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Results: 1 - 15 of 1931
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:21 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bills: C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast; C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts; C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts; C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act; C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages; C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families; C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures; C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act; C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:54 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that when this House did attend Her Excellency this day in the Senate chamber, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms—Chapter 9.
C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada—Chapter 10.
S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)—Chapter 11.
C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting—Chapter 12.
C-59, An Act respecting national security matters—Chapter 13.
C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence—Chapter 14.
C-77, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 15.
C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act—Chapter 16.
C-84, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)—Chapter 17.
C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 18.
C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 19.
C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis—Chapter 20.
C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020—Chapter 21.
C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act—Chapter 22.
C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages—Chapter 23.
C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—Chapter 24.
C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 25.
C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast—Chapter 26.
C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act—Chapter 27.
C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 28.
C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures—Chapter 29.
It being 2:55 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 2:55 p.m.)
The 42nd Parliament was dissolved by Royal Proclamation on September 11, 2019.
Aboriginal languagesAboriginal peoplesAccess for disabled peopleAccess to informationAdjournmentAgriculture, environment and natural res ...British ColumbiaBudget 2019 (March 19, 2019)C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tarif ...C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majest ...C-48, An Act respecting the regulation o ... ...Show all topics
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2019-06-19 15:08 [p.29392]
Mr. Speaker, a law firm that the member for Steveston—Richmond East owns had been implicated in a scheme that allegedly laundered money in the Vancouver area for a foreign drug lord. Today, the member is at the Prime Minister's right hand. He is front and centre. Compare that to another Vancouver area MP who got kicked out of his caucus simply for standing up to him and doing what was right.
This begs the question, if he is such a feminist, why the obvious, on display, double standard?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2019-06-19 15:09 [p.29392]
Mr. Speaker, we are committed to a robust regime to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
With budget 2019, we created the action, coordination and enforcement team and the money laundering centre of expertise. These will help better identify and meet evolving threats. We have provided over $160 million to the RCMP, FINTRAC and CRA. We support policing and real estate audit teams.
The Conservatives actually cut over $500 million from the RCMP's budget, while we will ensure that law enforcement teams have the resources and tools they need.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, let me say, as I probably rise for the last time in this Parliament, how honoured I am to represent the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, how much I have learned from my colleagues here, but also how invigorated I am by the greatness of this country and my commitment to work hard for the people I represent.
As I join this debate today, I feel compelled to make a few observations. To be clear, Canada did not ask to be put in this position. However, as we know, the U.S. election resulted in a new administration, with a mandate, among other things, to renegotiate NAFTA. That is where all of this started.
I think we can all agree that this particular renegotiated agreement resulted in an outcome that is less than ideal, but of course, it could have been much worse. Many concessions were made, and we still have unresolved issues, such as the lack of a deal for Canadian softwood lumber, something that is critically important to my riding.
Ultimately, it is not a secret that the official opposition will be supporting this deal. Unlike the third party, we do believe it is better than no deal. However, that does not mean that there are not some lessons to be learned here.
To me, it is deeply troubling that the Prime Minister went into these negotiations with his usual theme of demanding things that are all about building his brand and appealing to his base of supporters. In other words, the Prime Minister thought he saw an opportunity to score some political points and feed the brand. This is not unlike what he tried to do when he approached China.
In both cases, he failed miserably. Why would he not fail miserably? Would we as Canadians accept another leader trying to push his or her own values onto us? We simply would not accept that. What nation would? However, that is precisely what the Prime Minister attempted to to. Some may call this arrogance. Whatever we call it, it was easily foreseeable that it was a path to failure.
However, the Prime Minister did not care and went about his virtue-signalling anyway, so we ended up on the sidelines: Canada, a world leader, on the sidelines. There we were, on the sidelines with our biggest trading partner, while Mexico was in the driver's seat, getting the deal done.
Here is the thing. Mexico did get it done. Let us look at its approach. Mexico did not use the trade negotiations as some sort of domestic political opportunity to score points. Mexico did not use this as an opportunity for virtue-signalling. Mexico did not have a lead minister giving a speech within the United States of America that took veiled potshots at the U.S. administration. Mexico discussed issues related to trade and did so professionally. It is easy to see why that approach worked so well for it.
Our approach, led by the Prime Minister, was a complete failure. It did not have to be that way. I can tell colleagues that, on this side of the House, we would have taken a much different approach. I am actually quite confident that there are members on the government side of the House, whom I have worked with at various committees, who I suspect would have also taken a much different approach. I believe it is important to reflect on these things so that we can learn from them.
Canada should never again be in a situation where we are sitting on the sidelines with our greatest trading partner, while Mexico is driving the bus. I hope that is one thing we can all agree on. Perhaps that is why we are now hearing the name of Mark Carney, because there are other Liberals who feel the same way.
Now we have a new deal. Whether it is called the new NAFTA, NAFTA 0.5, USMCA, CUSMA, or whatever, there is something we should all think about. Recently, Jack Mintz wrote a very good piece on investment fleeing Canada. Members who have read the article would know that it debunks some Liberal talking points that had been carefully cherry-picked.
As an example, yes, investment in Canada was up in 2018. However, that sounds good until we consider that it was up from 2017, and 2017 was an absolute disaster of a year. Even in 2018, it was still below where things were in 2015. Yes, I mean that 2015.
Yes, investment in the U.S.A. is down, but that is outside investment. There is a large increase in U.S. domestic capital now staying in the United States. This means it is not coming to Canada.
Why should we care about that? Let us look at our automotive sector. Yes, there is still some investment in Canada, but there is considerably more occurring in the United States and Mexico. Mexico, in particular, has been a hot spot for automotive investment. Let us think about that. Mexico has no carbon tax. It has no new and enhanced CPP causing premiums and payroll taxes to increase every month. Much of its industrial power is cheap, and I would even say it is dirty.
CUSMA does more to address some of those issues than the NAFTA deal it replaces, but we also have to recognize that foreign investment in Canada is not the rose garden the Liberals are trying to suggest it is. This is a deal among three countries. If we become the most expensive, most regulated and most inefficient country to do business in, we lose collectively as a country.
The Prime Minister can continue to be virtuous. He can continue to ask people to pay just a little bit more. He can continue to lecture others for not sharing his values. However, at the end of the day, none of those things are going to attract the investment we need to make the most of this deal.
While we are on the subject of trade, I note that last week, during question period in this place, the Prime Minister vilified former prime minister Harper close to a dozen times. As the Liberals' good friend Warren Kinsella recently pointed out, the Prime Minister is looking “for an enemy to demonize”.
I mention that because the former Conservative government of Mr. Harper concluded more free trade agreements than any prime minister in the modern era. It is not as if the Liberals, or the Prime Minister, would be unaware of this, because they sat in this place during the last Parliament and voted in support of all those new trade agreements, yet the Prime Minister turns around and vilifies the former prime minister, who has a demonstrably more successful record on trade agreements.
However, perhaps that is preferable to talking about the lack of progress on Canadian softwood. I looked up on the Open Parliament website how many times the Prime Minister has even mentioned the word “softwood”. The answer is 18 times since 2016. The vast majority of those times were only because he was answering questions on softwood lumber asked by the opposition.
