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View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:54 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that when this House did attend Her Excellency this day in the Senate chamber, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms—Chapter 9.
C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada—Chapter 10.
S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)—Chapter 11.
C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting—Chapter 12.
C-59, An Act respecting national security matters—Chapter 13.
C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence—Chapter 14.
C-77, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 15.
C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act—Chapter 16.
C-84, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)—Chapter 17.
C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 18.
C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 19.
C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis—Chapter 20.
C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020—Chapter 21.
C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act—Chapter 22.
C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages—Chapter 23.
C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—Chapter 24.
C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 25.
C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast—Chapter 26.
C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act—Chapter 27.
C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 28.
C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures—Chapter 29.
It being 2:55 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 2:55 p.m.)
The 42nd Parliament was dissolved by Royal Proclamation on September 11, 2019.
Aboriginal languagesAboriginal peoplesAccess for disabled peopleAccess to informationAdjournmentAgriculture, environment and natural res ...British ColumbiaBudget 2019 (March 19, 2019)C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tarif ...C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majest ...C-48, An Act respecting the regulation o ... ...Show all topics
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2019-06-18 11:04 [p.29272]
Mr. Speaker, as always it is an honour to rise in this House and speak about the topic of climate change, which is near and dear to my heart and something I consistently hear about from my constituents.
I am particularly inspired by the voices of the young Canadians I represent in Central Nova, who have brought this issue to the fore and insist that legislators at the municipal, provincial and federal levels take collective action to combat the existential threat that climate change represents.
For me, the starting point in this conversation is that climate change is not only real but primarily driven by humans' industrial activity. Sometimes, when we talk about climate change, we are guilty of causing apocalypse fatigue, which causes people to feel they cannot do anything meaningful about it. At other times, we dig into the technical details about CO2 concentration being at 415 parts per million, and we lose people's attention.
These are all important things to be addressing, but it is important to explain to Canadians that the consequences of climate change are very real. We are feeling them today, but we have an opportunity and, in my mind, an obligation to do something about it. We simply need to implement the solutions we already know exist, which can make a difference by bringing our emissions down and preventing the worst consequences of climate change from impacting our communities.
We are all familiar, of course, with the consequences of climate change. We see them in our own communities. On the east coast we have experienced more frequent and more severe storm surges and hurricanes. Recently my colleagues from New Brunswick have shown me pictures of their communities, which were literally under water. We can see the forest fires ravaging communities in western Canada, the heat waves in Quebec and Ontario that are taking the lives of Canadians, and the melting ice sheets in Canada's north. There is not a corner of this country that has not been impacted by the environmental effects of climate change.
I mentioned this during the debate yesterday as well, but the consequences are not purely environmental; they are social and economic as well. We see entire communities that have been displaced because we continue to build them in flood zones. Floods that used to take place every few hundred years are now taking place every few years.
We see indigenous communities that have traditionally practised a way of life that involved hunting cariboo, for example. That may no longer be an option because of the combined impacts of human activity and climate change on the species they have traditionally relied on to practise their way of life.
I do not have to look all across the country; I can see the economic impacts of climate change in my own backyard. We rely heavily on the lobster fishery in Nova Scotia. I represent both the eastern shore and the Northumberland Strait, which have vibrant lobster fisheries today that represent nearly $2 billion in exports for our provincial economy.
However, when we look a little south, to the state of Maine, we have seen a decrease of 22 million pounds in their catch over the past few years due to a combination of things like rising ocean temperatures, deoxygenation of the gulf region, and other environmental factors that are having a very real impact.
We are seeing a drop in industrial production and manufacturing in places that have been impacted by forest fires, and when we go for lengthy periods with droughts, we know that our agricultural sector suffers. There is a very real consequence to inaction on climate change in the prevention of economic activity. We know there are solutions. We have an obligation to implement the most effective ones that we know exist.
This brings me to the current motion, which attacks both the efficacy and affordability of our plan to put a price on pollution. I have good news for the members opposite. In fact, we know that putting a price on pollution is the most effective thing we can do to help reduce our emissions. We have identified a path forward on the advice of science, facts and evidence, including world-leading expertise, to ensure that as we put forward a plan that brings our emissions down, the affordability of life is not only not impacted but in fact made a little better for Canadian families.
Over the course of my remarks, I want to touch on the efficacy of carbon pricing. I will talk about some of its benefits and address the affordability, but also highlight some other measures we are implementing. We know that pricing alone is likely insufficient to get us where we need to be, but the attack built into the motion, that our government does not have a real plan, rings hollow from a party that has yet to produce a plan of its own.
I will take a step back and explain in broad strokes what carbon pricing really involves. There are more or less two different ways one can put a market mechanism to price pollution. One is a cap-and-trade system, where one sets an overall cap and industrial players that exceed their credits can buy credits from those that have reduced emissions, in order to bring emissions down across society over time. The other, perhaps simpler, way is to put a price on the thing one does not want, which is pollution, so that people buy less of it. If one puts a price on pollution and people buy less of it but the revenues are returned to households, life can be made more affordable for a majority of families. In a nutshell, that is how it works.
We know it works. We have seen other jurisdictions implement these solutions and have monumental successes. In the United Kingdom, which imposed a price on pollution over and above the European Union's cap-and-trade system, there was a rapid transition from coal-fired power plants to other, less-emitting sources. The United Kingdom has achieved magnificent reductions in recent history, in part because of the way it used a market-based mechanism with a price on pollution.
The example of British Columbia came up previously. One of the members who spoke earlier indicated that emissions have gone up to 1.5% and dismissed it as not possibly working. I commend my NDP colleague, who noted that one should not be cherry-picking data the way that member did. In fact, there has been a 2.2% reduction since the price on pollution came into place. More importantly, when we look at the example of British Columbia, despite population growth and serious economic development we can see that the per capita rate of consumption of greenhouse gases has actually come down significantly.
