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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 293

CONTENTS

Thursday, March 21, 2024




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 293
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to seven petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

[Translation]

National Defence Act

    (Motions deemed adopted and bill read the first time)

[English]

Petitions

Democratic Reform 

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand here and present three e-petitions, all coordinated by a member of my riding, Mr. Brian Kerr. These three e-petitions, e-4605, e-3827 and e-4274, total over 45,000 signatures, which Brian has spearheaded among himself and others.
    The petitioners call on the federal government to look at a form of recall election, which is not present here in Canada.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions to present today.
    The first petition comes from Canadians across the country who are concerned about Bill C-21. The bill targets law-abiding firearms owners.
     The petitioners state that hunting and firearm ownership play an important role in Canadian society and history. They are concerned about the government's intent to ban several hunting rifles and shotguns, including bolt-action rifles. The petitioners ask the government to leave their guns alone and, to protect property rights of Canadian hunters, to vote against Bill C-21.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    The interpreter has told us that he cannot do his job because of static.

[English]

    I would ask the member to not shake his papers and see if that works.
    Let us start again with the hon. member for Peace River—Westlock.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition today comes from Canadians from across the country who are concerned about the health and safety of Canadian firearms owners.
    The petitioners recognize the importance of owning firearms, but they are concerned about the impacts to hearing loss caused by the damaging noise level of firearms and the need for noise reduction. The petitioners acknowledge that sound moderators are the only universally recognized health and safety devices that are criminally prohibited here in Canada. Moreover, the majority of G7 countries recognize the health and safety benefits of sound moderators, including their use for hunting, sport shooting and reducing noise pollution. In many countries in the EU, for example, these things are actually mandated rather than criminalized.
    The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to allow firearms owners the option to legally purchase and use sound moderators for all legal hunting and sport shooting activities.

Pornography  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I have comes from Canadians from across the country who are concerned about the folks who are showing up in pornographic material. The petitioners want the Government of Canada to pass Bill C-270, the stopping internet sexual exploitation act, which will be up for debate tomorrow.

Controlling and Coercive Conduct  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to table petition e-4660, initiated by the remarkable women at the Canadian Center for Women's Empowerment.
    The petitioners are calling for November 26 to be named as “national economic abuse awareness day”. The petitioners note that economic abuse is a pervasive but often overlooked form of abuse that impacts 95% of women who face intimate partner violence, but it can also happen alone. The petitioners note that economic abuse undermines women's financial independence and amplifies structural barriers, especially for marginalized, gender-diverse and vulnerable communities.
    The petitioners call for funding, collection of disaggregated data and a national day to raise awareness about economic abuse.

Food Security  

    Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present today.
    One is on behalf of members of the Queen's University community and residents of Kingston and the Islands, who are calling upon the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to prioritize funding for a national school food program through budget 2024 for implementation of schools by the fall of 2024. They indicate that Canada is the only G7 country without a national school food program and highlight the importance of having one.

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition that I have comes from Canadians who are concerned about the environmental panel on climate change's report, which has warned us repeatedly that rising temperatures over the next two decades will bring widespread devastation and extreme weather. The residents of Kingston and the Islands who signed this petition call upon the Government of Canada to move forward immediately with bold emissions caps for the oil and gas sector that are comprehensive in scope and realistic in achieving the targets Canada has set to achieve by 2030.

  (1010)  

Agriculture and Agri-Food  

    Mr. Speaker, in the final petition I have today, actually, the majority of signatories are from a riding to the north of mine, Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston. These are farmers, beef farmers in particular, who are concerned about the fact that the abattoir at Joyceville federal institution has been closed for almost two years now. These beef farmers have indicated that they have been waiting six to nine months and, in many cases, up to a year to have their cattle processed at provincial facilities. The abattoir located at Joyceville Institution is on Highway 15 in Ontario. As I indicated, it closed in September 2022.
    The petitioners have indicated the negative impacts that the closure has had, both economically and to businesses and restaurants that rely on their products. Therefore, they are calling on the Government of Canada to explore all options to ensure that the abattoir located at Joyceville Institution is reopened to address the issues noted.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the constituents of Skeena—Bulkley Valley, I rise to present a petition that calls out the Liberals' nonsensical attempt to ban hunting and sport shooting firearms. The citizens indicate that the government has attempted to ban and seize the hunting rifles and shotguns of millions of law-abiding Canadians, saying further that the targeting of farmers and hunters does not fight crime and that the government has failed those who participate in the Canadian tradition of sport shooting. Therefore, the petitioners call on the Government of Canada to stop any and all current and future bans on hunting and sport shooting firearms.
    I sure know that common-sense Conservative Ellis Ross would love to join the House of Commons to help axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime.

First Responders Tax Credit  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand and present a petition on behalf of Canadians who have signed it, across partisan lines, to bring awareness to the fact that 71% of firefighters in Canada are volunteers, many of which are in Battle River—Crowfoot. These petitioners, in particular, highlight a number of aspects of the great work that our volunteer departments do in keeping our communities safe. These folks are calling on the Government of Canada to increase the tax credit amount for volunteer firefighting and search and rescue volunteer services from $3,000 to $10,000, acknowledging the hard work that so many of these women and men do across our country, specifically in rural and remote areas.
    It is an honour to table this petition today.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand at this time.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for La Prairie is rising on a point of order.

Privilege

Bilingual Documents in the House of Commons  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my comments to the question of privilege that the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier raised yesterday. Monday, at the very end of the debate on the NDP opposition motion, the government introduced an amendment in English only, and the House had to debate it without any French translation for the francophone members.
    The Bloc Québécois acted responsibly just after the government introduced the amendment and had the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert inform the Speaker that it was impossible for the Bloc Québécois to continue the debate or to take a stance because the government's amendment was not available in French. In the end, members got access to the French version about 40 minutes later.
    We are of the opinion that there is a prima facie breach of parliamentary privilege, and I am asking you to rule accordingly and send the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
    I thank the member for La Prairie for his comments.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition on the same question of privilege.
    Mr. Speaker, I find it very interesting that the Bloc Québécois is complaining now, because they allowed the vote to happen and voted in favour of a unilingual English motion.
    If the Bloc Québécois is actually serious about its desire to protect the French language, then it should have said—
    I think this is a matter of debate, not a matter of privilege. However, I greatly appreciate the interventions.
    As I was saying to the member for La Prairie, I appreciate these comments, and the Chair will take them into consideration when looking into the matter. I hope to make a ruling as soon as possible.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

  (1015)  

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Carbon Tax Election  

     That the House declare non-confidence in the Prime Minister and his costly government for increasing the carbon tax 23 % on April 1, as part of his plan to quadruple the tax while Canadians cannot afford to eat, heat and house themselves, and call for the House to be dissolved so Canadians can vote in a carbon tax election.
    Today being the last allotted day for the supply period ending March 26, the House will proceed as usual to the consideration and passage of the appropriation bills. In view of recent practices, do hon. members agree that the bills be distributed now?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.
     The Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Thornhill.
     Today, as members, we will decide whether we will stand with Canadians, including Quebeckers, or with the Prime Minister, who punishes people with taxes, debts and inflation. Today is a big moment. The Bloc Québécois will decide which team they are on. Do they stand with the workers and families of Quebec or with the Prime Minister?
     The Bloc Québécois has already supported all of this Prime Minister’s discretionary spending by voting for the estimates. These are not expenditures for health, transfers to the provinces or seniors. These are expenditures for bureaucracy and all the subcontractors, including the arrive scammers. The Bloc Québécois voted for all expenditures, for the $21 billion paid to subcontractors.
     The Bloc voted for all the offender release policies. They supported the Prime Minister’s attempt to ban hunting rifles for people in the regions. They supported all the centralizing housing policies, which doubled the cost of housing, including rents in Quebec.
     Now, after getting all worked up time and time again complaining about Liberal government policies, they will be able to decide whether they will fire this government. This is a government that has destroyed our immigration system, doubled the cost of housing and released criminals, which led to an increase in auto thefts, among other things. This government caused a drug and homelessness crisis that has forced tens of thousands of Quebeckers to use food banks.
     We will see if the Bloc Québécois will support this government. I think they will. I think that, when the Bloc Québécois is here, in Ottawa, it supports the centralizers. The Bloc always votes with the Liberals. However, when Bloc members are in their riding, they say exactly the opposite. This is because there is a symbiotic relationship between the Bloc Québécois and the centralist Liberals. The two agree on all ideological issues. Both are led by the woke lefties of the Plateau Mont-Royal, who want to tax Canadians, put them in debt and free criminals while banning hunting rifles.
     Now the Bloc Québécois says it wants to support a tax hike of 17¢ a litre on gas and diesel. In addition, it supports the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who wants to shut down the forestry sector and kill the jobs of all the workers who depend on wood to put food on the table.
     Fortunately, we Conservatives are going to hold the government of this Prime Minister, who is not worth the cost, to account. This government is not worth the cost, the corruption or the crime. It is a government that must be defeated. That is why we are bringing a motion of non-confidence to the House of Commons. We need a common-sense Conservative government that will reduce taxes and stop crime. Only the Conservative Party will do that.
     Quebeckers who want to defeat this costly and extremist government have only one choice, and that is the Conservative Party. It is important to know that voting for the Bloc Québécois means voting for the Liberals, because they are much the same. They agree on all issues, except the location of the country’s capital. Aside from that, they agree on all issues.
     If people really want change, change based on common sense that will allow them to keep more of their paycheques, that will make work pay again, that will lead to safer streets and that will respect the regions, including places where people hunt and drive trucks, they should keep in mind that only the common-sense Conservative Party can achieve that.

  (1020)  

[English]

    After eight years, it is clear that the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the cost, the crime or the corruption, but never would we have imagined how bad things would get. Today, I look at the newspaper headlines. Even the media is noticing how bad things are. A headline in the National Post: “Secret RCMP report warns Canadians may revolt once they realize how broke they are”. The RCMP has produced a report saying that Canadians are so poor, desperate and miserable that it may lead to political instability and other turbulence that one could not even have imagined would occur in a first world country eight years ago.
    I now turn my attention to The Globe and Mail. Remember, this is the same Globe and Mail that criticized me for using the term “gatekeeper” to describe how homes could not get build. Here is its headline today: “Home ownership is turning into a gated community that renters cannot join”.
    Years after saying that it was very dangerous for us to talk about gatekeepers, The Globe and Mail has now awakened to the fact that the Prime Minister, in eight years, has turned home ownership into a gated community, shutting people outside of the gates. A small, privileged group gets richer and richer as a growing mass of working-class youth and seniors renting apartments can no longer afford any place to live.
    I used to warn that there were 35-year-olds living in their parents' basements. That is now the least of our concerns. We are now worried that those 35-year-olds and their parents might not be able to make their mortgage payments at all. Defaults are rising rapidly. We have 35 homeless encampments in Halifax and have similar encampments now in every major centre in Canada. We have two million people lined up at food banks in scenes that are reminiscent of the Great Depression, and 35% of charities now say that they are turning people away because they no longer have the resources. Food bank shelves are emptying out.
    Then, there are people who are eating out of garbage cans, with 8,000 people now having joined something called a “dumpster diving network”, a Facebook group where they share tips on how they can climb into a garbage can and can pull a meal out because there is nothing they can afford at the grocery store and nothing left at the food banks. This year, groceries are going to cost $700 more than they did last year for the average family.
    In the middle of all this, what do the NDP and the Prime Minister choose? They choose to raise taxes on food and fuel, on heat and homes, and to raise taxes on all the materials to build homes, which will raise taxes on all those who buy the homes. They choose to raise taxes on heating those homes, to raise taxes on the gas and diesel needed to get to work to earn paycheques to make payments on those homes and to raise taxes on the farmers who make the food, on the truckers who ship the food, on the grocers who sell the food and, therefore, on all those who buy the food, as if the desperation was not bad enough.
    This is in light of all the evidence that has come out that, now, 60% of Canadians are paying more in carbon tax than they are getting back in rebates, a fact that I have read into the record time and time again, a fact that the Prime Minister continues to attempt to hide from, a fact that the Parliamentary Budget Officer just testified to and a fact that we did not need all those accurate calculations to know because every single person who is opening their empty fridge and is wondering how they are going to feed their kids already knew that fact was real.
    We cannot, in good conscience, stand by while the Prime Minister imposes more misery and suffering on the Canadian people. Canadians are good. They are decent. They are hard-working. They do not have to give up on things they used to take for granted, like affordable food and homes, just for the incompetence and the ego of one man. He is not worth the cost, not worth the crime, not worth the corruption, and he is not worth giving up the country that we knew and that we still love.

  (1025)  

    We, as common-sense Conservatives, are ready to restore hope in this country, but it starts with change. We rise today to vote non-confidence in the NDP-Liberal government and to restore the great country that we love based on the common sense of the common people, united for our common home: their home, my home, our home. Let us bring it home.
    Madam Speaker, I noticed that the Leader of the Opposition was bringing up headlines from The Globe and Mail, so I would like to bring up another headline that was in The Globe and Mail today. It states that the Leader of the Opposition's campaign manager “established second lobbying firm, working with the same office. The article goes on to say, “Clients who booked meetings on [this new company's] website were redirected to the booking system [of] Jenni Byrne + Associates. That function was removed, as was Ms. Byrne's headshot...[from] the website, after The Globe's inquiries about the connection [of] the two firms.”
    Now that we see that the Leader of the Opposition's campaign manager has tried to hide behind a second company in order to continue her lobbying practices, when will the Leader of the Opposition tell his campaign manager to stop lobbying and to start actually working for him?
    Madam Speaker, everything the member across the way said is completely, 100% false. This is coming from a government, by the way, that has presided over a 100% increase in lobbying activities. That is because lobbyists have come to know that in business today, someone does not get rich by having the best product; they get rich by having the best lobbyist. Someone does not get ahead by pleasing customers, but by pleasing politicians.
    The big government has left poor people. What we want is precisely the opposite. We will slash the consultants and the lobbying sector, and we will unleash the productive forces of our working-class people in our factories, our farms, our forestry and our fishery sectors, and of the people who do the real work in this country. It starts by axing the tax, building the homes, fixing the budget and stopping the crime.
    Madam Speaker, we have another event of I am going to huff and to puff, and then, I am going to go off and have a fundraiser and some mojitos at Stornoway, while the poor backbenchers dutifully follow through.
    Do members remember when he said he was going to speak until the budget fell? That was for about three hours, and then he left. Do members remember when we had to vote all the way until Christmas? The only time we ever saw him in the House was to vote against Ukraine. We had nine confidence votes on Monday, and he was hiding behind the screen. Tonight, we will have votes.
    Here is the question: At Dairy Queen, I do not know why he was fired, but if someone works for a living, they have to show up. Will he show up tonight, or will he be off fundraising with his lobbyist friends, leaving his poor schleps on the backbench to do the heavy lifting of bringing down the government and forcing an election? Show up for work.
    This happened in the previous question and answer. I just want to remind members that if they are not recognized, they should not be speaking. It is very disrespectful to do so.
    I know that a while ago, there was a question asked, and the person who asked the question was trying to intervene again, even though he had not been recognized. Others were trying to answer questions when someone else was trying to pose a question. I would just remind members to please be respectful in the House.

  (1030)  

    Madam Speaker, showing up for work means showing up for the people we work for. I have to say, I have been in his riding in the last two years more than he has. I have been on the ground in Timmins, and people there say that he should be in the witness protection program. He does not live in his riding. He is never in his riding. He has forgotten about the miners, the forestry workers and the farmers. He has voted to raise taxes on their home heating so that the people in cold, northern Ontario have to suffer in the cold and have to pay higher taxes. Now, he is going to vote for his master, the Prime Minister of Canada, rather than the people in Timmins. I will fight for the people of Timmins here, everywhere and always.
    Order. I want to remind members again that if they have had an opportunity to ask a question, they should take the opportunity to listen to the answer. If they have other questions and comments, they need to wait until the appropriate time.
    There is still some disrespect not only to the members who are speaking but also to the Chair. I just want to remind members to please be respectful.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Leader of the Opposition said that everything I had said was not true. I wonder whether he would step outside, where he does not have parliamentary privilege, and—
    I am sorry, but that is a point of debate.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. There are members of Parliament here who are very experienced and know the rules of the House. I just wish they would be respectful and follow those rules.
    The hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to know how the Leader of the Opposition plans to appeal to Quebeckers. We have heard him say outrageously incorrect things about mayors of our cities. Twelve mayors from my riding came to Parliament Hill yesterday.
    At some point, will the Leader of the Opposition come up with something different to say about Quebec mayors if he wants to appeal to people in Bloc Québécois ridings?
    Madam Speaker, I work for the people, not for politicians.
    When mayors are incompetent, whether they are from Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec City, Montreal or any other city in the country, I will say they are incompetent. Incompetent Bloc Québécois and Liberal politicians have doubled the cost of housing. That is not good for people. I work for those who can no longer pay their bills. If that hurts politicians, too bad. They are not my priority. Common-sense people are my priority.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, after eight long years, the Liberal government's war on the Canadian middle class is finally being realized. Inflation is up and house prices are up. Debt is up and bankruptcies are up. Canadians are visiting food banks in record numbers; 300,000 of them went in a single month in Toronto. One million more Canadians will visit a food bank next year than this year. People are joining Facebook groups to learn how to dumpster dive so they can feed their family.
    What is happening today is a far cry from the Canada we used to know and from the Canada many of us were promised. Canadians are asking why. Why does food cost more and more every single time they visit the grocery store? Why does gas cost $2 a litre? Why is it harder and harder to pay the bills at the end of every month? At the root of this complex problem is a simple explanation, just two words in fact: “carbon tax”. The Prime Minister’s carbon tax is adding more to the cost of nearly every basic necessity that anyone in this country buys anywhere.
    It is not complicated for Canadians. When the farmer who grows the food is taxed, and the trucker who brings the food is taxed, the family that eats the food ends up being taxed, every single family everywhere in the country. It is, however, a difficult concept for Liberals and their NDP masters to comprehend, because they do not talk to people anymore. The MPs who are being forced to defend the indefensible over there are just about pulling their hair out right now. They jump down our throats, huffing and puffing and spouting misinformation about rebates and money that people are getting back.
    However, they are using Liberal math. It is Liberal math that says that in Ontario, a family that pays $1,674 gets back $1,047, and then says that the family is better off. It is Liberal math that says that the Albertan who pays $2,943 and gets $2,032 is better off. It is Liberal math, like some bizarre fantasy, telling Canadians that less is more and that somehow they are better off. It is the same Liberal math that tells Canadians that budgets will balance themselves, that monetary policy is not important and that $60 million for arrive scam is some kind of accounting error.
    Canadians do not live in “Liberal Land”; they live in the real world. They look at their empty fridges at home. They look at the price of gas at the pumps. They do not do Liberal math; they do real math. The real math is getting harder every day as budgets, bank accounts and borrowing are stretched to the limit for everyone everywhere.
    The Liberals used to talk about the environment, until the caucus revolt from the Prime Minister's east coast MPs that forced him to admit that his tax was a tax, and that it was too much. Then he backed down from his signature fake environmental policy and gave them what they wanted, until, of course, the next election.
    The radical Minister of Environment had a different takeaway yesterday. He told Canadians that we cannot put climate change on hold, and I agree with him. That is why it is so infuriating to see the carbon tax used under the guise of somehow improving Canada's environmental performance. After eight years of the Prime Minister, we rank 62nd out of 67 countries when it comes to climate performance. The environment minister could have scaled more floors on the side of a tower than 62 by now. The only emissions target we ever met was during COVID, when the government shut everything down in this country. Our taxes are up. Our costs are up. Our emissions are going up.
    If the carbon tax does not give Canadians more money and it does not help the environment, then what are the Liberals doing? We know, and Canadians are finding out too: It makes the Prime Minister richer. There is more money flowing into the pockets of his Liberal coffers, where it can be funnelled to insiders and his well-connected friends. Those are the only people in this country who are better off after eight years. It means more money to spend on high-priced consultants, more money to spend on trips around the world and, yes, more money to somehow make an $80,000 app cost $60 million.
    We all know this, the true cost, the true impact and, yes, the true intention of the carbon tax. It really seems like a sick joke that the Prime Minister would choose to raise it once again. It is not by just a little; it is by a whopping 23% for all Canadian families, for farmers and for first nations, in less than two weeks. It is not just because the tax is being raised; it is also because it costs so much to achieve so little. That is the story of the current government.

  (1035)  

    It is also because it comes at probably the worst time for Canadians in a long time, probably since we last had a prime minister with the same last name as the current one. There are 51% of Canadians who are less than $200 away from bankruptcy, and a 23% increase will mean they are even closer, probably $200 more every year for the average family. There is more money flowing out of the wallet and not back into it. There is even more money to pay at the pump, at the grocery store and on the bills at the end of every month. It is a kick to Canadians who are already down, and it is no surprise that 70% of Canadians and 70% of premiers, including Liberal premiers, and even more opposition parties across the country oppose the increase. It is because they all know what we know: The tax is not worth the cost, and neither is the Prime Minister.
    The Prime Minister says that these Canadians and these premiers just do not have principles, but he has it all wrong. They have something that he has never understood; they have bills to pay, they have mouths to feed and they have to get to work every day. I have some advice for the Prime Minister and everyone else saying that things are wrong: Maybe it is time to finally look in the mirror instead of blaming everyone and everything else.
    For nearly two years, Conservatives have tried everything to force the government to listen to Canadians, but it just does not care. The Canadian people are tired of being taxed to death. They are tired of runaway inflation and runaway spending, and they are tired of being told it is all their fault. They deserve a say in this 23% tax increase, so today the motion of non-confidence in the Prime Minister will allow every Canadian to go to the polls in a carbon tax election and have their say. It is the only right thing to do when Canadians have been pushed so far to the limit after eight years of the Prime Minister. It is the only right thing to do when the increase literally means the difference between solvency and bankruptcy for so many.
     If the Liberal government is so confident in its carbon tax and so confident that everybody else is wrong, then it should not be afraid to let Canadians have their say and to weigh in. If the Liberal-NDP members from Atlantic Canada, rural Canada and, frankly, any part of Canada truly represent their constituents, then they would have the guts to stand up and vote against their boss today.
    It is long past time to axe the tax, and time is absolutely running out for Canadians right across the country, no matter where they live. However, there is hope on the horizon with a government led by the Leader of the Opposition, and Canadians will finally get their say in a carbon tax election. If they choose to vote with the Prime Minister today, we will eventually have a carbon tax election in this country, and Canadians will have a choice between a Liberal government that divides to conquer and taxes to spend, bolstered by an even more reckless NDP that exists only to say yes to everything the Prime Minister demands, and a party that will finally axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime.
    I will support the motion because we should let Canadians decide.

  (1040)  

    Madam Speaker, there are fundamental flaws in what people have just heard from the deputy leader of the Conservative Party, and that is that it spreads a lot of myths that are out there. For example, the member is trying to give a false impression. The reality is that over 80% of Canadians will receive more back in the form of a rebate than they pay for the carbon tax. She knows that. Those are real dollar figures. Their disposable income is going up.
    Why do the Conservatives continue to intentionally mislead Canadians? Do they really think Canadians are that stupid?
    Madam Speaker, we know that when someone is yelling at the top of their lungs about mistruths, they are not winning the argument. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, if someone is explaining, they are losing.
    Here are the facts from the Parliamentary Budget Officer. For a Nova Scotia family, the gross fiscal and economic cost is $1,500. The rebate the family will get is $963. That is a difference of $573. We know that the Liberals do not understand that $1,500 is bigger than $963, but do they understand that when a family gets $573 less, it is worse off?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. However, I would like to clarify a few things.
    The Conservatives believe that the carbon tax, which does not apply in Quebec, is the reason why people are lining up at food banks and riots are breaking out as food is being distributed.
    Perhaps they should tell the oil and gas companies to commit to a green transition and give back the money to food banks and people who need it.

  (1045)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member suggests that the carbon tax does not apply in Quebec. There is a second carbon tax in Quebec that raises the price of gas by 17¢ a litre. That is going to raise the cost of everything that uses that gas to transport, from the farm to the grocery store to the table. The member suggests that does not have an effect. If the member believes people eating at food banks has nothing to do with the carbon tax, I do not think I can help her.
    Madam Speaker, it is an extraordinary thing to say we are going to force an election that will cost $630 million.
    I agree with my hon. colleague that a leader needs the guts to stand up. On Monday night, the leader of the Conservative Party voted nine times in a confidence motion to support the government, but he did it hiding behind the curtain. This was on the night when we had the historic vote on peace in the Middle East and Gaza.
    He has a tendency to be missing in action when it is time to stand up. I could not get an answer from the member for Dairy Queen. However, tonight, if he is willing to take the government down, will he actually stand up and be in the House, or will he be off with his lobbyist chief of staff and her lobbyist friends eating canapés and getting backhanders?
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    The member has not been here long and I guess I have not been here long, but I do not think one can keep repeatedly referring to the presence or lack of presence of a member in the House. Twice he referred to the presence or lack of presence of the member in the House, and we are not allowed to do that. Is that not right?
    I want to remind members to please be respectful in the House when referring to members of Parliament. Every member of Parliament is an honourable member of Parliament.
    On that point of order, I see the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Madam Speaker, I was not saying he was not in the House. I was asking if he is going to show up. There is a substantive difference. Since it is about an election, he better—
    Again, I want to remind members they are not to say who is or who is not in the House.
    The hon. member for Thornhill has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, the member is actually incapable of being respectful to this institution, and soon, if he ever shows up in his riding, like the Leader of the Opposition pointed out earlier, if he ever takes a step into—
    There is a point of order from the hon. government deputy House leader.
    Madam Speaker, a fundamental principle of this chamber is that every member is treated with honour and is considered to be honourable. To say that the member is not even capable of having any respect completely goes against that tradition and that rule we have. I would ask, through the Speaker, for the deputy leader of the opposition to apologize and retract that comment.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I want to remind the hon. member that she had an opportunity to raise her point of order without being interrupted. I ask her and others to afford the same to other members.
    Also, I want to remind members to please be respectful toward each other here in the House. We are all honourable members. When that is not done in the proper fashion, we then have issues where the House is seeing some disorder, which is something we are having to rule on, unfortunately. We should not have to do that.
    The hon. member for Thornhill.
    Madam Speaker, it is always in order to talk about the competency or the incompetency of members of the House, particularly that member for Timmins—James Bay. If he bothered to go up in his riding, he would know what the people in his riding are saying, but he does not do that. He does not go there. He does not listen to anyone. The only person he listens to is his boss, the Prime Minister.
    Madam Speaker, when the Conservatives were in power, my community in Windsor had an unemployment rate of 11.2%. Under the Conservatives, Canada lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs.
    Can the hon. colleague speak to the incompetence of the Conservatives in terms of job creation?
    Madam Speaker, if the member had the courage to vote with his constituency, then he would hear them talk loud and clear about the incompetency of his own Prime Minister.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. There were still some interruptions being made when the hon. member was answering the question. Again, whether someone is answering or asking a question, I urge both sides to be respectful and allow those questions to be heard so that everyone, even those at home, can hear the questions and the answers.
    Resuming debate, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the leader of the government.

