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Results: 1 - 20 of 20
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-19 16:33 [p.29406]
Madam Speaker, I rise to present a petition originated by a grade six student at the Royal Oak Middle School, Matthias Spalteholz, who has thought a lot about what we need to do to fight the climate crisis.
The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to put in an electrical vehicle fast charging network on all major highways to support the transition away from the internal combustion engine and to fight climate change.
The second petition is from residents throughout Saanich—Gulf Islands.
The petitioners call on the government to take the required action to avoid runaway global warming, to set ambitious targets to avoid going above 1.5°C global average temperature increase and a number of other measures that would achieve climate stability, including through arresting growth in oil sands expansion.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-17 18:44 [p.29220]
That is correct up to a point, Madam Speaker. My hon. friend from Sarnia will find our policies both in “Vision Green”, which is on our website in deep detail, and “Mission: Possible”, which is intended to be that ambitious rally call for Canadians to go off fossil fuels. Any fossil fuel infrastructure expansion is inconsistent with our own planetary survival and continuation of human civilization.
We are not against the use of all plastics. That is the one place where I would disagree with my colleague. We think that bitumen production can be changed from fossil fuel production to feedstock for petrochemicals, particularly for durable plastics, not single-use plastics.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-29 16:39 [p.28237]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today with a petition from residents of Saanich—Gulf Islands calling on the government to take meaningful and bold climate action. The petitioners point out that we must ensure that the global average temperature increase remains at 1.5°C and not above. To do this, they recommend a number of steps, including a national price on carbon, stopping any growth in the oil sands, phasing out coal and other immediate steps.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-02-26 14:00 [p.25795]
Mr. Speaker, young people in Montreal and around the world are calling on the government to get serious about the climate crisis, but the federal government does not seem to be getting the message.
The National Energy Board proved it by publishing its report on the Trans Mountain pipeline project, which will export the dirtiest oil in the world. The English-only report found that Trans Mountain will cause a spike in greenhouse gas emissions, threaten already endangered killer whales, and adversely affect the cultural practices of indigenous peoples, who, by the way, were not adequately consulted on this. However, the NEB is saying yes to Trans Mountain, just like it has been saying yes to pipelines for the past 60 years. That is what a petro-state is all about.
On March 15, there will be a global youth climate strike. Students will be protesting in Montreal and elsewhere, and I invite the public to join them.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-11-27 17:32 [p.24058]
Mr. Speaker, I heard my hon. colleague mention several times through her address that reducing fossil fuels was put forward as a bad thing. I wonder if her view is that we should increase production of fossil fuels or eliminate them so we have some chance of survival on this planet.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2018-11-26 15:00 [p.23920]
Mr. Speaker, there is no green shift in the government's economic update. Once again, it is subsidizing big oil instead of developing green transportation.
That is not surprising. According to Oil Change International, over the past five years, Ottawa has spent $62 billion on fossil fuels, compared to $5 billion on clean energy. It kind of feels like the Conservatives are still in power.
When will the federal government stop wasting Quebeckers' money on businesses that are speeding up climate change?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2018-11-26 15:01 [p.23920]
Mr. Speaker, we cannot base our economy on fossil fuels. The government does not seem to get that.
If the government does not go green, we will be headed for disaster and our young people will pay the price. That is why a youth environmental organization called ENvironnement JEUnesse brought a class action against Ottawa today. They say the government is breaking its climate change promises. That is what it has come to: our young people are so worried about their future that they are suing the federal government.
Do our young people really have to take the government to court to drive home the point that it has to stop subsidizing big oil?
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2018-11-21 17:01 [p.23686]
Mr. Speaker, today's statement is somewhere between an economic statement and the Speech from the Throne. It is heavy on the blah-blah-blah, and light on anything tangible. We were treated to many lovely images, fine words and slogans, but that is about it. It is like an Easter egg: it is nice on the outside, but completely hollow on the inside.
People say that the federal government is out of touch and the Minister of Finance just gave us an excellent example of that. It is out of touch with Quebec, out of touch with Quebeckers, disconnected from the real world and unaware of the real needs. The statement is full of rhetoric and utterly meaningless. The needs and challenges remain. The truth is that Ottawa is completely disconnected.
An economic statement is supposed to do three things. First, it should provide an update on the actual state of our finances in terms of problems and solutions.
