(i) one-tenth of Canadians heat their homes during Canada's cold winter months with heating oil or propane heat because there are no alternatives,
(ii) Canada is the only G7 country to have raised fuel taxes during this period of record high global fuel prices,
(iii) energy analysts have predicted that Canadians could see their home heating bills rise by 50 to 100 percent on average this winter,
(iv) the Liberal Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote to the federal Liberal government on September 2, 2022, asking for a carbon tax exemption on home heating fuels and stated: "A year ago today, the maximum price of furnace oil in the Province was 97.91 cents per litre. Today's price is 155.70, which is an increase of nearly 60 per cent. Your proposed federal carbon tax increase on furnace oil would result in an additional 17.38 cents plus HST. Added to today's price, [the carbon tax] would result in a total cost increase of 80 per cent compared to one year ago", punishing rural people in Newfoundland and Labrador forced to heat with furnace oil,
the House express its agreement with the comments of the Liberal Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and call on the government to exempt all forms of home heating fuel from the carbon tax for all Canadians.
He said: Mr. Speaker, the cost of living is rising because of the cost of government. The $500-billion inflationary deficit is increasing the cost of the goods we buy and the interest we pay. Inflationary taxes further increase the cost to produce those goods and services. The more the government spends, the more things cost. It is just inflation, as my hon. colleague, the member for , will explain because I will be sharing my time with him.
The Liberals will say that they had no choice but to add these enormous deficits. However, I will remind them that they had added $100 billion to our national debt even before COVID-19. That is four times more than the Prime Minister had promised. He had already set out a plan for deficits over 30 years, after saying it would only be three years. Even before the Russians invaded Ukraine, the Prime Minister had already added $500 billion to the deficit, and the inflation rate was over 5%.
He cannot simply blame the external effects of the current crises, especially since I had warned the government that there would be inflation and, as a result, interest rate hikes. However, the Liberals continued to spend, tax and fuel the crisis we are facing today.
Clearly, much of the money has been wasted. The Liberals spent billions of dollars to send benefits to inmates, employed public servants and people who could have been working because there were a million jobs available. The government was paying people to stay home. It did all of that.
I would add that, during COVID-19, that is to say, in the past two years, the Liberals added $200 billion in non-COVID-related debt. That means unnecessary expenditures that the government did not have to incur. That was a choice they made.
I had warned them that that would lead to inflation, but they said no, that was not a problem, the Bank of Canada would simply print more money. Now we can see the effects, the same effects we have seen over and over throughout history.
Too much money spent on too few products makes prices go up. That has been true for thousands of years. History does not change. Every time a king, queen, emperor, president, prime minister or anyone at all prints money to pay their bills, the result is always the same: inflation. After inflation come rising interest rates, which is what we are seeing today.
Suddenly, the government is surprised by the consequences of its decisions. No one forced the to add $100 billion to the national debt before COVID-19 and $500 billion to the national debt before the war in Ukraine. No one forced the Prime Minister to curb the production of affordable energy here in Canada. The Liberals did that. These were decisions made here in Canada and not imposed by external forces.
Now we are in the middle of an inflationary crisis. The cost of food has gone up 11%, and we are now seeing a crisis in energy costs.
The government likes to blame the entire world for inflation in Canada, but it is interesting to see that the products with the fastest-rising prices are those we can produce here in Canada, namely food, gasoline and natural gas. We have an abundant supply of these products here in Canada.
The price increases on these products would have helped our economy if the government had not prevented our farmers from producing more food and our energy workers from producing more energy. Instead of printing more money, we could have produced more of what money buys, like more food and more energy, and we could have built more houses.
We need to get rid of the gatekeepers. That is another word we should find a good French word for, but, since we are going to get rid of the gatekeepers when the Conservatives come to power, we will not even need the English word. We will no longer have gatekeepers, who prevent us from building affordable housing units, block our energy production and make it difficult for our farmers to feed us.
The policies of mayors on the far left, New Democrats and Liberals, are preventing us from building houses. As a result, it takes far longer to get a construction permit here in Canada than in any other OECD country except Slovakia. Here, getting any kind of construction permit takes an average of 250 days. In North Korea, you can get a permit in 28 days.
What has this meant? It has meant higher costs to produce energy, higher costs for our farmers and higher costs for home building. More money chasing fewer goods always means higher prices, so instead of creating cash, we need to create more of what cash buys.
Now, though, in the time when energy prices are rising, the last thing we need is a new tax increase on our people. Look at what is happening in Newfoundland. The Newfoundland premier, and he is a Liberal, said that a year ago today, the maximum price of furnace oil in the province was 97¢ per litre. Today it is a buck fifty-five, which is an increase of nearly 60%. The proposed federal carbon tax increase would mean an extra 17¢, plus HST. He also said, “Added to today's price, [the carbon tax] would result in a total cost increase of 80 per cent compared to one year ago.” That is from a Liberal premier.
Similar problems are raging right across Atlantic Canada, where 40% of people are living in energy poverty. This is in Canada, a G7 energy-producing country. That is the result of seven years of the Liberal government. Similar crises are emerging across the country. One energy analyst said that Canadians can expect price increases on their home heating of 100%, all to pay for a plan to triple the carbon tax on Canadians.
By the way, the carbon tax has not worked to reduce emissions. The government has failed to hit a single solitary climate target with its tax so far. Yesterday, the was saying that he knows he has not hit any of his promises, but he promises to hit them in the future and this time he promises not to break that promise.
I can tell members one thing. I am not prepared to gamble on that. I am not prepared to watch Canadian seniors living in rural Newfoundland and Labrador or Nova Scotia, who are forced to heat with oil and propane, pay a 100% increase in their home heating bill because the Prime Minister is promising not to break his promise, a promise he has broken every time he has ever made it before. That is not a bet I am prepared to make.
Therefore, I am calling on the government to allow its members from these rural communities to vote with us on this motion, to put aside the centralized control of the tax-hungry and vote with us in favour of this motion. If they cannot be disabused of their ideological obsession with taxing Canadians to punish them with the carbon tax, at the very least will they, in the spirit of non-partisanship and compromise, take the tax off of home heating as winter is coming? The cold will soon be upon us, and Canadians will soon be forced into the decision between heating and eating.
Will they at least have the compassion to side with this common sense coalition? Will they break off from their costly coalition with the NDP, stop punishing Canadians and finally end the high-carbon hypocrisy, which sees a jetting around the country in a private aircraft, including flying down to Costa Rica for a sunny vacation right in the middle of the summer?
When the winter is upon us, when people are not even worried about being on beaches, let us not tax them. Let us allow them to heat their homes here in our country.
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to add my voice in support of fighting to exempt all forms of home heating fuel from the carbon tax for all Canadians.
This week, we have heard a lot from all sides about the pain Canadians suffer as unjust inflation and the cost-of-living crisis make life absolutely unaffordable in Canada.
From a single mother skipping meals just to be able to feed her kids to a tradesman renting an apartment with his parents and still not being able to afford gas for his truck to seniors living on a fixed income and staring down the triple carbon tax, people are not sure if they can heat their homes or even keep them.
We hear from the Liberals and the NDP that Canada is in a much better position than the rest of the G7, yet the Bank of Canada is tied with the U.S. for the highest interest rates today.
What is worse is that it is widely expected that the bank will raise the key interest rate by another 75 basis points. That means we are looking at the interest rate being 4%. That is a 4% increase Canadians are forced to pay to borrow money or get a mortgage.
Why are there higher interest rates? To combat the unjust inflation created by the government's out-of-control spending. After an over $300-billion deficit in the fiscal year 2020-21 and an almost $100-billion deficit last year, the Liberals have been spending non-stop.
In 2021, the warned the government that its spending would cause inflation. Instead of heeding his warning, the claimed that Canada would actually see deflation. When inflation started spiking, she said it would be transitory. Boy, was she wrong.
The Toronto Star is now reporting that she has started to see the light. The finance minister told colleagues that in order to fund the 's additional spending, cuts to other areas of government spending were needed.
Spending is not the only issue though. Yesterday, the admitted that with more stimulus money in circulation, there would be more demand for a limited supply of goods and services. In short, too many dollars chasing too few goods.
In the context of today's motion, the supply of LNG and other heating fuels are very relevant examples. When the government was elected in 2015, there were 15 LNG projects. Now, seven years later, none have been completed.
The same can be said for the Teck mine in Fort McMurray, the TMX pipeline, the northern gateway pipeline, energy east pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline.
On this side, we all know the value of Canadian gas. The world needs more Canadian oil and gas. Alberta has some of the most responsibly developed, produced and transported energy products. The oil and gas companies operating in Canada are the most significant contributors and developers of new clean technology to decrease their emissions.
Their innovation and use of green technology make Canadian oil and gas far more responsible than the dictator oil that the Liberals would instead bring in. Instead of Canadian energy being produced, refined and consumed in Canada, tankers of dirty Saudi oil are flowing down the St. Lawrence.
The government's dependence on foreign oil means that we send our dollars to the very OPEC-plus cartel that colludes with Russia to reduce the production of their energy products to drive down supply. At the same time, demand increases, causing record profits for countries like Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela.
It is not like Canada does not have other countries needing our oil and gas. For example, just this summer, when the made excuses for not having a business case to ship Canadian LNG to Germany, the German chancellor asked our country to increase shipments.
The Liberals did not even show the chancellor any Canadian LNG projects. Instead, they talked about hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a clean and practical option in which Canada needs to continue to invest. However, replacing LNG with hydrogen is years away and currently impossible.
Instead of capitalizing on economic opportunities to increase the production of Canadian energy and fight the OPEC-plus cartel, the government sided with the “leave it in the ground” left and backed Canada into a corner.
Instead of lowering energy costs for Canadians, we are at the mercy of Liberal-made inflation, reduced supply and foreign dictators dictating oil and gas prices. The cost of groceries, gas and home heating are skyrocketing because the government has created an environment where prices are out of control, supply is lacking and taxes keep climbing.
As the current government prepares to triple its carbon tax, Canadians continue to get hit with numbers like 37% inflation on natural gas and 48.7% on other fuels; 11.4% on groceries; 13.2% on gasoline; and an 8.3% increase in mortgage interest costs.
In a recent report, RBC is expecting that, “Rising inflation and higher borrowing and debt servicing costs are expected to shave almost $3,000 from average purchasing power in 2023.”