How many times has he referenced Stephen Harper? It is 190 times, and it will probably be more than 200 after today's question period. With the Prime Minister's priorities so focused on vilifying Mr. Harper instead of focusing on softwood lumber, is it any wonder he has made zero progress on this file?
Why do I point this out? I point this out because lumber mills are closing all across British Columbia at an alarming rate. My riding has lost lumber mills. I know first-hand what that does to a small rural community. It is devastating. However, there is complete silence from the Prime Minister regarding softwood lumber unless he is asked about it by the opposition in this place. Why? Maybe it is because he is too busy vilifying Mr. Harper.
In my view, that is not acceptable. B.C. forest workers deserve better. They deserve to know that they have a prime minister in Ottawa working to reach a softwood lumber deal.
I sometimes wonder whether, if Mexico had a vibrant softwood lumber sector, we would now have a deal done by extension as well. It is clear that Mexico has a more effective track record in these negotiations than the brand-first approach of the Prime Minister.
To summarize, we did not ask to be in this situation, clearly. However, I believe the approach taken by the Prime Minister to try to use this as a political opportunity was deeply flawed and made a bad situation worse.
Again, as evidence of that, I say to look no further than the approach taken by Mexico and the success that it had while we sat on the sidelines.
I have raised this point with ministers of the Crown. They told us that the meetings between the United States and Mexico were simply on bilateral issues that had nothing to do with Canada. However, they came out with a trilateral agreement, and Canada had a take-it-or-leave-it moment.
Despite the many concessions that the Prime Minister has made on this file, we can still make the most of it, but only if we recognize that we need to be more competitive. We have a regulatory environment in which things can get done in Canada. Many people have raised alarm bells, particularly the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and not just about the lack of investment but also the ability to get things done.
The Leader of the Opposition today clearly asked the Prime Minister several times for the date for the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Prime Minister promised the Trans Mountain pipeline, one of the most important projects on the deck and one of the only ones on the deck, would go forward to help build the national interest, but the Prime Minister cannot give a date.
Originally, the Liberals said that it would be operating this calendar year. Again, I would submit that one need to look no further than the Trans Mountain pipeline as evidence as to where the challenges are. It has been four years, and still there is not a shovel in the ground. The fact that the Liberal government had to buy the project to save Kinder Morgan from the embarrassment of not being able to build it in a timely manner is all part of the problem. The fact that today even the government has serious challenges in trying to navigate the process to get it done is telling. Does anyone seriously believe that Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 will make it easier to invest in Canada?
The Prime Minister says that tankers can operate totally safely in one part of British Columbia and in other parts of Canada, but are so dangerous in another part of British Columbia that they must be banned. Does anyone seriously think that makes sense? In fact, a number of the senators in the other place have commented on the lack of scientific evidence on Bill C-48. The committee that studied it in depth recommended that the bill not proceed.
The approaches of the current government do not reconcile. These are the types of mixed messages that are just not helpful. However, I remain hopeful that we can become more competitive and that as we move forward, we can ultimately try to fully capitalize on this agreement despite the many concessions.
I would like to close on a more positive note, and I will add a few positive observations.
As we have established many times and in many areas, Canada and Canadians can compete and succeed against the very best in the world. As legislators, it is our job to ensure that they have a level playing field and unrestricted market access to do so. Therefore, I will vote in favour of this agreement as, ultimately, it will provide these opportunities.
However, I must say one more time that until we have full, unfettered free trade within Canada's borders, we are, as a country, not owning up to the promise of Confederation, and that falls on us. It falls upon the provinces that have not allowed Canada to become not just a political union but an economic one.
This will be my last speech in the 42nd Parliament, and I would like to share a few words on a personal note.
We all share the collective honour of being elected members of this place, and our families all share the sacrifice for the many times that we cannot be there for them. It is my hope that our families, particularly our young ones, understand that in this place our collective desire to build a better country starts and ends with them. I would like thank all families of parliamentarians for their understanding and support.
I would also like to share a word with other members of this place. It is so unfortunate that much of the work we do here is often summarized by many Canadians as what transpires in question period. Much of the most important work that we do collectively happens at committee.
On that note, I would like to sincerely thank the many members I have worked with on various committees. Everyone I have worked with shares the same commitment to help ensure that the federal government provides the best level of governance possible. We may disagree on programs, projects and approaches, but I have found that we share a commitment to making these programs work best for Canadians.
A final point I would like to make should not be lost by any of us. The former Conservative government introduced a program to provide supports for kids directly to their parents. At the time, the Liberal opposition mocked it, ridiculed it, and suggested that parents would simply blow the money they received on beer and popcorn, but when the Liberals formed their majority government in 2015, they did not kill that program. Liberals saw the merits of it and saw that it was working so they made improvements to it, and now it is working even more effectively. I wish to commend them yet again for that.
That is an example of two very different governments coming up with a program and finding ways to improve it to ensure that it helps support Canadian families.
Trade is similar. After all, we are a nation of traders. We need to have these things that make us collectively prosper, that allow us to build stronger ties and relationships and provide the security and the sense of certainty that it takes for someone to start a business or for a country to get behind a new program. These are great examples of the work that we do when we are here on behalf of Canadians.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the time you spend in the chair. I am sure there are many different ways you would rather spend your time than listening to me, but I do appreciate the work you do and I am sure my constituents do as well. I look forward to the challenges in the upcoming months and in the questions and comments I will hear from my fellow colleagues.
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2019-06-18 10:45 [p.29269]
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for that admonishment.
In 2008, the British Columbia government of the day, which was a Liberal government by the way, made three promises about the carbon tax in B.C.
First, it would be revenue neutral. In other words, we would take one dollar out of one pocket and put it back in the other pocket of the taxpayer. For a law that was in place, what is to date? Is the tax revenue neutral? No, it was eliminated, and it is now a cash cow for the government.
The second promise that was broken was that it would be capped at $30 per tonne of emissions. That promise was broken. Today that tax is $40 per tonne and going up every year.
The third promise was that it would reduce overall carbon emissions in B.C., but today those emissions continue to go up and up.
These three broken promises prove the point that carbon taxation does not work.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Abbotsford for his contribution to our country and to our debate today by putting forward his motion, one I am happy to speak to and support. To me, this is an important subject, and I will explain why.
Climate change has had a serious impact on my riding and on British Columbia in general. I would like to give an example. The science shows us that our winters are not as cold as they once were. Because our winters are not as cold, the mountain pine beetle has managed to survive through the winter months and not be killed off. This, in turn, has allowed the pine beetle to thrive, and in turn, it has devastated our forests. That has created two problems. One is an economic problem. Throughout B.C. and my riding, we have had a number of lumber mill closures. This can have a devastating impact on small rural communities. It is simply devastating. One of the reasons for these mill closures is a lack of fibre. Because too much forest has been killed off by the pine beetle, there is not enough supply for timber. That is one major problem.
The second major problem is that all this dead timber, combined with our hot summers, has basically created a powder keg of fuel for a wildfire. Make no mistake. Be the cause lightning or humans, when there is a forest fire, this dead beetle wood is producing wildfire activity the likes of which British Columbia has never seen. This not only hurts tourism but can also harm human health. Those with respiratory issues have serious problems dealing with all the smoke and ash. There is also a loss of homes and small businesses and a massive cost for fighting those fires. It is all part of a serious problem.
