(i) 2023 saw a record fire season due to climate change, in which the area burned was double that of the historic record, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians were evacuated from their homes,
(ii) Canadians continue to struggle with dramatic increases to the cost of living while Canada’s biggest corporations, including oil and gas corporations, post record profits,
(iii) federal government programs aimed at supporting energy efficient retrofits such as heat pumps are hard to access, especially for low-income Canadians,
(iv) effective climate action must also address the very real affordability concerns of ordinary Canadians,
the House call on the government to:
(a) remove the GST from all forms of home heating;
(b) make eco-energy retrofits and heat pumps free and easy to access for low-income and middle-class Canadians, regardless of their initial home heating energy source; and
(c) finance these changes by putting in place a tax on the excess profits of big oil and gas corporations.
He said: Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my good friend, the member for .
Canadians right across this country are struggling with the cost of living, including food, housing and home heating. In every province and territory, Canadians also want to see action on climate change. It is the challenge of our time, an existential challenge that affects all of us, our kids and future generations.
It is not only that we can address these two urgent issues of affordability and the climate crisis at the same time, it is that we must address these emergencies at the same time. That is why New Democrats brought forward this motion today.
The motion would do three things. The first is that it would remove the GST from all forms of home heating. The GST, after all, is a Conservative tax that was brought in by a former Conservative government and is being applied to something that, as we have heard many times in this place, is an essential.
The Liberals surprised everyone with their nakedly political decision last week to give some people a break in some parts of Canada where Liberals seem to be facing tough polls. Unlike that decision, this motion would give a break to everyone in every province and territory, for all forms of home heating. This is a pretty simple policy proposal. It is one that the NDP has put forward again and again, going back to the time of the late Jack Layton.
The other thing this motion would do is make it easier for Canadians to choose clean forms of home heating that save them money on their heating bills, especially heat pumps, which, right now, are transforming the home heating of millions of people around the world. We have seen double-digit increases in the number of people using heat pumps to heat their homes; here in Canada, we have a lot of work to do.
The Liberals' current approach to helping Canadians install heat pumps or do eco-energy retrofits of their homes, particularly for low-income people but for all Canadians, including middle-class Canadians, is deeply flawed. Last week, they made changes for people mostly in Atlantic Canada who heat with home heating oil. These changes make it dramatically easier to afford these kinds of changes to improve their housing envelope, insulate their homes, add weather sealing and install heat pumps. Those are the changes we need right across this country for people in every province and on all forms of home heating.
Where are we when it comes to achieving the government's stated ambition on reducing climate pollution from home heating sources? We are far behind. Canada's commitment is that heat pumps must be used for more than 10% of home heating by 2030 in order to achieve what is in the emissions reduction plan. Right now, we are at 6%. By 2030, we need to get to that 10%, and that equates to about 560,000 heat pumps installed across the country. That is 70,000 heat pumps per year.
New Democrats had an Order Paper question, in which we asked the government how many heat pumps it has incentivized under its greener homes program since 2021, when it was brought in. We got the numbers back this past March. What was the number? It was not 70,000, but 438 heat pumps.
Granted, heat pumps are being installed for reasons other than the greener homes incentive program, but what this shows is that this commitment on heat pumps is being broken. It is like the promise for two billion trees to be planted; the environment commission just told us it is not going to meet its goal and has become a tree-counting program instead of a tree-planting program. Canada is far behind meeting its ambition and realizing the pace of change that we need if we are going to tackle this existential crisis.
The government's heat pump program is far too difficult for people to access. I want to tell the story of Perry, one of my neighbours in Smithers, B.C. Last June, his natural gas furnace was at the end of its life, and he wanted to do the right thing. He wanted to put in a clean heat pump system that was going to run on clean B.C. electricity, save his household money and reduce climate pollution. He learned about the greener homes program and had an energy adviser do an audit of his house. He found an installer who was skilled and able to install a heat pump system. He went through all these steps, and it is not a simple procedure.
The installer installed the heat pump system. He looked through all the rules and specifications and put in two units. He submitted the paperwork to Natural Resources Canada, to the greener homes program. After months of waiting, he received the answer that although the outside unit that was installed was on the approved list of equipment, it was not approved if used with the inside unit that had been chosen. The inside unit was also on the list of approved equipment, but not in conjunction with the outside unit. One cannot make this stuff up.
There have been months of frustration and appeals to the program to use some common sense. He put in a heat pump that uses electricity and cuts his climate pollution down. This is the goal of the program, and he has done it; however, the program refused all his appeals and said he was not getting his $5,000 rebate. What happened then? The installer went back, tore out one of the units and put it another unit the installer felt was inferior, but now both were definitely on the list and should be approved. He resubmitted the paperwork. Another energy audit was done. After six months, he received an email from the program saying that his account had been closed.
It has been a year and a half, and Perry still has not received his $5,000 rebate. He has put so much time into fighting with the government program that, if he paid himself minimum wage, he would have over $5,000. This just points out how ridiculous the government's approach is to getting people these systems that are going to save them money. We are going to change that.
How are we going to pay for this program? How are we going to put heat pumps in low- and modest-income houses across the country? How are we going to help people on low incomes to afford insulation and weather sealing so they can drive down their bill and have a cost of living that is easier to afford? The answer is very simple.
We are calling for the imposition of a tax on the excess profits of the oil and gas companies, which are making obscene profits and are making money hand over fist during a climate emergency. These companies are fuelling the climate crisis and making life more unaffordable for Canadians in every province and territory.
This is hardly a radical idea. This is exactly what the Conservative government in the U.K. did during the pandemic. It imposed a 25% profits tax on the oil and gas industry in the U.K. They took those revenues and drove them into affordability measures for ordinary people. Not only that, but the tax was then increased to 35%. The time for this idea has come.
Last week we heard from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that if we were only, as a country, to extend the very modest excess profits tax the government has placed on banks and insurance companies of 15% to the oil and gas industry, it would generate $4 billion in revenue. That could go into such programs as the one we are putting forward today to get heat pumps into the homes of low-income Canadians and help them make their homes more energy-efficient, with a proper low-income energy efficiency program. That is going to go a long way.
These companies can afford it; right now the profits the oil and gas industry is making are eyewatering. I am going to provide some of the numbers. In 2022, Canadian Natural Resources had $11 billion in profits. For Suncor, it was $9 billion. I will add that Rich Kruger, the CEO, has said that the company is going to move away from climate ambition toward making even more money. Cenovus had $6.45 billion in profit in 2022. The total for Canadian oil and gas companies is $38.3 billion. This corporate profit-taking is driving inflation, making life less affordable and fuelling the climate crisis. It is time they paid for the solutions Canadians need.
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech and for his initiative on this issue, which is so important to so many people. I also want to thank him for his leadership in the House.
My speech will focus on two main points: what is essential and what is existential.
Many things are essential to life. These are basic needs such as being safe, fed, housed and warm, to name a few. For a person to live comfortably and with dignity, those needs must be met. Everyone understands that. However, in our society right now, people are struggling to fill almost all of those needs. We can see it with the rising cost of groceries, which is reaching record levels. People are being forced to make absolutely heartbreaking choices. They have to cut back on food, they have to go without to feed their children, and they have to go without basic food items themselves.
Meanwhile, the price of groceries is through the roof and the CEOs of these major grocery chains are lining their pockets, giving themselves obscene bonuses and ending the year with incomes of eight, 10 or 12 million dollars a year. Meanwhile, people are struggling and having trouble buying enough food to eat. The price of food is rising faster than inflation, which is already rising faster than average wages.
People are also struggling because of the housing crisis. They are having a hard time finding a decent home for a reasonable rent. Everywhere, in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Montreal and throughout Quebec, this is a major crisis. The Liberal government of the 1990s, which was followed by the Conservatives, failed to invest adequately in affordable housing, social housing and co-operative housing. This is why so many people are struggling with housing today. They are having a hard time making ends meet. They are forced to move into apartments that are inadequate, that are too small for them. They are badly housed.
The cost of heating is also skyrocketing in many regions. The cost of fuel oil and natural gas is climbing, and that is another bill people have to pay. Things are really tough. The NDP has already taken action to help people and put forward solutions that have improved the situation. We increased the Canada housing benefit by $500 for those most in need. Twice, we doubled the GST tax credit to help people who are really struggling to pay their bills. We have a dental care program that is already accessible for children aged 12 and under and that will soon be available to youth, seniors aged 65 and over, and people with disabilities. This is going to improve people’s living conditions. It will save them hundreds of dollars a year.
We have other proposals. The ’s bill would increase competition in the grocery sector and cut prices. We propose creating a universal public pharmacare program that would reduce the cost of medications. We also propose investing in social housing and housing co-operatives.
In today's motion, we are putting forward two new solutions that we think everyone in the House should get on board with.
We want to remove the GST from all forms of home heating. This measure would apply to all Quebeckers and all Canadians. It would include Canadians in all regions. Unlike the Liberals, we are not trying to divide the regions. Like the Conservatives, we are conscious of the fact that people need a break on home heating costs.
Not only do we want to remove the GST from all forms of heating, but we also want a real home eco-energy retrofit program that includes making heat pumps easy to access for the lowest-income and middle-class families. Heat pumps will help families reduce their electricity and heating costs and will save them money in the long term, because they are excellent not only for heating, but also for cooling homes in the summer. That is one way to adapt to global warming and climate change. It is equitable and effective.
How will the government pay for this? My NDP colleague explained this earlier. Last year, big oil corporations made $38 billion in profit. That is twice as much as they made the year before. They went from $19 billion to $38 billion in profit. I think there might be an opportunity to go get some of that money.
Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that by taxing oil and gas companies a little more, we could easily find $4 billion a year. That is not nothing; $4 billion would make it possible to invest in people and reduce their heating bills by giving them quick access to heat pumps. That would greatly improve things.
I will now move on to the existential part of my speech; existential as in “existential threat”. The planet is burning. We all remember the forest fires last summer. They were burning everywhere. Cities and towns had to be evacuated. There was smoke everywhere and we could smell it across Quebec and in several regions in Ontario and British Columbia. It is not just the forest fires; it is a rising number of natural disasters that are happening more and more often, right before our eyes, and will continue to happen if we do not effectively combat climate change and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
If the temperature rises by more than two degrees Celsius, certain areas of the planet will become uninhabitable for human beings. That means we will see massive population displacement, hundreds of millions of climate refugees, crumbling economies and wars as well. People say that two degrees does not change much and that in any one day we often go from 10 degrees in the morning to 18 degrees in the afternoon. However, what we need to understand is the global average. Many years ago, the planet was four degrees cooler. What does four degrees cooler mean? It means that there would be three kilometres of ice above our heads right now. Let us imagine if it were four degrees warmer. The planet would become an oven.
That is not the legacy we want to leave our children. There is an urgent need for action, but the Liberals are dragging their feet. We can see it. They still do not have a cap on greenhouse gas emissions for the oil and gas sector. We are still waiting. They still do not have regulations for clean and net-zero electricity for 2050. We are still waiting for those regulations. Those are two major elements that would make a difference. Right now, the Liberal government is headed straight for disaster on this issue. I am not the one saying that; it is in the commissioner of the environment's most recent report, submitted this morning, which clearly states that the government is failing on the environment front and in the fight against climate change.
Today the NDP is coming forward with a real plan. Having an energy-efficient retrofit program and free access to heat pumps to reduce greenhouse gases in the home heating sector means this is a real energy transition plan. Of course, home or residential heating is not the only sector that will allow us to reach our targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it is an important one. We cannot afford not to take action in all sectors of our economy and society. We must not only intervene in the energy, transportation and agricultural sectors, but also take action when it comes to our homes and residential heating.
Experts tell us this motion is a step in the right direction. We have received the support of several experts and environmental groups who are telling us this is what needs to be done. Tom Green, a senior climate policy adviser with the David Suzuki Foundation, tells us it is a good thing. Alex Cool-Fergus, the national policy manager at the Climate Action Network, supports this motion. Catherine Abreu, who speaks on behalf of Quebeckers and Canadians at all the COPs, tells us it is a good thing. Caroline Brouillette says so too, as does Brendan Haley of Efficiency Canada. They are all telling us that the motion we are moving today is a concrete solution that is fair for all regions and effective for families and that it will have an impact on people’s ability to get food, housing and heat. It will also make a real difference in our energy transition.
If we are serious about combatting climate change, this is the type of measure we need to support and implement as quickly as possible. The Liberal plan is not working. The Conservatives could not care less. We, in the NDP, take this seriously. We want to help the least fortunate, the middle class and families, and we are going to do so while helping save our planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I urge all members in the House, if they are serious about these two issues, to vote in favour of the NDP motion.
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to this issue, an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I have some things to offer today about some of the flaws I see with this motion.
I first want to correct the record. I have already heard the NDP interventions today by both the member for and the member for . They indicated that the removal of the carbon tax on home heating oil was regional, and that is 100% incorrect. The way it works is that if people heat with oil and are currently subject to the federal price on pollution, regardless of where they live in the country, they will not pay the carbon tax.
I have some news for the members for and . In Ontario, twice as many people heat with oil than in all of Atlantic Canada. On the notion that it is somehow a regional thing, I hate to say it, but the NDP appears to be jumping on the bandwagon of a narrative that the Conservatives are trying to set, and it is factually incorrect. It is very important to point that out.
While I am on this topic, I would like to address the issue of home heating oil and the price on pollution, which some call the carbon tax, that has been removed from home heating oil recently. I want people to appreciate why it was done that way.
We know two things about heating with oil. It is the dirtiest form of heating and it is the most expensive form of heating. So people can understand it from a numbers perspective, in 2023, the annual operating cost in Vancouver, British Columbia for those who heat with natural gas and have a 96%-efficient furnace will be $600 for gas. For those who heat with oil in the same province and have a 94%-efficient furnace it will be $1,800. They will effectively be paying three times the cost if they heat with oil.
In Calgary, Alberta, it is $800 versus $3,200, four times as much. In Regina, Saskatchewan, it is $1,400 versus $4,400. In Toronto, Ontario, it is $900 versus $3,400. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, it is $1,300 versus $4,700. In Montreal, Quebec, it is $1,300 versus $3,400. In Fredericton, New Brunswick, it is $1,600 versus $3,600. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, it is $2,200 versus $3,200. In every example I have given, I have shown that it is significantly more expensive to heat with oil, and it is the dirtiest form of heat.
There is a natural question that environmentalists might have, and it is a very good question because it is a policy that I had to really think about when I heard the announcement. The question would be why the government would remove the price on pollution on the dirtiest form of heating.
If we were to remove it and stop there, that would be bad, because we would accomplish nothing. We would be encouraging people not to heat with oil because of the price difference, unlike what the implied in a question during question period last week, but we certainly would not be pushing forward. Our plan is not to remove the price on pollution; it is to pause it for three years so that people can use the money they otherwise would have been spending on the dirtiest form of fuel to transition to a heat pump.
From an environmentalist perspective, I am not happy with the idea of removing a tax from the dirtiest form of fossil fuel, but I know that in the long run, we will be better off from an environmental perspective because more people will have transitioned to heat pumps.
This brings me to the second policy that was also adopted, which the Conservatives and, quite frankly, the NDP like to conflate. It is the issue of heat pumps not being available throughout the entire country. That is not true. Heat pumps are available through a federal-provincial program to the whole country. It is up to the individual province to sign up for the program.
The province would provide x number of dollars and the federal government would provide x number of dollars. That is the way the program works. It is the way the three Atlantic provinces that have signed up for the program are currently doing it. I want to make something absolutely clear. The program is available throughout the entire country, but it is up to the provinces to decide if they want to come onboard.
Another thing about home heating and oil is that Quebec has actually banned oil heating in new homes, starting on December 31, 2023. Someone cannot build a house in Quebec that has oil as a form of heating.
According to a CBC article from December 31, 2021, “As of Dec. 31, oil-powered heating is banned in all new construction projects across Quebec, part of the province's push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Quebec has always been a leader in this regard. The article continues, “In two years, Quebec will go a step further by making it illegal to replace existing oil furnaces with any sort of heating system powered by fossil fuels after Dec. 31, 2023.”
After December of this year, people have to replace their heating systems with a non-fossil fuel-burning source. Quebec, as a province, is doing the right thing. It is bringing in bold initiatives that are important, that are going to genuinely transform how people heat in the province.
As I indicated in a question earlier, over 80% of Quebec already heats with electricity. This motion is actually unfair to Quebeckers.
The motion says that, “the House call on the government to...remove the GST from all forms of home heating.” That sounds easy. I am sure whoever drafted it thought it made a lot of sense. However, it is forgetting the complexities of how people heat their homes. It is not as cut and dry as somebody has a gas furnace, or an oil boiler or electric baseboard heating.
For example, heating one's home with a heat pump is done by electricity. The question that I had originally when I read the motion was about people who used electricity. The member for answered that question by saying the motion would apply to all forms of heating, Therefore, if people heat with electricity, they would not pay the GST on their electrical bill.
When my kids are playing on their PlayStation or Xbox, they are using electricity. We are not going to be paying GST on that if I happen to be one of the people who also has baseboard heaters or an electric forced air furnace. Those are very common too, especially in Quebec. If people use forced air electric furnaces, presumably, according to this motion, all GST would be removed from their electrical bill. How is that fair? The consumption of electricity that is not related to home heating would be something that is not subject to GST anymore.
The member for addressed that point too. He said that they knew about that when they drafted the motion, that they intended for it to be on the entire electrical bill. How is that fair to somebody who heats with gas, but also has an electrical bill? My gas bill would not have the GST on it, but my electrical bill would because I do not happen to heat with electricity.
I think I understand where the New Democrats are coming from, but in my opinion, with all due respect, this is an extremely flawed motion in its wording. It does not achieve what I think they intended when they originally wrote it. That is why I am concerned about supporting it.
However, I agree with a number of things in it. I agree, and have said this in this House, that the oil and gas sector has profited with record profits. I brought to the attention of this House during various debates the fact that for the oil and gas sector, as it relates to the increases when purchasing gasoline at gas stations for our vehicles, the increase is nine times what the carbon tax effectively is. Let me explain that.
In the preceding year, on the average litre of gasoline in Canada, the carbon tax contributed a two-cent increase per litre, but the wholesale profit, the profits made not by the retailer who owns the gas station, but by the oil company selling it to the retailer, was 18¢ more per litre. It is nine times more of an effect from the profits being made versus the carbon tax. The Conservatives are nowhere on that. They are not nine times as outraged with big oil companies. No, not at all. They are picking on the two cents per litre when the bigger fish is the 18¢ per litre, but they are silent on it. I wonder why. I think we all know and I really do not have to say it. My point is I recognize that, and I think it is important to do something with respect to the oil and gas sector.
Will what the New Democrats are proposing solve the problem? They point to record profits. How do we do that? Do we do it the way we did with the banks and insurance companies? That was over a five year period. It was set up with an established base line that if they made anything more than that, they had a separate tax level, but only for five years and only while those profits were high. I understand they would collect the money and then reinvest it into environmentally friendly options, which is what they are proposing, but I do not understand the long-term strategy there. I certainly understand the short-term strategy of penalizing them for gouging the market, and I do not necessarily disagree with that, but there is no long-term strategy there.
