Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050

Sponsor

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment requires that national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada be set, with the objective of attaining net-zero emissions by 2050. The targets are to be set by the Minister of the Environment for 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045.

In order to promote transparency and accountability in relation to meeting those targets, the enactment also

(a) requires that an emissions reduction plan, a progress report and an assessment report with respect to each target be tabled in each House of Parliament;

(b) provides for public participation;

(c) establishes an advisory body to provide the Minister of the Environment with advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and matters that are referred to it by the Minister;

(d) requires the Minister of Finance to prepare an annual report respecting key measures that the federal public administration has taken to manage its financial risks and opportunities related to climate change;

(e) requires the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to, at least once every five years, examine and report on the Government of Canada’s implementation of measures aimed at mitigating climate change; and

(f) provides for a comprehensive review of the Act five years after its coming into force.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 22, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050
June 22, 2021 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050
June 22, 2021 Passed Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 (report stage amendment - Motion No. 2; Group 1; Clause 22)
June 22, 2021 Passed Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 (report stage amendment - Motion No. 1; Group 1; Clause 7)
May 4, 2021 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050
May 4, 2021 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 (reasoned amendment)
April 27, 2021 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is a core issue of one of the flaws in the bill. The government says one thing and does another. The Liberals said they were going to have an advisory committee that would be made up a variety of different people, yet they created the committee even before the bill was passed. We are still talking about it here, yet the committee already exists.

The membership of that committee is definitely skewed in one direction and it is lacking the ability to represent all different aspects. In my view, there is not enough business representation on that committee. We need to ensure the committee is proper because it is a very important part of this process, that we have an independent body of experts and experts across the board who can help us deal with all the complicated issues that will come from this. Not only—

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is probably the last time I will speak in the House under your chairmanship. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent work. I must say that you are one of the only Conservative members who voted for my bill, Bill C‑215. You are a true gentleman. I consider myself fortunate to have served with you, even if only for a short time. I wish you a very happy retirement.

Quite honestly, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure where to begin with this bill. I would say that at the beginning of the study of this bill in committee, I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve. It was the first detailed study I had seen in committee. I thought that finally here was a climate bill and that, although I was a little disappointed that mine did not make it to committee, at least we had something to work with, something to improve.

I would say that I became disillusioned rather quickly. It seems to me that as parliamentarians, as politicians, our job each and every day is also to show our constituents that they should not be cynical about politics, that we are here for the right reasons and not just for strategy, that we really want to change things. Unfortunately, I saw anything but that at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

First, I have to say that the committee was forced to rush its study of the bill. As my colleagues have already mentioned, we had only a few hours to debate this bill in the House. It was then referred to committee and we had to study it quickly.

Today, we are voting on closure. On the second to last day of the parliamentary session, when we are finally debating Bill C-12, we are being told that, as a progressive party, we should vote for this bill. We really want to do the right thing, but we also would have liked the government to accept the Bloc Québécois's helpful suggestions to truly improve this bill.

As a result, we find ourselves with a version of Bill C-12 that, a bit like its original version, does not guarantee that Canada will meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets, as it committed to do on the international stage.

If the Liberals were serious about their commitment, they should not have been trying to pass a climate law just to say that they passed a climate law. The Bloc Québécois seems to be the only party that stayed true to its convictions. I do have to acknowledge that the Conservatives also stayed true to their convictions, as we saw in committee. They proposed a number of amendments and engaged in meaningful debate. I will give them that. Other parties disappointed us in these debates.

The objective was of course to create a strong legal framework that would enshrine targets in the act, establish the climate policy and require the adoption of a plan. It is all well and good to set targets and be ambitious, but without a plan, nothing will happen.

This suggests that the act creates some provisions and mechanisms that will guide the implementation, the assessment, the tools and the approach that will be used to really reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The Bloc Québécois included such mechanisms in our proposals, in Bill C‑215 and in the amendments we presented in committee.

The Liberal members voted against our climate accountability bill. They introduced their own bill that was specifically designed not to interfere with their current plan, which, as I mentioned earlier, is to continue oil and gas production in the coming years. That means we are heading straight for a wall.

I heard the minister say a little earlier that he had Bill C‑215 in his hands when Bill C‑12 was drafted. I would like to hope that the Liberals drew inspiration from Bill C‑215, but their bill is really not the same.

