Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-19 14:14 [p.29383]
Mr. Speaker, it is a historic day. On June 19, the Hillcrest mine explosion in Alberta killed 189 miners. It was Canada's worst mining disaster.
lt was also the day that Hungarians threw out Soviet troops, thus ending Soviet occupation, restoring their democracy and restoring their freedoms.
June 19 was also the day that the comic strip Garfield appeared in print for the first time.
Today Canadians are also learning that according to the PBO, the Liberal carbon tax will need to increase to a minimum of $102 per tonne, adding 23 cents to a litre of gas, to meet the Paris targets. Canadians now see that the Liberal carbon tax is a revenue plan, not an environmental plan.
Another reason today is a historic day is that at 5:00 p.m., the leader of Canada's Conservatives will unveil the first credible environmental plan that has the best chance of achieving our Paris commitments, exposing the Liberal carbon tax plan as a fraud and that this Liberal Prime Minister is not as advertised.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2019-06-19 14:18 [p.29384]
Mr. Speaker, after announcing a climate emergency, the Liberals have not been able to identify any specific or immediate actions they would take. They do not have a climate plan; they have a tax plan.
While our leader will roll out a real environment plan today that will help the planet, the Liberals are putting all their eggs in the carbon tax basket. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, as well as environmental experts, have said the carbon tax will not work. We see that already in B.C. and Quebec, where there has been a price on carbon for a decade and their emissions have gone up.
Experts say the carbon tax would have to increase by five times to do anything. That means a painful 23¢ a litre more for gasoline, as well as higher costs for home heating and groceries. However, the Liberals are not telling Canadians this before the election; they will wait until after the election, when they no longer need their votes but still need their money.
The carbon tax is not a climate plan. It is a tax plan, and it is definitely not as advertised.
View Luc Berthold Profile
View Luc Berthold Profile
2019-06-19 14:21 [p.29384]
Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the Prime Minister promised an open and transparent government, modest deficits and a balanced budget in 2019, electoral reform and real change.
What did the Prime Minister actually deliver? A government branded by his four ethics violations, astronomical deficits and attempts to influence the election. He did deliver one real change. Unlike the Conservatives, who want to make life more affordable, he raised taxes on all Canadians.
He promised an environmental plan, but he gave us a tax plan instead. The only thing he knows how to do is tax all Canadians without being able to deliver results. What is more, the government's true intentions have been revealed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who calculated that the carbon tax will have to be five times higher than announced in order to meet the Paris targets.
All Canadians, even Quebeckers, will have to pay more, since everything will get more expensive because of this Liberal government. We know now that it wants to raise taxes more and more. The environmental tax, or environmental plan on taxable paper is not what was promised.
On October 21, Canadians will send the Liberals packing.
View John Brassard Profile
View John Brassard Profile
2019-06-19 15:05 [p.29392]
Mr. Speaker, here are some sobering numbers: 48% of Canadians are $200 away from insolvency and 24% cannot meet their monthly obligations. To make life harder, the Prime Minister has stepped on the throats of Canadians by imposing a carbon tax on the necessities of life in Canada. The carbon tax is not an environmental plan; it is a tax plan.
How could he raise taxes on those who can least afford it, like seniors, but give advantages to the wealthiest by giving $12 million to his billionaire friends at Loblaws for fridges?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2019-06-19 15:06 [p.29392]
Mr. Speaker, the members opposite continue to mislead Canadians. The reality is that the climate action incentive and our plan to put a price on pollution actually get more money in the pockets of middle-class Canadians than without a price on pollution. This is in fact an environmental tax break for middle-class families. That is what we are moving forward with, a way to both protect the environment, fight climate change and make it affordable for Canadians.