Second, it should complete the budget, fill the gaps and correct the omissions. There was no shortage of those. The government being out of touch is certainly nothing new.
Third, it should allow for adjustments when the situation has changed and requires realignment.
An economic statement is those three things. It is not complicated, but in this case the government is zero for three.
First, the economic statement does not tell the real story. A few weeks ago, $2 billion in expenditures magically appeared in the public accounts because the government wrote off a loan to Chrysler in Ontario. It will soon be GM's turn, to the tune of another $2 billion. Then, the loan to the Muskrat Falls dam of almost $10 billion will magically appear there as well, since everyone knows that Newfoundland will never be able to repay that debt.
We never see or vote on loans and guarantees, we just pay for them. That does not give us the real story. These three loans alone represent a charge to taxpayers of close to $15 billion. Quebeckers will pay their share but get nothing in return. The government is keeping quiet about this and is therefore not proposing any solutions to the problem. There was not one word about this in the economic statement. There was nothing about going looking for the money where it really is by cutting subsidies for fossil fuels.
It is high time the government honoured the promise made ten years ago to close the tax haven loophole, which has, in fact, become a sinkhole that is swallowing public funds.
The Conservatives are outraged by the deficit. Oddly enough, when they are told that eliminating tax havens and oil subsidies would cut the deficit in half, they no longer protest quite so loudly. Neither does the government.
Today's statement has no substance.
Second, the economic statement should have filled the gaps in the latest budget. Quebec just had an election. Poll after poll invariably concluded that health and education are the priorities, but neither is mentioned in the budget. Transfers have been capped at 3% since last year. However, in Quebec, health care costs and system costs continue to rise. Ottawa is simply reducing its share.
Our nurses, our patients and our health network end up paying the price. Wait lists are growing. When people opt for private care because the public system does not meet their needs, Ottawa threatens to make more cuts, which just makes things worse. Everyone knows this is not sustainable.
Everything I just mentioned about health care could be said about education. Teachers are also exhausted. This sector has the same problems, except education transfers have been capped at 3% for nearly 15 years. Health and education are where Quebeckers have a real need. These are the priorities, but this statement made no mention of either. The government seems to be too highfalutin to see the needs and understand the priorities.
Third, an economic statement is meant to allow the government to adapt throughout the year to changing situations. Once again, we all have reason to be disappointed.
I would now like to say a few words about the recent tax cuts made by Donald Trump. I am not bringing that up because it is important. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that it would not have any impact. I am bringing it up because the Conservatives would have us believe otherwise. Let us be frank. Our corporate tax rates are already competitive.
Here is something no one ever talks about. In the United States, employers pay for medicare. In 2017, that accounted for a mere $14,900 U.S. per employee. The lack of social safety net in the U.S. is costing them a fortune, so no, we do not have any problems in that regard.
In any case, a race to the bottom approach is not the way to remain globally competitive. We need to develop the sectors in which we are strong. In Quebec that is the clean energy sector. If Ottawa would support our electrification of transportation efforts, we would have clean cars, but the government preferred to spend our money on a pipeline.
The government indicated in the economic statement that it is going to implement a tax credit with regard to the production of clean energy. I am not against that. It could be worthwhile for paper mills and biomass enterprises. However, we need to be aware of one thing. In a number of provinces, private companies produce electricity. If they start generating clean energy, then Ottawa would give them a tax writeoff, and Quebec would have to pay for part of that.
Quebec has Hydro-Québec. Since it is a government-owned corporation, it will not be entitled to the tax credit. If that is all Ottawa does, it will be subsidizing the “bad guys” so they are not quite as bad, and Quebec, a world leader in green energy, is back at square one, without a penny, for doing the right thing. What a great deal. Let's face it, that is an odd way to promote the green economy.
Our high-tech sectors could use some support, but Canada invests very little in business-led research and development. The innovation fund will not help our high-tech companies. Instead, that federal money will just make up for the lack of innovation elsewhere.
As for agriculture, the government signed a new trade agreement that creates another breach in supply management. We were expecting a firm commitment in terms of compensation, as the Prime Minister had promised, but once again, nothing.
Then there is Davie. Davie did not get anything from the naval strategy, and only a few crumbs after that. Whenever we asked the government when Davie would get a fair share of the contracts, we kept being told, “not now, later”. It should be now. That is what an economic statement should look like, but no, once again, Davie suffers. Soon the Liberals will be trying to woo workers before the election, but for now, they get nothing. They are just as predictable as the Conservatives.