In fact, that says something about the Liberals' partisan tactics, which are shameful. We have said many times in the House that the climate emergency should not be a partisan issue. However, unfortunately, that is what the Liberals turned this bill into when they realized that they really had to introduce a climate bill because environmental groups all over the country were telling them that it was time to hold that debate if they wanted to pass a climate law by the end of the parliamentary session. That is when the Liberals woke up. It was not because of the climate emergency, but because they were running out of time before the end of the session. That is why we are here tonight, speed-debating this bill.

Not surprisingly, as I said, the Liberals reduced it to a partisan game, but who got caught in their speed trap? It was their farm team, the NDP. That, I have to admit, I was not expecting. Shame on me for believing for one second that the New Democrats had the same environmental values we do. Obviously, we are getting used to the NDP saying one thing and doing the opposite. That is what happened at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, and I should have seen it coming. That was my mistake.

The government clearly used the NDP by promising them something. It refused the Bloc Québécois's help by systematically voting against all the amendments we proposed. We heard the Minister of Environment and Climate Change say a little earlier that they had voted in favour of at least one Bloc Québécois amendment, but that is false. It was the Conservatives and, for once, the NDP that helped us get that amendment passed, but the Liberals managed to oppose everything we proposed.

With the NDP, the government acted as if it were a majority. The NDP accepted the government's offer to make only cosmetic changes to Bill C-12, thereby squandering the balance of power the opposition would have had to really improve this bill. The NDP gave up the chance to strengthen Bill C‑12, and that is truly deplorable. It is as though all the NDP wanted was to make public statements to say or claim that it had negotiated amendments to the bill when, in fact, it did not achieve anything at all. As for the government's amendments, they stayed true to the original Bill C‑12 and had no real effect. These are cosmetic changes.

Even with all this inconsequential busywork in committee, Bill C‑12 does not even establish accountability mechanisms in case of failure. When the bill was introduced, the Prime Minister himself acknowledged this. When he was questioned about the lack of consequences in case reduction targets were not met, the Prime Minister said, “We live in a democracy, and ultimately it is up to Canadians to continue to choose governments that are serious about fighting climate change and that will be accountable to the public every five years.”

In other words, according to the Prime Minister, the act does not actually need to contain binding mechanisms. We just need to trust the Liberal government. In saying that, the Prime Minister admitted right off the bat that his bill was weak. Why introduce it, if not for electoral reasons?

Criticism poured in from all sides, from opposition parties to environmental groups. Even journalists were wondering why the bill did not contain any binding targets. That is unbelievable. The government threw out some figures without backing them up, saying that there would be new targets.

The member for Repentigny and I brought up those famous reduction targets. We fought to ensure that Bill C‑12 would at least contain greenhouse gas reduction targets. It is a climate bill after all.

As I said earlier, at the beginning of the parliamentary session, the Liberal government intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. On budget day, that target increased to 36% because of all the funding that was going to be injected. However, a few days later, on Earth Day, the greenhouse gas reduction target went up again to between 40% and 45% by 2030. A few days ago at the G7 meeting, Canada, along with other countries, promised to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030.

The government never managed to include any of these targets, no matter which, in the bill, despite the fact that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change had told us that a target would be set out in Bill C-12. All they had to do was pick one and include it.

That is rather shameful because it tells us that the Liberals know that they will not be able to meet those targets. That is the way it has been since the Kyoto protocol in 2012. Canadian governments have been systematically unable to meet their targets. In our opinion, the fact that the Liberals keep changing the targets without giving them force of law means that they have about as much force as a New Year's resolution.

It is therefore difficult not to be cynical, and I am wondering how many times the Liberals can disappoint people before they do become cynical. I have a lot of things to say about all the ideas that were rejected in committee, all the suggestions we made that the government did not accept. I would have said that it was a missed opportunity, but the Liberal government knew what it was doing from the start. I think that is the most disappointing part of this whole story.

We will debate this bill until late this evening to try to make it better, but what will be will be.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's contribution tonight. Obviously, she saw much of what we saw during the committee process when a number of witnesses come forward who were unhappy with the government's bill.

Could she point out what she believes is fundamentally missing from the government's legislation? Does the environmental community she has heard from feel this is the best bill that could possibly go forward? What is missing? What are the main flaws in the bill?

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for giving me an opportunity to go into more detail.

My answer is very simple. This is the title of the bill: an act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. That title does not accurately reflect what is in the bill, though, because the bill is not transparent, includes no accountability mechanisms, and offers no targets and no plan for meeting the targets. The bill is anything but transparent, accountable and binding. All it has to offer is a nice title.