The report of the Ecofiscal Commission, which studied this in depth, estimates that emissions in British Columbia are 5% to 15% lower than they would have been had no price been put on pollution in the first place. Five per cent to 15% is a serious reduction from one policy tool alone, and we know we can do better by doing more.
However, it is not just the practical examples of which we have empirical evidence that show that this in fact works. We have seen support from folks who really know what they are talking about. Last year's Nobel Prize for economics went to Professor William Nordhaus for his development of the kind of approach we are now seeking to implement in Canada. In fact, he pointed specifically to the example in British Columbia of the kind of model that could work best.
Professor Nordhaus has identified a way to ensure a price is put on pollution, so that what we do not want becomes more expensive and people buy less of it, but affordability is maintained by returning the revenues to households. It is common sense when one thinks about it. It is quite straightforward, and it works.
Mark Cameron, Stephen Harper's former director of policy, has pointed to the fact that this is the right path forward. Even Doug Ford's chief budget adviser testified before the Senate, in 2016 I believe, saying something to the effect that the single most effective thing we can do to transition to a low-carbon economy is to put a price on pollution. Preston Manning has been arguing for this kind of approach for years.
When the partisan lens is removed, we see folks on different sides of the aisle who have a strong history with the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP, who all support this approach because they know it is the most effective thing we can do. In particular, I point to the recent Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decision that upheld the federal government's constitutional power to implement a price on pollution across Canada in provinces that would not come to the table with a serious plan. The court said that it was undisputed, based on the factual record before the court, that GHG pricing is not just part and parcel of an effective plan to combat climate change but also an essential aspect of the global effort to curb emissions.
This is why the court found it to be a national concern that some provinces would not have pricing, which gave rise to the federal government's authority to implement a plan. It is an essential aspect of the global effort to reduce emissions. That part was even put in italics, specifically so legislators would see that this is so important. We have to move forward with it if we are going to take our responsibilities seriously.
However, these are not the only voices; I can point to a number of others. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, whom the opposition members have quoted ad nauseam in this House, has said that putting a price on pollution is the most effective way to reduce our emissions. He also pointed out something I hope we will get into during questions and comments, which is that eight out of 10 families will be better off in jurisdictions in which the federal backstop applies. This is because we are returning the revenues directly to households. The only families who will pay more than they get back in the form of a rebate are the 20% in the highest-earning households in Canada. I believe it maxes out at $50 a year for the wealthiest families in Saskatchewan.
Meanwhile, in various provinces there will be rebates of between $250 and $609, depending on how much pollution is generated in those provinces. The bottom line is that eight out of 10 families, no matter which province they live in where the federal system applies, will receive more in the form of a rebate than their cost of living will go up. Therefore, the argument that this is about affordability rings hollow.
I point out in particular the comments this past weekend by Pope Francis, who has no political agenda. He is not a Liberal or Conservative when it comes to Canadian politics, but he has explained that carbon pricing is essential to combat climate change. He pointed to the fact that the world's poor and the next generations are going to be disproportionately impacted. There is a sense of injustice about it, that we are shoving this burden onto future generations, onto the world's poor and onto the world's developing nations. It is not right. Canada has an obligation to play a leadership role and take care of things at home as we help the world transition to a low-carbon economy.
If we move forward with a plan to put a price on pollution, there are also economic benefits. Again, citing the example of British Columbia, there has been a net job gain in that province as a result of its aggressive plan to tackle climate change. The Government of Saskatchewan, in an attempt to gain political support for its fight against the plan, commissioned a report that showed there would be a very limited economic impact. It then tried to bury the report; it did not want the evidence to get out because it conflicted with its ideological narrative that carbon pricing would somehow damage the economy. The reverse is true. It can help spur innovation and take advantage of the new green economy, which Mark Carney has flagged as representing a $26-trillion opportunity globally. If Canada is on the front end of that wave, we can expect to have more jobs in our communities as the world transitions to a global low-carbon economy.
I want to touch on affordability in particular, because this is front of mind for me. In my constituency office, the power company is on speed dial, because so many constituents come to my office not knowing where to turn. We know the cost of living has gone up over time. That is why we are trying to tackle those measures. Poverty has come down by 20%, which means 825,000 Canadians are not living in poverty today who were when we took office in 2015. The allegation that we are somehow seeking to make life more expensive is not true.
We understand the struggles of Canadian families who live in Pictou County, or Antigonish or on the eastern shore, places I represent. These are important issues that we need to tackle. That is why we are moving forward, not just with a plan to address climate change that can make life more affordable, but also by introducing measures like the Canada child benefit, which puts more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families and stops sending child care cheques to millionaire families that, frankly, did not need it.
We have moved forward with a boost to the guaranteed income supplement, which puts more money in the pockets of low-income single seniors, some of the most vulnerable folk in the communities I represent, with up to $947 extra a year. That is why we moved forward with a tax cut for nine million middle-class Canadians and raised taxes on the wealthiest 1%.
Each of these measures was opposed by the official opposition. To hear them now criticize a plan based on the fact that it will make life more expensive creates some serious cognitive dissonance considering that they voted against all the measures that were making life more affordable.
In particular, this plan, as I have explained a number of times during these remarks, will also put more money in the pockets of eight out of 10 families in systems in which it applies. We worked with provinces for years leading up to the implementation of this system. In provinces like mine, Nova Scotia, there is in fact no federal price on carbon. It has come up with a cap-and-trade system that impacts about 20 major industrial polluters and places a modest surcharge on fuel. Nova Scotia's plan was accepted because it showed that it was taking seriously the threat that climate change constitutes.
