Mr. Speaker, as always, I am very honoured to rise in the House today. I would like to say hello to the many people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching. I saw them late last week at the Grand bazar du Vieux-Limoilou, the Patro Roc-Amadour community centre and the 52nd Salon de Mai craft fair, which was held at Promenades Beauport mall. Congratulations to the organizers.
I would also like to say that we are all very sad to hear that our colleague from Langley—Aldergrove is fighting a serious cancer. He just gave a powerful speech that reminded us how fragile life is. I even spoke to my wife and children to tell them that I love them. Our colleague gave a very poignant speech about that. I thank him for his years of service to Canada and to the House of Commons, and for all the future years that he will devote himself to his community.
Before I say anything about the Conservative Party motion now before us, I would like to say a quick word about what U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday. At a meeting of the Arctic Council in Finland, he had the gall to say that Canada’s claim of sovereignty over the Northwest Passage is illegitimate. He even compared us to Russia and China, referring to their behaviour and their propensity to annex territories, like Russia did in Ukraine. Personally, I find that shameful.
I would like to remind the U.S. government that we have been their allies for a long time. President Reagan and Prime Minister Mulroney reached an agreement, which both parties signed, and which stipulated that Canada indeed has sovereignty over the Northwest Passage. In the 19th century, we launched a number of expeditions and explorations supported by the British Crown, and Canadian sovereignty over the Northwest Passage and in the Arctic Archipelago is entirely legitimate.
Today we are discussing the importance of the oil industry and the importance of climate change. These two issues go hand in hand. They are key issues today and will continue to be in the future. Of course, I believe that the environment is extremely important. It is important for all Conservatives and for all Canadians. I remember collecting all sorts of bottles and cans along the roadside as a boy. I often did that with my father. He is an example for me in that respect. Throughout my life, I have always wanted to be a part of community organizations where people pick up garbage.
I am also very proud of most Canadian governments' environmental record. They have always endeavoured to meet the expectations of Canadians, for whom the environment is extremely important. Most of the time, the Liberals try to paint the Conservatives as anti-environment. I can assure my colleagues that I have never seen anything to support that in the Conservative Party. On the contrary, under Mr. Harper, we took important steps to lower greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by 2.2% between 2006 and 2015. I will come back to that later.
There are two approaches being proposed in the current debate on climate change. This applies to several western countries. I say western countries because those are the countries affected, given that our industrial era has been well established for two centuries. There are some industries that have been polluting rather significantly for a long time. We have reached a point in our history where we realize that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are playing a very significant role in climate change.
Yes, we must act, but there are two possible approaches. One is the Liberal Party approach of taxing Canadians even more. The Liberals are asking Canadians to bear the burden of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. The approach the Conservatives prefer is not to create a new tax or to tax the fuel that Canadians put in their cars to go to work every day.
Our approach is rather to help Canadians in their everyday lives and to help the provinces implement their respective environmental plans.
For example, I always like to remind the Canadians listening to us, as well as all environmentalists, that we set up the Canada ecotrust in 2007-08. This $1.3-billion program was meant to allocate funds to the provinces so that they could deal in their own way with the major concerns associated with climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. That is a fine example of how we want to help people.
Jean Charest was premier of Quebec at the time. We provided $300 million to help Quebec implement its GHG emissions reduction plan. Mr. Harper and Mr. Charest gave a joint press conference, and even Mr. Guilbeault from Greenpeace said that the Canada ecotrust was a significant, important program.
We did the same thing for Ontario, British Columbia and all the other provinces that wanted to join the ecotrust. It is very likely that the program allowed the Government of Ontario to implement its own program and close its coal-fired power plants.
As a result, under the Harper government, GHG emissions in Canada dropped by 2.2%. It bears repeating, since that is the approach we will adopt with our current leader, the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle. In a few weeks, we will announce our environmental plan, which has been keenly anticipated by all Canadians, and especially by the Liberal government. It will be a serious plan. It will include environmental targets that will allow Canada and Canadians to excel in the fight against climate change. In particular, we will maintain our sound approach, which is to help the provinces. By contrast, the government prefers to start constitutional squabbles with them by imposing taxes on Canadians, overstepping its jurisdiction in the process, since environmental matters fall under provincial jurisdiction.
I would like to use Quebec as an example, as my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent did this morning. I have here a report on Quebec's inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016 and their evolution since 1990. It was tabled by the new CAQ government last November, and it is very interesting. In 2016, greenhouse gas emissions increased in Quebec, despite the fact that the carbon exchange made its debut in 2013. That is ironic. Despite the implementation of a fuel tax to cut down on fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, emissions actually went up.
The same report also indicates that between 1990 and 2015, greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec decreased even though the carbon exchange had not been fully implemented. The conclusion explains how this happened:
The decrease in GHG emissions from 1990 to 2016 is mainly due to the industrial sector. The decrease observed in this sector resulted from technical improvements in certain processes, increased energy efficiency and the substitution of certain fuels.
That is exactly what we, the Conservatives, want to do. Instead of imposing a new tax on Canadians, we want to maintain a decentralized federal approach. We want to help the provinces adopt greener energy sources to stimulate even greener economic growth and the deindustrialization of certain sectors, create new technologies and increase innovation in the Canadian economy. That is the objective of a Conservative approach to the environment.
The objective of the Conservative approach to the environment is not to come down hard on the provinces and impose new taxes on Canadians. As we saw with Quebec, that did not have the desired effect. Our objective is to provide assistance while ensuring that our oil industry can grow in a healthy way. That is what Norway did. If I had 10 more minutes, I could talk more about that wonderful country, which has increased its oil production and exports and is one of the fairest and greenest countries in the world.