However, here is the thing: the carbon tax does not stop this. It does nothing to help relieve the situation. The Liberals like to pretend otherwise, but after 10 years of having the carbon tax in British Columbia, our forest fire situation only looks more dire.
Let us overlook that fact for a moment and see if the carbon tax is working otherwise in British Columbia. Total greenhouse gas emissions in B.C. fell in the period between 2004 and 2008. Much of this paralleled what happened nationally with greenhouse gas emissions, and this was mainly attributed to the worldwide economic meltdown that occurred during the later part of that time frame.
In the summer of 2008, former premier Gordon Campbell introduced Canada's first carbon tax in the run-up to the 2009 B.C. general election. The B.C. NDP opposed the carbon tax at that time.
What has happened in B.C. since the carbon tax was introduced in late 2008? It is a great question. I hate to break this fact to the Liberal government, but total greenhouse emissions in British Columbia have gone up. Yes, they have gone up. In fact, there has been a 1.5% increase in emissions in B.C. since 2015 alone. Let me repeat that for the benefit of the Minister of Environment. Since 2015, there has been a 1.5% increase in emissions in British Columbia, despite its having a carbon tax. In other words, the carbon tax is not working.
We have also discovered something else. It is called carbon leakage. What is carbon leakage? Let me give members an example. In 2008, when the carbon tax was first introduced in British Columbia, basically 100%, of all cement used in British Columbia was manufactured in British Columbia. Well, why not? Concrete is not exactly a lightweight, inexpensive product to import and then transport to other jurisdictions. What happened when B.C.-produced concrete became subject to a carbon tax in 2008? Naturally, it became more expensive. By 2014, B.C.-produced concrete accounted for roughly 65% of all concrete used in British Columbia, because cheaper concrete was being imported from jurisdictions with no carbon tax. That is a 35% loss of market share in B.C.'s own market.
Of course, our federal Liberal government knows all about this. That is why, quietly last summer, the Liberals started giving carbon tax exemptions to some of Canada's biggest polluters. However, there is no exemption for small business in their plan, or in my home province, for the average middle-class family. In fact, in B.C., the NDP has now turned the carbon tax into a billion-dollar tax grab that hits families and small business owners hard.
Ironically, the B.C. government is intervening in the carbon tax jurisdictional litigation, arguing that if other provinces do not have a carbon tax, B.C.'s competitiveness will be harmed. Of course, the same principle applies to Canada, where we try to compete with some of our major trading partners that do not have a carbon tax.
This is how carbon leakage is defined in British Columbia:
industries that compete with industry in countries that may have low or no carbon price. If BC industry loses market share to more polluting competitors, known as carbon leakage, it affects our economy and does not reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
To recap what we know from the British Columbia example, after 10 years of having a carbon tax, it has done nothing to prevent the serious climate-change-related problems we are facing in British Columbia. Worse yet, the evidence also shows that it has done nothing to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions. They have actually increased since the B.C. carbon tax was created. It makes British Columbia less competitive, all the while letting major polluters off the hook. Basically, all the carbon tax has done in British Columbia is act as a giant tax grab for the NDP government.
Here is another fact I will share on this point. The B.C. LNG project we often hear the Liberal government boast about, which, by the way, was first approved by the previous government, has been totally exempted from carbon tax increases. The only way this went forward was that it was totally exempted from future carbon tax increases, and it will be a major contributor to increasing B.C. greenhouse gas emissions. Honestly, none of this reconciles, and the facts clearly show that.
If members doubt the facts and evidence from British Columbia, look no further than our very own Parliamentary Budget Officer, who last week made it very clear that the present course of the Liberal government will completely and totally fail to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets it has set, unless, of course, the Liberal government desires to massively increase the carbon tax load for everyday citizens. That point could not have been made any clearer.
We are seeing mixed messages from the Liberal government on this. Will the Liberals or will they not massively raise the carbon tax if re-elected? We do not get clear answers.
Where does that leave us? It leaves us here with this motion, because it states the obvious. The carbon tax is not working. It continues to fail, so let us do away with this carbon tax so that we can focus on and find other ways to reduce our emissions. We have a collective responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. We cannot sit back, watch this carbon tax continue to fail and try to pretend that we are taking action on reducing emissions, when in reality, we are not. If anything, we are taking action to provide more carbon tax exemptions to major polluters, and much like the B.C. LNG project, to major projects.
We can pretend that this is not occurring, but it is. Why did the Liberal government provide a 95.5% carbon-tax discount on dirty coal power in the province of New Brunswick? Does anyone seriously believe that making coal power cheaper is any way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions? It is a total farce, and we sell ourselves and our future short if we continue to play that charade.
I care about our children's future as much as the members opposite, so let us stop the charade today. Let us admit that the carbon tax has failed. Not only has it failed, but it continues to fail. Yes, it may work in theory if everyone were on the same page, but carbon leakage is proof that we are not. Let us do away with the carbon tax and instead let us work together and focus on real, tangible ways to reduce our emissions and lower our carbon footprint.
That is why I am going to be voting in support of this motion today. Again, I thank the member for Abbotsford for his leadership on this file.
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2019-06-18 11:01 [p.29272]
Mr. Speaker, I want to challenge a statement my hon. colleague from British Columbia made about the efficacy of the carbon tax.
In preparation for this debate on this major issue, I requested that the Library of Parliament provide my office with the impact of the British Columbia carbon tax on emissions. Since it was introduced in 2008, there has been a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia of 2.2%. The number in 2008 was 63,737 kilotonnes, and the number in 2016, the most recent year we have numbers for, was 62,264 kilotonnes. I believe the kilotonne is the measurement being used. That is a 2.2% reduction.
The member said that he did not think the carbon tax had an impact. That is clearly wrong. It has had an impact. By the way, one would expect carbon emissions to have gone up significantly in that time period, so the fact that there is actually an overall reduction shows that the carbon tax does work.
However, I agree with the member that the carbon tax on its own is not going to be sufficient. I personally believe that we are facing a climate crisis. We have to use every single policy tool we can to deal with this. That is carbon sequestration, a carbon tax, a cap and trade system and retrofitting. We need conservation efforts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has sent out alarm bells that should have every single legislator in every chamber like this in the world absolutely riveted, because we have 11 years to have reductions of 45% over 2010. The member is right. We are not meeting these targets. The previous Conservative government did not meet the targets, nor has the current Liberal government.
Is the member's plan going to meet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by 45% over 2010 levels? Yes or no.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, when one of the NDP members rose on this debate a few weeks ago, I quoted specifically from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in British Columbia. It actually said that the last year of data we had indicated a 1.5% increase in emissions. It is on the B.C. government website. I suggest that the member look at it and he can inform himself. Obviously, during the economic recession post-2008, we saw a decline in industrial activity. The member might want to familiarize himself with the latest part of the cycle we are in.
