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

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I am terribly disappointed with the conduct of the government, and Canadians should be as well. The Liberals rushed their Bill C-12 through to committee. The committee decided that it did not want to hear from Canadians and ignored the majority of the briefs. The MP for Saanich—Gulf Islands, as well as members of the environment committee, were quite frankly ashamed to see Canadians ignored. Now, the government, because of its absolute mismanagement of the House calendar, is coming and invoking closure.

I cannot believe the New Democratic Party is going to be supporting this, but I wanted to ask how the government can justify using closure on a bill of this magnitude and denying the ability of parliamentarians on both sides of the House to hold the government to account.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, climate change is an extremely important subject, and we should all understand that. It is important not only that we have credible targets and plans, but that we have a commitment to achieving what science tells us we must, which is net zero by 2050.

This government has worked collaboratively with opposition members to come up with a strengthened bill that is best in class with respect to how these bills work around the world. We are very proud of this legislation. Certainly many Canadians desire to see it go forward, and while the Conservatives have delayed across the board a whole range of legislative options, it has been very much apparent from our side that we want to get it through the House to ensure that it is in place.

With respect to being ashamed, I would say that I am ashamed as a Canadian that there is a party in the House that is still unable to convince its own members that climate change is real.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, I am very disappointed in how this government is governing. We were understanding during the pandemic, and the opposition parties worked with the government to implement exceptional measures.

However, it is not our fault if the government did a poor job of managing its parliamentary calendar and finds itself at the end of the session with dozens of bills to rush through. It is not giving us enough time to debate them, and that is just what is happening with Bill C‑12. We were hurried along in committee and did not get to improve it like we should have.

Why did the government not simply table it sooner?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question and for being so concerned about climate change, which is a very important issue.

The government supported a Bloc Québécois amendment calling for a five-year review of the act and also included several elements of Bill C‑215 in Bill C‑12.

Canadians think it is very important for us to go ahead with this bill. We committed to passing a law to assure Canadians that all future governments will be required to meet the 2050 net-zero targets.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, this bill is not the legislation we would have written. However, it is stronger than it was and we believe that it should be passed into law.

I believe I just heard the minister state that Bill C-12 is best in class when it comes to international climate accountability legislation. The message we heard very clearly from some of Canada's most prominent environmental organizations at committee was that the bill did not measure up to the best examples of climate accountability around the world.

I wonder if the minister could provide some rationale for his statement. What evidence does he base his “best in class” statement on?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his constructive approach to working collaboratively to ensure that we are moving forward on a bill that I think we all agree is very important.

With respect to my statement, this bill has an enormous number of accountability mechanisms in it. Not only does it require progressively more stringent targets on the pathway to 2050, but there will be a range of progress reports, some of which were brought forward through amendments by the environment committee. There are reports with respect to what has been achieved, and requirements to essentially do more if we are short of our goals. There are third party accountability mechanisms through the environment commissioner. There is also now a milestone mechanism for 2026 to ensure that accountability starts tomorrow. That is all appropriate, as it should be, and it is a very strong piece of legislation.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:10 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, Greta Thunberg has said that net zero by 2050 is “surrender”, and without tough near-term targets, we are abandoning our children and grandchildren to an unlivable world. Bill C-12 still lacks a 2025 milestone, which was established in the COP decision document that Canada signed on to, and all experts agree that 2030 is too late.

The NDP and Liberal amendment for a 2026 interim greenhouse gas emissions goal is not a milestone year, but provides a window to review progress or the lack of progress. Why did the government reject the Green Party amendment that the plans and targets must be based on the best available science?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, it is very important that we are guided by science. We are guided by the science and guidance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has indicated that countries need to achieve the net-zero target by 2050 if we are to keep the rise in average global temperature to less than 2°C, with a focus on 1.5°C. That is exactly what we are doing.

We established and announced our new target only a couple of months ago, and we announced it alongside those of our G7 partners. The G7 is now aligned with science on net zero by 2050, which is aligned with science relative to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is extremely important that we are taking the steps we must take to ensure that our children will inhabit and inherit a livable world. I agree with what the member said.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the minister's efforts in bringing forward this legislation. I think it is very reflective of what Canadians in all regions from coast to coast to coast want to see of the government. They want us to have ambitious goals and strive to achieve them.

Can the minister reinforce why it is so important that we see this very progressive piece of legislation move forward? Ultimately, I know that the residents of Winnipeg North, and indeed Canadians as a whole, want a government that is serious about the environment.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, this is part of a comprehensive approach to addressing climate change. Of course, part of it is establishing a near-term target and a plan to actually meet that target. This government has done that and provided a plan to achieve our goals. We are the first government in Canada that has provided a detailed pathway, and I would say that our climate plan is one of the most detailed plans that exist anywhere in the world.

Of course, we need to have a forcing function on governments going forward to ensure that they are continuing to be transparent and accountable to Canadians on the pathway toward what science tells us we must achieve, which is net zero by 2050. We will never again have a government in this country like Stephen Harper's, which had a target and never had a plan. There will be a forcing function going forward, and it will ensure that all political parties and all governments take this issue seriously.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, we are here debating closure on a very important topic. It is top of mind for all Canadians. As we have already heard other members say, the bill was rammed through committee and the government did not consider all the reports at committee. I am on the natural resources committee. We have been hearing from numerous witnesses across multiple studies that the government does not even have complete data on the amount of carbon that we sequester here, and there does not appear to be any commitment to make sure we are getting that data.

What is going to be done to make sure this will be achieved as we move toward the path that the government is ramming through on Canadians?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, there were a couple of questions there. Canadians are anxious to see progress made. We lost 10 years under Stephen Harper, when nothing was done to address the climate issue, and it is important to keep going given that we must make rapid progress between now and 2030 if we are to achieve net zero by 2050.

With respect to carbon issues, there are methodologies under the IPCC that focus on how we account for various kinds of carbon sequestration and for carbon emissions, and they are done on an international basis, as they must be to ensure that there is comparability between states.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois does not agree with the use of closure. This is nothing new.

The minister said earlier that the government had accepted amendments proposed by the Bloc Québécois. Let me just set the record straight. We tabled only one of the 33 amendments, and the Liberals still found a way to vote against it.

The Bloc Québécois opposed the clause mentioning targets because it was outraged by the fact that the Minister of Canadian Heritage told the House and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change told the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development that they would include quantified targets in Bill C‑12, yet they did not keep their word.

The fact remains that Bill C‑12 was tabled in November and reached the committee in mid-May. If they thought it was urgent, why did the minister and his government not speed up the process? They had all of December, plus the period from February to May, to do that.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question.

The Bloc Québécois amendment provided for a five-year review of the act. We also included several elements of Bill C‑215 in the bill.

There are a lot of things we agree on. Of course climate change is a crisis. We must fight climate change, and we have to act very quickly, because we do not have much time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We want the bill to include measures to fight climate change that will be binding on all future governments.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, the minister has spoken many times about the importance of the climate crisis and the importance of taking action, yet here we are, just one day before the House rises for the summer, trying to get this important bill through the House.

The government controls the legislative calendar. This bill was introduced last November and only came to the environment committee in May. Could the minister explain how we got to this point at which the House is considering these extraordinary motions in order to pass this important legislation?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, as I have said, the issue of climate change is urgent. The House even adopted a motion some time ago saying that it was a climate emergency. There is a lot of agreement between most of the political parties in the House not only with respect to the need to act, but with respect to a number of the instruments that we need to use to act, one of them being this law.

Certainly we are focused very much on ensuring that this law is put into place so that it will be a forcing function on all governments going forward to ensure that we are taking climate change seriously. I have been very pleased to work collaboratively on this with the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley and the member for Victoria. It is important for us, before we finish our session, to ensure that it is in place.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, the minister said in the House at second reading of Bill C-12 that he was willing to work with all considerations from other parties. We asked for industry representation on the advisory board and he said he was open to that. Then he said that the Liberals were open to working with all parties regarding amendments. He also said that the Liberals supported a Bloc motion to have parliamentary review, which was not true. It was not something that happened. The Liberals voted against it. Today in the House, he said that there was an NDP milestone amendment, but the Green Party representative said this was not factual either.

Why are the minister and his party constantly in contradiction with the actual truth? Are we are having closure right now because they want to evade all accountability and pretend they are taking action on climate? Why does the minister always have to correct himself when he is found out?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, the hon. member needs to ensure that he has done his homework.

I can run through the industry representation on the net-zero advisory body. It includes Peter Tertzakian, the deputy director of ARC Energy Research Institute; John Wright, former president of SaskPower; Linda Coady, who is a vice-president at Enbridge; Gaëtan Thomas, former CEO at NB Power; and Dan Wicklum, who is the founding CEO of the Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. What the hon. member said in the House is therefore not true.

With respect to being open to working with others, we actually have demonstrated that. We worked collaboratively with other parties. The hon. member will remember that even though he said he was going to support this bill early on, he opposed it at second reading, which means he opposed the principle of the bill. That is not a very good basis for working together with respect to amendments. However, we found a manner to work collaboratively with other members on the committee to ensure that we strengthened the bill, and it is a very strong bill.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

When I think of my son and of Bill C‑12, I wonder: If one day he has the opportunity to sit in the House, will he be forced to participate in the same debates we are having today?

How does the minister, who I believe also has children, see the future of this debate if the fiscal anchors are not mandatory? Are we not letting this opportunity slip by? What concrete steps should we be taking for the sake of our children?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his son's success.

I do in fact have two daughters, which is perhaps the main reason I got into politics. I think this is a very important issue for all members in the House, but perhaps even more so for those with children.

We have worked very hard to have a very strong piece of legislation that will ensure that future governments understand the importance of climate change and continue to take action to fight it. I fully agree with my colleague.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, listening to the Conservatives, it would seem that they are totally surprised by the fact that we had to bring this motion, so that we could move along with things. The reality is that, if we are being fair, over the last several months there has been a continuous logjam of trying to put legislation on the agenda for various different reasons, whether it is filibustering over various points of order or not letting the House proceed with its normal course of business by using other procedural tactics.

The reality is that this bill, which was introduced in the fall, was debated. It passed second reading in April. It was then at committee. Committee has now reported back because of the programming motion. Now it is back before this House. Yesterday, the minister gave notice that this motion would be coming forward, so nobody should be surprised that this is coming forward today.

I cannot think of an issue that requires more immediate attention and disclosure than an issue with respect to the environment. Can the minister comment on how incredibly important it is that we deal with this now before the House rises for this session?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, this is extremely important. As I said, we are living in a climate crisis. It is critical that Canada have a plan to move forward, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and seize the economic opportunities that will come for countries that are thoughtful about transitioning to a low-carbon future.

We do not have a lot of time both between now and 2030, but also between now and 2050, because we are talking about a very significant change in how we make products, drive cars, do all kinds of different things. It is absolutely critical that we do that. I do think that the kinds of things that we have seen, unfortunately from the Conservative Party, in terms of delaying legislation, have led us to the point where we actually are forcing this conversation very quickly because of the crisis.

At the end of the day, I have been telling parents' groups, and I have been telling environmental organizations that if they want this to move forward, they have to talk to the leader of the opposition's office and tell them how important it is.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I was intent on sitting out this debate, but having heard the previous speaker's comments about the filibustering, I could not stand for that.

I want to raise this through you to the hon. minister. What I heard from the previous speaker, quite frankly, is balderdash. If this was important to the hon. minister, then why did it take him until April to bring it forward, and why are they leaving it until this very last day to push it through?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, climate change has been an enormous priority of this government from the day that it was sworn in almost two years ago. We have developed the strengthened climate plan, which is the first plan that Canadians have ever had that shows in a detailed way how to achieve and exceed the existing target. We made additional investments in the budget. We have worked closely with our American colleagues and we significantly raised the level of ambition with the target that we established at the earth summit.

We are moving forward with a plan to address carbon emissions not just at 2030, but to 2050, with a net-zero target through this legislation. It is complementary to all of the work that we have done.

There is no higher priority for this government, beyond getting through this pandemic and supporting Canadians through this pandemic, than fighting climate change in a manner that is going to secure the future for our kids and ensure that we have a strong and thriving economy going forward.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, the minister continues the myth that this has been about Conservatives filibustering this bill. There was barely six hours of debate when they jammed this through to committee, and then the committee decided to accelerate it, so 70 plus briefs were not even considered before amendments. The minister favours an approach of not listening. Now he is putting down closure. He is actually stopping members of his own caucus from being able to talk about an important piece of legislation.

Why does the minister have such contempt for the voices, other than those of his own government, in this chamber?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I find that a very odd line of questioning. This bill, as I understand it, has a majority support of members in this chamber. It is something most of the political parties in this House, with perhaps the exception of the Conservative Party of Canada, believe is important as a step forward in addressing it.

