Madam Speaker, Canadians are hungry for Parliament to pass today's common-sense Conservative motion that the House call on the government to immediately repeal the carbon tax on farmers, first nations and families. When I say they are hungry for us to pass this motion, I mean it literally.
Here are the facts: Two million Canadians used a food bank in a single month in Canada. Since 2016, there has been an 82% increase in the number of workers in Ontario using food banks. A single mother of two in Sydney, Nova Scotia, said this: “Well, this month, I had to choose between eating and having heat. My kids are getting fed, but my house is freezing.”
For the first time in 60 years, according to the Bank of Montreal, rents in Canada are outpacing income. Halifax now has 35 homeless encampments. Ironically, this is in the province of the own .
According to an article, Dalhousie University's Agri-Food Analytics Lab says that buying holiday foods this year will be “an expensive proposition”. A growing number of Canadians are forced to work two jobs. Rafid Khan is a full-time student who works full-time for a not-for-profit and has a second job at a car rental company. He said, “You can just hear your body scream for more rest”.
As I travel this country, I see the young, emaciated working-class people who clearly have lost weight and have black bags under their eyes from fatigue. I bump into them in airport lobbies at 11 p.m.; they tell me they are entering their 16th or 17th hour of work that day. It is not because they are squirrelling away for a down payment on a home; they have long given up on that. It is because they must work non-stop just to feed themselves and to pay their rent to avoid becoming homeless. In the meantime, they are hopeless; they see no light at the end of the tunnel.
Trevor Moss, CEO of the Central Okanagan Food Bank, talked about food bank usage in his community. He said that they are projecting another 100% increase in the next three or four months because of inflation.
Cynthia Boulter, chief operating officer of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, said, “We see parents who are skipping meals so that their children can eat. We see people who haven't eaten in days. We see seniors who haven't had produce in months”.
Christine MacCallum, a resident of Marshfield, P.E.I., said that they do not buy orange juice as often as they used to; that is a luxury after eight years under the .
Patrick Gallagher is a part-time worker living in a homeless shelter. He said, “‘I lived in my car six, seven months and then came here,’ adding that he is not sure how he will ever afford his own place.” He said, “The rents are really high. It’s hard to find places”. This is someone who still works part time.
I have met carpenters who live in parking lots. When we have an economy where the people who build our homes cannot afford to live in them, it is a fundamentally unjust system; something must change. Indeed, Canadians are literally hungering for that change.
This is life after eight years under the and the Liberal government. This is the misery that Canadians are living. This is eight years after he promised he would help the middle class and those working hard to join them. Do members remember those people? We do not hear about them anymore. Now that he has their votes, he does not need to worry about them.
The reason he would never mention the middle class and those working hard to join it is, obviously, that the whole nation would break down into simultaneous laughter and tears. The irony that this man would talk about the middle class after he robbed people of their birthright in Canada, to own a home if they worked hard and nourish their family with good food, would be both hilarious and tragic. These are things we took for granted eight years ago. Now, Canadians are forced to desperately cling to these things. What is the 's promise now? It is to quadruple the carbon tax on the farmers who feed our people.
Let us talk about the impact this is having. Just today, we have a new report from Canada's “food professor”. Professor Charlebois of Dalhousie University produced a report indicating that, next year, Canadians will spend 701 more dollars to feed their families. This is on top of the 20% food price inflation we have had just in the last couple of years. Next year, the average family of four will need to spend $16,297 to feed their children and themselves. Projections from this report indicate that, for the coming year, food inflation will be between 2.5% and 4.5%, on top of the pre-existing food price increases.
Liberals will say inflation is coming down. Prices are going up. The 20% increase in the cost of food is not going away. The 2% to 4% increase that will come this year will be compounded on top of the previous increases. The said he might be quadrupling the carbon tax on farmers and truckers who bring us our food, but we should not worry. He is having meetings with CEOs of grocery chains. That clearly has not worked, because food prices continue to go up again after the dozens of promises that he would make food more affordable.
The report reads:
In 2024, it is probable that Canadians will continue to experience the strain of food inflation, compounded by increasing costs of housing, energy, and various other expenditures....
Canadians are facing stricter budgets as they contend with higher costs of living as rent continues to increase, interest rates have risen, and household debt is up. Food and beverage retail data shows that between 2022 and 2023, Canadians reduced the amount they spend in food and beverage retail by 3.26%.
They are paying more to eat less; they are cutting back on their nutritional budgets, buying less-nutritional food. They are buying smaller portions, where the nutrition is literally stripped out of it and replaced with manufactured oils, artificial sweeteners and flavours, so they can trick their palate into thinking that they are nourishing their bodies.
The Agri-food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie further notes, “A recent report by TransUnion found that the average Canadian has a credit card bill of $4,000 and a 4.2% increase in household debt compared to last year”. The problem is getting worse. That increase in household debt is on top of the fact that Canada already has the highest household debt in the G7 by a country mile. No one else is even close. We now have approximately $1.80 in debt for every dollar in household income. That is all rolling over into higher interest rates, which the 's deficits have caused.
The report continues:
Food prices are not the only increase in expense that Canadians are facing as other commodities are still feeling the effects of inflation, and household expenses like rent and utilities are also increasing year over year.
The last two months have been the fastest months of increase in rent.
I will be sharing my time with the member for , who comes from a farming community
The proposes to quadruple the carbon tax on the farmers who make the food and the truckers who ship the food. Conservatives are going to fight tooth and nail to stop the Prime Minister from getting on his surfboard and leaving this place until he agrees to pass our common-sense proposal to axe the tax on farmers, first nations and families heating their homes.