When it comes to the plan, the Parliamentary Budget Officer evaluated the current government's plan and found it wanting. That is where we need to have the starting point. We will be presenting our plan, and the member can choose which plan he thinks is best.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2019-06-18 11:04 [p.29272]
Mr. Speaker, as always it is an honour to rise in this House and speak about the topic of climate change, which is near and dear to my heart and something I consistently hear about from my constituents.
I am particularly inspired by the voices of the young Canadians I represent in Central Nova, who have brought this issue to the fore and insist that legislators at the municipal, provincial and federal levels take collective action to combat the existential threat that climate change represents.
For me, the starting point in this conversation is that climate change is not only real but primarily driven by humans' industrial activity. Sometimes, when we talk about climate change, we are guilty of causing apocalypse fatigue, which causes people to feel they cannot do anything meaningful about it. At other times, we dig into the technical details about CO2 concentration being at 415 parts per million, and we lose people's attention.
These are all important things to be addressing, but it is important to explain to Canadians that the consequences of climate change are very real. We are feeling them today, but we have an opportunity and, in my mind, an obligation to do something about it. We simply need to implement the solutions we already know exist, which can make a difference by bringing our emissions down and preventing the worst consequences of climate change from impacting our communities.
We are all familiar, of course, with the consequences of climate change. We see them in our own communities. On the east coast we have experienced more frequent and more severe storm surges and hurricanes. Recently my colleagues from New Brunswick have shown me pictures of their communities, which were literally under water. We can see the forest fires ravaging communities in western Canada, the heat waves in Quebec and Ontario that are taking the lives of Canadians, and the melting ice sheets in Canada's north. There is not a corner of this country that has not been impacted by the environmental effects of climate change.
I mentioned this during the debate yesterday as well, but the consequences are not purely environmental; they are social and economic as well. We see entire communities that have been displaced because we continue to build them in flood zones. Floods that used to take place every few hundred years are now taking place every few years.
We see indigenous communities that have traditionally practised a way of life that involved hunting cariboo, for example. That may no longer be an option because of the combined impacts of human activity and climate change on the species they have traditionally relied on to practise their way of life.
I do not have to look all across the country; I can see the economic impacts of climate change in my own backyard. We rely heavily on the lobster fishery in Nova Scotia. I represent both the eastern shore and the Northumberland Strait, which have vibrant lobster fisheries today that represent nearly $2 billion in exports for our provincial economy.
However, when we look a little south, to the state of Maine, we have seen a decrease of 22 million pounds in their catch over the past few years due to a combination of things like rising ocean temperatures, deoxygenation of the gulf region, and other environmental factors that are having a very real impact.
We are seeing a drop in industrial production and manufacturing in places that have been impacted by forest fires, and when we go for lengthy periods with droughts, we know that our agricultural sector suffers. There is a very real consequence to inaction on climate change in the prevention of economic activity. We know there are solutions. We have an obligation to implement the most effective ones that we know exist.
This brings me to the current motion, which attacks both the efficacy and affordability of our plan to put a price on pollution. I have good news for the members opposite. In fact, we know that putting a price on pollution is the most effective thing we can do to help reduce our emissions. We have identified a path forward on the advice of science, facts and evidence, including world-leading expertise, to ensure that as we put forward a plan that brings our emissions down, the affordability of life is not only not impacted but in fact made a little better for Canadian families.
Over the course of my remarks, I want to touch on the efficacy of carbon pricing. I will talk about some of its benefits and address the affordability, but also highlight some other measures we are implementing. We know that pricing alone is likely insufficient to get us where we need to be, but the attack built into the motion, that our government does not have a real plan, rings hollow from a party that has yet to produce a plan of its own.
I will take a step back and explain in broad strokes what carbon pricing really involves. There are more or less two different ways one can put a market mechanism to price pollution. One is a cap-and-trade system, where one sets an overall cap and industrial players that exceed their credits can buy credits from those that have reduced emissions, in order to bring emissions down across society over time. The other, perhaps simpler, way is to put a price on the thing one does not want, which is pollution, so that people buy less of it. If one puts a price on pollution and people buy less of it but the revenues are returned to households, life can be made more affordable for a majority of families. In a nutshell, that is how it works.
We know it works. We have seen other jurisdictions implement these solutions and have monumental successes. In the United Kingdom, which imposed a price on pollution over and above the European Union's cap-and-trade system, there was a rapid transition from coal-fired power plants to other, less-emitting sources. The United Kingdom has achieved magnificent reductions in recent history, in part because of the way it used a market-based mechanism with a price on pollution.
The example of British Columbia came up previously. One of the members who spoke earlier indicated that emissions have gone up to 1.5% and dismissed it as not possibly working. I commend my NDP colleague, who noted that one should not be cherry-picking data the way that member did. In fact, there has been a 2.2% reduction since the price on pollution came into place. More importantly, when we look at the example of British Columbia, despite population growth and serious economic development we can see that the per capita rate of consumption of greenhouse gases has actually come down significantly.
The report of the Ecofiscal Commission, which studied this in depth, estimates that emissions in British Columbia are 5% to 15% lower than they would have been had no price been put on pollution in the first place. Five per cent to 15% is a serious reduction from one policy tool alone, and we know we can do better by doing more.
However, it is not just the practical examples of which we have empirical evidence that show that this in fact works. We have seen support from folks who really know what they are talking about. Last year's Nobel Prize for economics went to Professor William Nordhaus for his development of the kind of approach we are now seeking to implement in Canada. In fact, he pointed specifically to the example in British Columbia of the kind of model that could work best.
Professor Nordhaus has identified a way to ensure a price is put on pollution, so that what we do not want becomes more expensive and people buy less of it, but affordability is maintained by returning the revenues to households. It is common sense when one thinks about it. It is quite straightforward, and it works.
Mark Cameron, Stephen Harper's former director of policy, has pointed to the fact that this is the right path forward. Even Doug Ford's chief budget adviser testified before the Senate, in 2016 I believe, saying something to the effect that the single most effective thing we can do to transition to a low-carbon economy is to put a price on pollution. Preston Manning has been arguing for this kind of approach for years.
When the partisan lens is removed, we see folks on different sides of the aisle who have a strong history with the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP, who all support this approach because they know it is the most effective thing we can do. In particular, I point to the recent Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decision that upheld the federal government's constitutional power to implement a price on pollution across Canada in provinces that would not come to the table with a serious plan. The court said that it was undisputed, based on the factual record before the court, that GHG pricing is not just part and parcel of an effective plan to combat climate change but also an essential aspect of the global effort to curb emissions.
This is why the court found it to be a national concern that some provinces would not have pricing, which gave rise to the federal government's authority to implement a plan. It is an essential aspect of the global effort to reduce emissions. That part was even put in italics, specifically so legislators would see that this is so important. We have to move forward with it if we are going to take our responsibilities seriously.
However, these are not the only voices; I can point to a number of others. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, whom the opposition members have quoted ad nauseam in this House, has said that putting a price on pollution is the most effective way to reduce our emissions. He also pointed out something I hope we will get into during questions and comments, which is that eight out of 10 families will be better off in jurisdictions in which the federal backstop applies. This is because we are returning the revenues directly to households. The only families who will pay more than they get back in the form of a rebate are the 20% in the highest-earning households in Canada. I believe it maxes out at $50 a year for the wealthiest families in Saskatchewan.