It is only in provinces that would not come to the table with a serious plan that we are moving forward with it. We do not believe it should be free to pollute the atmosphere anywhere in Canada. The atmosphere belongs to all of us. When people operate industrial facilities that degrade that atmosphere, they should be liable to every Canadian for the damage they have done. That is why they are paying a price on pollution, and that is why citizens deserve the rebate that is paid out of these revenues.
None of this money is being kept by the federal government, contrary to what some of the Conservative members have suggested. If they have problems with the tax being kept by governments on the price of gas, I suggest they speak to some of the Conservative premiers who are currently railing against our plan to put a price on pollution. Those premiers have the ability to take the tax off gas and allow families to keep their hard-earned money. We are making polluters pay and giving that money directly to families.
The great thing is that we can see job growth when we move forward with an ambitious plan to fight climate change. In my community, there are examples like the Trinity group of companies, which is doing incredible work in energy efficiency. It started out with a couple of guys who were really good contractors. They realized an incentive was put in place by different governments, which we have since bolstered at the federal level over the past few years, to help homeowners reduce the costs of energy efficient products, whether smart thermostats, better doors and windows or more efficient heating systems. They use the products that have come down as a result of publicly funded rebates, which are helping homeowners bring their costs of living down by reducing their power bill each month. They have added dozens of positions to their organization.
In the community of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, companies like CarbonCure have developed carbon sequestration technologies that pull carbon out of the atmosphere to inject into concrete products to strengthen them for use in construction.
Speaking of construction, Canada's Building Trades Union has pointed out that as we upgrade our buildings and infrastructure, there is a potential opportunity to create four million new green jobs by embracing the green economy and fighting climate change. Those are serious numbers that will have a real impact on the GDP of Canadians. More important, for families, it is a job that people maybe could not get in the community they came from, so they may not have to move.
These are real, meaningful, human examples that are making a difference, not just for our economy but for families.
The motion on the floor suggests that we repeal our price on pollution and implement a real plan. I would like to draw to the attention of the House to the fact that there is so much more to our plan than this one policy onto which the Conservatives have latched. In fact, there are over 50 measures. I am happy to lay a few of them out for the House.
By 2030, and not many Canadians appreciate this, we are on track to have 90% of our electricity in the country generated from non-emitting resources. That is remarkable. We have made the single largest investment in public transit in the history of our country. This will encourage more Canadians to take public transit rather than drive their cars, so we can become more efficient and life can be made more convenient at the same time. We are phasing out coal. We are investing in energy efficiency. We are investing in green technology.
At St. Francis Xavier University, of which I am a proud alumnus, the flux lab, with Dr. David Risk, is developing instrumentation that is putting researchers to work. It has been commercialized because the oil and gas sector has realized that by using this instrumentation, it can detect gas leaks at a distance and increase its production without increasing its emissions. It is capturing gas that is currently leaking out of its infrastructure.
We are moving forward with these serious things.
In addition, we are implementing new regulations on methane to help reduce the fastest-growing contributor to global GHG emissions.
On the same piece, pursuant to the Montreal protocol, in Kigali, we have adopted a single new measure that will result in a reduction of methane emissions which will have the equivalent of a 0.5° reduction in emissions on its own. We are also adopting a clean fuel standard and vehicle emissions standards.
We are moving forward with the most ambitious plan in Canadian history to protect nature in Canada. This is serious. We need to take the opportunity before us to do something to protect our threatened ecosystems. With over $1.3 billion invested in protecting nature, we will more than double the protected spaces across our country.
Of course, we recently announced we would be moving forward with a ban on our harmful single-use plastics. At the same time, we are putting the responsibility of managing the life cycle of those products on manufacturers.
Most of these policies have a few things in common. They will help reduce our emissions and protect our environment, yet the Conservatives oppose them every step of the way. I have taken hundreds of questions in question period about our plan for the environment. Not once have I received a question from the Conservatives about what more we could do for the environment. It is always an attempt to do a less.
The fact is that we cannot turn back the clock. I look forward to seeing the Conservative plan tomorrow. When I hear the kind of commentary from members of Parliament on their side, it gives me great cause for concern. I doubt whether we can even start the conversation about what solutions are most appropriate when I hear comments that deny climate change is primarily due to human activity. This is not a time to be debating the reality of climate change; it is a time to be debating solutions and, more important, implementing solutions.
I want to encourage everyone at home to start pulling in the same direction. If people have children, they should talk to them at the dinner table. It is the most effective thing they can do to help change their minds about the importance of climate change. The kids are all right. They know what is going on and they want us to take action.
If people have the opportunity to take part in a community cleanup, to take part in a solo or co-operative cleanup, to take part in whatever is going on in their community, I urge them to embrace it. We are running out of time. We want to implement a solution to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. I only hope the Conservatives get on board.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
2019-06-18 17:07 [p.29329]
Mr. Speaker, I have identified that fund to successive ministers of fisheries and oceans over the last three years. I am still waiting.
Absolutely, I would love it if that money started flowing to my riding, because we have an actual real and tangible need for it. I raised it with the former minister of fisheries and oceans and with the current Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Their departmental officials and everyone on the ground agrees that this money is needed.
However, three years later, my community is still waiting. I hope I can employ the hon. member's assistance in maybe speaking with the current minister to get that money flowing, because my community has a dire need for it.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-06-17 15:26 [p.29191]
I declare the amendment defeated.
The next question is on the main motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
And five or more members having risen:
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2019-06-17 17:17 [p.29206]
Mr. Speaker, climate change is real. It is primarily driven by human activity, and we are experiencing very serious consequences as a result today.