A better long-term strategy, quite frankly, when dealing with the oil and gas sector, is to cap the emissions it is allowed to produce. This is a highly effective and established mechanism for doing that. It is nothing new.
That is why we set up strategies, such as Canada's methane strategy, which includes requirements for the oil and gas sector to achieve methane reductions of at least 75% by 2030 from 2012 levels. We have a position paper that was done on it.
I have submitted so many petitions, well over 20 petitions by this point, to this effect. I happen to have another one here. I presented one yesterday and will probably present this one tomorrow. These are from Canadians. This is what they are talking about. They are saying that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned us repeatedly that rising temperatures over the next two decades will bring widespread devastation and extreme weather. They are concerned and feeling the impacts in Canada today with increased flooding, wildfires and extreme temperatures. They want to address climate change and recognize that it requires a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 1.5° Celsius in the oil and gas sector, which is the largest, fastest-growing source of emissions.
In 2021, they knew the federal government committed to cap and cut emissions for the oil and gas sector to achieve net-zero emissions. These petitions, which I have presented on behalf of thousands of Canadians, call on the Government of Canada to immediately move forward with bold emissions caps for the oil and gas sector that are comprehensive in scope and realistic in nature in achieving the necessary targets that Canada has set to reduce emissions by 2030. I think that is a better strategy.
We really have two forms of pricing pollution. We could do it through a direct price on pollution, what is commonly called a carbon tax, which has been done. People are provided rebates as an incentive to curb their behaviour but still get more money back, which is why 80% or more of the Canadians who are paying it get more money back.
We could do a cap-and-trade model. That is a model the western initiative adopted with a number of states in the United States and a couple of provinces in Canada, including Ontario, although Doug Ford has since backed out of it. Another way we can do it is through cap and trade.
By capping the emissions, we can start to control what we know is the highest emitting sector and the fastest growing. As a matter of fact, it is the only sector that has not started to turn downwards in terms of its graphical representation of its emissions.
I think it is really important that we develop sound policy. I kind of get where the NDP is coming from. I understand their motivation, but I completely disagree with it. Now is the time to be steadfast in our commitment to the environment, but also to find ways to support Canadians.
I do not see how removing the GST from all forms of home heating, notwithstanding the fact that I have already pointed out the flaws in the motion, ends up encouraging people to reduce emissions, which is what the price on pollution is. It is what the Conservatives got the NDP to agree with them to vote on yesterday, and I was really surprised when I saw that. A reporter asked me why the NDP was voting in favour of it. I said that I did not know. I understand that they see people are struggling, because we do too, but we can provide other supports for people. We do not have to rely on the narrative that the has created. There are ways we can deal with helping people that do not have to be at the expense of the environment.
I will conclude by saying that, although I appreciate where the NDP is coming from, I think that the motion is highly flawed. It creates a lot of questions, and those questions create a lot of inequality. We would be much better served to find other ways to support people.
By the way, I just want to throw this out there for my NDP colleagues. The motion is basically calling for Galen Weston not to pay GST on home heating. Are they aware of that? Are they aware of the fact that the motion basically says that Galen Weston would not pay GST on his home heating? I do not think this is what NDP members had in their heads when they created it, but unfortunately, the motion creates a lot of problems. I actually think that nobody knows better than the NDP that we would be better off targeting our supports to those who really need it than to those who do not, such as myself, Galen Weston and other people who are able to afford the cost of heating.
I would encourage my NDP colleagues to really give it some thought. I understand where they are coming from, but unfortunately, I think the motion is extremely flawed in its execution.
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House again to keep the pressure on our common-sense Conservative plan. Sadly, yesterday, the Liberals rejected fairness for all Canadians in our Conservative motion to take the tax off so Canadians could keep the heat on. I am honoured to be sharing my time today with the hon. member for Carleton, the .
There is one party in the House of Commons that is fighting every single day to lower taxes for all Canadians. After eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, Canadians are hurting badly in every part of this country, whether it is housing, where housing costs have doubled, whether it is inflation that is hitting the pocketbooks of every family in Canada, or whether it is food inflation that is still stubbornly way too high, with an average family in this country paying $1,000 more this year on their grocery bills than they did just last year alone.
After eight years, it is time to stop taxing every part of this country and instead provide some much-needed relief. Heating a home in this country, our cold Canada that we live in, is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Again, the problem we hear over and over again in every single part of this country is that Canadians are struggling to pay the bills. They are having to choose between heating and eating. It is heartbreaking, and we continue to see an NDP-Liberal coalition vote, time and time again, to make matters worse.
What we have here now, and why I think this debate has exploded in the last couple of weeks, is Conservatives talking about axing the tax entirely, not just on home heating but the carbon tax entirely. It is not an environmental plan. It is a tax plan.
Breaking news this morning, the independent environment commissioner and the Office of the Auditor General, and the work that they do on the audits, confirmed once again that the carbon tax is a tax plan, not an environmental plan. The government is not even going to meet the very targets it is claiming a carbon tax would solve. It is failing by every measure possible.
What has really amplified this conversation and provided an opportunity for our Conservative motion that was sadly defeated yesterday and the one from the NDP today is the 's desperation. He made a desperate, last-minute, panicked announcement a floor above here. He scrambled on a Thursday afternoon when his itinerary was updated and grabbed all of his Atlantic caucus members, because they were in full revolt as a caucus. They were hearing what the Leader of the Opposition was doing in Nova Scotia, in a long-time Liberal riding, where an electric rally of 1,000-plus people in the riding of Kings—Hants was about to get under way.
Atlantic Canadian MPs panicked and basically forced the Prime Minister to carve out a deal for 3% of Canadians. What the Prime Minister announced has backfired. The NDP and Liberal MPs and their costly coalition know it. What the Prime Minister is doing is what he does best, and that is not leading, it is dividing. He is pitting one region against the other. He is only carving out certain exemptions for certain types of home heating that impact certain parts of the country. If the Prime Minister was not divisive enough in that announcement and in how hasty it was, it was the Liberal from Newfoundland who came out and said that if other regions wanted to get the benefit and get some sort of pause from the pain of the carbon tax, they should have voted in more Liberals.
An hon. member: Shameful.
Mr. Eric Duncan: Madam Speaker, shameful is absolutely right. Tone-deaf and out of touch.
In the last few months, I have had the honour and privilege of travelling to many parts of this country, including Atlantic Canada, to hear about the pain the carbon tax is causing.
The food bank in Fredericton, New Brunswick, has seen a 35% increase in usage in the last year. We heard in Nova Scotia from the president of the Nova Scotia Community College, who said that they have students who are granted admission and they are calling the school to ask if they can live in their pickup trucks on campus because they cannot afford to live, rent, heat and eat.
We are hearing that, in Newfoundland and Labrador, trucking companies are saying it is adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to their transportation bills to get groceries and reefer trucks from across the country to that province.
We talk about the , the Liberals, the NDP and their budgetary plan that the NDP will prop up and go along with, like they always do. Let us think about northern Ontario. In eastern Ontario, which is my neck of my woods as well as that of the member for , the leader of our party, they deserve that same pause from the pain as anybody else in the country.
People on natural gas and propane heating are hurting too. They are struggling to pay the bills just as badly as anybody else and anywhere else in the country, but I am thinking of northern Ontario where I have had the honour of travelling and hearing directly from Canadians there, in North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and Thunder Bay. Let me tell colleagues that the landscape there is changing. After eight years of NDP and Liberal government, they have had enough. They are behind our plan for tax fairness. They are disgusted. They are furious with the fact that the government will not treat them with the same respect it is offering other Canadians.
The Prime Minister admitted that his carbon tax was punishing families and their budgets at home. It was causing a burden on them being able to heat their homes and pay the bills, yet what do we have here now? Time and time again, they ignored the concern. Every single Liberal MP yesterday voted against the same pause on the pain of the carbon tax that some of the other colleagues got in other regions. The situation is just as bad. In Thunder Bay, the regional food bank said their usage is skyrocketing. They cannot keep up with the number of people looking for assistance with their groceries. There are 12,000 people in Thunder Bay and the region and they have had to sadly admit they cannot even service far north communities anymore because they do not have the funds and they do not have the food. What we have at the end of the day is the same division.
The NDP proposed their motion here today. One thing to note that is a little curious, as it is absent from their motion, is that the NDP have talked about removing the GST from all forms of home heating. Maybe that is a clerical error. Maybe they could take the opportunity to fix this. They just voted yesterday with us to take all taxes off all forms of home heating for all Canadians. That is the right approach to what they need to do. Here we are, not even 24 hours later, and they are only saying we should take the GST off.
Here is the thing about the NDP. They can propose any motion they want here on their opposition day motion. The Liberals will not go for it. What the NDP will go for, like they have done every single time in their coalition deal is to talk a big game. They will talk tough. They will ask those questions, but when the time comes to vote on the actual budget, they prop up the Liberals every single step of the way and they are going to continue to do that. The reality is that at the end of the day, the NDP are going to continue their plan. The Prime Minister is putting a pause on until the next election. Bring it on. Conservatives will axe the tax. The Prime Minister and the will quadruple the carbon tax in the coming years after the next election. Their plan is still in place. It will cause great pain to this country and to millions and millions of families and small businesses struggling to survive. The carbon tax is going to be 61¢ a litre on the price of fuel.
This country is struggling. Canadians are struggling. They need relief. What I think they need is for the NDP to finally stand up against their costly coalition, and take all taxes off all forms of home heating for all Canadians in this country.
Madam Speaker, we agree that it is absolutely unparliamentary for someone to give the finger on the floor of the House of Commons. That is why we have called on the entire Liberal caucus to apologize for the conduct of one of its MPs. By the way, the Speaker did not say we were not allowed to address the incident. He did say he would come back, but we are free to speak, and we will not be censured.