Meanwhile, in various provinces there will be rebates of between $250 and $609, depending on how much pollution is generated in those provinces. The bottom line is that eight out of 10 families, no matter which province they live in where the federal system applies, will receive more in the form of a rebate than their cost of living will go up. Therefore, the argument that this is about affordability rings hollow.
I point out in particular the comments this past weekend by Pope Francis, who has no political agenda. He is not a Liberal or Conservative when it comes to Canadian politics, but he has explained that carbon pricing is essential to combat climate change. He pointed to the fact that the world's poor and the next generations are going to be disproportionately impacted. There is a sense of injustice about it, that we are shoving this burden onto future generations, onto the world's poor and onto the world's developing nations. It is not right. Canada has an obligation to play a leadership role and take care of things at home as we help the world transition to a low-carbon economy.
If we move forward with a plan to put a price on pollution, there are also economic benefits. Again, citing the example of British Columbia, there has been a net job gain in that province as a result of its aggressive plan to tackle climate change. The Government of Saskatchewan, in an attempt to gain political support for its fight against the plan, commissioned a report that showed there would be a very limited economic impact. It then tried to bury the report; it did not want the evidence to get out because it conflicted with its ideological narrative that carbon pricing would somehow damage the economy. The reverse is true. It can help spur innovation and take advantage of the new green economy, which Mark Carney has flagged as representing a $26-trillion opportunity globally. If Canada is on the front end of that wave, we can expect to have more jobs in our communities as the world transitions to a global low-carbon economy.
I want to touch on affordability in particular, because this is front of mind for me. In my constituency office, the power company is on speed dial, because so many constituents come to my office not knowing where to turn. We know the cost of living has gone up over time. That is why we are trying to tackle those measures. Poverty has come down by 20%, which means 825,000 Canadians are not living in poverty today who were when we took office in 2015. The allegation that we are somehow seeking to make life more expensive is not true.
We understand the struggles of Canadian families who live in Pictou County, or Antigonish or on the eastern shore, places I represent. These are important issues that we need to tackle. That is why we are moving forward, not just with a plan to address climate change that can make life more affordable, but also by introducing measures like the Canada child benefit, which puts more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families and stops sending child care cheques to millionaire families that, frankly, did not need it.
We have moved forward with a boost to the guaranteed income supplement, which puts more money in the pockets of low-income single seniors, some of the most vulnerable folk in the communities I represent, with up to $947 extra a year. That is why we moved forward with a tax cut for nine million middle-class Canadians and raised taxes on the wealthiest 1%.
Each of these measures was opposed by the official opposition. To hear them now criticize a plan based on the fact that it will make life more expensive creates some serious cognitive dissonance considering that they voted against all the measures that were making life more affordable.
In particular, this plan, as I have explained a number of times during these remarks, will also put more money in the pockets of eight out of 10 families in systems in which it applies. We worked with provinces for years leading up to the implementation of this system. In provinces like mine, Nova Scotia, there is in fact no federal price on carbon. It has come up with a cap-and-trade system that impacts about 20 major industrial polluters and places a modest surcharge on fuel. Nova Scotia's plan was accepted because it showed that it was taking seriously the threat that climate change constitutes.
It is only in provinces that would not come to the table with a serious plan that we are moving forward with it. We do not believe it should be free to pollute the atmosphere anywhere in Canada. The atmosphere belongs to all of us. When people operate industrial facilities that degrade that atmosphere, they should be liable to every Canadian for the damage they have done. That is why they are paying a price on pollution, and that is why citizens deserve the rebate that is paid out of these revenues.
None of this money is being kept by the federal government, contrary to what some of the Conservative members have suggested. If they have problems with the tax being kept by governments on the price of gas, I suggest they speak to some of the Conservative premiers who are currently railing against our plan to put a price on pollution. Those premiers have the ability to take the tax off gas and allow families to keep their hard-earned money. We are making polluters pay and giving that money directly to families.
The great thing is that we can see job growth when we move forward with an ambitious plan to fight climate change. In my community, there are examples like the Trinity group of companies, which is doing incredible work in energy efficiency. It started out with a couple of guys who were really good contractors. They realized an incentive was put in place by different governments, which we have since bolstered at the federal level over the past few years, to help homeowners reduce the costs of energy efficient products, whether smart thermostats, better doors and windows or more efficient heating systems. They use the products that have come down as a result of publicly funded rebates, which are helping homeowners bring their costs of living down by reducing their power bill each month. They have added dozens of positions to their organization.
In the community of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, companies like CarbonCure have developed carbon sequestration technologies that pull carbon out of the atmosphere to inject into concrete products to strengthen them for use in construction.
Speaking of construction, Canada's Building Trades Union has pointed out that as we upgrade our buildings and infrastructure, there is a potential opportunity to create four million new green jobs by embracing the green economy and fighting climate change. Those are serious numbers that will have a real impact on the GDP of Canadians. More important, for families, it is a job that people maybe could not get in the community they came from, so they may not have to move.
These are real, meaningful, human examples that are making a difference, not just for our economy but for families.
The motion on the floor suggests that we repeal our price on pollution and implement a real plan. I would like to draw to the attention of the House to the fact that there is so much more to our plan than this one policy onto which the Conservatives have latched. In fact, there are over 50 measures. I am happy to lay a few of them out for the House.
By 2030, and not many Canadians appreciate this, we are on track to have 90% of our electricity in the country generated from non-emitting resources. That is remarkable. We have made the single largest investment in public transit in the history of our country. This will encourage more Canadians to take public transit rather than drive their cars, so we can become more efficient and life can be made more convenient at the same time. We are phasing out coal. We are investing in energy efficiency. We are investing in green technology.
At St. Francis Xavier University, of which I am a proud alumnus, the flux lab, with Dr. David Risk, is developing instrumentation that is putting researchers to work. It has been commercialized because the oil and gas sector has realized that by using this instrumentation, it can detect gas leaks at a distance and increase its production without increasing its emissions. It is capturing gas that is currently leaking out of its infrastructure.
We are moving forward with these serious things.
In addition, we are implementing new regulations on methane to help reduce the fastest-growing contributor to global GHG emissions.
On the same piece, pursuant to the Montreal protocol, in Kigali, we have adopted a single new measure that will result in a reduction of methane emissions which will have the equivalent of a 0.5° reduction in emissions on its own. We are also adopting a clean fuel standard and vehicle emissions standards.
We are moving forward with the most ambitious plan in Canadian history to protect nature in Canada. This is serious. We need to take the opportunity before us to do something to protect our threatened ecosystems. With over $1.3 billion invested in protecting nature, we will more than double the protected spaces across our country.
Of course, we recently announced we would be moving forward with a ban on our harmful single-use plastics. At the same time, we are putting the responsibility of managing the life cycle of those products on manufacturers.
Most of these policies have a few things in common. They will help reduce our emissions and protect our environment, yet the Conservatives oppose them every step of the way. I have taken hundreds of questions in question period about our plan for the environment. Not once have I received a question from the Conservatives about what more we could do for the environment. It is always an attempt to do a less.