There was nothing about how e-commerce is disrupting the economy, either. Nothing for businesses that are competing with Amazon, which does not have to charge sales tax on purchases under $40. How are our people supposed to compete against a giant with an unfair advantage? Our small businesses are going to take a beating, and Ottawa is not doing anything about it. Obviously, people are asleep at the switch.
Internet giants are another example. They are hurting our media, our artists and our culture, and they are competing unfairly. I applaud the government's initiative to support our media. Well, actually, it announced plans to support our media, but not until the next budget. Press freedom and information quality are essential in a democracy, so I welcome this initiative, but I am not getting too excited. As long as the government refuses to do something about Internet giants and their unfair competitive advantage over our media, it will not solve the problem. If it does not solve the problem, it is part of the problem. Ultimately, every one of us and democracy as a whole will pay the price. The government needs to take meaningful action to support our media.
To sum up, the Bloc Québécois is disappointed. If we were to grade the economic update on looks alone, I would give it a B, but the true yardstick is the measures themselves and whether they will meet people's real needs in terms of health, education, tax fairness, agriculture and support for strong economic sectors. On that score, this economic update is vacuous. The only real measure coming on line right away is accelerated depreciation. Something that minor could have been addressed with a planted question. All the rest is fluff.
We give the government's economic statement an F for failure.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2017-11-28 16:59 [p.15706]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to review Bill C-63 at report stage. I lament that we have time allocation in place, but I am grateful that I was able to grab the slot that occurs every 34 slots for someone in a position like mine: being in a party with fewer than 12 MPs. Time allocation tends to be a real detriment to the principle that all MPs in this place are equal. That is the principle of Westminster parliamentary democracy. Of course, the increased power of party whips and the increased partisanship within the House means that all MPs are equal in the way that George Orwell described all animals as being equal in Animal Farm. Some are more equal than others.
Regarding the rules on recognized parties, I only recently discovered that Canada is the only Westminster parliamentary democracy that has the notion that a party needs a certain number of MPs before they get the same rights as their colleagues. It is unique to Canada. It is replicated in our provinces and is something I would like to see removed someday.
In the meantime, the bill has already made history. It is the first time the new rules for parliamentary procedure on omnibus bills have been applied. I appreciate that the Speaker accepted to look at this and separate out the sections that did not appear to be within the same theme of action.
Omnibus budget bills became, I have to say, horrific in the Harper era. We had two omnibus budget bills in 2012, Bill C-38 and Bill C-45, that had nothing to do with budgets and were omnibus bills of the most egregious kind. The term “omnibus budget bill” became, in the public mind, something to be absolutely rejected and condemned. However, there is such a thing as a legitimate omnibus bill; there is such a thing as a legitimate omnibus budget bill. This one came close, but there were sections I appreciated the Speaker separating out.
For the most part, the debate in this place has been misplaced in tending to be, from the opposition benches, primarily about the Minister of Finance's personal finances. We need answers to those questions, but not in the context of a debate on Bill C-63. Bill C-63 has much in it that I would urge colleagues to read closely, because I have read the bill closely, and there is much in the bill I like.
Although it did not go far enough, I certainly want to support the steps toward something the government promised. The Stephen Harper government promised to remove fossil fuel subsidies at the 2009 G20 summit. The promise has been on the books for some time that Canada would eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. It is, in that sense, a government promise that is not strictly a Liberal promise, but it is also a Liberal promise, and it was made in the platform and in the Speech from the Throne. We have seen very little done at the federal level to eliminate subsidies to fossil fuels. The accelerated capital cost allowance for oil sands investments was tapering off under the previous Conservative government. It remains in place for existing projects that are grandfathered under this very advantageous tax regime. It continues to amount to about $1 billion a year for oil sands companies, but it was once closer to $3 billion a year. People debate what is a subsidy and what is not, but a capital cost allowance is seen as pretty advantageous tax treatment that amounts to a subsidy.
The other one that has not been touched at all by the Liberals was one Stephen Harper brought in after he pledged to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies. That is the subsidy for the production of natural gas, particularly to assist liquified natural gas companies. It is hard to beat the one the former premier of B.C., Christy Clark, left in place for the Woodfibre LNG plant, which will amount to about $4,000 in public subsidies for every job created. Therefore, we are still subsidizing fossil fuels provincially and federally.
