Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my fantastic colleague from Courtenay—Alberni. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate him on all the work he does to promote cycling in this country and help reduce plastic pollution. My colleague from British Columbia is doing an outstanding job.
I listened carefully to the parliamentary secretary's speech, and I want to come back to the final point he raised when responding to our Conservative colleague's question. Indeed, contrary to what the parliamentary secretary said, certain industrial sectors in Canada are getting free passes and handouts in terms of the price they will have to pay for their huge contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. This is all being given to them because of fears that businesses in certain highly competitive industrial sectors will want to move away or shut down their operations in Canada.
In his argument, the parliamentary secretary used the market argument to justify giving these companies a free pass allowing them to emit 10% more greenhouse gases before having to pay. What he fails to mention is that there is absolutely no verifiable objective criterion to justify this exemption, this gift being given to certain industrial sectors. In theory, the underlying logic to this exemption could be justified, but it is impossible to know what objective, rational, and independent criteria the Liberal government is basing its reasoning on. Several environmental activists have already asked this question. This approach lacks credibility. Again, it looks like the Liberals are handing out gifts to their corporate industry friends.
I find it interesting that we are having this discussion on the price of pollution. I have to hand it to the Conservatives, they are certainly consistent. When they sink their teeth into something, they do not let go. They do not like the idea of putting a price on pollution, and they are moving the same opposition motion that they presented a month or two ago, as though nothing else were going on in our society or our country. It seems to be the only thing they want to talk about until the election. Suits me. Let's talk about it.
I am the NDP environment critic. I am pleased to speak about our extraordinary platform called “The Courage to Do What's Right”, which the NDP leader recently presented in Montreal. It is an extraordinary and comprehensive document that includes a multitude of measures to address the challenges of tackling climate change. I will come back to that in a few minutes.
If there is one thing we can fault the Liberals for it is their lack of coherence. The government sheds crocodile tears and plays the violin while talking to us about future generations, the importance of the planet, nature, frogs and little birds, but it does nothing. It has been dragging its feet for years. The Liberals' environmental record does not live up to its promises of 2015 or the speeches it continues to give. What happened last night is proof of that. The Liberal government made us vote on a motion declaring a climate emergency. That is important. Canada is a G7 country. The government took the initiative to declare a climate emergency and to say that we must roll up our sleeves and take action. However, the Liberals had us vote on this motion the day before the announcement about the Trans Mountain expansion. That took some nerve. It does not make sense.
The Trans Mountain expansion will triple oil sands production, which will rise from 300,000 to 900,000 barrels a day. This project poses an extremely serious threat to British Columbia's coastline and has no social licence. Many indigenous communities oppose it, as does the Government of British Columbia. It is completely incompatible with the Liberal government's ambition to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To increase oil production from 300,000 to 900,000 barrels a day is equivalent to putting another three million cars on the road.
The government's climate change plan involves putting three million more gas-guzzling vehicles on our roads. Someone pinch me; I must be imagining things. This is a nonsensical and wrong-headed plan.
It is no wonder that groups like ENvironnement JEUnesse are suing the Liberal government over its reckless disregard for future generations. Young people are concerned, they are protesting, they are organizing and they are taking the government to court because it is not fulfilling its responsibilities. It is not taking the courageous decisions needed to do our part to combat climate change, the greatest challenge of our generation. If we do not get greenhouse gas emissions under control and limit global warming to 1.5°C to 2°C, the consequences will be extremely costly. There will be social, human, financial and economic consequences. We cannot wash our hands of this. We cannot stand by. Unfortunately, the Liberal government is all talk and no action.
By contrast, the NDP, with our leader, the member for Burnaby South, has proposed an extremely ambitious and comprehensive plan. I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk about this plan today, because we are going after the biggest greenhouse gas emitters.
The government's mistake is thinking that taxing carbon or pricing pollution is a magic wand that will fix all problems. This is not the case. It is a necessary tool, sure, but it is not enough. I think this is very important to point out. This is why the NDP has proposed other measures to ensure that we take serious, responsible action. Our commitment is to cut emissions by 450 megatonnes by 2030. This is achievable and is consistent with scientific findings and the IPCC report.
First, we want to take action on housing. We want to complete energy efficiency retrofits on all existing buildings and homes in Canada by 2050. That will save Canadians money and also reduce our carbon footprint. We want to change the building code so that all new buildings are carbon neutral by 2030, meaning they produce no greenhouse gas emissions. This would be a regulatory requirement that would apply across the board. The government has not had the courage to do this, and it does not even seem to be interested in moving in this direction.
Second, there is transportation. The transportation sector is a major GHG emitter. There are two things we need to achieve. First, we want to electrify personal and freight transportation, and we want to make sure we do both, not just personal transportation. Second, we want to electrify transit.
Electrification of transportation is crucial. We are going much further than the current Liberal government. We pledge to waive the GST on all models of electric or zero-emissions vehicles made in Canada. Not only will this make it easier for consumers to own a zero-emissions electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, but it will also provide an important boost to help the automotive sector make this transition.
Our plan includes major investments in public transit totalling $6.5 billion over the course of the NDP's first term in office. We will work with municipalities to reduce the cost of using public transit. Ultimately, we want public transit to be free, as it is in other places around the world, because we want to encourage people to use public transit more as well as active transit, such as walking and cycling.
Third is renewable energy. This government continues to subsidize oil and gas companies to the tune of billions of dollars a year. That needs to stop. We will divert that money to the renewable energy sector, which is already creating far more jobs in Canada than the fossil fuel sector.
We will make that happen by setting up a climate bank that can issue loans and provide loan guarantees to businesses, investors and people who are building green energy projects and renewable energy developments.
That is the NDP's game plan. I think it is much more ambitious than what any other party in the House has to offer.
Canadians and Quebeckers will judge its merits on October 21.
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