Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have suddenly realized that green-lighting the expansion of Trans Mountain will not wash, especially after declaring a climate emergency the day before. Now they are trying to create a diversion by saying that any profits from the pipeline will go into a green fund.
They are spending $15 billion to create more pollution. That is what I would call trading four quarters for a dollar, especially when that dollar is the equivalent of three million cars' worth of pollution.
Why not immediately invest that $15 billion in renewable energy and the good jobs of tomorrow, as the NDP is proposing?
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Speaker, I am presenting a petition that was launched in Quebec and signed by over 2,300 people. The petitioners are calling on us to immediately end all forms of discrimination in the Indian Act, to comply with the United Nations Human Rights Committee decision stipulating that all those whose equality and cultural rights were violated are entitled to reparations, and to take all necessary measures to abolish the Indian Act's racist and patriarchal regime as soon as possible.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-462, An Act to amend the Department of the Environment Act (greenhouse gas reduction action plan).
He said: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia for seconding this important bill.
The environment and climate change are the biggest issues of the day. We have a challenge to confront, but sadly, the process has become either a war of words with plenty of slogans but little action, or a deeply partisan issue, depending on how we look at it.
This bill will depoliticize the issue and force the government to meet its greenhouse gas reduction objectives by legislating a plan setting out GHG reduction targets. The government would be required to table an independent review in the House of Commons each year to be debated by parliamentarians.
This bill is inspired by the late, great Jack Layton, and I hope a majority of members will vote for it.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to table a petition from the Elizabeth Fry Society. This organization is very concerned about the situation of many children in Canada whose parents are in vulnerable situations, for example, parents who are in prison or homeless.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, these children are entitled to the same social benefits as every other child in our society.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
One thing is certain: Once the Conservatives sink their teeth into something, they hold on tight and do not let go. Unfortunately, they do not have an alternative plan.
The Liberal government is being hypocritical. It says one thing and then buys a pipeline. Meanwhile, the Conservatives have been criticizing the price on pollution and acting as though we can continue to pollute without any consequences for future generations. They have no plan.
I would like my colleague to tell me what he will do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the parliamentary secretary's speech and his endless litany of ineffective half-measures. I am not impressed.
After four years in power, the Liberal record on the environment is absolutely abysmal, especially when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some figures from Environment Canada. In December 2017, officials forecasted that the Liberals would miss the Conservatives' targets by 66 megatonnes. A year later, no progress had been made. In fact, it was then estimated that they would miss the targets by 79 megatonnes.
The Liberals can pat themselves on the back and adopt emergency motions in the House of Commons all they like, but the fact remains that they are going to miss the Conservative targets set by Stephen Harper. Furthermore, they want to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, which they bought with our money. In terms of pollution, it would be like putting 3 million more cars on our roads every year. That is the Liberal record.
I doubt that voters will be fooled in the upcoming election.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my fantastic colleague from Courtenay—Alberni. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate him on all the work he does to promote cycling in this country and help reduce plastic pollution. My colleague from British Columbia is doing an outstanding job.
I listened carefully to the parliamentary secretary's speech, and I want to come back to the final point he raised when responding to our Conservative colleague's question. Indeed, contrary to what the parliamentary secretary said, certain industrial sectors in Canada are getting free passes and handouts in terms of the price they will have to pay for their huge contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. This is all being given to them because of fears that businesses in certain highly competitive industrial sectors will want to move away or shut down their operations in Canada.
In his argument, the parliamentary secretary used the market argument to justify giving these companies a free pass allowing them to emit 10% more greenhouse gases before having to pay. What he fails to mention is that there is absolutely no verifiable objective criterion to justify this exemption, this gift being given to certain industrial sectors. In theory, the underlying logic to this exemption could be justified, but it is impossible to know what objective, rational, and independent criteria the Liberal government is basing its reasoning on. Several environmental activists have already asked this question. This approach lacks credibility. Again, it looks like the Liberals are handing out gifts to their corporate industry friends.