  (1050)  

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be able to rise to speak to this nonsense motion. I will obviously be voting against it. I would like to think that, if there was any common sense on the other side of the House, Conservatives would recognize just how foolish the motion is when they incorporate the fact that the price on pollution is something the Conservative Party campaigned on in the last federal election.
    Instead of trying to reflect the reality of real life today in Canada and the concerns about issues such as affordability and our environment, Conservatives choose to play this game in an attempt to participate in things such as a character assassination of the Prime Minister or the spread of false information, literally misinformation, to Canadians coast to coast to coast.
    I would like to put a few things on the record to try to highlight the degree to which Conservatives are misleading Canadians. Let there be no doubt about that. When they say, for example, that they are going to “axe the tax”, what they are really doing is also axing the rebate. For the vast majority of Canadians, if the Conservatives were successful in axing the tax, that little disposable income of 80% or more of Canadians would actually go down. It would go down because we know for a fact that a vast majority of Canadians receive more money through the rebate than they pay in carbon tax. The member for Kingston and the Islands used his own personal example.
    Canadians following the debate today are going to hear a lot of disinformation coming from Conservatives. I would recommend they look at the carbon tax they pay on the consumption of gas on an annual basis and the carbon tax they pay for heating their homes and then take a look at the carbon rebate. More than 80% of people will find that the rebate dollars are higher than the tax they are paying. By participating in this program, in the eight provinces that do, it means they are also contributing to a better and healthier environment. That is something in which the Progressive Conservative Party used to believe.
    Some might say that I am a bit biased because I sit on the Liberal benches and maybe I am being a little harsh on Conservatives. Everyone knows the names of Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark and Kim Campbell, who are former prime ministers. The leader of the official opposition started off talking about quotes. Let me provide a few quotes from those former prime ministers. The caveat I would put on this is that members have to realize that today's Conservative Party, that MAGA right party we have today, is not the same party of those former prime ministers I just listed off. Let me clearly demonstrate why that is the case.
    The leader of the Conservative Party started off talking about quotes. I have a quote for him. I believe this is from the Toronto Star. It is from Kim Campbell, who was not only Canada's first and only female prime minister but a Progressive Conservative prime minister.
    To quote the headline, it states that he is a word I cannot say—
    Mr. Rick Perkins: Where does she live?

  (1055)  

    I want to remind the hon. member for South Shore—St. Margarets that there will be an opportunity for questions and comments later, not right now.
    Again, I want to remind members to please respect the rules of the House.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, the headline quote that is in the paper is, “He's a liar and a hate-monger”, and that is coming from former prime minister Kim Campbell, who slams the opposition leader. If you take a look, it says that, in Ottawa, former prime minister Kim Campbell called the current leader of the Conservative Party a word starting with the letter “L” and a hate-monger. That is what the former Progressive Conservative prime minister said, suggesting that she will not vote for his party in the next federal election.
    That is from a former Progressive Conservative. People may say that it is only one prime minister, but I had another quote. This is what Joe Clark has to say about the modern MAGA right Conservative Party. I say “MAGA right” only because it is not the same as the Progressive Conservatives. Here is what Joe Clark, a former prime minister had to say, “I think it's a party that does not respect the progressive traditions of the Progressive Conservative Party and, consequently, does not reflect the country.... My party is over.” Again, this was from another Progressive Conservative prime minister of Canada.
    There are some more quotes from Kim Campbell. She said, “Well, I've never joined the Conservative Party of Canada. I think Joe Clark expressed it that he didn't leave the party, the party left him.... It is not the Progressive Conservative Party”.
    People need to be aware of this because we are seeing it in the decisions that are being made by the leader of the Conservative Party today. For example, the Conservatives made the decision to vote against the Canada-Ukraine trade agreement. That had more to do with the MAGA right moving into Canada through the leader of the Conservative Party today. That is no conspiracy. That is a reality. Those were former prime ministers who have recognized that the Conservative Party today is not progressive. It is a party that Canadians cannot trust—
     Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I want to remind members that there will be an opportunity to ask questions and comments at the appropriate time. There will be 10 minutes of it. I will ask members to please hold off on their thoughts and questions. Write them down. That way we will not have interruptions all the time.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, it does not stop with Joe Clark and Kim Campbell. What about Brian Mulroney? There was a poll that just recently came out where individuals across Canada, I believe about 80%, approved of Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative Party. That is not to be confused with the MAGA Conservative Party of today. What did Brian Mulroney have to actually say? He said, “Look, I led a Progressive Conservative government. We were very progressive in areas like international affairs with Mandela and human rights, the creation of the Sommet de la Francophone and all of those things, and in social policy as well. We were more conservative. Radio-Canada established last night, privatization, deregulation, low inflation, cutting government expenditures, we were more conservative than the Harper government. I thought that was a good mix. That's the way it should be for a Progressive Conservative government, but they amputated the progressive part of the name, which is okay, but you shouldn't amputate that part of our heritage.”
    The current Conservative Party has abandoned its heritage, according to Brian Mulroney. The member says—
    Mr. Rick Perkins: You know nothing of it.

  (1100)  

     I want to remind the hon. member that, if he does not stop, I will be asking him to leave the chamber.
    Mr. Rick Perkins: He knows nothing of it.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The hon. member is challenging the Chair now. Again, if he does not respect the request that has been made of him, he will have to leave the chamber.
    Madam Speaker, I will continue with the quote.
    Brian Mulroney, former prime minister, said, “I think they work better together”. He was talking about the progressive nature tied to the Conservative nature of the party. He said that it works “better together, when both are prominent, and Canadians feel more comfortable” with it.
    Let us think about that. We have Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, and Joe Clark all coming up with genuine, legitimate concerns with today's MAGA Conservative Party and the far right element that has infiltrated it. We can take a look at the elements of that far right and how in the States there is misinformation on social media on a daily basis, and that is exactly what we are seeing today on the floor of the House, whether it is from the leader of the Conservative Party or the deputy leader of the Conservative Party.
    The leader and the deputy leader of the Conservative Party continue to spread misinformation on a vital progressive piece of legislation and policy. A price on pollution is something that is essential to the development of any western nation. We see that first-hand.
    I take a look at what is happening around the world in the European Union and Ukraine. I can talk about Mexico. People often say that there is no price on pollution in the United States, and that is not true. There are a number of states in the U.S. that have it. It is also not only the federal government. The provinces of British Columbia and Quebec have it because it is a progressive way to ensure that polluters, heavy polluters in particular, pay their fair share for polluting.
    It is a policy that makes a whole lot of sense, and one only needs to take a look. Interestingly enough, in the 2008 election platform, Stephen Harper talked about putting a price on pollution. That was a part of their election platform, and there are 19 Conservatives who are here today who ran on that election platform, supporting a price on pollution then. That is not to mention the 100 who are in today's chamber who campaigned on a price on pollution. They knocked on doors and literally told Canadians through their election platform that they supported a price on pollution.
    All of that has been completely wiped out and forgotten across the way. Instead, they have done a complete, absolute flip-flop. They have abandoned the progressive nature of the Conservative Party, all in favour of having a bumper sticker, and the bumper sticker says, “Axe the tax”.
    What do they mean when they say, “Axe the tax”? As I said at the very beginning of my comments, they are trying to give Canadians the impression that they are going to, by axing the tax, give economic benefit to Canadians. Nothing could be further from the truth on that. That is absolutely and totally misleading Canadians. What they do not say is that axing the tax ruins the rebate. They would be ruining the carbon rebate. They would be destroying a program, a price on pollution policy, that makes a whole lot of sense, not only for today, but also into the future.

  (1105)  

    I get emails, and people in my riding who talk to me, about how the Conservatives are going to axe the tax. They do not have any idea of the rebate component of it. I do not know how many questions they have asked about April 1 and getting this increase on the carbon tax. They say it is a 23% increase. I think it is less than a penny a gallon. Conservatives are talking about that because they want to get Canadians upset. They want them mad. That is what they want.
    An hon. member: No, that is wrong.
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: No, it is right. It is less than penny a gallon. Take a look at the math oneself—
    There is starting to be some cross-debate. I want to remind members that there will be an appropriate time for questions and comments and to please wait until then.
    I want to remind members that, for the House to be able to flow properly, if people could respect the rules of the House, it would be much appreciated.
    Madam Speaker, I might have confused a few members across the way when I used the word “gallon” as opposed to “litre”. I used to pump gas by the gallon at 11 years old back in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and I guess that is why I got them a confused.
    However, it is less than a penny a gallon from what I understand, and I think it is about three cents a litre, but the point is that, when the Conservatives talk about that increase, what they do not say is that the rebate is increasing too. Whenever there is an increase in the carbon tax, there is also an increase in the carbon rebate.
    What does that really mean? When the leader of the official opposition says to Canadians, or more specifically to the people who live in Winnipeg North, the area I represent, that my constituents are going to have a higher disposable income if the Conservatives axe the tax, I say, “bull”, and members can fill in the blank on that one because that is just not true. The disposable income for 80% or more of my constituents, contrary to what the leader of the Conservative Party is saying, would go down if we were to axe the tax and trash the rebate, which is what the leader of the Conservative Party is really saying.
    Anyone in Canada can take a look at their gas carbon tax and their home heating carbon tax portion, and more than 80% will find that they will be receiving more back than they actually paid into it. At the same time, they are participating in a program that will deliver a healthier environment and would ultimately allow Canada as a whole to contribute, as do many other countries around the world, whether it is France, Italy, England, parts of the United States or Mexico. There are many countries contributing. Ukraine has been raised both today and during last night's debate on that particular issue. We recognize that it is a sound policy.
     Why does the Conservative Party want to continue to mislead Canadians on this particular issue? The simple answer is that it is hoping to fool Canadians, and that is it. It is a bumper sticker that sure sounds good when Conservatives say, “Axe the tax”. It sounds good, but at the end of the day, when that election time comes, Canadians will be aware of the misinformation that is being espoused by the Conservatives, through social media, in particular, virtually, on a daily basis. I will do my part in ensuring that people understand that the disposable income for a vast majority Canadians goes up. At the same time, they are contributing to a healthier environment. That is the reality. That is the truth, and that is the message that I am going to be giving to my constituents. I look forward to when the day comes for us to have that election. Hopefully, we will see Canadians, as I believe they will, not only kicking the tires but also looking into what the leader of the official opposition is saying.
    Look at the environment around us. It is not just the federal government. As I said, the Province of British Columbia has its own stand-alone price on pollution. The Province of Quebec has its own price on pollution. Mexico has a price on pollution. Many American states have a price on pollution. The European Union has a price on pollution. The list goes on. England and Ireland have a price on pollution. In the House of Commons, the Liberal Party supports it, the Bloc supports it, the NDP supports it and the Green Party supports it. Erin O'Toole, who was the leader of the Conservative Party and was booted out of the Conservative Party leadership, supported a price on pollution. That is not to mention, as I said, every one of the Conservatives who ran in the last election supported it, but they are the ones who did the flip-flop.

  (1110)  

    My argument is that we should not ruin a sound policy that is being adopted by countries around the world because some modern day mega-Conservative leader decides to have a bumper sticker that says “Axe the tax”, hoping to fool Canadians. That would be a mistake.
    Madam Speaker, I believe that member knows absolutely nothing about the history of this party, and he referred to quite a bit.
    I have been a member of this party since I was 17 years old. I knew Brian Mulroney; he was a friend of mine. He is lying in state and in repose. That member made the most classless statement I have ever heard in the House, while a prime minister is lying in repose, to try to slag the party that he led to victory, my party, which I served in. From his statement, the member knows nothing about that government and has no respect for the former prime minister.
    That party, my party, is the one that has defended Canadians more than any other. As a member of Parliament from Manitoba, why is he trying to mislead his constituents, saying that paying an average of $1,750 in carbon tax in Manitoba is less than the $1,200 they get back? Perhaps he has that same Liberal math inability and cannot add—
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I am so confident in every word I have said today that I would challenge that member, or any member of the Conservative Party who has a seat inside the House, to come to Winnipeg North and defend the policy position that the Conservative Party of Canada has adopted.
    I give my most sincere condolences to Brian Mulroney's family: his wife Mila, his children and grandchildren. There are many Canadians, 80%-plus, who think very fondly of Brian Mulroney. It is not out of disrespect for Brian Mulroney. What I am talking about is the motion that we have before us today. Let us think about it. We can talk about the acid rain treaty, Ukraine independence or trade. The other night I even complimented—
    We have to get to other questions.
    The hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona.
    Madam Speaker, it feels a little like Groundhog Day in here. Again, we have another speech from the member, which is not unusual in this place, but it was just Tuesday that we had this exact same debate on a motion brought forward by the Conservatives.
    This is starting to look, more and more, like a stunt, when the Conservatives continually use their opposition days to do the exact same thing, knowing what the exact same outcome will be. I do not know if they have seen the movie Groundhog Day. They may want to take some time to watch that.
    Right now in Alberta, we have an unprecedented drought. The wildfire season in Alberta began in February. I do not trust the that government is doing what needs to be done on climate change, but perhaps the member could talk about the fact that the Conservatives have no climate change plan whatsoever.

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, the member brings up a good point. When we look at the last couple of years, the Conservative Party has had approximately 20 opposition days on the issue of the price on pollution.
    The member is right in her assertion. There are many issues facing Canada that would be well served by having opposition day discussions or debate. However, that is for the opposition to ultimately determine what they want as an agenda item. They continue to want to choose this issue. Whether we have that debate today or during the next federal election, when that takes place in good time, I look forward to it. I welcome that debate.
    I hope Canadians will really get engaged on the whole issue of a price on pollution and the benefits of the rebates versus the tax. I believe there is a net gain for a vast majority of Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my friend from Edmonton Strathcona for putting the notion of Groundhog Day in my mind. It really is Groundhog Day when the Conservative Party's slogan is lifted word for word, rhyme for rhyme, from the British Columbia New Democratic Party's slogan in the 2008 provincial campaign, when the B.C. New Democrats, under Carole James, ran against the carbon tax.
    In fact, former premier Gordon Campbell, back in 2008, owed his re-election to the revenue-neutral, well-designed carbon tax brought into British Columbia by the relatively right-wing British Columbia Liberal Party.
    Could we ever have a serious discussion in this place about the actual climate crisis, its galloping threat to our country and how the Liberal government might still, at this late date, put together a real plan?
    Madam Speaker, I always find the leader of the Green Party to be a fountain of knowledge on the environment. She has a great history on it. My friend across the way paid a wonderful tribute to Brian Mulroney and highlighted how he was one of Canada's first powerful, well-spoken environmentalists.
     She raises a point that does need to be emphasized. There is so much more we can do on the environment, whether it is legislative measures or budgetary measures. I would like to think that over the last number of years, as a government, we have taken lead roles in both of those areas and have had a significant movement toward a healthier environment in Canada. We are demonstrating leadership around the world by some of the actions we have taken.
    It would be nice to talk more about initiatives, some that we have done and maybe some that we could do.
    Madam Speaker, the inflation rate in February was 2.8%, way below 3.1% expected by the private sector economists. It is much below the 8.2% that we saw in mid-2022. The grocery rate, food inflation, is 2.4%, way below the 3.4% in January, and well below the 11% that we saw in 2022 and 2023.
    Could the member explain how this lowering inflation rate and the increase in the carbon rebate that low-income families are going get this year will help them cope with the rising cost of living?
    Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister, and the government as a whole, has been very clear. We want an economy that works for all Canadians. It is supporting Canada's middle class and those aspiring to become a part of it. Nothing has changed in that approach.
    Day in, day out we work on economic policies that can lower inflation, which would include issues of affordability. We have rebate mechanisms, and the carbon rebate actually will help out. In fact, people will see that. Of the those four payments, the next one will come out on April 15, I believe. Many people start budgeting their monthly expenses based on those rebates.
    There are other ways financially that the government has been there to support Canadians. We still have a lot more work to do, but we are committed to doing the hard work that is necessary to get the economy working better for all Canadians.

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member said that the cost was going to go up by less than a penny a gallon. He did not reference whether that was an American gallon, which is 3.785 litres, or whether it was a Canadian gallon, which is 4.54 litres. I will note that the increase translates to 3.3¢, which is less than either of those two numbers.
    In a few moments, he is going to step into his lobby, interrupt his stream of, using his own language, bull, and members can fill in the blank that he puts into Hansard, and eat a lunch. That lunch will have been produced by folks on farms like mine that have received fertilizer inputs. It has been trucked here to the distribution centre.
    Would he please enlighten the chamber as to how much of the carbon tax refund will be accounted for in his lunch?
    Madam Speaker, I was pumping gas at 11 years old, so it was a Canadian gallon. I believe my numbers are fairly accurate, and I appreciate the comment regarding that. I can assure the member that I had a wonderful breakfast, but I will probably miss lunch.
    The point is that when we are looking at the price on pollution or the carbon tax, we are talking about a fraction of a percentage that has been attributed to it, whether it is Canada statistics or the Bank of Canada governor making that very clear. That is a false argument.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I do not know if I would go as far as to say that it is a pleasure to talk about the carbon tax.
     First, I would like to thank the Conservatives for having given us a break. Yesterday, we did not talk about the carbon tax. We talked about other things. Still, we had a day's respite. Since they had a day to talk about something else, we can see that they are beginning to diversify their intellectual assets and issues to debate. I would like to thank them.
     Obviously, today we are debating a motion that is unacceptable, because it is dishonest and misleads the House. I am even surprised that this motion complies with the rules of the House. Not only does it suggest that the carbon tax will apply in Quebec, which is not the case, but it tells us that the increase will take place on April 1, whereas it is spread out over a number of years. The motion is simply dishonest and, above all, it is a motion that rejects Quebec. I will call on my past experience as an educator and do some teaching. I will ask the Conservatives to repeat the following after me. The carbon tax does not apply in Quebec. Even when I say it slowly, they do not understand. We could not go any slower than that, but they still do not understand.
     We voted many times to say that we had lost confidence in the government. We did so every time it was in Quebec’s interest. Since 2015, we have not voted in favour of any budget bill. We voted against the emergency measures when we thought they were contrary to Quebec’s interests. If the Conservatives wanted to move non-confidence, they could have found a whole host of unacceptable things that Quebeckers do not like. There is nothing in the motion about the absence of $6 billion in health transfers. There is nothing to protect Quebec when it comes to immigration powers. A government could be brought down over these issues.
     There is nothing about returning Quebec's share of the federal cultural budgets. They want to shrink government, but they do not want to transfer power to Quebec. When it comes to infrastructure, municipalities could be allowed to make their own decisions without having to follow federal orders. The Conservatives have no interest at all in that. We could allow Quebec to implement its own environmental laws. The Conservatives want to shrink the federal government, but they want to maintain control. Someone needs to explain to me what kind of economic conservatism that is. What about Quebec’s right to withdraw from federal programs with full compensation? They want more government, but they are Conservative. There is the lifting of conditions on housing. There are tons of things the Conservatives could have put in their motion to satisfy Quebec, so that we could vote to show our lack of confidence in the government, but they decided to reject Quebec.
     I have said this many times, but nothing has changed. The Conservatives are trying to make Quebeckers believe that the carbon tax applies to Quebec. It does not apply directly to Quebec. We have our own cap and trade system. It does not apply indirectly by regulation, because our clean fuel regulations are more restrictive. I explained it again to a Conservative from western Canada yesterday in the lobby. His eyes almost popped out of his head. He did not even know that. The carbon tax does not apply indirectly to Quebec because, according to the calculations of the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Bank of Canada, the impact of the federal carbon tax on the price of goods in Quebec is in the thousandths of a percentage point. Now the Conservatives are telling us that, if there are variations in the price of emissions allowances in Quebec’s system, it is the federal government’s fault. The member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis helped implement Quebec’s system when she was a Liberal cabinet minister in Quebec.
     The Conservatives did not make these statements in just any committee. The member for Lethbridge made a statement Tuesday in the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. In the newspapers in her riding, this member said that francophone artists from Quebec were a bunch of losers who could not achieve commercial success. The Conservative member for Lethbridge who said this was suddenly interested in the impact of the carbon tax on Quebec culture. She cares about the impact of the carbon tax on losers in Quebec. She said it was very serious.
     Of course, there is a knight in shining armour on the committee, the member for Lévis—Lotbinière, who came to his colleague's rescue when he said that he would join the member for Lethbridge in explaining the collateral damage of the carbon tax on the arts community. I would like to tell the member for Drummond that he understands very well that Quebec chose the carbon exchange system adopted almost ten years ago, but because of pressure from a Liberal government.
    Yet, it was the Harper government in Ottawa that was regulating clean fuels. It was the Harper government.

  (1125)  

     As we know, under Quebec's system, that is to say the system implemented by the Liberal member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, which I like to repeat because she was a Liberal in the Charest government, the number of permits traded is set in advance. It was determined by an order in council before the current government came to power. We know the number of permits that will be traded, even if there is a change of government. In addition, their price is increasing.
     The Conservatives are trying to make Quebeckers believe that the federal carbon tax applies to Quebec. They must be at their 18th carbon tax. To hear them talk, that is all there is in the economy: carbon taxes. That is what they are trying to make us believe.
     It is true, however, that the price of carbon has gone up in Quebec. The Conservatives blame this on “justinflation” yet, in Europe, the price of permits has increased from 20 euros to 100 euros since 2005, and they are planning to reduce the number of permits by 62% by 2030. “Justinflation” has an impact as far away as Europe? Everything is in everything—
    I would remind the member that he must not use the name of the Prime Minister in the House. He has done that twice now.
    The hon. member for Mirabel.
    Madam Speaker, for the Conservatives, everything is in everything. When it comes time to mislead Quebeckers and lie to them, everything is in everything. Is it the federal government's fault if the price of carbon went up in New Zealand and Switzerland?
     That is what the Conservatives are trying to make Quebecers believe. Why? Because, according to the member for Lévis—Lotbinière, everything is in everything. One of Voltaire's characters, who is a favourite of my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot with whom I will be sharing my time, Pangloss, was always trying to come up with causal connections. The Conservatives are making connections indiscriminately.
     For these Conservative members from Quebec, everything is in everything. It is because of ice cream sales that more people drown in the summer. It is because Scarlett Johansson is in so many movies that the planet is heating up. It is because of the Internet that there are no more fish in the St. Lawrence estuary. That is their logic. The carbon tax and the price of carbon in Quebec went up at the same rate as Internet rates. Is there a connection? No, absolutely not. The Conservatives' attitude just shows that they will do anything for oil and that they will do anything to abandon Quebec and not do anything about Quebec's economy. That is why we want an independent Quebec.
     Since 2017, the federal government has injected $1.75 billion into major industrial clusters to develop Canada's and Quebec's economy. Montreal got the artificial intelligence cluster. The federal government invested $1.75 billion across Canada, one-fifth of that going to Quebec, but is giving the oil companies $83 billion in aid over the next 10 years. We are giving up 237 potential Canadian Silicon Valleys to invest in oil. That is 237 industrial clusters.
     At the same time, there is no national forestry policy for Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and eastern and northern Quebec, and no aerospace policy for Mirabel, Longueuil and Dorval. We are still waiting for that. There is no policy on generic or patented drugs. We lost all that to Manitoba, because western Canada had to have its share of the clusters. There is no industrial cluster for automation in Drummondville, despite the fact that Quebec is a world leader. They are taking $83 billion of Quebec taxpayer money, one-fifth of which is paid by people who get a paycheque every two weeks from Quebec. We are paying for the oil. Do members know what they tell us then? They tell us that Quebeckers are getting equalization payments.
     The reality today is that the Conservatives, by misleading Parliament, are telling us that they want to trigger an election about an issue that has nothing to do with Quebec. Parliament, being sovereign, will make its own decision. The day an election is called and we stand before our constituents, Bloc Québécois members will be proud to have been the adults in the House. We will be proud to be in the party that, every day we sat here, even if it was not easy, even if we were faced with disinformation, even if, on the ground, we were faced with the Conservatives’ institutionalized lying, had the courage to stand up to the Conservative Party and the other parties and to stick to the issues that will ensure Quebeckers a prosperous future. We will always be proud of that.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, I will undoubtedly repeat the same thing as my colleague: everything is in everything.
     Quebec has the carbon exchange, while the other provinces have the carbon tax. When the carbon tax in the other provinces exceeds Quebec’s carbon exchange, Quebec will either have to adjust the carbon exchange upward or agree to implement the carbon tax so that Quebec pays the same price. In recent years, the carbon exchange has been higher than the carbon tax, which means that Quebec paid more for a litre of gas. Now we are nearing equality, and soon the carbon tax in the other provinces will be more expensive than Quebec’s carbon exchange, which means Quebec will have to pay.
     Does my colleague think that the Liberal government will impose the carbon tax on Quebec?
    Madam Speaker, the member for Mirabel thinks that the member for Lévis—Lotbinière does not understand anything.
     Quebec opted for a system that regulates the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted. We have a number of emission permits that decreases every year and ensures that, in 2035, regardless of the price of permits on the market, we will achieve our goal. That is why, whether the member believes it or not, the federal government did not ask Quebec to raise its price. Quebec does not control prices.
     What the member for Lévis—Lotbinière is saying implies that the Government of Canda could tell California how to run its carbon market. I hope he realizes how ridiculous what he just said in the House is.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague put together his arguments very well and delivered his intervention very passionately, with probably a lot of assistance from the university he attended, which is the best university in Canada.
    In all seriousness, what I hear a lot is misinformation coming from Conservatives that somehow the federal backstop is applied in Quebec, when in reality Quebec has been very progressive on pricing pollution through the cap and trade model, with California and other states in the United States. Unfortunately Ontario used to be a part but has now taken itself out of it. Quebec has been so progressive that the tax does not even apply to Quebec, yet day after day after day, Conservatives get up and say that it does.
    Why does he think Conservatives are doing that? Does he think they are specifically trying to spread misinformation to Quebeckers?