There is no doubt in my mind that the challenge relating to climate change constitutes an emergency here in Canada. I am so proud to lend my support to the motion on the floor of the House of Commons to declare an emergency in respect of climate change in our country. We need not panic, because we can be optimistic. We know that the solutions to this existential threat are before us, if we can simply muster the political will to implement the solutions that we know very well exist today.
Over the course of my remarks, I hope to offer some insight into the nature of the consequences we are experiencing, to give some of my insights on the opportunity that could be garnered if we embrace climate change as an economic growth strategy, and to perhaps provide some additional insight, for any of those listening, into the political dynamic that we are facing today as we approach the next election with climate change being a central issue of importance to the campaign.
To begin, I do want to address some of the consequences that we are facing, but perhaps before, although it seems trite to say so, it is important to explain the science behind how we know climate change is real. The recent report from Environment Canada, “Canada's Changing Climate Report”, signals that Canada is experiencing warming at twice the rate of the global average. In some parts of our country, it is five times that rate.
The consequences that we are seeing are apparent in our communities. This science has been corroborated for decades by groups like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A majority of the world scientists who are studying climate change acknowledge not only that it is happening, but a primary driver of what is happening is human industrial activity. It is incumbent upon us to take action if we are going to avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change that we are seeing.
Though I probably do not have to explain to many in this room, we can observe these consequences in our community. If we look at my home province of Nova Scotia, we deal with increased storm surges and hurricanes. The report I mentioned, “Canada's Changing Climate Report”, flags that the city of Halifax in my home province of Nova Scotia in the next few decades is going to experience floods at four times the rate it does today.
We look at our colleagues from New Brunswick, who I have had numerous conversations with about the floods that their province has been experiencing. We have seen pictures circulating on social media of highway signs that are completely submerged under water. We can look at a few years ago in Quebec and Ontario, and we see the heat waves that took dozens of lives. We can see the forest fires in western Canada. We can see the melting of our glaciers in northern Canada. There is not a community in our country that has not been impacted by the environmental consequences of climate change.
It is important to acknowledge that it is not just environmental consequences that we are experiencing as a result of climate change, there are social, health and economic consequences as well. When I see communities next to coal plants, we can observe a higher rate of childhood asthma. There is increased lung and heart disease in communities. In fact, there is a physical threat to many folks, like those who had to flee the fires in Fort McMurray.
The fact is we know that these consequences are having an impact. In addition, we can point to the changing patterns and migration of infectious diseases. I know ticks have become a much bigger problem in Nova Scotia. They were not when I was a kid. With them, we are seeing a similarly rising level of Lyme disease in my home province.
The fact is, we can observe these changes. There are social consequences, like communities physically being displaced, the impact on wildlife that communities have traditionally hunted, indigenous and non-indigenous alike. We are seeing consequences that are changing our weather patterns, our climate systems that are changing the way that we have to live and forcing us out of the habits and traditions we have practised for generations.
If the environmental, social or health consequences are not enough to inspire action, we can see the economic losses that we are experiencing today. If we look at the data from the insurance sector in Canada, we see that they are starting to change the way that they assess the risk of climate change. I take it that most people here would accept that the insurance sector is doing what it is in the best interests of its bottom line.
From the time of the mid-1980s until 2008 or so, the average payout in the insurance sector for severe weather events in Canada was between $250 million and $450 million. Since that time, the average has climbed to about $1.8 billion, exceeding $2 billion most recently. That number is projected to grow. This is having an impact on the cost of insurance.
There are some homes that simply will not be able to be insured. There are provinces and communities in Canada that are spending taxpayer dollars to help relocate families from homes that are no longer in a safe area, places that used to have 100-year floods once every 100 years are now having them every few years.
The fact is there is something happening, and those who are watching their pocketbooks very closely are changing their behaviour. They are reflecting a new reality.
It is not just the insurance sector. Members should look at the costs to municipalities paid for by by local ratepayers of building out flood mitigation infrastructure, for example. That cost is borne by taxpayers. The cost of inaction is simply too great to ignore.
However, it is not all bad news because we actually see an enormous opportunity to invest in the measures that are going to help deal with the consequences of climate change. Canada's Building Trades' projection is that as many as four million jobs for the Canadian economy could be added if we embrace new building codes that would actually bring us up to a standard that can help us reduce our emissions.
I have companies in my own community like the Trinity Group of Companies that have embraced energy efficiency as an economic growth strategy. It started out with a couple of great guys from home who were pretty handy and were able to do some local contracting work. Due to investments of successive provincial governments, we have actually seen energy efficiency take hold and homeowners who want to save on their power bills hire a company to come in, conduct an energy audit and make their home more efficient. It has grown from an operation with just a couple of guys into an organization that has dozens of employees and is present across the entire Atlantic region.
There are incredible world-leading companies like CarbonCure in Dartmouth that are delivering incredible products when it comes to carbon sequestration, pulling the carbon emissions out of our atmosphere and using it to strengthen products we need like concrete. Another company, just five minutes from where I live today, is MacKay Meters. It has secured a patent to build electric vehicle charging stations into their parking meters. This is truly innovative stuff that is going to help change the world that we live in.
Of course, the value that we gain from researchers who are working in our communities, researchers like Dr. David Risk at the FluxLab at StFX University in Antigonish, is actually developing instrumentation that can help detect gas and methane leaks in oil and gas infrastructure across Canada. He is commercializing this technology, not only to make a profit but to continue doing more research, keeping young people employed in a rural community that has a university that I represent.