Can the put his ego and his ideological obsessions aside, so Canadians can feed themselves this Christmas? It is the common sense of the common people, united for our common home.
Madam Speaker, it is always a privilege to speak in this place, and of course to follow the , the member for Carleton, and his wise words. He did end on the issue of first nations, which are now taking the government to court, at least 133 of them, bands represented by the Ontario chiefs, to fight what they are calling the discriminatory carbon tax.
First and foremost, I think we can all agree it is crucial to recognize the undeniable commitment of indigenous peoples to environmental stewardship and sustainability. Of course, many communities have deep connections to the land, and have for generations practised a harmonious relationship with nature. It comes to that, which is supposed to be the allegedly most important relationship for the , the one with indigenous peoples, but there are now 133 Ontario chiefs taking the government to court. It is not necessarily something they want to do; it is something they are forced to do.
The following is a headline from APTN: “Chiefs of Ontario ask for judicial review of a carbon price regime.” I will read the first paragraph, because it highlights quite perfectly exactly what I want to speak to: “First Nations leaders in Ontario say Canada needs to fix what they call a ‘discriminatory’ carbon price system, arguing the federal government failed to address their repeated concerns and blocked their exemption request only to then issue a carveout [to other parts of] Canada.”
That is quite clear. The next quote builds on what the was just saying about the fact that first nations leaders are not consulted despite the repeated comments of the government. It reads, “A First Nation leader called the move ‘completely avoidable’ if the federal government had only ‘showed up to the table.’” That is a quote from Abram Benedict, Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and the head of the Chiefs of Ontario's environmental portfolio.
There are Ontario groups saying that they are disproportionately hurt by the carbon price tax. They are saying that they are willing to work with the government to come to a solution, yet the government does not even want to have that conversation. It will call anyone else “colonial”, but that is peak colonialism right there. The government refuses to show up at the table and negotiate with first nations communities, which have to pay the carbon tax that is causing the price of heating, eating and travelling to go up unnecessarily. However, they are not getting the break if they live on reserve. They do not get the rebate, so they are paying more and getting less.
What is even worse with the government is that its department of Indigenous Services Canada has actually doubled in bureaucrats. There are almost 9,000 people working in the department, yet according to its own departmental data, it is hitting only 18% of its stated goals. In what other place on this planet can one get away with hitting 18% of one's goals? We have asked the many times to answer that question. There is no clear answer, but I can tell members what happens: The targets are actually moved down the road, so if it is not completed this year, it is just moved to next year and the year after that.
The lives of indigenous peoples, under the current government, are not getting any better. The move by the Ontario chiefs proves that. The claim by the government that people are better off, with more money in their pockets because the rebates give them more, is not true. The Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that. The Ontario chiefs lawsuit proves the example yet again. The government's plan to continue to increase the carbon tax year after year is not making people better. Emissions are going up. The government does not have an environmental plan; it has a tax plan, one that is making the lives of Canadians, whether indigenous or non-indigenous, miserable. It is spreading the misery around. It is probably easy for the government. Under its policies, it cannot seem to encourage more people to start businesses because, under this tax system, the more one makes, the more the government takes, so it will just keep spreading the misery and bringing people down. Those people are the middle class. Those are the people who are hurting the most.
The decided to take a nice trip to the UAE to talk about reducing emissions. It is interesting that he can sit and lecture others about trying to live their lives, pointing his finger at others who are trying to maybe take a vacation if they work all year around, and trying to feed their families, for crying out loud. Nowadays, food bank usage is through the roof. Expenses are through the roof. Rent and mortgages are through the roof. The minister has the audacity to look at others and say, “How dare you get on that plane?” He bemoans the wealth of others for maybe creating a job through a small business or two, creating opportunity in their community, then tells them they cannot see the fruits of their labour. He will take all that life has to offer. I bet that the environment minister ate at the best restaurants and stayed at the finest hotels.
Now, there are 133 Ontario chiefs taking the government to court because it would not sit at the table and negotiate on a way forward, something that should be common sense to the government. It had to get to the point where these communities have to use money that would be better spent on providing services for their people. They now have to use it to go to court just to try to stop the misery the government is inflicting.
In April 2022, the Auditor General, in what is called by many a scathing report on carbon pricing, found that indigenous groups were disproportionately burdened by the Liberal carbon tax. In section 5.60, the report states:
Indigenous groups and small- and medium-sized enterprises were still disproportionately burdened. [The Auditor General] also found that Environment and Climate Change Canada had not established any criteria for their assessment of provincial and territorial systems in the federal benchmark to consider the potential disproportionate burden of carbon pricing for all jurisdictions.
Unfortunately, in February of this year, a press release read:
The reality in First Nations communities is poverty stricken conditions along with substantially higher costs for all goods and services in rural and remote communities. The Fuel Charge program has added a costly burden on First Nations, who experience far greater poverty and substandard housing and infrastructure than the “average” Canadian as a result of colonialism. The Fuel Charge cost to First Nations citizens amounts to another cash grab for Canada, removing several million dollars a year from those [people who are] least responsible for the climate crisis.
That pretty much says it all. The hurt is real for first nations communities. There is not more money in their pockets because of the current government. The housing crisis has not gone away.
The government leaves opportunities and passes them by. Leaders from Germany and Japan came to the government, saying that they would like to buy our energy. Who would benefit from that energy, in a lot of cases? First nations communities would, through jobs, opportunity, investment and equity stake. The government just fluffed off the Chancellor of Germany and the Prime Minister of Japan, saying, “No, you can buy your energy somewhere else.” Selling our energy would have provided some much-needed relief for indigenous communities, but the government, like the carbon tax, ignores the needs, wishes and desires of first nations communities.