Let us suppose families are paying more for utilities, groceries, gas and mortgages. In this case, a $3,000 hit to their pocketbooks is absolutely devastating, especially with almost half of Canadians being $200 away from insolvency. Therefore, as we turn to the winter months when Canadians need to heat their homes, people are starting to make tough choices. Do they pay for gas or electricity bills to get heat, or pay for groceries, or even cover their mortgage payments. The fact that people in our country have to make that decision is a disgrace. That is why the Liberal premier of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote to the government last month, asking for a carbon tax exemption on home heating fuels.
Right now, inflated home heating bills are made up of roughly 20% of just carbon tax. After this year of inflation and the tripling of the carbon tax, that portion could increase to almost 60% of home heating costs per month. That is especially scary for Atlantic Canada, as fuel oils in Newfoundland are already up by 52.8%. According to yesterday's inflation numbers, in P.E.I. it is up 37.2%; 52% in Nova Scotia; and 45.4% in New Brunswick.
Analysts are predicting that home heating bills could increase this winter from anywhere from 50% to 100%, and in some cases around the country even 300%. The Ontario Energy Board also indicated that Ontario natural gas prices could increase by more than 150% this month.
Other Canadian premiers are also calling for the Liberals to cancel their tripling of the carbon tax as provinces fight for a better way to deal with climate change and lower prices for Canadians.
This summer, Nova Scotia submitted a provincial plan to get out of the federal carbon tax, but the federal government outright rejected it.
In Alberta, the province created the technology innovation and emissions reduction program. It puts a price on carbon for heavy emitters and the collected funds get reinvested in advancing technology and innovation to reduce omissions, such as carbon capture and sequestration.
These are the types of advancements that Canada needs to replace the out-of-touch carbon tax. Punishing Canadians for heating their homes, driving to work or just eating is absolutely wrong.
While the government continues to ignore its out-of-control spending and fails to address inflation or the need for development investment in Canadian energy projects, the least it can do is exempt hard-working Canadians from paying the carbon tax to heat their homes.
Canadian energy production needs to be increased to grow the supply and lower prices.
Winter is coming and the pocketbooks of Canadians are in the red. I ask all members to do the right thing and vote for this motion. I call on the government to have some decency, get off the necks of Canadians and cancel its plans to triple its carbon tax.
Madam Speaker, it reminds me of my time playing hockey in loud barns, and I always enjoyed it.
I will be splitting my with my hon. colleague from .
As the chair of the Atlantic Liberal caucus, I really welcome the opportunity to be here today and to provide some counter-narrative to what I just heard from the member for and the member for .
What disappointed me the most was the fact that I listened to those speeches, which was 30 minutes of my life that I am not going to get back, and there were no solutions. The conversation was so broad. There was barely any talk of the actual text of the motion they put forward, and certainly no talk of Atlantic Canadians who actually need help and support.
I will use my time here today to do two things. I will critique and offer some comments on the actual text of the motion, which is why we are here today. This is an opposition day motion. It is not binding on the government, but it provides a value proposition for us to debate. Then I am going to talk a little broader about the dynamic between reducing emissions, fighting climate change and supporting affordability, and it is that nuance that I did not hear from the opposition bench a minute ago. The Conservatives do not provide nuance, and they are certainly not providing solutions from what I have heard thus far.
The first provision in the text of the motion reads, “one-tenth of Canadians heat their homes during Canada's cold winter months with heating oil or propane heat because there are no alternatives”.
Let me say that I reject that premise, not that there is one out of 10 Canadians who use home heating oil or propane to heat their homes, but that there are no alternatives. Where is that suggestion coming from?
We, of course, in Atlantic Canada are disproportionally still reliant on home heating fuels of that nature, but I have seen in my own riding where homes have been able to make the transition. They have been able to work with federal programs and some of the provincial energy efficiencies and maybe install a heat pump and take on initiatives, which not only helps to reduce their energy use but reduces emissions and puts more money back in their pockets. Therefore, my question to the official opposition would be this: Where does the narrative come from that there is no alternative, whatsoever? I think that is a false narrative, and it is not very helpful to the constructive conversation that we need to have today.
The second provision in the text of the motion reads, “Canada is the only G7 country to have raised fuel taxes during this period of record high global fuel prices”.
Again, it is a false narrative that is coming from the opposition benches. Yes, we have maintained a price on carbon. We fought an election just over a year ago with that exact plan of moving the carbon price forward, which is going to help return money, in areas where we have a federal backstop in place, to households and businesses.
I reject the idea that a carbon price is a tax. The money and every single proceed that is collected is returned back to Canadians. This is not just simply something that is levied and comes into government revenue to support other types of social spending or programs. This money is returned. It is a price signal and it is a market signal.
The ironic piece of all of this is that the Conservatives, just over a year ago, actually ran an election campaign to put a price on carbon, but here these members stand today saying that somehow that is not a good idea. What has changed over the past year? Why the flip-flop? We have seen it, and that is the trouble that I think many Canadians have. They do not really know what this Conservative Party stands for. I know they will have the opportunity over the next couple of months, probably over the next three years, to find out, but again, an important reflection for Canadians is that it was this opposition party that ran on a carbon price last time.
The other point that is never reflected in the Conservative narrative is that the money is returned. We know that, where the federal backstop exists, eight out of 10 families are coming out further ahead at a household level. However, let me explain why this was all introduced. We introduced a price on carbon to incentivize behavioural change and to actually drive private sector solutions. The way this government introduced that policy in 2018 was to allow provinces and territories to develop their own plans. If they chose not to be a part of the pan-Canadian effort to reduce emissions in the fight against climate change, then a federal backstop would be imposed.
That exists in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and of course we work with the provinces and territories to update plans as we move toward 2030 to meet our international targets. In provinces that have chosen not to participate, that have chosen not to put forward a provincial plan, our plan puts money back into households and businesses accordingly.
I think the biggest flaw in the text, standing here as a member from Atlantic Canada, and I will be interested to see how the member from who sits on the opposition benches, as well as some of the other folks, address this, is that there is no application of carbon pricing on home heating fuel in Atlantic Canada. Let me repeat that: There is no carbon price application on home heating fuels in Atlantic Canada this winter.
I would not suspect the member for or the member for would be misleading the House, because that is not my job to do and I would never suggest that, but clearly they have not done their homework.
The way this works is that provinces are putting forward plans. Those are currently under evaluation right now with the ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada, and those are ongoing conversations. We do not know the results of those yet. Perhaps, as we have seen in other provinces such as Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, there might be a provincial plan approved. I do not have all the details and I do not stand here understanding exactly what the outcomes will be.
However, even if there is a federal backstop implemented in one of those provinces, it will not start to apply to fuel until April 1. Therefore, for this narrative I suspect I will hear from the member for in Newfoundland, he better rewrite his notes because it will not apply to his residents this winter. Any narrative that somehow the Government of Canada is going to make people not be able to afford to fuel their homes this winter because of a carbon price is a completely false narrative. It is also premature, because we do not know the outcomes of those conversations.
As I read the text of this motion perhaps the most disappointing but not surprising part is that there is no vision for transition. Yes, we recognize affordability is a top issue for Canadians right now, but there is no mention of the $250 million the government announced just a couple of weeks ago to help vulnerable Canadians transition off home heating fuel. I guess Conservatives do not believe in that because they think there are simply no alternatives. On this side of the House, we know there are alternatives, but there are some folks who cannot afford to make that transition themselves. That is why $125 million of that $250 million will be going to Atlantic Canada explicitly.
Again, if someone is sitting at home right now listening to the opposition, of course, yes, no one in this House disagrees with wanting to support affordability. However, what is the Conservatives' plan for the longer term? What is the Conservatives' plan to help make sure that, in two years or three years if there is another global event that causes prices to rise, they can augment and stop that and help people make a transition? There is not one single word in any of the text. I did not hear anything from the member for , and I did not hear anything from the member for . Hopefully there is more depth in the Conservative benches and we will hear something more of what they are actually going to propose for a solution for Atlantic Canadians, and indeed all Canadians, in the days ahead.
Let us remind ourselves why there is a carbon price at all. Why are we doing this? We are doing this because the science is absolutely clear. We have a climate emergency. We need to be able to reduce emissions. In fact, we are a part of international agreements that set Canada's conditions to do so.
The OECD says that carbon pricing is the lowest-cost alternative to help incentivize the private sector and households to make changes and to change behaviour to reduce emissions. I know Conservatives are not really fond of global institutions right now, whether it is the World Health Organization or the World Economic Forum. We saw a lot of that during the leadership campaign. It is problematic, frankly, but maybe they believe in the OECD.
At the end of the day, Conservatives are not providing alternatives. They can propose amendments to the carbon pricing. I do not suggest it is a silver bullet, but there are no solutions on the other side. I wish I had more time, but I look forward to taking questions momentarily.
Madam Speaker, I am very happy to have this opportunity to speak today, because we are talking about two issues that are so important to Canadians right across our country. These issues are affordability and climate change. The fact is that our country is warming at twice the global average. The north is warming three times as fast.
We are feeling the impacts of climate change right across this country. It is something that impacts people on a very personal level, as it impacts their homes and their livelihoods. It is also something that impacts our economy if we do not position ourselves to be the leader that we can be and that we are working to be right now, a leader in a low-carbon economy. That is where the world of opportunity lies for us: averting natural disasters and building a strong economy.
That is what we are doing. Along with that, we are building sustainable jobs for the future. That is why we need to invest and make sure we continue to work toward that low-carbon economy. That is where the sustainable jobs, the ones that will be there for generations to come, will be.
The issue is that for a country of 36 million people, Canada is a significant emitter of greenhouse gases. To fight climate change, to be competitive economically, like I have mentioned, we need to take action on climate change across all sectors of our economy, and we have to do it in a way that is fair and affordable for Canadians.
Scientific evidence shows that human-induced climate change has already had widespread and adverse effects. We have seen that in our country. We have seen it with floods, we have seen it with droughts and we have seen it with heat domes. All of these are having impacts right now, right across our country, yet Conservative politicians have been fighting climate action for years. That is literally why we face increased costs in cleanup from all of those disasters that I am talking about. In fact, wildfires right now in B.C. are creating all sorts of havoc. Those are only going to increase if we do not take action now. That is why we are committed to doing it.
As climate impacts intensify, it is all the more important and it is all the more obvious why we have to move to a clean net-zero emissions economy, to protect Canadians and the prosperity of Canadians going forward.