There is also a missed economic opportunity if we do not address the worst consequences of climate change. I represent a province that relies heavily on the fishery in order to sustain the smaller communities that dot the coast of Nova Scotia. What we have seen take place in Maine over the past few years, a loss of 22 million pounds in their lobster catch, would be devastating if and when it comes to Nova Scotia, and if we continue to see the acidification and warming of our oceans off Nova Scotia. We can only expect that the lobsters will either move or suffocate inside the waters where they traditionally live and sustain a local economy.
In western Canada, we saw an enormous dip in production in the energy sector when forest fires that are linked to climate change ravaged parts of western Canada. The fact is that we can look at any province and see that.
In the Prairie region, the agricultural sector is under threat. I met with a young researcher, who did a master's thesis on the impact of climate change on agriculture in the Prairie provinces, recognizing that the Prairies are in the rain shadow of the Rockies and do not benefit from some of the weather that helps make our soil fertile, essentially large amounts of rain. They rely heavily instead on the spring melt that comes from our glaciers. When they finally disappear, there may be insufficient water and increased droughts that prevent our agricultural sector from growing.
These are very real and obvious risks, if we just take the time to speak with people who have been studying them. Frankly, we need to take this opportunity because the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, a Canadian, has identified that there is a $26-trillion opportunity in clean growth and Canada should be on the front end of that wave so that we can capitalize on not just the growth but the jobs that come with that growth. We can do the right thing and do the smart thing at the same time.
However, it is difficult to have discussions in this chamber and in Ottawa when it comes to climate policy, because the starting point is not only that we need to address the problem and do something about it. Sometimes we have to turn back the clock and prove the science to one another before we can have a meaningful debate. To me this is completely unacceptable.
What Canadians are going to face come October is a choice between a Liberal government that is advancing an ambitious agenda, trying their best to fight climate change and making a meaningful difference, not only to reduce our emissions but to capitalize on clean growth opportunities, and a Conservative Party that has refused to put forward a plan on climate change to date, despite their leader saying more than a year ago that he was going to find a plan that would comply with the Paris Agreement targets.
With respect, the Conservative Party has said it is going to be releasing their plan later this week. I do not have much hope that it will be worth the paper that it is written on. When I look at some of the Conservative members who would have informed that plan, it gives me great trepidation. We have seen members identify piles of snow in western Canada in February to suggest that that is evidence that global warming is not taking place.
Some Conservatives have indicated that the phenomenon of rising global temperatures is simply like folks walking into a room and their bodies giving off heat. We have seen other members suggest to school children in Alberta that CO2 is not pollution but plant food. Just recently, one of the caucus member sitting in the Senate indicated that a recent power outage was due to the Prime Minister of Canada's anti-energy policies.
The Conservatives are saying we should retreat from the global conversation on climate change by withdrawing from the Paris agreement. Even the the leader of the Conservatives and deputy leader have recently tweeted articles, suggesting that the link between climate change and severe weather events has not been proven.
If this is the kind of information feeding into the plans that are developing, I have great disappointment in advance of the plan being released if these are the kinds of conversations that are taking place behind the scenes.
We know that the Conservatives' provincial counterparts are pushing forward the same kind of laissez-faire attitude when it comes to climate change. The Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, has advanced a policy dismantling flood protection and then has shown up at flood zones and said, “I wonder what could possibly be going on.” He has set aside $30 million to fight climate action, rather than take action on climate change. That money could make a difference. He has launched a frivolous campaign to post stickers on gas stations. At the same time, he purports to support free speech. This makes no sense.
The climate economists who have been covering this issue are suggesting that his plan is not only going to slow down our reduction in emissions, but it is going to be more expensive for households as well.
With respect to my NDP colleagues, I have a lot time for their ideas, because I know they care about climate change and protecting the environment. However, I do have reservations about the policy suggestions they have advanced. I think we can work together to accomplish certain ideas, but others have very serious problems that need to be addressed.
In some of the commentary I have heard around our plan to put a price on pollution, NDP members have indicated that big emitters are exempt. This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what is going on. The NDP has advanced a plan that would put a price on big emitters, but, as the Ecofiscal Commission has pointed out, it would not lead to a reduction in emissions globally, because it would simply encourage polluters to leave Canada and pollute elsewhere even more. This would hurt the Canadian economy and would not contribute to our emissions reduction efforts.
Other examples from the NDP include the declaration that we need to immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies. We need to take action on fossil fuel subsidies, do not get me wrong. In fact, to date, we have phased out eight that were embedded in the tax code. However, the blanket ban the NDP proposed on this specific issue would lead to fundamental consequences, which are certainly unintended, because the plan was not very well thought through.
Examples include the denial of subsidies that support diesel to northern and remote indigenous communities, which rely on diesel for electricity, and the denial of subsidies for the potential research I mentioned at the flux lab at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. Some of the products being developed with those research funds are going to reduce emissions in the oil and gas sector. Similarly, the NDP plans would deny the opportunity for us to invest in certain infrastructure that is helping us transition from gas and diesel-powered vehicles toward alternative fuelled vehicles.
I am happy to work with my colleagues in different parties to advance ideas that make sense. However, we cannot make statements that they will work before we have actually thought them through.
I would like to take some time to mention some of the actions we have taken to date.
We are facing a climate emergency, and a lot of attention has been given to our plan in this place with respect to putting a price on pollution. However, we are not a one-trick pony. Our plan has over 50 measures that would help to bring emissions down.
I want to take a moment to discuss our plan to put a price on pollution to educate the public on how it works. It is pretty simple. If something is more expensive, people buy less of it. When it comes to carbon pricing, every penny generated from revenues related to the price on pollution is kept within the province where the pollution is generated. Those revenues are directly returned to residents living within those provinces.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer has stated in a public report that because of the structure of this kind of a plan, eight out of 10 families can expect to be better off. They will receive more money than the price on pollution costs them. The number of families that will be out of pocket will be a modest amount, but they will be among the 20% wealthiest Canadians living in provinces where our plan applies.