However, I was pleased to see what the bill would do on oil and gas drilling, in part one, although it would not go far enough. If a company had an unsuccessful oil and gas drilling experience, it used to get a 100% writeoff. Under Bill C-63, that would now be reduced to a 30% writeoff. That tax treatment would be better. It is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough.
The other piece in that same section that certainly is encouraging is better tax treatment for a real winner in renewable energy, and that is geothermal energy. We have known for a long time that we can do a lot with geothermal. We have seen countries around the world benefit from geothermal. The bill includes very good new tax treatment to encourage geothermal electricity.
There are also improvements in the bill on the donation of ecologically sensitive land. I was part of the national round table on the environment and the economy back in the day when the member for Ottawa South was the CEO. We took a real fight on to try to convince then minister of finance Paul Martin not to treat the donation of ecologically sensitive land as something that penalized the donor. People used to get dinged with a deemed capital gain, when they did not actually get anything; they were making a donation.
Over time, our tax code has moved consistently in the direction of better treatment. Bill C-63 would expand the kinds of land that could be donated and would improve the tax treatment. The ecologically sensitive land donations are quite welcome.
I also want to support the improvements in the tax treatment of nurse practitioners so that they would have some of the same tax treatment as other health professionals, which would improve their day-to-day lives.
Similarly, in division 10 of part 5, there are improvements to how the Energy Efficiency Act would operate. We definitely want to see more energy efficiency programming. It has been a big disappointment to me, and the Minister of Finance knows this, as I mentioned it to him recently, that we are not using the tools in the federal tool kit to approach climate change as if we take it seriously.
If we could go back and look at the current Minister of Public Safety's budget when he was minister of finance, in 2005, and pull all those measures out and decide that they were a top priority for the government to put in the 2018 budget, I would be one happy camper. That would include ecoenergy retrofits, which we do not have. It would include support for electric and hybrid vehicles and improvement of the east-west electricity grid.
Those are the things we do not have in the budget, but at least in Bill C-63 we have amendments to facilitate a lot of energy products to include harmonization of regulations to enhance energy efficiency. Those are very welcome.
What I tried to change the most in committee, through amendments, was something that is generally positive or a step in the right direction, which is to give people the right to time off work if they or members of their family are victims of violence. It is obvious to anyone who thinks about it or has gone through it. If a person has been a victim of a violent assault, or if someone in the family, particularly a child, has been the victim of a violent assault, it takes time. That child will have to be taken to therapy appointments. People will have to go to therapy appointments.
If people are going to recover from the trauma, they need time off work. This legislation is very welcome. It would give employees, by right, time off work. However, the bill operates in such a way that employers would have the option to say that someone could not take less than a full day. Employees could not say that they just wanted a couple of hours off, because that was all they needed. Employees would have to take a full day, and this would be time off work without pay. I am very disappointed that my amendments did not get through, because in committee, we said that this should be time off with pay.
The evidence we heard in committee was overwhelming, certainly from Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, who pointed out that 90% of domestic violence survivors experience financial control issues.
If a spouse has been violently assaulted by a spouse, and in most cases it is the male partner who violently assaults his wife, and the wife is, generally speaking, in a reduced financial situation of independence compared to her husband, how does she manage, if taking time off work means she might lose her right to raise her own children because of the financial duress? These are the parts of the bill I would have liked to see fixed.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2017-11-22 14:06 [p.15419]
Mr. Speaker, everyone put their best foot forward at COP23. Everyone was a leader in the fight against climate change. Everyone promised to do more, and Canada even launched an international coalition against coal. Then, everyone went home. The government realized that phasing out coal was the right thing to do, but that is not stopping it from selling coal to the Americans.
Next, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change praised the United States' decision to green-light the Keystone XL pipeline project on the same week there was an 800,000-litre oil spill from a pipeline. There is also the Premier of Alberta who is calling on the federal government for assistance in building more new pipelines. This is the same Premier that the NDP leader says shares many of his values.
The Liberals are sticking with the strategies used by Mr. Harper, who skipped UN meetings to go eat doughnuts at Tim Hortons.
Canada is certainly not finding any solutions to climate change.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2017-11-07 10:51 [p.15054]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to give a speech on Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures. This is an omnibus budget bill.