I was very heartened when the hon. member actually stood up at the beginning of this conversation and said they would support this bill. I was very disappointed when they then decided to vote against the principle of this bill, as I was extremely disappointed when members of their party voted to say that climate change was not real. It is unfortunate, and at some point the Conservative Party is going to have to get with the program in addressing climate change.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:30 p.m.
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Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, it is absolutely staggering to hear the government say that we are in a climate emergency. It was an emergency in April, February and all the other months. We have been dealing with a climate emergency for a long time.

If this were so important to the Liberals, they would have put the bill on the agenda much sooner. I hear the NDP saying that they would not have written it that way. That is for sure, because it was obviously the Liberals who wrote the amendments that the NDP tabled in committee. It is because of the Liberal-NDP coalition that we are left to pass a bill that is limp and non-binding.

Now the government is telling us that if we are progressive, we must vote for the bill. We are being asked to vote for something that could have been better. Why did they not put it on the agenda sooner?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. I should say that we have included several elements of Bill C‑215 in Bill C‑12.

However, Bill C‑12 is much stronger than Bill C‑215, which was introduced in the House by the Bloc. Bill C‑215 aims for a target of 30% below 2005 levels. That is only a 30% reduction, whereas the targets in this bill are 40% to 45%, which is much stronger.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:30 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, two years ago this House declared we were in a climate emergency and it took until November for the government to table this bill, which, when read, looked like no more than a public relations document pretending to be doing something. There is no accountability in this bill; it is hollow. I could not support it at second reading, because there is no principle behind it.

When it came to actually getting it into committee after a very short debate, most of the briefs arrived after the amendment period was over. It made a mockery of listening to concerned citizens. There was no youth or indigenous representation and no climate science testimony. Not a single indigenous witness was heard.

How often can the Liberals say they did not have time to consult indigenous people, while also saying that Bill C-12 respects UNDRIP?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, to argue a lack of accountability mechanisms in the bill, I would just suggest to my hon. colleague that he read the bill again.

It is a legally binding process for the federal government to set climate targets and to bring forward plans every five years, three different progress reports between now and 2030, a 2030 assessment report that has to be tabled within 30 days of the 2030 national inventory report, an annual report detailing how the federal government is managing financial risks of climate change, each year the minister has to respond to the report of the net-zero advisory body and the Minister of Environment has asked, and the bill requires, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development provide a report by the end of 2024. There is an enormous number of accountability mechanisms, and I just would ask my colleague to review the legislation again.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 5:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, ultimately we live in a democratic society, and it is the government that is going to have to be held accountable for its ability to live up to the commitments it makes under this law.

What this law requires is an enormous amount of transparency and accountability through all of the measures I just mentioned, and it provides the information on which the voters of this country, who are the ones who will make the decision about how urgent and how important this issue is, as they rightly should in a democratic society, will make the decision.

As I said before, we will never again in this country have a government like that of Stephen Harper, which essentially set a target, pretended it was an issue, pretended it was important, but never had a plan and never made progress.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:35 p.m.
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North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

moved:

That Bill C-12, in Clause 7, be amended by replacing subclause (4) with the following:

(4) The Minister must set the national greenhouse gas emissions target

(a) for the 2035 milestone year, no later than December 1, 2024;

(b) for the 2040 milestone year, no later than December 1, 2029; and

(c) for the 2045 milestone year, no later than December 1, 2034.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

moved:

That Bill C-12, in Clause 22, be amended by replacing line 32 on page 12 to line 9 on page 13 with the following:

“(2) The Minister must make the annual report available to the public within 30 days after receiving it and then, within 120 days after receiving the report, the Minister must publicly respond to the advice that the advisory body includes in it with respect to the matters referred to in paragraphs 20(1)(a) to (c), including any national greenhouse gas emissions target that is recommended by the advisory body if the Minister has set a target that is different from it.”

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:35 p.m.
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North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

moved:

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-12, in Clause 22, be amended by replacing subsection (2) with the following:

(2) The Minister must make the annual report available to the public within 30 days of receiving it and then, within 120 days of receiving that report, the Minister must publicly respond to the advice that the advisory body includes in it with respect to matters referred in paragraphs 20(1)(a) to (c), including any national greenhouse gas emissions target that is recommended by the advisory body if the Minister has set a target that is different from it.

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-12 be amended by replacing, in the French version, Clause 27.1 with the following:

27.1 Cinq ans après la date d’entrée en vigueur de la présente loi, un examen approfondi de ses dispositions et de son application est fait par un comité soit du Sénat, soit de la Chambre des communes, soit mixte, que le Sénat, la Chambre des communes ou les deux chambres, selon le cas, désignent ou constituent à cette fin.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House again today to speak in support of Bill C-12. We are having this discussion at a time when Canada is warming at twice the global rate and the regions in our north are warming at three times the global rate. Meanwhile, Canada is a top-10 emitter of greenhouse emissions on an absolute basis and is firmly entrenched as a top-three contributor to emissions on a per capita basis.

We have signed on to agreements like Kyoto and Copenhagen and made commitments to lower our GHG emissions, but never followed through with the detailed measures that would be needed to meet them. Bill C-12 would change that by requiring transparency in the policies the federal government would bring in to mitigate climate change, as well as hold us accountable to meeting them. Bill C-12 would ensure that Canada follows through on our strengthened 2030 target of 40% to 45% below 2005 levels of emissions that were announced at the Leaders Summit on Climate, held on Earth Day earlier this year.

Bill C-12 would ensure that Canada is on a path to realize net-zero emissions by 2050 and that we can implement our strengthened climate plan that would cut our emissions and allow our economy to thrive in a low-carbon world. For that reason, I urge all colleagues in the House to join me in supporting this legislation, but members should not just take my word for it. They should listen to the calls from leading environmental NGOs in this country for the two Houses to swiftly pass Bill C-12. A recent letter co-signed by the Climate Action Network, the David Suzuki Foundation, Équiterre, Ecojustice and West Coast Environmental Law made that particular case. It is hard to believe that just a decade ago, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the member for Pontiac and I were each working for those latter three respective organizations.

The decade that was lost under former Prime Minister Harper, and the efforts described by some as cowardly or even as a pariah in the context of UN-led climate change negotiations, is a big reason we are here today. Climate accountability legislation is long overdue. Since Bill C-12 was first tabled, I have spoken with hundreds of constituents and dozens of organizations, both within and outside of my riding, that wanted to know more and had ideas for this legislation. People like Daniel Huot have reminded me as recently as today why it is important that people who represent the public are accountable for the commitments they make, and climate change is no different.

I have spoken with members of all parties about this legislation and I know there has been a tremendous amount of engagement with experts across the country since the first reading of this bill. There is proof that improvements have been made. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change stated that he was open to amendments that would strengthen this bill. His actions have shown that he was true to his word. I want to thank all members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for taking an already good bill and making it significantly better through a number of amendments. In particular, I want to thank the NDP for supporting the government on the majority of the amendments made at committee.

I also want to thank the Bloc Québécois for the amendments it proposed and for voting in favour of sending the bill back to the House.

In my speech at second reading, I raised a few key aspects of this legislation that needed to be strengthened for it to give the House and all Canadians confidence that this bill would hold the government to account sooner and allow for longer-term planning. Originally, this bill would not have required reporting on Canada's track to achieving 2030 targets until a 2026 report by the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development and a 2027 progress report by the government.

I argued that the progress reporting in this bill needed to occur sooner so that Canadians could judge with confidence whether our country was on track to meeting our commitments for 2030 and averting the greatest challenge the world faces. To that end, the bill has been amended to require the first progress report to be submitted no later than the end of 2023 and that another be submitted in 2025. Earlier and more frequent reporting will provide enough time to take corrective action, or to vote in a government that will deal with the climate emergency and meet our international responsibilities.

Bill C-12 has also been amended to require that any progress reporting related to 2030 must now include an update on the interim greenhouse gas emissions objective for 2026. This satisfies some people who were seeking a 2025 target. It also addresses a concern I had raised that, due to our federal structure, shared responsibility for policies related to climate and the need to consult and accommodate indigenous peoples would have collectively taken a year or more to go through. Setting a short-term target for 2025 would have made that difficult, and it may have also led us to make short-term changes to cut emissions at the expense of changes that may take longer to pay back, in terms of emissions reductions.

I also focused on the long term in my last speech. I argued that we should provide targets and plans looking five years in advance, as the original bill required, as well as look 10 to 15 years ahead to allow the government and the private sector to make the investments now that will get us to our medium-term goals and on course to get to net zero by 2050.

This will allow us to have what the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices calls the safe-bet solutions, which are based on existing technologies like electric vehicles, measures for methane reduction and home retrofits and will help us meet our near-term reductions, as well as to work on some of the wild cards, which are the high-risk, high-reward technologies that we need to get to net zero.

These breakthrough technologies include climate solutions like hydrogen. They can be game-changers in hard-to-abate areas like freight transport. For these technologies to do the heavy lifting to help us reach our medium- to longer-term decarbonization, we need to set the minds of our government to where we are going and also show the private sector where we are going, so that those investments are made today and so that those jobs are also created today.

The testimony I heard as part of my role on the Standing Committee on Natural Resources clearly underlined that this is the certainty that businesses are looking for. They also said it was critical to pair this with a steadily increasing stringency of measures like the clean fuel standard and the price on pollution that will make Canada a destination of choice for low-carbon investment. To this effect, the amendments to Bill C-12 have acknowledged this by requiring emissions targets to be set 10 years and a day in advance.

I want to run through a number of the other important changes as well.

The content of the reporting has been improved to require the inclusion of more detail in projections for annual emissions reductions by each economic sector, and also to show what additional measures could have been taken to better ensure that targets are met.

Amendments have also made it clear that the net-zero advisory body will be independent of government and will also have a role in target setting in addition to its role in meeting those targets. This body has already been set up, with a diverse and exceptional group of 14 experts, including several who have been highly critical of the government's efforts to date. Together they will provide wholly independent advice and annual reports to the minister, which the minister will have to respond to publicly.

In what may seem self-evident, another amendment will require that governments make progressively stronger greenhouse gas emissions targets and ensure that Canada's targets are at least as ambitious as the most recent nationally determined contribution communicated under the Paris Agreement. While these requirements may seem self-evident, they guarantee that our emissions targets do not stale and will instead ensure we achieve and maintain a position at the forefront of global climate action.

If my colleagues think that this piece of legislation, with the Bloc Québécois's amendment, does not go far enough to promote climate accountability, a review will be mandated within five years or less.

Ultimately, Bill C-12 will require the federal government to be ambitious with its climate action, to be transparent with Canadians about the measures it is taking, to be clear with how it could do more and to put them in the driver's seat to holding the government accountable to ensure that we do what we must to address the climate emergency.

I will conclude today with the following: Let us not let one party's intransigence on climate change derail our country for a decade, as it did before. Let us not make the same mistake again. Let us ensure that we deliver the climate action that the vast majority of Canadians want to see and let us pass climate accountability legislation today.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:45 p.m.
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Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I would like to hear his thoughts on greenhouse gas reduction targets. At the beginning of the parliamentary session, the Liberals' target was to achieve a reduction of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. In the budget, the government proposed a 36% reduction. On Earth Day, the target turned into a range of 40% to 50%. Not too long ago at the G7, the Prime Minister joined the other countries in aiming for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030.

In spite of all these targets—and no one quite knows which one we are aiming for—the government has not managed to put a figure in the bill. Since Kyoto in 2012, Canadian governments have been systematically incapable of meeting their targets.

Does my colleague truly believe that the current version of Bill C‑12 will help us meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets?

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. I think it is a good question, because we already have our work cut out for us if we want to hit our current target. We have to respect what science tells us to do.

Under our current plan, we can implement measures in this budget to reduce our emissions to 36% below 2005 levels. We have to do even more. I think this legislation will help because it will force the government to be transparent. Ultimately, that is what will help individuals support and encourage the government and make sure it does what it said it would do.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:45 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague is familiar with the recent work by the International Energy Agency in modelling what a pathway to net zero by 2050 would look like. Notably, that modelling calls for an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure this year. I wonder how he justifies the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline in the context of that pathway to 2050, especially given that the Prime Minister signed a communiqué at the G7 that specifically noted the IEA's pathway.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his question and his important work as part of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to get these important amendments passed.

Absolutely, the IEA report is an eye-opener. It is a report the Government of Canada asked the IEA to put together, along with a number of other nations. It makes some very important conclusions on the rate and speed of the transition we are already experiencing today. As my colleague mentioned, after this year there would not be a need for new exploration or new production going forward, which is going to cause some major changes in the way that energy is produced all around the world, including in Canada. That is something we need to take into account.