The Prime Minister makes nice promises when he is abroad, but there is nothing that really has force of law.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:15 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we heard this evening the Conservatives outline all the ways in which the NDP purportedly colluded with Liberals on this bill. We heard the previous speaker basically suggest that all of the amendments they put forward landed them nothing. While we fought to secure interim emissions objectives for 2026 and two more progress reports before 2030, it appears the Bloc got nothing out of its negotiations and debate, yet just an hour ago the Bloc voted to support closure on this motion.

If the Bloc fought and got nothing, why did it vote for closure? Will the hon. member be supporting this bill at the end of tonight?

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my NDP colleague for that very good question.

We spent months working hard to bring about climate legislation for Canada. When I introduced Bill C‑215, it was about time someone did it. During the 2019 election campaign, the government told everyone and their dog it was going to do it, but it still had not introduced anything.

The Bloc Québécois went ahead and proposed something, but the government came back with its own proposal, which was not very good. In committee, we tried and failed to make the legislation more binding. The NDP decided to make it look like it was helping and make the government seem like it was open to proposals from the opposition parties and to collaboration, so everyone would be better off. However, the government did not consult the other parties about this.

We hope we get a climate law, because it is better than nothing. I hate saying it is better than nothing, but we have worked too hard to end up with nothing, so the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of the bill.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech and her frank and honest views on the environment issue. We can see that she really cares about effecting change.

I can understand her disappointment at having believed that the Liberal government would bring in the changes it had announced during the 2015 election campaign. In the end, on this file and several others, the Liberals did not keep their promises. Personally, I am not surprised because that is very on-brand for the Liberals.

At the beginning of her speech, my colleague mentioned that the Conservatives proposed some valid amendments to Bill C‑12 at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

In her opinion, which Conservative amendments on the environment could have been adopted to improve the bill?

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very good question.

Earlier, I acknowledged my colleague's work at committee. He had a real desire to make changes. I would not say that all the changes were good ideas, but some were. The proof is that the Bloc Québécois voted in favour of a Conservative amendment regarding electric transportation. After hearing the witnesses in committee, we tried to have discussions to improve all these things.

I think that my colleague would agree that the discussions we had with the Conservatives were more fruitful than the ones we had with the government. Once again, the government is playing partisan politics. It wants to add “introducing a climate law” to its list of achievements. If the bill makes it to the Senate, everyone will be happy, except true environmentalists.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:20 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak to Bill C-12, such an important piece of legislation we are considering this evening. It is a bill that would create a framework for real climate accountability in Canada at long last.

We are debating this closure motion because we are running out of time in this place to deal with a bill that concerns the climate crisis, incidentally an issue on which we are also very much running out of time on. The springtime temperatures above the Arctic circle broke records last month, rising to over 30 degrees.

As we debate this bill, the American west is experiencing an unprecedented heat wave and mega draught, and NASA has just alarmingly reported that the earth is now trapping twice as much heat as it did in 2005. Across the globe, the climate emergency is already having serious impacts on human health and our economies, and it is time we take serious measures to at long last make a difference on this issue.

The purpose of accountability legislation is to keep our country on track toward its major emissions milestones, most notably those for 2030 and 2050. This is a tall order because, as a country, we have been dismal in living up to our climate commitments. In fact, we have not met any of the targets we have set as a country, and we have the shameful distinction of being the only G8 country whose emissions have risen since the Paris Agreement was signed.

It is unfortunate that the Liberal government, in crafting this bill, did not look around the world to the gold standards of climate accountability. We have heard a lot about the U.K. example in debate on this bill. Of course the U.K. example uses something called carbon budgets, and in that country it has led to the U.K. meeting and exceeding every single aspirational carbon budget it has set.

Instead, the minister took a different tact with this bill, and he never really clearly explained why that is, but as a result we have this bill in front of us.

A carbon budget is much easier to understand after all because it mirrors our financial budgeting framework. There would be a certain amount of emissions that, as a country, we could emit in a certain amount of time, and if we were to emit more than that, we go into deficit. It is something that is transparent and easy for citizens to understand. I still do not understand, even at this late date in debate, why the minister chose not to use that structure for this bill in front of us.

The Liberals introduced the bill they did, and we had some choices. We could obviously reject it outright and know it is going to be at least a year, if not two years, before we have another shot at a climate accountability bill, or we could work as hard as possible to strengthen the bill and make the most of this opportunity. That is the option we chose. That is because during the election we heard from thousands of Canadians who called on us to collaborate across party lines with other parties to ensure Canada had some semblance of climate accountability coming out of this Parliament.