In speaking to this, I wanted to also start with the big picture. Most of the speeches in this place since we began the debate at second reading of Bill C-63 have not delved very much into Bill C-63 itself. I plan to go into it in some detail. Most of the speeches have dealt with the general question of how much we, depending on which side of the House we are on, like or dislike the budget itself. There are some big picture comments I also want to make.
In debates in this place, the Conservative official opposition members berate the government for spending too much and adding to the debt. It is as though we have forgotten how to distinguish between the deficit, which is rising, and debt. Debt is a more permanent condition, and unfortunately, it is very hard to eliminate debt once it has been added on. We have not reduced any of the $150-billion addition to the national debt accrued under former prime minister Stephen Harper. The debt increased quite a lot in that period, although in the final term, we saw a balanced budget. Deficit is an issue of concern, but not nearly as much as debt.
In looking at the deficit and deficit spending, this current Liberal government was elected promising to run a deficit, although a much smaller one than the one we now see.
Here is what concerns me on the subject of government spending and increasing deficits. We are actually in a situation in this country where we need more, not less, government spending. The strictures on spending the current government appears to feel constrained by on things that need to be addressed come from an unwillingness to spend more than the large spending announcements that have already been made, which were for needed spending.
We need spending on infrastructure across Canada. In a sense, we have been like a homeowner who has deferred maintenance on the home in order to afford the other things we need in our household budget. However, deferred maintenance adds up. When the deferred maintenance is on water works and sewage systems, bridges and roads, and social infrastructure, such as affordable housing, and those things come home to roost, we need to spend more.
At the same time, there is a deep aversion to raising taxes. There have been a lot of claims that the opposite side has raised taxes a great deal. The reality, which I support, and it was in the Green Party platform to reduce the tax on small business to 9%, is certainly applauded. However, we in the Green Party are urging the government to look at the need to raise taxes on large, profitable multinationals.
The tax on large business was, in the year 2000, 28%. It is now down to 14%. It certainly should be raised, because if we look at the percentage of our total government revenues that come from corporations versus individual citizens, the portion on individual citizens has gone up while the portion on large corporations has shrunk dramatically.
As the economy is recovering, and that is good, there certainly is no reason or excuse to not go after, as my hon. friend from South Okanagan—West Kootenay just pointed out, the big fish. The big fish are in offshore tax havens. The big fish are in large, profitable multinationals. Going after people who are seeking to avoid, or worse, criminally evade, taxes should be a top priority.
I note, and it is a personal story, but I think it is quite bizarre, that my daughter, who is a university student, reported to me that the CRA is wasting tax dollars asking for proof of various items on her income tax return. She is a student. She is not making enough money to pay much in taxes or anything in taxes, I think. However, she is being asked to provide proof of the cost of books. I said that it was bizarre, and she said that another friend of hers is doing the same thing.
I would suggest that CRA could adjust its sights on millionaires and billionaires as opposed to students. I think that would be something most Canadians would support.
Turning to Bill C-63, I have to say that I read it with a growing sense of happiness. No doubt it will surprise people that anyone on the opposition benches would. However, when I pick up an omnibus budget bill I still have a sense of, I guess, PTSD from having read the omnibus budget bills in the 41st Parliament, particularly Bill C-38, which destroyed our environmental assessment regime and wrecked the Fisheries Act; and Bill C-45, which devastated the Navigable Waters Protection Act, removed the inspector general for CSIS, and various other measures that had nothing to do with each other.
Reading Bill C-63 confirms in my mind the strong need to simplify our tax code. When we talk to tax accountants, they generally agree that it would be wonderful if the Minister of Finance went in for root-and-branch tax reform to simplify the tax code to remove so many boutique exemptions. I commend the Minister of Finance for removing a number of boutique exemptions, but the tax code, and therefore the omnibus bill we have before us, is very complex on very specific items, such as straddling tax years and figuring out how to deal with different derivatives and the use of various tax mechanisms, such as going through trusts or going through additional corporations and how we end up taxing.
For the most part, I actually find myself wondering if I am going to vote for this particular budget bill if we can make some amendments. I want to point out the areas I like in this bill and the areas I think would benefit from amendments.