This is not some hare-brained idea born simply out of the Liberal caucus in Ottawa. It has broad-based support among anyone who has any expertise in the conversation about climate change and economics. In fact, last year's Nobel Prize winner in economics won the Nobel Prize for developing an approach to climate change that would do exactly what the federal government's plan is doing: put a price on pollution and return the rebates directly to households so the majority of folks are left better off.
It is not just Nobel laureates and Liberal politicians who support this plan. Mark Cameron, the former director of policy for Prime Minister Harper, is behind this kind of an approach. In fact, Doug Ford's chief budget adviser testified in the Senate in this Parliament that the number one thing we could do to transition to a low-carbon economy was to put a price on pollution.
Most recently, the Pope made statements, just this last weekend, indicating that carbon pricing was essential. He said, “For too long we have collectively failed to listen to the fruits of scientific analysis, and doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain.”
When I talk to people in my community, particularly young people, I see them advocating for the kind of change that all of these different folks have been suggesting we should be taking for so long.
Let us look at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal case that recently dealt with the constitutionality of the federal government's backstop that implemented a price on pollution. The court said that carbon pricing was not just part and parcel of an effective plan to reduce emissions; it said it was “an essential aspect...of the global effort to limit GHG emissions.” It put the word “essential” in italics so folks like us who are sitting in this chamber would pay extra close attention to the importance of advancing this important mechanism, which we know to be the most effective thing we can do to bring down our emissions.
However, we are not a one-trick pony. We are advancing measures to phase out coal. By 2030, 90% of the electricity in our country will be generated from non-emitting resources. We are making the single largest investment in the history of public transit. We are making record investments in energy efficiency to support companies that are advancing green technology. We are changing methane regulations to reduce the fastest-growing sources of GHG emissions that are driving climate change today. We have adopted new vehicle emissions standards. We are working on a clean fuel standard.
We are also taking steps to protect nature. I know Canadians, the ones who I represent in Central Nova, have demanded that we take action to protect nature and to eliminate plastics from our marine environment. We put forward a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan early in our mandate.
More recent, we announced that we were moving forward with a ban on harmful single-use plastics. We are putting the responsibility to deal with the life cycle of those plastic products on the manufacturers rather than on the end user. We expect that this is going to create economic opportunities in the plastics industry. At the same time, we prevent the discharge of harmful materials into our environment and in particular into our marine environment.
I want to spend a minute of the few I have left talking briefly about the impact that climate change and human activity have had on nature.
Since the 1970s, the earth has lost about 60% of its wildlife. This should shock the conscience of every Canadian. Let us look at the largest countries in the world. Canada is one of five countries that represents about three-quarters of the world's remaining wilderness. We have an opportunity and an obligation to address this issue. We are seeing the impacts today with some of our most iconic species.
Caribou herds across Canada are suffering because of immense deforestation. We have seen the southern resident killer whale population dwindle in recent history. We have a number of other species at risk. Globally, it is expected that one million of eight million species in the world are at serious threat of extinction if we do not change direction.
I have spent a lot of time dealing with the southern mountain caribou. In British Columbia right now, there are population units that have just a handful of animals left. They have been there for thousands of years but will disappear. We have made the single largest investment in the history of Canada to protect nature by more than doubling our protected spaces.
However, we know that it is not enough and we know we need help to get there. We need every Canadian to be pulling in the same direction. The time to come together is now. People who are living in a community that has a solar co-op can figure out how they can take part. If they want to take part in a community cleanup, they are doing something. Through collective global action, we can make a difference. Quite frankly, we do not have a choice. It is the smart thing to do and it is in our self-interest.
I am proud to speak in favour of this motion to recognize that we face a climate emergency. I am even prouder to work as part of a government that is doing its best to do something about it.
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-14 10:03 [p.29109]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to once again be here to talk about the Senate amendments to Bill C-68.
I would be remiss if I did not talk about what we have witnessed over the last three and a half years, this week and last night, with the egregious affront to our democracy. It is pertinent to this discussion, because what we have seen with Bill C-68, Bill C-69, Bill C-48 and Bill C-88 is the government's attempt to subvert democracy to pass legislation that is really payback for the assistance the Liberals received in the 2015 election.
Last night, we had the debate, or the lack of debate, on Bill C-69. There were hundreds of amendments from the Senate, and the government forced closure on that debate without any debate whatsoever. Even the Green Party, in its entirety, stood in solidarity with the official opposition to vote against the government on this. That says something.
Bill C-68 is the government's attempt, in its members' words, to right the wrongs of the former Conservative government in amending the Fisheries Act in 2012. The Liberals said that the Conservatives gutted the Fisheries Act. The bill would replace the wording for HADD, the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat. However, we studied this. We consulted on this, and not one example was given. When pressured yesterday, throughout the last week and throughout the last year, not the minister nor anyone from the government was able to provide one example of where the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act by the previous Conservative government led to the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat. As a matter of fact, despite the government's assertions that changes to the Fisheries Act are necessary to restore the lost protections for fish and fish habitat, the government's response to Order Paper Question No. 626 showed that the government had no record of harm or proof of harm to fish or fish habitat resulting from the 2012 changes.