We know that the now has a carbon tax coalition with the separatist Bloc Québécois. We know that he did this because he could not maintain his existing coalition. The pressure the Conservatives mounted on the NDP forced the NDP to collapse and admit that it had been wrong all along.
I remind the House that there has been only one party that has been consistent throughout and will be consistent forever. We are the only common-sense party that would axe the tax for everything, for everybody and everywhere, forever.
I note that the NDP today has now performed yet another flip-flop. Originally, the New Democrats wanted to quadruple the tax. Yesterday, they said they wanted to pause the tax. Today, they will not take a position, because they have omitted mention of the 's quadrupling of the carbon tax in the motion. They do not want to stick by their position. They think they will quietly sneak back into the carbon tax coalition and have nobody notice. Well, their constituents are noticing, and that is why working-class people across the country are abandoning the NDP in droves.
Even the NDP Premier of Manitoba has now said that the carbon tax represents an attack on working-class people and therefore cannot work as climate change policy. I will note that we are getting all pain and no gain from the on the carbon tax, because his own environment commissioner came out just today and confirmed that under the current policies, including the carbon tax, he will miss his 2030 climate targets. He has missed his Paris accord climate targets again and again. Emissions continue to rise under his leadership, which proves that the carbon tax was never an environmental policy. It was a tax policy designed to pick the pockets of people and put more money in the hands of politicians to spend. This is political and governmental greed at its worst. It is no wonder Canadians have never been worse off than they are after eight years of the Prime Minister.
What I find interesting is that the Bloc Québécois has announced a costly coalition with the . This was confirmed in an article in La Presse, where the Liberal ministers said they had an agreement with the Bloc Québécois to keep this Prime Minister in power for another two years. Yesterday, the saved the Prime Minister. We were going to adopt a motion to reduce the cost of heating for everyone, but the Bloc Québécois was there to prevent the motion from being adopted, to vote against working-class people who want to heat their homes, to vote against seniors, to vote against people who cannot pay their bills, and to prop up the Prime Minister.
The funny thing is that the Bloc Québécois is going against Quebec's position. The Quebec government joined the other provinces in opposing a federal carbon tax as part of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Bill and as part of the lawsuit against the carbon tax. The Quebec government wanted to curb federal taxation powers, but the Bloc Québécois is on the federal government's side. This is a centralizing Bloc Québécois. Each time the federal government decides to impose a tax on Quebeckers, we can expect the Bloc Québécois to say yes. It said yes to bigger government in Ottawa, and no to Quebeckers. That is the Bloc Québécois's real record.
The leader of the Bloc Québécois is afraid of an election. He wants to hang onto his position as leader so he can go on big trips to Europe. He wants to fly there on a plane that burns fuel so he can talk about the sovereignty of various overseas groups that are far removed from with the concerns of Quebeckers. I doubt the people of Beloeil—Chambly who are struggling to pay the bills are all that interested in the European separatist causes that the Bloc Québécois is obsessed with. The Bloc Québécois has no common sense. It is not working for Quebeckers.
Only the Conservative Party has the common sense to take the second carbon tax off the backs of Quebeckers. Quebeckers do not want to pay the taxes that the Bloc and Liberals are imposing on their gas and food anymore. Quebeckers want lower taxes so that work pays again. Quebeckers want the federal government to encourage municipalities to cut the red tape so more affordable housing can be built. Only the Conservative Party can get those things done.
In the next election, Quebeckers will have two choices. The first is a costly Liberal-Bloc coalition that raises taxes, takes their money, sets criminals free and doubles the cost of housing. The second is the common-sense Conservative Party, which will bring home lower taxes and bigger paycheques that buy affordable food, gas and housing in safe communities.
The choice is between either the costly coalition that takes one's money, taxes one's food, doubles one's housing cost, punishes one's work and frees criminals into the street or the common-sense Conservatives who free one to bring home powerful paycheques that buy affordable food, gas and groceries in affordable communities.
That is why I move the following amendment to the motion, which would add section (d): “Extend the temporary three-year pause to the federal carbon tax on home heating oil to all forms of home heating.”
Madam Speaker, there is a strange atmosphere in here. There are two extremes in the House, both of which are panicking over the polls. In fact, I could even say there are three extremes.
The government is starting to make last-minute decisions in a panic. If there is one point on which I could agree with the Conservatives, it is that panic has gripped the government, spurring it to make poor decisions, such as last week's announcement. The parties are caught in what I will call populism, meaning that they propose any old thing and toss slogans around. The Bloc Québécois just saw the proof once again. We asked for an explanation, but we received a string of slogans by way of an answer. No doubt they will make great sound bites, but they ring hollow.
I will talk about the absence of truth, the trick that certain political parties have of proposing any old thing to the House, not for the purpose of benefiting the common good or helping the citizens of Quebec and Canada, but for the purpose of scoring points. How do they score these political points? They move a motion that they know the other political parties cannot support because it contains measures that are unreasonable. Then they can reproach the other parties for not adopting the motion.
I will therefore continue my speech along this emotional path, especially since it threw me earlier, Madam Speaker, when you confused my riding with that of another member. My colleague from Trois-Rivières is very smart, likeable and charismatic, so I will take this as a compliment. However, I do not think he is quite as handsome as me, so I am a little irked. All joking aside, I should clarify, since I forgot to do it earlier, that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from , for whom I have the utmost affection, of course.
Once again, the motion presented to the House does not make sense. The basic idea is not bad. However, as is often the case with measures proposed by the NDP, either the math does not add up or Quebec's jurisdictions are disrespected. It is always one or the other. One need only consider the pan-Canadian pharmacare plan. The Bloc agrees with it in principle. We are not here to harm Canada. However, when we ask them to put in writing that Quebec would have the right to opt out, they refuse to do so. We are therefore forced to vote against the pharmacare plan, because we want to protect Quebec. Then we are accused of not wanting pharmacare.
It is the same thing with the Conservatives. They are accusing us—oh, the irony—of having voted for a second carbon tax. I heard it yesterday and again today from the . That was never put to a vote, however. Their so-called second carbon tax, this falsehood that Conservatives like to repeat all over the media and every other forum, is a regulation that was adopted by the government. We never voted on this regulation which, just like the first carbon tax, does not apply in Quebec because Quebec already has an equivalent regulation in place. Quebec's regulation is actually more stringent. This regulation has no effect on Quebec, but Conservatives repeat all day long that it does and that the Bloc Québécois voted for it. If that is not lying, I do not know what is.
I want to come back to the NDP's motion. They are talking about giving people a chance. We are on board with that. However, the Bloc Québécois believes in energy equity, or in other words, we believe that efforts must be made to prevent global warming while helping low-income people. That is what we should be doing, but it is not what the NDP is proposing in its motion. I hope that the NDP's intentions are nobler than the Conservatives'. I hope that the NPD does not intend to simply say tomorrow that the Bloc voted against their motion, because that would be very disappointing. That may happen. We will see. We will then know what to expect in the future.
The big problem with the NDP's motion is that it does not look at how much this measure will cost or fully consider where the money for implementing it will come from. Putting a tax on the excessive profits of oil companies seems like a good idea. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's estimates, that would generate about $1 billion per year. My colleague from even pointed that out earlier. However, the proposed measures would cost $4.5 billion per year for the GST and even more for the heat pumps. The NPD wants to give everyone a free heat pump.
See how sensitive, tricky and also a little dishonest that is?
They are nice; they want to help Canadians. They want to give everyone heat pumps, but that is not realistic. I, too, would love to give everyone a heat pump. I would like that. Earlier, my colleague was more reasonable than I was. She tried to temper things by saying that various factors could lower the price tag and it might be about $77 billion. However, according to the figures I have, it could be closer to $100 billion. That is significant. That is a major measure. It is not that we are against heat pumps, but this just does not make sense.
That is the sad thing about all this. I dream of a time when MPs will work together, presenting reasonable measures for the common good. We are presented with measures that make no sense, and then, tomorrow, we will be criticized for voting against them. I find it very difficult to deal with this kind of populist dishonesty on a daily basis in the House. It is all about scoring points and making a good impression. The motion we are considering seems to indicate that the NDP is seeing that the polls are changing and they are in a bit of a panic. They want to show that they, too, want to eliminate taxes. That is what we are seeing today.
I will go over the proposal briefly, starting with removing the GST from residential heating. I am not saying that is a bad idea or one not worth looking at, but how do we distinguish electricity used for heating from that used for everything else in Quebec when more than 80% of Quebeckers have electric heat? How is that going to be adjusted with respect to people in western Canada and the Atlantic provinces who heat with oil?
They use electricity too, but their power bills will not be adjusted, while their heating oil cost will. That means rewarding fossil fuel use. Do people still want to promote fossil fuels? Some things do not work. As I said, this measure would be very expensive.
The funniest, most bizarre measure—I am not sure how else to describe it—is giving everyone a free heat pump, including people in the middle class. It looks like they want to give free heat pumps to a whole lot of people. What is the plan for compensating people who are already installing one? What is the plan for making sure that businesses that do this kind of work can keep up with demand? I predict the price of heat pumps will skyrocket in the next two months. That is pretty clear.
How is the government going to balance the books then? We often hear people say that we have to balance the budget. A measure that costs about $100 billion is huge. With that kind of measure, how are we helping people living on low and modest incomes?
As someone mentioned earlier, does that mean that people whose heating costs are included in their rent get nothing? Will landlords already charging high rents receive a tax credit? Will people living in 28-room luxury homes be exempt from paying tax on the heating for their huge mansions?