As it is an omnibus budget bill, I am pleased to see that there has finally been a tepid move, although it could go much further, to eliminate some of the fossil fuel subsidies. This was a large-ticket commitment in the Liberal campaign platform. Most of the large fossil fuel subsidies remain in place, despite a pledge in the Liberal platform to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.
This would be a parallel and needed measure that would go along with eliminating the market distortions that are created by both subsidizing fossil fuels and failing to put a price on dumping waste into the atmosphere. That is equivalent to having a municipal waste dump where there is no tipping fee. People are not encouraged to avoid dumping if it is free. That is why a carbon price makes sense, but we need to move to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.
The move that is happening here is in relation to changes to the Canadian exploration expense. This happens to be in part 1 of Bill C-63. It would change the tax treatment of Canadian exploration expenses to reduce the tax deductions that are available now from 100% to about 30%. By the way, the way this is structured has created an incentive for accelerated drilling prior to this kicking in in 2019. This could be an unintended but environmentally damaging period. I am holding in my hands advice from Bennett Jones to that corporate sector suggesting that if any oil and gas companies can hurry up and start exploration activities and get commitments in writing before 2019, they can continue to take advantage of the 100% deduction on capital expenses.
I also welcome the changes to the donation of ecologically sensitive lands. I worked on this, back in the day, on the now defunct National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, repealed in the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-38. We worked to persuade the minister of finance of the day, the Right Hon. Paul Martin, to create special tax treatment for the donation of ecologically sensitive land. The revisions in Bill C-63 continue along that road to clarify and improve that system.
I am not at all unhappy to see the follow-through on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This is part of Canada's development portfolio. We still lag far behind the commitments made by previous governments, including every government back to Lester B. Pearson, Jean Chrétien, and the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney, who all committed that Canada's development assistance should equal 0.7% of our GDP. We are nowhere near that, but certainly the provisions around the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are welcome.
There are a number of other provisions I was pleased to see, particularly those in the Canada Labour Code that would provide more flexible work arrangements and give Canadians prescribed statutory time off work to recover after experiencing family violence. I would like to see those sections amended. I would like to see that time off work as paid leave. I would like to see a single woman without children receive some assistance if she has been the victim of violence. There could be some tweaking of provisions in there.
I am very happy to see the new tax treatment for geothermal energy and an Energy Efficiency Act.
There are many provisions in a bill of 275 pages, but I will stop there and say that I am generally pleased with the contents of this bill.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2017-10-31 10:12 [p.14724]
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to present three petitions. All three petitions have to do with climate change.
The petitions are all from constituents of Saanich—Gulf Islands.
The first petition calls upon the government to work with provinces and territories to upgrade our building code to ensure a 15% improvement in energy efficiency.
The second petition calls upon the government to bring into place meaningful actions to meet the Paris accord target of global commitment to ensure that global average temperatures do not exceed 1.5° Celsius. The petitioners draw particular focus on decarbonizing our electricity sector.
The last petition has the most signatories, also from my constituency, and it calls for the House of Commons and Parliament to work to achieve the goals set out in the Leap Manifesto.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2017-06-12 15:40 [p.12473]
Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from residents within Saanich—Gulf Islands. It points out that Canada has committed to the Paris agreement, yet we do not yet have a plan or even targets consistent with achieving the targets of the Paris commitment.
The petitioners call upon the government to bring into place targets that will assist in the global effort to avoid a 1.5°C global average temperature increase, as well as to work to expedite the closing down of coal-based and other thermal coal exports to essentially decarbonize electricity as quickly as possible.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2017-05-16 15:06 [p.11268]
Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has confirmed what we already knew, that is, that this government is not responsible. No real action has been taken to decrease our reliance on oil, or, if it has, the information is hidden or redacted. Lecturing or providing advice to other countries about the fight against climate change without a plan to reduce our own use of fossil fuels is as hypocritical as lecturing about human rights and then selling armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia.
When will this government start taking the environment seriously and table a concrete plan to fight climate change?
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2017-03-22 15:11 [p.9901]
Mr. Speaker, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the International Energy Agency have all urged governments around the world to do two things, at a minimum: to put in place a carbon price and to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies.
I wonder if the Prime Minister could update us on where we are. We know progress is being made on the carbon price. Where are we on eliminating fossil fuel subsidies?
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2016-12-06 13:57 [p.7716]
Mr. Speaker, I have wanted to ask this question throughout the debate, particularly of a Liberal government member.