One of the things I mentioned in my speech earlier today was hydrogen, which could very much be a fuel of the future for some of the hard-to-abate areas I mentioned. Blue hydrogen and green hydrogen offer opportunities and are part of the picture of what our energy sector is going to look like into the future.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege and pleasure to speak tonight to this important bill. I am going to take a bit of a different slant on this.

As members know, I was first elected in 2019, so I am a relatively new member of this House. This period of time just before the session ends for the summer is a very busy time, as I understand. This is my first experience with it. It is the first time I have gotten to see the government trying to complete its agenda, which is kind of lagging. What I have been expecting is the very best the government has to offer to get its agenda through before the House rises for the summer.

My background, really briefly, is that I come from the accounting world, and specifically the management accounting area. Efficiency was one of the things I really focused on. I worked in a manufacturing plant and I helped people figure out the easiest way to do their job so that it required the least amount of labour and we could produce the best product, most efficiently, at the best price. Essentially, it is where I learned one of my mottoes, which is “Work smarter, not harder.”

As I have watched what has gone on here in the last couple of weeks from my lens, a relatively new lens, I have witnessed the exact opposite of efficiency. It has been quite fascinating. In fact, I imagine that when our Prime Minister was on his way back from his vacation trip to Europe a couple of weeks ago, he had to stop in a quarantine hotel like all other Canadians, except that he of course stayed in a special hotel that was close to his house and was only there for a few hours—but I digress. He probably would have called his government House leader to ask how things were going and how the legislation was coming along. Unfortunately, the government House leader would have had to give him the sad news that nothing had happened, that in fact everything had stalled out because of the many mistakes made by the government. In fact, everything was in chaos, as he could see if he looked at Bill C-30 or Bill C-10 or anything else.

As we look at this bill, the government House leader has denied many times that the Liberals are going to call an election shortly, saying it is the event that just is not going to happen. However, in April, on this bill, the Liberals seemed to suddenly realize that they needed to pass something, and that is where Bill C-12 came into the picture. They needed to pass something just in case the event that is not going to happen happens.

After months of inaction on this bill, suddenly there was a big panic. Why is the government willing to ram through a flawed bill just before the summer? It is just in case that event that is not going to happen happens. Of course, the Liberals could wait until September, but here we are instead. It is the last panic time before the event that is not going to happen happens. This is hypocritical, and it is very disrespectful to our democracy.

I want to look at Bill C-12 through my new eyes. I had a front-row seat to this bill because I am on the environment committee. I have been able to see this first-hand. One of the questions I was asking myself was, “How do we have success when creating a new law?” Of course, the first step is to write a good bill. When the minister came to our committee, the first thing he said was that he was open to amendments. I am assuming he said that because he knew that the bill was not well written and that it had many flaws.

He just opened the floodgates, because there were 114 amendments that came to committee, and 17 of those came from the government itself. The bill was only 10 pages long at that point. That is over 11 amendments per page, or four per clause. That is a lot of amendments. Those numbers alone should prove that this bill was flawed.

Every morning we are led in a prayer by the Speaker, and one of the lines in that prayer is “Grant us wisdom....to make good laws....” I cannot sit back and watch this law come into force. It is a bad law. The number of amendments also showed that this was true.

The second way that we could have success when creating a new law is to get feedback. There was a lot of feedback. There were 75 briefs received by the environment committee, which is great. A lot of Canadians put in a lot of hard work to write reports and provide information to the committee. The bad news is that only eight of those briefs were received before we started our study. That was because the study was jammed in. It was rushed into committee with a very short deadline.

That means that 67 briefs were received after we did our study. It means that the work of many Canadians was ignored, and the government was happy to ignore it. It was not particularly interested in listening to the views of people who submitted the briefs. It had a plan, an idea of what it wanted to accomplish, and that is what it was going to do.

The third way we could make sure to have success in creating a new bill is to let the committee do its work. The first thing the government did was make a deal with the NDP. It did not want the committee to get bogged down in any details of actually providing useful information. It wanted to be able to ram things through.

The Liberal-NDP coalition did exactly that. It rammed this bill through the committee. Almost every single vote at the committee was marked by the Liberal-NDP coalition. The Liberals and the NDP made no bones about their coalition.

The NDP member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley posted to his Twitter before the clause by clause started, “[T]he NDP will be proposing amendments that the government has agreed to support.... We have also jointly agreed to a number of other amendments.”

What was the practical result of this? The New Democrats and the Liberals fell silent. They did not ask questions. I am not even sure they read many of the amendments or even understood what they were. They had a plan. They just knew to vote for this and not vote for that. Therefore, it fell to the Conservatives and the Bloc MPs to scrutinize these amendments. As for me, I asked reasoned and thoughtful questions of the departmental experts as to the consequences of certain amendments, but the problem was that there were 114 amendments, as I said.

As I also mentioned, the government put forward 17 of its own amendments. That means that on 17 separate occasions, the minister messed up drafting the bill and he needed his MPs to fix it. That is like us buying a new car, driving it off the lot and just as we are leaving, the salesman says he has scheduled 17 appointments for us to come back for maintenance because the dealer messed up and there are a bunch of problems with the car. Therefore, we drive it off the lot, go back tomorrow and the dealer starts fixing it. It makes no sense.

The Liberals and the New Democrats on the committee were only interested in their amendments. They refused to engage with us on our amendments. To prove my point, there was kind of a funny example.

Subsection 7(4) of the original bill required that the minister would set national targets five years in advance. The government and NDP wanted to change that to 10 years in advance. The problem was the Greens put forward an identical amendment and because they got there first, we dealt with their amendment first.

As was the practice of the government and the NDP members, they did not want to support anyone else's amendments and certainly not the Greens'. Therefore, the Green amendment was voted on and was rejected. Next up was the government amendment that was literally identical. The chair, rightly so, ruled that it was inadmissible because we had just dealt with this at committee and we had decided not to proceed with it. That was a big problem. Everybody wanted to vote for that second one because the members actually wanted the amendment. However, I do not think they read the first one from the Greens, which was the same, and they did not realize they had just voted down, essentially, their own amendment.

In the end, after a very long discussion and a lot of time wasted, the government members finally realized that instead of saying 10 years, they could say “9 years 366 days”, which was different enough to get it passed. I found that quite humorous, that the government members were not able to accomplish this.

I have an amendment that was read tonight, and it is in a section of the bill referring to the work of the advisory body, specifically the annual report that it has to submit. My amendment would require that the minister make the annual report public and, further, that the minister publicly respond to this report. It would require the government to actually take action, which is something we all know the Liberals are quite allergic to. The Liberals tried to make an amendment on this section at committee, but theirs was sloppy and it left the legislation in very bad shape.

Essentially, the Liberal-NDP amendment added words but it did not remove redundant words, so the bill as it is written right now makes no sense in that section. It still includes a long sentence that should not be there and it starts with a partial word. It just does not make a whole lot of sense. My amendment allows that wording to make sense again.

The Green Party put forward some really good amendments. The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands was quite frustrated at committee. I want to quote her because it is quite telling. She said:

I have to say that this is the most dispiriting process of clause-by-clause that I've experienced in many years. Usually amendments are actually considered, people actually debate them and there is a good-faith process....

I condemn this government for what it has done: for telling people like me, who believed in good faith that there would be an actual appetite for change to improve the bill and who accepted it and prepared amendments, only to show up here and watch Liberals stay mute, the NDP stay mute and march through their amendments, passing them in force, and not listening and not caring about the possibility that other amendments might work.

What happens when there is a flawed committee process? Flawed legislation results. Bill C-12 is flawed legislation.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I have some interesting numbers here. In recent weeks, the International Energy Agency clearly stated that achieving net zero by 2050 means reducing global oil production by 50% by 2040 and by 75% by 2050.

The government made it clear in this bill that it wants to achieve net zero by 2050. However, its own projections and those of Natural Resources Canada indicate that oil and gas production in this country will continue to increase until 2045. In 2045, we will produce even more than we produced in 2019. Considering those numbers and the current version of the bill, does the member think Canada will achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets?

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, what we have to understand is that right in the numbers she provided there will be oil and gas used in the world for many years to come. I want to ensure that Canada is the country producing and supplying that oil and gas to the world.

We have some of the toughest rules when it comes to human rights, labour policies and environmental legislation. We do not want oil that will be produced in the world to come from jurisdictions where they do not have the tight and very difficult rules we have. That is clearly what we want, and Canada can lead the world in that way.

We also have to remember that our oil and gas producers are very good with technology, and they are developing new technology all the time, which reduces the carbon footprint of our own gas production. Through technology and good legislation, we can be leaders in the world and we can produce the oil and gas that the world will need for many decades to come.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

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

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank colleagues on the environment committee for the work they did, at least those who collaborated on the bill. The outcome is really a testament to their hard work on behalf of Canadians.

For my colleague who just spoke, I am looking for a very simple yes or no on this. Does he believe global warming is a fact and that human beings are the primary cause of that phenomena? If he does believe in it, what will he do to get his Conservative colleagues, who still are on the fence or outright deny global warming, to realize the facts and reality on the issue?

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, yes, global warming is real and yes, we need to do something about it. It is not other politicians that need to be convinced of this, it is people. Where people struggle sometimes with this, is the fact that many of the proposed solutions to this point will affect them deeply. They are going to take away their jobs. They are going to take away their livelihood. They are going to take away things that they are used to. That is why we have to be smart in how we do this. We cannot simply outlaw things without proper solutions to replace them with.

It is incumbent upon us as leaders to ensure that we have the tools in place to reduce our greenhouse footprint, absolutely, but we need to do it in a way that does not get rid of jobs, does not throw people into poverty, that allows people to live their lives, but do it in a better and more environmentally friendly way.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

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

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, with the introduction of Bill C-12, the government indicated it would collaborate with all parties to ensure an agreed upon make up of the advisory board, which is fairly central to the effectiveness of this net-zero legislation.

However, during initial debate on the bill, I asked the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for more details about the potential make up and powers of the advisory board, at which point he proudly shared that the advisory board members had already been appointed.

I would like the member to elaborate on the fact that, again, this shows the lack of true commitment to working within the House with all members of Parliament to bring forward the best bill and the best results to the advisory board.

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?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 10:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her work on this bill.

However, I have to say that, in Bill C‑215, the Bloc Québécois was fine with a target that was 30% below Canada's 2005 greenhouse gas emissions. Our government voted against that inadequate target and went well beyond what the Bloc suggested. During the climate summit hosted by the U.S., we announced a new reduction target that would bring us to between 40% and 45% below 2005 levels. That is good news for members of the House of Commons and for all Canadians.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 10:45 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague and friend for his speech. We sit on the all-party climate caucus together.

He talked a lot about what the government has been doing and gave a long list of important work that needs to happen regarding climate mitigation. The government touts the nature legacy program budget that it just rolled out of $2.3 billion over five years, but in comparison, it is spending $17 billion on the Trans Mountain pipeline. That is seven times what it is spending on conservation financing. We know that many indigenous communities are looking for financing for indigenous-protected areas to protect ancient old growth and estuaries and watersheds, which are critical to wild salmon, as we know. Does my colleague not agree that there is an imbalance here and that the government needs to invest quickly?

Yesterday a constituent of mine, Zan Callison, a young activist, noted the sense of urgency when it comes to protecting these critical ecosystems. Does my colleague not agree that we need to do more and urgently?

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 10:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague, in all sincerity, for his passion on this issue. It was a pleasure, as he pointed out, serving on that committee with him.

The one thing I will say is that we need to do more and we are doing more. I am unbelievably proud of the record investments that we have put in place, and not just for climate mitigation. There is also the billions of dollars, including $4 billion in this most recent budget, to protect nature and ensure that we can reach the target of protecting 25% of our nature by 2025. This is not just a climate issue. We also need to protect these areas for species at risk and to ensure that we are leaving these areas for future generations of Canadians—

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 10:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure tonight to rise again in the House as the member for Calgary Centre and speak for perhaps the last time in this Parliament, if we hear what the government is saying correctly, which is that the Liberals are probably going to the polls at the end of this summer, but that is for another night.

I would like to speak tonight about Bill C-12, an act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

I remember when the bill first came before Parliament. We did our jobs as parliamentarians. We read the bill and we looked at the bill, and a lot of us supported the bill because of what it represented, but we did our job as opposition parliamentarians, not just as parliamentarians on the government side. We looked at it and said that we have to pick our spots here about what we criticize, what we work with the government on and how we move these advances forward.

When the bill was introduced, I looked at its words and what it seemed to indicate as its intent: to hold governments accountable for reaching assigned climate change targets. All things considered, how could I not support government accountability?

Frankly, it is the absolute greatest failure of the government for the past six years. “Accountability” is not a word that seems to be understood by this weak government.