Parties have to think before proposing measures. I want to stress that I am a moderate and reasonable person. I understand the basic intention. The parties want to do something, but they are coming up with wild solutions knowing full well that almost no one will vote for them because nothing balances at the end of the month. Then they will call us out for refusing to help people.
Meanwhile, the Bloc Québécois is looking for support regarding subsidies for oil companies, for example. We have been talking a lot about how much they are making, because their profits are ridiculous. Not only are they making profits, but by 2035, it is expected that the Canadian government will have given them $83 billion in subsidies. That is a lot of money that could go toward heat pumps. Could those subsidies be eliminated so old age pensions could be increased starting at age 65 for people who need them to buy groceries and pay their bills? Could we be reasonable and sit down to talk about how we could establish credits to help low-income people, people who need support or who need assistance because they have a large family so it is hard to put food on the table?
We should be focusing on things like this, in other words, specific, concrete things that affect people's daily lives, without resorting to disgusting populism and creating sound bites to smear other political parties.
I am sick of that. I want to work on behalf of Quebeckers.
Mr. Speaker, I want to start by extending my heartfelt greetings to my constituents in Trois-Rivières, who often contact me about the precarious state of the French language and about immigration. It cannot be said often enough that the latest Official Languages Act is nothing but a bilingualism legislation that is not in Quebec's favour. We need to remember that.
Today's debate is on an NDP motion to remove the GST from home heating. Let us analyze the motion a little deeper. It states that “2023 saw a record fire season due to climate change”. That is a fact, sadly. The motion also mentions that “Canadians continue to struggle with dramatic increases to the cost of living while Canada’s biggest corporations, including oil and gas corporations, post record profits”. That is also a fact. However, the NDP mentions neither banks, who are in the same situation, nor their hobby horse, grocery stores. The motion also mentions “federal government programs aimed at supporting energy efficient retrofits” that are “hard to access”. That part of the motion is somewhat interpretive. I will go through the motion item by item.
At first glance, the motion seems to be talking about social justice and equity. It seems as though the intention of this motion is to provide help to those who need it most, which is keeping with the NDP's usual stance. However, sometimes we need to pay closer attention to determine whether the measures that are actually going to be implemented are consistent with the stated intention. Let me explain.
I will give an example from the business world, because that is what I am familiar with. Over the past 20 years, in the business community, we have been hearing a lot of managerial discourse designed to motivate employees or take advantage of them, as the case may be. Employers have been talking about responsibility when what they mean is accountability. Everyone has been talking about kindness, but it does not mean anything to anyone. Employers have been talking about team work, when employees are actually in competition. People often use big words—and the Leader of the Opposition is an expert in that area—without any real understanding of what those words actually mean.
I would remind my colleagues, who are always happy to hear it, that a word is a construct of sound and meaning. Sometimes the sound changes the meaning, and we can be misled by that. As the saying goes, the end justifies the means. In recent years, we have noticed that people have often been confusing the ends and the means. They think that the means are the ends, which is an error of judgment. When members say that the carbon tax is an end, that is an error of judgment. The carbon tax is simply a means.
Getting back to the NDP motion, it seems noble on the surface. Who would not want to help the least fortunate? Is that really what this is about, though? I was surprised to see a motion like this up for debate this week at this point in the session. For some time now, we have been witnessing the Liberal government in turmoil. It does not know if it is coming or going with its flagship carbon tax initiative. First it says it will apply the tax. Then it says it will not. Then it says it will apply it on some things, but not on others. As the classic song goes, the Liberal government's internal dialogue is basically, “Should I stay or should I go?”
I would even go so far as to say that, in its confusion, the government is dragging its confidence and supply agreement partner down with it. I can see how desperately the NDP is trying to distinguish itself from the Liberals. Removing the GST from heating is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but it has nothing to do with the carbon tax.
Measures already exist for heat pumps and alternative heating systems. Quebec talks about energy equity. There are actually numerous other options. At the end of the day, who is going to pay for heat pumps? It is typical of the NDP to continually ask for measures without concerning themselves with how they will be financed. Funding programs requires revenue, and that revenue usually comes from taxes. We have to be careful. I know that the New Democrats are in favour of taxing oil companies, but let us not confuse reality with obsession. Who will pay for heat pumps? The oil companies, of course.
That will mean more investments in oil so that oil companies can finance the heat pumps in question. This seems to me to be the antithesis of the NDP's usual position.
The NDP likes to say it will tax profits. I am not against that. However, profits exist for a reason. Take a risk and sometimes that risk is rewarded. Taxing excess profits is fine, but we need a definition of “excess”.
Basically, when we talk about helping the most disadvantaged, we are talking about equity. Equity, when defined, is a fair assessment of what each person is entitled to. What are lower-income families entitled to? What are the people entitled to when they benefit from the GST credit because heating is included in the rent? That could be troublesome.
I would like to propose that we act according to what is right, or social justice, in other words, that we do the right thing at the right time, in the right way and for the right reasons. I do not think that is what is happening here. Honestly, I believe that the stated intention of helping the less fortunate is nothing more than a smokescreen for the NDP's veiled attempt to hold on to votes or win votes as it goes through challenging times. Passing the NDP motion would be a mistake, if not a failure. For the NDP, it would amount to a subtle betrayal of its own principles.
In light of the various arguments and given my conviction that its purported purpose is not directly related to its concealed aim or stated intention, the Bloc Québécois will vote against the NDP motion.
Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that I have been interrupted so many times and that people do not want to hear the reality of so many Canadians in the riding of North Island—Powell River. Hopefully, people will be listening from here on in.
We have also done a lot of work on trying to get this place to understand that one thing we need to do is to finance the changes that are greatly needed across the country by placing a tax on excess profits of oil and gas corporations and holding to account, of course, places such as grocery stores, which are making an incredible amount of profit off the backs of everyday Canadians.
We know that Canadians across the country and in North Island—Powell River are scraping by and cutting back. They are trying to make ends meet, but it feels absolutely impossible. They deserve a break on their heating bills, wherever they live across this country, not just in particular parts of the country.
Here we are in this reality, and we need to see action taken. I want to come back to the fact that the NDP has called on the Liberals and, in fact, the Conservatives to remove the GST from home heating. We did that in multiple amendments that we offered to the Conservatives when they had motions before the House.
For me, one reason that this is incredibly important is that, as a British Columbian, I know that the so-called solutions that the Conservatives are offering leave B.C. out. The reality is, and it is common knowledge, that there is a provincial process for carbon pricing here in B.C. and not a federal one.
If federal carbon pricing were removed, this actually would not have an impact in British Columbia. That really concerns me, because the people in my riding are struggling. They need a bit of a break, and the GST would actually offer them one, one that was consistent and reliable, that people could have some faith in.
Here we are in this situation, and I do not know why. I do not know why the Conservatives keep leaving B.C., Quebec and the Northwest Territories out. I find that confusing; hopefully, we will figure that out.
I think about not only the huge cost of dealing with climate change across the country but also the human cost. In my riding, during the summer when we saw a lot of those significant forest fires, volunteer firefighters, firefighters from my riding, from communities such as Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Campbell River, Comox, Powell River and probably more, all went out to help. They took time, went out there and fought the fires, because there is just not enough people to do that work.
These people are making significant sacrifices away from their families, and to their health and well-being, and they are doing it because this is what is happening. Their health and well-being matter to me, as do the future of this planet and the health and well-being of our children.
Here we are in this climate emergency. People cannot afford the basic necessities, and it is only going to get worse if we do not see some significant work done on both sides of this.
We know that, if people in small communities have to face a forest fire or some sort of natural disaster that is due to climate change, especially in my riding, they often have one road out of the community, or they have the ocean. We are living in a rainforest with drought again and again, year after year. It is very concerning.
This Liberal government keeps saying that it is going to do things. We talked about that at the beginning, when we saw the commissioner saying that there are no real targets we can follow that are actually going to show a consistent movement toward meeting those goals. We know that this has to be dealt with quickly.
Home heating helps with that. Canada, in fact, has committed to more than 10% of home heating to be provided by heat pumps by 2030, in order to achieve the commitments for the emissions reduction plan. Right now, we are only at 6%.
To get to that 10% by 2030, about 560,000 heat pumps have to be installed across the country. That is about 70,000 a year. I believe that, this year, we are at just over 400. We are nowhere near where we need to get to.
This is a motion about fairness and making sure that everybody gets a little bit of help during this time of profound financial challenges. It means having stability. It is time for us to see that action.
We know that what the Liberals have announced is a temporary pausing of the tax for heating oil in all provinces for three years, but it does not look at it across the country and what we could do. The heat pump program needs to be a lot more resilient. It needs to be affordable for everyday Canadians.
I heard a member talking earlier about it going out to the middle class. With respect to the increasing costs right now, the middle class is hurting profoundly and the class below that is struggling in ways that we cannot even imagine. If we are going to take this seriously, we need to be addressing both things at the same time. We need to ensure there is a bar of dignity that people do not fall below and we need to ensure we address the climate crisis at a rate that will get those emissions down and see us progress. We are not seeing that. We are not seeing the federal government commit to this, and we need to get it done.
It is time for the ultrarich to start paying their fair share. Therefore, we are going to fight hard and we are going to continue to do that. The oil and gas industry is making huge profits, while gas prices are going so high. We need to make it right. I hope people will reconsider and vote for this motion.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of our party’s opposition motion.
This is what real climate action looks like: climate action that does not divide people, but brings people together; climate action that gives families and individuals struggling to make ends meet a break, while also reducing our carbon emissions; climate action that asks the big polluters, who have seen record profits, to pay for it.
We are in the midst of two different crises that must be addressed: a climate crisis and an affordability crisis linked to growing inequality.