In a minority Parliament, that is just not an opportunity. I believe it is a responsibility, and one we in the NDP took to heart. We brought our ideas to the government and we pushed hard for changes that would strengthen Bill C-12. Of all the changes we pushed for, the most significant one, as we heard so much about this evening, was the setting of an interim emissions objective between now and 2030.

The scientists tell us that this is the most important decade if we are going to turn around catastrophic climate change. So many of the witnesses we heard at committee told us that we needed accountability before 2030, and that, given the government's track record over past decades, it was not enough to simply say to trust us and wait until the end of the decade.

We are very pleased we were able to leverage a commitment to a 2026 objective for emissions. While it is procedurally different than the other major milestones in the legislation, we believe it plays the basic role of providing transparency and accountability and showing to Canadians whether or not, as a country, we are on track to meet that critical 2030 milestone.

There were other changes we pushed for as well, and we heard about those this evening. We wanted the bill to lay out the specific requirements of the emissions reduction plans. We wanted the advisory body to have certain expertise on it, so that Canadians could trust that the advice the minister was getting was adequate. The third thing I would mention is that we wanted indigenous knowledge, which we know is so important to have reflected in our legislation. We wanted that to be defined and built into the bill in a much more substantive way.

The minister agreed with many of our proposals. There were other proposals he pushed back on. That, after all, is how negotiation works, but let us be clear that this bill in front of us is much stronger today than it was when it was first drafted. With the passing of the Bloc Québécois amendment calling for a five-year legislative review, Bill C-12 now includes amendments from the government and two of the three opposition parties. It is not the bill we would have written, but it is a bill we can accept.

Canada's major environmental organizations agree Bill C-12 should pass, and six of these groups wrote us a letter back on June 7. They said that we cannot afford another decade of ad hoc, incoherent Canadian climate action. Climate legislation is essential to help drive the necessary changes and Bill C-12, as amended, provides a foundation we can build on to ensure Canada develops the robust accountability framework we need.

We have heard in previous speeches that the Bloc and the Conservatives are frustrated with the process, and that is fair enough. If the Liberals had given Bill C-12 greater priority in this parliamentary session, introduced it earlier and given it more hours of debate, we could have seen a more exhaustive, deliberative process. Why this did not occur is a fair question for the government.

As for the Conservatives, it is difficult to know how to take their amendments. They voted against pretty much every aspect of this bill. At second reading, they voted against the very principle of the bill, and the amendments they put forward at committee did not seem to me intended to strengthen the bill, but rather to blunt its impact.

Regardless, we now have a bill in front of us that is both less than perfect and much better than it was. The essence of this bill is transparency. Its value lies in the idea that a concerned and informed electorate, if properly and regularly updated, will not tolerate a government that refuses to take the actions necessary to drive down emissions. It would achieve this by requiring frequent reports, empowering an advisory body, requiring the minister to rationalize her or his decisions when it comes to deviations from the advice that body provides, and requiring ever more ambitious targets.

This bill cannot likely withstand a climate-recalcitrant, insincere government nor one that explicitly rejects our climate reality. By the same token, there is nothing in this bill that would hinder a truly progressive NDP government from tackling the climate emergency with the urgency that it deserves.

We have a choice, and I wanted to end in this way. Fifteen years years ago, our former leader, the late Jack Layton, put forward Canada’s first climate accountability framework with Bill C-377. I found the speech that Jack gave in this place at second reading, and I would like to read a passage from it in conclusion. Jack said:

Canadians have been seeing these changes and are calling for action. I think we have to say that they have been disappointed to date, but they are hopeful that perhaps for this House, in this time, in this place, when we have a wave of public opinion urging us on, when we have every political party suggesting that it wants to be seen to take action and, let us hope, actually wants to take action, there is a moment in time here that is unique in Canadian history when action can be taken. It is going to require us to put aside some of what we normally do here, and we have to understand the need for speed....

Our commitment to the House and to all Canadians is to do everything that we can to produce results from the House in the very short period of time before we find ourselves having to go back to Canadians. I do not want to go back and tell them we were not able to get it done. I want to go back and tell them that we all got together and we got it done.

Amen, Jack. Let us get moving at long last.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:30 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his commitment to climate action.

He mentioned earlier the International Energy Agency's report and road map that said we can no longer have investments in fossil fuels after this year. I would like to ask him about Coastal GasLink, LNG Canada and the expanding fracking that is happening in British Columbia, and whether he thinks those projects should be shut down, because, as we know, fracking is a very dangerous process and the release of methane into the atmosphere is 80 times more potent than CO2 in the first 20 years.