I am going to keep repeating that point, because with Conservatives bringing this motion, I think it is very important that they recognize that this is not just about environment and climate change. It absolutely is, but it is also about our economic future. It is about the sustainable jobs in all of our communities; good paying ones. Those are our opportunities and those are what we are trying to protect and create.
In recognition of these scientific and economic imperatives, Canada has set ambitious climate targets. In 2021, Canada enhanced its 2030 nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement to 40% to 45% below 2005 levels. The government also committed to achieving net zero by 2050, and last June, Canada passed the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. The purpose of the act is to increase transparency and accountability as Canada works towards net-zero emissions by 2050.
The emissions reductions plan, which I may refer to as the ERP sometimes, just because it is faster and easier to do that, is about achieving incremental GHG emissions to reach Canada's 2030 targets. It is about putting in place foundational measures to ensure not only that Canada's future is carbon neutral, but also that energy alternatives are more affordable and create sustainable job opportunities for workers.
Now, the Conservatives who have brought this motion today can pretend that they have been on the side of fighting energy poverty, but Canadians have been riding this roller coaster of volatile global oil and gas prices for years and Conservatives have said nothing about skyrocketing profit margins for oil and gas producers. The only way we are actually going to eliminate energy poverty and reduce household energy costs is by having true energy security by fighting climate change and making sure we are helping Canadians to get there, that we are helping Canadians to make the retrofits and to take advantage of energy-efficient measures right across the country. That is what the emissions reductions plan is there to do. It has a suite of mitigation measures based on the foundation of the 2016 pan-Canadian framework and the 2020 strengthened climate plan, considering the best available science, indigenous knowledge and the advice of the net-zero advisory body.
It is about listening to the experts across all sectors, to make sure we get this right.
Achieving Canada's climate objectives will be a whole-of-economy and a whole-of-society effort. When I talk about this, we are going to talk a bit more about the ERP. It includes new federal investments and supports across all sectors. When we are talking about these economy-wide measures, it includes one of the issues that has been raised today, the price on carbon pollution across the country, which is one of the cornerstones of Canada's economy-wide measures.
It is a market mechanism. That is why I always find it so fascinating when I hear Conservatives argue against carbon pricing. It is, in fact, a market mechanism. I am not sure why a party that says it supports market measures would be opposed to us doing exactly that: putting in a piece that works with the market on this.
Let me take it one step further. The part that is important about the federal climate action, our pricing of carbon pollution, is that in a backstop province, the money goes back to the people in that community.
For example, people in a backstop province, like mine in Ontario, actually, just last week, got a climate action incentive payment back. None of this stays with the federal government. Not a penny of it stays with the federal government. It goes back to the province where it was collected, and it goes back to the individuals who were paying it. That is very important, because I think that point gets lost sometimes in this debate.
I want to highlight that the Parliamentary Budget Officer, when looking at this, said not only, as we say all the time, that eight out of 10 Canadians get more back in this system than they paid, but also something else that I find very important, which is that the people who are not getting as much back tend to be the people with the most disposable income. That was the other thing the Parliamentary Budget Officer said. I think this is important when we are talking about affordability. We are talking about the fact that actually, the way the climate action incentive works, more money is paid back.
Basically, when we look at it the way the Parliamentary Budget Officer looked at it, people with the greatest need actually get more back, on average, when we look at the system.
I wanted to talk about some of the other measures in the ERP as we are going through it, and I am sorry that I jumped around a bit, but I get passionate about this issue because I care deeply about it.
The ERP is recapitalizing the low-carbon economy fund. The investment includes the creation of a new indigenous leadership fund to support clean energy and energy-efficiency projects led by first nations, Métis and Inuit communities and organizations.
As for our buildings, we never talk about the building sector enough in this place, but in the city of Toronto, which is my home city, buildings are our largest sources of emissions. We are going to have to tackle that. That is why we are developing a “net zero by 2050” building strategy to support the massive retrofit of the building stock needed to reach our climate targets. It also means putting in place contributions and loan funding to support the low-income stream of the greener homes grant program. I know that in my home city, and I hear about it when I am talking with people in other places as well, people are benefiting from this to make their homes more energy-efficient.
There is also funding to support deep retrofits of large buildings. This was actually support for community housing, social housing, in cities and other locations receiving supports through this kind of a program.
The other part that is really important is that just recently we announced funding to help people move from oil to heat pumps. That is funding that will support, in large part, homes in Atlantic Canada, but it is targeted to people with lower incomes. We recognize that affordability is a top issue for Canadians.
Right now, it is a hard time around the world. It is a hard time for Canadians. That is why we are here to work for them. At the same time, we are not going to lose sight of the need to take action on climate change.
Madam Speaker, I would like to indicate that I will be sharing my time with the member for .
Today's motion is yet another attempt by the Conservatives to address a real problem that is of great concern to our fellow Canadians, inflation, through solutions that are not. The Conservatives are very good at proposing false solutions by promising that they will relieve the public of inflation.
On their last opposition day, they outright proposed suspending the carbon tax. That proposal would not help Canadians deal with a global inflation issue. In proposing to suspend the carbon tax, they are trying to help a single sector, oil and gas. Meanwhile, the recent spike in the price of crude has greatly benefited oil companies.
The Conservatives use the problem of inflation, witch affects all consumer goods and has repercussions on all households, to achieve a single goal, that of discrediting the polluter pays principle and eliminating the carbon tax. As soon as the Conservatives see an opportunity, they try to seize it, always for the same goal, to eliminate the tax on pollution.
It was disheartening to see that the Conservative motion introduced on a recent opposition day distorted the results of the Parliamentary Budget Officer's analysis. Let us make one thing perfectly clear right off the bat: The tax is not currently causing a loss for 60% of households.
Today's motion quotes the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and alludes to a total increase of 80%. However, that increase is for 2030, not for right now. By that time, our behaviours will have changed, evolved and progressed, and the economy will be more stable.
In addition, the tax is still progressive because of the rebate. Low-income families will see a net gain. The fact is that four out of five Canadians will receive more money than they will have paid in carbon tax. Maybe the reason the official opposition is proposing this is that the real solutions are more complex and require some thought about how to create wealth while respecting the environment, and especially about how to share that wealth.
Most of the Conservatives' solutions would deprive the government of revenue. It is taxpayers' money, the people's money, that we are managing. At the end of the day, the Conservative motion will not give people a stable increase in income, force companies to pay their fair share of taxes, or make banks and multinational corporations pocket less money.
One of the Bloc Québécois's goals is to ensure that multinational corporations pay their fair share. We do not deny the fact that inflation is real, rampant and widespread, affecting every sector, including housing, food and transportation. These times require more comprehensive measures than today's populist motion.
Rather than looking for positive solutions for the months and years to come, the Conservatives are taking advantage of Halloween and trying to frighten people. On September 7, the Bank of Canada increased its key rate for a fifth time, to 3.25%. For consumers, we know that this new key rate increase will result in higher interest and mortgage rates. At the same time, wages are catching up to inflation, a sign that the labour shortage is increasingly forcing employers to loosen the purse strings. We are seeing that some of them can afford to pay their employees higher wages.
It was mid-September before the Liberal government decided to actually talk about inflation. There was nothing concrete in the budget last spring to address the main concern of Canadians, nor was there anything new in the 's speech on June 16 before the Empire Club on Bay Street in Toronto.
On September 13, the government came back to earth and announced an increase in the GST credit, doubling it for six months. Better late than never. The government also announced that it would pay $500 in support to less affluent renters.
Inflation related to COVID‑19 revealed weaknesses in the economy that must be corrected. The current inflation is largely caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine and many imbalances in supply and demand are cyclical. I will name just a few: demand going up and down, with very strong recovery following the lockdowns; changes in consumer behaviour to which production is struggling to adjust; production interrupted by outbreaks; dysfunction in the global supply chain, and more.
The global supply chain is struggling to adjust and, in many cases, regional outbreaks and lockdowns have amplified the problem by interrupting production. These events alone reveal the weaknesses of our commercial systems, their failings. When the links of a supply chain are completely relocated and there are lockdowns and slowdowns in production, repercussions will be unavoidable. Families now need to make sacrifices at the grocery store.
Some of these causes are environmental. Yes, there are supply issues associated with COVID‑19 that have piled on to an already fragile situation, but there are also droughts and fires that have led to poor harvests in western Canada and the southern United States, driving up prices. Heatwaves lead to major agricultural losses, threats to aquatic life, water shortages, fires and, as a result, larger grocery bills and a decrease in river trade. All this is attributable to the climate crisis and, of course, the war in Ukraine.
All the conditions have been in place for several months for energy costs to explode around the world. Demand had fallen before the pandemic, driving prices down. The current increase is a form of catch-up, but oil prices are chronically unstable. There is a lot of speculation about oil prices, which causes endless crises. The best way to prevent this is to reduce our dependence on oil and gas.
Quebec is not currently subject to the federal carbon tax, in effect since April 1, 2019, because Quebec was proactive and imposed a form of price on pollution by taking part in the carbon market with California. As a result, Quebec is not affected by the Conservative motion and, let us be clear, no new federal tax will apply to heating invoices for Quebec households. However, that has not prevented thousands of citizens from reflecting on their dependence on oil and gas.
I would like to talk about Ms. Thériault in the Eastern Townships, who is lucky to be in good health at the age of 92. She lives at home, never owned a car, always got around by public transit and decided six years ago to remove the heating oil tank from her property. In doing so, she saved money. In less than two years, the cost of the transition was covered. The savings are enormous. No more dependence on the oil market.
I will say it again. I know that it will probably make some colleagues sick and that their skin may crawl a bit, but we need to work to get away from oil. Why? Because climate change is the greatest threat to our lives. The government must encourage the transformation of heating systems in businesses and private residences.
François Delorme, a professor of economics at the University of Montreal, said, “The harms of pollution in terms of public health and respiratory diseases have been well established. There is a public cost to our private decisions to use gasoline.... No one likes paying taxes, but people need to understand that this particular tax funds public services and renewable energy.”
By taxing gasoline, we obtain resources to encourage people to turn to greener solutions. In 2019, studies already showed that a carbon tax similar to Canada's had allowed some European countries to increase the size of the economy and the number of jobs. That contradicts a number of preconceptions. The purpose of this tax is to influence people's behaviour. With gas prices rising, we want to see a reduction in consumption, just like for junk food or tobacco. That is what Mr. Delorme reminds us of. Ms. Thériault lives in Quebec and, for her, simply seeing the heating oil bill go up pushed her to act.