  (1135)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I think that the Conservatives are exploiting people's distress in the face of a situation that has been difficult, inflation and a tough economic situation. I also think that the Conservatives from Quebec are kowtowing to their leader to get ministerial positions, and that involves compromising their values and principles.
    Now, Quebeckers are benefiting from the cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances. Since Quebec has clean energy, we have fewer corporate polluters. We therefore have fewer requests for such allowances, which means that we are able to meet the targets that we set at a lower cost.
    That is why the impact of the cap-and-trade system on Quebeckers' pockets is much smaller than what we would see in the western provinces, where there is a lot of pollution. Quebeckers decided to use their environmental sovereignty to set up an effective, functional program that benefits Quebec consumers, and we intend to keep that system.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Mirabel. His speeches are always passionate and informative.
    I would like to add a comment. That same member from Lethbridge called me a dictator in the House just because I wanted to protect Quebec artists who are leading the way and deserve to be supported. Wanting to protect artists from Quebec does not make me a dictator.
    I would like to come back to my colleague's question. How can disinformation have gone so far that Conservatives are voting against the agreement with Ukraine, saying that it will increase the carbon tax in Ukraine? That makes no sense.
    Madam Speaker, I always get a kick out of listening to the Conservatives say that they are for the free market and capitalism. When it comes time to help our media, suddenly we have to allow market forces to decide and let our media disappear. When it comes time to promote our culture and help us defend our artists, then we have to allow the free U.S. market decide and let our artists disappear. However, when it comes time to take billions and tens of billions of dollars of Quebeckers' money to pay for a pipeline, suddenly we need government intervention.
    As we have heard here, there are Conservatives who, in Mulroney's day, participated in privatizing crown corporations within the Mulroney government. They are seated today and have never publicly come out against the fact that we give tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money toward pipelines. That is Conservative inconsistency.
    If anyone wants me to start with the inconsistencies of the member for Lethbridge, or other members of that caucus, I am game. We could have a take-note debate about it one of these nights.
    Madam Speaker, let me say at the outset and unequivocally that we do not have confidence in the Liberal government. My colleagues and I have no problem putting that on the record in this Parliament. That is why we have voted against the government on confidence votes, such as budgets and throne speeches, at almost every opportunity over the past few years. Today the Conservatives are calling for a confidence vote, but they did not just move a motion calling on Parliament to declare non-confidence in the government. The motion does not say simply that the House hast lost confidence in the government. Rather, the motion links that confidence to a specific issue.
    What, then, could be the issue that warrants the House toppling the government and forcing Canada into an election? Is it immigration? No, because the Conservatives agree with the Liberals on that. Is it the billions of dollars paid annually to oil companies, which continue to play fast and loose with the price at the pump? No, because the Conservatives agree with the Liberals on that. Is it the nationalization of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which cost $34 billion to build, and which will mostly be paid for by taxpayers? No, because the Conservatives agree with the Liberals on that. Is it about outsourcing entire areas of government management to large corporations? No, because the Conservatives agree with the Liberals on that. Is it about challenging Quebec's secularism? No, because the Conservatives agree with the Liberals on that. Is it about eliminating Quebec's agricultural model? No, because the Conservatives agree with the Liberals on that. Is it about first nations issues? No, because the Conservatives agree with the Liberals on that. Is it about medical assistance in dying? No, because the Conservatives agree with the Liberals on that. Is it about the national and constitutional issue? No, because the Conservatives agree with the Liberals on that.
    We are witnessing the Ottawa coalition in all its glory. How ironic to hear the Leader of the Opposition saying earlier that the only difference between the Bloc and the Liberals is that they disagree on which city should be the capital. For one thing, that is utterly false. For another, we do agree that there is a pretty big difference between a capital where we make up less than one-quarter and a capital where we make up 100%. That right there is an irreconcilable difference, and the Conservatives are Liberals on that subject, too.
    These issues are deeply important to Quebeckers, but the motion is not about these issues. The Conservatives say their motion is fully in tune with Quebeckers' interests, so what is it about? It is about a tax that does not apply in Quebec. The Conservatives' motion calls for an election that would serve as a de facto referendum on raising the carbon tax in the rest of Canada. In actual fact, not raising the carbon tax in the rest of Canada, or cancelling it altogether, could hurt Quebec. If the rest of Canada stops pricing pollution while Quebec continues to do so with its own system, the carbon exchange, households will be at a disadvantage. Let me remind everyone that the carbon exchange was set up by a Liberal government that included the current member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, and it was hailed by the current member for Louis-Saint-Laurent while they were both MNAs. That makes sense.
     Today, the Conservative Party of Canada is proposing a referendum election to push for a tax and climate injustice at the expense of Quebec’s competitiveness. At least it is clear. We can say that Quebec’s contract with Erin O’Toole is long gone. This also shows us just how insignificant the Quebec wing is within its party. In fact, I find it hard to believe that they themselves do not understand it. Almost all of them stood firmly behind the very Liberal Jean Charest, their leader and the father of the carbon exchange, so I cannot believe that they do not understand this. Even if the leader of the official opposition says today that Quebec is very important to him, we can clearly see that he does not even listen to his own members from Quebec.
    There has been quite a scandal surrounding the matter of energy and energy prices, but the scandal is not the carbon tax. While ordinary citizens are struggling to make ends meet, some people are lining their pockets. While ordinary citizens are being hard hit by inflation, a tiny minority is making record profits. In recent years, the oil and gas extraction sector raked in record profits of $38 billion over three years, and half of that was made in 2022 alone.

  (1140)  

    This is hardly the inflationary reality facing the constituents of all members of the House. Since 70% of the shareholders of these companies are foreigners, that money is not even staying within Canada.
    What is even more outrageous is the fact that the gift is doubled. Users pay at the pump, but since they are also taxpayers, they also send their taxes to Ottawa, which sends the revenues from those taxes to the ultra-rich so that they can continue to live the good life. It seems to me that they do not need any gifts given the record profits they have been making in recent years. I do not think they need them.
    In the last two budgets, the federal government stated its intention to implement six tax credits for oil companies. According to the information provided by the Department of Finance, oil companies will receive a total of $83 billion by 2035. Is that the green transition in Ottawa? I am relying on the Department of Finance's numbers, but we all know that the government tends toward cost overruns in general. I do not think that it will cost any less than that in the end.
    These oil and gas companies are the Conservatives' real friends, not the poor people who have to line up at food banks or struggle to find housing. Someone tell them to stop this nonsense. We do not believe them. We did not believe them before, and we believe them even less now.
    If the Conservatives had moved a non-confidence motion to take a stand against the huge profits of oil and gas companies or end the big corporate welfare system funded at taxpayers' and users' expense, we would probably have come onboard. However, a motion like this one just makes me want to tell them to stop wasting our time.

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech, which certainly lacked subtlety. I just want to double-check one thing. I think my colleague is going to vote with the Liberals yet again to shore up a corrupt government that is costing Canadians a fortune and causing a host of problems.
    Can my colleague simply tell the House whether he is going to vote with the Liberal government yet again?
    Madam Speaker, we should make a note of the date. Today is March 21, 2024, and a Conservative has just told me that I lack subtlety. Now we have seen it all. That being said, we are also no strangers to surprises in Parliament.
    I will simply respond by repeating what I have already said: We do not have confidence in this government. However, the Conservatives are talking about overthrowing a government and triggering an election over a motion based on a false premise that is an affront to Quebec. Given the current economic context, triggering an election on spurious grounds is extremely serious. As I said, we would have backed the Conservatives if their motion had included an issue that actually affects Quebeckers, especially if that issue were not rooted in a position that is harmful to Quebeckers.
    I would like to hear the Conservatives truly denounce oil and gas company profits one day, because that is the real scandal.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member talked a lot about the handouts to big oil and gas. We just heard that the Trans Mountain pipeline is going to cost taxpayers $34 billion. That money could have gone into climate solutions.
    We had the environment minister come to the environment committee, and I asked him if it was a mistake. He refused to answer. He said that the question should be for the finance minister. I told him that he was at the cabinet table and that he makes decisions with the government, yet he still refused to take accountability for the decision.
    Could you talk about the lack of courage from the Liberals when it comes to taking on oil and gas?
    I will not talk about that, and I will remind the member that she is to address questions and comments through the Chair and not directly to the member.
    The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, through you, I will respond to my colleague.
    I would say that this undermines two things. First, it undermines the very idea of government, that a government must govern. It also undermines the very idea of the often ridiculous parliamentary system that we use, which is based on the principle of ministerial responsibility. The government must be accountable to Parliament.
    I will admit that I was unaware of the incident my colleague mentioned. This is the first I have heard of it. Unfortunately, I am not surprised. We have a government representative who, in answering the parliamentarians to whom he is supposed to be accountable in a committee, says that it is not his responsibility even though it is something that is completely under his purview. He could simply say that he does not have the information. That is one thing. That is honest. However, for him to say that it is not his responsibility, when his government is meant to be accountable to parliamentarians, does not make sense to me.
    Madam Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague from Victoria.
    The Trans Mountain pipeline is a huge scam that flies in the face of climate action. It comes at an unbelievable cost of over $34 billion, for a pipeline that makes no sense, which is what the private sector, in the shape of Kinder Morgan, had decided.
    I would like to hear my Bloc Québécois colleague's thoughts on that.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, let us speak plainly. My colleague knows our position on that pipeline.
    Let us not forget that, generally speaking, fossil fuels are archaic. We need a transition. That does not mean that people will start working in that area overnight. A transition means having a plan. It means starting at point A and, in a few years, arriving at point B. We need to plan ahead, year by year.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Right now, Canadians are struggling. They are struggling with the cost of living and paying for rent, groceries and medication. They are struggling because they are also feeling the profound impacts of the climate crisis. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in the wildfires last year. Hundreds of people died in the heat dome that hit British Columbia. There have been hurricanes, drought and extreme flooding. The climate crisis is here now.
    Unfortunately, there is a party on one side of the House that denies that climate change is even a crisis. On the other side of the House, there is a party that makes promises, breaks promises and talks about climate action but does not take the action necessary that would match the scale and urgency of the crisis we are in.
    I have heard from so many people in my home community of Victoria who care about the environment. They want to protect their families. They are choking on smoke during the summers. They are seeing the profound impacts this crisis is having across our country. They are also very concerned about how they are going to make the rent next month or pay their mortgages. They are very concerned about the skyrocketing costs of food, gas, medication, everything. People are struggling to get by.
    Unfortunately, they do not have a government that is looking out for them. Instead, we see the people at the very top, CEOs of the wealthiest corporations, making record profits. The oil and gas industry is gouging Canadians at the pump, continuing to rake in billions of dollars and then getting handouts from the government in carbon capture and storage and billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies that consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments have been giving them for decades.
    Grocery store CEOs are making millions of dollars while everyday Canadians are struggling to afford their bills. While the Conservatives today have put forward a motion pretending that they care and want to give Canadians a break, New Democrats know that corporate greed is what is driving up inflation. Corporate greed is driving up the cost of groceries.
    Real estate developers and rich investors are treating our housing market like a place to get rich. When they look at the housing market, they see something great that is working for them. When everyday Canadians experience the housing market, it is a crisis. It is scary. It is scary for people not knowing whether they will be renovicted. It is scary for them not to know, if they lose their homes, whether they will be able to find one they are able to afford or whether they are going to be able to pay their mortgages next month.
    The Conservatives' governing body, 50% of it, is made up of lobbyists from these very industries: real estate investors, oil and gas, pharmaceutical companies. It is no wonder they do not want to take on corporate greed. It is no wonder they refuse to put forward solutions that would actually tackle the inequity that exists in our country.
    On the other side of the House, while the Liberals talk about climate action and affordability, they will not take the action needed to take on these big corporations. They refuse to address the climate emergency with the urgency and scale that is required. To be honest, if we have an option between climate denial and climate delay, the result is the same. It is climate inaction. People will continue to struggle. What people in Canada see more and more is that the climate crisis is a pocketbook issue. When crops fail, when there are multi-year droughts, when wildfires impact communities, the cost of groceries goes up.

  (1155)  

    When we have oil and gas companies, and rich CEOs at the head of grocery store chains making record profits, and everyday Canadians struggling with the cost of living and with the impacts of the climate crisis, one would think we would have a government that would take action.
    There are solutions. We could implement a windfall profits tax on oil and gas companies and could put that money into retrofitting people's homes, into building public transit, into the climate solutions we know would make a difference and into renewable energy. Instead, we have a government that has invested $35 billion into the Trans Mountain pipeline. We know that the oil sands have been ramping up production in anticipation of the Trans Mountain pipeline opening.
     Imagine, in a climate crisis, ramping up oil and gas production so that they could ship raw bitumen to the coast, threatening our coastal communities, the ecosystems and the very livelihood of coastal communities and threatening indigenous communities. It is so disheartening.
     It makes Canadians cynical when a government declares a climate emergency, and the very next day, it approves the Trans Mountain pipeline. It makes people cynical when the Prime Minister gets up and says that he believes in climate change and the climate crisis but then puts forward an oil and gas cap that is so watered down that it does not even meet their own weak climate targets. It does not even meet our Paris Agreement.
    This is not climate leadership. Canadians should not have to choose between bad and worse or between deny and delay. Let us implement a windfall tax on big oil and gas. Let us make sure that all low- and middle-income Canadians have access to heat pumps. Let us make sure that we are investing in our public transit system, in reducing our emissions and in ensuring that we invest in renewable energy.
    There are billions of dollars that the Liberal government continues to hand out to wealthy oil and gas CEOs in the form of fossil fuel subsidies that could be going into climate solutions. However, we will not hear either of those parties talking about moving the billions of dollars that they hand out to big and oil gas through carbon capture and storage or though the tax breaks to the oil and gas industry. We will not hear them talking about moving that money into supporting communities impacted by the climate crisis.
    We could fund a youth climate corps and could employ young people in the industries, in the jobs of the future, in responding to climate disasters, in making our communities more climate resilient and in bringing down our greenhouse gas emissions, in retrofitting our homes and in changing over our infrastructure to green infrastructure to ensure that we build an economy and a country that are climate safe and that is climate resilient.
    Every day I hear from Canadians who are worried about their future, and they are also worried about right now. Canadians are struggling with the cost of living. They are struggling, seeing the impacts of the climate crisis. They want a government that would take on the culprits, the people who are fuelling this crisis and the people who are gouging Canadians. It is time we had a government that looks out for everyday Canadians, not just the people at the very top, not just those CEOs who are ripping people off.
    It is time that we take care of Canadians who are seeing their costs go up, who are seeing their communities, sometimes, devastated by extreme flooding, by continued drought and by wildfires. Wildfire season is starting in February. We now know that Canada has the worst air pollution in North America. Last year, we had the best in North America. Now, because of wildfires, the top 13 worst polluted cities in North America are here in Canada.
    I want to finish by saying that Canadians deserve better. Canadians deserve a government, and every party, that is fighting the climate crisis like we want to win.

  (1200)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, all day, and indeed every day for months now, the Conservatives have been blaming the carbon tax for everything. If the culture sector is in trouble, it is because of the carbon tax. If people ask for MAID, it is because of the carbon tax. If people are lining up at food banks, it is because of the carbon tax. It reminds me of Plume Latraverse, who sang “it's El Niño's fault again”. Simply replace the words “El Niño” with “the carbon tax” and, voila, it is the Conservative platform.
    I would like to hear my colleague's comments on the food bank issue. What we are hearing in Quebec is that the cost of food is higher primarily because of climate change. That is what people are telling us. Farmers are struggling because of drought or excessive rainfall. I would like to hear my colleague's comments about the cost of food going up because of climate change and the fact that the Conservatives are still denying the existence of climate change.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member has it exactly right. The climate crisis is impacting food costs. We know that there are multi-year droughts in British Columbia and in Alberta and that crops are being impacted. Just this week, the Province of British Columbia created a water infrastructure fund with $80 million to support farmers because they know what is coming. We have seen the impacts of this multi-year drought on farmers and on our crops. It is felt by consumers at the grocery store, and costs are rising. The experts have communicated this very well.
    It is not the carbon tax that is making groceries so expensive; it is the climate crisis, and it is also corporate greed. Rich CEOs, the Galen Westons of the world, are making record profits, and they are gouging Canadians. We need a government that will take this on.
    Madam Speaker, I think my hon. friend from Victoria and I agree on many things. Will she agree with me that it is never too late, even after $34 billion has been wasted on building the Trans Mountain pipeline, to refuse to open it?
    The use of the Trans Mountain pipeline will have the effect of increasing greenhouse gases from the oil sands and will massively increase the risk of a dilbit spill in the Salish Sea, which cannot be cleaned up.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her ongoing advocacy on this.
    The Trans Mountain pipeline is a complete disaster. It is an economic and environmental boondoggle. We do not want to see the increase in bitumen on our coasts, the increase in tanker traffic and the impacts on coastal marine ecosystems and on emissions globally. This project is a disaster; it should have never happened.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for Victoria for highlighting the tremendous risks that the climate crisis presents to Canadians and in particular to young people.
    We have heard recently from young people across the country, from coast to coast, about the need to ensure that young people are at the forefront of action in this country. We know there are solutions to the climate crisis that young people so desperately want to be involved in, particularly their work in promoting the Youth Climate Corps.
    Can the member speak about the importance of having youth at the forefront of what will be the devastating consequences of climate change if we do not act?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his ongoing advocacy for the Youth Climate Corps.
    We co-hosted a Youth Climate Corps town hall, and we had hundreds of young people join us. There were people from in-person watch parties in 16 communities across Canada who urgently want a government to take action and who want to get involved and to actually make a tangible difference. A youth climate corps could employ young people in the climate solutions, could train them up in the jobs of the future and could give them access to training and to education.
    We know that young people feel the climate crisis acutely. Over 50% of them have said that they are so concerned about climate change that it impacts their daily lives. The vast majority of them are so concerned that it is impacting how they live and how they are able to engage. We need to give young people a pathway to make a difference. The Youth Climate Corps is a way we can do this—

  (1205)  

    We have to resume debate.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in Parliament. On my way over here, I had to almost elbow my way through the big long line of Conservatives with their phones, doing selfie videos, saying that they were here in Parliament today, that they were going to huff and puff, and that they might blow the House down tonight, and then they asked people to please send money to their addresses as quickly as they could.
    The price of a federal election is $630 million. If we tell our constituents and the people of Canada that the member for Carleton, the official opposition leader, is going to cost the Canadian taxpayer $630 million in an election because things are so desperate and people need to stand up, then we certainly expect him to be here to do that work if it is that serious.
    Just this past Monday, we had nine confidence votes. For those who watch Conservative TikTok, I will give them a little explanation. A confidence vote causes an election, yet we saw all the dutiful backbench Conservatives vote to show confidence in the government. Now, three days later, it is the “huff and puff and they may blow the House down” strategy when there are going to be nine confidence votes tonight.
    Given the importance of this and given the fact that we would plunge the nation into an election at this time, I really hope to see the member who lives at Stornoway standing here and leading his troops because it is one of the concerns I have had.
    I have been accused of making claims about his background and about the fact that he apparently worked for Dairy Queen. I am willing to retract that, because we actually do not know if he worked at Dairy Queen. I have tried to find what his job résumé was before he became a professional political “whatever he has been his whole life”. Some say he had a paper route, and others say he worked at Dairy Queen. It does not seem that he actually may have done both. However, if he worked at Dairy Queen, I am sure they taught him that he had to show up, because showing up is a fundamental thing we learn in jobs.
    When I was younger and was trying to feed my two young daughters by working on construction sites, I was told if I was not ready to go with all my tools by 7:30 in the morning, do not to bother to show up. I had to pay the rent at the end of the month, so I learned to show up. I raise this because there is a pattern with the member.
    I remember when he said that he was going to stand in the House and speak until the budget fell. That was extraordinary. All the little Conservatives who repeat all his talking points and who get the gold stars, all stood around him. They were going to stay in the House until he brought the House down and would cause an election. Then, after about two hours, he ran out of gas because he ran out of slogans. When one's entire electoral platform is a bumper sticker slogan, even the member who lives at Stornoway gets tired, so after two hours, he gave up and went home, but he thought they were going to have an election.
    I remember, before Christmas, he said he was going to keep us voting in the House until Christmas. We came and waited, and that never happened. Again, I do not know whether he was off having canapés and mojitos with Jenni Byrne, the lobbyist for Loblaws, and her staff, who are apparently lobbying the federal government through Forecheck Strategies, but we did not see him. All the poor schleps were left here for two nights doing the hard lifting of voting against the government.
    What did they vote against? They voted against support for Ukraine, and that was actually one time he showed up; he showed up to vote against Ukraine. He had to be on the record that he voted against Ukraine, because Tucker Carlson would have been displeased. They voted against clean water on reserves. They wanted to get that on the record. They showed up and voted against a national suicide hotline, because they were going to force an election. I felt bad for my colleagues in the Conservative Party who dutifully stayed up all night when the member for Carleton was having canapés at fundraisers. We did not vote until Christmas, but he was going to bring the House down.

  (1210)  

    On Monday night, there was a historic opportunity to bring the government down, and he was voting from behind the curtain. That was the night we moved the historic vote for peace in Gaza, a vote that has been recognized around the world. Numerous other jurisdictions are now following Canada's lead because the New Democrats showed up that night. We showed what it means to come to work every day and work, to find a compromise plan to recognize the need to deal with the horrific death of innocent children in Gaza. We showed what it means to say that the terrorist attacks by Hamas should be condemned and that the people of Israel have a right to live in peace, but, because of the systemic killing of journalists, aid workers and children, the Netanyahu government cannot be given any more weapons. The New Democrats showed up, and that was historic.
    Again, I would advise the member, who probably puts some ice cream and walnuts on a Dairy Queen banana float, that if he is going to be a leader of this country, he should show up and stand up at these historic moments. He does not get to go off to Stornoway, have canapés and leave the poor schleps on the backbench to do the heavy lifting. Monday night was an opportunity and he missed it.
    With respect to the Conservative bumper sticker slogans, one has to put three or four of them on side by side now. Today the member comes in again, and this is the moment he says that he is going to axe the tax and force an election. He says he is putting $630 million on the line. Will he be here tonight?
    In 2021, when the Liberals decided to go to an election, people were telling us to get back to work. They wanted us to work in here and get something done. They asked what I was going to do if I went back to Parliament. I said that we were going to get national dental care, because we heard about that at the doors. I said that we would fight to get national pharmacare if they gave us a check to hold the Liberals to account.
    We will hold the Liberals to account, because that is what we do. We show up for work. It is not a hard concept. Canadians are hard-working people; they show up for work. They understand. Canadians are not dummies. The member who lives in a 19-room mansion with his own private chef goes on about a carbon tax affecting the price of food. Canadians know that it is the relentless gouging by Loblaws doing so. We have never, ever heard the member speak about Loblaws. Canadians understand this when they find out that Jenni Byrne, his chief boss, was a lobbyist for Loblaws.
    Last night, a working-class guy wrote to me. He has to drive his truck to get to work and drives 50 to 100 kilometres each day to get out to the mine. He asked about the carbon tax, because he saw that the price of gas in our region went up 20¢ overnight. I told him he was getting gouged. Then he asked if I could break down the carbon price for him. I told him it was three cents a litre. Then he asked where the other 17¢ went. I told him that it went to Rich Kruger, the CEO of Suncor, who told his investors at the height of the worst climate catastrophe we have experienced that there was an urgent need for them to make even more money.
    The oil industry in Canada last year made $78 billion, and we have never heard the member who lives at Stornoway talk about that. We have never heard a single Alberta Conservative stand up to talk about how we are four years into a brutal drought. The Oldman River reservoir is almost empty. I was in Edmonton in January; there was no snow on the ground and it was above zero. We have never heard a single Conservative talk when, because of the climate catastrophe, fire season is announced in northern Alberta in February. Conservatives are climate deniers, and there is a reason for that. If they admitted that the planet is on fire and children cannot go out because of the catastrophic fumes from the oil and gas sector's pumping of CO2 emissions, then they would need a plan. However, they do not have a plan because it would not fit on a bumper sticker slogan.
    I am going to conclude on this simple thing: The member for Stornoway said that he is going to lead this country, force an election, bring it home, axe the yakking and do the backtracking all the way to a fundraising event tonight. He should show up and do his job.

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, this member knows exactly what is going on with the Conservatives. It is all theatre. It is all theatrics when they are out there wearing the cult jerseys, doing their videos and talking about what is going on. Let me read what the member for Calgary Shepard put on Facebook. He said, the “NDP-Liberal coalition voted against the Conservative motion to spike the carbon tax hike. It was [the Prime Minister's] last chance to provide relief for Canadians. Brace for impact: Conservatives are now calling a vote of no confidence, steering us straight into a Carbon Tax Election.”
    This is the theatre that is being put on by these jokers in order to raise money. What does the member think of that?
    Madam Speaker, I have watched the member who lives in the 19-room mansion in Stornoway brace for impact time and time again, as he stands up and announces that he is going to huff, he is going to puff, he is going to vote Parliament down. However, he cannot really be here, because he has to head off to a fundraiser with Jenni Byrne and the Loblaws lobbyists at Forecheck Strategies to have canapés at Stornoway.
    My only concern is for the poor schleps here who are left behind, night after night, having to stand up and vote against Ukraine, having to stand up and vote against a national suicide crisis hotline while their boss is drinking mojitos.
    Conservatives are told to brace for impact. There will be one more night when they will have to show up. Wait a minute, were we not supposed to vote while they were going to huff and puff all weekend long? Then they thought, “Oh, well, it's going to be too long. Can we just go home?”
    Madam Speaker, it must be great being a member of the NDP, those paragons of virtue who come here and criticize members on this side. What have they accomplished on their side for Canadians?
    The price of housing has doubled. Mortgage costs have doubled. Two million people are visiting food banks because of their support of the Liberal government. When they talk about environmental policies, guess what? The carbon tax is not an environmental policy.
    Can you tell us how much has been reduced because of the carbon tax?
    As the hon. member knows, I cannot answer any question.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Madam Speaker, we can imagine the poor Conservatives asking New Democrats how to get things done. They have come here for three years to jump up and down, howl at the moon and say they are going to bring Halley's comet to strike this place; next, they have something else. I am more than willing to help school my friend. I cannot see his name tag.
    What did we do? We showed up and we got a national dental care strategy while they said they would vote against it. We got coverage for diabetes, which they would take away from people, while the member for Stornoway has all those benefits. We got peace and Canada's stance for Gaza, while they stood back and did nothing except huff—
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my NDP colleague is quite right. We are losing a whole day again. I think that is something we, in the House, cannot afford. Unfortunately, the Conservatives are engaging in theatrics, and very bad theatrics at that.
    My question is this. Arrangements are being made for us to vote until midnight on Friday and Saturday. It is highly unusual for the House to sit on a Saturday. Sitting is not the problem, but sitting this Saturday, the day of Brian Mulroney's funeral, is a problem.
    I would like to hear my colleague's opinion on the matter.

  (1220)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, although Conservatives are demanding to vote until midnight on Saturday, I would bet they are going to fold like cheap suits. They always do.
    I would encourage my friend to probably plan to go home, because the leader of the Conservatives is going to be off doing fundraisers, drinking and eating canapés with lobbyists for Loblaw and Jenni Byrne. Meanwhile, the rest of the schleps are going to start to cry and ask to please go home. They are all going to leave. I am ready to stay until Saturday night, but I was ready to vote until Christmas and they all packed up and left.
    I would say that, if there is going to be a vote against Ukraine on Saturday night, they will all come in to make sure they are there. However, if we do not vote against Ukraine, I bet the Conservatives will all want to go home.
     Madam Speaker, I will start by saying that I agree with much of what the member for Timmins—James Bay just said. We talk about the Conservative hype. This, as I said in my question for him, is just theatre for Conservatives to motivate their base and raise money. That is all, that is it, and it is nothing more.
    The Conservatives talk about bringing in a confidence vote this evening. We have 11 confidence votes this evening. We are voting on the estimates; they are all confidence votes. They would rather play this up, put on the cult jerseys they got the other day at their caucus meeting, go out into the lobby, film their selfie videos and tell the world how they are about to bring down the government. They then say, “You better donate here so we can get an extra 20 bucks from you to make it happen.” Then, of course, it will fall flat. Nothing will happen, and the Leader of the Opposition will be at his fundraiser this evening.
     I found it very interesting. I listened to the Leader of the Opposition's speech today, and I heard what he had to say. I heard him talk about headlines. There are a couple of headlines he forgot to bring up when he was speaking, such as one that says, “Corporate lobbyists are flocking to [the Leader of the Opposition's] cash-for-access fundraisers.” Members should listen to this: The “Conservative leader...took aim”, and we will all remember this, “at Canada's ‘corporate lobbyists’ in a speech a week ago to the Vancouver Board of Trade, saying [that lobbyists] were ‘utterly useless’ and that under a Conservative government they would no longer ‘write a policy...and expect it to be implemented.’”
    However, it goes on to say the following:
    But in the past weeks and months, his party has in fact widely opened the doors to them. [The Leader of the Opposition] has rubbed shoulders with more than a hundred active or recent lobbyists at dozens of fundraising events since he became leader in 2022.... Lobbyists for oil and natural resource companies, big banks, telecoms, large retailers, and real estate investors paid for entry to private cash-for-access fundraisers with [the Leader of the Opposition.]
    We have an individual who, on the one hand, will go up to the Vancouver Board of Trade, stand there and say, “Lobbyists are utterly useless. I will never listen to them.” However, then we find out through access to information or getting the lists of donors that the people who are actually going to the fundraisers he is having are all lobbyists. It is the hypocrisy that comes with that.
     There is another headline that he forgot to mention, and this one is more recent. This one is from this morning in The Globe and Mail. It states that the Leader of the Opposition's campaign manager, Jenni Byrne, established a second lobbying firm from the same office. Members should listen to this:
    But on the Monday after [the Leader of the Opposition's] Sept. 10, 2022, leadership win, the president and senior vice-president of Jenni Byrne + Associates incorporated Forecheck Strategies. Many of the staff who work at Ms. Byrne's firm also lobby federally for Forecheck.
    Clients who booked meetings on [the new company's] website were redirected to the booking system for Jenni Byrne + Associates. That function was removed, as was Ms. Byrne's headshot posted to the website, after The Globe's inquiries about the connection between the two firms.
    Madam Speaker, look at what we have here. Not only did we raise the hypocrisy of Jenni Byrne being an active lobbyist a couple months ago, but she knew it and the Conservatives knew it. The day after he became the leader, she went out and set up a new company to be a lobbyist. She removed her association from it, or at least tried to, but when people went on that new website, it ended up going to the exact same booking information as for Jenni Byrne + Associates. This tells us that not only did they know what they were doing was wrong but that they also actively tried to pre-empt getting caught. Unfortunately, at least for them, they still got caught.
    That is what we have going on here. The Leader of the Opposition is no different from Donald Trump in the United States. He will get in front of his rallies, grab that microphone and tell the crowd what they want to hear. He will throw lobbyists under the bus and say they are the worst human beings ever. Then he will turn right around, just as Donald Trump would, and open up his hand to receive money from them.
    When the Leader of the Opposition, or any member, says, “Oh, we are nothing like the MAGA Republicans in the United States,” I call BS. That is absolutely not true. He is exactly like Donald Trump. He is employing the exact same tactics, receiving the exact same money and using it in the exact same way as Donald Trump would.