On November 2, 2016, the then Minister of Fisheries and Oceans appeared before the fisheries committee and stated that “Indigenous people have expressed serious concerns with the amendments made to the [Fisheries Act]” and that his department was “holding face-to-face meetings with various indigenous groups and providing funding so that they can attend these meetings and share their views on the matter”. However, according to the government's response to Order Paper Question No. 943, DFO did not undertake any face-to-face consultation sessions in relation to the review of the changes to the Fisheries Act in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The Liberals have stood before Canadians in the House and have been disingenuous. They continue to use the same eco-warrior talking points we see from Tides, Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, which is essentially an attack on our natural resource sector, whether that be forestry, fisheries, oil and gas, mining or agriculture. That is what Bill C-68, Bill C-88, Bill C-48 and Bill C-69 are attempting to do. They want to shut down anything to do with natural resources.
In the Senate right now, Bill C-48 is being debated. It deals with the tanker moratorium on the west coast, yet we have double and triple the number of tankers on the east coast, but it does not matter. We do not see groups like Greenpeace, Tides and the WWF protesting those ships and oil tankers from foreign nations that have far more egregious human rights issues than what we have here in our country.
Dirty oil is flowing through our eastern seaport, but there has not been one mention of that by the government. Instead, it wants to shut down anything to do with western Canada's economic opportunities, and that is egregious and shameful, and that is why we are here today.
The Senate amendments with respect to Bill C-68 were decent amendments. They folded into Bill S-203, the cetaceans in captivity bill, and Bill S-238, the shark finning bill.
For those who are not aware of the shark finning bill, it would ban the importation of shark fins, with the exception that they must be attached to the carcass. Shark fin is a delicacy in some Asian cultures and is used in soup and medicinal products. We asked officials at committee if shark fin in any form could be imported into our country, and they replied that it could be imported in soup. That was their testimony. When pressed further on this, they said, “soup is soup”.
The whole intent of Bill S-238 is to stop the importation of shark fins so that shark fin soup may be stopped or that at least the fins would be imported into the country with the entire carcass used. That is a fairly reasonable thing to ask.
The other Senate amendments to Bill C-68 that are important are with respect to the inshore fishery. We heard time and again that the inshore fishery is important to Atlantic fishermen. Adjacency and the inshore fishery are the same thing, but the language is different on either coast. It is important to our coastal communities and fishermen who depend on fishing for their livelihood.
Another important Senate amendment is with respect to third-party habitat banking. I went into great detail about what third party habitat banking means in terms of fish habitat. That was a reasonable amendment put forward by a Conservative, and all senators agreed with it.
Interestingly enough, before the Senate finished studying the bill, the minister directed our fisheries committee to study third-party habitat banking. Prior to the fisheries committee getting a chance to study it, the Liberals scrapped any of the third party habitat banking amendments brought forth by the Conservative Party and agreed to by independent senators. It was an exercise in futility.
Senator Wells, who appeared before committee just the other day, said that by all accounts, it appeared that the only people who were interested in protecting fish and fish habitat were those around the table, and the only people who were against protecting fish and fish habitat with respect to third party habitat banking were the officials. That is odd.
I want to talk again about why we are here. I spoke at length about the influence of third party groups at the highest levels of our offices. I will remind the House that the former chief adviser to the Prime Minister, Gerald Butts, was the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund. The Prime Minister's new director of policy is a former top executive at Tides Canada.
Why is this important? It is important because these are the very organizations whose mandate is to shut down Canada's resources every step of the way and to tarnish Canada's natural resource sector on the world stage.
It says right on their own websites that they were going to use celebrities, their media and their influence to tarnish Canada's oil and gas and forestry to attack and landlock our resources. They have now permeated every office in this government.
In 2015, 114 third parties poured $6 million into influencing the election outcome, and many of those parties were funded by the U.S.-based Tides foundation. The World Wildlife Fund is deciding fisheries policy on the east coast.
As the shadow minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, I went to meetings with the former fisheries minister, and there were no fisheries stakeholders there. The table was surrounded by environmental groups. We are placing a higher priority on these environmental groups than we are on the stakeholders who make their living and depend on our natural resources for their economic well-being.
Late last night, I took another phone call about another mill closure in my riding of Cariboo—Prince George. I know that colleagues understand our economic plight in western Canada. We have seen a lot of emotion over the last weeks and months about the plight of the west. The reality is that we are losing our jobs, and we do not have other opportunities. It is not that we are against the environment, unlike what a parliamentary secretary said yesterday, in response to Bill C-88, which is that the Conservatives blame the Liberals for putting such a high priority on the environment. That is not true. We blame the Liberals for putting such a high priority on environmental groups, not on the stakeholders, indigenous peoples and our local communities that depend on our natural resources for well-paying jobs to provide for their families.
There are hundreds of workers in my riding and adjacent ridings, and thousands of workers across the province of British Columbia, who are waking up today to more work curtailment and job closures. That is shameful.
When the House hears our emotion and concern when we raise the issues, it is not that we are against the environment, as much as the Minister of Environment would like people to believe that. It is that these policies the government has put forth have shaken the confidence of industry. They have a real impact. They may not impact those members of Parliament from downtown Toronto or in major urban centres, but they impact rural Canadians, and that is the truth.
I am going to close by reminding the House that this House does not belong to any of us who are in here. We are merely vehicles to be the voices of the electors. There are 338 members of Parliament in this House. Last night, we saw one courageous Liberal who stood against what her government was doing. We have been placed here to be the voices of those who elected us.
Despite saying in 2015 that they would let debate reign, the Liberals have time and again forced closure and time allocation on pieces of legislation. In doing so, they have silenced the voices of the electors who have put us here.
I would like to move the following motion, seconded by the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap:
That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence, be now read a second time and concurred in.”
View William Amos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View William Amos Profile
2019-06-14 10:20 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member opposite's passion. I also appreciate the economic struggles that a number of industries in his region are going through. However, I can say without a doubt that one of the reasons I got into politics was the atrocious law reform the Harper government engaged in, particularly with respect to the Fisheries Act and fish habitat.