Right now, the Bloc Québécois is proposing real solutions to relieve the main victims of inflation. It is proposing long-term solutions: increase old age security to maintain the purchasing power of seniors, offer financial support to people on low incomes, implement programs to support those most affected by sudden price increases. I know my colleagues will give other examples as well.
It is possible to make the economy more resilient if the structural weaknesses that cause inflation are addressed. To that end, we need to reduce dependency on oil and gas, address the labour shortage, encourage more local production, and begin major construction, particularly for social housing.
If the members truly want the government to help Canadians, we encourage them to approve the solutions put forward by the Bloc Québécois.
These are more equitable solutions that would in turn best distribute wealth. Let us set aside the demagoguery and avoid misleading the public with false truths. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but certainly not to their own facts.
Madam Speaker, long-time members are used to seeing the parties, when tabling bills or presenting motions on opposition day, do a sort of brief reading as a preview, to give an idea what it will be about.
Unfortunately, when I looked at the motion today, I thought that the Conservatives had to know that a lot of members tend to do that. The motion lists all kinds of things that are much like half-truths. They thought people would repeat all of them, one after the other, and would present the information. I may be wrong, but this time, for that reason, I will not do that.
In fact, I find it unfortunate that the facts are being somewhat twisted and situations exaggerated. I am not saying that no one is having problems with the cost of heating. Mainly, what I find is that the Conservative Party seems to be increasingly interested in blowing things out of proportion. Instead of wanting to debate substantive issues, they want to find anecdotal topics.
Another thing I deplore is that the Conservatives constantly revisit the same topics. It seems like every question period is the same. That is pretty much the case today. Every time we have an opposition day we feel we have gone through it before. In 2022, the Conservatives are still stuck in the same place. Maybe they will evolve in 2023. I hope so for their sake.
I think the debate is about the last part of the motion, not the long preamble that might take half my speaking time to read. The motion asks that “the House express its agreement with the comments of the Liberal Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and call on the government to exempt all forms of home heating fuel from the carbon tax for all Canadians.”
Here, in the wording of the motion—and this is just the last little bit—things are being twisted a bit. We can see that the Conservatives are using the fact that the Liberal Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote to the Liberal Prime Minister of Canada as a confrontational tool. It is not the worst we have seen, but I would say it is not exactly a very subtle tactic.
A little further into the motion, there is a mention of an exemption for home heating fuel. We understand that, when Conservatives talk about “home heating” and “carbon tax”, they are talking about heating oil and gas. As we know, there are Conservatives who defend one industry, and that can only be the oil and gas industry.
This is what really needs to be understood from the motion. The Conservatives have found another way to put forward a proposal to support the fossil fuel industry, the oil industry, which, unfortunately, is effectively an industry of the past. It seems that the Conservatives just cannot wrap their heads around that.
That is sad, because they seem to be obsessed with oil and gas. It seems like that is all they can think about when they get up in the morning. I think that they put oil in their coffee and have lunch and dinner with oil; I do not know. It really seems to be an obsession. I was elected in 2015, seven years ago, and I cannot remember a single question period when there were no questions from the Conservatives about oil. I think that is their only topic.
For example, take the war in Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine. As a solution, the Conservatives began saying more oil was needed. Right now, there is an inflationary crisis and the Conservatives are trying to find ways to say that we need more oil. When we have a recession, because a lot of economists are predicting a recession—hopefully it will not be too severe—I am convinced that their solution will still be more oil.
Earlier, I said that it seemed like the Conservatives eat oil, but unfortunately, most of us breathe it. We breathe the fumes from these fossil fuels in our daily lives. Because the climate is also affected, the entire planet is grappling with global warming.
We do not hear much from the Conservatives on that. It would be interesting to hear them talk more about it, because it has a real impact on people’s lives. This costs billions of dollars. True, when we pay our bills at the end of the month or receive our paycheque, we never see anything saying “climate bill”, unfortunately.
Maybe we should find ways to say it more so it will be clearer. Maybe that would help the Conservatives understand that this phenomenon really exists and has a real cost for our society. When there are people with respiratory issues, I do not think it is a good idea to put more money into the oil and gas industry and encourage it even more. When there are species going extinct and our biodiversity is threatened, I do not think it is a good idea to cut down more trees and smother nature.
I have not been to Alberta yet, but I am really looking forward to going there one day. However, I have seen pictures and news reports, and it did not look like very joyful. I wonder what we will have to do in the future to fix all the damage and clean up the mess that has been created there. For example, bodies of water that are used for drinking water have become completely toxic and are now off-limits to the public. That really worries me. Animals are being poisoned by that water. The contamination will also end up in the water table, and people will be poisoned. When the green transition is complete, there will still be problems from the past to deal with.
I wish the Conservatives would offer up solutions and proposals that are look forward, not backward. For example, they often say we need to find a way for people to have more money in their pockets in the short term. However, the Conservatives' solutions for achieving that always revolve around encouraging dirty industries. Could they come up with suggestions that involve funding or supporting clean industries instead?
That would be nice. We would be more open to listening to proposals like that. As members know, in Quebec, we rely heavily on hydroelectricity and increasingly on wind energy. We are also looking at other modes of energy production, but we are trying to avoid fossil fuels as much as possible.
The Conservative motion mentions the Premier of Newfoundland. Historically, we have seen Newfoundland take legal action and start feuds with Quebec to prevent us from fully executing our projects. For example, rather than use Hydro-Québec's lines, they demand a line funded by the federal government. Then they end up on the brink of bankruptcy with their projects, instead of trying to collaborate with us. It is sad.
It is sad, considering that there are solutions out there. For instance, we have electricity that we could supply to people in other parts of the world. It is very likely that we will be supplying electricity to the United States. We already do, but we will supply more. We supply some to Ontario, but perhaps we would like to supply more. The Conservatives do not talk about it, but the Ontario premier who is showing less and less appetite for Quebec hydroelectricity is not a Liberal. He is a Conservative. That is sad, because hydroelectricity is a much greener solution than oil and gas.
It might be worth looking into solutions like these, where Quebec could play a role and maybe even help the Canadian provinces decarbonize. Would that not be amazing? Quebec could help the other provinces and the planet, instead of watching the constant push toward gas, oil and the oil sands that will end up poisoning us all. I do not think the Conservatives' solution is the right one.
I also have not heard the Conservatives talk about the increases in gas prices. They are talking about possible tax hikes, but those hikes do not exist in Quebec. Gas prices are going up because the oil companies are lining their pockets. The Conservatives have never suggested investigating the oil companies, their profits, or the oil cartel that is going on.
Unfortunately, we should really be asking why all prices are going up at the same time everywhere. Why is no one able to explain the relationship between the price at the pumps, the price of extraction and international phenomena? What we often see is that prices go up at Christmas. They go up at the start of vacation season. Sometimes, prices go up on Monday mornings too, and there is no good reason for that either. All of this is to say that it would be nice to see the Conservatives come up with some useful, meaningful ideas, instead of backward-looking suggestions.
In closing, we see that the Liberals seem inclined to support them. Countries often base their policies on their interests, and unfortunately, Canada is an oil-producing country.
Madam Speaker, the NDP has gone to work in this Parliament and has pushed the government to put in place supports for dental care, a historic expansion of our health care system, and It is about time. Canadians believe universal health care is our most cherished institution. Our former leader, Tommy Douglas, was instrumental in bringing that about. Now, under the leader from , we have expanded it with dental care this year for children. Right across the length and breadth of our country, parents will be able to provide dental care for their children 12 and under. Inexplicably the Conservatives voted against that measure to help kids. They will have to explain that to their voters whenever the next election is held.
We also forced the government to provide supports to nearly two million Canadians renters through the renter supplement, hundreds of dollars that will make a difference to people in my riding.
Of course, the member for had been pushing for a number of months to get the doubling of the GST credit. That will mean anywhere from $200 to $500 that will go out in the next few weeks. Thankfully, the Conservatives, after initially opposing this NDP position, rallied. I think they finally understood the importance of providing those supports. As a result, we know those cheques will be on the way soon.
Canadians are living in difficult times. They are struggling for affordable housing. They are struggling to pay their health care bills. They are struggling because their wages have not kept up. In this corner of the House, Canadians know they have an NDP leader and an NDP caucus that is resolute about providing supports, and we have the track record to prove it.
Over the course of the last two Parliaments, almost every measure that has had a net benefit to Canadian families has come from the NDP caucus, leveraging in a minority Parliament our 25 voices, and 24 voices in the last Parliament, to make a difference for Canadians.
The fact that we have one leader in the House who has a laser-like focus, ensuring Canadians benefit from decisions made in Parliament, has made a difference in the lives of so many Canadians, but we have so much more to do, and we are going to continue to push. The reality is that we have had seven years of a Liberal government that has basically been paralyzed when it comes to the important decisions that would make a difference in the lives of people.
When we look at the disability benefit, it still does not have any substance behind it. We are going to be pushing, with Bill , to actually have a disability benefit that makes a difference in the lives of people. However, to date, we have not seen the substance or the meat that actually will make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
These are the kinds of measures the NDP will continue to push.
On housing, we were able to force the government, in the last budget, to finally start to reinvest in affordable housing, and over the next couple of years 150,000 new affordable housing units will be built. That is a result of the efforts of the member for and the NDP caucus, again, to leverage our 25 members to make a difference, to push for change for a better life for Canadians.
We are pushing to have put into place all the calls to action on truth and reconciliation. We are pushing for measures that would stop the spread of hate and right-wing extremism that we are seeing. We will continue to push all those elements, because we believe fundamentally, as New Democrats and as members of Parliament, that our responsibility is to make a difference in the lives of people.
We did not see that in the dismal Harper decade, an incredibly dismal period in Canadian history, or in the seven years of paralysis that we have largely seen from the current government, until, with minority Parliaments, the NDP started to leverage and get things done in Parliament. We saw over the course of the Harper dismal decade a massive expansion of overseas tax havens, valuated by the Parliamentary Budget Officer at $25 billion a year, now over $30 billion a year. This is taxpayer money going off shore. The utlrarich, profitable corporations are taking their money offshore rather than providing those investments that would make a difference in the lives of families, students, youth, children, people with disabilities and seniors.