Earlier the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance quoted at length comments made by the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, and her approval of spending. I would like to point to Christine Lagarde's other advice as head of the International Monetary Fund, that Canada keep its commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, which are still in this budget. I am speaking of youth, as the hon. member just did. I would remind him of Christine Lagarde's words: if we do not act on climate change, “future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled”.
When will the Liberal government live up to its commitment to remove fossil fuel subsidies?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2016-11-22 13:58 [p.7068]
Mr. Speaker, recently I was in Marrakesh, where I had the honour of representing the Bloc Québécois at COP22.
Canada delivered some very nice speeches there, much like it did in Paris.
I saw the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in conversation with indigenous people, all of whom are concerned about oil and gas development. They were pleased with the nice speeches, but they all emphasized that it is now time for action.
I heard the minister announce new greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets: 80% by 2050. Why not 100%? Why not 110%, since we are picking numbers out of a hat? Why? Because the moment we got off the plane back here, all we heard about was Kinder Morgan, TransCanada, more oil sands development, and billions in fossil fuel subsidies.
Unfortunately, once these major international conferences are over, the pretense drops, and our actions, the things we do and the things we do not do, are what really count.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2016-11-16 14:08 [p.6795]
Mr. Speaker, we have all owned an old used car that faithfully got us to work every morning until the day we were told it needed thousands of dollars' worth of repairs.
Nobody spends that money. We do the bare minimum to get to work, we forge ahead, and we invest in something that will last. Unfortunately, the government is taking the opposite approach with fossil fuels.
Environmental groups estimate that Canada subsidized fossil fuels to the tune of $3.3 billion in 2015. Yesterday in Marrakesh, the UN called for an end to subsidizing these outdated industries. The government promised to stop, but not until 2024.
The government is saying all the right things to the rest of the world, but it is on a catastrophic collision course with climate change. Unless the government plans for a fossil-fuel-free future, Canada will drag down Quebec and every other nation fighting global warming.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2016-11-15 16:50 [p.6775]
Mr. Speaker, there is a question I have been wanting to put to a government representative today. I know that the hon. member did not touch on it in his speech, but my question does directly relate to Bill C-29 in that we had a series of commitments from the Liberal government when it was campaigning in the election.
There is one piece, which I have to say I have been very disappointed has not been in budget 2016. I am not sure I have heard the finance minister commit to it for budget 2017.
The Liberal platform committed that all fossil fuel subsidies would be terminated, but budget 2016 includes fossil fuel subsidies for liquefied natural gas continuing until at least 2025. I do not want to put the hon. member on the spot, but perhaps he has some indication of whether that Liberal promise relating to fossil fuel subsidies will be brought in in 2017.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2016-11-01 12:14 [p.6394]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-29. I have been listening to all the debate that has been taking place, and I note that we as members of Parliament seem to be debating lots of different things all at once, and not necessarily always Bill C-29, especially on a day such as today when we are eagerly awaiting the Minister of Finance's update.
Obviously today we are anticipating the fall update on the economy and the state of public finances. I look forward to that. Although I have the opportunity to deliver a speech now, I plan to take part in the lockup on the economic update.
We know that any minute now we will be getting additional financial information from the Minister of Finance, and some of the media reports that foreshadowed what we may see in that report have become part of this debate as if they were in Bill C-29. They are not, so we do not know much about what will be proposed. There are concerns, as many colleagues have raised, about what might be proposed around infrastructure, what might be proposed around specifics of an infrastructure bank. It is not in Bill C-29. We are also talking today about the budget document itself, and much of what is in the budget document is not in Bill C-29.
Let me just clarify for parliamentarians and those who may be watching us today across the country what Bill C-29 is.
I try to be as fair as possible in all circumstances, and I railed against the omnibus budget bills of the previous government such as the spring omnibus budget bill of 2012, Bill C-38, which changed more than 70 different laws and regulations and abolished important institutions of public policy such as the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. It did many things that were never referenced in the budget. It extended itself well beyond what a budget should usually do. This was the spring omnibus bill of 2012. The fall omnibus bill was Bill C-45, and it completely gutted the Navigable Waters Protection Act, while the spring omnibus bill gutted the Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
I reflect on that just to say that there are different kinds of omnibus bills. There are illegitimate omnibus bills and there are bills that take into account many different measures but all flow from the budget. This is in the category of legitimate omnibus bills. There is nothing in here that is not required by what was in the budget document that we received last spring. Last spring's budget set out changes, particularly to the Canada child benefit. It set out changes to various aspects of the Income Tax Act. If Canadians were to pick up Bill C-29 and read it, I do not think I am making too much of a stretch to say that they would find nothing that would be alarming.