Let us talk about accountability in this debate on the environment. In the Liberals' six years in government, we have seen six increases in greenhouse emissions. We have seen more and more failed experiments through misguided interventions, and I note the excess spending in the department and in contracts with so many self-interested non-governmental organizations. Billions of excess spending went out the door to unaccountable, connected organizations that are accomplishing nothing but are being very well paid in the process.

Let us look at another example of virtue over objectives and results. Let us talk about two billion trees. How long ago did the government promise two billion trees? This year it is saying that this year it will actually plant 30 million trees. That is pretty good, but if we think about how many trees Canada actually has, we realize that it is hundreds of billions. This is a very small measurement, and it is accomplishing next to nothing. This is something that is more virtue over results. We actually need some results on the environment, and we need to get there as quickly as possible with some real programs.

At first reading, I stood and supported the bill because it provided an accountability mechanism for a misleading, unaccomplished government. The veil came off that pretty quickly. The bill allows the Minister of Environment to appoint 14 representatives to a net-zero advisory board. They were already appointed prior to this legislation even being passed by the House, and it still has another House to go. The minister already has all his people picked out and put there, but it is also quite a power amassment by the Minister of Environment. Let us look at what he has done with his last power grab. Under the Impact Assessment Act, effectively he is the decider of every project that happens in Canada right now, whether or not it is provincial or federal jurisdiction.

This is something that is continuous. It is very clear that the minister is trying to get more and more decision-makers involved with his department and that he wants to make all the decisions for the government unilaterally. This is not the way Canada has been governed.

This board was constituted before the legislation even existed. It is a good thing that we took a good look at who is on the board. I will just go through one of the people, and I fully confess that I know two of the members on the board. I worked with them before, and they are actually pretty good members. However, I do not think two out of 14 are necessarily going to be holding the boat. There are some who seem to be quite obstructionist, so to speak, and the result is going to speak for itself at some point in time when the board comes to a conflict.

The executive director, Catherine Abreu of the Climate Action Network, is one of the appointees. What is her skill? She is an award-winning campaigner. That is fantastic. A campaigner is on a government-appointed board now.

Ms. Abreu believes we need to manage the swift decline of Canada's oil and gas industry, which is Canada's biggest industry, Canada's biggest contributor to taxes and Canada's biggest employer. That is great. We are just going to manage the swift decline of that industry rather than work with it to find out how we actually reduce carbon emissions. That is a good move.

What is this organization the Climate Action Network? It is a coalition of more than 100 organizations, including Clean Energy Canada, which all these others seem to collect around, and for some reason they need to fund an organization that oversees them. Who are they funded by? They are funded by each of the non-governmental organizations that is also funded by the government. It is a big circle of money pooling around, and eventually the taxpayer pays for it all, but let us follow the money. Environment and Climate Change Canada is the funder of many of these organizations. For a government department to spend tens of millions of dollars over budget and tens of millions of dollars more on external contracts for consultants is an embarrassment. This is where the money is going. It is all connected friends who are being paid in this process.

This reminds me of last summer and the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery: that bold environmental initiative from summer 2020. Of course, we cannot find a record of what it did or why it recommended what it did, but quite famously 15 individuals from 15 government-funded organizations came together quickly in the midst of a pandemic to not let this opportunity pass. “This opportunity” was the pandemic and people dying, because thousands of people died to allow them to move their agenda forward.

Those are scary comments. Parliament was shut down. Canadians were locked down. Were there meetings with these 15 organizations and these 15 individuals? Was external input sought? Did the Canadian economy or Canadian society participate in this report or these meetings? What about health care workers, teachers, businessmen, engineers, farmers, processors, technologists, workers, legalists and indigenous organizations? There was no input whatsoever. It was actually a whitewash of one professor's academic pursuit.

Stewart Elgie, of the Smart Prosperity Institute, drove it forward with one document. Who were some of the other partners in this? I will read them off: the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Efficiency Canada, the Transition Accelerator, the Institute for Sustainable Finance, Clean Energy Canada, Environmental Defence Canada, Corporate Knights, the Stockholm Environment Institute, Environment and Climate Change Canada, again funding itself, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the Broadbent Institute. As well, a number of other institutes that are all funded by government come together here under the helm of none other than Gerald Butts: that beacon of transparent, democratic government.

If we look closely enough at all these organizations we will see significant overlap in boards, management and mandate. They love government money. Therefore, another circle of government-funded organizations gathered together to recommend more government spending on their initiatives. Members should not look for the report. It is not available, but we can see its recommendations, sometimes word for word and billion dollars for billion dollars, in the last throne speech and in this year's budget. It is government policy by a highly paid, self-interested Star Chamber. This is democracy under the current Liberal government. Are conflicts disclosed? They are not at all.

Bill C-12 proposes to ensconce this unaccountable, self-interested, conflicted decision-making body as an instrument in Canada's environmental decision-making. Indeed, some members of this board were involved in the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery. “Thanks for the deceitful work,” says the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, “Canadians will thank you with an endless stream of unaccountable funds.”

Bill C-12, supposedly about accountability of government, is in fact a removal of accountability of government. Members should follow the money. The government's friends are getting more expensive.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 10:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Madam Speaker, I would like to say to the member that Catherine Abreu was here in Nova Scotia and doing excellent work for the environment for a number of years. When I was an MLA for 10 years, I was very impressed with her knowledge.

Does the member actually know what her background is, or is he just choosing her out of a hat to make fun of for some particular reason?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 10:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, that was a strange question. This is not fun. I did not pick her name out of a hat. I am only reporting what was said in the paper about the person's qualifications and why she stood to be on this board. I do not know where she is coming from that. I know there was a reason she was picked to be on the board. I know what she said in public, as far as the Canadian economy goes, and I know she has been involved very much in trying to end one of the economic engines of the Canadian economy without accountability.

That is what is wrong with the government, frankly. It is the lack of accountability.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 10:55 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. The Liberals keep saying that they listen to scientists and experts, but they gave the committee just a few hours to hear from witnesses, including scientists and environmentalists who came to talk to us about the issue, what needs to be done, why there is a climate emergency and the importance of having a climate act. In other words, that is a bit rich coming from them.

I know the Conservatives really did their part in the debates. I would like to know what they would have liked to see in Bill C‑12 that would have made it more transparent, as the title suggests, more binding, and more demanding of accountability from whichever government is in power after the promulgation of a climate act like the one Bill C‑12 will become.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 10:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia for her question. It is a good question. I am still looking for the bill's raison d'être and trying to understand why it is before Parliament now. Given its contents, I do not know why it is before Parliament, because it does nothing for the environment. I think we need to do better for the environment. We need to do something better for our future.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, one of my favourite points of entertainment in the House of Commons has been watching the member for Calgary Centre argue with the Minister of Natural Resources about which party is more committed to oil and gas. The hon. member talked about accountability. The bill would work to establish an advisory board, which he referenced, that was supposed to have a mandate for review of the government's progress.

Specifically which measures of accountability would the member like to see to ensure the industry is held accountable for climate change?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11 p.m.
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Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, accountability is about the whole country being accountable, including the oil and gas industry, so I do appreciate the member's question, particularly as it relates to the Minister of Natural Resources on that side of the House.

We need to set targets here. We need to force targets and regulatory targets about how we will reduce carbonization in our economy going forward, which applies to all industries.

The thing about our natural resource industry is that it has been the most successful at decarbonizing so far. We need to continue on that trend. One company in my riding reduced its carbon footprint by 18% over the past four years. That is significant progress. Show me another company or another industry in the country where we are reducing our carbon footprint by 4.5% a year and we will all be successful in this effort.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, if people are interested in my speech, I invite them to read Gooderham and Nathan, from which I drew inspiration.

Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing? Not in Canada it seems. The increase in Canada's oil sands production is not compatible with the objective of attaining net zero. On the one hand, the report entitled “Canada's Energy Future 2020”, published by Canada Energy Regulator, does not mention any future changes in Canada's policy and plan that would limit the increase in the oil production forecast. On the other hand, the government plan, entitled “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy” and an annex released on December 11, 2020, contain no commitment to stop increasing oil sands production, which should continue until 2045, according to the regulator's report.

The government and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change remained silent for more than six months after the report was released. They made no comments about how to reconcile Canada's current plans to increase oil sands operations and achieving net zero by 2050.

As members know, the oil and gas industries are the main source of greenhouse gas emissions growth in Canada. The more they increase, the longer it will take to reverse the trend and the higher the annual greenhouse gas emissions elimination rate will have to be after 2050, if we want to one day achieve net-zero emissions. All of the risks, losses and suffering will be passed on to future generations in exchange for our own immediate financial gain.

One really troubling aspect of the Canada Energy Regulator's report is that it does not contain any analyses or findings to inform Canadians about the future levels of oil sands extraction consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5° temperature goal. However, similar studies are common and achievable. Such a study would provide a reliable, tangible assessment of the future levels of oil sands production in a world that has committed to avoid a more than 1.5°C rise in global warming.

A recent example of such a study, dating back to late 2019, is the International Energy Agency's sustainable development scenario. It is even more important to have this kind of information on Canada's future oil production given the International Energy Agency's new net-zero by 2050 scenario, which is also set out in Bill C‑12.

What direction does the government intend to take with regard to Canadian production? That is important to know. The Government of Canada's remarkable claim that the oil and gas industries' greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced to 138 tonnes by 2030 has not been confirmed by any data analysis disclosed to the public. None of Canada's successive biannual reports have ever suggested that a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of this magnitude could be achieved by 2050. That means that everything is being done to mislead the population and give people false assurances.

I want to quote someone that I admire who passed away a long time ago. He was a great Quebec premier named René Lévesque. He said, “The task of real democrats is to ensure that the people are evermore up-to-date, educated and informed on their own interests.” That is what true democracy is, but we fall far short of that.

The reality is that, over the years, Canada has become a slacker on the international stage. Lord Deben, chairman of the U.K. climate change committee, said that Canada needed a constant reminder, nothing less. We need to hammer the reality home and highlight, relentlessly, what climate change denial leads to, as well as the negative economic effects that result from this willful blindness. Canada must fully grasp how its behaviour and climate inaction affect other countries around the world. We Matter. That is transparency.

Why is Lord Deben talking about climate inaction? Let us recap: On December 12, 2011, Canada became the first country to withdraw from the Kyoto protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which it had signed in 1997 and which came into effect in 2005. Canada had to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels. At least, at the time, we referenced the right year, 1990, and not 2005, as the current government is doing and as did the previous Conservative government, with the result that Canadian emissions only went down 1.5% since 2005.

By 2015, lots of Quebeckers and Canadians had lost faith in the Harper government on the climate question, so they tried their luck with the current Prime Minister, who promised to make fighting climate change a priority. That illusion was shattered, especially when the Prime Minister decided to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion.

The first Liberal sleight of hand involved the Prime Minister stating that the profits would be invested in renewable energy projects, making the pipeline key to the transition. Unfortunately, the price tag for Trans Mountain and its expansion has climbed to over $12.6 billion. There will be no profits. Essentially, the government decided to invest in fossil fuels rather than green technology, and taxpayers are paying the price, period.

Now for the Liberals' second sleight of hand in the fight against climate change. They want to sell us green oil, so they will try to persuade us that they are supporting clean, green hydrogen. The thing is, hydrogen is made from natural gas. It is blue hydrogen. It comes from natural gas, which is a fossil fuel, and that is what we need to avoid. In essence, the Canadian strategy's only purpose is to find new markets for western oil.

They also want to make us believe that we will reduce emissions with carbon capture, use and storage technologies. However, when carbon is captured and then injected into oil wells to extend their life, this does not reduce emissions, it increases them.

Finally, the third sleight of hand involves trees. The government is going to plant two billion trees by 2030 in order to continue operating the oil sands at the same time. Two billion trees will result in a total reduction of 30 megatonnes by 2030. Trans Mountain will result in 620 additional megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. We can easily do the math.

The government now claims that the trees would remove two million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year. I am not a botanist, but how can trees that may not have reached maturity capture a significant amount of carbon?

I find it interesting because when we look at the Department of Natural Resources projections for the growing Canada's forests program, we see that the majority of the two billion trees will be planted in 2028, 2029 and 2030. So far, 30 million trees have been planted. At this rate, it will take 65 years to keep the Liberals' 2019 election promise. Of course planting trees is a good thing, but can we rely on that alone to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Let us be serious.

Canada's climate policy is underwhelming. Canada's climate governance is lacking and will continue to be, with or without Bill C‑12. Forecasts indicate that oil and gas production will continue to increase until at least 2040, and this is not compatible with combatting climate change.

Bill C‑12 was drafted and designed in such a way as to have no effect whatsoever on the Liberal government's plan. The Liberals are going to do some things, but it will not be enough because they are squandering all of the positive actions by continuing to subsidize fossil fuels at the same time.