  (1225)  

    I find it fascinating that today's motion is a confidence motion to trigger an election on an issue they ran on. In 2021, they ran on pricing pollution. We literally delivered to them what they wanted, and now they are saying they need to call an election on it because they do not think it was a good idea. This is what we are dealing with over there. It is absolutely ludicrous and insane. They cannot even be consistent on anything. It is because they deny climate change. As many members from the Bloc, the NDP and the Liberal Party have said, they deny climate change. They deny that it is something we have to deal with. They deny the reality of it.
    I found it really interesting, and I felt for him, when the member for South Shore—St. Margarets said in a passionate question for the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader that he is a Progressive Conservative, was from the days of Progressive Conservatives, and how dare they suggest that he does not belong to that party of the past, the former Progressive Conservatives. I would say to the member for South Shore—St. Margarets that he did not leave the Conservative Party; the Conservative Party left him.
    It is true. Look at people like Flora MacDonald, the last Conservative to be elected from Kingston and the Islands, in 1984. Flora MacDonald went on to be the first female to run in a national leadership campaign. She worked side by side with people like Brian Mulroney. These were Progressive Conservatives who cared about the environment. They brought countries together from around the world and said, “Listen, there is problem with the ozone layer. We need to fix it, and we need to work together.” They were not just protecting the Canadian environment; they were leaders on the global front when it came to saving the ozone layer in the 1990s.
    As for acid rain, George Bush Sr. was against doing anything on it. It was Brian Mulroney who pushed George Bush Sr. and kept asking the Americans, saying that we needed to do something about acid rain. It was he who finally got them to sit down and come to an agreement on how we could control acid rain on this continent.
    Those were the Progressive Conservatives. Those are the Conservatives that the member for South Shore—St. Margarets is hearkening back to. He unfortunately does not belong to a party that any longer bears any slight resemblance to that Progressive Conservative Party. People like Flora MacDonald, Kim Campbell, Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney were leaders when it came to the environment. The current Conservative Party has absolutely no interest in it.
    Let us just get out of Canada for a second and look at what is going on globally. Globally, we are seeing a price on pollution, in one form or another, throughout the entire world. The Leader of the Opposition wants to try to suggest that having a price on pollution is an uniquely Canadian situation. I would say to him that every country has a price on pollution in one form or another. We often hear that the United States does not have a price on pollution. Yes it does. Many of the states are part of the cap-and-trade system. It is called the western initiative.
    In the early 2000s, the environment ministers of provinces like Quebec and Ontario went to negotiate with California and other U.S. states to implement a cap-and-trade system. Cap and trade is just another form of pricing pollution. When Conservatives get up and imply that we are the only country that has a price on pollution, they are absolutely wrong.
    The hypocrisy does not even end there. There are even Conservatives who sit here today who not only ran on pricing pollution, and I have already talked about that, but have also implemented pricing pollution in this country. The member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge was in the provincial legislature in B.C. when it brought in pricing pollution. Two members currently sit here, the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent and another member, who were sitting in the Quebec National Assembly when it unanimously adopted pricing pollution. The member for Louis-Saint-Laurent was the leader of his party at the time when they did that. We cannot make this stuff up.

  (1230)  

    Now they come back in here and speak as though it were such a foreign concept, and they say they could never understand how anybody would ever be interested in pricing pollution. Given their record, I would be embarrassed to be them, to even stand up to ask questions or even vote on issues regarding this, when they are one hundred per cent doing a 180° turn from where they were before.
    What we know, despite the rhetoric, is that pricing pollution works. More importantly, eight out of 10 Canadians get more back than they pay into it. This is Groundhog Day, as NDP members have said. I remember talking about this just two days ago, and I will remind the House what I said. My home is in Ontario. It is heated by natural gas, which I get from from Enbridge. Just before we broke from sitting three weeks ago, in all the discussions about pricing pollution, I looked at all of my bills from 2023. I added up the price on pollution, the carbon tax, that I was paying. It totalled, in my house, $379.93 per year.
    I drive an electric car, and my wife drives an electric hybrid plug-in. It would be unfair for me to just stop there. Let us assume that I did also drive a fully gas vehicle. The average gas vehicle consumes 1,667 litres of gas per year. In 2023, which is the year for which I am doing the calculations, that would amount to $238.55 that I would have paid on that car. If my wife and I both drove gas cars, plus I added the heating that I already talked about, it would come out to $855 that my household would have spent on the two highest contributing factors to what people pay on a price on pollution.
     I am not trusting what the government tells me or what is posted on a website. I looked at my actual bank statement to see what was actually deposited into my account. When I combined the four rebate payments, it came out to $885 that I got back. In the scenario that I laid out, I am still ahead, given all of that.
    When Conservatives say that the vast majority do not get it back, they are absolutely wrong. That is why 94% of households with incomes below $50,000 received rebates that exceeded their carbon tax costs in 2023. I do not even have to believe anybody; I just know that I benefited. I am in the net positive. Therefore when I read stats that suggest that 94% of households with incomes below $50,000 get more back, this is extremely easy to believe, given that I have seen what the impact is on me personally.
    Only about 55% of households with incomes above $250,000 receive more back in payments than they paid. This is because when we consider who those two out of 10 are, and members can question and have a discussion about that, they are people who probably live in big houses with multiple vehicles and probably toys that consume a lot of gas or fossil fuels.
    Do Conservatives care about the eight out of 10? No, they do not. They care only about the two out of 10. That is why they keep fighting with a false narrative and driving the false narrative based on misinformation back to people, in particular the eight out of 10 people. They would like to dupe them into believing their claims so the two out of 10 can benefit more.

  (1235)  

    I will close with a couple of quotes. One that I found very interesting was on Radio-Canada recently. The interviewer asked the chair of energy sector management at HEC Montréal, Mr. Pierre-Olivier Pineau, “When you hear [the Leader of the Opposition] say that carbon pricing increases the burden on taxpayers, while this week we also heard [the Minister of the Environment] retort that 80% of Canadians receive more back than they pay, who is telling the truth?” I can understand why people want to know that.
    The chair of energy sector management said, “Well, [the environment minister] is telling the truth, and [the Leader of the Opposition] is acting in very bad faith when he claims that it adds to the burden, because in provinces where the federal carbon pricing applies, the federal government sends cheques to all households, which net-benefit the majority of Canadians. So, in fact, in [the Leader of the Opposition]'s plan, if it were implemented, a large number of households would no longer receive these cheques, making them poorer, on the contrary. So it's really playing on perceptions because it's true that at the pump, there's an extra cost, but in the taxpayers' pockets, it's beneficial.”
    These are experts saying this. These are the people who are contradicting the Conservatives on a daily basis, and who are out there trying to inform the public as to what is really going on, what the reality is in these situations. Conservatives can continue to harp on ad nauseam about the price on pollution, but in reality, more people get back more.
    What do the Conservatives really want to do? What do they really want to axe? Conservatives want to axe the rebate. Conservatives want to axe the measures we have put in place to help Canadians get through the effects of climate change and to help Canadians deal with the reality that when we price pollution, we are putting a price on a bad product.
    We all pay property taxes to dispose of our garbage that we put at the curb. We all do that without batting an eyelash, because we accept the fact that producing garbage and putting it in a landfill or disposing of it one way or the other has to be dealt with. The exact same logic applies to carbon that is being put into the atmosphere and that will stay there for generations and have impacts for generations to come.
    Putting a price on carbon will do exactly what putting a price on garbage does: It incentivizes people to make different choices, to recycle more, to put less in a garbage bag and to develop strategies and ideas as to what they can do to reduce their impact. The nice thing is that in the process, when people do start to make those choices and transitions, they will end up even farther ahead as a result when it comes to how much money they are getting back.
    I certainly will not be voting in favour of the opposition motion today. I am very glad to hear around the room that it appears as though all of my colleagues in the other political parties will be following suit. It is incredible to work with adults in the room from time to time, because they do exist in here, unlike the Conservatives. A couple of minutes ago, I heard a Conservative member ask what the NDP has done. The NDP has done more in the short time that it has had an agreement with the government than the Conservatives have done in the over eight years I have been here. The only thing the Conservatives ever do is whine and complain about everything.
    Finally we have adults in the room. New Democrats might be small in number, but the impact they have far outweighs any of the impact that the Conservatives have. New Democrats have actually been able to get things done. They have been able to put forward their initiatives. They understand what it is like to work in a minority Parliament. They understand that at the end of the day, our job here is to do things on behalf of Canadians and improve their lives, not just come here to yell and bark at the Prime Minister and accuse him of everything they can possibly come up with.

  (1240)  

[Translation]

Privilege

Witness Responses at Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates  

[Privilege]
    Madam Speaker, I would like to add my comments to the question of privilege raised yesterday by the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes about Kristian Firth's testimony on March 13 at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.
    The Bloc Québécois finds it unacceptable that during his testimony before the committee, the witness repeatedly refused to answer questions. The fact that Kristian Firth and his colleague Darren Anthony from GC Strategies are under RCMP investigation does not excuse them from answering questions in committee. Some of Mr. Firth's statements are being questioned because some members of the committee felt that they were misleading or false or differed from what the witness had said in a previous appearance before the committee.
    That said, I have no intention of defending the witness's answers or lack thereof in committee. However, if the House finds that there is a prima facie breach of privilege or even contempt of Parliament, and if the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs studies the matter, the reason the witness gave for not answering must be considered. The witness was of the opinion that his comments might not be covered by immunity and could be used against him in a future trial if they were reported in traditional and social media. We need to make sure that question is answered as we examine our practices in order to ensure the committees' work is not hindered or even halted because witnesses have concerns about their immunity.
    Once again, I would remind the House that it will be up to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to determine whether the House finds that there is a prima facie breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament.
     I would remind the House that, as the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes pointed out, witnesses must answer all questions put to them by a committee. A witness can object to a question asked by a committee member. However, if the committee agrees that the question be put to the witness, the witness is obliged to reply.
    House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, Bosc and Gagnon, states on pages 1078 and 1079 that a witness who refuses to answer questions put by a committee may be reported to the House. Furthermore, page 1081 of this procedural manual states that refusal to answer questions or failure to reply truthfully may give rise to a charge of contempt of the House.
     The committee unanimously agreed to report the matter to the House, which indicates and substantiates the gravity of the situation. I am underscoring this because it is important. According to page 82 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, Bosc and Gagnon, “refusing to answer a question or provide information” required by a committee and “deliberately attempting to mislead...a committee” can constitute contempt of Parliament.
     Given the witness' immunity, and despite the question raised earlier, the Bloc Québécois feels that Mr. Firth's evasive attempts to avoid answering the committee's questions were unacceptable. We believe there is a prima facie breach of parliamentary privilege, if not contempt of Parliament.

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Carbon Tax Election  

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Madam Speaker, after eight years, we all know that mortgages have doubled and rent has doubled. The only place in Canada where the does it seem to be the case is in the member of Kingston and the Islands' head, where our leader seems to live free.
    In listening to his speech, a lot of it, if it was not about our leader, was about himself and how wonderful he was doing. However, what I hear from residents is the exact opposite. Maybe the member and a lot of the Liberal elites are doing fantastic, but I am hearing the opposite. In fact, I have a copy of gas bill that came in today from a farmer in my riding. The cost of the gas supplied was $407.85 and the carbon price on that was $428.04.
    We are talking about a carbon price. We are talking about Canadians. Why are we not focusing on that instead of the leader, because he succeeded? The reality is that we have to realize that after a period of time—
    We have to give time for the hon. member to answer and to give other members time.

  (1245)  

    Madam Speaker, why are they not speaking to the issue that all Canadians are talking about, which is the cost of living. That is why we need this election, so people have the opportunity to get back to having the Canadian dream?
    Madam Speaker, we are and have brought in many measures to the House to help people, particularly those who are struggling with those increased costs. The member challenges us and asks questions about this. However, then he goes ahead and routinely votes against measures, like he will do tonight. He will likely be a member of the only political party here tonight that votes against the estimates. In case he did not know, we are voting on the estimates tonight, which is an opportunity for him to show his support for Canadians and get the supports to them.
    Members can be against the government, they can be critical of the government, they can challenge the government, but they can still support Canadians by voting in favour of very important measures for them. When the member gets up and challenges me on my ability to do my job to support Canadians, we will see where his votes go tonight when it comes to voting on the estimate items.
    Madam Speaker, it was funny for me to listen to my colleague across the way talking about Conservative scandals. It is like they are in competition. The Conservatives are not even elected yet and they have Jenni Byrne already caught up in the scandals as a lobbyist.
    However, I want to get to a really important question, because this is a total mockery of the House. I know that an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen was brought up as well as whether the member for Carleton had ever had a job. I am not sure if he has ever made an ice cream cone or if he has ever actually had a job, but does he really understand the struggle that people are having across Canada right now in trying to pay the bills when his whole privilege has been paid by taxpayer dollars?
    Madam Speaker, I do not know about working at Dairy Queen. I worked at Famous Players throughout high school, popping popcorn. I am not sure what the comparison is or if that measures up to working at Dairy Queen.
     However, when the member started off this conversation, she talked about what the Conservatives were already getting themselves into. As I indicated today, not only did we all know a couple of months ago about Jenni Byrne being a lobbyist, but we are now finding out today that the day after the Leader of the Opposition became leader, she set up another company without her name on it. When people would book an appointment with that company, they were redirected to Jenni Byrnes and Associates.
    Not only were the Conservatives fully aware, but they were worried about the look it would give the Conservative Party if their campaign manager was a lobbyist, so they tried to hide it. They proactively tried to hide the fact that Jenni Byrne was a lobbyist. They know she is working with Loblaw to drive prices up by lobbying governments to get out of the way. We will not stand for that.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the Liberals are boasting about doing something about climate change, but only a few days or weeks ago, their former minister, Catherine McKenna, said that the oil and gas lobbyists had pushed to get tax credits for carbon capture, which should never have happened. That is scandalous. That is $12.5 billion being sent to the oil companies so they can take care of the energy transition themselves. It is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.
     I would like to know if the Liberals really are proud of their success in terms of the energy transition. Who is right: them or Catherine McKenna?

  (1250)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I cannot speak to the exact details that the former environment minister was speaking to, but I can say that I do not support subsidizing the oil and gas sector. I know that we phased-out direct subsidies. I also know that there are other things that, unfortunately, we have to take care of, such as abandoned orphan oil wells.
     I find it amazing that the Premier of Alberta suddenly wants to get people to pay up front for the disposal of solar panels and wind turbines down the road. However, for some reason, if people dig an oil well, they do not have to worry about this, that society will deal with it later. Unfortunately, we do have to participate in that, because companies gone by did not have to deal with them. We will do the right thing for society and the right thing for our environment.
    However, to the member's point about direct and indirect subsidies or whatever it is, I encourage Bloc members to bring forward an opposition motion on removing any subsidies to the oil and gas sector. I will personally vote in favour of that.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my friend from Kingston and the Islands for that commitment.
    I would like to shift the conversation in this place. I will have a question at the end of question period, and there is no real spoiler alert, most people will be gone by the time I ask it, but I want the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands to know about it and to help me sell this idea in his caucus.
    We need a serious conversation that is science-based. In question period, I am going to ask about convening, when we get back after Easter, a committee of the whole in this place, where we bring in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientific experts, and raise a conversation that does not involve rhyming slogans competing with each other, but is actually based on facing the facts of the perilous situation we face and discussing real solutions.
    Would the hon. member support that?
    Madam Speaker, it is an absolutely fabulous idea, notwithstanding the fact that I do not know how it would work within the procedural rules of the House. I certainly support the initiative. I would like to see that. I would definitely participate, if we are successful with something like that. I am not sure if the no-sense Conservatives would be there, but I would hope they would participate as well.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's comments on Jenni Byrne's proactive non-disclosure.
    I would like the member to talk about the short-term memory loss of the Conservative Party. Members will recollect that about this time last year, in April, May, June, Ottawa was covered in smoke. There is a clear cause for that. The member knows that in Halifax there have been hurricanes; in Fort McMurray, fires; in British Columbia, flooding; all of which has one cause, all of which need to be addressed. The Conservatives seem to have short-term memory loss on all of those issues.
    I would interested in the member talking about the point of this.
    Madam Speaker, all we are saying is that when we contribute something that is directly impacting climate change, when C02 is produced and it goes into the atmosphere, it is warming our planet whether the Conservative who is heckling me believes it or not. I am sure the member for Dufferin—Caledon is one of the climate deniers. It is a reality.
     All we are saying is that we need to put a price on it, just like we put a price on garbage, just like we put a price on any other pollutant. We know that in a market-driven system, pricing something changes behaviour. It baffles me that the only political party in the Canadian House of Commons that does not understand this is the political party that somehow touts itself as being the smartest in the room when it comes to economic models and economic activity, the party that suggests that it knows better than anybody else, but cannot even understand a simple practice like pricing pollution
    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon.
    I am pleased to rise on behalf of my constituents in Sturgeon River—Parkland to declare that we have lost confidence in the Liberal government and the Prime Minister.
    The member for Kingston and the Islands raised a very interesting point in the Q & A about his government's so-called investments in cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells. I wrote the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance a year ago to beg her to reallocate unspent funds for first nations in my riding and across Alberta, which are begging for the funds to clean up oil wells on first nations lands. The Liberal government did absolutely nothing. It could not even be bothered to respond.
     In fact, just two weeks ago, members of Treaty Six First Nations had to go out and publicly call on the government to provide this funding, and it did not. The government does not have a good record on oil and gas cleanup.
    In the past eight years, the cost of living crisis has reached new heights, thanks to the government's economic mismanagement. Unfortunately, it is working-class Canadians who are expected to pay the price for Liberal incompetence. In fact, the only people who seem to be benefiting under the Liberal government are the high-paid lobbyists that those Liberals seem to have so much trouble with in the House. Under the Liberal government, it is becoming what some have called a “self-licking ice cream cone.”
     My colleague from the NDP was talking about ice cream cones earlier, and that is exactly what is happening under the Liberal government, a self-licking ice cream cone of government insiders who are petitioning and lobbying for more taxpayer money, just to keep this whole thing going. The Liberal government is all about that.
    This April's Fools Day, the Prime Minister will play a cruel joke on Canadians by hiking the carbon tax by a whopping 23%. This means that everyday essentials like heating, groceries and gas will cost even more. The Liberals like to talk about their vaunted heat pump program. There is a recent article out of Nova Scotia saying that 2,500 Nova Scotia families are facing record power bills from Nova Scotia Power. What many of those families have in common—

  (1255)  

    I have to interrupt the hon. member. The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I think you will find that, if you check the record, claims about self-licking ice cream cones were not made by the New Democrats. We questioned whether the member for Stornoway had actually ever made an ice cream during the time he has claimed to be working at Dairy Queen, but we did not not claim there were self-licking cones.
    The member is trying to make debate on a subject that is really not in the scope of this debate.
    The hon. member for Sturgeon River—Parkland has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, under the Liberal government, the cost of everyday essentials is going up. In fact, even while they talk about their much vaunted heating pump program, we have a recent story from Nova Scotia where families are facing power bills. Families are saying that they need one job just to live and another job just to pay their heating bills. What many, if not most, of these families have in common is that they all have heat pumps. The costs are rising for these families as well. It is not just families that are burning oil and gas or natural gas to heat their heat homes. Electricity and everything else is going up under the Liberal government.
    In fact, the average family of four will pay $700 more for groceries in 2024 because of the Liberal carbon tax, and it is quite remarkable that, after years of such a stark trend, the Liberal and NDP members refuse to acknowledge the terrible impacts of their carbon tax. With each hike, Canadians are forced to dig deeper into their pockets just to afford to live.
    This Liberal carbon tax is driving up the cost of everything in this country. The inflation trajectory remains uncertain, and while there is hope that inflation will come down followed by some interest rate cuts, the Liberal government seems intent on quashing that progress with a 23% tax hike on April 1.
    When the history of this government is written, it will be a story of how out of touch the Prime Minister has become with the challenges of working-class people. The costs of the Prime Minister's annual taxpayer-funded vacations spirals out of control at the same time that prices of the essential goods Canadians need to live are hitting 40,000 feet.
    It is time for the Prime Minister to admit he is wrong, spike his April 1 tax hike and get rid of this inflationary carbon tax for good. If he is confident Canadians support his carbon tax plan, it is time for him to call an election, give Canadians an opportunity in an electoral referendum and give them a choice as to whether they want this Liberal carbon tax.
     The Prime Minister claims that the carbon tax will help the environment and help deal with climate change, but if that were the case, then I would think we would have hit at least one of our climate targets by now. In fact, the climate change performance index now ranks Canada as 62nd out of 67 countries, dropping it four places from last year, and after eight years of the Liberal government's failure, it is abundantly clear that its carbon taxes are simply another reason to grab more money from hard-working Canadians. It is not an environment plan; it is a tax plan.
    Liberals claim that we need a carbon tax or else Canada will be beset by more floods, fires and hurricanes. This is simply not true. Even the Liberals' own environment minister admitted that we may not see an impact from the Liberal carbon tax until 2060. Maybe by 2060 we will see an impact from their carbon tax. A young man like me will be drawing on old age security by the time the Liberal government believes their carbon tax will just maybe have an environmental impact. It is not an environment plan; it is a tax plan.
    Right now, Canadians are losing their homes. They are losing their vehicles, and they are skipping meals. They cannot wait until 2060 to maybe get a result.
    We are only a quarter of the way through the year, and food banks are already predicting that they will have an additional one million visits. That is on top of a record-breaking year last year. The government claims to be evidence based. These are damning facts, but the Liberal government is blind to the impact its policies are having on Canadians. It is either that, or they just do not care.
     Last year, 36% of charities had to turn people away because the charities are running out of resources, and in some cases, the demand for food has become a public safety issue. Last week in Montreal we saw police called in to control crowds at a food bank because hundreds more hungry Canadians showed up than were expected.
     These are stories reminiscent of the Great Depression, when police were deployed to disperse bread lineups. While Canadians wait in food lineups, Liberals go out to say they do not have it so bad and that those in other countries would be glad to swap places with us. Some Liberals are even saying that Canada is doing great in comparison to Afghanistan. That is setting the bar far too low for Canadians, and it is cold comfort for hungry Canadians today who are waiting in lineups.
    It is clear that the carbon tax is not only ineffective, but also deeply unfair. Despite the promises of these rebates, the reality is that most Canadian families will end up paying more in taxes than they receive in these so-called rebates. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has been abundantly clear: Canadian families will pay more than what they get back. The average Alberta family I represent will have to pay $911 in additional taxes than they will receive in rebates.
    The Prime Minister claimed just yesterday in the House that every penny collected is returned to Canadians. It is simply not true. In fact, the Liberals are holding onto more than $2 billion in carbon taxes that they have refused to give back to Canadians. They broke their promises to small businesses, whose carbon tax they collected, but they refused to give back the money they raised from small businesses. That is not to mention the GST, which is charged on top of the carbon tax, a tax on a tax that is raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the Liberal government, and it is not being returned to Canadians.

  (1300)  

    Not only will Canadian families pay more than they get back, but because of the Liberal government's inflationary deficits, our nation's debt has more than doubled, something that the youngest generation of Canadians will have to deal with for decades to come. Also, Canadians who will be renewing variable rate mortgages will find that their mortgages are even bigger than they were before they started paying for it as the cost of their interest piles up faster than the principal they are paying down.
    It is not just Canadians paying variable rates. Canadians renewing their fixed rate mortgages, for example this fall and next fall, are going to face more than the doubling, and in some cases the tripling, of their interest rate costs. Mortgage delinquencies right now are up by 50%, and polls show that 55% of Canadians who currently do not own a home believe they will never own a home. That is especially true for younger Canadians. Even the average rental price for residential properties was at a record high of $2,192 in January of this year. That is a 10% increase year over year.
    Canadians cannot afford this. They cannot afford the doubling of housing costs that has occurred over the last eight years. They certainly do not have confidence that the Liberal government, which made this problem happen, has the solutions to fix them. If the Liberal government is good at one thing, it is breaking promises. Its carbon tax is higher than what it was ever supposed to be. It is higher than what it ever ran on. It is certainly not revenue-neutral, as the PBO has proven, and it is not helping Canadians reach their emissions targets. There are 70% of Canadians, and 70% of the provinces, who oppose raising the carbon tax on April 1. The national consensus is clear that Canadians from coast to coast to coast want to spike the hike and axe the tax.
    Canadians are sick and tired of paying absurd amounts for everyday essentials. My constituents contact me every day with examples of their power bills and what they are paying at the pump. They are outraged at this cost-of-living crisis. They are especially outraged about the increase costs for groceries and home heating, not to mention the increased cost of their mortgages. It is not only young families that are struggling. Seniors, people on fixed incomes, students and those with disabilities are struggling. The NDP-Liberal government is not worth the cost. Canadians can see that. They want an election.
    When will the Prime Minister realize that Canadians no longer have confidence in his government. They want him to axe his inflationary carbon tax. They want an election, and they want a choice. When are the Liberals going to give it to them?
    Madam Speaker, it is a fact that emissions are starting to decrease, but they would decrease faster if it were not for the oil and gas sector, the sector that is predominant in the member's province and the sector his party is tied to at the hip.
    There is no carbon tax. It is a price on carbon. Who said that? The Supreme Court said that. In its ruling on the Greenhouse Gas Pricing Pollution Act, it said, “there is ample evidence that the fuel and excess emission charges imposed by Parts 1 and 2 of the GGPPA have a regulatory purpose.... [They] cannot be characterized as taxes; rather, they are regulatory charges whose purpose is to advance the GGPPA’s regulatory purpose by altering behaviour.”
    Why is the member contradicting the Supreme Court of Canada?