The fact is that we cannot turn back the clock. I look forward to seeing the Conservative plan tomorrow. When I hear the kind of commentary from members of Parliament on their side, it gives me great cause for concern. I doubt whether we can even start the conversation about what solutions are most appropriate when I hear comments that deny climate change is primarily due to human activity. This is not a time to be debating the reality of climate change; it is a time to be debating solutions and, more important, implementing solutions.
I want to encourage everyone at home to start pulling in the same direction. If people have children, they should talk to them at the dinner table. It is the most effective thing they can do to help change their minds about the importance of climate change. The kids are all right. They know what is going on and they want us to take action.
If people have the opportunity to take part in a community cleanup, to take part in a solo or co-operative cleanup, to take part in whatever is going on in their community, I urge them to embrace it. We are running out of time. We want to implement a solution to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. I only hope the Conservatives get on board.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-18 11:50 [p.29279]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today as we talk about the most important issue that is facing our planet and humanity. The Conservative motion today is:
That, given that the carbon tax will not reduce emissions at its current rate and it is already making life more expensive for Canadians, the House call on the government to repeal the carbon tax and replace it with a real environment plan.
I am going to speak about an environmental plan and how we can get to that conversation. However, before I do that, I want to read an important quote from Greta Thunberg. We all know that she is a leading climate activist globally. She says, “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
I am going to target my speech to this motion and around the fiscal responsibilities of what is happening today. We know that the PBO did a report in 2014 and guesstimated that the cost of climate emergencies would be about $900 million a year to the Canadian economy. That has actually turned into $1.8 billion, so at the time he very much under-calculated the true cost of climate emergencies and how quickly we were going to see climate change happen. He also predicted that by 2050 we would see the cost escalate to $40 billion to $50 billion. When I think about Greta Thunberg, I think about my children and the children of our country. I think about ensuring that we do not leave them with a huge deficit and that we pay for pollution now instead of expecting Greta and other children around the world to inherit this huge economic deficit.
In our country, we are seeing skyrocketing temperatures that have never been seen before. Canada is the fastest-warming country in the world, now at 1.7° above 1948 temperatures, which is our baseline. We are looking at 2.3°C in the far north, where it is the fastest warming in the world. As I have raised here in the House, we are seeing changing weather patterns. We had the biggest windstorm in Vancouver Island's history in December. In February, we had the biggest snowstorm. In March, we had the biggest drought. We had forest fires that started in May and right now most communities in coastal British Columbia and certainly all over Vancouver Island are on water conservation orders. It is affecting our salmon, our economy, our food security and our way of life.
I will go to the motion. The Conservatives have been opposing the carbon tax. They have raised the carbon tax issue. I did a Library of Parliament research question. About two months ago, the Conservatives had asked 762 questions in question period opposing the carbon tax. Those are lost opportunities to bring solutions to the government and to call on the government to take action on a list of items that the Conservatives could be bringing forward. They are perhaps talking about some of that tomorrow. I am extremely disappointed that the Conservative Party of Canada did not roll out its platform yesterday so that today we could be debating its proposal. It would have been good for a healthy debate. We need to put partisan politics aside and have a healthy debate about this most important crisis that is happening in all of our planet's history.
I am extremely disappointed. The Conservatives point to the government, saying that the Liberals have no real plan, but we still have not heard the Conservatives' plan. This really affects the credibility of today's motion, which is just in opposition.
The Progressive Conservative Party of the past was willing to take action on climate leadership like with acid rain, putting a cost on polluters and ensuring that they paid the price. The Conservatives are not listening to some of their own leaders. Preston Manning is very much in support of a carbon tax, putting a price on pollution and ensuring it is carbon neutral. Therefore, when we look at the changes and evolution of the Conservative Party, I am concerned to see this motion come forward without the Conservatives' plan being presented to us.
We have heard from the Liberal Party about the importance of balancing the environment and the economy. We could not agree more.
However, we hear about the government purchasing a pipeline for $4.5 billion, and now, today, the Liberals are going to consider making a decision. If that decision has not already been announced while I am rising right now, it is to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline and invest $15 billion, which would be the largest purchase by the public in Canadian history in fossil fuel infrastructure, and at a time when we need to go in the other direction and invest in clean energy and renewal. Therefore, I am extremely disappointed to hear the government talk about balancing the environment and the economy when it could invest $15 billion into clean energy right now and into electrifying our country. There are so many opportunities and tools that the government has to bring our emissions down and take real climate action.
When I look at jurisdictions around the world, they certainly differ from the beliefs of my friend for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. He believes that the carbon tax in British Columbia and Quebec has not worked when, in fact, they have had the fastest growing economies in our country. In British Columbia, it has been an enormous success. When the member attacks the B.C. Liberal government of the past that brought it in and the B.C. NDP government that is carrying forward an important policy that is supported by the B.C. Green Party, he is taking a shot at all political parties in British Columbia that are united on one thing: knowing that we have to put a price on pollution and that polluters need to pay their fair share. That is just the reality.
We cannot leave it for Greta and other young people in our communities who we are hearing from. The youth climate action, as we have heard, is doing Friday walkouts, joining children from around the world demanding that we take action. By “we”, they mean right here in the House of Commons and leaders from across political parties standing united to take action. They are demanding it. I have children in my riding from G.P. Vanier and Mark R. Isfeld secondary schools in Courtenay who have walked out of school and called on us to bring their important message to Ottawa to be heard here in the House, and I am doing that today. Children in Port Alberni at Wood Elementary School are walking out of school, demanding we take action.
I have been privileged to sit on the climate caucus here in Ottawa, which is an all-party, multi-party caucus, with my good friend for Drummond from the NDP, my friend for Saanich—Gulf Islands from the Green Party, my friend for Repentigny from the Bloc Québécois and my friend for Wellington—Halton Hills from the Conservative Party. It is one opportunity where we actually put our partisan politics aside and become united on an important issue. Sadly, only about 10 or 12 of us show up on a regular basis, and we need more. We need to make it a party so that climate caucuses meet right here in the House of Commons and have a healthy debate about how we move forward and not go backward.
Today, I look at models around the world. California is an excellent model that has taken real action, such as curbing climate emissions on vehicles. Californians have taken a multi-tasked approach where they work with people who are facing real challenges in communities, who are facing huge economic hardship, and shifted that through cap and trade. They have improved their GDP by 37% since 2000 and have reduced emissions by 35%, and that is per capita. This is just another example of a jurisdiction that has taken leadership. Norway has invested in $1 trillion in oil and gas, while our country put $11 billion aside. In Norway, they are earning $50 billion in interest alone and investing in clean energy and strategies that will lower emissions. In fact, 53% of their vehicles are electrified in Norway. Therefore, it can be done. There are 45 countries around the world that have a price on pollution and a carbon tax, as well as an additional 25 jurisdictions, provincial or state, in various countries around the world.
We have heard from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the IPCC, that we need to reduce emissions by 45% from 2005 levels, and our commitment in Paris, by 2030. We have to take drastic action.
I could speak all day about solutions and creating jobs, clean energy and investing in electrification, and ending subsidies to big oil and gas, which, again, could finance so many opportunities and solutions, such as retrofitting buildings. The number of things that we could do is endless. We could have a full debate about that, and I wish we were.
We are in a climate crisis, and I want to close on what Greta Thunberg had said, “I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic [and] act as if the house was on fire.”