My colleagues will ask me why the Bloc supports the bill, and my answer is simple. We support the objective of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and enshrining this objective in law is essentially what Bill C‑12 seeks to achieve.

We support the bill, but let us not kid ourselves. Quite frankly, saying we will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 is not revolutionary. That is the target set out in the Paris Agreement, which we ratified in 2016. We can never say it enough: To achieve net-zero emissions, we must first reach global peaking of emissions, and Canada is not on track to do its fair share to quickly reach that target.

The Liberals should talk a little less about 2050 and a little more about 2030. Quebeckers can count on the Bloc Québécois to monitor the situation and stay on top of this government's actions. We will not let the Prime Minister continue to wave his Liberal magic wand to make us believe that green oil exists. The Prime Minister is a great defender of greenwashing because green oil does not exist and never will.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:10 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I agree with almost everything the member has said. Given where we are at as a planet, given where we are at as a country, given the challenge in front of us and given all the things we have discussed this evening in this debate, where does she find hope?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, who serves with me on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Where do I find hope? I actually have a hard time finding hope. I do manage to find it, however, in groups like Mothers Step In, where women and mothers join forces to stand up for their children and grandchildren. I find it in those kinds of groups, in those ordinary citizens who fight day in and day out, who take action every day for the environment. I find it in my colleagues here in the House, in the speeches we give, the questions we ask and the efforts we make to push this country to live up to the agreements it signs left and right.

The government needs to stop with the grandstanding and start taking real action.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I would first like to commend and congratulate my colleague from Repentigny on her superb speech, which was passionate and full of conviction. I take my hat off to her.

Some people want to defend the industry by saying that it has some positive spinoffs.

What does my colleague have to say to them?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Joliette.

Speaking of hope, when I see how my colleague from Joliette defends his files, it always fills me with hope.

I found some very interesting data on the socio-economic benefits that the industry is always boasting about. An environmental engineer and professor at Université Laval, who is also an expert on pollution, said that over the past 20 years, as production and emissions reached unprecedented heights, the industry slashed jobs to cut costs, and public revenue from royalties and taxes dropped precipitously.

We must not fall for the arguments served up by the industry. There is another side to the coin.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her support for a Conservative amendment to Bill C-12, which would deal with issues around electrification and transport. I know the member cares deeply about that. In fact, she was able to get an electric vehicle study from which I learned quite a lot.

Both the Liberals and NDP made a number of amendments, but most of the amendments already fell within the scope of the bill. It just prescribed exactly how the minister would do something. Most of them offer very little. For example, the NDP talks about the interim objective assessment in 2026. Even the minister tried to pass it off as a milestone.

Would the member give us her thoughts on whether these amendments would do anything further? What does she think of the government's attempts at transparency and accountability in the legislation?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, who also serves with me on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

According to the expert who appeared before the committee, it is quite clear that an objective is not a target. If a party that claims to advocate for the environment and says it wants to rely on science thinks that it is doing the right thing by setting a 2026 interim objective, well, it is not. The government expert made it very clear that an objective is not a target.

Amendments were proposed to improve transparency and to make the law binding, but they were all rejected.

As I said a few hours ago, we have a race ahead of us and we have no choice but to run it, but our running shoes have no laces.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:15 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, as this is likely my last chance to speak in this session, I wanted to take a moment to thank my team in Ottawa: James Hammond, Justin Vossenberg, Zhenglin Liu and Nick Watts; and at home, in beautiful northwest B.C., Eric Holdjik, Adelle Jonker, Josh McLeod, Ben Tassell and Enya Watson. Their hard work over the past year, and I know all members understand what I am talking about, in the challenging conditions of the pandemic has been exemplary and is deeply appreciated.

I also want to recognize my amazing colleague, the member for Victoria, and her legislative assistant Alicia Tiffin for their hard work on the bill we are discussing this evening.

In my remarks earlier this evening, I talked about the various aspects of accountability in the bill and the hope that those parts would work together to hold the federal government to account in the future. The stakes are exceptionally high on this issue, so admittedly it is difficult to accept what is an imperfect bill. To be frank, we do not yet know if it will do the job but we cannot afford the time it would take to do it over again. We must move forward.

It is important to note that Bill C-12 would provide a system for tracking action, but is not action itself, and concerted action carried out with the urgency this moment demands has been the missing ingredient in Canada for the past 30 years or more. We need action on electrifying transportation and expanding transit; action on retrofitting Canada's buildings; action on low-carbon manufacturing and industrial processes; action on clean power generation and transmission infrastructure; action on nature-based solutions; action on smart and sustainable community land use; action Canadians can see, touch and feel; and, most important, action at a pace and scale that matches the crisis before us.

If the bill passes into law, we will await the emissions reduction plan that will be required within six months. The contents of that plan, not this bill we are debating tonight, will determine whether Canada is serious about reaching its targets and doing its part to mitigate runaway climate change. Canadians, particularly young Canadians, will be watching to see if we are sincere about the climate emergency that was declared in this place just two years ago.

Seth Klein, in his compelling new book A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, talks about the need to mobilize our country around climate in a way that has not been seen since the Second World War. In his book, he lists four markers that indicate a government has shifted into emergency mode: first, it spends what it takes to win; second, it creates new economic institutions to get the job done; third, it shifts from voluntary incentives to mandatory measures; and fourth, and most important, it tells the truth about the severity of the crisis and it communicates a sense of urgency about the measures that will be necessary.

Looking at the past year and a half, we can see this emergency mindset at work in Canada's response to the pandemic, and this is something Mr. Klein notes in his book, but we have yet to see it on the climate issue. Sadly, the approaches to date have been tentative, not transformational. It is clear we need to do much more and we need to it rather quickly now.

I want to talk about an important aspect of our climate action future, and that is the need for a just transition. With the recently announced targets in this bill, we bump into an uncomfortable truth, the elephant in the room at the heart of Canada's climate predicament, and that is emissions from oil and gas, which have been rising faster than any other sector in Canada.

Between 1990 and 2019, emissions from this sector grew 87%. Paul Fauteux worked for the federal government as a diplomat and a senior official from 1980 to 2010. He directed Canada's climate change bureau and he led the Canadian delegation in the negotiations on the implementation of the Kyoto protocol.

At committee, I asked Mr. Fauteux why he thought successive federal governments had posted such dismal results when it came to action. This is what he said:

...Canada's climate policy has had, in effect, in reality, as a main objective, the protection of Canada's oil and gas industry. It has not been truly designed to protect the climate. The proof of that is that after all of these years of climate policy, emissions keep going up. Emissions from oil and gas in particular keep going up.

Last month, the International Energy Association, that granola-crunching think tank founded in 1974 by noted leftist Richard Nixon, laid this out very bluntly. In modelling the pathway to net zero by 2050, the IEA asserted that the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure needs to cease this year. That is a stark statement. Just this past Saturday, the Prime Minister endorsed the communiqué of the G7 that explicitly notes the IEA's pathway.

The fourth marker of a climate emergency mindset is telling the truth about the severity of the crisis and communicating a sense of urgency about the measures that are going to be necessary. We need the Prime Minister and his cabinet to be honest with Canadians about how they plan to reconcile the widening gap between what Canada is doing and what it must do.

Of all the Canadians who deserve the truth, workers in the oil and gas sector top that list. Clean energy does create jobs, a lot of jobs, but in some places and in some times, a rapid transition is likely to affect workers, and they deserve a government that tells them the truth and has their backs with a just transition.

I still feel relatively new in this place, and I have been reflecting over the past several hours on our adversarial system, and not only the results it produces but the way it sometimes pits parties against each other even in matters on which there is broad agreement. It seems to me that climate should be an issue of such grave concern that we somehow find a way to transcend that to come together, and I suppose that if the bill before us passes tonight at the eleventh hour, we can claim to have done so in at least some small measure.

Among its weaknesses, the original bill had strengths too, and that is not something I mentioned earlier. Many of the amendments that the Green Party and the Bloc brought to committee reflected our desire to make this legislation much stronger, and while I did not agree that Conservative amendments strengthened the bill, I appreciate that they are at long last grappling with the climate question in a much more serious way.

In a minority Parliament, the opportunity is to work across party lines to create agreement that can enjoy the majority support of the House, yet when that occurs, it is so often framed as backdoor deals or an “unholy alliance”, in the words of one parliamentary secretary yesterday. The fact is that the NDP did work in good faith with the government to explore the potential for strengthening the bill. We are guilty as charged. A bunch of the ideas we brought forward are now reflected in the bill, and to their credit, our colleagues in the Bloc voted for all them, if I recall correctly.

I have a brief story to finish my remarks.

Bill 41 was a piece of provincial legislation in my home province of British Columbia. It became the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, a much-needed and long overdue piece of legislation. There were a lot of questions and vigorous debate over the course of its passage through the legislature. However, when the B.C. government brought forward its Bill 41 for a final vote in the legislature in Victoria, it was carried unanimously by all three parties in the House and every single MLA. What a statement about the importance of indigenous rights to the future of our province.

With the recent vote, the bill before us now has amendments from every party in the House. Each of our parties has conveyed to Canadians that climate is an issue of urgent importance. Imagine the message it would send if we all stood together in this place tonight and carried the bill unanimously. That is my hope, and I hope too that the bill marks a turning point in Canada's effort to tackle the climate crisis. Years from now, let us look back at this point and say, “It was not perfect, but we stood together and we got it done.”

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I certainly appreciate the member, being a fellow British Columbian, and I know that he is quite passionate about this issue and cares deeply about his constituents. I also appreciate his efforts on the environment committee to reach out, as he said.

One of the things that the member spoke about earlier was carbon budgets. The reason I raise carbon budgets is that this is a subject that was raised at committee for amendments by the Green Party. However, the member did not propose carbon budgets at committee, nor did he support the Green Party's amendments to even hit the floor to have a discussion about it. It was also something we heard about from multiple witnesses.

I would just like an explanation from the member. He says he supports carbon budgets, yet when the opportunity came up for him to support even the discussion of this idea at committee, he did not do that. Could he please give the House his rationale?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:25 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, my recollection is that carbon budgets were ruled inadmissible at committee, because they fell outside the scope of the original legislation.

Carbon budgets is a concept that we very much support. It is something that we brought to the government in our conversations around amending the bill. We are disappointed, frankly, that the government did not choose to take that path. However, it is what it is. I hope that the approach the government is taking will prove effective.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for supporting my Bill C-230 in the environment committee yesterday.

The member is correct in the fact that we need to work together. Canadians want to see us work together. What does the member say about telling parties when they are doing the right thing and supporting that, as opposed to playing political games, which seems to happen quite a bit in politics?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:25 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her work. Her bill on environmental racism is a big step forward. I was really proud to speak to it and support it at the environment committee.

If I had the answer to her question, I would share it with all. A lot of Canadians get dismayed at partisanship at its worst. At its best, it has something to contribute. Every now and then, we come together because something is so important to the future that we all see it, crystal clear. I am hoping that the predicament facing our climate is one of those things.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:30 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.

My Conservative colleague beat me to it, because I had the exact same question.

Earlier, the member was completely outraged that the government was not going ahead with the carbon budget, but when the Green Party proposed an amendment to that effect, he voted against it. I do not recall if it was ruled out of order, but we all remember that the NDP voted against it, and I do not know why. Perhaps it was because they voted against all amendments brought forward by the Green Party and the Bloc Québécois. He says one thing and does the opposite. He just said that the Bloc Québécois amendments would have helped improve this bill, but he voted against them.

I wonder what the government promised the NDP to get them to sign a blank cheque like that.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:30 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, there was no blank cheque provided. There was a conversation about what we hoped to see as improvements to the bill, things that would strengthen the bill. In fact, we went into those conversations with many of the same concepts and ideas that the Bloc and the Greens brought forward.

The reality is that some of the amendments that were brought forward would have cancelled out other amendments that we hoped to support later on. The committee process is a complex one.

At the end of the day, we have a bill that is stronger than it was before. That is the important thing. I am hopeful that it will be effective in holding governments to account.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:30 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour and privilege to rise today to speak to Bill C-12 on behalf of Green Party members across Canada and the constituents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith, which is on the unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-As, Stz'uminus and Lyackson First Nations. I would like to thank the voters in Nanaimo—Ladysmith for putting their confidence in me.

People in my riding see the impacts of climate change and are deeply concerned about the future of our children and grandchildren. I was born and raised on Vancouver Island. I also see the impacts. I see the changes to our local ecosystem. The drought months stretch into winter. Trees more than 100 years old are dying from lack of moisture. August in southern B.C. is now commonly referred to as “Smogust” because of the thick smoke from wildfires that blankets the province. I do not ever remember being unable to go outdoors because of the smoke when I was younger, except for the year Mount Saint Helens erupted. The climate is changing and we are not doing enough to mitigate it and prepare for it.

