Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to speak on this important issue. I want to thank the member for Edmonton West for his incredible passion for the environment. I appreciate his good work in representing his community well.
The question before us today is how much the carbon tax will cost the average Canadian. That is an important question. When people go shopping and see something they like, the first thing that comes to mind is whether they need it. Although it may look nice, they would ask themselves if they need it and how much it costs. We were looking to downsize, because as we age we do not need as big a house as we do not have the kids. Therefore, we wanted to downsize to a much more energy-efficient home. We found something that had a master bedroom on the main floor. I liked it. It looked good, and it would work for us. It would make livability greater and easier as it was much smaller. However, how much does it cost? That is the first thing Canadians ask. That is the normal process. Whether it is clothing or food, we would look at something and ask ourselves whether we need it and how much it costs.
When we go to a restaurant, the first thing we look at is the menu. Can members imagine if none of the items on the menu had prices? What does that tell us? It tells us that we might want to leave because we have no idea what it is going to cost. That is not fair. If there are no prices on the menu, that is a great hint that it is going to cost a lot of money. Whatever the example, Canadians deserve to know what it will cost and whether it will work.
We have heard great speeches. The Liberals have practised their talking points, for years, actually. I am looking back to the previous report from the environment commissioner, where she said that there was a great gap between what the Liberals say and what they actually do, and that good intentions are not enough. She also said, “When it comes to protecting the environment, bold announcements are made and then often forgotten as soon as the confetti hits the ground.... The federal government seems to have trouble crossing the finish line.” Nothing has changed. There are great announcements, great platitudes, and great talking points.
I can speak first-hand with respect to this. Canadians from the riding of Langley—Aldergrove, which I am honoured to represent, love protecting the environment. They want clean streams and clean air, not only for themselves but for their children and grandchildren. It is a community in the suburbs of Vancouver that puts a high importance on clean environment. Every year since I became a member of Parliament we nominate people who are recognized as environmental heroes in three different categories: business, youth, and individual. Every year we recognize them, and a brass plaque is put at the bottom of a tree at the national historic sites, such as the fort in Fort Langley. The environment is very important. However, these people have to drive because public transit is very limited. In Canada, public transit does not meet all our needs, so Canadians have to drive their vehicles.
The plan with respect to the carbon tax is to tax people to the level where they will stop driving their cars. If we make it so onerous, they will have to change those habits of using carbon, such as using gasoline in their cars or heating their homes. The Liberals want the temperature in homes to be lowered to the point that we start putting on sweaters. This is what we are talking about. If the price of carbon goes high enough, it will affect people's behaviour.
What is the price of gasoline in Vancouver right now? It is $1.629 a litre, and that is for regular. That is the highest in North America. Now, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment said that people in Langley should be applauding this. He said that just 10 minutes ago.
In the former Parliament, I was the parliamentary secretary for the minister of the environment, and we did a good job. I was in Copenhagen preparing for one of the COP meetings, and we set the targets as a government. We said that to reduce carbon emissions globally, everybody has to participate and not just Canada.
We set a good example. We set targets, and those same targets are the targets that the current government has adopted. The Liberals are using the former Conservative government targets. The targets are good and they are achievable, but how are the Liberals going to do it? They are going to do it by raising taxes for all Canadians to the point where they start to groan—not applaud, but groan. It is absolutely wrong.
Therefore, Canadians want to know what it is going to cost, and whether it will work. That is the other question. Will raising the carbon tax on everything have the desired effect? Will it reduce global emissions and greenhouse gas emissions coming out of Canada?
We have heard a lot of promises from the Liberal government. One of the promises about this new carbon tax is that the provinces will have to put it in, as is mandated, and if they do not, it will be forced on them. Also, it will be federally revenue-neutral. Is that true? Well, we looked, and sure enough, in last year's budget there was a massive increase in GST benefits. Where is that coming from? It is GST on the carbon tax. It is a tax on a tax. Canadians were not applauding. They were groaning and saying that it is not fair to charge tax on a tax. The GST is a tax on goods and services. Is the carbon tax a good? No, it is not. Is it a service? No. Is it an onerous burden? Yes. Is that what we are supposed to be charging tax on? No.
The Prime Minister said that it would be revenue-neutral. Of course, Conservatives want to make sure that the government is keeping its promises, so we helped it. I was honoured to introduce Bill C-342, which is a very simple bill. The bill said that it is not fair to charge tax on a tax. Of course, Canadians expected every member of this Parliament to support a common-sense bill. It is a bill that would have helped the Liberal government keep its promises. Did it keep its promises? No. It was a sad day.
Therefore, we turn to the experts, if the government is not going to tell us how much this tax is going to cost: “just trust us”; “we know what we're doing”; “budgets do balance themselves”; “we'll just keep taxing until emissions come down”. However, emissions will come down if people cannot drive their cars. Emissions will come down if factories close, if jobs are lost, and if investment dollars leave Canada and go to another country where they are more competitive. Tomatoes will not be grown in greenhouses in Canada, because it will be cheaper to import them from Mexico. Pipelines will be stopped, so we will not have a way to move our natural resources. The government is funding protesters.
The trajectory we are on may reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but after the dust settles, it will be a disaster created by the Liberals. Lost jobs and people out of work are not what Canadians want.
The Liberals talk about social licence, but the only way the government will have social licence to proceed with this is if it is honest and open.