In our motion, we are calling for the carbon tax to be taken off for families, families and first nations.
Madam Speaker, I always appreciate the opportunity to provide some thoughts with respect to Conservative opposition day motions. One thing I have recognized is that nothing has really changed. Time and time again, the Conservatives want to push the issue of what they classify as a tax. They say “cut the tax”, that bumper sticker about which I have talked.
In fact, in looking through social media, we see the big blue signs. We see how the Conservatives have tried to amplify and simplify that message. This is a message of deception. It is often the type of thing I would hear when I listened to Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, the messaging and types of speeches he would deliver. It is like a flashback.
I see the Conservative Party catering more and more to the far right, the MAGA right, if I can put it that way. I have made reference to how that right has virtually taken over the leadership of the Conservative Party today and the office of the . Other that the Canada-Ukraine issue, it is difficult to imagine many other issues on which the Conservative Party is so out of tune and prepared to mislead Canadians on public policy than its “axe the tax” slogan.
For people who are following the debate, I would encourage them to listen to what the actually has said. When he was trying to appeal to people, he was using examples. He talked about this individual or that individual. He gave the impression that if we axed the tax, if we took away the price on pollution, we would be so much better off.
An hon. member: Yep.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Madam Speaker, one member from the Conservative Party has confirmed exactly what I have said.
Madam Speaker, it is just not true, yet the travels the country to spread that kind of information. I thought that style of politics was just south of the border, in the United States, where it was amplified by Donald Trump. Now we have the leader of the Conservative Party trying to out do Donald Trump.
Let us think about his comments. He says that it is more affordable for people if we get rid of the price on pollution, if we axe the tax. I represent roughly 95,000 people in Winnipeg North, although it may be starting to grow a bit more and is getting closer to that 100,000 mark. Over 80% of the residents I represent get a net benefit because of the price on pollution.
When the says he will get rid of the price on pollution, that also means he will get rid of the environmental rebate.
The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer is an independent, non-partisan office, with professional civil servants. It has made it very clear that over 80% of people have a net benefit because of the rebates. That is the reality and that is what we hear from the independent budget officer of the House of Commons. In Winnipeg North, it is even a little greater.
Therefore, when the member tries to give examples, when he says what about this person or that person, most of the people he is referencing get a net benefit because of the rebate. If we take away the price on pollution, or axe the tax, as the Conservatives call it, we take money out of the pockets and purses of 80% of the constituents I represent.
When the says that by getting rid of the price on pollution, the Conservatives will be making things more affordable for people because they are going to have more disposable income, that is just not true. The sad reality is that every Conservative member on the other side knows that. Does that prevent them from spreading untruths? No, they continue to do it through social media. That is a nice way of saying they are spreading misinformation for those who might ask me the question.
Madam Speaker, it is misinformation. Many would say it is misleading. Let me put it this way. A constituent of mine is told that 80% of Canadians will receive more money back than they pay for the price on pollution, and that has been affirmed by the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer. However, the Conservatives, including the of the Conservative Party, who is leading the Donald Trump charge, are saying that getting rid of the price on pollution is going to put more money in the pockets of Canadians, and that is not true.
How would members classify that? I cannot be bold and blunt about what the is saying, because it would be unparliamentary. However, if we look at the information the leader is talking about, it is misleading Canadians. At the end of the day, everything the Conservative Party is doing today seems to be focused on that one issue. It is completely ignoring the environment. We are waiting to see any form of a climate plan from the Conservative Party.
The last time I can recall the Conservatives standing in the chamber talking about their environmental plan was when Erin O'Toole was their leader, and they said they supported a price on pollution. A Conservative member just asked where he is. The Conservatives kicked him out and he is no longer around. There have been a few Conservative leaders, but they really like the current one. Maybe it is because of the far-right element. Most, if not all, Conservatives seem to be onside with moving to the far right, and it is at great cost.
As I pointed out, all Conservatives who campaigned in the election two years ago made it very clear that they supported a price on pollution. It was in their election platform. However, that has changed. That is a fact.
Madam Speaker, I want to talk about the ways that the Conservative Party is offside and maybe do bit of contrast for members.
If we look at the emissions graph, over the last number of years we have witnessed a shift. The curve is now starting to bend in a direction that I believe Canadians would be very supportive. Had there not been a change in government back in 2015, and under Stephen Harper's leadership, the curve would have continued up by an estimated nine points. Over the last number of years, the line has gone down by seven points under this administration. We are going in the right direction when it comes to greenhouse emissions, which is an important issue to Canadians. In real numbers, I am told it is like 53 megatonnes. For my constituents who are like me, I try to better understand what that means. That is the equivalent of 11 million cars being taken off the road.
The population of Manitoba is about 1.3 million people. The population of Saskatchewan, I would guesstimate, is probably somewhere around 1.15 million. The population of the province of Alberta is well over three million, from what I can recall. We could take away every vehicle in the Prairies. Over the last number of years that is 53 megatonnes of GHG, or 11 million vehicles. To me, that speaks volumes about what the government has been able to achieve in a relatively short time span. We were able to achieve that through providing different forms of incentives and programs.
I want to highlight the fact that we know Canadians want to participate. I have heard this for many years. I remember being in the Manitoba legislature and we were talking about banning plastic bags. We can look at the banning of single-use plastics, on which this government has moved forward, or our budget measures on financial incentives to support people. Our constituents would like to do more on the environmental front. We have programs like the greener homes grant. The uptake has been fantastic. A number of people in all regions of the country are participating in a program that will ultimately reduces greenhouse gas emissions, again, a budgetary measure.