Scientists all across this country were well aware of this. They did not just believe politicians that something was awry with Harper's amendments to the Fisheries Act. They believed the science, because diminishing habitat for fisheries and fish in Canada is the wrong thing to do.
Canadians across this country are so glad that this government is sticking to its guns and restoring those protections, because they trust scientists more than they trust politicians, who ultimately do not really know what is most important for fish habitat. It is the scientists we have to trust, and that is exactly what our government is doing.
Why does the member opposite not trust the scientists across Canada?
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-14 10:21 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, who is being divisive now?
At committee, we had scientists, academics, environmental groups and industry. People from all over our country came before committee, even groups that one would think would not be friendly to Conservatives, as apparently we waged a war on scientists, but we had the very same scientists before our committee. When they were asked, time and again, to provide examples that the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act resulted in any harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish or fish habitat, none were given.
View Gord Johns Profile
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-14 10:22 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about the thousands of jobs that might be affected by the act's coming into place. I live in a coastal community, and I have not heard from a single constituent who does not want to see the act brought back to fix the gutting of the act done by the Conservatives with respect to fisheries protections. We are talking about thousands of jobs in my riding that are directly related to the health of the fish habitat.
In one part of the member's speech, he talked about third party habitat banking. He said the only opposition was from bureaucrats around the table, who are against it. He did not talk about indigenous communities, which have made it very clear that they have not been adequately consulted.
The member sits with me on the committee. He knows that indigenous peoples were not invited to the Senate committee to speak about their concerns. We know that indigenous communities have made it very clear that third party habitat banking can often be manipulated. It is a trading scheme.
Why does the member feel he can support this with no regard for indigenous communities and hearing their voices?
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-14 10:23 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, our hon. colleague is sorely mistaken. Perhaps I would ask that the volume be turned up on that side so he can hear me a bit more clearly.
When I talked about jobs being lost, I referenced thousands of jobs being lost across our province right now because of the forestry policies and the lack of securing a softwood lumber agreement. The member knows full well that we can turn on the TV or look at the newspaper every day, and there is another mill closure. There is work curtailment going on throughout our province. Our forestry sector has been under attack from the very beginning of the current government.
With respect to third party habitat banking and the testimony, we heard that there were indigenous representatives on the Senate side who supported this wholeheartedly. As a matter of fact, there were indigenous groups that rode in and provided feedback to the Senate. That is why the Conservative senator was able to garner support from the independent senators across the way so that this amendment would be included and not gutted, as we usually see in Liberal-led committees.
View Mel Arnold Profile
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-14 10:25 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Cariboo—Prince George for his speech on this topic, the Senate amendments to Bill C-68. We have sat together on the fisheries committee for years now. We have seen a government that has totally ignored the restoration of fish stocks across the country. Time and again, recommendations from our committee have called on the current government to take action. It failed to do so.
I also want to speak briefly on comments I got from a fisheries officer, who said that the changes we made in 2012 made it much easier for fisheries officers to do their job. Rather than having to gather incredible amounts of evidence, convince Crown prosecutors and then take cases to court, which would take years to prosecute, with the changes made in 2012 fisheries officers are able to immediately demand restoration where damage has been done. There has been no indication that habitat has been lost or damaged in any of the evidence ever produced by the government or in testimony at committee.
I would like the member to comment further on why the government fails to do anything to restore fish stocks, whether Atlantic salmon or salmon on the west coast, and why it continues to push this ill-conceived bill through the House.
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-14 10:26 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, our colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap is former president of the Canadian Wildlife Association. Our colleague from Red Deer—Lacombe is a former Parks employee and I believe has a degree in zoology. Our former colleague on the fisheries committee, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, is a marine biologist. I would put our bench up against the Liberals' bench any time. I am proud to serve with these colleagues.
When we met with DFO front-line officers on the ground, they told us that, previous to the 2012 changes, it was onerous for them to regulate and enforce. As a matter of fact, because it was too challenging, they received directives not to bother doing it, which made it hard. The changes in 2012 made it very clear. It was black and white: this is right and this is wrong. It set in motion a clear course and a schedule for proponents so they knew where they overstepped their boundaries, when they were in the right and when they were in the wrong.
As a matter of fact, a witness stated that the 2012 changes “have in practice broadened the circumstances in which the section 35 prohibitions apply and increased the circumstances in which an authorization and offsets are required.”
It gave the tools that our front-line officers needed to enforce the rules. It made it clear when proponents were offside and when they were following the rules. It did not make it easier, and it did not gut the Fisheries Act.
I will offer this. Time and again, including today, we have asked for evidence that the 2012 changes resulted in any harmful alteration, disruption or destruction, and none could be provided.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-14 10:29 [p.29112]
Mr. Speaker, I am able to answer a question from my hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George.
Yes, Bill C-38, in the spring of 2012, gutted the Fisheries Act. Yes, it was an appalling decision to take away protections for habitat. On the ground, the effect was that habitat officers for DFO were laid off. I got calls all the time. My hon. colleague knows I tell the truth on these things. People would call me to say they called DFO about a beach where a clam licence was allowed that was being over-harvested, and DFO would tell them that officials could not get there and there was nothing they could do. There were times when habitat was being destroyed and people working on stream restoration who lost funding would call DFO to say that habitat was being lost for cutthroat trout and for getting salmon back, and the answer would be that DFO could not help, because there was no law and DFO did not have any manpower.
We need Bill C-68 to be passed. I lament that it was a bit weakened when my amendment that was accepted at committee was removed, but this bill needs to pass. Every single fisheries organization, the economic backbone of my community, wants this legislation passed before we leave this place.
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