The plan that the Leader of the Opposition is planning on putting forward tonight surely will not do that.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-18 10:15 [p.29265]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
That, notwithstanding any Special or Standing Order or usual practice of the House, on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, the question shall be put on the opposition motion at 5:30 pm after which all questions necessary to dispose of the business of supply shall be put forthwith and successively, without debate or amendment.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-06-18 10:15 [p.29265]
Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-18 10:19 [p.29266]
Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition today that is timely, given the resolution last night that Canada is in a climate emergency. Youth petitioners and those who describe themselves as caring deeply about youth are calling on the Government of Canada to take meaningful actions to hit the obligations under the Paris Agreement, which are not the current 30% below 2005 by 2030 target, but in fact, a target designed to hit 1.5°C global average temperature increase and well below 2°C.
Petitioners call on the government to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, place a comprehensive and steadily rising national carbon price, and redirect investments into renewable energy, energy efficiency, low-carbon transportation and job training.
View Ed Fast Profile
View Ed Fast Profile
2019-06-18 10:33 [p.29268]
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.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, a beautiful riding in British Columbia.
The motion before us says that the Liberal climate plan, which is effectively a tax plan, should be replaced by a real plan that will move Canada forward to address its emission challenges, addresses the global challenge of green gas emissions and climate change and does it in a way that is respectful to Canadian taxpayers.
The reality is this. Right now the Liberals have brought forward something they call a climate plan. However, it is not a climate plan; it is a tax plan. How do we know it is a tax plan? If members remember back to when they rolled out this plan, a briefing was held by departmental officials from Environment Canada. The minister's own officials said that the foundational element of the government's so-called climate change plan was the carbon tax. Therefore, they admitted right off the bat that this was a tax plan. Of course, today the Liberals are denying that. I think Canadians understand that this is all about taxes.
There is another reason why Canadians have good reason to believe that this is nothing more than a craven tax plan to raise revenues for the government. The minister often gets up in the House and talks about the 50 different elements within her tool kit that the government is deploying to address climate change in Canada. It has a program of 50 different elements and it will let the provinces pick whatever elements they choose to meet their own targets, except for one tool. What is that tool? It is the carbon tax. Out of 50 tools, the one tool that the Liberals are going to ram down the throats of the provinces and territories, ram it down the throats of consumers and taxpayers across the country is the carbon tax.
We have to ask ourselves why this is the only tool the Liberals have made mandatory across the country. The only conclusion Canadians can draw is that this tax is an essential element in the Liberal government raising more revenues, tax revenues, in the future to spend on its own political priorities rather than on the priorities of Canadians. This is what we are left with. It is one of the reasons why we brought forward this motion, clarifying for Canadians that the Liberal climate change plan is nothing but a craven tax plan. Today, Canadians are already paying the price for that plan.
This is a cash grab from Canadians and they understand that this is on top of all the other tax increases they pay because of the Liberal government.
Members may recall that under the previous Conservative government, taxes on Canadians reached an all-time low, the lowest tax burden on Canadians for over 50 years. Today, Canadians pay, on average, $800 more in taxes than they did back in 2015. On top of that, the carbon tax is being layered on families. Fifty per cent of those families are within $200 of being insolvent. Along with the challenges Canadians have to face, where they struggle day to day to meet their mortgage payments, take care of their kids' educations, buy groceries and put gas in their cars, the Liberals are laying a carbon tax on top of that.
What is worse, and what the Liberals did not come out and confess, is the fact that there is GST layered on top of that carbon tax. Therefore, Canadians are paying a tax on tax. I think a lot of Canadians watching right now are wondering whether I am serious about this.
The price at the pump has gone up dramatically already and the government is charging GST on top of that. The Liberals claim that all this money will go back to the taxpayer, which is not true of course. It is a tax on everything. It will cost Canadians more when they fill up their cars with gas, heat their homes and buy their groceries.
The plan right now calls for this tax to move from today's $20 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions to $50 per tonne by 2022. Last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer came out with a report that said that in order for the Liberals to reach their Paris agreement targets, they would have to jack up that tax to over $100 per tonne of emissions, more than doubling what it would be in 2022 and more than five times greater than what that carbon tax is today. This is a craven tax plan.
The Prime Minister has said that when it came to gas prices, higher gas prices was exactly what he wants. That is a statement from our own Prime Minister. He said that this extra tax burden on already overtaxed Canadians was exactly what he wanted.