I would like his comments on that.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:30 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I believe that all governments should be able to transparently explain to their citizens how the math around climate works and how their decisions can be rationalized in the context of a world that is moving toward a low-carbon future. The IEA has laid out the pathway to getting to net zero. It implies some very difficult choices ahead for us, but it is the path we have to take. I appreciate the member's question and would hope that every government would be sincere with its citizens and explain how the numbers add up and how we can hit those targets.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 10:30 p.m.
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Vaudreuil—Soulanges Québec

Liberal

Peter Schiefke LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am addressing the House today from my riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, situated on land that has a shared history among the Huron-Wendat Nation, the Mohawk, the Anishinabek Nation, as well as the Six Nations.

Today I have the privilege of speaking to Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act, and explaining why it is so important to pass it as quickly as possible.

There is an urgency to act on climate change and to put forward unprecedented actions aimed at limiting global temperature increases to no more than 1.5°C.

From 2009 to 2013, I had the privilege of serving as the national director of The Climate Reality Project Canada. During my work there, I came across peer-reviewed study after peer-reviewed study that showed the effects unabated greenhouse gas emissions would have on our climate here in Canada and around the world. For us here in Canada, the projections were dire. In fact, our climate was shown to be warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. In North America, warming is nearly three times as fast.

This is still the case, and we are seeing the effects. There has been record flooding in Calgary, which almost saw the Stampede cancelled; terrible flooding in Fort McMurray; and raging forest fires in British Columbia. Those have been compounded by the ravages of the pine beetle, which no longer has to contend with the cold winters as it once did. It is wreaking havoc on forests, reducing habitat for countless species and heavily impacting the forestry sector.

Prior to this pandemic, in the summer of 2019, I had the privilege of joining the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's Youth Council in Iqaluit, Nunavut, where we heard from hunters that the hunting season has shortened and has become more dangerous due to thinning ice.

I did not have to travel to the farthest reaches of our country to see the impacts of climate change. I needed only to take a walk outside my home in my riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges in 2017 and in 2019 to see inundated streets, closed stores, and homes being washed away when my community experienced two record floods in a span of just three years.

This is our new reality and one that science warned us about long ago, but science has also provided the solutions. Canadians called out for change and action in 2015 and elected our Liberal government on a platform that promised unprecedented action. I am proud to say that is exactly what we have delivered on over the last six years.

Our Liberal government has already invested over $60 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Canadians adapt to a changing climate. We have put forward unprecedented investments in clean technology and infrastructure, including tens of billions of dollars in public transportation, hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles and a network of charging stations across the country, $3.2 billion for the planting of two billion trees, and over $6 billion toward protecting 25% of our nature by 2025.

We also introduced a price on carbon pollution for the first time nationally. We are already starting to see positive results, with projected greenhouse gas emission reductions of 227 million tonnes by 2030.

These actions are unprecedented, but we know that more still needs to be done. That is why we are moving forward on delivering on our promise to exceed Canada's 2030 emissions goal by setting legally binding five-year milestones, based on the advice of experts and consultations with Canadians, to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

This was reaffirmed in the Speech from the Throne, which said, “The Government will...legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.” This is what we will be delivering on when Bill C-12 is adopted by the House. In doing so, we will be at the front end of more than 120 countries already committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

As originally tabled, this bill served as a vital piece of legislation with legally binding processes for the federal government to set climate targets and bring forward plans to meet those targets. It also included rigorous ongoing progress reports, yearly reports by the independent advisory body, and ongoing audits by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

The act had already proposed a number of accountability measures, but building on this, significant and meaningful amendments were made to the bill at committee. These strengthened the bill even further and include a 2025 review of our 2030 target and an interim emissions reductions objective for 2026, which would enshrine the principle of progression for future targets and codify our new 2030 reductions target to a 40% to 45% reduction below 2005 levels.

The amendment to introduce a 2026 interim objective as part of subsection 8(2.1) of the bill is an important addition to this landmark piece of legislation. This new provision would require the inclusion of an interim GHG emissions objective for 2026 in the emissions reduction plan for 2030, and would provide a midpoint check-in between now and 2030.

