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View Terry Duguid Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Terry Duguid Profile
2019-05-16 17:37 [p.27976]
Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for Repentigny.
Climate change is real. It is an urgent problem driven by human activity. Scientific data presented in the recent “Canada's Changing Climate Report” makes it clear that our country is warming at twice the global rate. In Canada's north, change is happening even faster.
We are seeing the devastating impacts of climate change across the country. Rivers are rising higher during floods. Droughts are parching crops. Forest fires are burning longer, hotter and more often.
Manitoba has already been hit hard by climate change. The 2011 and 2014 floods cost us some $1 billion each and forced the evacuation of thousands of people. This spring, parts of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick were devastated by floods. What used to be the flood of the century seems to be happening every few years now. Canadians are growing more and more concerned about the damaging and costly impacts of our destabilizing weather on our infrastructure, on our communities and on our environment.
Canadians expect their leaders to take action on the very real threats from climate change. The federal Liberal government's climate plan will achieve historic reductions in emissions through over 50 practical and affordable measures, including putting a price on pollution.
Our federal plan is fair and affordable. In the provinces where the federal price on pollution will apply, we are returning all the money collected back to Canadians. Let me be clear: The federal government is not keeping a cent. Ninety per cent is going right back to citizens through the climate action incentive tax rebate. The remaining 10% will help businesses, schools, hospitals, universities, municipalities and indigenous communities shift to a cleaner economy. An average family of four in my province of Manitoba will get $339 through its 2018 tax return under our federal plan. Most Canadian families will save more in taxes than they will pay in the carbon price increase. Citizens will also have a greater incentive to make greener choices.
We know that a price on pollution is the most affordable and effective measure we can take to bring down harmful emissions. In 2018, William Nordhaus and Paul Romer won a Nobel Prize for their work on the economics of climate change. Nordhaus argues that the most sensible response to climate change is to price carbon pollution. Romer asserts that the problem is not knowing what to do; the problem is getting a consensus to act, which we do not seem to have in this chamber.
Another key part of the federal government's plan to tackle climate change is setting ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that will see Canada's emissions reduced by 30% from our 2005 levels. By 2030, we aim to reduce our output from 815 megatonnes of emissions to 523 megatonnes.
We intend to phase out our coal power by 2030 as well. Coal power that causes pollution today results in close to 10% of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, smog from coal power plants can lead to asthma and respiratory illness, especially for children and seniors, and it adds to the burden on our health care system. Accelerating the phasing out of coal-fired electricity in Canada by 2030 will help reduce carbon pollution by more than five megatonnes in 2030, the equivalent of moving 1.3 million cars off the roads. It will also mean cleaner air and healthier lives for Canadians.
Through our budget 2019, we are making zero-emission vehicles accessible for more Canadians and are creating a new home retrofit program to help people lower their electricity and energy bills.
Our federal government is collaborating with scientists and economists on practical actions that work. We know this makes good ecological and economic sense. The whole world is looking for clean solutions, and the market for those solutions is estimated to be worth $26 trillion. That is bigger than the Canadian, U.S. and U.K. economies combined. A price on pollution gives Canadian businesses an added incentive to innovate, compete and lead in the dawning low-carbon economy. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and we cannot let Conservative politicians hold Canada back.
The time for debate over what to do about climate change has come and gone. The science is clear and the window of opportunity to safeguard our planet as a healthy home for future generations is closing. Now is the time to come together, as our Minister of Environment and Climate Change said today. Why, then, are Conservative politicians across this country ignoring evidence, putting roadblocks in front of positive climate action and using this issue to divide Canadians? It reminds me of the Stephen Harper decade of environmental backsliding and muzzling of scientists.
While a cabal of provincial Conservative leaders like Doug Ford, Jason Kenney and Scott Moe wish to spend time and money fighting carbon pricing in the courts instead of fighting climate change, the federal Conservatives are still choosing to ignore science.
I am very disappointed in my own premier, Brian Pallister, who has joined the cabal by flip-flopping on his original position to put a price on pollution. Not only are the Conservatives ignoring the reality of climate change, but they are also misleading Canadians. Recently, Conservative MPs mailed a tax guide to households that does not tell people how to claim their climate action incentive rebate. That could cost a family hundreds of dollars if it is tricked into not claiming what it is entitled to. The Conservatives say they are on the side of the middle class, but how could they deny money to middle-class citizens who are entitled to those funds?
The fact is that, in 2019, if a government does not have a plan for the environment, a government does not have a plan for the economy. Conservative politicians will spread myths and misinformation about fighting climate change, but by investing in the clean economy now, we are actually creating the jobs of tomorrow and helping to lower the huge future costs to society resulting from climate-related disasters.
The Government of Canada proposes a motion that recognizes that climate change is a real, urgent crisis caused by human activity that impacts our environment, biodiversity, economy and health.
Fighting climate change is the greatest collective challenge we face. It is a tough battle and we cannot let ourselves be distracted by partisan posturing. The world is changing, and one day soon we will pass it on to our kids and our grandkids. We owe them our very best, most well-informed, most united effort. Supporting our federal government's motion to declare a national climate emergency and commit to meeting the Paris targets is the first united step we can take to fight climate change together and protect the environment that we as Canadians love.
I hope all parties will join us in supporting the motion.
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