Two years ago, on June 18, 2019, this House voted to declare that we were in a climate emergency. Eighteen months after that emergency declaration, the government tabled Bill C-12, a bill so hollow it appeared to be an attempt to fool the Canadian public into believing that real action was going to be taken on the climate crisis. Where is the accountability in this act, a series of reports that show progress or lack of progress toward targets? If the electorate do not like the progress that is being made or the lack thereof, it can vote the government out. As Greta Thunberg said, “net zero by 2050 is surrender”. Without tough near-term targets, we're abandoning our children and grandchildren to an unlivable world.

The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands offered to connect the environment minister with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. It could have helped ensure this was a meaningful bill, comparable to the U.K.'s climate budget law. She offered to connect the minister with James Shaw, the climate change minister in New Zealand, who just implemented a series of comprehensive plans to combat climate change. She suggested climate scientists who could testify at the committee. The minister did not want advice from any of these experts.

Why was the advisory body appointed before this bill went to committee? Perhaps because the advisory body is one of the great weaknesses of this bill. It should be an expert body made up of climate scientists, but it is not.

Bill C-12 has been mishandled. It was introduced in November, languished until March without debate and then languished again until May. Much of the expert feedback on Bill C-12 was provided to MPs when it was too late to bring forward amendments. This made a mockery of the process. There was no testimony from climate scientists, no youth spoke to the committee and not a single indigenous witness was heard. How often can the Liberals say they did not have time to consult indigenous peoples while also claiming that Bill C-12 respects UNDRIP?

Bill C-12 lacks a 2025 milestone, which was established in the COP decision document Canada signed in Paris. All the experts agree that 2030 is too late. The NDP-Liberal amendment for a 2026 interim GHG emissions goal is not a milestone year; it only provides a window to review progress or the lack of progress.

Why did the government reject the Green Party amendment for the plans and targets to be based on the best available science? The Liberals and NDP were so determined to block Green Party amendments that they voted down one that had the same language as the next government amendment, which meant that amendment was also defeated. After an hour of wasting time scrambling around for a solution to get that wording back into the bill, the government came up with this. It states:

The Minister must set each subsequent national greenhouse gas emissions target at least 9 years 366 days before the beginning of the milestone year to which it relates.

It does not say 10 years, as the Green Party amendment stated, but 10 years plus one day. This incident was one example of partisan posturing at its worst. The Liberals are trying to blame the Greens for slowing down the bill, but let us be clear. The delays were due to the scheduling of the bill by the Liberals.

As the end of the session approached, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands asked for nine of her amendments to be withdrawn to assist the committee with completing clause-by-clause. The Conservatives did the same. They were going to get voted against anyway. Throughout this process the Greens put climate first. The Liberals and NDP cannot say the same.

Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act, will not hold the current government, the next government or the government after that to account for emissions reductions.

The so-called accountability in the act is no different from the accountability that exists today: If Canadians do not like the government's actions, they can vote the government out in the next election. The climate emergency demands the kind of accountability that is enduring and not subject to the whims of politics.

Canada needs to follow the example of the U.K., which established a carbon budget law that binds successive governments to emissions targets and holds them accountable, eliminating politics from climate action. The U.K. has reduced emissions by 42% over 1990 levels. Collectively, the 27 countries of the European Union have reduced their emissions by 25% since 1990. Shamefully, Canada's current emission levels are 21% higher than they were in 1990.

Canada has not met the targets of any of the nine international climate agreements it has signed. The last target Canada was supposed to meet, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, was set by the Harper Conservative government in 2009. While there were real attempts by the majority of provinces and territories to meet the target, the oil and gas industry in Canada increased emissions so much that those efforts were in vain.

The priorities of the current government demonstrate that it is not serious enough about the existential threat of climate change. The government is spending $17 billion on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Trans Mountain is not just a climate loser, but a money loser. According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, the only way that TMX will not result in billions of dollars in losses is if the government abandons climate action and increases oil sands production.

The Alberta NDP government's idea of climate action was to cap emissions at 100 megatonnes. That represents an almost 40% increase from 2014 levels. The B.C. government's idea of climate action is to ramp up gas fracking and build new pipelines to export liquefied fracked gas, providing $6 billion worth of subsidies to five foreign multinationals. On top of that, the B.C. government is allowing carbon-sequestering endangered old-growth forests to be clear-cut.

How is it the federal government cannot ensure that the provinces work together to meet our international climate commitments? Why should we believe that Bill C-12 would change that?

These are just some of the reasons that Canada needs a carbon budget law. We need to take politics out of climate action and follow the science. We need a just transition for fossil fuel workers and an end to all subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

The real obstacle is not the climate deniers. It is the politicians who recognize the science but lack the courage to remove politics from climate action. Bill C-12 does not meet the challenge before us. It provides a false sense of security and pushes long overdue action and accountability down the road for another decade. That is not just irresponsible: It is immoral.

Every civilization in history that came before ours ended in collapse. History tells us that in every case right up until the beginning of the period of collapse, people thought everything was going fine. Historic collapses were isolated to particular regions. When the Roman Empire collapsed, it had no impact on the people of Turtle Island or on the southern part of Africa.

For the first time in human history, we have an interconnected global civilization. This is also the first time in history that technological and environmental threats could destroy the planet's ability to sustain life. Humanity is facing something unprecedented. We could lose the capacity to survive on our planet. The next collapse could be our last.

Accepting this threat and addressing it requires a shift. The magnitude of the challenge of the climate emergency and the biodiversity crisis demands that we mature. We must choose to be long-term thinkers, collaborative and committed to mutual benefit. That is not a radical idea. It is a way of existing in harmony with our environment that has been the foundation of indigenous culture since time immemorial. Anything less amounts to a continued commitment to a self-terminating civilization.

Young people across the country are demanding better from us. They, and our children and grandchildren, deserve much more than this weak piece of legislation. I will be voting for this bill because it is better than nothing, but better than nothing is a very low bar.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Madam Speaker, I agree that we are in an existential crisis when it comes to climate change around the world. Coming from Australia originally, I saw what happened there with all the forest fires and wildfires last year, and some of my family members barely escaped with their lives.

What do we do with provincial leaders who do not see the situation, who continue to say “drill, baby, drill” and continue to deny the fact that climate change is happening, to the point of floods and fires that are affecting our country? What does the member say we need to do in order to get them on board?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:40 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, we sign international trade agreements that the provinces are bound to, and we need to do the same thing with the environmental treaties. It was not until the Montreal accord to deal with the ozone that we actually had an environmental international agreement that had teeth to it and had sanctions attached to it, and we have not had one since. That is part of the problem with these climate conferences and the agreements that we make, that anybody can walk away from them. We need to ensure that the provinces adhere to our international commitments, and we need to take those commitments seriously. That is what needs to happen, quite clearly.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I certainly appreciate the member's intervention, being a fellow British Columbian.

In the amended Bill C-12 after committee, there was a clause put forward by the NDP on basically using the term “independent” to make the advisory body independent. Does he think that is the case?

The minister said tonight that there was a milestone for 2025-26 included because of the co-operation between the Liberals and the NDP. In my understanding, that was an interim emissions objective assessment. Can the member comment on whether, in his view, those things do anything to strengthen the bill from a Green perspective?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:45 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, to start with, that advisory body should be made up of scientists. We need to listen to the scientists. Those are the facts here. They do need to be completely independent from the minister and the government, and the government needs to adhere to their advice. That is the way it should be, but that is not how it is set up in the bill.

The 2026 date is not a target. It does not set an emissions target that we are trying to reach, which is what we agreed to in the decision document in Paris, that we would have a 2025 target. It is a report on how progress is coming along or not coming along, and that is completely unacceptable.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:45 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.

It is sad that the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands worked so hard at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development but was not even able to vote on her own amendments. Most of the time, the Bloc Québécois was the only party voting in favour of the Green Party amendments, which would have significantly improved Bill C‑12.

Considering the fact that Canada has never met its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and that there are not even any targets in this bill, does the member think that Bill C‑12 will finally help us meet our targets?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:45 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I think it was extremely disrespectful and quite sad how the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands was treated in committee. This is a person who has dedicated decades of her life to this cause. She has been to 13 or 14 of these conferences. She has been following this file in her previous career and now in this career, and I would say that she probably knows more about climate change than any other member in this place. I do not think she was respected, her knowledge was respected or her connections were respected by the government or by the committee process. This bill reads much more like—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I am sure the government House leader will come back with further comments to the House in the future.

The issue we are debating is the government's failing response to the climate challenges that Canada and the world face. Canada, under the Liberal government, does not have an effective response plan, and Conservatives have offered an effective alternative that recognizes the truly international dimensions of this crisis.

What we have not heard from the government is a plan that takes into consideration the international dimensions by having appropriate adjustments at borders. Instead, what we have is the government punishing domestic industry in a way that pushes development outside the country but does not actually address the problem.

The government's approach imposes regulation as well as taxation on Canadian industry, but if the same investors move that industrial activity outside the country and then sell back into Canada, they are not subject to any such mechanisms. The system the government has put in place simply creates incentive to push economic activity out of the country rather than respond to these challenges.

We have a government that is very happy to import foreign oil, for example, while making the development of a domestic energy sector very difficult. For the first time, Conservatives are proposing a plan for Canada that takes into consideration this inequality. It says that the same standards would have to apply to products imported into Canada as are being applied in the case of production taking place in Canada.

I know this responds to what my constituents are saying and to what is frankly a source of significant frustration for my constituents. They ask the question of why our oil and gas sector is subject to further and further taxation and inconsistent regulatory burdens, and why, in cases where projects have been approved, the government allows lawless acts of protest to disrupt projects that have already been approved from moving forward. Why is that happening?

On the other hand, we do not hear the same criticisms about the environmental crimes, in many cases, in other parts of the world, as well as violations of human rights taking place in the production of things that then come to Canada. This is where we need to be rethinking our approach and where we have proposed a rethinking of the approach that emphasizes the global nature of the challenge we face.

As we look at Bill C-12, the government's request for a reporting framework, again there is no clear plan on actually responding to the environmental challenges we face. We are also very frustrated that despite the Liberals coming into Parliament and saying that they are going to look at these issues in good faith and consult with other parties, they have already presumed to declare who will be on the advisory board that is supposed to be set up by this legislation.

We have to look at this bill in a context where the government seems to have already preprogrammed certain decisions that it has not been forthright in communicating to the House at all. On that basis, Conservatives have put forward a reasonable amendment to challenge aspects of this framework, to challenge the failure to take into consideration the international dimension of the challenge and the unfortunate decision of the government to announce in advance who is going to be on the panel without consulting.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his intervention. I think I was here to hear the first half of it.

As we talk about our accountability toward getting to net-zero and how we are going to measure that, the government has put a policy in place here, a framework for exactly how that will happen. I know the member is critical of that. However, in all fairness, the Conservatives do not really have a great reputation, as it stands, for being able to properly gauge the direction of environmental legislation of the day. It was not that long ago that the member spoke very adamantly against a carbon tax, and now his party has decided that it is the best way to go.

I am just worried. If we take this member's advice, will he not realize, a couple of years from now, once the public opinion is fully there, that, again, the Conservatives had it wrong?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, the government's proposal is to impose taxation on Canadians as a proposed solution to environmental challenges, for the government to take that money and redistribute it according to its own choices, including to include various public works programs in that spending.

Conservatives have been consistent in opposing that Liberal approach. We have proposals that take into consideration the global dimension of the challenges, as well as leaving resources in the pockets of Canadians in order to support their response to environmental challenges. I would submit that this is very different. It is also lowering the price overall. Without taking the same punitive approach, the taxation-oriented approach the Liberals have, we have independent agencies showing that we will achieve environmental targets.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I did hear some rather positive points as I was listening to his speech. For example, he said that the same standards would have to apply to products imported as are being applied in the case of production taking place in Canada. I think that the reciprocity of standards is very important. However, today we are talking about Bill C-12 on reducing greenhouse gases.

Does the member not think that clear standards should be set in Bill C-12? Is he open to adopting amendments to set such standards and allow for an independent oversight authority other than just the minister?

Does the member not think that there is a way to support his constituents by maintaining investments in his region without insisting that these investments be made in the oil sands?

This is not a judgment, but is now not the time to invest in the transition and in other energy sources? The Bloc Québécois will support the people in his region, but we also think that starting the transition is imperative.

What are the member's thoughts on this?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I will focus on the last point first.

The way we can respond effectively to the environmental challenges we face, recognizing the increasing global need for energy, is to leverage the technology that is being generated through the development of our energy sector, technology that is constantly, aggressively improving the performance of the sector, and work to make that technology available as part of development around the world.