  (1305)  

    Madam Speaker, most Canadians do not have a legal background, but I think every Canadian can see through the weasel words between carbon pricing and carbon taxes. Everyone knows that it is a carbon tax. They are paying it at the pumps. They are paying it when they go to the grocery store. They are paying it when they heat their homes.
    What the carbon tax is meant to do is, essentially, shrink the economy. The government says emissions are starting to come down because it is bringing our economy down. It is our resource sector that has powered our dollar and our GDP, and for the first time in modern history, Canadians' GDP per capita is going down. It is the worst record since the Great Depression.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague just talked a bit about weasel words when he addressed the Liberal member. I would be a little cautious about him using that language right now.
    Today, in the House, for the umpteenth time, the Conservatives are using their opposition day to bring forward a motion they know very well will not pass. In fact, the Leader of the Opposition has said time and time again that this is going to be a confidence motion. Does the member understand that all opposition day motions, regardless of which party brings them forward, are non-binding? The Leader of the Opposition does not get to claim whether something is confidence or not.
    I sit in this place, watching the Conservatives' theatrics and watching them do their thing. I know that some of them know what they are talking about, but are the vast majority of Conservatives misguiding Canadians, or are they misguided themselves? It is one or the other.
    Madam Speaker, it is not my job to tell my constituents what to advocate for in the House. It is my job to listen to what my constituents are asking me to do, bring that to the House and represent them. My constituents, and people across the country, are devastated to hear that their carbon taxes are going up 23%. I will never apologize for bringing the issues that Canadians care about to the House to debate them.
     I think all Canadians are wondering to themselves when the NDP will stop being a tiny appendage to the Liberal Party, propping it up through scandal after scandal and through tax hike after tax hike. I am hoping that one day the members of the NDP are going to wake up. I hope one day they will wake up, call the government out, hold it to account and bring Canadians the election that they sorely want, so that we can get a change in this country, a change that I know NDP members, even some Liberal members, are waiting for.
    Madam Speaker, I received a note from a constituent saying that, when the member for Winnipeg North spoke this morning, he said that he had pumped gas in Winnipeg and that the carbon tax would go up by one cent per gallon and three cents per litre. Is that Liberal math?
    I would like the hon. member to comment on that.
    Madam Speaker, I am a big fan of the metric system, and I am not very well versed in the imperial system.
    However, we do know that on April 1, barring any collapse in the oil price, we are going to see the price of gasoline go up on the pumps across Canada because of this Liberal-NDP carbon tax. We know that those costs are going to be passed through to Canadians, not only in the gas they pump into their own vehicles, but also in the trucking costs of moving everything. It is not just food. Everything that travels by a truck is going to become more expensive in this country.
    Madam Speaker, we cannot spend our way to prosperity. That is an absolute, very clear maxim, and it is even clearer for governments. I will tell us why.
    Governments do not have any of their own money. They have two mechanisms with which to acquire money. One, they can tax and raise taxes. Two, they can borrow or print money. Unfortunately, after eight years of this incompetent NDP-Liberal government, we have the worst of both of those things, because what we have now is an incredibly punishing high level of taxes in this country, and Canadians know it because they take home less money than they ever have in their lives.
    That is the result of the taxation policies of this government, including the carbon tax. If that was it, it would be very bad, but what is worse is this. To fund all of its spending, it has doubled the national debt in terms of all of the years up to this government's coming to power and all of the debt accumulated by every prime minister of every stripe of every government. It has doubled the debt since it has been in power. How did it do it? It did it by borrowing and printing money.
    What is the result of all of that spending of this money and the borrowing and the printing of money? We have had two of the worst years of rampant inflation this country has ever seen. Inflation is the insidious thing that takes away the prosperity of the middle class. That is what this government has done. It is taxing them to death. Because of the printing of money and the overspending, we have had an inflationary crisis in this country that has driven the cost of living so high that most Canadians now cannot make ends meet.
    We cannot fix all of that today. What we can fix, though, is the carbon tax. What we know about the carbon tax is this. Most Canadians get far less in these fake rebates than they do from the actual cost of the carbon tax. I am going to explain this so that Canadians can understand.
    The Liberal government will say that eight out of 10 Canadians are better off. That is from a two-year-old Parliamentary Budget Officer's report that did not take into account the effect of the carbon tax on the economy. It is a drag on the economy. It makes the economy less efficient and more expensive. Canadians lose jobs. It makes our exports more expensive, so we export less. All of these things create a cost in the economy and, at the end of the day, we factor in those costs.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer put out a new report and came to committee a few weeks ago and said that these are the actual costs of the carbon tax. For example, in Ontario, the carbon tax cost is $1,674 for the average family. When we take out their fake rebates, the average Ontario family is $627 worse off as a result of the carbon tax.
    What these Liberals do is that they stand up here every day, and the Prime Minister is the worst offender of this, and say that eight out of 10 Canadians will be better off, when they know that there is a new report that says this is not the case. They are effectively gaslighting Canadians with this. They are ignoring the updated report and gaslighting Canadians by saying that they are better off. It is not true. When the carbon tax goes up, again, this is from the PBO, this gap gets worse every single year.
    The actual net effect of the carbon tax will make Canadian families worse and worse off every single year. Canadians know this. They know how expensive groceries are because when we tax the farmer, food gets more expensive. When we tax the trucker that picks up the food, food gets more expensive. When we tax the processor that processes food, food gets more expensive. When we tax the grocery store for having the audacity to heat the grocery store, with a carbon tax, food gets more expensive. At the end of the day, Canadians cannot afford to pay for food.
    The government has been a disaster for the financial health of Canadians. It is unlike anything we have ever seen before. There is a Facebook group dedicated to people who dumpster dive to find food. Why would they do that? It is because they cannot afford it.

  (1310)  

    When we look back on the record of the Liberal government, that is the record: record usage of food banks and people going into dumpsters to get food. Here is a tidbit from my riding. The Orangeville Food Bank estimates in the next few years that 5,000 to 6,000 families per month will use the food bank. There are 27,000 people who live in my hometown of Orangeville. Look at those numbers and let it sink in.
    What do the Liberals do? They say to stop talking down Canada. It is so outrageous that they say that. They are so out of touch with average Canadians and what they are going through. They tell us to stop talking down Canada. We are not talking down Canada. We are bringing to the incompetent, out-of-touch government what is actually happening to Canadians.
    I know the Liberal members are getting the same emails, but they are so whipped by the Prime Minister and they are so whipped into following what he says, that they are not listening to the people who voted for them. I get heartbreaking emails every single week that say, “I have to choose between heating my home or eating.” Senior food bank usage is up 67% in my riding. This is a result of the carbon tax and the inflationary crisis, all of which was caused by the government.
    We can talk about housing hell. The Liberals have done the impossible. They have double incompetency on housing. If someone has a house, they are barely able to afford to pay for it. Because of all the inflationary spending, interest rates have skyrocketed. Every single month, more Canadians have to renew their mortgages at these very high interest rates, and it gets harder and harder to make ends meet. If someone is lucky enough to have a house, they are barely holding on. I get those types of emails and we are seeing a massive rise in mortgage defaults as a result of interest rates, which are a result of the inflation caused by the incompetent government.
    However, if someone does not have a house, they cannot afford to buy a house. This is the miracle incompetence of the Liberal government. It now takes 25 years to save for a down payment for a house. Someone used to pay off their house in 25 years. This is the result of eight years of an incompetent government that does not understand basic economics. It does not even understand how its own carbon tax works because it denied the Parliamentary Budget Officer report that shows that most Canadian families are worse off.

  (1315)  

    The final thing we should talk about when we talk about the incompetence of the government is crime. Violent crime in this country is up 39% as a result of the government. This is from 2015 to now. What happened in 2015? The Liberal government came in. It brought in catch-and-release bail. It brought in soft-on-crime policies, so if someone commits a crime in the morning, they are out to commit another crime in the afternoon. That is the justice system that the Liberal government brought in.
    If people actually want to know how out of touch the government is with Canadians, how morally bankrupt the government is, all they have to know is that the government changed the rules so that a serial killer like Paul Bernardo can now go to a medium-security prison and enjoy the luxuries of an ice rink and a tennis court.
    Let that sink in. The Liberals changed the rules so a mass murderer, a serial killer like Paul Bernardo, gets to be in medium security. He can go and play tennis. He can enjoy an ice rink after the disgusting and despicable things he did. What do we hear from these Liberal members? Are they outraged? Are they calling for changes? No, they are not. Why? It is because I guess they think that is okay.
    What I am saying to Canadians is this: It was not always like this. Canada was not always like this. It is a Liberal government that did all this to Canada and that will change. There is hope on the horizon because a Conservative government will restore Canadians' faith in Canada. It will make lives better for Canadians.
    There is hope coming and today is the start of that hope. We have a non-confidence motion in the incompetent and corrupt Liberal government. I will be voting yes. Conservatives will be voting yes. I will tell everyone this: They are going to prop up the incompetent Prime Minister and continue the misery for Canadians, and it is a disgrace.

  (1320)  

    Madam Speaker, I find it interesting that the member opposite spoke about public safety, crime and the regulations in place regarding prison transfers. He made reference to specific language in the regulations that is used in prisoner reclassification.
    He might be interested to know that it was actually a Conservative government, under the late Brian Mulroney, that introduced the language that is used today. In fact, Conservatives had the highest years on record for transfers of prisoners from maximum- to medium-security prisons. Therefore, when the member opposite talks tough, I am curious how he looks in the mirror at night and tells Canadians that things are going to be different, when in fact the same language was created under a Conservative government, and there were in fact more transfers from maximum to medium that happened.
    Does the member believe his own words, or is this all in the speaking notes from his leader's office?
    Madam Speaker, as the member surely saw, I did not use any notes for my speech, unlike most Liberal members who come in and read PMO speech number one or number two, or they have their potted-plant questions during question period like “Prime Minister, you appear to be the best prime minister who has ever been prime minister. Why are you so awesome?” That is what we get from the Liberal government and the Liberal member.
    With respect to the question the member asked, she is factually incorrect. This is just like when the Liberals say that eight out of 10 Canadians get more money back from the carbon tax. They can make up any facts they want. Eight out of 10 people know that. It is patently false. We will fix things like the carbon tax. We will fix things so that we do not have serial killers sent to medium security where they can enjoy tennis courts and ice rinks.
    What has the member done about it in the months since this has been revealed? Absolutely nothing, because she thinks it is okay.
    Madam Speaker, I reflect on the member's comments about the overspending and printing of money. I want to remind him, and everyone here, that in the early months of COVID we were unified as a House, because we had to be. We were facing an emergency created by a pandemic and, because we could not physically gather in this place and vote because of the health rules of the City of Ottawa, $80 billion of spending was approved by unanimous consent. I was so proud of all of us for putting partisanship to the side.
    I would ask the hon. member if he now regrets not showing up and saying no, because one Conservative could have stopped $80 billion of spending.
    Madam Speaker, we all know that Canadians needed support during the pandemic. That is why we, in good faith, voted for that support. Little did we know that this money would go to well-connected Liberal insiders in hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts. Little did we know that 40% of the COVID spending would have nothing to do with COVID. Little did we know that there would be boondoggle after boondoggle, and billions of dollars given to Liberal-connected firms and other things, many of which did no work. Little did we know there would be such poor governance that companies that were not entitled to get things like the wage subsidy did get them.
    The problem is not that we wanted to help Canadians, because of course we did, but that the government is absolutely uncontrollably incompetent and needs to be replaced. I urge the member, and all members, to vote non-confidence in the government tonight.
     Madam Speaker, I rise in the people's House to address my colleagues here on a subject of great importance that we have discussed many times.
    There is a good reason for it being discussed, which is that it is on the minds of Canadians every day when they fill up their cars, every day when they pay their heat bills and every day they go get groceries. They are looking at the soaring cost of living that is affecting their bottom line at the end of every week and every month. The burden that is upon Canadians cannot and must not be overlooked by their representatives who stand in the House.
    I cannot help but commence my thoughts by reflecting on an ancient writing that I read recently. There seems to be some resonance with it. There was once a nation that got into some trouble. It was in a period of great difficulty. Its people were suffering under all kinds of different circumstances and surrounded by different foes, and threats were emerging from different places. It said they came to a place called the Valley of Achor, and in the Valley of Achor, there was a promise of a door of hope.
    What I like about this is that even in the midst of pain and in the midst of adversity, we still have hope. Hope is that thing that has a way of rising to the top in times of adversity. Canadians, even though they are frustrated, they are weary, they are overtaxed and they are burdened, are looking ahead with hope in this season, saying, “We have an opportunity to change course.” The frustration that remains is that they just cannot take advantage of that opportunity fast enough.
    Canadians want to express how they are feeling. They want to have a say in what is happening in their country. They want to be able to have their voices heard as it relates to the level of taxation they are under. They are asking, and I hear it regularly, how soon they can go to the polls, how soon they can get an election so that we can change direction in this country. I think it would behoove the members of this House to respond to that cry by voting in favour of our non-confidence motion and heading to the polls to give Canadians an opportunity to make a choice.
    After eight years of the Prime Minister, Canadians are suffering. Seven out of 10 provinces and 70% of Canadians agree, including our nation's finest military, as I just witnessed last week while visiting a local food bank, are stating very clearly that what we are seeing is duress and financial pressure on everyday households as more and more Canadians are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the carbon tax.
    The government has led us to record food bank usage. We are seeing tent cities pop up all over our country at levels we have never seen before. Single moms are choosing between heating their homes and feeding their families. Seniors are lying awake at night, worrying about how they can pay the bills that are coming when their expenses continue to rise but their income is fixed.
    I see it on the face of parents who wonder how they will ever afford post-secondary education for their children when they cannot even meet the month-to-month needs of their household, let alone put away savings for their children's education.
    I see it on the brows of working families and Canadian workers from coast to coast to coast. They are working harder and harder every day and making less and less at the end of the day.
    The frustration is mounting, the anger is growing, and they need an outlet. They want to express and have their voices heard. The best way to let them have their voices heard is by allowing them to express the direction they want our country to take as it pertains to this level of taxation at a ballot box. Let us allow them to do that by granting them the election they so desperately want.
    Dr. Thomas Sowell, a renowned economist, has stated:
    The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people’s money away quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly.
    It is amazing how that is reminiscent of what we are facing right now. The Liberals are taking more and more of our money, yet when they give back a portion of what they take, they celebrate it like they are doing some great favour to the Canadian citizen.

  (1325)  

    A person works hard and gets $10 in one hand, and all of a sudden the Prime Minister and his government come along and grab that $10 bill out of that person's hands that they worked so hard for, run it through the bureaucratic spin cycle machine, do grand announcements, proclaim the government is going to roll back the tides, heal the oceans and bring temperatures down, and then, at the end of the day, come back to the person, put a $5 bill in their hand and want them to celebrate what a great favour they did for them. The person has fallen behind; they have spent money, and they have nothing to show for it but a grandiose virtue signal, big announcements and less money in their pocket to take care of their family's needs and family's priorities.
     It is time Canadians had the opportunity to express what kind of Canada they want in the future and what direction they want to go in. I think it is time we heard what they are saying.
    The carbon tax is the most expensive virtue signal in the history of our planet as it relates to environmentalism. We are spending more and achieving less. We cannot point to results. In fact, recently, not that long ago, we had Canada's environment commissioner give a report to the committee. I had the opportunity to be on that committee that day, and I asked the commissioner a question. I asked the commissioner to please tell Canadians how much carbon had been reduced in Canada's atmosphere as a result of the implementation of the carbon tax, which has been in some jurisdictions in this country now for over 15 years. To that, the commissioner replied that we have no such metric, so the landmark, signature piece of legislation on the environment that this government has produced can show no tangible results to average Canadians as to its effectiveness.
    I would challenge this government to reconsider immediately its plan to continue down this road, let alone augment the carbon tax by 23% on April 1. It is a failed strategy and a failed approach, and there is no means by which we can prove its effectiveness. It is time to change course, and the best way for Canadians to have a say in the direction of this country and the course we want to take is to allow them to choose the approach they want the government they choose to take. I think that choice will be very clear for Canadians when that time comes, and hopefully it comes sooner rather than later.
    These measures are not working. In fact, if they were, why is it that our ranking among nations on climate change has slipped and fallen from 57th to 63? We are falling behind. It is not working, so it is time to change course. However, rather than listen to the Canadian people, the Prime Minister is doubling, tripling and quadrupling down on this failed policy.
    The great Sir Winston Churchill once said, “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” It does not work. It is a failed strategy and a failed approach, and we need to get better at doing things that actually work.
    What actually works is to continue down the road of better technology, better extraction practices and better energy development, in which Canada has some of the best practices in the world. We need to stand up for our Canadian producers and our Canadian energy providers, get on their side and talk about the news that is Canada's energy, rather than talking it down and punishing our citizens for using the things they need every day. We need to stand on the side of Canadians and say, “No, this is enough.” We are going to change the approach, and we are going to make sure we get to the other side.
    Before I wrap up my remarks, I am sharing my time with the member for Lethbridge, and she will be sharing in just a moment.
    I will conclude with this. When I visited that food bank just a week ago with the member for Peterborough—Kawartha, and when the food bank directors looked at us and told us that right now up to 50 military families who are current and active members of the military are utilizing the food bank's services, something hit me, and it hit me hard. This is unacceptable in a country like Canada, and it needs to change.
    It came back to me what the veterans said to the Prime Minister just a few short years ago. They told the Prime Minister they had given their best for him and to this country, and they had sacrificed so much. This was from a wounded vet, who continued to say that in veterans' time of need, the government has not been there the way they needed it to be. Do members know what the Prime Minister's response was? He said veterans were “asking for more than we are able to give right now”.

  (1330)  

    Canadians are telling the Prime Minister and the government that they are asking more from them than they can give right now. They want a break. They need relief and they need it now. Let us have this non-confidence vote and—
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary.
    He talks about hope, but 10 years ago, his province, New Brunswick, had an unemployment rate of 10%. It was not hope, but hopelessness in New Brunswick under the Conservative Party, under the former Conservative government. In my hometown of Windsor, we had an unemployment rate of 11.2%. He talks about hope, but that was a period of hopelessness under the former Conservative government, 10 years ago. Right now, we have cut the unemployment rate in half in New Brunswick. In my hometown, we have a battery plant being built on the corner of EC Row and Banwell that will provide good jobs for 2,500 Canadians in my community. That is hope.
    When my hon. colleague talks about hope, can he explain the hopelessness, the unemployment and the lack of jobs in his province and my hometown when the Conservatives were in power?

  (1335)  

     Madam Speaker, I am glad to rise and answer that question.
    It is quite something for the current federal Liberal government to take credit for the hard sacrifices and tough choices that provincial governments are making right now to make ends meet, like in my home province, where Premier Higgs is making the sacrifices and the necessary decisions to balance the budget and get us in a place where we can actually turn the corner and move toward investing in things like health care and better infrastructure. It would never happen if we did not have a fiscally responsible provincial government making the tough choices to position us to prosper. That is what we need at the federal level, not just the provincial level.
    Madam Speaker, there have been some discussions this morning about the Dairy Queen, because we know that the Conservative leader did claim at some point to have worked in the summer at a Dairy Queen. It must be very clear that people who work at Dairy Queen work hard, but we do not know if the member who lives at Stornoway ever did work hard or whether he got fired. He has never had a job.
     I raise this because he has this bad habit of huffing and puffing, threatening and demanding, and then not showing up. There were nine confidence votes on Monday night when his party could have said they were going to bring the government down, but there was not a peep. Right now, he has his backbenchers all jumping up. They are all punching their chests and saying they are going to bring the government down.
    My simple question is this: Will the leader who lives in Stornoway actually show up to cause this $630-million election, or will he be with Jenni Byrne, the Loblaw's lobbyist, having canapés and mojitos tonight at Stornoway? He never shows up, and he leaves the poor schleps on the backbench to stand and do the voting, night after night.
    Madam Speaker, I never cease to be amazed by the grand eloquence of speech from the hon. member across the way, but I will say this. What we need to recognize is that this party and this leader have stood on the side of hard-working taxpayers, Canadians, from day one, while the member's party have abandoned their principles, walked over and formed a coalition that has only heightened the cost of living for Canadians and shut down places of opportunity for employment in the resource sector and in his very riding.
    I think the people of his area, as well as across this country, are going to choose a prime minister who stands on the side of everyday Canadians and wants them to get ahead and have more money to make choices with, as they have worked hard for.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague has a way with words that just makes me want to go to church. He is very, very good.
    My question for him is this. The Liberals continuously twist themselves into a pretzel trying to tell Canadians that the rebates match the carbon tax they have paid, which we know is not true. How is it that the Liberal members from the Maritimes had to fight to get an exemption on home heating oil from the carbon tax if Canadians got as much back in rebates, as the Prime Minister continuously and falsely says in question period?
    Madam Speaker, as my hon. colleagues and friends across the way, and in particular the great member for Avalon, would recognize this expression. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. What is good for Gander, Newfoundland, is good for all of Canada, and we need a carbon tax relief for all of Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I was born and raised in southern Alberta on a small farm by two hard-working, common-sense Conservative parents. I was the middle of five children. My dad is a tradesman. He works hard with his hands. He helps build homes, unlike the Liberal government. He works long hours. Most days, he was up before the sun was, and he came home after the sun was already gone.
    My mom was a horse enthusiast. She also was an entrepreneur and had a few side hustles. She also worked long hours. She loved her family, and she loved to be involved in the community. From a young age, it was modelled for me that we have to make a positive difference and that we have an opportunity to contribute in a positive way to the world around us. I can remember weekends being spent either going to the soup kitchen and supporting those who did not have access to a meal, helping to clean garbage from ditches in order to clean our community or supporting a neighbour by painting fences or helping to build various things on their property. My family raised me to know that it was good to give back, that it was good to make a difference and that it was good to be invested in one's community.
    Things were not always easy in our home, growing up. I can recall my parents having numerous conversations around finances and making ends meet. I remember them talking about whether they would be able to afford the entire mortgage payment some months. I remember them talking about the types of groceries we would have to choose, and those were hard choices. I remember them talking about whether they had enough money to be able to send us with a little extra cash for a hot lunch at school.
    There was tension, there was instability, and there was definitely hardship—

  (1340)  

    I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. Can we keep it down please, so we can actually listen to what our colleague is saying?
    The hon. member for Lethbridge has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, when I speak to the people of Lethbridge, the area I represent, they express many of those same challenges I saw in my household as a child, but there is a significant difference: how prolonged it is and how severe it is. It is worse than it has been in this country for at least 50 years. Canadians are struggling, and we cannot argue that point. To do so would make one look silly, which is what the Liberal government, unfortunately, is trying to do.
    After eight years of the Prime Minister, Canada is broken, and it is the workers, the seniors and those who live with a disability who are the most hard hit. There are lineups at food banks longer than they have ever been before. There are more mortgage defaults than we have seen in a very long time. Seniors are faced with having to choose between affording their medication or paying for food on the table. Moms are watering down baby formula in order to stretch it a little further, and students are renting literal closets.
    This is the state of our nation right now under the current government. Canadians are literally losing control of their lives, and they are desperate for hope.
    At the centre of this problem, there is the Liberal government, and at the centre of the Liberal government, there is a Prime Minister who is incredibly out of touch and concerned with only himself. He is someone who has not worked a real job in his life. He is someone who was born into wealth and prosperity. He is someone who does not understand what everyday Canadians face as the challenges they do—
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, the member accused the Prime Minister of never having a real job. We know the member from Stornoway has never had a real job—
    We are not going to start that debate.
    The hon. member for Lethbridge has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister insists on doubling down on his damaging policies, and of course, the carbon tax is central to them. The carbon tax drives up the cost of everything, from gas to home heating to household goods. Everything is more expensive, not to mention the fact that it affects low-income households disproportionately because they spend a larger percentage of their income on energy, food and transportation. The Prime Minister is not at all for lower- and middle-class Canadians but rather for himself and for those in the upper echelons.
    That is who the Prime Minister is, but now it gets worse because on April 1, he intends to play a very cruel joke on Canadians, which is to increase the carbon tax by another 23%. It will go up by 23% in just a matter of a couple of weeks. Canadians will be hard hit once again when they are already down.
    Folks in my riding come into my office and show me their natural gas bills. They point out the line that reveals the carbon tax. They are $40, $60, $130. However, I find it interesting that on many of them, the line that shows the carbon tax is actually more than the cost of the good or the product itself. In other words, they pay more for the tax than they do for the actual natural gas they use.
    If that does not elicit a bit of compassion in this place, shame on those members. That individuals would be forced to pay a tax that is higher than the natural gas they used in their households is wrong. No wonder Canadians are lining up at food banks in droves. No wonder students are having a hard time being able to make ends meet. No wonder seniors are having to make difficult choices between medication and food. This is the state of our nation.
    Farmers in my region who produce food for this country and, I dare say, the world, pay carbon tax bills upward of $62,000 or $100,000. That cost then gets transferred to transportation, to the grocery store, and then, ultimately, onto the backs of Canadians who buy the food.
    The carbon tax is having a huge affect on Canadians and their well-being. The Liberals claim that it is about saving the planet, but they have not actually met a single climate target that has been set. In fact, when we look at the performance index, they have fallen to number 62 in performance. In other words, there is nothing being accomplished for the planet, but everything is being done to punish Canadians.
    The Liberal government would also like Canadians to believe that somehow they are better off with the carbon tax because it results in a supposed rebate. Let us look at that rebate. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, who functions as an independent entity, looked at it and provided a report. The report by the PBO shows that people pay far more in the tax than they would ever get back.
    In the province of Alberta, residents are worse off by nearly $1,000 a year. That is a lot of money for Canadians to lose out on. That is a lot of money for Albertans. The Prime Minister reaches into the left pocket of Canadians and takes out a wad of cash, and then, into the right pocket, he deposits a few coins and then expects Canadians to praise him for his charity. That is how the Liberal government functions. That is its policy. It is wrong.
    In my riding, businesses are closing their doors because the costs are too much. There is a man in his seventies who lives in a vehicle with his dog because he cannot afford his rent. A couple lost their house because they could not afford their mortgage, and now they are living in an RV. A person with a disability came into my office recently. She has to skip meals because the little money she gets per month, as a person with a disability, does not stretch the distance it once did.
    All of this has to do with the Liberal government's failed policies, and the carbon tax is at the centre of it all. There are 70% of Canadians and 70% of premiers who do not want the tax hike. Overwhelmingly, Canadians reject the Liberal government's policies; they do not want it.

  (1345)  

    Today, Conservatives are standing at the side of hard-working Canadians and are calling for a vote of non-confidence in the Liberal government so that Canadians can vote in a carbon tax election. They would have the opportunity to say what they want. They would have an opportunity to vote for the Canada that they believe it should be. They would have an opportunity to defend their own well-being. That is what we are calling for in this place. We are calling for the restoration of affordability and for a vibrant future for hard-working Canadians because they deserve it.
    There should be no more punishment from the corrupt Liberal government, but rather a vibrant future for the hard-working, innovative, creative Canadians that we know them to be.
    With that, I invite all members in this place to consider the well-being of every single Canadian from coast to coast and to spike the hike, axe the tax and give back hope to those who live here in this country.