Under both the Conservative regime and the Liberal regime, the immediate thought when a crisis hit, whether it was in 2008 or with COVID in 2020, was what they could do to help the banks. We saw under the Harper government a record $116 billion in liquidity supports given overnight. The Harper government wanted to shore up bank profits. That was its first and foremost priority. It cut pensions and eviscerated a wide variety of services for veterans, seniors and people with disabilities.
It cut a whole bunch of important programs, including, inexplicably even today, the crime prevention programs that reduced crime right across the country. For the Harper government or any person connected to the Harper government, like the member for , to pretend that it took initiatives that reduced the crime rate when it destroyed the crime prevention centres strikes the heart of rampant hypocrisy. It eviscerated the most important tool in fighting back against crime.
This was the record of the Harper government: destroying services and ensuring that the banks, the ultrarich and the oil and gas industry had record profits. That was its first and foremost objective. Sadly, the new Liberal government has done the same, continuing those practices. We have gone from $25 billion a year under the Harper government to over $30 billion in overseas tax havens under the new government. In the banking sector, it was $116 billion.
We saw the Liberal government, in March 2020, step up in 96 hours with $750 billion in liquidity supports for the banks. This is while people with disabilities were struggling to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table. They are still waiting years later, and we have a bill that does not do anything yet. However, the NDP is going to fight like hell to ensure that it does do something to actually make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
What we have had over the last couple of decades is a government that has been focused on the needs of the banking sector and bank profits and that has allowed the grocery industry, the big giants of the grocery sector, to profit from Canadian families, without putting any measures in place to restrict that. With the oil and gas sector, of course we have seen the rampant profiteering, with the price going up on old stock as soon as there is any sort of crisis, as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has pointed out so many times. Both at the beginning and at the end of every crisis, the oil and gas sector reaps record profits.
These are the decisions we have seen from both Conservative and Liberal governments, but now we have an alternative. I want to point out why it is so important for folks in Canada to recognize that. We have a choice between the current government, the official opposition and the NDP. In the coming election, whenever that is, whether next year, the year after or in 2025, at some point this Parliament will come to an end and Canadians will have a choice to make. We have seen what the Liberals and the Conservatives do. They cater to the wealthy, the ultrarich, the banking sector, grocery chain CEOs and the grocery empires rather than dealing with regular people.
The NDP, this week, in our only opposition day of this cycle, brought forward a motion that ultimately forced all parties to support it. It recognized that “Canadian families are struggling with the rising costs of essential purchases” and asked the House to “call on the government to recognize that corporate greed is a significant driver of inflation”, or greedflation, as members know, and to take action, which includes:
(a) forcing CEOs and big corporations to pay what they owe, by closing the loopholes that have allowed them to avoid $30 billion in taxes in 2021 alone, resulting in a corporate tax rate that is effectively lower now than when this government was elected
This is an important point. It was bad under the Conservatives. It is even worse now under the Liberals.
The motion continued:
(b) launching an affordable and fair food strategy which tackles corporate greed in the grocery sector including by asking the Competition Bureau to launch an investigation of grocery chain profits, increasing penalties for price-fixing and strengthening competition laws to prohibit companies from abusing their dominant positions in a market to exploit purchasers or agricultural producers; and
(c) supporting the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in investigating high food prices and the role of “greedflation”
When we introduced this motion, the CEOs of the big grocery chains and big food immediately stepped up to say they were not going to increase their prices anymore; they were going to freeze prices. The NDP had an impact with that motion. This is an important part of what members of Parliament should be doing.
This motion passed unanimously, as members know, because it was good sense that we pushed back as members of Parliament knowing the impact that greedflation has had right across the length and breadth of this country. It has cost Canadians a terrible price. As a result of that, the member for brought forward this motion, which had an immediate impact.
I contrast that with the Conservatives, the official opposition. This is the third time now that they have brought forward essentially the same motion. They did it on June 7, they did it on September 28 and they are doing it today. It is for tackling a price on carbon, as if climate change and the climate crisis do not affect Conservatives. It is quite the contrary. We know that climate change is impacting people right across the country. We know that putting a price on pollution actually helps to alleviate that, yet we have this obsession from the Conservatives where on three opposition days in a row they essentially bring forward the same motion.
The motion does not deal with the issue of affordability, in the same way that the Conservatives in the House and the sound and fury from the member for do not in any way help Canadians. In fact, the Conservatives cannot really point to anything they have done over the last few years that has helped Canadians.
The NDP can. We can point to dental care. We can point to the housing supplement. We can point to the affordable housing that we forced in the last budget. We can point to the doubling of the GST credit. We can point to all of the COVID supports that we forced in this House. In a minority Parliament situation, we are using the weight of our members of Parliament to make a difference for Canadians.
What can the official opposition point to in the last few years? They can point to nothing, nada. It is so much the worse that it is a repudiation of the commitments made by the former in the election before last. It is important to point out that back in 2019, the Conservative leader, to quote the CBC website, made an “election promise to remove GST from home-heating bills”. To quote Global News, he said he would “cut GST from home heating bills as prime minister”.
Given the opportunity to actually put that forward, the Conservatives failed, and they brought forward the same motion a third time, as if somehow it is a magical third time. It is that triple, triple, triple of putting together the same motion and putting it out to the House again as a rerun rather than dealing with the fundamentals of removing the GST on home heating, which the Conservatives previously promised to do and did not and which the member for has been promoting.
What I am offering today is the opportunity for the official opposition to actually keep a promise. The Conservatives promised in the election campaign that they would take the GST off home heating, so I will be offering an amendment shortly that would do just that. The amendment, which the Conservatives should support because they committed to it, would replace the carbon tax in their opposition motion. Rather than for the third time dealing with the issue of climate change as if it is something that does not exist, we would instead put in place the removal of the GST from home heating. The Conservatives promised that, so they should support this amendment. It would actually have a meaningful impact on Canadians' lives. We know the impact of the GST on home heating, so it would make a fundamental difference.
We have seen that the NDP is really making a difference in Canadians' lives. We have seen it with dental care, housing assistance and affordable housing, measures that we forced the government to include in the last budget along with the doubling of the GST credit. All of these are a win for Canadian families.
Today, we will give the Conservatives the opportunity to keep their promise to eliminate the GST on home heating. We will propose an amendment that will make a real difference in people's lives.
That way, the Conservatives will finally be able to say that they did something to help people, that it was not just talk, that they actually did something. They need to help people instead of just going around in circles.
It is therefore with pleasure that I offer the following amendment on behalf of the NDP, and if good sense and good judgment take place, the Conservatives will support it. I move that the motion be amended by deleting the words “from the carbon tax” and substituting the following: “from the goods and services tax”.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for .
I rise today to discuss our party's opposition motion introduced by my colleague from .
Since the Liberal government is so out of touch with reality, our party felt it was essential to present this motion today to give Canadians a break during this very important period, when inflation remains high and interest rates continue to climb.
The current government likes to boast about its latest announcements, such as day cares and dental care, but it fails to realize that it will literally leave many Canadians out in the cold this winter. Some of my fellow citizens will need to choose between heating their home this winter and putting food on the table.
As we noted in our motion, one in 10 Canadian homes is heated by propane or oil. These Canadians actually do not have the financial means to chose another option, but the government will continue to treat them like second-class citizens, tripling the carbon tax over the winter. What a wonderful Christmas gift from our .
The gap between urban and rural areas has only grown under the leadership of this Prime Minister. He does not seem to understand that Canadians in rural areas are not second-class citizens. They want to prosper too, but his government is letting them down every time, whether a lack of cell coverage, defective Internet or this irrational tax that will triple during our country's coldest season. In the regions, there is no choice but to use a vehicle, whether to go to work, do grocery shopping or drive children to various activities. This tax is stifling them even more.
When housing prices have never been higher, food prices have not been as high since 1981 with an inflation rate of 11.4%, the government thinks it is the time to increase the carbon tax even more. I suppose these inflationist polices were passed on from generation to generation.
Do members know who the prime minister was in 1981? It was Mr. Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I remember it well because my spouse and I were a young couple with three young children. With high interest rates and inflation above 10%, we had to make difficult choices. Luckily, we had our parents to help us make ends meet. They were very difficult times. We can see the cycle repeating itself.
We all know that government members will stand up and say that inflation is a global phenomenon, but this made-in-Canada inflation cannot be blamed entirely on Putin and COVID-19. Decisions are being made at the Liberal cabinet table. It is obvious to me that those folks are completely out of touch with reality and what is really going on.
I can assure this House that the numbers would be a lot better if a Conservative government were in power. The Conservatives have been proposing solutions all along, but none of our suggestions have been taken seriously, because they do not revolve around taxing Canadians in order to recover funds to pay for the reckless spending and deficits the likes of which we had never seen before the current Prime Minister took office.
The costly coalition with the NDP has turned into a nightmare, as the New Democrats continue to prop up the government and try to convince Canadians to support it. A government that stands up for Canadians would never triple a tax in the winter or raise taxes on Canadians' paycheques.
Canadians work so hard. Why take away even more purchasing power at a time when they need it so much?
In my riding, residents have a hard time making ends meet. In Beauce, like everywhere in Canada, people work hard. They own and operate businesses and help their neighbours. In my riding, the unemployment rate is currently 1.8%. People are exhausted. They are tired of seeing the federal government dig deeper and deeper into their pockets at a time when they need their hard-earned money the most.
Surely the government will tell me about its $10-a-day day cares or the dental care they are currently imposing on us. First, I must say that Quebec has had its own day care system for many years now. Second, I can guarantee that a single mother in my riding would prefer to keep the heat on in her home or put food on the table to feed her family than have her children's teeth cleaned right now.
All that is part of the agreement of convenience with the NDP. Before the costly coalition was established, I had never heard the Liberal Party talk about dental care. It is all just a scheme to continue undermining democracy with this coalition that no one in Canada asked for.
As indicated in the text of our motion, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote a letter to the Prime Minister asking for this same exemption, and our party has worked to do the same. This government's carbon tax makes no sense, particularly in relation to home heating. No one will turn down the heat in their home in the winter when it is bitter cold to reduce carbon consumption. I think people instead need to heat their homes to survive.
Our party tabled under private members' business a bill similar to Bill , which was not passed due to the needless election call last year. Bill , which is currently in committee, will help farmers keep their livestock and animals safe and warm during the winter. That bill has the support of all the parties, except one. We can guess that it is the Liberal Party.