Another program is about electric vehicles. It is interesting when we look at the numbers. Canadians are choosing electric vehicles faster than expected, with 10% of new vehicles being ZEVs in the first half of 2023. These types of vehicles are a dependable form of transportation, with lower operating costs and reducing the environmental footprint. In its budget measures, the federal government has provided incentives. Some of the provinces have done likewise. Canadians are taking advantage of those programs. We have seen a high demand for those vehicles. I would suggest that it has been very successful.
When I think of how industry has benefited, two companies that come to mind right away are Stellantis, with the benefits that are being created there, and Volkswagen. Volkswagen is a substantial investment of a private company and both federal and provincial governments. Today, we have the Conservative Party opposing the agreement that we achieved with Volkswagen, contrary to even Doug Ford, but there is a difference, I guess, as the provincial party is a little more progressive than the federal Conservative Party. However, at the end of the day, we can think of the results and the potential that is there when we get companies around the world recognizing that Canada is on the right track when it comes to dealing with emissions.
Volkswagen, in many ways, is one of the leaders in the world moving forward in the electrification of vehicles. It made a decision not to go to the United States but to come to Canada and make a serious investment. Once that investment is complete, it will be the largest manufacturing processing facility in Canada and, I am told, even in North America. I think it will be something like 200 football fields. It is going to be a huge plant. We can think of the types of green jobs that are going to be there as a direct result of Volkswagen making that decision.
Where is the Conservative Party? It actually opposed what the federal government has done with Volkswagen. Its members do not like the fact that the federal government made a decision to make a financial contribution, even though the Progressive Conservative provincial government of Ontario has done likewise, not to mention the community of St. Thomas itself, which has also come to the table because of infrastructure. This brings real life to an industry that has the potential to grow, and the Conservatives and the climate deniers are completely offside.
It is not just the province of Ontario that would benefit. We can think of the minerals involved and the other components. It is not just Ontario or the St. Thomas community that is going to benefit from this. All of Canada, if not directly, will indirectly benefit from this, and it does not stop there. I think of Stellantis and how, in Canada, the industry of electrification of vehicles continues to grow, and those two companies are not alone.
Is it any wonder that today we lead the G7 in foreign investment coming into Canada? As a political entity, the Government of Canada recognizes that green jobs are golden jobs going forward, and we need to see those types of investments. As a government, from day one, we have supported Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it. We want an economy that is going to work for everyone.
As the Conservative Party's single focus seems to be on spreading misinformation, filibustering and ultimately playing a destructive force on the floor of the House of Commons, we will continue to be solely focused on having the backs of Canadians and providing the jobs that are going to be there for the future to ensure that life remains affordable and to deal with the issues that we know are important to Canadians. That means, in good part, dealing with the environment in a very real and tangible way.
Madam Speaker, where to start? I would like to make a little detour before addressing my Conservative colleagues' motion. I would like to provide a bit of context for the motion.
In my opinion, if we want to understand the context, we need to look at the current situation. We are in a climate crisis. There are two possibilities. Either the Conservatives recognize that we are in a climate crisis and commit to taking action to mitigate it, or they do not recognize that we are in a climate crisis. Our main problem is that, ever since the member for became leader of the Conservative Party, the official opposition has been using disinformation as their preferred political tool. As a result, we cannot have conversations about global warming with our Conservative colleagues. Whenever we try to, they become irrational. My colleagues will understand why I say this.
In my former life, I taught political science. The introductory course for first-year political science students teaches a simple concept. It teaches them what democracy is. To explain what democracy is, I would tell them that one of the key principles is that it is better to use reason rather than force. That is what democracy is. Democracy means people deliberating together. It means people having a dialogue to determine what is best for the common good.
For several years now, we have been witnessing the Americanization of Canadian politics. Dialogue no longer takes precedence over threats or over the imposition of ideas. Whoever is the strongest tries to impose their law using intimidation. That is how the United States currently operates. I do not want to compare the leader of the official opposition to Donald Trump right now. Let us set that aside. I do not want to compare the leader of the official opposition to Marine Le Pen or any of those other politicians in the western world whose questionable tactics involve taking liberties with the truth to avoid entering into discussions with counterparts who often think differently. I say this because dialogue is very important.
The reason I am bringing up this topic is that we reached the bottom of the barrel yesterday. When I was younger, my mother often used to say that all things pass, meaning even a person's stupidity eventually comes to an end. I hope that we reached the bottom of the barrel yesterday. Yesterday, the Standing Committee on Natural Resources was carrying out its clause-by-clause study of Bill . I have been involved in Quebec and Canadian politics since the early 1990s and, although I have always kept a close eye on parliamentary proceedings, I have never in my life seen anything as sophomoric as what I saw yesterday.
There is a key principle. We can raise questions of privilege in the House because we feel that members have the right to be heard. Letting members speak, letting members vote, is a key principle of democracy. However, even this key principle, which is fundamental to democracy, was not respected yesterday. I heard Conservative members yelling to ensure that no committee member would be able to cast a vote during clause-by-clause consideration. Worse than that, I saw some highly questionable actions on the part of the member for —
Madam Speaker, I do not even have to show the House what I am talking about, because the Conservatives are doing it for me. They use this same tactic day after day at the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. Earlier, I heard a Conservative say that he was just having a nice, quiet discussion with one of his colleagues. If members want to know what Conservatives think is a quiet discussion, they should have a look at the video of our meeting yesterday at the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. They will see what my Conservative colleagues consider a nice, quiet discussion.