  (1350)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to set aside the comments on what has dominated in this place, which are carbon pricing and proper solutions to the climate crisis. I wonder if my hon. friend does not agree that the well-being of every single Canadian, as she exhorted in her speech, includes that we face the fact that there is a very worrying fuel load across the country in our forests. The forest fires of summer 2023 continue to burn underground and under the snow and are called zombie fires. The oceans have hit temperature increases we have never seen before.
    I ask her this: Is she also committed to finding climate solutions that work?
    Madam Speaker, the Liberals and, I suppose, the Green member as well, along with the NDP members, like to tout this line that, somehow, the carbon tax is saving the planet. We just do not have any evidence to that, none, zero. I have in front of me the Climate Change Performance Index. It shows that Canada is performing at number 62. Further to that, the stats show that Canada has not met a single one of its carbon targets, not a single one.
    Instead, we just have a tax that is punitive in nature and that goes after Canadians for just buying groceries, heating their homes and driving their vehicles. Those are daily necessities in Canadian life. Shame on those members for punishing them just for living.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, if we are talking about inflation, we are also talking about the price at the pump. Since we are talking about the carbon tax, let us talk about the price ordinary people pay at the pump. As users, they continue to pay high prices while oil and gas companies rake in record profits. Moreover, these companies are receiving a double gift, because taxpayers also continue to support them to the tune of billions of dollars.
     Does my colleague agree that we should stop supporting the oil and gas companies with taxpayers' money?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, again, the issue at hand here today is the current government and the imposition of a carbon tax. On April 1, it is going up by 23%. There is zero proof to show that the carbon tax is somehow saving the planet. There is zero proof that any carbon emission targets are being met. In fact, to the contrary, there is proof to show that none of them have been.
    Furthermore, I have a Climate Change Performance Index from 2024 right here in front of me, and it shows that Canada ranks number 62. The carbon tax is not working, but it is punishing Canadians who are working hard, who are heating their homes, who are driving to work and who are just trying to make ends meet. Shame on the Liberal government.
    Madam Speaker, the one question I would ask of my hon. colleague is this: Do Liberals not understand that the rebate that they are bending over backward trying to explain and that they are giving to Canadians, is Canadians' money already?
    They would not have to give a rebate to all Canadians if they would not take the money in the first place. I do not understand how the Liberals and their NDP stooges do not understand that. If they would not take the money out of Canadians' pockets, they would not have to bend over backward with this rebate. It is not revenue-neutral, as the Parliamentary Budget Officer has said. They are keeping $2 billion of the carbon taxes they are collecting and are using it on their pet projects.
    Why can they not just let Canadians keep the money they earned in the first place?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague brings up a really good point. The government claims that it is somehow doing Canadians a favour by taking a whole lot of their cash and then giving a few pennies back. Then somehow the Liberals come to this conclusion that therefore the carbon tax is a good thing and Canadians want it. In fact, 70% of Canadians say they do not want it and 70% of premiers say they do not want it.
    The fact of the matter is that in the province of Alberta, the folks in my area are $1,000 a year worse off because of the carbon tax. While they might get a small pittance back, it is nothing in comparison to the amount they are having to cede over to the government. This whole false claim that somehow Liberals are benefiting Canadians is absolutely wrong, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, it is true that inflation poses a challenge to Canadians. Food inflation poses a challenge to Canadians. However, study after study, rigorous analysis after rigorous analysis, by competent economists has shown that the contribution of the price of carbon pollution to food inflation is negligible. One figure that I read was that it contributes 0.15% to food inflation; that is to the increase in the price of food.
    In fact, an interesting point was brought up at the environment committee the other day by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment, the member for Milton. He said that many food bank operators were quite worried about what would happen if the price on carbon were repealed, because the impact would be such that those who would go to the food banks would lose the Canada carbon rebate. They are quite worried. I have not heard of any food bank operator, quite frankly, calling for the repeal of the price on carbon.
    What is impacting food inflation? It is something called the war in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine caused the international energy crisis to spike. It caused grain prices to spike. What is Ukraine called? It is called the bread basket of Europe. The war has constrained its supply of grain, putting upward pressure on food prices.
    Why do the Conservatives never talk about that? I will tell members why. They are very sheepish when it comes to Ukraine because they are ashamed. They are ashamed that they did not support the Canada-Ukraine free trade act, an act that would permit Ukraine to enter into the European Union, the economic union. What the Conservatives also—
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. That statement is patently false. A free trade agreement with Canada cannot be used to enter the European Union. Those two things—
    I will let the hon. member continue.
    Madam Speaker, let me rephrase that. The Conservatives voted against the free trade agreement because it mentioned that Canada and Ukraine would work together to promote carbon pricing around the world. Ukraine has a carbon price. It needs a carbon price to get into the European economic union. I should have phrased that better.
    In fact, our own country needs a carbon price to trade internationally into the future, because there is something called carbon border adjustments and Europe is in the process of implementing carbon border adjustments.
     I am sharing my time with the member for Elmwood—Transcona, Madam Speaker.
    Carbon border price adjustments are adjustments that are put on the imports of goods coming from countries that do not price carbon. That means that if Canada would not have an output-based carbon pricing system for example, like the one that exists in Alberta, Canadian companies would be penalized when they try to trade with the European economic union.
    By talking about removing output-based pricing, by talking about removing the price on carbon, the Conservatives really are talking about penalizing Canadian companies in international markets, as carbon border pricing adjustments start to take effect. Canadians should understand that what the Conservatives are proposing will hurt the Canadian economy in the long run.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Epilepsy

    Madam Speaker, epilepsy affects over 300,000 Canadians.
     Today, I want to applaud advocates like Cassidy Megan, who at age seven was diagnosed and at age 8, in 2008, created the idea of Purple Day, a day that has grown to be internationally recognized to increase epilepsy awareness, dispel myths and let those who have seizures know that they are not alone.
    I applaud my predecessor, the Hon. Geoff Regan, who in 2012 put forward an act in Parliament recognizing March 26 as Purple Day for Epilepsy; and families and caregivers, like Zana Fares-Choueiri, Halifax's Purple Day Gala's honorary chair, who continues to share the experience of her daughter Brooklyn, who turned 13 this month and has struggled with epilepsy since she was nine months old.
     I encourage everyone to wear purple on March 26, to learn first aid for seizures, to help destigmatize epilepsy and to support efforts to find a cure.

  (1400)  

Easter

    Mr. Speaker, soon, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Easter, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    Two thousand years ago, Jesus died on the cross, crucified for the sins of humanity, for our sins. Then, on the third day, he rose from the dead, defeating sin and death, and bringing the gift of eternal life to all who believe. Historical evidence of eyewitness accounts, transmitted over thousands of years, proves the resurrection.
    For Christians, it is the most pivotal moment of our faith, because the Bible says that without the resurrection our faith is in vain. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and healing from sin to all who believe. It is the only pathway to true reconciliation between God and humanity, between God and us. However, it is up to each of us, by faith, to claim and accept this gift.
    It is the miracle of the empty tomb that prompts the Easter greeting “Christ is risen” and the response of Christians everywhere “He is risen indeed”.
    I wish you, Mr. Speaker, and all Canadians a happy and blessed Easter.

2024 Arctic Winter Games

    Mr. Speaker, the 2024 Arctic Winter Games just wrapped up in the Mat-Su Valley in south central Alaska this past weekend. These games, held every two years in the Arctic region, include 21 indoor and outdoor sports, from hockey and biathlon to volleyball and table tennis, as well as traditional Arctic sports and Dene games.
    This year, for the first time, the Dene games included an open women's category, a long overdue change and one that will encourage women and girls to keep up their traditional practices. I offer special congratulations to one of the gold medal winners in the Dene games, my daughter Shawna.
    With the games being held in Alaska, for many athletes it meant international travel for the very first time. A big thanks to the Minister of Citizens’ Services and Service Canada staff for going above and beyond in ensuring everyone had their last-minute passports.
    I congratulate all the medal winners and all those who qualified and attended. It was an incredible experience for young athletes who train very hard to make their teams and represent their territories.
    Mahsi cho.

[Translation]

58th Quebec Winter Games

    Mr. Speaker, for more than 50 years, the Quebec Games have given young people from all regions of Quebec the opportunity to compete in a wide range of sports. From hockey to speed skating to cross-country skiing, the 18 sports events at the winter games offer something for everyone. This year was very special for me because the 58th Quebec Winter Games were held in my riding, Sherbrooke. The athletes from the Eastern Townships did our region proud by winning 36 medals. I would like to congratulate them all on their accomplishments and encourage them to persevere and have fun playing their sport.
    I want to congratulate Jérémy Bouchard, who won four gold medals and one bronze in short-track speed skating, and Alexandra Perreault, who won three silver medals in gymnastics.
    I would also like to thank the organizing committee and the hundreds of volunteers who made this event possible. Their commitment gave 2,500 young athletes an experience they will never forget.
    I want to apologize to the member for Repentigny for skipping her name.
    The hon. member for Repentigny.

World Water Day

    Mr. Speaker, World Water Day has been held every March 22 since 1992. Canada's geographical area contains 20% of the world's freshwater reserves, while 2.2 billion people live without clean drinking water.
    We have a collective responsibility to show solidarity in confronting this reality, but Canada's governance of this life-giving natural resource is questionable for a number of reasons. It is refusing to intervene at Chalk River, where radioactivity poses a risk to the drinking water of millions of people. It has not always provided safe, clean drinking water to all indigenous nations. It approves requests by private industrial interests to limit regulation and consultation. It turns a blind eye when toxic spills from the oil sands enter rivers that play a vital role in the daily lives of many indigenous communities, which are now struggling with incurable forms of cancer.
    It is high time that Canada woke up.

  (1405)  

[English]

Helen Horodynsky

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Helen Horodynsky, who passed away March 13 at the age of 100.
    Helen was born in the Sumy area of eastern Ukraine. She lived through the Holodomor and the Second World War as forced farm labour in Austria. Helen met her husband, Walter, when they were in the Red Cross DP camps near Salzburg, Austria, and immigrated to Canada in 1949 with Walter and a daughter. She would later have five more children in Canada.
     Like all Ukrainians, Helen had a strong work ethic that she passed on to her children. She worked well into her nineties on her son Boris's farms in Barrie and Innisfil. In her late eighties, she would weed the onion fields well into the the evening and would only leave after she was told to.
    Helen came to Canada from Ukraine with nothing but determination and the hope of a better life for her family. She was loyal and proud of her hard-working family, loyal and proud to be Canadian, and loyal and proud of her beloved Ukraine.
    Canada is a better nation because of Helen's contribution to it and the contributions of all Canadians of Ukrainian descent.

[Translation]

Greek Independence

    Mr. Speaker, this weekend in Canada, we will be celebrating the anniversary of Greek independence with a very special guest, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
    On March 25, 1821, after great struggle and sacrifice on the part of those who fought and died for their freedom, Greece put an end to 400 years of Ottoman occupation.

[English]

    It is time now to also celebrate Greece's recent renaissance after a decade of economic depression compounded by COVID, a period of great sacrifice affecting all 11 million people. However, Greece did not shed blood, lose its democracy or the rule of law. It is still a solid EU member and our valuable NATO ally.
     Greece has made it back stronger than ever. The economists have rated Greece as number one among developed countries on economic performance for both 2022 and 2023.

[Translation]

    Long live Canada.

[English]

    Long live Greece.
    [Member spoke in Greek]
[English]

International Transgender Day of Visibility

    Mr. Speaker, International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event occurring on March 31 dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as celebrating their contributions to society.
    I want to recognize an incredible local artist and activist from the Kingston area, Hill Werth.
    Hill Werth's most recent art collection was made into posters in partnership with the Kingston School of Art, the Queen's University faculty of education and Compass Psychotherapy. The posters are proudly and prominently displayed by businesses and organizations on numerous windows and storefronts throughout the city, reminding us that love, acceptance and respect are fundamental to a healthy society.
    Using the lnstagram handle “slow_and_intentional”, it is evident that Hill is making a slow and intentional impact on the hearts and minds of everyone in our community and beyond.
    I thank Hill. They are right: “Hate has no home here”.

Government Contracting

    Mr. Speaker, 17 months of investigating arrive scam and the Liberals have been forced to face the mess of corruption they have created.
    First, they said that there was nothing to see here and voted against the Auditor General's investigation. Then they said that it was a one-off and would never happen again. Yesterday revealed that three subcontractors have fraudulently billed 36 government departments $5 million from 2018 to 2022, and this is just the first wave.
    Without the scrutiny brought on by Conservatives, the Liberals would have happily kept Canadians in the dark. With even more companies being investigated, it is obvious that this is a government-wide issue, and the rot starts at the top. The merry-go-round of incompetent ministers has led to untold millions of stolen taxpayers' dollars.
    The Prime Minister is not worth the cost or the corruption. It is time for a government that respects Canadians. It is time to call an election.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Military Justice System Modernization Act

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that this morning, the Minister of National Defence introduced Bill C-66, the military justice system modernization act.
    This legislation is designed to implement nine recommendations from Justice Arbour's and Justice Fish's reports. More specifically, it aims to remove the military justice system's jurisdiction over criminal sexual offences committed in Canada. This legislation also proposes to increase the independence of key players in the justice system and create the position of victim's liaison officer in order to better support victims and survivors.
    This is an important step towards lasting culture change in the Canadian Armed Forces. I hope the House recognizes the importance of this bill so we can pass it as quickly as possible.

[English]

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this costly Liberal government, Canadians are suffering. The carbon tax has driven up the cost of everything, forcing millions of people to line up outside food banks. Families have to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families.
    The Prime Minister's own Parliamentary Budget Officer says the average Alberta family will pay $2,943 in carbon taxes. The rebates only equal $2,302. That means that the Prime Minister's carbon tax scheme costs Alberta families $911 per year.
    Seven premiers and 70% of Canadians are opposed to the Prime Minister's carbon tax hike on April 1. It is not too late for the Liberal and NDP members in the House to listen to their constituents and join us in telling the Prime Minister that this carbon tax does not work.
    The common-sense Conservative promise is straightforward: Axe this inflationary carbon tax and bring home lower prices.

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this NDP-Liberal government, people are suffering from a cost of living crisis and are fearful of the pending carbon tax hike. I recently met with two seniors from my community who told me how difficult it is to buy food, clothing and shelter. They are on the brink of financial disaster. They must eliminate necessities from their diets. They must shop at dollar and second-hand stores. They can no longer afford the luxury of going out for a coffee with a friend.
    People like them, seniors, are the biggest group facing homelessness because everything has gotten so much more expensive.
    As a cruel April Fool's Day joke, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister wants to make things even more expensive by forcing another carbon tax on British Columbians. The NDP Premier of B.C. has no choice but to hike this tax because of the Prime Minister's carbon tax obsession.
    The Prime Minister callously refuses to listen to reason and spike the hike and axe the tax.

Child Care

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the one-year anniversary of Alpha's Discovery Kids's grand opening on Liruma Road.
    With locations in Mississauga and Oakville, Alpha's Discovery Kids is a staple of early years education in the GTA. With a focus on children's development, they offer a unique curriculum based on four pillars: language and literacy, STEAM, physical activity and nutrition, and mindful awareness.
    Alpha's Discovery Kids does this while also ensuring affordability for families. That is because they participate in Canada's national child care plan, which lowers overall costs and supports working parents while helping to develop the next generation of community leaders who will build up our economy.
    I was pleased to join teachers, parents and children to celebrate this milestone. I say congratulations to Alpha's Discovery Kids.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

     Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a day marked by the United Nations General Assembly to honour the 69 people killed by apartheid South African police at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.
    Today the legacy of colonialism, imperialism and systemic racism continues to plague the globe, particularly for those of African descent. From Sudan to Congo to Somalia, millions of Africans are still bearing the consequences.
    Here in Canada, Black Canadians continue to experience anti-Black racism, hatred and discrimination. A coalition of Black and indigenous federal public service employees have sued this government for rampant systemic racism, pay inequality and mental suffering.
    On this important day, I urge the government to move beyond lip service and give our Black federal public service employees what they deserve.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Yves Michaud

    Mr. Speaker, Quebec has lost one of its greats and I have lost a friend. Born in Saint‑Hyacinthe in 1930, Yves Michaud has taken his last breath.
     Whether as a journalist and editorial writer, activist, MNA, diplomat, CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal, or “Robin Hood of the banks”, Yves Michaud was a man of unshakable convictions who lived his life free and proud.
    He was a larger-than-life figure, a generous man whom everybody liked. He was an impressive scholar who could recite the classics by heart. The French language was his home and Quebec his country. Whenever I was in Paris, a city he adored, I always used to phone him as I was crossing his beloved Place du Québec, the square named for the nation to which he was so devoted.
    I have lasting memories of the hospitality offered by this bon vivant and notable wine connoisseur. On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I offer my condolences to his family, to his loved ones and to all separatists. Quebec will remember.
    Thank you for everything, Mr. Michaud.

[English]

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, our country is at a crossroads. On April 1, the Liberal government will raise the carbon tax by 23%. This tax increase is opposed by 70% of Canadians and 70% of Canada's premiers.
    Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. People are choosing between heating their homes and putting gas in their cars. Millions of Canadians are relying on food banks. People are going through garbage dumpsters in search of food. Mothers are diluting their babies' milk to stretch the formula.
    Canadians need a government that understands the struggles of daily living and commits to making life more affordable.
    Today, Conservatives are calling for a carbon tax election. It is time that the House joins Conservatives, puts the people first, votes no confidence and brings home an election.

Greek Independence Day

    Mr. Speaker, on March 25, Greeks around the world will celebrate Greek Independence Day to honour the women and men who fought with courage, pride and determination for the freedom of their people, for future generations of Greeks and for a liberated Greece.

[Translation]

     On March 25, 1821, the Greek War of Independence began with an insurrection led by such revolutionaries as the heroic Theodoros Kolokotronis, Laskarina Bouboulina, and Rigas Feraios, who said, “It's finer to live one hour as a free man than 40 years as a slave and prisoner”.

[English]

    It is thanks to their victory in 1821 that Greeks around the world, including Greeks who make up our strong Greek Canadian community, are able to thrive and contribute so much to the countries in which they live.
    This year's celebrations will be special because Greeks in Toronto and Montreal will be celebrating the Greek national day alongside two prime ministers: our very own Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
    [Member spoke in Greek]

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, it is clear that the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the cost. It is not just grocery prices that have skyrocketed in the last year; it is Jamaican vacations too. The tab for the Prime Minister's trip this year came in at over $230,000, an increase of 42%. Of course while Canadians have to pay higher prices themselves, he gets to pass his bill on to taxpayers, so now they have to pay the bill for his high-carbon hypocrisy and the 23% carbon tax hike that is coming.
    An hon. member Oh, oh!
    Hon. Andrew Scheer: He has refused to cancel the hike. Will he at least let Canadians decide for themselves and call a carbon tax election?
    Before we continue question period, I am going to ask the member for Timmins—James Bay to please keep his comments to himself until the moment that he has the floor.
    The hon. Minister of Innovation.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Conservative Party has become the CEO of Canada, the chief electoral officer. What he is advocating on that side of the House is inaction on climate change. It is inaction on clean growth. It is inaction on green jobs.
    On this side of the House, along with millions of Canadians, we believe in action: action against climate change, action to build the economy of tomorrow and action to build the jobs of tomorrow. We are going to fight climate change and make sure that we put more money into the pockets of Canadians. That is our plan.
    Again, I am going to ask members to be very careful about ascribing acronyms or titles to other hon. members.
    The hon. member from Regina—Qu'Appelle.
    Mr. Speaker, the action they have taken is forcing Canadians to food banks for the first time in their lives. It is forcing Canadians to turn down thermostats and put food back on the shelf because they cannot afford it. Meanwhile, their environment plan has been revealed to be just a tax plan, because they have fallen four spots in the climate change ranking after raising the carbon tax. Their own environment commissioner has said they have stacked failure on top of failure, but they have succeeded in driving up prices.
    Will the Liberals do the right thing and let Canadians decide for themselves, and call a carbon tax election?
    Mr. Speaker, the carbon rebate puts more money in the hands of eight out of 10 Canadians.
    Just this morning, I had a call from Keith in my riding. He is retired and has been keeping track of all of his invoices since January 1. He was delighted to tell me that even with adding a little extra, because he might not have known the impact on his morning orange, he is ahead $68 with every single climate action rebate cheque.
    Mr. Speaker, that is just false. Their own budget watchdog, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, whom they appointed, testified at committee, saying that “once you factor in the rebate and also the economic impacts...the majority of households will see a negative impact as a result of the carbon tax.”
    In Newfoundland, hard-working middle-income families will be $377 poorer after the carbon tax and the rebate are factored in. Will the Liberals show courage and put their plan to quadruple the tax in front of Canadians so Canadians can have the choice between that and our plan to axe the tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I love to get up to talk about my province of Newfoundland and Labrador and how the carbon rebate is putting more money back into pockets. With the rural top-up on April 15, the average family of four in my riding all throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and part of St. John's, will be getting $1,430 a year to offset prices.
    We have another benefit. Another lady in my riding, Katie, applied for the oil to heat pump program, which is going to save her $800 a year as well.

[Translation]

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, this Prime Minister is not worth the cost of the support he is getting from the Bloc Québécois. How can the Bloc Québécois support a Prime Minister who has doubled our national debt? How can the Bloc Québécois support a Prime Minister who is sending hundreds of thousands of Quebeckers to food banks?
    My question is for the Prime Minister. What promise did the Prime Minister make to the Bloc Québécois to save his career and his government?
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear to the thousands of Canadians watching us on television today that that is the party of inaction. Inaction is the Conservatives' approach to fighting climate change, to economic growth and to creating the jobs of tomorrow.
    The thousands of Canadians watching at home believe in climate action. They want action to create the jobs of tomorrow. They want economic growth. That is what we believe, that is what Canadians believe and that is what we are going to do for this country.
    Mr. Speaker, the thousands of Quebeckers who are watching at home would have liked to hear an answer to my question.
    Here is the question that the members of the Bloc Québécois should be asking themselves today: Will they set their ideology aside for once and vote for the Quebeckers they represent, who cannot take any more of this government's arrogance? This Prime Minister broke our immigration system. He is raising taxes and allowing dangerous criminals to serve their sentences at home. This Prime Minister interferes in all of Quebec's jurisdictions.
    I will ask my question again. What did the Prime Minister promise the Bloc Québécois to save his career and his government?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that, during the last election campaign, the Conservative Party of Canada promised Canadians that it would implement carbon pricing. It promised Canadians that it would implement a pollution pricing system.
     I would like to also remind my colleague that all he has to do is turn around and put that question to his colleague seated behind him. She was a minister in a Quebec government that fought against climate change and implemented one of the first carbon pricing systems in North America.

Intergovernmental Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, we are barely one-third of the way through the parliamentary year, and the Liberals are already breaking records for refusing legitimate requests from Quebec.
    They have said no to the right to opt out of pharmacare, no to the right to opt out of dental care, no to advance requests for medical assistance in dying, no to full powers in immigration, no to paying back the billion dollars for asylum seekers, and no to Bill 21. It seems like a competition. They have started a “no” pool, but they are in for a shock when the time comes to claim their prize.
    Do they not realize that there is only so much disrespect Quebeckers can take?
    Mr. Speaker, we said yes to the child care program. We said yes to the health agreement. We said yes to dental care. We said yes to seniors and to young people. We said yes to everyone.
    He must know what a “yes” is. Our friend usually wants to hear “yes”, yet Bloc members have become a chorus of “no”: no to collaboration, no to discussion and no to getting along. They do not like it when things are going well with Quebec. What is good for Quebeckers is bad for the Bloc Québécois.
    Mr. Speaker, their “no” list is so long that it stretches all the way to the north shore. I could go on and on.
    Ottawa says no to transferring funds for infrastructure and housing, no to repatriating culture, no to establishing a single tax return, no to abolishing the monarchy. It is always no, no, no, no.
    Gilles Vigneault said the following:
    

When you sow such a strong wind
You will reap the storm that's brewing
Perhaps you don't see your own undoing.

    Do these parties realize that, after being told “no” time and time again, Quebeckers will soon be saying “yes”?
    Mr. Speaker, our “yes” includes the Gaspé, the Eastern Townships, Mauricie, Montreal, the south shore and the north shore. Our “yes” is a participatory “yes”. That is what “yes” means. We are working for the Outaouais as well. Our “yes” means that the federal government is working with Quebec to support health, dental care, seniors, families, children and the environment.
    Anything that is good for Quebec is bad for the Bloc Québécois.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about real issues.
    People in Montreal are seeing horrendous rent increases, the highest in 30 years. Families simply cannot find affordable housing.
    Under the Liberals, rents have doubled across the board. They lost 11 affordable units for every one built. Worse still, the Conservatives lost 800,000 affordable housing units. We have a crisis today because of them. Tenants need a fund to protect them and keep rents affordable. The Liberals need to listen. It needs to be in the budget.
    Are they going to do it?
    He knows as well as I do that our government has done more for housing than any government in recent decades. For the first time, we have reinvested in co-operative housing, which is one thing Montreal is known for. We will continue to enter into agreements like the one we just made with Quebec, where we announced $1.9 billion for affordable housing throughout the regions of Quebec.