We are in the House. Let us act like it is on fire.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, since the NDP purports to be for the working man, there are a number of people in Skeena—Bulkley Valley who want to know where the NDP stands on the B.C. LNG, which would not have gone forward if the B.C. NDP government had not lowered the taxes on the previous regime established by the B.C. Liberals he purports to dislike so much.
Second, in addition to that tax relief, his party has been completely off the radar on whether it supports it. I can look Greta in the eyes and say that we are reducing global emissions with clean LNG to replace dirty coal. I would hope that she would support that on the science.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2019-06-18 12:06 [p.29282]
Mr. Speaker, today we are debating the following motion that Conservatives have put forward:
That, given that the carbon tax will not reduce emissions at its current rate and it is already making life more expensive for Canadians, the House call on the government to repeal the carbon tax and replace it with a real environment plan.
As part of debate on this motion today, I would like to break down what climate change is, what causes it, and then show why the Liberals' carbon tax scheme, which is currently at $40 a tonne, will not reduce emissions in Canada, why it exacerbates global climate change and why it is harmful to our economy, but I will do so in the following context.
Earlier in debate today, the member for Kingston and the Islands said that by raising this motion, the Conservatives were “playing with the lives of future generations”. Recently, something awesome happened to me. I became a stepmom and a step-grandmother. To one tiny, very sticky human being, I am known as nana. My stepson Kepi is watching the debate today and my stepdaughter Tori really cares about this issue because she has a son. This one is for them, not for the member for Kingston and the Islands.
What is climate change and what causes it? Climate change can be broadly described by global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid- to late 20th century onward and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. Climate change is caused by changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, for example industrial emissions, cars, volcanoes, forest fires; deforestation and land use changes; sulfate aerosols; and soot particles or black carbon. If that is what it is and what it is caused by, then how do we reduce it?
Let us start with the Liberal plan, which is the subject of the motion today. To the member for Kingston and the Islands and everyone who has mentioned children as the reason for debate on this issue, Liberals have staked their children's future on a $40-a-tonne price on carbon. If we know what the causes of climate change are, as I read them out, then the policy objective should be to put in place a policy instrument that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. That is what we are managing to, to save the planet for our children. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us as legislators to ask, given the severity and gravity of this, if the Liberals' purported plan would work.
Those who have a background in economics will know that there is a concept called price elasticity. I am oversimplifying this, but it means that if a price changes on a good, people will buy more or less of it. When the price changes on goods and people buy more or less of them, those are highly price-elastic goods. When the price of goods increases but people still have to buy them and their consumption does not change, those goods are called price-inelastic.
I am raising this because this concept is super important when we talk about whether a carbon tax would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If an additional price is put on carbon, and I mean things like gas in our tanks, what we use to heat our homes or electricity, if it is produced by fossil fuels, if the government is going to put a price on that and that is its purported way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in theory, Liberals are hoping and praying that people will buy less carbon because the price has increased.
The government has refused to table or make public any sort of data that it has from modelling the price elasticity of carbon. That is really unfortunate, because it does not allow us as legislators, given what is at stake for our kids, to look at whether this is actually going to work.
The reality is that, in Canada, where it is very cold and we have to use fossil fuels to heat our homes and to drive around, as we do not have the same sort of transit infrastructure that a small European country would have, there really is not a substitute good for carbon. In Canada, carbon is price-inelastic, which means that putting a price of $40 a tonne on carbon, as the Liberals have done, is not actually going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
The reason this motion is before the House today is that this is an important issue, but if we want to save the planet for our kids and we know that it is not going to work, then we have to talk about other solutions, not just cling to it out of political expediency.
Members do not have to take my word for it. This year, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, a non-partisan agent of Parliament whose job it is to do this type of modelling, said that the Liberals' carbon tax would need to be $102 per tonne in every province and territory in order to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set by the government, which it is purportedly managing to.
When asked if she would raise the tax to this level, the environment minister said no. Praise the Lord the answer was no. Essentially, the Liberals have said that they are setting a $40-per-tonne price on carbon. They know it is not going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and they are not going to raise it to a higher level.
What have we done in four years? The Liberals' own released report this year shows that Canada is actually further from the Paris target than last year. New numbers released by Environment Canada show that Canada is on track to fall 79 megatonnes short of its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target, and that is up from 66 megatonnes last year.
These guys are standing here doing something that I like to call apocalypse porn. It is where people stand and talk about all the terrible things that are happening and focus on that to deflect any sort of legislative inquiry into the efficacy of their policies. We know it is not going to work. That is why the motion is in front of us today. Liberals shut down debate when any of their climate plans are questioned. If they know that their plan will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions and they will not raise the tax, then why have they put this forward?
I could speculate at length about that. I think this is a cash grab for the Liberals' out-of-control spending. This is a way for some of the senior cabinet ministers to get on speaking tours and perhaps position themselves for jobs in the industry of people who do not really have plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but make a lot as environmental consultants.
I think that is what they are managing to, and that is really unfortunate, given that the member for Kingston and the Islands appealed to the children. I do not want my kids to see a Liberal carbon plan where what the Liberals are managing to, instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, is jobs after politics, because they have said the right things but have done nothing.
I want to debunk some of the talking points that the Liberals have been throwing out today in opposition to the motion. First of all, they are citing the Nobel Prize-winning economist who said that this is the way to fight climate change. Let us go through some of the work that Dr. Nordhaus actually did. He acknowledges that the carbon tax raises many practical design and implementation questions. There are issues with cross-border taxes on carbon emissions and issues with administrative inefficiencies.
In fact, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the cost of administering the carbon tax in Canada, which, as I have shown, is ineffective and does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is $174 million, outside of the cost to Canadians in their pocketbooks. There is no price elasticity data by the Liberals to show that the $40 per tonne would actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For comparison, the United Nations report the Liberals often cite actually estimates that the government would need to impose effective carbon prices of $135 to $5,500 per tonne of carbon dioxide by 2030. This does not take into account any sort of economic growth modelling or what would happen to the growth of the Canadian or global economy at this point in time.
There are other things that this professor talks about in terms of some of the inefficiencies and uncertainties that could be applied to the Liberals' ineffective plan.
In one of his books, he writes, “The exact pace and extent of future CO2-induced warming are highly uncertain, particularly beyond the next few decades.” Yes, there might be a consensus view, but he notes, “Science does not proceed by majority vote.”
He notes that costs are key:
People want to be assured...that [carbon emissions] targets are not simply the result of overly concerned environmentalists who are intent on saving their ecosystems at the expense of humans.... People want to compare costs and benefits.... It will not be sufficient to say: “Ecosystems are priceless”, or “We must pay any cost to save the polar bears.”
He also notes that modelling is hard. The Financial Post said:
Of his own computer exercises looking into the implications of climate tipping points, he emphasizes that the assumptions he makes “are at the outer limit of what seems plausible and have no solid basis in empirical estimates of damages”.
This is a complex issue with complex economic modelling, which the Liberals have not explained to Canadians. They have not talked about the fact that the $40-a-tonne price on carbon will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet they are asking Canadians to pay a very high cost for that. It is morally bankrupt and it is wrong.