In closing, I would like to reiterate my opinion: This winter, Canadians should not have to choose between heat and food. The Liberals must open their eyes and see the damage they are causing. Maybe they should listen to several of their colleagues in the House, and our party, because they are about to commit a serious mistake on January 1, 2023.
The leader of the Conservative Party and our united caucus will not stop until the has heard us. We are here for Canadians, and even more importantly, I am here to protect Beauce. I hope that the government will both hear and understand my message today.
Madam Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the great people of Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame and, in fact, of all Newfoundland and Labrador, and Atlantic Canada, to proudly support our Conservative motion to axe the carbon tax plan on home heating fuel.
This initiative is the latest installment of the cult-like plan to triple the carbon tax on Canadians. According to the chair of the Council of Atlantic Premiers, the energy poverty in Atlantic Canada is nearly 40%, which is the highest in the country.
Even Newfoundland and Labrador’s Liberal premier is begging the not to put carbon tax on home heating fuel. It will drive up heating cost by 20% this winter. The premier, a very close friend of the Prime Minister, said in early September that ending the current carbon tax exemption would place “undue economic burdens on the people of this province”.
The four Atlantic premiers wrote to the federal around the same time to request an extension on the home heating fuel carbon tax exemption. They were flatly turned down by the Liberal government, whose intent to tax the right to heat one’s home reflects its cult-like beliefs that taxing the essentials of life will lower carbon emissions.
The NDP coalition partners are partial to the very same beliefs. The leader of the carbon tax pact, the , brags that Canadians receive more in rebates than they pay in carbon tax. However, it is time for the to get the memo: Atlantic Canadians get zero carbon tax rebate, and now, the carbon tax deficit of homeowners who heat their homes with oil or propane is about to grow even more with the addition of this tax to their fuel.
As if that is not enough, they will be charged HST on top of the carbon tax. That is right. It is a tax on a tax.
The Liberal carbon tax is thus far a complete failure. Since the government took office in 2015, our emissions have increased, along with the carbon tax, with the exception of 2020 where it dropped, probably because the and his world economic forum buddies were forced to park their private jets.
The failure of carbon pricing in Canada is in stark contrast to the success that Americans have had in reducing their emissions. They did not bend to climate activists, but instead, they used technology and did things like converting coal plants to use natural gas. However, the people of my province do not have the option of converting to natural gas, so they will have to continue, for the most part, with diesel heating fuel, and I will speak more about natural gas near the end of my speech.
When implemented this winter, the carbon tax, combined with the HST on heating fuel, will be about 17¢ per litre, and according to our Liberal premier, this constitutes a 20% increase on the cost to heat a home. This is with carbon pricing at the current rate of only $50 per tonne. That rate is set to rise to $170 per tonne by 2030, which will drive up the carbon tax on that same litre of fuel to about 55¢ per litre.
This is nothing short of a disaster created by a government whose smallest concern is the real lives of Atlantic Canadians. It is a slap in the face to the very people who have put so much faith in the Liberal government since 2015.
I hear from nervous constituents all of the time lately. Constituents are already stretched to their breaking points by inflation that is out of control. Yesterday's food inflation numbers told them what they already know, and now winter is coming. The people of Atlantic Canada will need to choose between food on the table or a warm home.
Recently, the bragged about his new program to switch homeowners from heating with fuel to heating by heat pumps. It is a plan that can help, at best, 3% of homeowners.
Where does that leave Cory from Gander? Last year, Cory spent $4000 to heat his home. With the intended carbon tax added, he will pay an extra $700 on his annual heating bill. Cory considers himself to be middle class, but with this inflationary tax increase, he is worried about paying his bills.
Felicia from Pike's Arm told me that she spent $6,000 in only 10 months last year to heat her home. The carbon tax on just 10 months of fuel will cost Felicia an extra $1,050, if the does not back down from his tax-hiking plan. The people of Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame simply cannot take more inflationary tax pressure on their lives. Real people with real bills to pay are really fed up. They are much more intelligent than the tax master, our Prime Minister, makes them out to be.
They know this tax-and-spend climate plan is not working. Even the Liberal premier of Newfoundland and Labrador knows it is not working, and he says it is completely unnecessary with the price of oil where it is and where it is projected to go. According to most experts, oil is forecasted on average to be about $95 per barrel next year and will rise to $125 per barrel by 2025. With these oil prices where they are and where they are going, there is already enough pressure on consumers to cut their consumption. This is an unnecessary Liberal tax grab.
According to the CBC, which by the look of it is abandoning its carbon tax love affair, Nova Scotians alone will pay $1 billion extra on home heating fuel by 2030. That is quite the tax grab. Can members just imagine: $1 billion and no guarantee that a tangible tonne of carbon reduction will occur? The one thing that is guaranteed is that money in people's jeans will be reduced by this inflationary tax pressure.
The should listen to his friend in Newfoundland and Labrador. He should stop misleading Canadians while he contradicts the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the PBO, who said in March that the carbon tax will deliver a net financial loss to most households. The Prime Minister should listen to experts like the PBO, but what can we expect from a guy who said the budget would balance itself? He said there was no economic case for shipping natural gas from Newfoundland and Labrador to Europe, because of the distance.
We are just 4,000 km from Europe. However, the U.S., with its LNG plants in Texas, more than twice the distance from Europe, exports a billion dollars’ worth of liquefied natural gas per day. Argentina, in a partnership with Petronas, is building a $10-billion LNG facility to export natural gas. The only place further away from Europe than Argentina is the South Pole, but our wise says that the island of Newfoundland is too far from Europe for it to make economic sense to take on such a project.
Right now, as we speak, Germany is converting natural gas plants back to burning coal, which has double the emissions. Instead of helping our allies by harvesting the 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas on the Grand Banks and boosting the prosperity of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Liberal government promotes air pollution in Europe and energy poverty in Atlantic Canada.
I am proud to support our Conservative motion to exempt home heating from the carbon tax, and I hope my colleagues on the other side of the house, especially those from Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritimes, stand with the people who elected them when they stand to vote on this motion.
Madam Speaker, It is a privilege to rise today to address this motion concerning carbon pollution pricing, particularly as it affects my constituents in York Centre, in the north end of Toronto.
Climate change is real. It is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and carbon pricing is the backbone of our climate plan. In recent years, climate change has had unprecedented effects on Canadians. Impacts from climate change are wide-ranging, affecting our homes, the cost of living, infrastructure, and health and safety. The economic activity in communities across Canada is disrupted time and time again.
We hear a lot of talk today about costs. The official opposition never speaks about the cost to our communities and to our health and safety, or about the impacts on the economy from these increasingly frequent severe weather events.
The latest science warns that to avoid severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced significantly and urgently to hold the global average temperature rise at 1.5°. In April 2021, the Government of Canada responded to this by submitting a strengthened national emissions target of 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030, a key milestone on the pathway to the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and a piece of legislation I am proud to have worked on.
On March 29, 2022, the government released the 2030 emissions reduction plan, outlining how Canada will meet its 2030 target. The plan builds on a strong foundation, starting with Canada's first-ever climate change plan in 2016, and then our strengthened plan, released in 2020. Carbon pricing is central to this and to all of our plans, because it is the most efficient and lowest-cost policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
There was a time when Conservative economists at least understood this as a market fundamental, but today's Conservatives, honestly, are penny-wise and pound-foolish. They have been fighting climate action for years in Canada, and today they are fighting us on climate action. Today, we face literally billions of dollars in cleanup and adaptation costs from extreme weather events that are stronger and more frequent because of climate change. We just have to look at B.C. Between fires and floods, our residents are struggling.
I am sorry that I did not say this in my introduction. I will be sharing my time with my colleague from .
While Conservatives oppose our climate plan, they also vote against every single measure our government brings in to improve affordability for Canadians. Whether it was a child tax benefit, pandemic relief or even, yesterday, on dental care and rental relief, they just keep voting no. I really do not understand why.
Now the Conservatives pretend to be on the side of helping those who may be facing energy poverty, but Canadians have been riding this roller coaster of volatile global oil and gas prices for years. It is not new, but Conservatives have said nothing about skyrocketing profit margins for oil and gas producers, nothing.
We have heard from stakeholders across the country that consistency and predictability are the key to unlocking investment in a low-carbon economy. We also know that businesses and industries are developing innovative technologies and approaches to reduce emissions. They need clear incentives and supports to commercialize and put those technologies into practice. Carbon pricing creates those incentives without dictating any particular approach. It lets businesses decide how best to cut their emissions.
At the same time, this motion emphasizes that Canadians, especially the most vulnerable Canadians, are facing an affordability challenge. The federal approach to carbon pricing was designed to maintain the consistency demanded by industry and investors while prioritizing affordability for Canadians and their families.
We know it is not enough to create a cleaner economy. We have to make sure Canadians can actually afford it. It is true that carbon pollution modestly increases fuel costs. The federal fuel charge currently adds about 10¢ to the cost of a cubic metre of natural gas, about 11¢ to a litre of gasoline and about 16¢ to a litre of home heating oil. These impacts will increase as the carbon price increases, and we know that every little bit counts with fuel prices already being high.
However, carbon pricing is not and has never been about raising revenues. In fact, most households in jurisdictions where federal fuel charges apply end up with more money in their pocket than they paid. Conservatives should know this.
A lot of members from the opposite way from Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba received their quarterly climate action incentive rebate, which was deposited just last week, but we never hear the Conservatives talk about that.
Wherever federal fuel charge proceeds are returned directly to households, eight out of 10 families actually get more back through climate action incentive payments than they face with the increase on fuel costs. This is particularly true for low-income households, which come out significantly ahead. Why? Because they get the same climate action incentive payment as every other household of the same size, including higher-income households, which tend to heat larger homes and drive larger vehicles.
For example, the average cost on carbon pricing on a household in Alberta is expected to be about $700 in 2022, but this is less than the average climate action incentive payment that will be provided to Alberta households, which is about $1,040. Similarly, in Ontario, the average household cost is estimated to be about $580, but households will receive back, on average, about $710. These estimates take into account direct costs, like paying more for fuel and also indirect costs, like paying a bit more for goods and services.
Families in rural and small communities are also eligible to receive an extra 10%, because we know that our rural and remote communities face increasing cost challenges.
Households can use these funds however they want. They can use them to absorb the higher cost of gasoline, natural gas and heating oil, and households that take action to reduce their energy use will come out even further ahead, because they will still receive the same climate action incentive payment.