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the median rent in Vancouver is now over $3,000. Finding a place in B.C. is a full-time job for renters, as greedy landlords evict tenants to hike rent even higher. The Liberal government continues to let corporate landlords and greedy housing profiteers off the hook. Meanwhile, the Conservative leader would rather let his real estate executive buddies and developer friends maximize profits on the backs of Canadians.
    The NDP is proposing a fund to protect renters by keeping affordable homes available. Will the Liberals include this measure in budget 2024 to make rent affordable for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, before being a minister I was the parliamentary secretary for housing. I have worked with her on many issues on the housing front, and I know that she, like I do, wants to make sure that every Canadian has a home. That is what we are doing as a government. We have the accelerator fund, are working on the right to have a home, and are working on homelessness to make sure people have a roof over their head. We will continue to make every day worthwhile so Canadians can have a home.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal-NDP government, Canadians know that the Prime Minister and his carbon tax are not worth the cost. The average Ontario family pays $1,674 every year in Liberal carbon taxes. It gets back $1,047. I know that it is very difficult for the Liberals to understand, but $1,674 is bigger than $1,047, and the tax goes up by 23% on April 1.
    If he will not spike the hike or axe the tax, why will he not let the people decide, and call a carbon tax election?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives need to stop spreading falsehoods. The PBO has been very clear that eight out of 10 Canadian families get more money back. It is true now; it will be true in 2030. The only thing that these folks are going to do by taking away the rebate is make those people on modest incomes poorer. Shame on you for that.
    While his climate plan is essentially to let the planet burn, the Conservatives essentially have a policy that is both reckless on the environment and reckless on affordability.
    I would like to remind all members to direct their comments through the Chair.
    The hon. member for Thornhill.
    Mr. Speaker, just because the minister repeats something over and over again, that does not make it true. That Liberal math might make sense in fantasyland, but the math that Canadians are doing is painfully real as they try to put food on their table. The Liberals have the audacity to believe that Canadians want to pay more in taxes, not less. The Conservatives are giving the government the chance to test that audacity and call a carbon tax election.
    If the Liberal government believes that everyone loves the carbon tax, why will it not agree to go to the polls? What is it scared of?
    Mr. Speaker, once again I would say that the Conservatives need to stop spouting falsehoods. The average net benefit to Canadians in Ontario is $255 a year. In Manitoba it is $365 a year. In Alberta it is $723 a year, and in Saskatchewan it is $349 a year.
    What these folks are going to do is make poor people poorer, and they are going to essentially sacrifice the future of our children going forward. Shame on them.
    Mr. Speaker, no matter what the minister yells and flails about, it is clear that the NDP-Liberals are not worth the cost, because after eight years, Canadians can hardly afford to eat, to heat, and to house themselves.
    Near Lakeland, the Cold Lake Food Bank said that last year was its busiest ever, that it gave out over 6,000 hampers throughout the year, and that so far, this year has not slowed down. By the way, 6,000 is 40% of the town's population. A million more Canadians than last year will be forced to go to food banks this year, but the Prime Minister plans to quadruple the carbon tax anyway.
    When will the Prime Minister cancel his April cruel day, and spike the hike and axe the tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I will share with you what is cruel. What is cruel is that the Conservatives would cut the carbon rebate, which is on a price on pollution. Eight out of 10 Albertans receive more money from the Canada carbon rebate than they pay at the end of the year. There is $700 more in the pockets of Albertans.
    What do the Conservatives want to do? They want to cut. What will we do as Liberals? We will defend the planet. We will make sure there are good jobs, and we will make sure that life is more affordable for Albertans and all Canadians.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' schemes and spin jobs cannot cover up the cruel fact that the cost of everything is up and so are emissions, because the carbon tax is a cash grab and not an environmental plan.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer tells the truth, unlike the Liberals. As most Canadians will, Albertans will pay almost $1,000 more this year than they get back in fake rebates. Today, Conservatives will vote non-confidence in the costly coalition to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime.
    Will the Prime Minister finally listen to the majority of Canadians and premiers and spike the hike today or call a carbon tax election so Canadians can decide and axe it themselves?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, page 6 of the PBO report indicates that Albertans are $700 better off at the end of the year, thanks to a very real Canada carbon rebate.
    In my riding of Edmonton Centre, well over 69% of residents want the government to fight climate change. We could not breathe the smoke in the air on the September long weekend or May long weekend. These guys want to let the planet burn. We are going to defend the planet and put more money in the pockets of Albertans.
    They can do what they want to do. We are going to defend Canadians and make sure there is a planet for our kids and our grandkids.
    Mr. Speaker, this is how desperate and pathetic the Liberal government is. The ministers who repeat these talking points quote a two-year-old PBO report. It is two years old. The PBO was just at committee two weeks ago and debunked everything they have to say, because the carbon tax costs Canadians, and we know it. Orangeville, my hometown, is now predicting that, in a few years, 5,000 to 6,000 residents will go to the food bank every month in a town of 27,000 people. This is the Liberal carbon tax.
    Will they spike the hike, axe the tax or call a carbon tax election?
    Mr. Speaker, the member talks about two years ago. Let us go back approximately two years in time, when the citizens of Dufferin—Caledon saw on their doorsteps a Conservative candidate who was solemnly promising to put a price on pollution, a price on carbon, for them and people all across Canada.
    Now the member wants to take the cheque that is going to be arriving on April 15 in the amount of $280 away from the citizens of Dufferin—Caledon. He is renouncing his promise in the last campaign and he is renouncing the—
    The hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon.
    Mr. Speaker, he cannot even defend what I said, because he knows the report he is citing is two years old. It is out of date and it is false.
    Here is Liberal math: The average person in Ontario, including Dufferin—Caledon, will pay $1,674 in carbon tax and they will get a rebate, a fake rebate, of $1,047. Even Liberals can do the math. That costs $674. That has consequences. After eight years of the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister, he is not worth the cost.
    Will they spike the hike, axe the tax or call a carbon tax election?
    Mr. Speaker, the facts are simple. The people in the member's riding and all across Ontario will be receiving a cheque for $280 on April 15. The Conservatives want to vote against that. What they have also voted against is a 20% rural area top-up for rural residents in the province of Ontario. They want to take that money away, which will disproportionately hurt the lower-income people in his riding.
    The member needs to check his math and vote for the people he represents.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, if the federal government wants to say no to giving Quebec full control over immigration, then it needs to say yes to doing its own job, particularly with respect to asylum seekers.
    Families are trapped in inhumane situations. Some spend years worrying because the federal government is incapable of processing their claim. They have no idea whether they will have to leave the country. Worse yet, some are unable to meet their basic needs because they have absolutely no right to work without a federal work permit.
    Instead of stirring up fights, when will the minister do his job?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am well aware that the member across the way followed very closely the decisions we made with respect to asylum seekers from Mexico and reinstating electronic travel authorization and visitor's visa requirements for Mexican citizens. We told Minister Fréchette and the Government of Quebec very clearly that we will work in partnership with them.
    The Bloc is not happy that we are working with Quebec. They are picking a fight. It is clear that we have work to do with Quebec, but we will do it in partnership with Quebec.
    Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, the Journal de Montréal reported that police had responded to incidents involving people lining up at food banks. Food insecurity is causing chaos. Community organizations are blaming the dramatic surge in the number of hungry people on the fact that asylum seekers have to wait 21 months for a work permit. One coordinator said, “These people can't work for two years, but they have families to feed.”
    Let us not forget that these permits fall under the exclusive responsibility of this minister. It is his responsibility. Instead of giving lessons, when is he going to hand out permits?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member does not follow what is going on in the rest of Canada very closely, but I want to point out that, with the Ontario government's collaboration, we have been able to speed up applications, and permits have been granted. That is what we told the Quebec government. We are certainly willing to work with Quebec to speed up access to work permits. We can do more. We will take the criticism for what it is worth, but it is very clear that we can do better.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, farming in Quebec has reached the breaking point. We have been saying so for months. Environmental disasters, inflation and high interest rates are driving our farmers out of business. Their debt load has more than doubled since 2015.
    Last November, the Government of Quebec asked the federal government to activate the AgriRecovery program. There has been no response in the five months since, and there is still no federal support for struggling farmers.
    Will the minister finally listen to farmers' concerns, listen to Quebec and activate AgriRecovery?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, being a farmer, I fully understand the devastation farmers go through with the environment. My hon. colleague is well aware that it is under a BRM program, and it is AgriRecovery; the application has been received, and it is being assessed. We are continuing to work with the Province of Quebec to make sure that the farmers in Quebec receive every remuneration possible.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, Canadian farmers are at their wits' end, and the Prime Minister and his Liberal-NDP carbon tax coalition are not worth the cost. Instead of preparing for a new growing season, farmers are bracing themselves for another carbon tax increase on April 1. The Agriculture Carbon Alliance surveyed 50 farms and found out they were paying more than $320,000 a month in carbon taxes. That is just 50 farms. There are almost 200,000 farms in Canada, and the punishment is going to get that much worse when the Prime Minister increases his carbon tax by 23% on April 1.
    Will the Prime Minister give farmers a voice and allow a carbon tax election?
    Mr. Speaker, I believe my colleague and I both canvassed the last election indicating we were going to put a price on pollution. We did put a price on pollution. We also put in place a Canada carbon rebate, and my hon. colleague is well aware that eight out of 10 people in the country receive more than they pay. In fact, in Alberta, an average family received $450 quarterly. Why does my hon. colleague, with the Conservative Party of Canada, want to take $450 quarterly out of people's pockets?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the minister should talk to his own constituents in Prince Edward Island, who are paying $1,600 a year in carbon taxes and getting about $1,000 back in the rebate, meaning it is costing islanders $600 a year in the carbon tax. That has consequences.
    Higher carbon taxes are driving Canadians to food banks in unprecedented numbers. As a matter of fact, in his province, the Caring Cupboard food bank is struggling just to keep its doors open, as demand has increased 70%. There are 5,500 families it is serving.
    Will the minister support a carbon tax election and give his Islanders a voice?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Prince Edward Island are fully aware that I told them we would put a price on pollution. We also indicated we would put the Canada carbon rebate in place.
    In fact, my constituents receive $220 quarterly, and that is money in their pockets. What I cannot understand is why my hon. colleague wants to take that money out of their pockets.
     Farmers understand there is a problem with the environment. They also understand we have a program in place to address the environment. We will continue to do that.

[Translation]

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is keeping the Prime Minister in power even though he broke our immigration system, raised taxes and doubled the national debt.
    What good is the Bloc Québécois if it does not even do its job as an opposition party, opting instead to side with the government every single time to make Canadians poorer and radically increase the carbon tax? Canadians and Quebeckers deserve better.
    What promises did the Prime Minister make to the Bloc Québécois to keep his government in power?
    Mr. Speaker, if I were the Conservative Party, when it comes to the promises that have been made for a while now, I would not be throwing stones.
    In the 2021 election, the Conservative Party of Canada promised Canadians that it would introduce carbon pricing. The Conservative Party promised that it would establish a clean fuel standard.
    What do they actually do? They change their minds as often as they change their clothes. The Conservative Party does not even believe in climate change. It has no plan for the economy, no plan for jobs and no plan for affordability.
    On this side of the House, we are going to work to fight climate change, create jobs and help Canadians with affordability.

[English]

Oil and Gas Industry

    Mr. Speaker, what is unfair is that Canadians are doing everything right, but they are still struggling to keep up with costs.
    Meanwhile, big oil and gas CEOs are raking in billions while not paying their fair share. It is because the Liberals refuse to stand up to their friends in oil and gas, while the lobbyists in the Conservative party fight to get rich CEOs even more handouts.
    A windfall tax on the richest oil and gas appropriations would bring in $4.2 billion to put back into Canadians' pockets. Why will the Liberals not do it?
    Mr. Speaker, it is extremely important that all sectors of the economy pay their fair share. It is extremely important that all sectors of the economy make their contribution to the fight against climate change.
    We are certainly working very closely with the oil and gas sector, as we are with other sectors of the economy, to ensure, very much, that they do so. Moving forward, we need to see more progress. I have been very clear: It is important that we see reductions in absolute emissions as we move forward. I am sure we are going to see that. We are certainly going to continue to push the sector to accomplish that.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, military civilian workers who support our troops on Canadian military bases are still on strike.
    They cannot get a fair deal. Why is this? It is because the employer is allowing scab workers to replace them. This is shameful.
    Liberals tell workers they are for anti-scab legislation, and then they look away when scabs are brought in to prevent base workers from fighting for better wages. The Liberals cannot have it both ways.
    Will the Liberals stand up for striking civilian military workers, or will they keep turning a blind eye to these unfair labour practices?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadian Force Morale and Welfare Services is a trusted partner in the defence enterprise. They provide important services to our members.
    We have met with both parties, and we are encouraging them to meet again at the bargaining table. CFMWS will continue to work with union representatives to reach agreements and to minimize impacts to CAF members. CAF members and their families are our top priority, and providing the supports that they require remains our priority.
    Mr. Speaker, over the past few years, we have made considerable progress in modernizing the military justice system and advancing culture change to support victims and survivors in the Canadian Armed Forces.
    There remains a lot of work to do, primarily because of the inaction of the previous Conservative government. In her report, Justice Arbour recommends a transfer of all Criminal Code sexual offences to civilian jurisdictions. This approach would be suitable to constituents within the riding of Waterloo, should it be done with the resources to ensure justice for the people involved.
    Will the Minister of National Defence update the House on the progress we are making to advance culture change?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with the member for Waterloo.. Creating meaningful and lasting cultural change for the Canadian Armed Forces is imperative.
     I am pleased to share that this morning I had the opportunity to table Bill C-66, the military justice system modernization act. This legislation would address nine of the recommendations from the Justice Arbour and Justice Fish reports. It will uphold our governments commitment to building a more inclusive, respectful and professional Canadian Armed Forces.
     For every member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I want to advise that we have heard them. We have heard them clearly and we will do whatever is required to provide them with a safe and inclusive workplace.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister, over 200,000 British Columbians are using the food bank every month.
    On April Fool's Day, B.C. NDP Premier David Eby will raise the carbon tax on the people of B.C. by 23%, as his friend the Prime Minister has made him do. This B.C.-NDP-Liberal carbon tax coalition will cost British Columbians billions at a time when they can least afford it.
     Since none of the 15 Liberal MPs from B.C. will stand up to spike the hike, will they at least call a carbon tax election so that Canadians can vote to axe the tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to stand up for British Columbians on this. British Columbians led the way with a price on pollution. It was Gordon Campbell, a right-wing premier in B.C., who actually put in place the first price on pollution, led Canada and was a leader in the world.
    My goodness, it is a shame to see British Columbians like that who deny the reality of climate change. I agree very much with David Eby when he says that we should stop listening to the ”baloney factory” over there.
    Order. The Speaker would like to hear the question from the member for Chilliwack—Hope and the response that will be offered in answer to it.
    The hon. member.
    Mr. Speaker, after 15 years of that NDP-Liberal plan, emissions are up and British Columbians continue to get poorer. The B.C. NDP budget says that $9 billion will be taken from British Columbians over the next three years, but it will only give $3 billion back in rebates, pocketing the extra $6 billion.
     The carbon tax coalition is making the most expensive place in the country more expensive to live by jacking up the price of gas, groceries and home heating. Why does it not give Canadians a voice and allow us to vote to spike the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, every party is entitled to its opinion—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I encourage members, especially the member for Kingston and the Islands, to please not have a conversation across the way. That also goes for members on the other side in responding.
    The hon. Minister for Natural Resources.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, the Conservative Party is certainly entitled to its own opinions, but it is not entitled to its own facts. Emissions are down and Canada is growing a clean-growth economy for the future.
    I was in Germany earlier this week and the German government told me that Canada was a model for the world in the fight against climate change and the work to address the issue that is an existential threat and to grow a clean economy. We signed an agreement on hydrogen that is going to create jobs and economic opportunity in Atlantic Canada.
     We believe in climate change, we are fighting climate change, and those climate deniers on the other side of the House should be ashamed of themselves.
    Mr. Speaker, those Liberals think Canadians have never had it so good, but after eight years of the NDP-Liberals, Melody from Nova Scotia is losing hope, because the 23% increase in the carbon tax that is happening on April 1 will put the cost of everything up.
    Melody had to sell her dream home, because the Liberals forced her to choose between food, heating and having a mortgage. To help Melody, the Liberal leader in Nova Scotia has now joined in the fight against the carbon tax.
    For the sake of Melody, if the Liberals will not axe the tax, will they at least spike the hike?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are going to say it again. The Canada carbon rebate puts more money in the hands of eight out of 10 Canadians every single day.
    What we have not talked about today is the cost of not taking action on climate. I know that the member opposite was impacted by hurricane Fiona. They have had fires. They have had droughts. They have had floods. The conversation we all need to have in the House is what happens to our kids and grandkids if we do not take action on climate change.
    We have a plan. I wish the Conservatives did.
    Mr. Speaker, that answer is cold comfort for the families in my community that have increased the usage of the St. Margaret's Bay Food Bank by 30%. Why? Because the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the average Nova Scotia family pays $1,500 in carbon tax and gets back $963 of its own money. That is less. Since she cannot add, that is $537 in more taxes than fake rebates. The Prime Minister is not worth the cost.
     If the Prime Minister will not spike the hike or axe the tax, will he at least let the people decide and call a carbon tax election?
    Mr. Speaker, again, the Canada carbon rebate is putting more money in the pockets of Nova Scotians.
    On April 4, the average family outside of Halifax is going to get $989. Add that to what we are doing in $10-a-day day care, what we are doing in lowering taxes for everybody, what we are doing in so many things for people, especially the oil to heat pump program. That is saving hundreds and hundreds of dollars every year for Canadians.
     We are there to help Canadians every day. I wish the Conservatives were.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, a year ago, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court criticized the government on its judicial appointment process. He said, and I quote, “The government's inertia regarding vacancies and the absence of satisfactory explanations for these delays are disconcerting.”
    Since then, the Liberals have been dragging their feet. There were 85 vacancies; now there are 68. In February, the Federal Court ordered the government to take action. We learned on Monday that, instead of taking action, the Minister of Justice is fighting that ruling in court.
    When will the minister take the justice system seriously and appoint the judges we need?
    Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate all Ismaili Canadians celebrating Navroz today. Navroz Mubarak.
    With respect to the question asked by the member opposite, I would point out that I have been in this post for seven months. I have already appointed 74 judges in seven months. The average number of appointments made by the Conservative government was about 60 each year. I am working twice as fast as the previous government. I will continue to do so.
    Mr. Speaker, doing nothing twice as fast still amounts to doing nothing.
    The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Federal Court are telling the government that the number of vacancies is preventing our justice system from working properly. The Chief Justice of Canada wrote, and I quote, “Access to justice and the health of our democratic institutions are at risk”.
    It is not just anyone who is saying that. It is the Chief Justice of Canada. Rather than speeding up the appointment process, the Minister of Justice is challenging the Federal Court's decision and looking for excuses for his inaction. Clogging up the courts with political partisanship is not going to solve the problem. Judges must be appointed.
    What is the minister waiting for? Liberal applicants, perhaps?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a rather important question. What I want to point out to all Canadians who are watching right now is that we have never had any former Liberal staffers sit on a committee that recommends judicial appointments. That is not the case in my own province of Ontario, for example.
    We put measures in place to prevent partisanship, to appoint top-notch judges who reflect the diversity and bilingualism needed by judges, not just in Quebec, but across Canada.

  (1500)  

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Beauce did not get an answer, so I will try again.
    The Bloc Québécois is keeping this Prime Minister in power, even though he broke our immigration system, raised taxes and doubled our national debt. It is costly to vote for the Bloc Québécois. It is going to cost even more come April 1, because this Liberal-Bloc government is going to raise the tax by 23%. That is unacceptable.
    What did the Prime Minister promise the Bloc Québécois in return for keeping this government in power?
    Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers watching at home just do not understand. This is not the first time they fail to understand the Conservative Party. What the member just said does not apply to Quebec. They are the party of inaction; that is what we are hearing today.
    What Quebeckers want is action against climate change, action to grow the economy, action to promote green jobs.
    While those members on the other side of the House want to vote for inaction, on our side, we are going to vote with Quebeckers to move Canada forward.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague just talked about what Quebeckers understand. He did not understand my question. I will try a third time to get an answer from this government.
    Food banks are overwhelmed, which is unprecedented in Canada. People who voted for the Bloc Québécois must be regretting it. That party is propping up the Liberals and keeping them in power. I would remind the House that this Liberal-Bloc government is going to impose an additional 23% tax on April 1, and that is no joke. It will be costly to vote for the Bloc Québécois.
    Will the Prime Minister tell us about the secret deal he struck with the Bloc Québécois?
    Mr. Speaker, it is not very nice of my colleague to chastise the Bloc Québécois like that. Bloc members are already having a hard time, especially today.
    To come back to what my colleague said, it is another example of inaction. The minister said it so well. Theirs is the party of inaction. What is the result of inaction? It leads to forest fires, it leads to the displacement of people, it leads to flooding.
    Where were they when this was happening in Quebec and across Canada? While they sit around, twiddling their thumbs, we are taking action.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of that NDP-Liberal Prime Minister, food bank usage in Edson is up nearly 300%. Now, on April 1, those Liberals want to raise the carbon tax another 23%, making groceries, gas and heating more expensive for Canadians. They are on track to quadruple the carbon tax. The average family in Alberta will pay nearly $3,000 of carbon tax this year.
    Will the Liberals finally allow a carbon tax election so that Albertans can decide to axe the tax?
    Mr. Speaker, the member of Parliament for Yellowhead is simply wrong. Albertans in rural Alberta, with the doubling of the rural top-up, will receive $2,160 in rebates in the upcoming year. That is more money, $700 more. It is $960 more if someone is in rural or remote Alberta.
    I have one message for Albertans and for Canadians, and that is to stop the Conservatives and do not let them ruin the rebate.

[Translation]

Tourism

    Mr. Speaker, tourism drives economic growth in communities across the country.
    In 2022, tourism supported 1.9 million jobs in Canada. No other sector has such a massive economic impact in every region of the country. The federal tourism growth strategy highlights the opportunity we have here in Canada to attract more international events, such as conferences and conventions.
    Can the Minister of Tourism tell us how the government is seizing the opportunity presented by business tourism?
    Mr. Speaker, let me start by thanking my colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis because, like me and like our government, he believes that Canada is a destination of choice for international business events.
     This week, we announced that Destination Canada will get $50 million to attract major events to convention centres across the country. Investing in such events, whether they take place in urban centres, such as Calgary, Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, or in the regions, could generate more than $170 million for Canada's economy.
    I look forward to seeing how the Conservatives vote tonight.

  (1505)  

[English]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, scandal runs rampant in the Liberal-NDP government. We all know about ArriveCAN and now we know about another $5 million in fraudulent billing. To make matters worse, the billing is across 36 departments and dates back to 2018, pre-pandemic. This is only the first wave of even more fraudulent billing cases. The Prime Minister is not worth the cost.
    Could the minister answer one simple question: How many millions of dollars in fraudulent billing did arrive scam cost Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, the member said, or did not say, that fraudulent billing is totally unacceptable. That is why it was so important that yesterday we released the information. Thanks to better data since the pandemic, and thanks to having a better ability to analyze and use that data, we are now able to proceed much more quickly and much more efficiently with identifying and prosecuting cases of fraudulent overbilling in Canada in 2024.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday morning, as I was reading my newspaper, I came across some disturbing news. The member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert, who is also the Assistant Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, invited the director of two organizations accused of hosting illegal, Beijing-controlled police stations in Brossard and Montreal to a partisan cocktail party last February 20. To make matters worse, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry was the guest of honour.
    Does the Prime Minister accept his MP's defence of these organizations, which are being investigated by the RCMP for hosting Beijing-controlled police stations?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows full well, our government is tackling foreign interference issues very effectively and robustly.
    It is widely known that the RCMP has confirmed that the specific issues raised by my colleague are the focus of a police investigation. That is the appropriate way to deal with issues like this, as they arise.
    We are obviously not going to comment on cases that are currently in the hands of the police. Everyone has a duty to exercise a degree of restraint in this regard as well.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Iran shot down flight PS752, killing 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents, yet today, 700 IRGC terrorists still operate on Canadian soil, terrorizing Persian and Jewish communities. Five years after Parliament voted to ban the IRGC, the Prime Minister seems more concerned with punishing our democratic ally Israel, and rewarding Hamas terrorists, than going after the IRGC in Canada.
    When will the Prime Minister finally stick up for Canadians and ban the IRGC?
    Mr. Speaker, we have said for many years now that Iran is one of the most important state sponsors of terrorist activity around the world.
    The government has put in place a series of very robust sanctions and used immigration legislation to bar many of those people from visiting Canada. The security intelligence service and the Border Services Agency are obviously taking their responsibilities very seriously. The government continues to rely on the advice from security services with respect to listing terrorist entities.

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, for far too long, indigenous stories have been told by others, often inaccurately and insensitively. As we continue our path to reconciliation, we must ensure that indigenous voices are empowered to share their own stories, and that indigenous cultures and languages are preserved and celebrated.
    Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage provide an update on the work of the Indigenous Screen Office and the unique role it plays in the promotion of indigenous artists and producers?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his advocacy. We all have a role to play to advance reconciliation, and this includes cultural reconciliation. Since we supported its creation in 2017, the Indigenous Screen Office has played a pivotal role in revitalizing indigenous cultures and bringing indigenous stories to our screens.
    Last week, I was proud to announce that we have made this funding permanent, providing it with $65 million over five years and $13 million ongoing. This funding will support and promote the work of indigenous creators to share their rich and diverse cultures and languages for years to come.

  (1510)  

Health

    Mr. Speaker, there is panic among community-based health prevention groups that are working to limit the spread of HIV in Canada. On March 31, the Liberals let funding for HIV self-testing kits run out. Self-testing kits have quickly become a vital tool in limiting new infections and moving towards the eradication of HIV/AIDS. We know community-based distribution of test kits works. Frontline workers were hoping to see the funding double, rather than end.
    Will the minister commit today to providing the funding needed to help eliminate HIV?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for his advocacy for eradicating HIV/AIDS from our communities.
    We know that a lot of work has been done to find solutions and to provide care for those with HIV/AIDS. Our government remains committed to supporting all those endeavours. The best way to do it is by working with communities. We will continue to support them.
     I look forward to continuing to work with the member to see that support is always available for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, the so-called climate debate taking place in this place is the worst of all worlds.
    It is unserious and profoundly unfunny. It is a grotesque display of ignorance of the science and a rejection of the solutions that are desperately needed. Our children and grandchildren will not forgive us for this display, but we still have a chance.
    Will the Liberal government commit that, when we come back after Easter, we can convene as a committee of the whole to bring scientific experts to this place to educate all members, take questions and focus on facts?
    Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House believe in science, in science-based policy and in ensuring that the scientific reality of climate change is something that is acknowledged and incorporated into all of the work we are doing, whether it is on the environment or the economy.
    It is certainly something that we share and agree on with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. We are interested in finding many ways to educate those in the House who continue to deny the reality of climate change.

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, it being Thursday, we are in the middle of the carbon tax election debate, the Conservative motion for today, where we are urging the government to take this to the Canadian people. It believes that Canadians would prefer its plan to quadruple the tax. We believe Canadians will choose our plan to axe the tax, so I have a simple question for the government. If this motion passes today, will they do the right thing, dissolve Parliament and call a carbon tax election?
    If they do not have the spine and intestinal fortitude to take this to the Canadian people, can the House leader tell us, when we come back after Easter, what business the House will be dealing with?
    Mr. Speaker, that member knows very well that he is about to stand up this evening to remove $376 that will be landing in the bank accounts of all of his constituents on April 16. He is going to vote against that, and if we go a little further outside his riding into the great prairie areas of Saskatchewan, they will get a 20% rural top-up in addition to that $376, so we will be very steadfast in supporting the policies of the government today and every day.
    Tomorrow we will resume second reading debate of Bill C-38 concerning new registration requirements. When we return, and indeed we will return following the constituency weeks, we will call Bill C-61, an act respecting water, source water, drinking water, waste water and related infrastructure on first nation lands.
    Tuesday, April 9, shall be an allotted day, and furthermore, as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance announced earlier this month, the budget will be presented on Tuesday, April 16. Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I request the designation of an order of the day for the budget presentation at 4:00 p.m. that day.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

Softwood Lumber

    Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That a take-note debate on softwood lumber be held on Monday, April 8, 2024, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, and that, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House: (a) members wishing to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing their time with another member; (b) the time provided for the debate be extended beyond four hours, as needed, to include a minimum of 12 periods of 20 minutes each; and (c) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair
    I wish all of my colleagues in the House a good week in their ridings.
    All those opposed to the hon. minister moving the motion will please say nay.
     It is agreed.
     The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

     (Motion agreed to)

[English]

Privilege

Alleged Premature Disclosure of Bill C-63  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make a very brief intervention in response to the government House leader's parliamentary secretary's response to my question of privilege on Bill C-63 and the leak that occurred.
    The parliamentary secretary's 25-minute submission extensively quoted the Internet. What it did not do, however, was explain exactly how the sources whom Travis Dhanraj and Rachel Aiello spoke to were lucky enough to state precisely which of the options the government consulted on would make it into the bill.
    Had the reporting been based on the published consultation documents, the media reports would have said so, but they did not. They quoted “sources” who were “not authorized to speak publicly on the matter before the bill is tabled in Parliament.” The parliamentary secretary's implication that the sources were all stakeholders uninformed about the ways of Parliament is demonstrably untrue. CTV's source was “a senior government source”. The CBC attributed its article to “two sources, including one with the federal government”. Besides, had these sources actually all been stakeholders speaking about previous consultations, why would they have sought anonymity to begin with, let alone specify the need for anonymity, because the bill had not yet been introduced?
    As I said back on February 26, the leakers knew what they were doing. They knew it was wrong, and they knew why it was wrong. We are not talking about general aspects of the bill that might have been shared with stakeholders during consultation processes. We are talking about very detailed information that was in the legislation and was leaked to the media before it was tabled in the House. That is the issue we are asking you to rule on, Mr. Speaker.
    I thank the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle for his contribution to the consideration that the Chair will take up and come back to this House on at a later time.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Carbon Tax Election  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin my speech by thanking you and all of the members of the House of Commons for giving me a little bit of latitude as I give my last speech here in the House of Commons.