Nordhaus also notes that all countries, the poorest countries included, need to be included in globally binding emissions structures in order for this to have any effect. However, the Liberals are not doing any of the things cited by this economist, absolutely zero.
A few other things have been raised in debate today. The member for Vancouver Kingsway cited B.C.'s carbon tax. He cited this 2.2% emissions reduction as if it were a victory. However, he is looking at data in the context of the Lower Mainland, B.C. It is warmer there, and there is more public transit. The price elasticity for carbon there might be different from that in rural Saskatchewan. If we are looking for a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, it has to be a solution that applies to the entire country without harming our economy.
Members opposite brought up Preston Manning. I think Preston Manning's approach on this is absolutely wrong. I question why Preston Manning is doing this. I would even go as far as to speculate that he is doing this to raise funds for his think tank, not to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I would be happy to debate Preston Manning, on any stage, on the same data I have put forward, because this is not right and it will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
Members opposite have also cited the Pope. Members cannot stand in the House of Commons and say that we need a science-based, empirical response to climate change, not produce their own data and then cite religion, from a man who would not even meet the litmus test to run as a Liberal candidate.
Members opposite have talked about revenue neutrality. I will explain this concept for those listening and for my stepson, Kepi. According to the government, and only a Liberal would say that, revenue neutrality means paying a tax and getting an equal amount of money for it. That is crazy, because, as members know, it costs money to take money away. People are paid from the $174-million administrative cost. People will not get the same amount of money back in a cascading tax that affects every single level of production. This has been borne out by data reports in British Columbia, which have shown that the tax has become regressive. It is not revenue-neutral anymore.
Furthermore, with respect to the purported rebate that is going to Canadians, which the government said was factually correct, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, in an announcement, showed that the average carbon tax rebate Canadians received in 2018 was significantly lower than the amount the Liberals claimed Canadians would receive.
If it is not reducing greenhouse gas emissions, people are paying more and it is not revenue-neutral, why would we accept this as the status quo when talking about what we are doing for the children? It is just crazy.
In addition, the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens all say that this will not affect the economy. That is bunk. I will tie this into the concept that the Liberal carbon tax actually exacerbates climate change globally, because when we tax goods that are produced under high environmental standards, such as we have in Canada, we actually displace them with goods coming from higher-carbon jurisdictions. A perfect example of this is steel production in Canada.
When our steel producers in Ontario were subject to a carbon tax and Chinese steel was not, and the Chinese government was able to dump steel in Canada at lower prices, that was actually displacing goods in Canada that were produced under lower emissions standards.
We, as a country, can put a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions until the cows come home, but as long as we are buying goods from China, India, Brazil and the United States, we are not going to tackle the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. There needs to be a globally binding system that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, with binding targets, for this to work.
What should we do? Tomorrow, my leader is going to announce a very comprehensive plan that addresses many of these issues. Again, I do not want to scoop him. We need a made-in-Canada solution that addresses the fact that we have a regionalized economy. It is cold here. There are not a lot of substitutes for our products. We have a wealth of technology that needs the right incentives to be adopted. We need energy efficiency standards. This is just me thinking up things.
Our global climate action cannot be the Minister of Environment going on a photo op tour where the most environmentally friendly thing she did was sit at a table covered in grass and drink cocktails. That was not Canada using its role on the world stage to incent climate action.
I want to speak to the Conservative record. The Liberals can say that the Conservatives do not have a plan until the cows come home, but there is one inconvenient truth: there is only one time in Canada's history when we saw a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions while the economy grew. It was under Stephen Harper's government, when we imposed regulations on passenger vehicles. I would also argue with the member for Vancouver Kingsway about any reductions they saw in B.C. What about the passenger vehicle reductions we put in place?
The coal-fired regulations on Canada's coal-fired sector came in under a Conservative government, because we believe, and here is the underlying point, that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without undermining the Canadian economy. I am standing here as an Alberta MP, because these guys have used their apocalypse porn to put my riding out of work. The Liberals have done nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They have stood here and railed, “What about the children?” The Liberals have done nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and they have put my riding out of work. That is morally bankrupt. That is crass politics.
Members should be concerned about what political party they stand for after this debate. It is partisan. The Liberals stand here, apocalypse porn and all, behind policy instruments that do not work, and then they want me to look at my children and my grandchild and say, “Yeah, it was great. It was non-partisan. We did nothing.” That is wrong.
I was actually at an event with Al Gore, and I debated Al Gore. I wish that event had been public, because it was a lot of fun. There is a lot of inconvenient truth about the buzzwords that come out of these communities that do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We have a responsibility to take action in Canada. Conservatives have done that. In fact, the last Liberal government saw greenhouse gas emissions rise by 30% when it was in government. The Liberals are probably on track to do the same here.
This should be partisan, because these guys have made this all about falsehoods, all about policy, and have done nothing to materially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change said that it is time to be debating solutions and implementing those solutions. The kids are all right. They want us to take action. They do. However, a price on carbon that does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and puts people out of work in this country, and allows countries like China to get away with producing goods in a high-carbon jurisdiction while we buy them, is not action. That is politics. That is morally bankrupt.
Since this might be one of the last times I speak in this House in this Parliament, I want to thank all my constituents in Calgary Nose Hill for giving me the opportunity to fight for them. It is important. I would just say to them that we fought hard. We fought the Liberal government at every turn, and we have had great success in holding it to account and making it step back on some of the policies.
Now the time to fight goes to my constituents, so I ask them to join us.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-18 12:29 [p.29285]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for fighting so hard for her riding. Clearly, the people in her community, like all of us in this House, are important to her.
I have huge concerns. I see B.C. Liberals, who are predominantly conservative, on one side of the Rockies, patting themselves on the back and talking about what a great job they have done implementing a carbon tax, with the fastest-growing economy in the country. They pat themselves on the back for lowering carbon emissions. They have even run elections while they were patting themselves on the back. Then they come to Ottawa, like our former colleague Dianne Watts, who sat in this House as a Conservative and ran for the provincial leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party, and pat themselves on the back for their important work implementing a $40-a-tonne carbon tax in British Columbia, which was supported by all three political parties in B.C.
I am concerned when I hear about this “job-killing carbon tax”, which is the message the Conservatives are putting out, when we know that it has worked in B.C.
The member talked about Scandinavia, but she did not bring forward any solutions or any proposals in her speech. I want to hear some ideas on how we are going to work together on this.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2019-06-18 12:30 [p.29285]
Mr. Speaker, this is the member who just stood up and said that it was a non-partisan issue, and now he is bringing up partisan politics.
I spent an entire component of my speech talking about the fact that B.C.'s carbon tax has been shown to be regressive. It is not revenue neutral. His own colleague cited that it only had a 2.2% impact.
I also went through the fact that Vancouver is not as cold as the rest of the country. It has trains that take people everywhere. That is not the same as rural Saskatchewan. That is why we need to look at a national policy that recognizes that we are a natural resources-based, agriculture-based, very large, cold country.
With respect to solutions, I literally spent the last half of my speech talking about that in very detailed terms. If my colleague wants some further reading to edify himself, I wrote a detailed article in the National Post in 2016 outlining this, which has been shared and re-tweeted many times.
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