Canadians have real options, and the government is providing support for those options. We are not asking people to change their lives overnight. Taking transit or using an electric vehicle will not work for everyone right now, which is why we have the climate action incentive to ensure that the policy is affordable for everyone.
Here is the real opportunity. Canadians who do make low-carbon changes benefit even more, and we are helping them make those choices.
For example, fuel-efficient vehicles use less gas and therefore incur fewer carbon costs. We are accelerating the rollout of electric vehicles, and the government provides purchase incentives to bring the cost down. We are investing in more charging stations and the technologies keep improving, with longer range, better batteries and lower costs. Canadians are starting to do the math; I wish my colleagues across the way would do it as well. It is a rising carbon price, volatile oil prices and tailpipe pollution versus less maintenance, no oil changes and charging at home.
We can look at our homes, and most of them are heated with natural gas, some still with heating oil. Better insulation, plugging leaks, a newer furnace, all of these use less energy, cut pollution and save money, which is why the government is supporting home energy retrofits through the Canada greener homes grant.
The only way to eliminate energy poverty, reduce household energy costs in Canada and to have true energy security is by fighting climate change.
The Government of Canada has also committed to return proceeds collected from the federal output-based pricing system, or OBPS, to the jurisdictions of origin. Provinces and territories that have voluntarily adopted the OBPS can opt for a direct transfer of proceeds collected. Proceeds collected in other backstop jurisdictions will be returned through OBPS proceeds fund aimed at supporting clean industrial technologies and clean electricity projects.
Climate change is a serious challenge, but it is also an opportunity, and a very big economic opportunity. Canadians want to take advantage of the significant economic opportunities in a low-carbon economy. Analysis by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate estimates that changing to a low-carbon economy will deliver a direct economic gain of $26 trillion U.S. and generate 65 million new jobs. That sounds good to me.
Just as we are putting a price on carbon pollution, we are also making historic investments in clean technology, innovation and green infrastructure to drive growth and reduce pollution, including $9.1 billion in new investments to cut pollution and grow the economy, which is part of our 2030 emissions reduction plan.
This is the plan for the future, and it reflects the submissions of over 30,000 Canadians, provinces, territories, indigenous partners, industry, civil society and the independent net-zero advisory body.
Canadians want this. Canadians know we need to change, and the Conservatives are just going to be left behind.
Madam Speaker, what a great contrast between what the Conservative Party, the official opposition, is doing and what the government is doing.
We have a fundamental difference. We want to see an economy that actually works for all Canadians. We believe in Canada's middle class. We want to support those striving to become a part of the middle class. We need to be there for those individuals who need that extra bit of help, directly or indirectly.
From what I can tell, this motion deals with two real topics. One is the issue of inflation and one is the issue of our environment. If I were to pick a couple of issues to show the contrast between the official opposition, the Conservative Party, and the Liberal Party, they would probably be two of the top three issues.
When I think of the price on pollution, it is almost comical where the Conservatives were and where they are today. They are definitely not consistent. I do not think they even understand the issue based on some of the comments we have heard today. Their arguments just do not make sense.
I posed a question to the relatively newly elected , who has once again changed the Conservative Party's policy on the price on pollution. All 338 Conservative candidates in the last federal election, including every one of the members across the way, had an election platform that supported the principle of a price on pollution. That leader was dumped and a new leader has come in. Now there is a new policy position, that the Conservatives no longer support the principle of a price on pollution.
In 2015, countries from around the world went to Paris. Canada was one of many countries. Some agreements were achieved. One of the most productive discussions and dialogues that took place was on the principle of a price on pollution. Canada came back with a healthy delegation, and we started to push for a price on pollution. At that point, of course, the Conservative Party did not support it, but there were Conservatives from coast to coast to coast who did support it at one point.
The world has recognized that a price on pollution is in fact the way to go, but the Conservative Party, with its most recent flip-flop, has gone back in time. I would argue that the Conservatives are not listening to their constituents. It makes a whole lot of sense to have a price on pollution, but the Conservatives conveniently try to misrepresent the issue.
We all hear the words triple, triple, triple. Every Conservative member wants to stand in question period and say that the carbon tax will “triple, triple, triple.” They love saying that. What they do not tell us is that where the federal government is applying the price on carbon, in the jurisdictions like Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, over 50% of the population of Canada, there is actually a rebate, a credit. That credit is also triple, triple, triple. The Conservatives are trying, intentionally, to mislead more than half the population.
In Ontario, for example, it is a $745 credit. In Saskatchewan, it is well over $1,000 credit. In Alberta, it is over $1,000 credit. In my home province of Manitoba, it is $832 for a household. They will receive, as will other provinces, quarterly cheques. That is money in their pocket, because of the price on pollution. People in Manitoba recently received $208.
These are tangible things. The Conservatives will say that they are paying a tax. The independent Parliamentary Budget Officer made it very clear that eight out of 10 are receiving more than they are paying.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Madam Speaker, they can babble all they like, but that is what the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer states. That means that eight out of 10 constituents in Winnipeg North are receiving a net benefit, yet the Conservatives are fixated on trying to mislead the residents of Winnipeg North and, in fact, all Canadians.
Today we had a member from the Conservative Party say that Ottawa is collecting hundreds of millions of dollars on our carbon tax in Atlantic Canada, which is absolute garbage. That is, again, the Conservative Party misleading Canadians, because that is not what is happening. In the provinces where there is no federal backstop, the money is going to the provinces. Ottawa is not receiving that money. We are not receiving hundreds of millions of dollars, or billions, as the member opposite tried to put on the record.
What we are witnessing is misinformation coming from the Conservative Party of Canada, all in the favour of a catchphrase. We see that, and we will see it in about an hour from now when its members stand up for question period. For them, it is humour. It is a bumper sticker. They are more interested in that than they are in the environment.
What is the Conservative Party of Canada's policy on the environment? It is moving backward. While every other political entity in Canada is moving forward in dealing with environmental concerns, the national Conservative Party is actually moving backward. If Canadians only knew the lack of sincerity, the misleading information and the ideas of the climate deniers in the Conservative Party, they would see the contrast between the Conservatives and the Liberals.
We can also talk about inflation, which is the other part the motion attempts to deal with. Conservatives are saying, even though it is not true, they will give a tax break on the price on pollution. Actions speak louder than words. In dealing with inflation, we brought forward legislative measures to assist people during this difficult time. The biggest one was the GST rebate, which is legislation the Conservative Party originally opposed. Eleven million Canadians would benefit from an enhanced GST rebate, and the Conservative Party originally opposed it. After being shamed, they finally saw they were making a mistake and voted for it. I applaud them for that. It is good they voted for it.
Then there is the dental care for children, which would provide assistance for kids under the age of 12 to receive dental care. The Conservative Party is voting against that. Along with that legislation there is legislation to support those who are finding it financially difficult to make their rental payments. Through the legislation, we would see direct payments. We also have legislation dealing with money going directly to people with disabilities.
Conservatives can talk all they want about fighting inflation, but all they are really interested in is what they can put on a bumper sticker. To them, that is what it is all about. As they focus on trying to create havoc, we will continue to focus on being there for Canadians from coast to coast to coast, recognizing we want an economy that works for all Canadians. We want a society that truly cares about social programs, one that values national programs that are going to make a difference.
Liberals will talk about the importance of long-term care and mental health. We will talk about dental care for our children. There are many things we—
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from , also known as H, L and A. The member is also known as the daughter of the former member for that riding. His name is Daryl, and he is at home watching, so it is a family business here.
Today, I am pleased to rise to support this motion from my colleague from , which would see the House lend its agreement to the comments by the Liberal premier of Newfoundland and Labrador calling on the federal government to exempt all forms of heating fuel from the Liberal carbon tax for all Canadians.
Indeed, all four premiers of the Atlantic provinces have written to the urging him to stop punishing Atlantic Canadians with this punitive tax upon a tax this winter season, especially as they have already faced the highest inflation rates, Liberal just inflation rates, that they have seen in decades.
It is the highest inflation since the 's father bungled the failed national energy program in the 1980s. Let us take a walk back in time. It is worth resting on this point for a moment. There is an eerie parallel between the failed initiative of the Prime Minister's father with the national energy program, and where we find ourselves today.
We have record inflation, a looming economic recession, western alienation and a government so blind, so out of touch and so reckless, that it truly believes it knows better than Canadians on how to spend their own money. As serious and as concerning as this type of arrogance is, there is hope.
The failed national energy program of the senior Trudeau set the stage for the election of the strong, stable Conservative majority government of Brian Mulroney. The government's mismanagement of the economy and its zealous punishment of its own citizens who work in the oil and gas sector, as well as those who rely on this sector to heat their homes, is creating the perfect storm, which will see Canadians choose another strong and responsible Conservative majority government. This time, it will be led by my hon. colleague from , our honourable leader.
My constituency of Miramichi—Grand Lake is the largest federal electoral district in New Brunswick. At 17,420 kilometres, it is more than double the average size of other districts in my home province. It is actually three times larger than the entirety of Prince Edward Island.
My constituency is rural. It is extremely rural, and it is vast. I believe that the has probably read some short books about life beyond the limits of the major Canadian cities. I would imagine they were cartoons. I am sure he believes he understands the plight of everyday Canadians and their families from the CBC News, which blindly endorses and reaffirms the misguided decisions of the government as a regular part of its editorial control.
Let me tell the and all the members of his government that my constituents and Atlantic Canadians, by and large, will quite rightly rely on oil to heat their homes this winter, and they want and need the government to understand that fact. They want and need the government to put people before politics and remove the Liberal carbon tax from heating fuel, which has already nearly doubled in price in the past two to three years.
In rural New Brunswick and across Atlantic Canada, Canadians have few choices when it comes to heating their homes. Many, if not most, use oil as the primary source to keep their homes and families warm. Natural gas is not an option. As we have seen with the devastation of the electrical infrastructure across the Atlantic provinces after tropical storm Fiona, even electricity is not always reliable.
It is one thing to lose electricity for days, or even weeks, in September or October. However, if this happens during a Canadian winter, between November and March, homes will freeze, plumbing will fail and homes will get destroyed. In many cases, oil is the only safe and reliable option to keep one's home and family warm through the Canadian winter in rural Atlantic Canada. I know that the government and the at least value the homes of Atlantic Canadians.