There are provisions to begin to understand how we measure carbon emissions in terms of emissions allowances, how taxpayers would account for that, and how Revenue Canada and the Department of Finance would account for that. There are certainly new rules for charities and extensions for what kinds of donations could be considered charitable donations. There are provisions that are purely to do with the tax code, as one would hope when one is looking at a budget bill.
It is not an illegitimate budget bill, but it does of course allow us to turn our attention to the budget and to reflect on what was there and what was not there in relation to the promises made in last year's campaign.
We are just about at the one-year mark for this new administration and it is fair to reflect at the one-year mark on policies related to budget matters today, so I will stay within the frame of budgetary matters in my presentation. However, I have to say, in providing commentary on Bill C-29, and I want to be honest with Canadians, there is nothing here that gets me worried or upset except for what is missing. I want to be clear about that.
What is missing is that the Liberal platform last year committed to getting rid of subsidies to fossil fuels. There were really only three bullet points under the Liberal platform commitment to climate action.
One bullet point was that they would attend at Paris and negotiate. The Liberals did that and they did it superbly. The second was that they would put in place a national carbon price, and that is a work in progress. I bemoan the fact that the starting price is $10 a tonne but the architecture of it is fair and will only top up those provinces that have failed to define how they want to price their emissions.
This missing piece really deserves much more attention.
The commitment was clear that subsidies for fossil fuels would come to an end. The 2016 budget on page 221 commits until the end of the period in which the previous government had already committed subsidies for a new class of subsidies for liquefied natural gas in 2015. Some may say that LNG, liquefied natural gas, is a fairly clean burning fossil fuel but when it comes from fracked gas, which the LNG industry in British Columbia is projected to come from, it has the same carbon footprint as coal. Seeing a provision in the legislation that would continue this well into the future is a concern. That should come to an end much sooner.
We also were promised a lot of spending on infrastructure but when we look at the actual budget figures, only one-tenth of what is promised on infrastructure will occur before the next election. I really am keen to hear what our finance minister is about to announce later today. If we are trying to stimulate the economy through investments in infrastructure, then we really have to make those investments in infrastructure and we have to do it sooner rather than later. We have only one chance of the money flowing to things like public transit, which we urgently need.
There is reference in the budget to a small amount of money over a two-year period for examining what we need to improve Canada's east-west electricity grid. We need that urgently. Canada is a big country and we tend to have far too many interprovincial barriers. We are familiar with talking about interprovincial barriers to trade but we do not think so much about the interprovincial barriers to electricity. Why is it that provinces struggling to go off coal are having trouble buying renewable energy from the province next door? We really do need to invest in what is a real nation building project. It would create jobs and the fastest route to de-carbonizing our electricity grid is to improve access across provincial boundaries.
We can look at the absurdity right now of what is going on in Newfoundland with respect to Muskrat Falls. Nalcor is building Muskrat Falls, and CEO Stan Marshall has already referred to Muskrat Falls as a boondoggle that should never have been built. Newfoundland will be coming cap in hand to the federal treasury to look for money to bail out that project but it will find that it is throwing good money after bad. Nova Scotia says it cannot shut down coal until it gets an underwater cable all the way from Muskrat Falls.
Hydro-Québec sits right next to the Atlantic provinces. Hydro-Québec's electricity could get exactly as far as Moncton, turn a switch, open up the electricity grid, and work out the financing. Part of the problem may be that Manitoba Hydro and Hydro-Québec prefer to sell south to the United States because sales to the U.S. do not affect their equalization payments. If we start thinking like a country, we might figure out how to maximize the benefit from electricity generated in one province and ease access in another.
Going off fossil fuels as quickly as possible should be a national goal, while at the same time ensuring that the fossil fuels we use in Canada are the ones manufactured and refined in Canada. We have the beginning of a made-in-Canada solution for our energy, for our workers, for the Alberta economy, if we are willing to invest in refineries instead of pipelines and take away the subsidies to fossil fuels as was promised.
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