Another important amendment that was passed will require the publication and tabling of two progress reports, which are due prior to the end of 2023 and 2025. This amendment will provide even greater short-term accountability. It requires that the Minister of the Environment, in consultation with other federal ministers, prepare progress reports on 2030 by the end of 2023, by the end of 2025 and by the end of 2027. It also requires the 2025 progress reports to include an assessment of the 2030 GHG emissions target, and requires the Minister of the Environment to consider amending the 2030 target, ensuring meaningful accountability checkpoints over the next 10 years.

Furthermore, an amendment adopted at the ENVI committee further strengthened the bill by explicitly specifying that the net-zero advisory body provides independent advice on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, advice that is meant to be forward-looking. it also requires the minister to take into account the need to include members with a broad range of knowledge, experience, expertise and perspectives relevant to achieving net zero. This includes climate change science, indigenous knowledge, physical or social sciences, energy supply and demand, and much more.

Finally, the bill also enshrines targets and ensures that over time they only becomes more ambitious. That is why the amendment adopted by the committee, which includes our new climate target of reducing GHG emissions to 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030, is so important. It will also ensure that all future climate targets in Canada can only be an improvement on existing ones.

This bill has been drafted with great precision and care by the government. It has been debated, and we have heard from experts in a wide range of sectors. It is a culmination of the kind of hard work that Canadians expect from the House. Organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation, the Centre québécois du droit de l'environnement, Climate Action Network Canada, Ecojustice, Équiterre and West Coast Environmental Law, among many others, have all given their time, expertise and guidance to this bill.

Devoted members of the House, most notably those on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, worked hard on this bill to strengthen it. They include my dear friend and the chair of the committee, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis; the parliamentary secretary and member for St. Catharines; the member for Etobicoke Centre; the member for Guelph; the member for Kitchener Centre; the member for York Centre; the member for Repentigny; the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley; and the member for Victoria, whom I had the pleasure of working with to help advance this important bill.

I can say without hesitation that Bill C-12 is a better bill today because of the work of the Commons environment committee, because of the feedback of all members of Parliament committed to fighting climate change and because of engaged Canadians.

Several countries are accelerating their transition to a net-zero economy, and Canada cannot afford to fall behind. We must seize the economic opportunity that climate action provides. That is why achieving net-zero emissions is not just a plan for a better environment, it is also a plan for building a cleaner, more competitive economy and a better future for our children and grandchildren.

I am asking for all members of the House to vote in favour of this bill as we work together to ensure that it advances to the Senate of Canada for consideration and adoption as soon as possible.

After countless hours of clause-by-clause consideration, and the Conservatives seemingly doing whatever it takes to delay its adoption, I invite the Conservative Party of Canada to be on the right side of history and do what is right for our children and for future generations of Canadians by joining the fight against climate change and supporting the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act.

Canadians from all corners of the country are depending on us to get this done.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 10:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, what we have seen on this bill is a lack of respect for the basic processes that should be followed. The government said it was going to create an advisory panel, but then it announced who was going to be on that advisory panel before the bill had even proceeded to committee. The government is presenting this as some kind of an environmental plan, but the reality is that it is not a plan; it is just a bill that puts in place further targets. The other reality is that the government has not taken any action with respect to companies outside of the country that are releasing greenhouse gas emissions and selling their products in Canada.

I want to ask the member a question specifically about the issue of border adjustments. Does he support the Conservative proposal to have border adjustments so that outside companies exporting to Canada are operating under the same rules as companies inside of Canada?

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 10:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Madam Speaker, unfortunately my hon. colleague's question shows that the Conservative Party is still confused over its position on climate change. Before voting against the principle of this bill, the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola said in the House, “It may raise some eyebrows that my party will be supporting this”. The Conservative finance critic said, “Conservatives in the House support this legislation", and the member for Saskatoon West said, “I like the proposed legislation”.

I listened to the words of my Conservative colleagues today and I do not think I have witnessed a bigger act of retroactive continuity since the Star Wars movie Rogue One. Why will the Conservatives not support a commitment to net-zero by 2050? Is it because the caucus does not think climate change is real, or is it that they still do not want to do anything about it?

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 10:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. He is a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, so he will be happy to hear that the team is leading three to nothing.

I wanted to ask him questions about the targets, a subject I raise often.

The last target was announced when the Prime Minister was at the G7. He joined the other countries in saying that we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. At the beginning of the parliamentary session, the objective was 30%, then it rose to 36% in the budget. Then came the much-talked-about range of 40% to 45%. The bill basically says that the target will be set in November, at the next summit with the parties to the Paris Agreement. Several different figures are on the table. Which one will become the government's target?