I wonder, if the had his way, whether he would still have Atlantic Canadians locked in their homes, for their own safety of course. Perhaps he might consider chipping in with the Atlantic Canadians on their share of his carbon tax to help offset the cost of keeping these home detention centres warm this coming season, just in case he needs them one more time. It is frustrating for me to stand in this House, time and time again, and explain the realities of rural life to the government.
I understand that, as members of the House, we all represent different constituencies and geographies, none being more important than the other, but there is a reality to Canadian life. Our country is large and vast, and a great many Canadians live in rural settings. They understand what choices work for them and their families, and they do not need the Liberal government taxing them in a punishing sequence for choosing the only available option that is safe and can be relied upon. Canadians are better to choose for themselves.
The Liberal government has made enough decisions for people who did not want them to begin with. The government has mismanaged the economy in such a way that the price of heating oil has already more than doubled on its watch. Other necessities, like food and certainly the cost of building or maintaining homes with repairs, has at least doubled. The punishment of Liberal inflation never ends for Canadians, but their pain is the government's gain. For every item or service in our economy that is subject to the federal portion of the HST and has doubled in price, the government is now collecting double the tax on these items than it would have only a year or two ago.
To be fair, to any normal responsible government, this additional tax revenue would be a windfall and help to allow a budget to balance itself, as the likes to say, but I understand the government has a severe spending problem. Even this doubling in revenue is not nearly enough for them. They have, in fact, caused inflation. Much of these high percentages we have are caused by the government's inability to have monetary policy and manage the books of this country.
I revert to the fact that the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, a Liberal friend of the government, has publicly called on the to exempt home heating oil from the Liberal carbon tax. This is not Ottawa Liberals whispering to themselves that it is time for the Prime Minister to move on. I can understand why the Prime Minister, with no serious job prospects of his own on the horizon, would ignore these Liberals, but a sitting and popular Liberal premier in Atlantic Canada, in Newfoundland and Labrador, speaking about it aloud in the news is a whole different story.
I implore the , even if he does not listen to the Ottawa Liberals urging him to walk the plank, to at least listen to this one Liberal who has the courage of his convictions to try to explain these bread and butter issues to the federal government, which is so very out of touch. Premier Andrew Furey from Newfoundland and Labrador has made the decision to have the courage of his convictions, and we applaud him for that.
I proudly support this motion to remove the Liberal carbon tax on home heating fuels. This is what my constituents have told me to do, and now I have relayed their concerns to the House. The tax grab by the Liberal government will increase heating costs by over 20% for working Canadians, and as the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador has rightly said, it will create “undue economic burdens” on Canadians who do not have the resources to cope with this burden.
Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise to speak to our Conservative opposition day motion.
As we already know, record inflation is driving up the cost of everyday necessities. Meat is up nearly 8%. Dairy is up nearly 10%. Vegetables, fruit and baked goods are all up over 10%, with cereals up nearly 18%. Gas prices are 13% higher than they were at this same time last year. Our dollar is simply not going as far as it was before, and home heating is no different.
Canadians have been burdened with paying these increased prices in tandem with their creeping increases. We buy groceries and gas every week and do so year-round, but heating is different. Heating costs, for most Canadians, is a seasonal expense. It is not something that most Canadians are paying at this point. As we head into the winter months that is going to change. With heating costs so high, thanks to the government, this Christmas will mark the very first time in history that Canadians are actually hoping for lumps of coal in their stockings.
Rural and low-income Canadians are going to be hit the hardest. According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario, the average amount spent on home energy in a year in urban centres in Ontario is $2,002. In rural Ontario, that number explodes to $3,198, a shocking increase of 62.6%. The report also breaks down the types of fuel used between electric, natural gas and other sources. When accounting for this, rural communities spend 57 times more on other sources of fuel. That is the difference between urban and rural Canada when it comes to energy expenditures in our homes.
We have all heard about the dramatic impacts that are being caused by the energy shortages around the world, inflation and the war in Ukraine, but I want to bring this closer to home. Most of us here in this place have the privilege of walking into a room, flicking a switch and the lights go on. If the room is cold, we walk over to a thermostat and turn it to a comfortable temperature. Unfortunately, that is not the case for too many of our constituents. Even in my riding of Hastings—Lennox and Addington, natural gas is the exception, not the rule. Most rural residents outside of small towns and villages heat with propane. Some are still using fuel oil, and a number, which would probably surprise colleagues, still use wood stoves as either primary or secondary heat sources.
Earlier today, the member for took issue with the wording of our motion, specifically the portion stating that for some Canadians there are no alternatives to propane or heating oil. He suggested that Canadians simply convert their homes to other sources. He may not speak to his constituents, but those who struggle through the winter need to be listened to. I am listening to the people of Hastings—Lennox and Addington. Would it surprise colleagues that there are communities in my riding that operate winter wood banks? It is like a food bank, but it provides dried, split wood to seniors and other shut-ins who otherwise cannot cut and split wood for themselves and might run out if the heating season lasts too long or is harsher than normal.
My riding is not unique. Many ridings across Canada do not have the privilege of natural gas heating. Many homes across Canada have not been able to take advantage of electric heat pumps, because their climate is too cold or electricity has been too expensive. Propane is widely used and so is heating oil. This is why we keep asking the government to stop adding more and more taxes to these fuels. It is not that Canadians do not want to do their part. It is about treating one's fellow Canadians with respect instead of driving them into energy poverty.
The cost of living is the single biggest issue in my riding of Hastings—Lennox and Addington. Constituents regularly call into my office, post on my social media or contact me directly with their concerns. For example, one wrote, “Last March I paid over $800 for half a tank of furnace oil. Last month it was $527 to top it up. I don't see how I'll be able to pay for basic home expenses.” Another said, “I paid over 400/month using budget billing (equal payments each month) equalling almost $5000 a year. Many people in rural environments that don't have the option to live in new homes AND for many people that are transitioning from oil to more efficient heating like propane, the cost is between 10 and $12,000.”
To be clear, it is not just individuals who are being hurt by these increases; it is businesses as well. Last week, I received a text from one local business owner, who said, “Rural areas are getting gouged. [The] price of propane is out of control. I record every purchase I get, so I compare what It would have cost last year to what it will cost this year.” I would continue, but frustration with heating costs led this person to some very explosive language that would be considered unparliamentary in this place.
For those watching at home who may not be familiar with the nuts and bolts of what is actually happening today, allow me to briefly explain.
There is a tradition in Parliament that maintains that government cannot submit its expenditures until the opposition has an opportunity to demonstrate why it should not be allowed to. As such, certain days are allotted to the opposition parties to decide what the topic of debate will be. This is commonly referred to as an opposition day. On these special days, the motion put forward by an opposition party gets precedence over other government business, which means we debate that motion on the day regardless of what else is on the docket. This is what we are doing here today. This is what we are doing right now. Our Conservative opposition chose to ask the government to exempt heating from the carbon tax.
Previously, we used one of our opposition day motions to ask the government to lower gas prices by 5% via a reduction to GST/HST. Unfortunately, that did not pass. I hope this opposition day motion will be different.
Yesterday, in this place, the responded to a question from my colleague chastising the Conservatives for standing in the way of a payment. He said, “Mr. Speaker, this supposed preoccupation of the Conservatives with the cost of living would be slightly more believable if not for the fact they are standing in the way of delivering $500 in extra support to low-income renters between now and Christmas”. Today we have an opportunity to do better than a one-time cheque. We have an opportunity to provide sustained relief over the dark, cold, lonely winter months for millions of Canadians who are struggling by making their already inflated heating bill exempt from the carbon tax.
Minority Parliaments can do the right thing. Sometimes, but not often, we do see eye to eye and do the right thing for Canadians. We saw that earlier this week when the House voted in favour of the NDP's opposition day motion to lower food prices. I was comfortable voting in favour of that motion because I knew it would help struggling Canadians.
This motion would help struggling Canadians with home heating prices, and I hope this House has the good sense to pass it.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
I think I will start by picking up on the question that the member for asked of the member for the riding that neighbours mine. Specifically, it was whether she believed that climate change is real. This is not just about her response. It is about all of the non-responses we get to that question from the other side of the House.
I think what we have to do is listen to her non-answer, listen to the continual non-answer and ask ourselves why. One of two things is happening: one, the Conservatives and this member do not believe that climate change is real and do not want to answer the question, or, two, which I submit is probably the more plausible explanation, they do believe climate change is real but are petrified of saying it and of their base hearing it.
Imagine being part of a political party that is so petrified of how the base might react to hearing the truth come out of its members' mouths. That is where we see the Conservative Party of today.
Earlier, we heard the Conservatives talk about how the federal government supposedly forced the provinces into this position. I am so glad to hear my colleagues from the Bloc Québécois point out the reality of the situation, which is that unfortunately for the Conservatives' narrative, Quebec and Ontario have been decades ahead of the rest of Canada as a whole when it comes to pricing pollution. It was Quebec and Ontario that met with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, and ironed out the deal for cap and trade. That was back in 2006. The member for was part of the provincial government at the time they did that. A number of members of the House were.
For the Conservatives to walk in here and suddenly suggest that carbon pricing is a brand new concept that is completely foreign to Canadian soil is absolutely ludicrous. We have seen Quebec and Ontario partner on it and get ahead of the game with responsible leadership, going straight to states in the United States, in particular California, and working on this. I find it incredibly rich.
There is another individual who supports carbon pricing whom the Conservatives might listen to. Do members know who that is? It is their former leader Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper believes in pricing pollution. He actually said, in 2008, “our plan will effectively establish a price on carbon”. That is what Stephen Harper wanted.
Where are we today? Ten years ago, people thought, wow, Stephen Harper's government is so non-progressive, but think of where we are today. The current form of the Conservative movement is so much less progressive than even Stephen Harper was.
The Conservatives full-on reject the notion that climate change is real. They reject the notion of a basic fundamental principle of the economic system and how to incentivize choice in the marketplace. Of all people, the Conservatives, who purport themselves to be the saviours of the economy and understand economic principle better than just about anybody else, as they will always tell us, cannot comprehend the simple concept that putting a price on something will change behaviour within the marketplace. How is it that we got to this place where this Conservative movement will not even accept the reality of a fundamental economic principle?
That is where we are. I know they are heckling me because they do not want to hear me say this, but one would think they would have learned over the last three or four years of listening to me speak that the more they do it, the more it encourages and emboldens me to continue, so I will.
I want to talk about a company that recently decided to choose Loyalist—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!