As I was saying before I was interrupted, the member for behaved in a highly questionable way. He tried to intimidate the Bloc Québécois whip and the members of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources to prevent them from speaking to a bill. As I was saying earlier, we have been dealing with this type of behaviour in the Standing Committee on Natural Resources for more than a month now. We are never sure whose turn it is to speak, which is frankly ridiculous. When I put all that together, I see what I call the “Carleton method”. It is the approach used by the , and it is based on two major but very simple strategies: on the one hand, we have intimidation and, on the other, disinformation.
As I said in my introduction, we are now at a turning point. In the face of climate change, the actions that we should take immediately will have an irreversible impact on future generations. When political parties use intimidation and disinformation in this kind of context, the only outcome is disaster.
What I am trying to do this morning is to appeal to the sense of responsibility of each and every parliamentarian. Every parliamentarian should perhaps look beyond the end of their nose and beyond the next election. They should think about their children and future generations. Unfortunately, more and more members have become extremely short-sighted, behaving like lobbyists for the oil and gas sector and refusing to listen to science, which is clearly showing us that climate change will have harmful effects on us. There are members who behave that way, who do not have the will or the integrity to tackle the problem before us head on, and who prefer to use intimidation and disinformation.
I can think of a number of examples. One of the focuses of today's debate is Bill . We saw an intimidation campaign by Conservative senators against two of their colleagues, Bernadette Clement and Chantal Petitclerc. Worse yet, I can say that I saw on the Conservatives' monitor in the lobby a photo of the two senators as if on wanted posters. We sometimes see wanted posters for criminals. The goal was of course to post these images on social media to instigate an intimidation campaign against the senators in question. We all know how social media works.
As I was saying earlier, that is the member for 's method. Not so long ago, we were alerted to what the member for Carleton was capable of. The people who warned us about how the member for Carleton operates were also members from Quebec, in particular the member for . He indicated a number of times that he had never seen a more hateful campaign than the one he was the victim of in his own riding. People took it upon themselves to incite the public to call him and intimidate him. As we know, the member for Richmond—Arthabaska is a former Conservative member.
The member for also warned us. I will quote him, and it is a quote that applies perfectly to what I witnessed yesterday in committee. Here is what he said about the last Conservative leadership race: “I have never seen such an aggressive race or such vicious personal attacks”.
Well, to borrow the member for 's own words, I have never seen such aggressive and vicious discussions and such savage personal attacks as I witnessed yesterday in committee.
This method in no way helps solve the problem before us, namely the climate crisis.
The Conservatives often use empty slogans like “Axe the tax”. I see it everywhere. Upon closer inspection, however, through all the rhetoric, what the Conservatives really mean is “Axe the facts”. What they are trying to do is gloss over all the scientific data that show that we need to adopt robust measures to fight climate change to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. I have never seen a Conservative proposal to introduce carbon pricing. I have never seen the Conservative Party recognize that carbon pricing is necessary if we want to transition to a low-carbon economy. The only one who ever defended that was the former leader of the Conservative Party. Unfortunately, a few members, probably from his own party, managed to get their way.
There is something else I would like to bring to my colleagues' attention. I said earlier that, in my opinion, responsible elected members use reason rather than force. That is a guiding principle of democracy, which the Conservatives do not appear to respect, preferring intimidation and disinformation.
There is another principle that is quite important. I believe that we were elected to defend our constituents' interests. That is critical. Every one of us must defend our constituents' interests in this House. Here is where my bewilderment stems from. I have a colleague in this House who comes from my region. My colleague from is a Conservative member from the Saguenay—Lac‑Saint‑Jean region. He rose in the House to ask the government to expedite the legislative process in the Senate regarding Bill , which is about reducing the tax on the fuels used for grain drying. It is linked to the carbon tax. Once again, as all members from my party keep saying, the carbon tax does not apply in Quebec.
Yet, the president of the federation Les Producteurs de lait du Québec is in the riding of the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord. He has been working tirelessly for three years with the member for to have a bill passed that would stop any further breaches in supply management. This bill was passed here, in the House. It is now before the Senate. I do not want to impute motives to anyone, but we are told that Conservative senators are delaying the passage of the bill. I cannot believe that a member from the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean area who counts the president of Les Producteurs de lait du Québec among his constituents would rise in the House to defend a bill that will have no effect on his fellow citizens or on Quebec politics, but remains silent what it comes to supply management. That is a fundamental violation. Today I challenge the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord to stand up in the House and ask a question or make a statement in support of the supply management bill. That is another issue.
We heard the tell us at length that in the next election campaign, the “ballot box issue” will be carbon pricing, that is the carbon tax. We will say it again: That tax does not apply in Quebec. Clean fuel pricing already exists in Quebec; it was implemented by the Quebec government itself. I cannot understand how Conservative MPs from Quebec can support such far-fetched initiatives. These initiatives will have no impact in Quebec.
Today, I have a request for my colleagues from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, , also a Quebecker, and . I have always held the latter in high esteem. He had a career in the media and was also, at one time, a distinguished politician. I ask them to become responsible again, to set aside the Carleton method that is becoming increasingly common and to take an interest in Quebec.
The people of Quebec will repay them in kind. Federal MPs from Quebec have to advance the interests of Quebec society here in the House. My sense is that, somewhere along the way, my Conservative colleagues from Quebec clearly lost their political bearings.
I will close by saying that the motion before us today is very similar to many of the motions we have seen in recent months. To me, this proves that the Conservative members from Quebec have no influence over their leader right now. The Conservative Party's messaging is solely focused on fossil fuels and defending the oil and gas sector.