Let me talk a bit about the Paris targets.
We must remember that this carbon tax is a foundational element of a plan to meet the Paris emissions targets that Canada signed onto. Is the government actually meeting its Paris targets? The answer is, no it is not. The government is far off.
We know from internal environment ministry reports that in 2016, the government had already fallen 44 megatons short of its Paris agreement targets. In 2017, it had fallen 66 megatons short of its targets. In 2018, it fell 79 megatons short of its targets. However, it gets worse.
Last year, when the government calculated that 79 megaton shortfall, it had already created something out of thin air called the land use and land use change in forestry component. The acronym is LULUCF. It essentially says that Canada sequesters carbon in its natural landscape, forests, grasslands, wetlands and farmlands. We are sequestering this carbon. The reality is that the government has not done the science to prove that, in fact, a net sequestration is taking place.
Available science, which is spotty at best, indicates that since about 2000-01, Canada has been a net contributor toward emissions from our natural landscape. The government has said that the science may not be there, that the Paris agreement does not allow Canada to account for this 24 extra megatons of emission reductions, but it will take it anyway. It says that Canada is only 79 megatons short. If we factor in this unsubstantiated claim that the government will reduce emissions through natural landscape, it is actually 103 megatons short.
Is the government meeting its Paris targets, which was the goal of the carbon tax, the foundational element of the Liberal climate change plan? The Liberals are not even meeting those targets and they are falling further behind every year.
Is the Liberal plan a failure? Absolutely, and members will have to agree with me. If we look at what is being measured and accountability for what we are delivering for the plan, the Liberals are way off the mark.
Very briefly, we are going to be rolling out our own environment plan tomorrow. It is going to give Canada a better chance, the best chance, to meet its Paris targets.
Therefore, I strongly support the motion before us, replacing the Liberal carbon tax plan with a real plan to address climate change.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2019-06-18 10:43 [p.29269]
Mr. Speaker, I have a great amount of respect for the member. We sat on the environment committee together, and I know he cares. However, what I find deeply troubling about the motion before us and the member's statements is that he is playing with the lives of future generations when he is making those claims in the House, particularly about putting a price on pollution and how ineffective it will be.
We have a Nobel Prize-winning economist who has said that this is the way to fight climate change. In 2008, Stephen Harper, the former prime minister of Canada, said that putting a price on pollution was a way to fight climate change. We had the Pope last weekend endorse putting a price on pollution.
Now I hear the Conservatives heckling about the fact that I am invoking the Pope. How ironic is that?
It is a basic economic principle that when we want to reduce something, we put a price on it. How can the member stand here today and go against what a Nobel Prize-winning economist and what Stephen Harper, his former leader and the former prime minister of Canada, would say and endorse?
View Ed Fast Profile
View Ed Fast Profile
2019-06-18 10:45 [p.29269]
Mr. Speaker, actually, Mr. Harper does not support a carbon tax and I can tell the member why.
Mr. Mark Gerretsen: I will send you the link. There's a video.
Hon. Ed Fast: Mr. Speaker, we have a perfect example in Canada of a failed carbon tax policy, which is in my home province of British Columbia. It introduced a carbon tax back in 2008 with three promises.
Mr. Mark Gerretsen: Like you did.
Hon. Ed Fast: Mr. Speaker, he is heckling me.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Ed Fast Profile
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 Alexandre Boulerice Profile
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 Ed Fast Profile
View Ed Fast Profile
2019-06-18 10:47 [p.29270]
Mr. Speaker, one more sleep and the member will be able to see our climate change plan, our environment plan, writ large. We believe it will give Canada the best chance of meeting the Paris targets. Am I going to scoop our leader with that announcement? Of course, I am not.
However, I believe the member is genuine in wanting to make progress in addressing our emissions. They are global emissions, by the way, because this is a global challenge that requires a global response. Canada is perfectly positioned to deliver on that response.
View Dan Albas Profile
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.
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