[English]

    I want to start by thanking all the people in Elmwood—Transcona who have made my presence in the House of Commons possible over the last eight and a half years. I thank all the people who supported me coming here. I also want to thank all the people who shared feedback over the years, including, and perhaps especially, when they did not agree, at the least the constructive feedback. As members in this chamber know, we strive to get back to everyone as best we can, but even when we cannot, hearing from people and reading their letters help inform what we bring to the House of Commons. I have had the benefit of the wisdom of many people throughout my riding over the last eight and a half years and say a huge thanks to them.
    I want to particularly thank my wife, Janelle, who is on Parliament Hill today for my final remarks. Her sacrifices, in order for me to be here, have been incredible. I would not have been able to serve the folks in Elmwood—Transcona without her hard work at home, making all this possible for me and for our family. I am very grateful to Janelle for all that work. She is deserving of applause and much more.
    My sons, Robert and Noah, are here today, along with my mother Brenda. I thank them, for all the ways they have supported me, as well as my whole family, my sisters Rebecca, Jessica and Tessa, and my late father Bill, who was a great friend and mentor.
    I have been fortunate over the years to have a great staff team. People here know that we cannot do this job without a lot of support in many different ways. I have been fortunate to have a lot of people work for me in various ways over the years. I would be remiss if I did not mention my two longest-serving staff members. Ariel worked with me here in Ottawa and at home in the riding organizationally, did a fantastic job and has moved on to bigger and better things. Paul, in my constituency office, anchored me there and helped mentor many new staff members in that office.
    It has been a real honour to serve in this place with a wonderful NDP caucus. I could spend a lot of time talking about all the ways the members of this caucus have improved my own thinking on a lot of issues and have supported me through challenging political and personal endeavours. I am going to give one quick shout-out to the member for North Island—Powell River because she has been a really amazing whip. People ought to know that the whip is not always a bad thing, and this particular whip has carried herself in a way that has been very important to me and to our entire caucus.
    I am also proud to have served under a leader, the member for Burnaby South, who has been relentless in putting the needs and the interests of people first. He has been focused on the needs of working people who, more and more, go to work every day and feel that they are falling further behind when they should be getting ahead. He has been focused on the needs of seniors who worked their whole lives and find that their pensions can no longer sustain them. He has been dedicated to the needs of people who, for many different reasons, are not able to work and, nevertheless, deserve to live in dignity and security. In a country like Canada, we should be able to do that for them.
    I say that not just for something to say, but because there is a list of achievements we can point to over the last four or so years that the NDP has played a critical part in the driving through the House. I think of helping people and small businesses through the challenges of the pandemic. I think of the incredible expansion of child care that we are witnessing across Canada. I think of dental services being made available for millions of Canadians for the first time. I think of access to prescription drugs, particularly diabetes medication and contraceptives that are going to be available across the country.
    I think of workers' rights; they are now getting 10 paid sick days, which is a first, and there is anti-scab legislation moving through Parliament now. There are the conditions on investment tax credits for the new energy economy that are going to require that union prevailing wages are paid to workers and that apprentices are hired in those jobs so that investment in the new energy economy does not leave workers behind.
    I think of the times we forced the government to double the GST rebate as a way to help people who needed it in a time of incredible inflation, without making the mistake of contributing even more to inflation.

  (1520)  

    I think of the advocacy for indigenous right and title that the NDP caucus has done in this place and of the over $8 billion for indigenous housing that we have helped to secure. I think of my colleague from Winnipeg Centre, who has been pioneering the red dress initiative.
    I think of the work we have done to advocate for a swift implementation of the Canada disability benefit, and we have called for, finally, employment insurance reform that will do justice to workers. We know it is possible. We saw movement in the pandemic, but we need it to happen now, even as we look to the future with things like a guaranteed livable basic income in order to make it easier for all Canadians to live with dignity.
    We have been refusing to let the Prime Minister's cynicism about electoral reform end the conversation about proportional representation and about changing the voting system here on Parliament Hill. I am proud to have been part of the efforts to keep that conversation alive.
    We pushed to take back some of the excess profits the banks and insurance companies made during the pandemic and to permanently raise their corporate tax rate from 15% to 16.5%.
    We have been adamant about holding big CEOs to account for the role that outsized corporate profits have played in contributing to inflation, something we just do not hear enough talk about in this place, unless New Democrats are on their feet.
    There is more to that list, but I am conscious of the time. I am optimistic, hopeful and confident that the next member for Elmwood—Transcona will have much more to say and to do on important issues like those.
    To my mind, the common thread that moves through all these various issues is not just a desire, but also a moral imperative to empower every person to take command of their own destiny and to do so in full recognition of the extent to which we are all interconnected. I say this because I am sometimes tempted by the fantasy of going out in the wilderness and living a quiet life. Perhaps that is a viable and attractive option for some, but for most of us, economic imperatives, technology and the inescapable impacts of climate change push us toward each other and require that we practise our independence in a space negotiated with others. That is why I believe the proper exercise of individual freedom, if everyone is to enjoy it, is fundamentally a co-operative and not a competitive project.
    Competition has its place in the economy, just as it does in politics, but if we lose sight of the fundamentally co-operative project, our competitive instincts can often do more harm than good. It is not a new insight; it has animated our political movement from the beginning. It is at the core of the unique Canadian brand of Prairie democratic socialism, pioneered by renowned Canadian political leaders like J. S. Woodsworth and Tommy Douglas, which I count myself proud to be a part of.
    Often, when we talk about freedom, the conversation revolves around questions about government. These are appropriate debates. Government intervention can go wrong, and sometimes it is exactly the wrong solution to a problem. However, there are other times when it is either the best or the only solution. Reasonable people can disagree about what extent of government involvement is appropriate in a particular circumstance, but Canadian social democrats have always been aware that power does not just reside in government. It resides in the many places and ways that people relate to each other, and some of those most important relationships are economic ones. When people lack economic security, they lose the power to dictate the course of their lives. One can be entitled to all the freedoms one wants on paper, but without economic power, a person cannot exercise those freedoms.
    That is why New Democrats are concerned with holding not only the governments to account, but also holding the CEOs and lobbyists, who wield immense economic power, to account as well. It is why we believe it is so important that governments and investors respect indigenous right and title, and that indigenous peoples are empowered to manage their own affairs. It is why we are concerned to root out systemic racism, gender discrimination, homophobia and ableism from our institutions. It is why we say no to allowing a small corporate elite to sacrifice the health of the planet in the name of their own short-term gain. When we fail at these things, we take away power from some people to determine their own future so that others have more power to pursue preferences that trespass on the freedom and dignity of others.
    We believe that by respecting the rights and freedoms of others, in all their diversity, we can negotiate a better future for everyone. We do not pretend it is easy work, and we recognize that it would mean asking some of the wealthiest among us to moderate their expectations of luxury and indulgence, but it is by no means asking them to live a bad life.

  (1525)  

    Our current system asks many people to live in poverty and hunger so that a small few can live in lavish luxury. The fact that this has long been the case, does not make it right. The extent to which that system persists is a testament to the real power that exists outside of the democratic system, but by working together, we can use the democratic system to tame it and to ensure that everyone gets a fair share.
    Our emphasis on economic democracy is why New Democrats support strong collective bargaining, the credit union movement, indigenous right and title, co-operatives of all kinds, publicly-owned corporations for some things and strong regulations in private markets that tend toward corporate oligopoly, as well as other tools to make sure that small groups of people beyond democratic control do not get to dictate how most people earn a living or access essential goods and services.
    There are many ways to go about things, and Parliament is a place where people come to debate those. Yes, it is a place where people come not only to disagree, to be sure, but also to find a path forward that unites us. It is why we cannot understand the role of parliamentary opposition as just to oppose for the sake of opposing.
    I hope that in my time here as part of a team that has been dedicated to the interests of people, we have shown how one can do the good work of opposition in holding people in power to account, while nevertheless going out of one's way to find those places where one can collaborate and can make progress on the things that matter to people, even as one disagrees about other important things.
    I thank the Speaker, once again, for a little bit of latitude, both in terms of subject and time, to put those final remarks on the record.

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was not aware, until today, that the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona would be giving his farewell address. I just have a few comments, as others will, but I really just want to very sincerely thank him for the incredible service to the House and to his community.
    I am a fellow Transconan, born and raised in Winnipeg but with most of my formative years in Transcona. I lived right across the street from his grandfather. Literally, I could look in their side window. I did not, but I could have.
    Of course, I knew his father very well and often shared a plane ride or two with him. I can tell members that he was so proud of his son and the great parliamentarian that he had become in just a few short years. I was a classmate of his uncle, so I was intimately connected with his family, a great Transcona family who was very much beloved, as the hon. member is now.
    The place we come from, a working-class suburb, a railway town, really, I think the hon. member would agree, made us very sensitive to the needs of working people and to the aspirations of the middle class. I still call Transcona home.
    I am not going to go on. I just want to, again, thank the member for his contribution to the House, to my province and to our country. He is an intelligent, thoughtful and always well-prepared member of the House. I wish him well. I know his service will continue for the country but, very importantly, for the province we both love, Manitoba.
    I wish the hon. member well.
    Mr. Speaker, I will just say a few brief words.
    I would like to say to the member across the way that we got to know each other around the prayer breakfast when I chaired it, and he stepped up, being a representative of his party and a person of faith himself.
    I just want to say that we wish him well, from our party to him. I know that he is much too young to retire. He has a family. He is going back home and is going to be home a little more than he has been with all this travel. Believe me, I understand.
    God bless him, and bless his family as he moves into the next phase of his life.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by saying that I am using a House-approved stand microphone that cannot be seen on the screen.
    I want to congratulate and thank my colleague and friend, the member for Elmwood—Transcona. I want to recognize his commitment to the most noble reason for going into politics and that is helping people, especially members of the working class, and making their lives better. I commend him for his approach to politics, which is firm and poised. He always seeks out common ground without compromising his values and principles.
    The member for Elmwood—Transcona is hard-working, intelligent, level-headed and thoughtful. To me, he embodies the Canadian left in all its glory. He is in touch with labour unions and the interests of ordinary people. He is a pragmatist, who always stands up for his principles without ever lapsing into insubstantial ideology.
    He is very pleasant to work with both in the House and in committee. He was our Jedi on the Standing Committee on Finance when it came to resolving deadlocks. He always came up with solutions to settle disputes. That is a rare talent, often imitated but never duplicated.
    I agree that this is a great opportunity to go work with the Premier of Manitoba, who is a beacon of hope. I hope that he will continue to make a real difference in the lives of ordinary people in his new role. I also hope that he will be able to spend more time with his loved ones.
    I thank him for everything and look forward to seeing him soon.

  (1535)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I do not know about the rest of the members, but I am just not going to get over missing this member for a very long time, probably never. One reason, and he knows this, is that I loved his dad so very much. His dad, Bill Blaikie, was a grand friend and a voice for this planet. I remember his dad talking about climate change in this place in 1986. He was brave and courageous and a man of great heart.
    The member for Elmwood—Transcona is a chip off the old block. He is someone who speaks with knowledge and speaks with profound understanding of the Westminster parliamentary tradition. There is probably nobody else in this place who gets as passionate about confidence conventions as the member for Elmwood—Transcona does.
    I had a great privilege over the last little while. I really disapprove of heckling, and I have never heckled not once. I would not have liked it if the member had heckled, except at the very end there; that was primo. I just have to say that I did benefit from his sotto voce comments, a running commentary on the theatre of the absurd. I was privileged to be one of the few people who could hear it. It did not violate the rules, and it did not travel all the way up to the Speaker's chair.
    All I can say is that I have been very impressed so far with Premier Wab Kinew. I am going to some day forgive him for drawing this fine member out of this place. There will be a hole left by the absence of his voice, not to mention the Address to a Haggis. He will have to come back. There is no doubt. We cannot do Robbie Burns night dinner around here without a Blaikie in place. I will look forward to that somehow in some way, but godspeed.
    I love him. I am going to miss him something fierce, and I thank him for his service to this country.
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising today with a bit of mixed emotion. As I pay tribute to and express gratitude for my dear friend and colleague, the member for Elmwood—Transcona, I am both excited for the opportunity that this presents for his family and for the province of Manitoba, and also deeply saddened by the loss that it is going to mean for me as a leader and for us as a team.
    I want to acknowledge right off the bat that his late father, Bill, and mother, Brenda, did a great job. They made not just a great human in the member for Elmwood—Transcona, but great humans of all of their kids. One would think when people have a number of kids that they might miss here or there, but every single one of them are incredible, so a big shout-out to the great work done by some fabulous parents.
    I think about this speech almost as a résumé, so that it is on the record what this great member has accomplished. For folks who do not know, we talk sometimes about the idea of a poet warrior or a philosopher warrior. This is a philosopher electrician, someone who has a master's degree in philosophy and is a Red Seal electrician, someone who combines the idea of being a worker and who has worked on the front lines as a proud member of IBEW with the heart of a philosopher. He brought that to this Parliament. That already is something pretty phenomenal.
    Think about the way he has done his work. I have to say that he brought in a particular element that is very unique to the Prairies. It is a prairie pragmatism that comes from having been in a province where we know that, for the past five decades, the majority of that time the province was governed by a New Democratic government that ran and governed on the principles of compassion, competency and getting stuff done. That is very much what we can see in the member for Elmwood—Transcona, this principle of having deep compassion and care. We heard it in his speech. He cares deeply about workers. He cares deeply about people, but he also wants to get things done.
    He has played many roles on our team. He was the caucus chair. Most recently, he was my critic for finance. It would be difficult to find another finance critic, from any opposition but particularly from the fourth party, who has played such an outsized role in shaping our country. He has been integral to a committee that has been set up to ensure that the Liberals follow through on commitments we forced them to do, and he has been integral to making these things happen.
    He has played a fundamental role in shaping our country when it comes to bringing in and negotiating record-breaking, history-making dental care and pharmacare programs, programs that are going to save and improve the lives of millions of people, ensuring that people have access to needed medication, as well as access to dental care, which we know has direct impacts on health. He has been integral to making that happen. We have forced the Liberal government to make significant changes. I can say, with confidence, that I could not have done that work without having the member for Elmwood—Transcona there.
    I also want to share that, as someone who has a young family, I know the incredible sacrifice that is involved. I also want to take a moment to acknowledge Janelle and their two incredible kids, Robert and Noah. My thanks to them for sharing their pops and partner with us. It has made a huge difference in the lives of Canadians. I hope they know how much it was worth it. I know sometimes it maybe did not feel like it when he was so far away, but it has made a huge difference to this country.
    Losing the member for Elmwood—Transcona is going to certainly feel like a loss, but it is also an opportunity. I always like to look at the positive side of things. We know that he will not be far away. It is a neighbouring province to Ontario, so we can get over there pretty quickly if we need to. He is also going to be continuing to do great work to ensure that the people of Manitoba receive significant and important investments from the federal government, so I acknowledge that great work. I want to acknowledge the Premier of Manitoba for having the vision to recruit such an incredible member. I am a little bit sad, but I think Premier Kinew did a great job because the member is an incredible addition to any team. I think he did the right thing for his province.
    I just want to touch on some other interesting notes about the member for Elmwood—Transcona. I had never actually been to an Address to a Haggis before in life. The first time I went to one was when I was invited by the member for Elmwood—Transcona.

  (1540)  

    I did not realize, first of all, that he would have such an epic presence at this event. I did not realize he was such a great bagpipe player, another thing that should be added to his résumé. I did not know about his humour, because I have always thought of him as this philosopher and a hard-working member of the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Then I heard him break out into a Scottish accent, which I did not know was a thing, and just regale the crowd with incredible humour. I thought, “This is an incredible package: a philosopher, electrician, member of Parliament, and someone who can play the bagpipes and regale a crowd in a Scottish accent.” It was an incredible experience.
    I thank the member for everything he has contributed to this Parliament. I thank him for the work he has done on our team. Our movement is better because of him. He has done his father, mother and family proud.
    If members would permit me, I would also like to thank the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona for his years of undying service to his people and to the people of Canada. Like the leader of the NDP just mentioned, I discovered many things about this member, and some only very recently as I assumed this role of Speaker. One of them is that I did know the member spoke English and French, but I did not know he spoke Gaelic. He spoke Gaelic enough to fool me. If he is not fluent in it, he is pretty darn close.
    I appreciated his Address to a Haggis, which will always be a memory. I hope he will honour us by coming back every Robbie Burns Day to participate in the ceremonies here on the Hill. I know that he will always be welcomed by the warm and open arms of all members of the House.
    We thank him for his great service to Canada.

  (1545)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak here on behalf of my constituents, the people of Chilliwack—Hope. I will be splitting my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
    I just want to read again, as we start after question period, the motion that we are debating today, which states:
    That the House declare non-confidence in the Prime Minister and his costly government for increasing the carbon tax 23% on April 1, as part of his plan to quadruple the tax while Canadians cannot afford to eat, heat and house themselves, and call for the House to be dissolved so Canadians can vote in a carbon tax election.
    I think that a number of my constituents have been calling for a non-confidence vote in the House for a long time. Of course every time we vote against the government's fiscal plan, we are voting non-confidence, but this is the first time we have explicitly stated that it is time for Canadians to have a choice and to be able to have their voice heard on whether they believe that their costs should continue to be increased by the costly coalition government.
    We know that this is exactly what is going to happen on April 1. The carbon tax is scheduled to go up by 23%. That will mean higher costs right across the board, because we know that the carbon tax is actually a tax on everything. It impacts dozens of different fuels, and it certainly has an impact at the pumps and on Canadians who need to drive to get to work, to get to school or to take their elderly relatives to hospital appointments. The cost of all of these things will be going up on April 1 because the government has refused to spike the tax hike. That is what has brought about the motion before us.
    Earlier this week, we gave the government an opportunity to spike the April 1 tax hike of 23%, because we are out there listening to our constituents and we know how difficult it is for them to make ends meet right now, as 200,000 British Columbians visit a food bank every month. Those numbers, I would suggest, are probably quite out of date and have not gone down. We know that there are a million more Canadians visiting food banks every month; now two million Canadians are visiting the food bank every month in Canada.
     The government either does not realize or does not care that by raising the cost of the carbon tax by 23%, it is raising the cost of groceries. When one taxes the farmer who produces the food and taxes the trucker who moves the food from the farmer to the market, one is driving up the cost of the goods that we need to put food on the table. Time and time again we have raised this in the House, and time and time again the government has not been responsive.
    We heard from the Parliamentary Budget Officer just recently. He came before a parliamentary committee and made it very clear when he said the majority of households will see a negative impact as a result of the carbon tax. That is his most up-to-date pronouncement on the issue. We hear the government talk about eight in 10 Canadians, or quote statistics that are out of date. It should listen to what the Parliamentary Budget Officer said.
    Just to be clear, the Parliamentary Budget Officer was appointed by the Prime Minister to provide unbiased, independent analysis of government announcements and government programs, to ensure that there would be an independent voice. The Parliamentary Budget Officer serves all of Parliament. When he speaks, we should listen. What he has said is that the majority of Canadians will be negatively impacted. Certainly Canadians who live in my home province of British Columbia will be negatively impacted.
    We saw two things in the recent budget from the B.C. NDP that made it clear that it had no choice but to jack up the carbon tax on April 1 because that is what the federal Liberal government requires it to do. If it does not jack up the price of the carbon tax, it will be punished by the federal government. I would argue that with the B.C. NDP, it was a bit like pushing on an open door to force it to increase the carbon tax. However, it is a fact that if it had not done it, the federal government would have come down on it and imposed a tax, as it has in many provinces across this country. Federal legislation is driving up prices in my home province of British Columbia even though the British Columbia government has its own carbon tax program.

  (1550)  

    What does the program do? The budget document makes it clear that over the next three years, the B.C. government will collect $9 billion from British Columbians in the carbon tax, and it will give back $3.5 billion in rebates. We hear nonsense about how getting rid of the rebates would be a terrible thing, but in my home province, $5.5 billion more goes into general government revenues, for the B.C. NDP government to spend on whatever it wants. It is a straight-up tax.
    We have seen that emissions have continued to go up right across the country, including in my own province of British Columbia. The only time emissions went down was when the government locked everyone down because of COVID. It says very proudly that if we look back at the numbers in 2022, it is great that the numbers went down. However, it was because the government locked everyone down. It is very proud that emissions went down as a result of no one being allowed to travel, go to work, etc.
    We are seeing again and again the costs for Canadians continuing to rise on gas, on home heating and on homes themselves. Canadians, including British Columbians, are losing hope. They have seen the cost of rent double. They have seen the cost of mortgages double. They have seen the money required for down payments more than double. In fact it takes almost as much time now to save for a down payment in this country as it used to take to pay off an entire mortgage. It would take many Canadians over 20 years to save for a down payment on a home.
    With respect to the costs of a mortgage in the major markets in this country, in Vancouver, for example, over $230,000 of income is required to afford to make the minimum mortgage payments to buy a home. Canadians cannot afford additional costs being layered on top by the government, which is exactly what it is doing.
    The government has broken its word time and time again when it comes to the carbon tax. It said that the tax would never go higher than $50 a tonne. Now the tax is set to reach $170 per tonne. The Prime Minister said that the carbon tax would be revenue-neutral, but the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirms that Canadians pay more than they get back in rebates. We know that over the last number of years, the government has collected $20 billion in carbon tax and has given only $18 billion back. It said the tax would help to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but the government has not met a single environmental target it has set, and it will miss its 2030 target as well.
    The people of Chilliwack—Hope have no confidence in the government, and the people of British Columbia are increasingly losing confidence in the government and in the 15 silent Liberal members of Parliament from British Columbia who refuse to stand up to spike the tax hike. It is time for an election. If the Liberals and their partners in the NDP are so proud of their record, then let us go to an election. Let Canadians give the final word. When Canadians are given the opportunity, they will vote for a party with a plan to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime. That is what Conservatives will bring home. Let us bring on an election. We will see them at the polls.

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, a few times in the House, in response to comments colleagues across the way have made vis-à-vis the relationship between a price on pollution and food prices, I have raised that we have very clear data, including from the OECD, that tells us that Canada has the second-lowest inflation rate for food prices in the G7. That is on par with the United States, a jurisdiction that does not have a price on pollution.
    I want to save my colleague, who I know will come back and say, “Well, Mr. Speaker, we don't have data because the Liberals don't track it”, some trouble, so I will get ahead of that a little bit and say that, actually, there is no data because there is no evidence to support the assertion that he and his colleagues have made in relation to food price increases and a price on pollution.
    I wonder whether the member could comment on why it is that OECD data is suggesting that his position is contrary to ours.
    Mr. Speaker, when my constituents go to the grocery store, they see a massive increase in the price of groceries. I think it is common sense that when we raise the price of gasoline and diesel, it affects everything that moves in the country. We do not have the ability to grow locally everything that people buy in a grocery store, so this stuff is moving thousands of kilometres many times, and there is a cost that goes through the entire supply chain.
    Therefore I do not think it is accurate. The agriculture and agri-food committee has been studying this very extensively, and it has heard from numerous witnesses who have indicated that the carbon tax, in fact, does have a negative impact on the cost of food. By that I mean it drives the price up. We stand by that, as do the witnesses who have appeared at the agri-food committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I like my colleague. I travel back and forth with him quite often to B.C. However, I would remind him of a few facts that he kind of glossed over during his speech.
    The food bank lineups doubled under the Harper regime and have doubled again under the Liberals, absolutely, which is why the NDP has been fighting for more affordability measures for Canadians. The price of housing doubled under the Harper regime and doubled again under the Liberals. The Conservatives are responsible for 50% of the crisis and even more than that, because 800,000 affordable housing unit were lost, converted into high-priced condos, under the Conservatives. Also, the reality is that food price gouging was encouraged under the Harper regime, and the Conservatives have not said a word in the House of Commons about the food price gouging we have seen from the corporate food chains and their CEOs.
    The member did correctly identify, finally, and it is good to have a Conservative admit, that there is a different approach on the price on pollution in British Columbia, Quebec and the Northwest Territories. I appreciate that he actually mentioned that. However, he did not mention the fact that in B.C. it came under Gordon Campbell, the B.C. Liberal-Conservative government, which was supported by him and by other Conservatives up until very recently. The B.C. Liberals were their party of choice. Will the member admit that the B.C. Liberals and Gordon Campbell put the price on pollution into effect?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, they put it into effect, and it did not work. It has not worked under the B.C. Liberals, and it has not worked under the B.C. NDP.
    To hear the member criticize the Liberal government on anything is, to me, hilarious, because he has supported it every step of the way. Every budget measure it has made on housing, on food pricing, on any part of it, he has been there as the most reliable partner that the Prime Minister has ever had. Therefore for him to criticize a government that he will support no matter what it does is, I think, disingenuous.
    The people of British Columbia, when they have a chance, hopefully in a federal election, will be sending a lot more Conservative members of Parliament here to fight for them, to fight for lower prices, and to bring the cost of living down so that they can afford to feed their family, put a roof over their head and drive their car to work.

  (1600)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from Chilliwack—Hope on his excellent speech today. He has once again demonstrated how good Conservatives are at voicing the concerns of people across the country here in the House. My colleague just conveyed the concerns of people way over on the other side of the country, in British Columbia. I want to thank him for that.
     I think it is worth taking a few moments today to point out that we are here to debate a motion of non-confidence. What does that mean? Simply put, if the government does not win the vote, it has to call an election.
    The motion reads as follows:
    That the House declare non-confidence in the Prime Minister and his costly government for increasing the carbon tax 23 % on April 1, as part of his plan to quadruple the tax....
    Today, we find ourselves in a situation where the future of the government is in the hands of the opposition parties. We know the Liberal members will vote against our motion, even though some of them would rather not. There is a party line, and they will toe it.
    Coincidentally, another party exists within the same party. Together, they are called the NDP-Liberal coalition. It would come as quite a surprise if the NDP decided to stand by its values and defeat this government, which it heavily criticizes every day. It claims that it is keeping the Liberals in power to make gains that it achieves by coercing and manipulating the government. Knowing that the government is being manipulated by another party should be one more reason for us to want to defeat it.
    Then there is the Bloc Québécois, which voices its many recriminations against the Liberal government day after day. It could vote in step with the wishes of the majority of Quebeckers. The majority of Quebeckers want a change of government. Most Quebeckers want the Prime Minister to go. This would give the Bloc Québécois an opportunity to fill the role it has claimed for itself all along as the representative of Quebeckers in the House of Commons. Will it vote to defeat this Liberal government tonight? We should not get our hopes up too high. Based on what I heard today, the Bloc Québécois is going to rush to defend the Liberal government and the Prime Minister once again.
    Why does it feel like we are dealing with a majority government when it is actually a minority government? It is important to mention this for anyone who may be watching us right now. This minority government should not be so self-assured and arrogant as to impose its inflationary spending, for these decisions are creating chaos across the country, particularly in terms of the cost of housing, inflation and the cost of food. Normally, all these decisions should have led the opposition