In my opinion, the Conservative members from Quebec have very little influence. Nevertheless, I encourage them to grow a spine and stand up for the interests of Quebeckers, as my leader often says.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
This holiday season comes at a very difficult time in Canada. People are struggling to get by. Food bank use is at an all-time high, and many families are unable to pay the cost of their heating bills. The Liberals are failing everyday people.
About a month ago, I was proud that the NDP presented a motion that called on the government to provide heat pumps to low and middle-income households in Canada, to remove the GST on all home heating and to implement a windfall profit tax on oil and gas companies, which are making record-breaking profits. It is shameful that there are oil and gas executives making record profits and getting millions in bonuses this holiday while Canadian workers are barely scraping by. Our NDP team is fighting to make life more affordable for everyday Canadians.
Unsurprisingly, the Liberals teamed up with the Conservatives to vote against our motion. I guess this makes sense; this year, the Liberal government met with oil and gas lobbyists over 1,000 times, which is nearly three times every single day. Not only did it meet with them, but it also invited oil and gas executives to help craft its climate plan. These are the same CEOs who are fuelling the climate crisis to maximize their own profits. It is like inviting the fox to help us design our henhouse. Therefore, it is not surprising that, when it comes to fighting the climate crisis, Liberals continue to drag their feet and disappoint.
Canadians voted for a strong emissions cap on oil and gas. Now that it is finally being announced, we find out that it is full of loopholes and gaps that let oil and gas companies carry on polluting. Industry will not be asked to cut emissions in line with the government's own emissions reduction plan. There is compliance flexibility, but what this actually means is that the Liberals are making everyday Canadians and every other sector of the economy pick up the slack. The Liberals are throwing young people's future under the bus to make life easier for oil and gas CEOs.
We are in a climate emergency. After the worst wildfire season in this country's history, forced evacuations across the country and droughts leading to crop failures, the fact is that we are already breaking the 2°C threshold. We cannot wait any longer, and farmers are on the front lines of the fight against climate change. Few feel the impact of our changing climate more than they do. We need to ensure that they have the tools they need to keep doing their jobs. This is why I am proud to support the work of my colleague, the member for , who has been working on the national soil health strategy bill. When we support farmers, the benefits in healthy food and a safer, greener environment are for everyone.
It is also important to note the disproportionate impact of the increasing frequency and severity of climate disasters, such as floods, droughts and forest fires, on indigenous communities. In the last 13 years, indigenous communities have faced over 580 evacuation orders, and extreme weather events and climate-related disasters are only expected to get worse.
What do the Conservatives propose to do to deal with these climate-related disasters? How do they plan to support first nations, Inuit and Métis communities that are impacted by the climate crisis? The reality is that the Conservatives do not have a plan. They cannot even agree about whether climate change is real, let alone how we fight it.
While indigenous communities are often on the front lines of the climate crisis, they are also facing the cost of living crisis more intensely than many other communities are. The price of groceries in remote communities is through the roof. My colleague from has highlighted the housing crisis in her riding as well, and her constituents are not alone. The indigenous housing crisis is a serious problem across our country. That is why we forced the Liberals to include by indigenous, for indigenous housing in budget 2023. However, so much more needs to be done. In my community, urban indigenous folks are facing a variety of unique challenges in accessing safe, affordable and culturally supportive housing.
This is why I am so grateful that we have organizations such as the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness. They are doing incredible work. However, without stable, ongoing funding and adequate federal funding for their projects, indigenous people in my community have been hit hard. This is an environment where inflation has been high, interest rates are skyrocketing, the cost of living keeps going up and housing is unaffordable even for people with full-time jobs.
The Victorian Native Friendship Centre is another incredible organization doing important work. Their executive director, Ron Rice, talks about how they provide housing for grandparents raising their grandchildren, youth attending post-secondary and youth transitioning out of care. He has spoken about how many of the people who stay in their shelter have at least one full-time job. The federal government needs to provide more funding and resources to these organizations, and we need a federal acquisitions fund for the community housing sector to acquire rental housing properties.
It is disappointing that the Liberals always drag their feet and need to be pushed into doing the right thing. At the same time, it seems that the Conservatives only listen to indigenous communities when it serves their interest. Why did the Harper government refuse to launch an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls? Why are the current Conservatives not using today to bring forward a motion about the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people or about the water crisis in indigenous communities?
Why are they not calling for a solution to the indigenous housing crisis in Nunavut or the housing crisis impacting Métis communities? Inuit and Métis people are not even mentioned in their motion. There are intergenerational cycles of homelessness and colonial violence that pushed Inuit, Métis and first nations people off their lands. Why do the Conservatives only advocate for indigenous people when it is related to the carbon tax?
Today, I asked the Conservative how he responds not only to the people who are hurt by his comments from 15 years ago, to the effect that residential school survivors “need a stronger work ethic” rather than compensation, but also to first nations, Inuit and Métis people who would like him to apologize for this year, when he chose to speak to residential school deniers at a luncheon in Winnipeg. He responded by saying that he addressed those comments 15 years ago. What about his actions this year?
It is clear that he is not who he says he is. These are not the actions of someone who understands or respects the needs of indigenous people.
Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have responded adequately to the concerns of indigenous people. Neither party has responded to the Assembly of First Nations' call for an additional $30 billion in climate adaptation funding for their communities, nor has it met Métis and Inuit needs.
The Liberals are spending more money to help communities evacuate than they are spending to help them prevent a crisis in the first place. This is clearly unacceptable. Canada deserves better than the delay-and-disappoint Liberals or the corporate-controlled Conservatives.
Our New Democrat team has been calling for a rollback to the carbon tax loopholes that the Liberals gave to the biggest polluters. Instead of having loopholes, they should be made to pay their fair share.