I find it interesting that we are having this discussion on the price of pollution. I have to hand it to the Conservatives, they are certainly consistent. When they sink their teeth into something, they do not let go. They do not like the idea of putting a price on pollution, and they are moving the same opposition motion that they presented a month or two ago, as though nothing else were going on in our society or our country. It seems to be the only thing they want to talk about until the election. Suits me. Let's talk about it.
I am the NDP environment critic. I am pleased to speak about our extraordinary platform called “The Courage to Do What's Right”, which the NDP leader recently presented in Montreal. It is an extraordinary and comprehensive document that includes a multitude of measures to address the challenges of tackling climate change. I will come back to that in a few minutes.
If there is one thing we can fault the Liberals for it is their lack of coherence. The government sheds crocodile tears and plays the violin while talking to us about future generations, the importance of the planet, nature, frogs and little birds, but it does nothing. It has been dragging its feet for years. The Liberals' environmental record does not live up to its promises of 2015 or the speeches it continues to give. What happened last night is proof of that. The Liberal government made us vote on a motion declaring a climate emergency. That is important. Canada is a G7 country. The government took the initiative to declare a climate emergency and to say that we must roll up our sleeves and take action. However, the Liberals had us vote on this motion the day before the announcement about the Trans Mountain expansion. That took some nerve. It does not make sense.
The Trans Mountain expansion will triple oil sands production, which will rise from 300,000 to 900,000 barrels a day. This project poses an extremely serious threat to British Columbia's coastline and has no social licence. Many indigenous communities oppose it, as does the Government of British Columbia. It is completely incompatible with the Liberal government's ambition to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To increase oil production from 300,000 to 900,000 barrels a day is equivalent to putting another three million cars on the road.
The government's climate change plan involves putting three million more gas-guzzling vehicles on our roads. Someone pinch me; I must be imagining things. This is a nonsensical and wrong-headed plan.
It is no wonder that groups like ENvironnement JEUnesse are suing the Liberal government over its reckless disregard for future generations. Young people are concerned, they are protesting, they are organizing and they are taking the government to court because it is not fulfilling its responsibilities. It is not taking the courageous decisions needed to do our part to combat climate change, the greatest challenge of our generation. If we do not get greenhouse gas emissions under control and limit global warming to 1.5°C to 2°C, the consequences will be extremely costly. There will be social, human, financial and economic consequences. We cannot wash our hands of this. We cannot stand by. Unfortunately, the Liberal government is all talk and no action.
By contrast, the NDP, with our leader, the member for Burnaby South, has proposed an extremely ambitious and comprehensive plan. I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk about this plan today, because we are going after the biggest greenhouse gas emitters.
The government's mistake is thinking that taxing carbon or pricing pollution is a magic wand that will fix all problems. This is not the case. It is a necessary tool, sure, but it is not enough. I think this is very important to point out. This is why the NDP has proposed other measures to ensure that we take serious, responsible action. Our commitment is to cut emissions by 450 megatonnes by 2030. This is achievable and is consistent with scientific findings and the IPCC report.
First, we want to take action on housing. We want to complete energy efficiency retrofits on all existing buildings and homes in Canada by 2050. That will save Canadians money and also reduce our carbon footprint. We want to change the building code so that all new buildings are carbon neutral by 2030, meaning they produce no greenhouse gas emissions. This would be a regulatory requirement that would apply across the board. The government has not had the courage to do this, and it does not even seem to be interested in moving in this direction.
Second, there is transportation. The transportation sector is a major GHG emitter. There are two things we need to achieve. First, we want to electrify personal and freight transportation, and we want to make sure we do both, not just personal transportation. Second, we want to electrify transit.
Electrification of transportation is crucial. We are going much further than the current Liberal government. We pledge to waive the GST on all models of electric or zero-emissions vehicles made in Canada. Not only will this make it easier for consumers to own a zero-emissions electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, but it will also provide an important boost to help the automotive sector make this transition.
Our plan includes major investments in public transit totalling $6.5 billion over the course of the NDP's first term in office. We will work with municipalities to reduce the cost of using public transit. Ultimately, we want public transit to be free, as it is in other places around the world, because we want to encourage people to use public transit more as well as active transit, such as walking and cycling.