Last spring and summer, we were confronted directly by the impact of the climate crisis. Record-setting wildfires covered large parts of the country, causing provinces to declare states of emergency and many residents to flee. Smoke blanketed cities across the country, including Winnipeg, where poor air quality kept people indoors and posed a danger to people with pre-existing health issues, including asthma.
What we saw over those months was a window into our future if we did not treat this climate crisis with the urgency it deserved. We cannot allow extreme weather events, which put the lives and health of people at risk, to become the new normal. It is not normal; it is a consequence of our failure to act.
Meanwhile, a growing affordability crisis is forcing a growing number of people in our communities to choose between groceries and rent, to choose between heating and eating. Grocery prices have soared, far outpacing the general rate of inflation and wage growth.
In Winnipeg Centre, which has the third-highest child poverty rate in the country, food bank use is climbing. In fact, according to a report by Food Banks Canada, food banks in Manitoba have seen a 30% rise in demand. In March of this year alone, there were 57,000 food bank visits, more than 20,000 of whom were children. Life is getting harder and harder for people who were already struggling to get by.
Who is not struggling? Canada’s big oil and gas companies. The top five Canadian oil and gas companies reported $38.3 billion in profits for 2022. That is an increase of more than double compared to their profits of $16.9 billion in 2021. That is shameful.
Suncor alone made over $9 billion in profit during 2022, an astonishing and shameful amount. Where is this money going? It is not going toward fighting climate change or making life more affordable for people. It is going to reward its shareholders and CEOs.
Speaking of CEOs, I want to talk about Imperial Oil. Brad Corson, the CEO of Imperial Oil, is the highest-paid executive in the Canadian energy industry. His pay almost doubled in 2022, up to $17.3 million. Imperial Oil is currently under formal federal investigation for a months-long tailings leak at its Kearl oil sands mine in Northern Alberta. Documents filed by the company showed it knew that tailings were seeping into groundwater for years before contaminated fluid was reported on the surface.
When my constituents miss a shift at work, they get their pay docked and they risk getting fired. When the CEO of Imperial Oil presides over an environmental catastrophe, he gets his pay doubled. It is an insult to hard-working people all over the country whose wages have not budged for years. That is just one reason why we need a windfall tax on the excess profits of big oil and gas companies.
Why a windfall tax? It is about ensuring that the big polluters, which are worsening the climate crisis, are paying for the action needed to address it. Right now, we know that is not happening. Major loopholes in the carbon pricing framework mean that oil and gas companies only pay a small fraction of the cost of their pollution, while 80% to 90% of their emissions are exempt. To take one example, Suncor, which I mentioned previously, only pays one-fourteenth of the full carbon price.
It would also generate significant revenue that we can invest in lowering people's energy bills, with home retrofits that reduce emissions and make life more affordable. How significant? The parliamentary budget office estimated that a windfall tax would generate $4 billion over five years. This could fund a program to make heat pumps and other retrofits free of cost to families that would otherwise not be able to afford them.
A windfall tax, as we know, is not a radical idea. The European Union, the U.K. and India are among those that have implemented one. Why? It is common sense. At a time when energy companies are making record profits and people are struggling to pay their heating bills, we need to turn a portion of those excess profits into relief for consumers. We can also use revenue from a windfall tax for a massive expansion of energy efficient home renovations for low- and middle-class Canadians. Home retrofits and heating pumps are a win-win-win. They reduce emissions, lower people's utility bills and create green jobs.
In Winnipeg Centre, many people would like to make these changes to their homes, but they simply cannot afford the upfront cost. This program should not be restricted to folks who only use a certain type of fuel to heat their homes. Whether they use home heating oil, natural gas, electric baseboard heating or anything else, they should have access to a program that lets them reduce their carbon footprint and reduces their monthly power bill. It is about how we get to net-zero emissions and how we bring millions of people along in the fight against the climate emergency.
Life is hard enough already for families and individuals in my riding who are working three jobs and skipping meals so their kids can eat. These are not the people who should be paying more to address the climate crisis. It is the big oil and gas companies and their CEOs who are fuelling this crisis, and we should be sticking them with the bill. We are running out of time to get this right.
Dividing people up by region and putting all the burden on individuals, as the Liberals are doing, will not get us there. Neither will burying our heads in the sand and refusing to even offer a climate plan, which is the Conservative approach. In fact, the , the corporate champion from Carleton, is silent when it comes to the obscene profits being made by his oil and gas buddies. It is no wonder, because when he was sitting at the cabinet table, his government handed out $55 billion in tax cuts to wealthy corporations, including oil and gas companies.
It is time for a new approach, one that finally asks the big polluters to pay their fair share of the costs, one that gives families and individuals who are struggling real relief from the rising costs driving them deeper into poverty and despair and one that makes energy efficient upgrades available to millions of households that want to do their part for our planet but cannot because the costs are too high. Today’s motion is exactly the kind of new approach that is desperately needed. I urge the government and all parties of the House to support it and put us on a pathway to real climate action that lifts people up and gives them the help they need.
Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege and pleasure to rise in this House.
Before I begin my formal remarks, I want to discuss affordability. It is important to get on the record this morning for my constituents and all Canadians what our government has done to make life more affordable for all Canadians over the last several years we have been in power.
We ran on a promise to cut the middle-income tax bracket from 22% to 20.5%. Every year, that is a roughly $3.5-billion tax cut for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Over eight years, that is over $26 billion in the pockets of Canadians, about $330 per year per individual and over $600 per couple.
Then we brought in something else, which I want to claim a little credit for. It was to raise the basic personal amount to $15,000 by 2023. That means Canadians will not have to pay federal income tax on the first $15,000 of their income. In fiscal year 2024-25, that will be a $6-billion tax cut for Canadians. It is putting hundreds of dollars back into Canadians' pockets. We should be proud of the $300 or $400 going back into the pockets of individual filers and, more so, families. Combined, we are looking at nearly $10 billion in tax cuts for hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Then there is the Canada child benefit, which has lifted 653,000 children out of poverty. Along with a strong labour market, growth and wages, it is a $26-billion-plus program that we put in place to help Canadian families and children and to lift children out of poverty. For small businesses, we cut the tax rate from 11% to 9%, again putting more money into the pockets of business owners across this country.
There are so many other measures I could mention, but I want to speak directly to the opposition motion at hand, the energy sector it references and other aspects of it. The energy sector is about 10% of the Canadian economy. I salute the workers, who contribute real export dollars. Trade statistics came out this morning saying the energy sector again led the way and accounts for over 25% of Canadian exports. It will account for them today and tomorrow. Even with the green transition we are seeing in full force, the Canadian energy sector leads the way for Canadian workers and families.
I am pleased to take part in today's debate. The motion brings up important issues. There is no doubt that the effects of climate change are real and are becoming more and more devastating, harmful and expensive. That is why the government has put in place a price on pollution, and stands by it. Economists agree that a price on pollution is one of the least expensive and most efficient ways to reduce emissions. It is much less costly than the cost of doing nothing.
As everyone knows, the majority of proceeds from the price on carbon pollution go straight back into the pockets of Canadians in provinces where the federal fuel charge applies, with eight out of 10 Canadians in those provinces getting more money back through the climate action incentive payments than they pay as a result of the price on carbon. In Ontario, for example, a family of four gets nearly $1,000 back in quarterly installment payments. It is returned to hard-working Ontarians. Eight of out 10, or even more than that, I would estimate, are better off under this system. It is very efficient and the least expensive way to reduce emissions.
Our world-leading carbon pollution pricing system is essential in our fight against climate change. It not only puts money back in the pockets of Canadians, but it is also highly effective because it provides a clear economic signal to businesses and allows them the flexibility to find the most cost-effective way of lowering their emissions.
At the same time, it also increases demand for the development and adoption of clean technologies. Furthermore, investments in strengthening Canada's competitiveness in the clean economy will not only promote the shift towards net zero.
They will also deliver good middle-class jobs for Canadian workers in communities right across Canada.
Today, a climate plan is just as important as an economic plan and a jobs plan. Climate policy is economic policy.
However, the reality is that many Canadians across the country are currently struggling to pay their bills and are under a lot of financial stress. It is important for us to help them.
I would like to say that I will be splitting my time with my colleague and good friend, the hon. member for .
On October 26, the announced that we will be doubling the pollution price rebate rural top-up rate from 10% to 20% of the baseline amount starting in April 2024.
Our government recognizes that people who live in rural communities face unique realities, and this measure will help put even more money back in the pockets of families dealing with higher energy costs because they live outside a large city and have limited access to clean transportation alternatives.
People in rural communities will receive their first increased payment in April 2024. This increase will be applied every year going forward.
I note that the motion at hand mentions heat pumps. To provide more time and financial support for the roughly 1.1 million homes in Canada, including tens of thousands of homes in Ontario, using home heating oil to switch to heat pumps, as part of that October 26 package, the government also announced that it would temporarily pause the application of a fuel charge on deliveries of home heating oil, in all jurisdictions where it currently applies, for a three-year period.
Canada's cool climate means that heating accounts for over 60% of the energy used in the average Canadian home. Making the switch to more energy efficient heating equipment, such as a cold climate air source heat pump, can save energy, reduce utility bills and, yes, reduce the carbon footprint. Heat pumps are one of the best ways for homeowners to get off of home heating oil when compared to other electric home heating sources, and they are also two to three time more efficient.
In another part of the affordability measures put forward two weeks ago, the also announced a stringent oil to heat pump affordability program, which was introduced in 2022. The program helps low- to medium-income homeowners who are currently heating their homes with oil to transition to electric heat by installing a cold climate air source heat pump system.
