Mr. Speaker, as we prepare to leave the House and the 42nd Parliament for the summer, I am happy to have a chance to speak to today's motion, which reads as follows:
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.
This is an initiative that I am passionate about, which I have spoken about here many times. In fact, when I am back in the riding, my constituents continually talk to me about the carbon tax, how we are going to get rid of it and how quickly can can get rid of it. The carbon tax is something that has resonated particularly strongly with the people in my riding, and not in a positive way.
I have been privileged to serve the people of Souris—Moose Mountain for the last four years, and part of why I am speaking to today's motion is due to the commitment I made upon becoming an MP. I promised that I would represent the interests of all my constituents at every possible opportunity, and I am proud to stand here today to denounce the ineffective Liberal carbon tax and the negative impact it is having on Canadians across the country.
The fact of the matter, as stated in today's motion, is that the Liberals' carbon tax is not effective in reducing emissions, and it makes life more expensive for hard-working Canadians. The Liberals seem to think that all of Canada is urban. I say this because the majority of their policies, and especially those tied to reducing emissions, are targeted toward urban areas, with almost nothing for those living in rural Canada. When a major city gets new environmentally friendly buses, how does that benefit the people in my riding? Guess what: it does not.
Furthermore, Canadians living in rural areas are going to be hit hard by the carbon tax and in some ways more so than those who are living in urban areas. It is a normal and acceptable thing for people in southeast Saskatchewan to drive 30-plus miles just to get groceries. Driving 50 miles or more to see a doctor is the status quo, and nobody complains about it, because that is just the way it has always been done. Small businesses have no avenue to rebate the carbon tax. They end up eating it or increasing their overhead or passing it on to their customers, and risk losing their customers.
What does make people frustrated and angry is when a government swoops in and unilaterally decides that Canadians now have to pay more to go about their usual day-to-day lives, and with none of the benefits that those living in urban areas receive. The Liberal carbon tax is not helping the environment, but rather it is hurting Canadians through the increased price on things like gasoline, groceries and home heating.
I would like to share the experiences of some of my constituents that touch on how ill thought out and ineffective the carbon tax really is.
As members know, under the carbon tax, fuel used for farm purposes is meant to be exempt, but this is not the case here. Due to the Liberals leaving a loophole in their legislation, farmers who obtain their fuel at pump locations and not designated cardlocks are paying the carbon tax when they should not be. There is no mechanism to rectify this, and it is creating some big issues for farmers. While I have written letters to the minister, I have not heard one response.
Many farmers are not able to have fuel delivered directly to their farms, because they do not have the ability to store it, and so pump locations are necessary for them to do their jobs. There are huge increases in cost to secure storage areas and to protect storage areas from environmental issues, not to mention the security and protection of this resource. Furthermore, there is no cardlock station within a reasonable distance of these farmers, and a pump location is their only option.
For example, farmers on acreages that are 20 miles east of a pump location have to travel to fill up their vehicles and their equipment, and they are not even getting the promised exemption. They may farm acreages another 30 kilometres in the other direction or west of where they are coming from. We are now at the end of the spring seeding season, and farmers are still having to fight for their government to make good on the commitments it made to not charge farmers a carbon tax. It is yet another example of how the Liberal carbon tax continues to fail Canadians time and time again.
Unfortunately, Canadians have become accustomed to the Liberals misleading them and providing them with misinformation, especially when it comes to the carbon tax. When it was introduced, the minister said that 100% of the revenues from the carbon tax would go back to Canadians and that it would end up being revenue neutral. When asked specifically if that figure included the GST, the Liberals said no, that the GST would stay in our pockets. We have now found out that this is patently untrue and that the GST is being charged on top of the carbon tax, essentially a tax on a tax.
Here are some simple figures when it comes to the carbon tax and the GST on that. In 2017, the number of litres of gasoline used in Canada was 43.6 billion litres. The carbon tax at 4¢ per litre amounts to $1.7 billion that is collected. The Liberals are refusing to tell Canadians how high this tax will go as we move forward. This means that people living in this country are unable to make concrete plans for their future.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the Liberals would need to hike the carbon tax up to at least $100 per tonne to meet the Paris targets that they committed to. The PBO has also stated that in order to meet the Paris targets, gasoline prices would need to increase by 23¢ per litre. Despite their claims that they are on track to meet these targets, there is clear evidence to the contrary. It is yet another example of the Liberals attempting to mislead Canadians so that they can save face when it comes to their failed and ineffective carbon tax that has done nothing to reduce emissions.
I would like to highlight some of the innovative work that is happening right here in Canada with respect to reducing emissions. That is the utilization of CCS, carbon capture and storage, technology. The CCS technology is installed on unit 3 of Boundary Dam, the power station in my riding. CCS allows for the CO2 emissions of that unit to be captured and stored three to four kilometres underground, preventing these emissions from being released into the atmosphere. The stored CO2 is then used by the oil industry for things like EOR, which is enhanced oil recovery. The by-product of this process is also fly ash, which is a saleable product that is used in the production of cement. The EOR helps the oil industry reduce its emissions, and the fly ash helps the cement-production companies in reducing their carbon emissions.
While retrofitting power plants with CCS can be expensive, a recent study done by the International CCS Knowledge Centre found that the cost of retrofitting the Shand Power Station would be 67% cheaper per tonne of CO2 captured, compared to the Boundary Dam that is built today.
According to the Paris agreement, CCS is mentioned in three or four potential pathways to reducing emissions. In fact, the secretary of state in the ministry of the environment of Poland, Mr. Michal Kurtyka, and the COP24 presidency bureau director, Mr. Pawel Leszczynski, were visiting the Boundary Dam and they basically said that carbon capture and sequestration will be important and make an advance to carbon neutrality.