Third is renewable energy. This government continues to subsidize oil and gas companies to the tune of billions of dollars a year. That needs to stop. We will divert that money to the renewable energy sector, which is already creating far more jobs in Canada than the fossil fuel sector.
We will make that happen by setting up a climate bank that can issue loans and provide loan guarantees to businesses, investors and people who are building green energy projects and renewable energy developments.
That is the NDP's game plan. I think it is much more ambitious than what any other party in the House has to offer.
Canadians and Quebeckers will judge its merits on October 21.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and for giving me an opportunity to speak to that issue.
Unfortunately, the Liberals often use that argument to attack the NDP's plan. It is not quite accurate. I want to clarify and set the record straight.
Obviously, we are talking about subsidies for big industry and for large oil and gas corporations. We are also talking about changing the mandate of Export Development Canada and using that money to make a public investment in renewable energy. Obviously, the indigenous communities in northern Canada that need diesel to produce electricity would never be negatively impacted by the NDP's plan.
I thank the member for that question.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent for his highly relevant question. That was not the first time he asked it and I feel as though I will be hearing it a lot over the coming months.
The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent demonstrated what the NDP has been saying, that the carbon tax alone is not going to have a major impact. A host of factors need to be taken into account and all sorts of efforts need to be made to tackle this. I think there are no two ways about it, and I think it is a shame that the Conservatives oppose putting a price on pollution. I also find it odd that the Conservatives are against using market mechanisms to put pressure on companies or consumers to change their behaviours.
Since the hon. member is Conservative, I imagine he wants to preserve things. Through our plan, we want to protect 30% of all of Canada's land and sea area and convert them into parks and reserves. That is what environmental groups are asking for.
I hope the Conservatives' announcement tomorrow will include a commitment to protect nature here in Canada.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Hochelaga. It was in my notes, but I did not have time to get to it.
Indeed, we are the only party that respects workers in the energy transition, which is unavoidable. We have an plan for EI that involves providing labour force training so that people can qualify for the jobs of the future before the changes are complete.
People will be able to train for a new job in renewable energy, for example, while they are still on the job. We are very proud of that.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague's speech.
I feel that the Liberals are taking action at the last minute. Last night, they made us vote on a motion recognizing the climate emergency, but they have done practically nothing over the past four years when they were in power.
The vote on this motion was held on the eve of the announcement concerning the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which they bought with our money.
The Trans Mountain expansion will increase pollution and oil sands production. It will be equivalent to putting another three million cars on the road.
How can my Liberal colleague say that it makes sense to vote on a climate emergency motion one day and then authorize the increased production of the most polluting oil in the world the next day?
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we already know that saying one thing and doing the opposite is the hallmark of the Liberal Party. However, declaring a climate emergency one day and approving the expansion of a pipeline that will emit as much pollution as three million cars the next day goes beyond mere hypocrisy. They just do not give a damn what Canadians want.
How can this government claim to be for the environment while betraying future generations with its fake green policies?
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, voters will definitely remember that, in 2015, the Liberals promised that they would do things differently, that they would respect Parliament and the democratic process and that they would not not systematically impose gag orders.
These days, we see that they are imposing even more gag orders than Stephen Harper's Conservatives. To me that is proof that the Liberals are unable to manage the parliamentary process, that they are doing things at the last minute, and that they are panicking and imposing gag orders on all the bills.
What does the parliamentary secretary have to say about that?
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we know the Liberals broke their promise to eliminate subsidies—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we know the Liberals broke their promise to eliminate oil subsidies. Along with the rest of the G20, they also promised to eliminate inefficient subsidies.
The problem is that they do not understand the meaning of the word “inefficient”. The commissioner of the environment and sustainable development told us that they do not even have a definition of the word. Apparently the Prime Minister cannot tell the difference between a plastic bottle and a box. It is easy to mix up the two.
Does the government need help understanding the difference between “efficient” and “inefficient”? Do the Liberals think they mean the same thing?
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