To strengthen the program, the federal government is partnering with provinces and territories and collaborating to increase the amount of federal funding that eligible homeowners can receive for installing a heat pump from $10,000 to $15,000 and adding up to an additional $5,000 in grant funding to match provincial and territorial contributions via co-delivery arrangements. The stringent program also includes upfront payments of $250 for at or below medium-income homeowners who use heating oil and sign up to switch to a heat pump through our joint federal-provincial government program. This would make the average heat pump installation free for low- to medium-income homeowners as we continue to minimize upfront costs and make federal programs even easier to access for all households using home heating oil.
Cleaner, more affordable heating options will save people money on their energy bills for years to come. The reality is that, on average, homeowners who switch from oil to a cold-climate heat pump to heat and cool their homes save up to $2,500 a year on their energy bills.
Climate change is real, and so is its catastrophic impact on Canada. It is important to take concrete action to combat it. That is exactly what we are doing.
All the experts agree that a pollution pricing system is the best way to fight climate change. That is why we are continuing to move in that direction.
Finally, we have been very clear. We are going to continue implementing our pollution pricing system while making sure we keep putting more money back into the pockets of Canadian households.
Mr. Speaker, I can see that this topic has been on the minds of everyone here over the last few days. The Government of Canada understands that the effects of climate change have been devastating for many families and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
In fact, the Canadian Climate Institute estimates the annual costs will amount to $25 billion by 2025, and by mid-century, the estimate costs of climate change on our economy in Canada are half of the projected GDP growth of our entire country. That is an astounding and devastating amount of damage, which climate change is already causing.
In 2023, we saw a record wildfire season, with some areas burning double those of historic records. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians had to evacuate their homes. It is safe to say we all watched in horror as we saw those fires rage across the country. That is not the only climate disaster or extreme weather event this country has gone through in the past several years. We have seen record floods and heat domes and many other natural disasters.
Meanwhile, Canadians are facing an equally pressing affordability challenge as energy prices have skyrocketed. With winter coming very soon, households are facing higher heating bills. The government is taking real action to keep life affordable and to fight climate change at the same time, and now we must go further faster.
This is why the Government of Canada recently announced major new funding to help households switch away from polluting home heating oil to efficient and clean heat pumps. We know home heating oil is three times to four times more expensive than other forms of heating. It being the most carbon intensive, and also the most costly, is exactly why recent measures have targeted home heating oil right across the country.
Low- and middle-income households are struggling to make the switch to environmentally friendly heat pumps mainly because of the upfront cost, so we get that. We get that the upfront cost is truly the barrier to making the transition. Canadians want to do their part, and we want to encourage people to make the switch as soon as possible. Helping out with that upfront cost would really help them make that switch. That is what we have heard, and that is what we are doing.
We also recognize that acquiring and installing a heat pump can take a number of weeks, if not months, and people will still be facing high oil heating costs in the meantime. Two weeks ago, the Government of Canada announced an expansion of the funding for heat pumps, making the average heat pump free for low- and medium-income Canadians.
The strengthened oil to heat pump affordability program will partner with interested provinces and territories to increase the amount of federal funding eligible for homeowners so they can receive not just $10,000 but up to $15,000 for installing a heat pump in their house, adding to an additional $5,000 in grant funding to match provincial contributions in jurisdictions where programs are co-delivered.
Low- to medium-income households who heat their homes with oil and sign up to participate in the OHPA program to switch to a heat pump will also receive an upfront payment of $250. On average, homeowners who switch from oil to cold climate heat pumps to heat and cool their homes save between $1,500 to $4,700 per year on their home energy bills. That is a whopping $125 to $400 per month of savings. That is a sizeable affordability measure that will help Canadians who are struggling to heat their homes and are using oil to do so. They are obviously subject to some of the highest costs to do that.
The idea is to provide households with funding to help make the transition from heating oil to more efficient, environmentally friendly electric heat pumps that much easier. This new heat pump funding is in addition to what we already were doing to support Canadians in these uncertain times.
I also want to talk about a few of the climate measures our government has put in place that are funding all kinds of other important initiatives. I do not mean to give the impression that this one program is all we are doing, or the newest measure we have announced is the only thing we are doing. There are many other aspects of the federal government's plan to fight climate change, build a stronger economy and reduce emissions.
Under the low-carbon economy fund, for example, a new intake for one of our funding streams has just opened. It is called the low-carbon economy challenge. The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting projects that reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, generate clean growth, build resilient communities and create good jobs for Canadians. So far, the low-carbon economy challenge is providing more than $250 million to support 94 projects that invest in proven low-carbon technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I want to take this opportunity to highlight some projects we recently funded through the low-carbon economy fund. We have supported a range of projects, including replacing oil-fired boilers with electric models at a YMCA in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador; waste emissions reduction projects in Alberta; SaskPower's northern first nations home retrofit program in Saskatchewan; and home heat pump retrofits in Atlantic Canada, starting this year. Projects like these support the local economy, drive clean innovation and help Canada achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The fund also supports climate action by indigenous peoples. We recently funded some indigenous-owned and indigenous-led renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon heating projects. There is the Peavine community solar farm project, which will offset a portion of Peavine Métis Settlement's electricity needs, thanks to a solar photovoltaic system. There is the Tl'etinqox community bio-heat project, which will displace 100% of the propane used in six community buildings, a church building and a healing centre in that community.
We have also funded projects through the climate action and awareness fund. The fund is investing over $206 million over five years to support Canadian-made projects that help to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. This fund focuses on supporting youth climate awareness and climate research as well as advancing climate change science and technology. I think about projects like Science North's touring and stationary innovative climate change experience for young Canadians.
Under this fund, the Government of Canada is also funding projects that are focused on strengthening Canada's science capacity to identify, accelerate and evaluate climate mitigation solutions and strategies. The idea is to create jobs for Canadians who work in science and technology, academia and at the grassroots community level. These jobs are critical as we continue to build knowledge, skills and a sustainable net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
I also want to highlight the climate action fund, which was in existence from 2018 to 2020. It provided up to $3 million annually to support projects delivered by students, youth, indigenous peoples, non-profit organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises, and research and educational institutions. They are projects like the Green Building Council's work on redesigning our architectural landscape, Random Acts of Green's mobile app, and Agriculture in the Classroom Saskatchewan. These projects show us that Canadians are ready to take action against climate change in their everyday lives.
These are only a few examples of funding initiatives that the Government of Canada has put in place to support Canadians as well as organizations and businesses in the fight against climate change. By taking the lead on climate action, Canada can become a leader in many of the new technologies the world will need to support action on climate change while unlocking economic growth and trade opportunities.
We have seen many other projects. Some of the most prominent ones are the major investments made in incentivizing private investment in our electric vehicle battery supply chain as well as automobile manufacturing. Those are big, exciting announcements, but there is a lot more going on at different scales within our economy.
Canadians have asked us to take action on climate change, really because they know that our economic growth and prosperity depend upon it. It is the biggest opportunity for our economic growth, and it helps us address the affordability challenge because climate change, in fact, is the biggest contributor to inflation that we have today globally.
We have listened on all fronts, and we are delivering on all fronts.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the wonderful MP for .
I am very honoured, and frankly excited, to stand here this afternoon to speak to the NDP motion that sets out a truly fair, common-sense approach to deal with two of the most important issues of our time: the climate catastrophes we are living through every year across this country and the struggle that many Canadians are facing just to get by.
In a nutshell, the motion recognizes that Canadians are facing increasing costs, both the financial costs and human costs of the climate crisis. At the same time, they are facing rising fuel costs for gas at the pumps and in their home heating, while the fossil fuel companies that are charging them those costs are reaping record profits. On top of that, both oil and gas heating are contributing to the carbon emissions that are fuelling the climate crisis.
The NDP motion proposes three straightforward solutions to that situation: to take the GST off home heating; to provide heat pumps for free to lower- and medium-income families in an easily accessible program; and to fund the program with a windfall tax on the record profits made by fossil fuel companies.
Listeners at home may quickly realize that this motion is a reaction to both the Liberals' bungled program to provide relief to some Canadians by taking the carbon tax off home heating oil and the Conservatives' motion to extend that relief to natural gas for home heating as well. Both those ideas fail the fairness test of this Canadian federation.
The Liberal program benefits predominantly people in Atlantic Canada, where many homes are heated with oil, while the Conservative motion leaves British Columbians and Québécois out in the cold since families in those provinces do not pay a federal carbon tax. I have yet to hear a single Conservative from B.C. admit that fact in this place.
The NDP is proposing to take the GST off home heating bills. The GST is not supposed to be paid on the necessities of life. We do not pay GST on food. I think everyone would agree that home heating is a necessity of life in Canada, but right now, everyone across the country has to pay it. Removing the GST from home heating bills would save everyone across the country money on their energy bills, helping people to get by in a truly fair way.
We have had bad years for extreme weather and wildfires for the past eight years or so, but this year was in a different league of catastrophes. It started with a hot, dry spring that sent fires in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Alberta raging through forests and communities. As the season progressed, we had fires explode in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. Several of those fires in B.C. were in the coastal rainforest where it is usually hard enough to start a campfire, let alone destroy a forest. Then Nova Scotia, which was still recovering from two catastrophic fires, suffered a devastating flood.
I live in the dry interior of British Columbia in the South Okanagan Valley. We all held our breath as we saw fires springing up in northeastern B.C., central B.C., then Kamloops and the Shuswap. At the end of July, the fires began in the Okanagan Valley and Similkameen Valley. One came within inches of destroying a large neighbourhood in Osoyoos.
In mid-August, the Shuswap fires swept out of the wilderness and burned through Celista, Scotch Creek and Squilax, communities that I used to live in during the summers of the 1970s. A fire in the mountains west of Kelowna roared down to devastate neighbourhoods on the west side of Okanagan Lake and then jumped across the lake two kilometres to terrorize neighbourhoods on the east side.