We are taking on grocery store executives. Canadians know that New Democrats are the only party that will stand up to the rich CEOs who are gouging Canadians while raking in record profits.
We also believe that Canadians across the country deserve a break on their heating bills, which is why we are calling to remove the GST on home heating and for programs to deliver heat pumps to low and middle-income families. We are calling on the Liberals to finally implement a windfall profits tax on oil and gas companies to pay for it. We are also pushing the government to engage in true reconciliation, to properly fund indigenous organizations who are doing for indigenous, by indigenous housing.
We are pushing them to make it easier for farmers to burn cleaner fuels, which would help reduce carbon emissions, as well as to create a red dress alert to save the lives of indigenous women who are at risk. We will keep fighting for people from coast to coast to coast.
I urge my colleagues from across party lines to do the same.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from for her very interesting speech. I also thank her for all her hard work and her passion for the environmental and climate emergency files, as well as for housing and first nations issues, both in British Columbia and across the country.
The Conservatives are still pathologically obsessed with the carbon tax, which is really a price on pollution. When we talk about a price on pollution, we are clearly talking about the environment, climate emergencies and the climate crisis. Speaking of the environment, I cannot help but mention the Liberal government's announcement this morning about a cap on greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector.
Two years ago, at COP26 in Glasgow, the said we had to implement a cap on greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector. We waited two years. What we are seeing today is worse than anything we feared, worse than anything we imagined. I am sure my colleagues will believe me when I say that we have quite a rich imagination.
It is appalling to ask society as a whole to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% to 45%. In fact we could have a discussion about the proportionality and burden of responsibility of every Canadian and the Canadian economy with respect to the targets we need to reach to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees. We are heading more for 2 degrees. We should be prepared to reduce our emissions by 50% to 60%, because, per capita, Quebeckers and Canadians create a lot of pollution and produce huge amounts of greenhouse gases.
Let us consider a 45% decrease. Two years ago, we were told that the oil and gas sector would probably have to reduce its emissions by 31%. That means 10% to 15% are now gone; that is a gift from the government, thank you very much. This morning we learned that the oil and gas sector no longer has to reduce its emissions by 31%, but that the Liberals would be happy with a 16% to 20% decrease. That is ridiculous. It is irresponsible for our children and for future generations. Given the climate emergency, that is a joke. Why is it a joke? Because this government listens only to lobbyists from big oil.
We said it yesterday, and again today: In the past two years, there have been 2,000 meetings with lobbyists and representatives from oil and gas companies. Considering there are 365 days in a year, that amounts to more than three meetings a day between oil lobbyists and the ministerial offices of a government that calls itself pro-environment. That includes Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas Day, Easter, Hanukkah and more. Then we wonder who the Liberals are listening to. There were three times more meetings between oil company representatives and the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council, Treasury Board and Finance than there were meetings with environmental groups.
That is the root cause of what we are seeing this morning. This joke they call a “cap” is nothing but rubbish. There is nothing in it except a blank cheque to the oil companies so they can continue to do business as usual. Not only has the reduction dropped to 16% to 20%, but these corporations have no obligations until 2030. They have carte blanche for the next seven years and after that a bit of flexibility. That means they will be allowed to continue increasing production. I do not know how they are going to achieve a 16% to 20% reduction while continuing to increase production. There is so much flexibility in the document presented by the that it reminds me of a yoga class with people able to perform the most absolutely incredible contortions.
This is totally irresponsible on the part of a government that claims to care about the climate and the environment, but then puts this kind of nonsense forward this morning, even though oil and gas is the economic sector that emits the most greenhouse gases. I believe it is responsible for 24% of total emissions. That is huge, even more than transportation.
The increase in Canada's greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 is mainly due to an 88% increase in emissions from the oil and gas sector. It emitted 100 million tonnes in 1990, 168 million tonnes in 2005, and 189 million tonnes in 2021. Now the government is telling the oil and gas sector that it will not have to worry for the next seven years. The government is giving it carte blanche, or should I say “carte noire”. The oil and gas sector can carry on polluting as much as it wants. There might be a target sometime around 2050, maybe. We will see. Sadly, this is consistent with the Liberals' vision and proposals since 2015.
We learned just this week that the government plans to subsidize oil companies to the tune of $12.5 billion for carbon capture technology. That is a page out of the Conservatives' playbook. The , once an environmental activist, basically copied and pasted the Conservative Party leader's plan, a far-fetched fantasy in which a magic technological wand solves all our problems. This is public money paying for this, even though we know that carbon capture technology is not proven, has not been properly tested and is not producing the promised results.
We need to shift toward the centre and have a strong energy sector that focuses on renewable energy. That is what the science has been telling us for years, but the Conservatives and the Liberals are going in the completely opposite direction. That is not surprising from a government that bought the Trans Mountain pipeline, which has so little future that no private sector player wanted to buy it. It was also the Liberals who saw to it that everyone here, along with the people we represent in our ridings, is paying for it. At first they were talking about $7 billion. Then it was $12 billion, then $16 billion. Now we are at $30 billion for a pipeline that, in 20 or 30 years, will no longer be used, because it will transport the dirtiest oil in the world, the most expensive to extract, and no one will want it anymore.
It is not surprising that the Liberal government is also authorizing projects like Bay du Nord, which once again means an increase in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It is not surprising that the Liberals and the Minister of the Environment, in February, issued oil and gas exploration permits off the coast of Newfoundland for 12,000 square kilometres of delicate marine ecosystems. They also issued exploration permits to ExxonMobil and to British Petroleum.