We are not going to address the challenges we face by expecting Canadians and people around the world to stop using energy. If we stopped using energy tomorrow, the rest of the world would still be increasing its use of energy. It is the technology we generate. It is the use of cutting-edge techniques, like carbon capture and storage projects in my riding. It is the—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his interesting speech.

I hear the Conservatives criticizing the Liberals for introducing a bill when we are not even on track to meet our 2030 targets, targets that herald back to the good old Conservative days. We just continue to move in a direction that promised that the environmental crisis we are in is going to continue.

Would the member admit that the Conservatives lack total credibility around having an active climate plan that is actually going to get us where we need to get to save the planet?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, the member will not be surprised to find that I do not agree with her characterization of things. We can debate some aspects of the policies, but at the end of the day, it should be remembered that the last Conservative government was the first government in Canadian history that actually reduced Canada's greenhouse gas emissions output.

Members of the NDP may say it was not enough, but it was the first government in history, unlike the Liberals, who signed the Kyoto Protocol and did absolutely nothing and saw emissions increase. Conservatives have been ahead of the Liberals in terms of actually delivering the goods when it comes to these issues. We continue to see all hat and no cattle from the Liberals when it comes to really achieving results—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, the climate change challenge has often been compared to the moon shot of the 1960s. The moon shot involved a redoubling of resolve after a difficult and halting start to the space race in the United States. The moon shot was very much about targeting a seemingly out-of-reach objective on a seemingly impossible timeline: namely, reaching the moon before the end of the decade of the 1960s.

By all accounts, the scientists and engineers who came together to achieve this astounding historic feat that was the moon landing came up against tremendous technological challenges, brick walls that no doubt appeared insurmountable, especially on a tight timeline. NASA scientists were up against a target for which they were held to account by a president who created a public expectation of success with American national security and American pride on the line.

The key words here are “public expectation of success”. That is what the net-zero emissions accountability act is all about: a public expectation of success backed by a legal mechanism aimed at holding successive federal governments to account for fulfilling that expectation.

In the same way NASA scientists followed a critical path informed by experts for reaching their target, Bill C-12 will require the government to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets informed by experts, plans for achieving those targets informed by experts, regular reporting by the government on its progress in achieving its targets, regular assessments by the government on the effectiveness of its measures for achieving its targets, and regular independent analysis by the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development of the government's measures aimed at mitigating climate change, including those undertaken to achieve its most recent greenhouse gas emissions target as identified in the relevant assessment report.

More specifically, the government's progress report must provide an update on the progress it has made toward achieving its relevant milestone GHG target and an update on the implementation of its climate plan: that is, the federal measures, sectoral strategies and federal government operations strategies aimed at reaching the relevant milestone target. These progress reports must be prepared no later than two years before the beginning of the relevant milestone year so that adjustments can be made to these measures and strategies.

For its part, the assessment report must contain a summary of Canada's GHG emissions inventory, a statement on whether Canada has achieved its national GHG target for the milestone year and an assessment of how federal measures, sectoral strategies and federal government operations strategies described in the relevant emissions reduction plan contributed to Canada's efforts to achieve the national GHG target for that year.

The strength of this framework is that it does not rely solely on the government's own assessment of its progress and the effectiveness of its climate action plan. It allows for multiple expert voices to weigh in, in a sense to write the government's report card on climate change. In other words, the government will not be grading itself.

Incidentally, the space race achieved more than a target. It achieved a government-driven acceleration of technological progress and economic growth. Similarly, Bill C-12 is not only about meeting a life-saving target for the planet. It is ultimately about driving technological innovation and economic growth associated with the proliferation of the green products and services the world increasingly wants and needs.

There is, however, one difference that I see between the moon shot and the present task at hand. In a sense, the moon shot was a closed system involving a singular locus of scientific activity and a well-defined technological focus, all within the purview of a dedicated government program that obviously involved numerous partnerships.

The quest to meet targets around greenhouse gas emissions reductions in Canada is, in a sense, organizationally more complex, with more moving parts. Achieving net-zero emissions involves technological progress in many areas and simultaneous co-operative actions by many orders of government, where the degree of commitment to the goal of fighting climate change is not always shared equally across jurisdictions.

Added to this is the fact that the federal government lacks exclusive jurisdiction and power in the matter. We are a federation, not a unitary state. Nonetheless, our government has been able to exercise meaningful leadership on climate change.

We have been a government of firsts. Our government was the first federal government to put a national price on carbon and fight for the constitutional right to do so all the way to the Supreme Court. Our government was the first to develop a clean fuel standard.

Our government was the first to have the courage to attempt to negotiate a pan-Canadian framework on climate change with the provinces and territories, and we were successful, thanks to the Prime Minister's political will and capital and the can-do determination of the member for Ottawa Centre, who was the Minister of Environment and Climate Change at the time, but, governments change and can renege, and we have seen this happen.

Our government was the first to provide financial incentives for the purchase of a zero-emission vehicle. Our government was also the first to require environmental assessments of large energy projects to factor in their GHG emissions. Our government was the first to set a net-zero emissions target, and our government is now the first to create a legal accountability framework for setting and achieving interim GHG targets on the way to net-zero emissions.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I have two quick questions. Do we have a new environment minister in Canada? On Earth Day here in Quebec and in the media it was the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, who is also the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who came to sell us on Canada's new measures. I was wondering about that.

Also, the possible new environment minister mentioned something rather surprising on Radio-Canada. In the past year, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions have increased, as they have in previous years, and the new environment minister said that was good news. He saw good news in that. That is newspeak to me.

What does my colleague think of that?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I am not aware of the exact quote the member is referring to.

As far as the Minister of Canadian Heritage is concerned, when there are important announcements such as the budget or major steps when it comes to the environment, the entire Liberal caucus looks after delivering the message. There is nothing extraordinary about that.

As members know, many members of cabinet have expertise in the environment. In fact, the Liberal caucus is very concerned about the issue.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask a quick question of my colleague with regard to some of the issues we have with climate change and the opportunity for electric vehicles. One of the things I have been raising recently is a national auto strategy. The United States has moved ahead quite successfully with a lot of investment, and Canada is lagging even on a battery plan.

Why not create a national auto policy that sets targets and goals to achieve low emissions and produce electric vehicles, especially right now, given the fact we need to compete against not only the United States, but also Mexico and the rest of the world?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, first of all, I think it is a very good development that we have a government in the United States that is committed to environmental action. Obviously, it makes things much easier to be working with a like-minded government on a continental basis.

In terms of zero-emission vehicles, the member may know, as I know the industry is very important to him and his riding, that the environment committee of the House of Commons just completed a study on zero-emission vehicles and made a number of recommendations. I believe one of them was very much in line with what the member just mentioned. We will see, going forward, how we can work with auto makers and battery makers to make Canada a leader in the area of zero-emission vehicles.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:10 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, at this point, around the world there are 11 countries that have passed climate accountability legislation. Canada's will hold the distinction of being the weakest. If we are looking for a moon shot, and if we are shooting for a moon, this is the equivalent of a stepladder.

Does my hon. colleague not think it would have been wise for the federal government to consult, particularly with the gold standard? The country with the climate accountability that has worked for the longest and the best is the U.K. The legislation before us today differs in substantial ways from theirs, particularly by not having an independent expert group that monitors government progress and reports to the nation, as opposed to a multi-stakeholder advisory group for the minister. Would the member not agree it would be better to try to base our bill on what has worked elsewhere?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, the hon. member's views and insight carry a lot of weight in this chamber. As the member knows, the bill will hopefully be passed at second reading and make its way to the environment committee, where amendments will no doubt be tabled and we can have discussion about the points the member has raised.

However, it is important to acknowledge that there is much room for expert advice in this bill, and this is key. It is important that we do rely on expert advice and indeed that any consultative body be not just a diverse group of individuals who represent the country the way this House does. We need also some expertise to move forward, so I appreciate the member's point.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to speak to the draft legislation of Bill C-12, with regard to net-zero emissions. I am also very pleased to highlight some of our party's positions, which are set out in our position paper, entitled “Secure the Environment”. With a Conservative government, Canada will meet its Paris Agreement targets, importantly, without killing jobs or taxing an already over-taxed population. Our plan will help the environment while also helping Canadians succeed in every region of the country and in all sectors.

The Liberal plan is based on an ever-increasing taxation plan that, while being presented as being revenue neutral to the government, is certainly not revenue neutral to the taxpayer. At best it is a tax scheme that redistributes wealth away from those living in parts of the country where greater energy consumption is a fact of life. Why are they being punished for that?

The Conservative plan, on the other hand, is much fairer in that it sets aside some of the money that each consumer will pay for energy consumption into a personal savings account that the consumer can spend or invest as they see best for their own purposes on green options.

The big distinction between the Liberal carbon tax and the Conservatives' plan to secure the environment is that Conservatives trust Canadians to do the right thing, spend their money wisely, be incentivized to think green, act responsibly with regard to the environment and do their part. We all want to do that. The Liberals, on the other hand, think that government knows best. We think educated Canadians know best.

Bill C-12, while being promoted as a significant step forward in the fight against climate change, is really more symbolic than substantive. It might give the casual political observer the impression that something significant is happening, but keep in mind that Bill C-12 follows up from Canada's dismal record of setting, and then missing, its emissions reductions targets.

What does Bill C-12 do? I think this is important and should be read into the record, so let us take a look at section 16. This is under the heading “Failure to achieve target”, and it states:

If the Minister concludes that Canada has not achieved its national greenhouse gas emissions target for a milestone year or for 2050, as the case may be, the Minister must, after consulting with the ministers referred to in section 12, include the following in the assessment report:

(a) the reasons why Canada failed to meet the target;

(b) a description of actions the Government of Canada is taking or will take to address the failure to achieve the target; and

(c) any other information that the Minister considers appropriate.

What happens if we miss the target? Not much, we just set another target. We create more reports, and the conversation just continues as though nothing happened. If anything, this would help Canada's pulp and paper industry as more and more reports are being printed.

Canada is a federal country, as has been noted by some of the previous speakers, with parliamentary sovereignty shared among two levels of government. Much of what is needed to be accomplished in protecting the environment falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces under section 92(13) of the Constitution Act, 1867, property and civil rights within the province.

The federal government cannot do it on its own. It must work with the provinces. Sadly, the Liberal government's record is one of being sued by the provinces. The federal government won the last round, so I guess congratulations are in order, but Canadians are wondering why intergovernmental affairs on something as important as the environment needs to resort to the courts in the first place.

Why does the federal government not work with the provinces and come to a consensus on how to move forward? Conservatives understand the significance of that, and we will work with the provinces. Conservatives also recognize that the fight against global climate change is, in fact, global.

Canada cannot do it on its own. If it is global, after all, solutions also must be global. Canada is a large expanse of land. It is in the northern hemisphere. It is cold, and people must travel a lot and heat their homes and offices. That is just a fact of life in Canada.

Canada produces only a small fraction of the total world's greenhouse gas emissions, something often overlooked. Canadians want to do their part. We are inventive, we have great universities, we are leaders in technological advances and with strategic partnerships, we can develop and export green technology around the globe, not only for our own use domestically but internationally. We are a trading nation, but that trade must be fair. We have to be on an even playing field and if we are to impose tough environmental standards on ourselves, and I agree that we must, then it is only fair that others who trade with us should be held to the same or comparable standards.

Producers in countries with emission reductions targets and mechanisms compatible with our own would be exempt. Countries that do not and have high-emission reductions standards would have to pay. That way, the Conservative plan would secure both the environment and Canadian industry and jobs and would urge our American trading partner, our biggest trading partner, to adopt the same approach.

I want to talk about the oil and gas sector. Canada is a big producer, but also a responsible producer. We have the best minds in the world working on cleaner energy production, and that applies not only to renewable energy but also the more traditional oil and gas extraction, production, processing and delivery. We are a leader in all of that. To say that this sector needs to be phased out misses the reality of an ever-improving industry and the very obvious fact that the world needs Canada's oil and gas.

The International Energy Agency has projected that demand for oil will remain high for decades, and this is particularly true with the downturn in U.S. shale production. The world needs our oil and we need to produce it responsibly. We do not need to be talking about phasing it out.

The government's stated goal in phasing out oil and gas also overlooks the fact that since 1998, investment and production of Canada's oil sands is one of driving forces behind Canada's economic growth, and that must be true as we look to a pandemic recovery plan as well.

I also want to talk about LNG. The province of British Columbia is a big producer of natural gas and it can be a big tool in Canada helping the world become cleaner. Natural gas burns much cleaner than other fossil fuels and should be used at home and abroad to replace other more polluting energy sources. Using LNG instead of coal cuts emissions in half and countries across Asia are eager to do business with us.