People struggled to breathe across the country this summer. Hundreds of thousands had to leave their homes in hastily planned evacuations, including the entire city of Yellowknife. People lost their homes. Some people unfortunately died. This was a summer that marked another shift in public opinion. It was public awareness that climate change is not a theoretical event somewhere in the future. We are living it today and we have to adapt to it.
The climate data back that up. This year has been literally off the charts. Air temperature records were shattered every day around the world. Ocean temperatures were so high that scientists could barely believe what was happening.
This year was even worse than 2021. That year British Columbia, there was a heat dome in late June followed by an unprecedented atmospheric river event in November. The Town of Lytton burned down after reporting Canada's record-high temperature three days in a row. The cost of the climate destruction in 2021 in B.C. alone was over $5 billion. However, even as we said that 2021 was the worst year ever, and now people are saying that 2023 is the worst year ever, the projections are saying that these will actually be the best years for the rest of our lives. Extreme weather events will only get worse as we pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
What many people forget, or do not even know, is that 619 people died in Metro Vancouver in one week during the heat dome of 2021, which was the real tragedy of that year. What most of those people had in common was that they lived in the lower-income parts of the city in neighbourhoods with no access to shady, cool, green areas and in apartment complexes with no air conditioning. They died with their windows closed against the stifling heat. We cannot let this happen again. We need to provide people, especially lower-income Canadians, with air conditioning, even in places like Vancouver and Halifax, where maybe they did not need it very often in the past. They will need it in the future. That would save hundreds of lives during future heat events.
If we do that with heat pumps, switching out oil and gas heating units, it would not only save lives but would also cut emissions, and people, including landlords, would save significant money on their energy bills all year round. At the same time, we must make it easy for people to properly insulate their homes. We have to make sure we are not building new buildings, new housing, with fossil fuel heating infrastructure. New builds should have electric heat, preferably heat pumps. There is a growing movement in cities across Canada to ban fossil fuel infrastructure to heat new homes and buildings. Montreal and Nanaimo have done that. Vancouver almost did it but then backed off to a partial ban. It is being discussed by communities in my riding.
While Canadians are struggling to pay for fuel costs, fossil fuel companies are raking in record profits. The top five companies in Canada posted $38 billion in profits last year alone. Meanwhile, Canadians saw prices at the pump go up almost a dollar a litre over the last three years. The Conservatives' big bogey man, the carbon tax, went up five cents over that time. The fossil fuel companies are not paying any more to make gasoline or natural gas; they are just benefiting big time from a rise in world oil and gas prices. These are windfall profits. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has determined that a windfall tax on these profits would bring in over $4 billion. The NDP has been calling for such a tax for over a year but has gotten no support from either the Liberals or the Conservatives. Therefore, we are proposing today to bring in a windfall tax on the profits of fossil fuel companies and use that money to fund our proposal for an easily accessible program that would install free heat pumps in Canadian homes.
The Liberals are handpicking what regions get help with the cost of living, and leaving the rest of Canada behind. The Conservatives have absolutely no climate plan. For over a year, the NDP has called on the government to remove the GST from home heating and help everyone across the country, but the Liberals and Conservatives have ignored those calls. The NDP wants to make eco-energy retrofits and heat pumps free and easy to access for low- to middle-class Canadians, regardless of their initial home heating energy source. We are calling on the government to fund those changes by finally implementing a windfall profits tax on the excess profits of oil and gas companies.
These are common-sense, effective ideas that would save all Canadians money and save lives and heartache from climate disasters in an increasingly dangerous future. I am sure all members here will support this motion to help all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Mr. Speaker, Canadians are facing the double crisis of affordability and climate change. It is no secret that Canadians from coast to coast to coast have been demanding action in the face of extreme weather events. There are countless numbers of families right across this country who were disproportionately impacted by wildfires, floods and terrible natural disasters that shocked entire communities. Those instances are not just one-offs. This is truly a pattern of disaster that is growing in intensity and growing in costs. I mean that. When I say costs, they are huge. Those are some of the largest costs in relation to our GDP that we have seen in decades.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, for example, extreme weather events caused our GDP to be 0.8% lower than it should have been if we had combatted climate change more appropriately. That equals to about $20 billion to $25 billion less on reported GDP. That is funding that could have gone to supports for people, such as seniors and young people, and to supports for hospitals. It is nearly Remembrance Day, and it could have gone to supports for veterans. That is real capital, real money, that is just being drained because the government lacks the courage and the will to implement real climate solutions.
On the other side, we have an official opposition party, with an who denies climate change even exists. That is plummeting us even further into a deficit. Imagine if we had, for example, even worse outcomes next year. God forbid we would have worse outcomes with worse wildfires and floods, and the number would get worse. It would be even worse if human lives were lost. I hope we can prevent that. We need real climate solutions and real serious leadership when it comes to climate change.
I would be lost if I did not mention that this is not the first time New Democrats have called for real solutions to climate change in addition to real solutions to fight poverty. There were many times and many occasions when we tried to do that.
It is not lost on me that Remembrance Day is coming very soon. I want to remind Canadians about a defining moment in our history when we rose to the challenges of global crises like we are seeing in terms of climate change. We do not have to look that far in our past to know that we have the solutions to combat things that would take away our future. That includes combatting the climate crisis.
Canada, early on, when it was a young country, was seen as a relatively small and poor country, a country that could not levy resources in order to tackle huge issues, but we proved the world wrong once before. Canada can play a role in being a global leader and ensuring everyone has a dignified, clean and safe future.
Tommy Douglas reminds us of a story of great Canadians who enlisted in our military in 1939 when Canada declared war on the terrible, fascist Nazi regime in Germany. For the first time in our history, we utilized the Bank of Canada and made it financially, fiscally and materially possible to feed, clothe and arm over a million men and women, and we put them in uniform.
At home, we did something even greater: We put everyone to work. The government organized over 100 Crown corporations. We manufactured things that had never been manufactured before. We gave our farmers and our fishermen guaranteed prices, and we produced more food than we had ever produced in peacetime. In addition, we created one of the largest merchant navies in global history. We did all that without borrowing even one dollar from outside Canada. We were able to do that. Our collective consciousness, our united effort and our true Canadian spirit were unified in order to fight the terrible fascist regime in Germany.
If we can utilize and restore our own will to ensure that we use the same resources to fight against poverty, social injustice and, yes, climate change, then we can in fact change our future for the better. We can change it for the next generation. New Democrats are calling, in this motion, for very serious solutions to very serious problems. It is no secret that climate change is having disproportionate impacts on our economy. It is also no secret that Canadians are struggling to get by. They are struggling to make ends meet and to pay the basic bills, which they have been working hard to pay their entire lives.
We are talking about something as simple as home heating in Canada, which we all need. The previous New Democratic member spoke about the important differentiation between needs and wants of Canadians. It is important that we delineate what those needs are and that we provide relief so those needs are met.
One relief measure is to ensure that the GST is removed from home heating. That is important because we made a tax commitment in this country to ensure all necessities would not have a tax burden on them. People need to eat and also need to heat. We need to make sure those important measures are dealt with.
I invite my colleagues, from both the Liberal and the Conservative benches, to think about that critically and to say that we can do something good for Canadians. Earlier this week, New Democrats supported a motion by our Conservative colleagues that called for the removal of the carbon tax from home heating oil.
We hope the Conservatives would support the removal of GST from all home heating as well. We think that is a better and a stronger policy. It would also ensure that more Canadians would have more money in their pockets, which is something that Conservatives talk about very often. I would invite them to support that very important measure.
When it comes to making sure we have a plan to reduce our liability and to reduce our dependence on higher forms of carbon-emitting fuels, it is important that we utilize technology. Every time we talk about or debate climate change in the House, the Conservatives rise to say their solution is “technology” without ever mentioning what that “technology” is.
When we have technology present for Canadians, like a heat pump, for example, that is growing in popularity, use and weatherability in Canadian climates, we see Conservatives reject those proposals. Why?
The NDP has real proposals and real solutions on the table that could save Canadians thousands of dollars, and our country millions and billions as decades move forward.
Finally, it is so important that we finance this, but we cannot finance this crisis on the backs of Canadians. Canadians did not make this crisis. They are showing up to work every single day and doing the hard work. They are trying to make ends meet for their families and doing everything right, but they are falling further behind.
All the while, those who claim to play by the rules get away scot-free by evading taxes. It is time that our country does what is right, and reins in the huge windfall profits of oil and gas companies. We have seen that kind of courage in this world once already. During the pandemic, we saw the Conservative government in the United Kingdom bring in a windfall tax because they saw what we all saw. The fact is that we are seeing unstable oil prices and, currently, some of the highest commodity prices in a long time, which are increasing huge revenues for governments, but not enough, apparently, to invest in real climate solutions to mitigate what could be future damages to our economy.
I would remind members that not long ago we saw massive issues in British Columbia. There were floods that essentially cut off an entire province by way of the supply chain to the rest of Canada. That had a real cost to Canadians. The impact was in the billions of dollars.
On top of that, we also saw consequential seasons of wildfires, drought and serious related issues that continue to exacerbate the economic impact of climate change on Canadians. This costs Canadians real money. Real, tangible money in their pockets is being lost because these disasters continue to destroy communities and ways of life.
We have the ability in our country to be as courageous as those veterans, years ago, who said they would serve our country so that tomorrow would be a better day. We have a chance to honour those commitments, to do what is right today for the next generation and to ensure that this motion passes. Then, we could have real, tangible solutions so that our kids would know we are taking the climate crisis seriously, so that our economy could stabilize by ensuring we have good revenues, and we could finally see a day when the affordability crisis would be under wraps from the efforts of this chamber.
Then, we could show Canadians that we can unite and do what is right. I invite all members to do what is right. Our children are watching.