This is the Liberals' record: a government incapable of meeting its targets, as we learned in the environment commissioner's latest report, a government that authorizes oil and gas projects and has just given Canadian oil companies a leg up to continue to do what they do while asking all citizens and companies in our economy to make an extra effort.
The situation is disastrous. Do we remember the forest fires last summer? Do we remember the consequences of increasing natural disasters, as we call them? These disasters are in fact less and less natural: The science and all the reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC prove that they are becoming more frequent and intense, and have greater consequences on our economy, populations, and health.
There is a very interesting article today on Maria Neira, director of public health and the environment at the World Health Organization. She says that the air pollution that is causing respiratory problems and an increased incidence of asthma in young children is directly linked to the burning of fossil fuels. This is not a hypothesis. This is what is happening.
Both the Conservatives and the Liberals are being irresponsible and not taking measures to reduce the consequences of pollution and climate change on human life and health, but also on our economy and the future of our society and our communities.
People can count on the NDP. We will fight and take climate change seriously.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
It is very simple. We want to cancel the carbon tax for farmers, first nations and families.
We know that mortgages and rent have doubled and that it is basically impossible to buy food for a family. Unfortunately, a new report indicates that groceries will cost an extra $700 per family next year.
I want this NDP-Liberal government to be honest with Canadians. The carbon tax is raising the cost of living. When the carbon tax drives up costs for farmers and truckers, the cost of living increases for all Canadians. I like bologna, but I do not like it when the Liberals feed Canadians baloney.
Sadly, after eight years, we know that Canadians are experiencing the greatest financial difficulty since perhaps the Great Depression. As the of His Majesty's loyal opposition has taken to saying many times, if pictures of the lines outside a food bank were in black and white, everybody would believe that we were back in the so-called dirty thirties.
The NDP-Liberal government has shattered the dreams of many Canadians. It was interesting to hear the response from my hon. colleague when I asked a question just a minute ago with respect to the emails, phone calls and visits that every member of this House receives in their office every day. I cannot understand why they choose to ignore the folks who put them there. We know very clearly, because everybody wants to look at a poll now and then, that it is at their own peril. I suggest that Canadians, as I said in French, are not foolish. They recognize very clearly the peril that their financial situation is in. We know that many Canadians are $200 away from being broke at the end of the month. That is a situation nobody wants to be in. Many Canadians are way beyond that. There are two million Canadians visiting food banks. That is 5% of the population.
I had the opportunity to visit the food bank in my hometown of Truro, Nova Scotia. Sadly, we know its client roster has ballooned to 1,800 folks. In a small town of around 12,000 people, there are 1,800 clients. We know from an incredible study done from my alma mater at Dalhousie University that groceries will cost a family of four an extra $700 next year. This is an incredibly sad state of affairs.
In that report, there was an interesting quote that talks about food bank use. It says, “This is the highest level of food bank use in Canada on record,” and, “In 2024, it is probable that Canadians will continue to experience the strain of food inflation, compounded by increasing costs of housing, energy, and various other expenditures.”
As I said in French, we all know that when we tax the farmer who grows the food and we tax the truck driver who ships the food, then ultimately the person at the end of the line paying for the food is going to have to pay more. We know that when we tax businesses more, they pass that cost onto consumers. That is a simple fact of business; it is not one that we like.
I do wish to highlight a couple of interesting stories, which are incredibly heart-wrenching, from my own riding.
In the recent past, I had an opportunity to speak to a couple who would have been very close to retirement. They have been married in the 25-year range and told me, and this is hard to believe, that sadly they had to sell their house. They were very close to paying off their house and could not pay the mortgage. I am the parent of three kids and two grandkids. A parent would not want to do this, but they took the money they gained as a profit from selling their house, as meagre as it was, and are going to pay it to their daughter because they are going to live in her basement. It is absolutely mind-blowing. These are stories that, in generations, have not been heard. It is incredibly gut-wrenchingly sad to hear a story like that.
I heard another from an older lady who lives on her own. She made up a new term. I was going to say this in French but I did not know how to say it, and this is really not a word in English, but she called it “ungrocery”. She would do her grocery shopping and go around with her cart, as we all do, putting things in that she would like to have. Then at the end of her tour around the grocery store, she would add up the cost of those items. She knew she could not afford it all, so she would go back around the grocery store taking things out of her cart, doing the math in her head and then realizing what a meagre amount of groceries she was actually able to afford. That is what “ungrocery” is. It would be exceedingly sad, of course, if that made it into common language in Canada.
We also know this carbon tax needs to be removed not just from families but from farmers and first nations. First nations have filed a judicial review over the federal carbon tax, noting very clearly that the climate cannot be healed at the expense of communities. We know very clearly the burden that is being placed on the backs of Canadians every single day. The debt the NDP-Liberal government has inflated over its eight years of ridiculousness has debt service charges now that would be equal to the Canada health transfer. It is incredible the burden of payments that will be required by generations to come.
The great thing is that Canadians are paying attention. They are understanding this message. The know the fiscal irresponsibility of the NDP-Liberal coalition is something that has to change. We know the hundreds of emails we are receiving every day are a reflection of the sad reality and the fiscally irresponsible position the NDP-Liberal government has put Canada in.
Its members can go on and talk about their machinations with debt-to-GDP ratio and those kinds of things, but what Canadians know is they cannot afford to heat their homes and to put food on their tables every single day, if they are fortunate enough to have a place to live. That is what we know and the message is resonating with Canadians that the NDP-Liberal government has to go.
Right now, its members could easily vote for the opposition motion today to axe the carbon tax to make life more affordable for everyday Canadians who call our offices and who will gladly put the NDP-Liberal coalition out of business.