Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on this beautiful day to speak to the opposition motion before us.
I will be splitting my time with the wonderful member of Parliament for Nunavut. Mr. Speaker.
It feels funny to be speaking on this topic, a little like Groundhog Day. It seems like no matter the problem, the tool is always the same for the Conservatives. I guess when the only tool one has is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
The climate crisis, the very pressing issue of astronomical food prices and the impact on Canadians is a serious problem that requires serious tools.
The motion before us is ostensibly about farmers. I want to take a moment to talk a bit about the farmers in northwest B.C. who do such an incredible job, such as the dairy and beef farmers.
I met in Terrace the other day with the owners of a new goat dairy. It wants to produce its own artisanal goat cheese and goat milk in the northwest, which is a really amazing endeavour. That includes the vegetable farmers as well, the market gardens and producers who sell their food throughout the northwest. We have a really bourgeoning local food culture in northwest B.C. and it is something of which we are very proud. All those farmers, no matter the size of their operations, should be rightly proud of the work they do.
It is right that farmers are facing many challenges. One of those challenges is the cost of the inputs that they require for their operations, but it is not the only challenge. Of course, longer term, one of the biggest challenges facing farmers is the impact of the climate crisis. It is somewhat ironic to debate an opposition day motion that seeks to undermine Canada's approach to the climate crisis when the people who feel the impact of the climate crisis most intimately are farmers across our country.
I want to talk a bit about the farmers who would be affected by this, but I also want to talk about the farmers who would not be affected by this. I appreciate my colleagues in the Bloc highlighting that the Province of Quebec is part of a cap and trade system, a carbon market, that is provincial in nature, with which the federal government has no tie-in. British Columbia is in a similar situation because it has a provincial price on carbon.
It concerns me that at the heart of this motion is a bit of deception, because it talks about helping farmers across the country, yet it is not going to help farmers in Quebec nor farmers in British Columbia, like the ones I represent. There is going to be zero help for those farmers if this opposition motion were to pass and the government were to act accordingly.
The real problem faced by farmers who are struggling is with the cost diesel for their tractors. I talked to one neighbour on the south side of Francois Lake, who has a beef operation. The price that he was paying for diesel for his tractor was unbelievable. This is a real challenge. However, if we are looking to Canada's carbon pricing system as the villain in this, we are looking in the wrong spot. The real challenge, when it comes to gas and diesel prices, is the absurd gouging by the oil and gas companies.
Members do not have to believe me; they can ask the President of the United States, Joe Biden. He called it war profiteering and he threatened to put an excess profit tax on oil and gas companies in that country. They are not just gouging farmers, but all Americans who require petroleum products in their lives.
We could also look to the United Kingdom, where a Conservative government has put a 25% excess profit tax in place on the oil and gas companies. It will take the revenue from that excess profit tax and drive it back into affordability measures so the British people can benefit during hard times when inflation is out of control.
Those are the kinds of real measures that the NDP has been advocating for the government to get serious about in cracking down on profiteering and excess profits during a time that is difficult for so many Canadians. We need that kind of action.
When we think about the carbon tax in British Columbia, it has an interesting history. It was brought in in 2007-08 by the noted eco-socialist premier of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell. He did that because, to his credit, he believed climate was the existential issue of our time and we needed to act in a way that was rigorous and evidence-based. He was a very Conservative political leader, as the Speaker well knows, and he believed that markets were the best way to do that. Part of the Conservative philosophy is that the best way to tackle things is through markets because they are efficient and often provide the lowest-cost approach to tackling big problems.
Therefore, if we believe that the climate crisis is a problem, then it makes sense to choose a tool that is efficient and low cost. That is why the Conservatives, in their last election platform, sort of had a price on carbon. They wanted to use a market-based mechanism, albeit a bit of a goofy one, that would charge people a carbon tax and then put that money into a special savings account that could only be used to buy eco-friendly things like bicycles and solar panels. It was a bit of a weird implementation of the idea, but at its heart was the idea of using a pricing mechanism. They did that because almost every economist in the western world agreed that pricing carbon was the most efficient way to go about it.
Members might be surprised to hear that I am a bit agnostic on the topic. I want to ensure that we use whatever tools it takes to drive down emissions and tackle the climate crisis so my kids, and all members' kids, can have the kind of stable future, prosperous economy and good quality of life that I and my parents enjoyed. That is what we need. This motion would do not achieve that.
When we talk about the cost of the climate crisis, it is astronomical. If we do not act in a definitive way, not only to drive down emissions but to adapt our communities and our infrastructure, we will pay dearly for this crisis.
In British Columbia, we have already felt that. We lost the entire community of Lytton, which burned to the ground. Flooding in the Lower Mainland took out a huge amount of key infrastructure and crippled our supply chain just this past year. In 2018, there were devastating wildfires across northwest B.C. that affected so many parts of our economy and community.
This crisis deserves a serious approach. The affordability crisis and the crisis of inflation and food prices are serious issues that deserve a serious approach. We do that by cracking down on profiteering. We do that by having a real climate plan that uses credible evidence-based tools to drive down emissions. I am agnostic as to whether those are regulations or pricing mechanisms.
We need urgent action and political leaders who have a plan, who are transparent about their plan and can tell the Canadian people that this is the issue of our time and they intend to tackle it with all the seriousness that it deserves. Our kids are worth it. People in our communities who are struggling with the price of food are worth it. Seniors in Terrace, Smithers, Prince Rupert and Kitimat who cannot afford groceries are worth it.
Motions like this, which are inherently deceptive and try to fool British Columbians, Quebec residents and people across the country into believing that somehow removing carbon pricing from certain sectors is going to solve these problems, frankly, are unfair, unjust, and not the way to approach very serious issues in our country.