includes bringing in the new Canada dental benefit for children under the age of 12 who do not have dental insurance, which will involve payments of up to $650 per child per year. It involves doubling the goods and services tax credit that will provide $2.5 billion in total to 11 million recipients.
This, of course, builds on our history of cutting taxes for the middle class by raising taxes on the top 1% and delivering the Canada child benefit, which has raised over 300,000 children out of poverty and puts more money back in the pockets of nine in 10 families. This year, we have cut child care costs in half right across the country and are going to get down to $10 a day in the next four years.
We know that climate action can be done in a way that saves people money. It is also why we launched the greener homes grant, so people can do home energy retrofits, and the greener homes loan for some of the deeper ones that people need to do, so they can save money on their energy bills. It is also why we are supporting Canadians to switch to zero-emission vehicles, with a $5,000 grant for this type of option.
In my home province of B.C., in the first quarter of 2022, over 15.5% of new vehicle sales have been for zero-emission vehicles. These are Canadians who are going to be saving a significant amount of money on their gas bills.
This is why we have brought in the price on pollution, which is, again, putting more money back into the pockets of eight out of 10 families, and is one of the most cost-efficient and affordable ways of climate action.
Madam Speaker, my NDP colleague and I stand on opposite sides of most things.
Our plan for pricing pollution is a realistic plan. During that time, Canada and Canadians have created literally millions of jobs. We have lifted hundreds of thousands of families and children out of poverty by implementing a number of measures. We created a strong economy not only for today but going into the future.
When it comes to the issue of affordability, and all members in the House know what their constituents have and are dealing with, we demonstrate empathy all the time in putting forward policy measures that assist Canadians. As a government, we brought forward the Canada child benefit, which is monthly and tax-free. We are not sending cheques to millionaires.
As a government, we returned the age of eligibility for old age security and GIS to 65 from 67. We brought in two tax cuts, one in our first term and the second one raising the basic personal expenditure amount, returning literally billions of dollars to Canadians. It is their money and they work hard for it. We are fiscal managers on that front. We brought in a 10% increase on the guaranteed income supplement.
We brought in a number of measures that assist Canadians currently, but also going into the future. Those measures assist Canadians and create an environment to create good jobs. We put in place an accelerated capital cost depreciation at a moment in time where Canadian companies could invest. We will continue to undertake those measures that create jobs, support investment and create a strong economy, not only for today but for our kids and future generations.
On the affordability front, we are working judiciously to ensure Canadians are assisted during this time where global inflation has taken afoot. We see it across the world. As a government, we have put forward a number of measures such as the Canada workers benefit, for which I argued for many years that we should introduce and strengthen. We strengthened it three times. We are also going to be strengthening it this year. It is there. Working Canadians can earn up to $2,400 more under the Canada workers benefit.
On day care, which is, for an economist, a great piece of policy, we signed accords with all 10 provinces for it to be introduced. This will be saving Canadian families literally thousands of dollars, before tax, which is a very important. It will save my family—