Red tape imposed by the Liberal government means massive projects like Kitimat LNG being in danger of cancellation. This would not only hurt Canadians and Canadian jobs, but the planet. What Canada needs is a government that sends a message to the world that we are proud of our natural resources and that we will develop them in a responsible way. We will attract investment, not scare it off.

When we talk about investment, the Conservatives recognize that industry leaders are already changing their world view and investment strategies to be looked at through an ESG lens, an environmental, social and governance lens. Our plan recognizes that increasingly there is an expectation in global capital markets that ESG is an important factor. Our ESG leadership would help demonstrate the leadership of our oil and gas sector with respect to emissions-intensity reduction.

I want to mention indigenous peoples. We need to acknowledge the historic fact that they have not been treated respectfully. Canada needs to show leadership here as well. The current government has often said that no relationship is more important to it than with our indigenous peoples, but let us look at how that has worked out recently.

Coastal GasLink investors thought they had an understanding with the Wet’suwet’en people, the people whose traditional lands the pipeline will be built across, and who should be benefiting from that investment and structure. However, so far, it is not built and the protects continue—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, the member has said that the only difference between the Conservatives' new price on pollution and the existing one this government has is that Conservatives appear to apparently trust Canadians in how to spend their money. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On this side of the House, the government plan was put in place where the money that was collected through the price on pollution would go back equally and be evenly distributed within the province. People get to decide how to spend their money. At least that is the case in Ontario since the federal government stepped in.

The plan from the Conservatives literally takes people's money, puts it into a special bank account and then people have to go to the Conservative Party boutique to decide what green product they will buy. It clearly demonstrates that the Conservatives are trying to control what people can spend their own money on.

Could the member please add some clarity to the fact that he has suggested that the Conservative plan gives people more decision-making power on their?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives trust Canadians to do the right things, but we have heard from members of the Liberal side of the House that under a Conservative plan, Canadians would actually be incentivized to drive more, burn more to earn more. That is so cynical. That is not the way Conservatives think of our fellow citizens. We are confident that given the right incentives, Canadians will do the right thing. Clearly, government does not always know best. Let individuals make their own decisions.

As to the Liberals' carbon tax plan, it is a redistribution of wealth; it is not—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, I hear again and again from the Conservatives that we cannot turn the taps off tomorrow when it comes to the oil and gas industry. I would recommend that we end subsidies to the oil and gas industry immediately, because that money is needed. It is needed to be invested in the transition that must happen and it is imperative. We need to look at where we are going, not just where we are today. It is important for our future on all measures, including the economy and the environment.

Does the member agree that Canada needs to take action now and that the bill needs to have firmer targets that will put us in line with the international commitment that Canada has made?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Madam Speaker, the premise of the member's question ignores the fact that a lot of money is being invested in the oil and gas sector by oil and gas companies into cleaner, better and more responsible ways to produce oil and gas. There have been drastic improvements and we should be encouraging that industry to keep on doing that, to keep on becoming cleaner and greener. We should not be talking about phasing them out. There are a lot of jobs, a lot of investment and this is what drives Canada's economy. That is being ignored, sadly.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Independent

Derek Sloan Independent Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to draw some attention to the enormity of the targets we are talking about here. Since 2005, we have only decreased our emissions by about 1% when we look at 2019. The Prime Minister has recently agreed to reduce them by an additional 45%. We have had carbon taxes in Ontario, where there is the Green Energy Act that increased the cost of electricity by $37 billion for Ontario citizens.

Some experts have said that COVID has likely only reduced our emissions by about 7%. I do not know how we are going to meet 45% and I surely do not know how we are going to get to net zero without destroying our economy.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Madam Speaker, I would reiterate that Bill C-12 purports to set targets and to be aggressive, but it is not really that at all. It misses the target in many ways. The accountability section is almost meaningless; it is without teeth.

A Conservative government would take meeting our targets very seriously and we would do so without killing jobs and without phasing out of our energy resource industries. We recognize that it is an important part of our economy and—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise virtually in the House today to speak on Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act.

Bill C-12 emphasizes the action needed to meet our goals toward fighting climate change and reducing our carbon footprint.

For years, our youth have been calling for action. Advocates alike have been demanding targets and concrete change. We have had rallies for decades, and scientists and experts alike have warned of the damage to come should we not act.

The bill is comprised of five themes: accountability, transparency, target measures, monitoring and holding all governments, current and future, accountable. Specifically, the proposed bill will require tabling and publicizing targets, plans, progress reports and assessment reports. We need robust parliamentary accountability mechanisms to fulfill our commitment to be transparent to the public, to set and achieve target measures, monitor progress and, last, ensure that this government and future governments alike remain accountable to every principle in the bill.

On that note, in December 2015, Canada joined 194 parties in signing the Paris agreement, a historic agreement that would be the start of the commitment to address climate change. That agreement aimed to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2°C above the pre-industrial level and to pursue efforts to limit our temperature increase to 1.5°C. Since 2015, our government has been working hard to achieve this goal, listening to the advice of scientists and experts. This momentum of remaining accountable must continue. Bill C-12 would require a target and establish an emissions reduction plan to be put in place, both to be tabled in Parliament within six months of the coming into force of this act.

Furthermore, the bill would set a legally binding process for the federal government to set climate targets and bring forward an ambitious climate plan every five years between 2030 and 2050. This would mean that a 2030 progress report must be tabled before the end of 2027, and a 2030 assessment report to be tabled within 30 days of the 2030 national inventory report data.

In addition, an annual report detailing how the federal government is managing the financial risk of climate change and the opportunities must be conducted and tabled in Parliament.

Finally, a review by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development within five years of coming into force of this act must be conducted.

The dates are aligned with the very structure of the Paris agreement based on 2030, as are plans in provinces like B.C. and Quebec and those around the world.

To promote transparency as well as accountability in relation to meeting those targets, the enactment also requires that the several reports mentioned above to be tabled and published to the public. Canadians deserve to know the targets being set, our plan to meet these targets and our progress along the way. Importantly, having a Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development providing an analysis of the government's plan at least once every five years adds additional scrutiny and transparency. This is yet another example of how we plan to be transparent to Canadians.

Our government believes in science and evidence-based research, and we will continue to include science and research in every step. That is why an advisory body composed of up to 15 experts will be established to provide the Minister of Environment and Climate Change advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

This advisory body will engage with experts, stakeholders, indigenous people and the public to ensure that its advice is grounded in the priorities and ideas of all Canadians. The advisory body will submit an annual report to the minister of the environment with respect to its advice and activities. The creation of an advisory board is consistent with other actions taken by our peer countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand and France.

This bill aims to hold the federal government to its commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and to exceed our 2030 Paris target.

On Earth Day, the Prime Minister announced at the Earth Summit a commitment to cut emissions by 40 to 45% by 2030. It is an ambitious goal that I am sure we can achieve, if done right with co-operation on all fronts. This is why Bill C-12 is so important.

Let me reiterate that prior to 2030, the target measures entail the following: Within six months of the act coming into force, the 2030 milestone target and tabling the 2030 milestone plan would be set; before the end of 2027, a 2030 progress report would be completed and tabled; and within 30 days of all 2030 national inventory report data, there would be a 2030 assessment report.

Post-2030, the target measures would entail the following: At least five years before each milestone year of 2035, 2040 and 2045, the milestone must be set; two years prior to each milestone year, preparations for a progress report for the milestone year would commence; and within 30 days of national inventory report data for each milestone year, preparation of an assessment report for the milestone would be under way. Last but not least, there would also be targets associated with the Environment Commissioner, and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development must, at least once every five years, examine and report on the Government of Canada's implementation of the measures aimed at mitigating climate change, including those undertaken to achieve its most recent greenhouse gas emissions target as identified in the relevant assessment report.

Everything that I have outlined is necessary to monitoring our progress and reaching the benchmarks that will be set for each target milestone. It is crucial that we set up mechanisms to fully monitor our progress, and that is why this advisory board is crucial.

Again, it is crucial that we act. Countries around the world are accelerating their transition to a net-zero economy and Canada cannot fall behind. It is crucial that we set targets and make every effort to meet them. Net zero is not just a plan for a healthier environment: It is a plan to build a cleaner, more competitive economy. I encourage my colleagues from all parties to support this bill. We must work together to ensure that we collectively reduce our emissions. We need to act to ensure that the momentum of this progress continues well after this Parliament. This is exactly what this bill intends, and this is exactly what we plan to do.

As the representative of the beautiful riding of Richmond Hill, I am proud to support this bill that members of my environmental community council have been strong advocates of. This bill is an opportunity to move toward a greener and cleaner environment and economy. This is why there are several key initiatives, 43 different measures, in budget 2021 that will not only help us achieve this target but move Canadians to innovation in clean and green technology.

In closing, Bill C-12 is a bill for Canada and a bill for Canadians. Once again it is a promise made and a promise kept for a greener and cleaner economy and environment.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, we need a climate change bill, and a promise is a promise. However, there is a flaw in this bill that has to be fixed. The bill may tell us that certain actions must be taken, but it does not tell us what targets must be achieved by 2025 or 2030. Regardless, we already know Canada will not hit its targets.

What concrete steps does my colleague intend to take to ensure that this bill contains not only targets, but also measures that will enable us to meet those targets?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, the concrete actions we are taking are the 43 measures that have been highlighted in budget 2021. I strongly suggest that the member look through budget.gc.ca, as I am sure she has, to look at those measures.

I would also like to say that the Liberal government has already invested over $60 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Canadians adapt to the changing climate. Those are all concrete actions, from putting a price on pollution to planning to plant two billion trees, making investments in electric vehicles, making investments in retrofits, making investments in clean energy—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to follow up on my Bloc colleague's question. It is great to talk about what one is going to do and great to talk about the investments, yet with the problem we are trying to solve and the actions the Liberal government has taken, there does not seem to be any connection between achieving results and what it has done.

Could the member please give us an idea of how the measures the Liberal government has put in place are actually achieving real targets?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, the achievement is quite clear. We have put measures in and have introduced a price on pollution, especially a price on carbon. That policy has been rolled out and is already resulting in many Canadians having the opportunity to use the money being transferred to them as part of the reimbursement to invest in green retrofits for their homes. Actually, I used that retrofit to change some of my light bulbs to LED light bulbs and to change my thermostat, which helps with the greening of my house and also helps improve the efficiency of my house.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:40 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, Bill C-12 illustrates quite clearly why the committee stage is such an important part of the legislative process. Bill C-12 is a good start, but like any first draft, it does need some revisions.

Would the member agree that when this bill gets to committee, there should be some strengthening in the language around putting in a real target for the year 2025 but also making sure the proposed advisory committee has a very specific role in setting targets and reviewing the kinds of assessments we are putting in place for all of this? Would he agree those two specific areas need strengthening in this bill at committee stage?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, that is why we have the process we do for the review of bills. Bills go to committee so we are able to hear from various witnesses. As I said in my speech, our government is committed to making sure the decisions we are making are evidence-based and based on research, science and fact. I look forward to receiving those facts, as well as receiving input from other members in the House and in the committee to make sure the bill we are putting forward is strong.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, it is once again an honour to rise in this place to debate another piece of legislation.

We are debating Bill C-12, which is one of the bills I have heard a significant amount of feedback on from constituents. Over the course of the next 10 minutes or so, I hope to be able to outline some of the specifics of what this bill is and is not, and to dispel some of the myths that the members opposite, especially, like to propagate, both about their so-called environmental plan and how they attempt to label Conservatives.

I plan to talk with great pride about some of the work being done within my constituency and the industries that I am proud to represent, and how some of my constituents are leading the way on ensuring that we have a strong environment for today and in the future.

First, I want to dispel some myths. I find it interesting that the members opposite will talk at length about how Conservatives somehow hate the environment, about how Conservatives refuse to take action, about Conservatives this and Conservatives that, yet as with so many aspects of what the government talks about, the talking points do not reflect reality.

If I had more time, I would highlight some of the significant achievements of past Conservative governments, but also the ways that Conservatives stand up for the environment. I can certainly speak to the fact that Alberta is a place that over the last half a century, except for four unfortunate years of Socialist intervention, has had largely Conservative governments and has led the way in ensuring both emissions reductions and environmental plans that have really created a framework for ensuring a strong environment for today and for future generations.

Quite often the Liberals will take a piece of a policy, yet forget the big picture. They will criticize the Conservatives for something, simply saying, “Oh, well, it is because Harper was so evil, and therefore Conservatives must hate everything to do with the environment and all of that.” It could not be further from the truth. One of the most telling aspects of the Liberals' narrative of trying to label Conservatives as somehow anti-environment is that, when they took over government, most of the targets and mandates were kept the same as the previous government had negotiated.

Somehow the Liberals think they own the narrative on the environment, when the reality could not be further from the truth. I am proud to represent 53,000 square kilometres of beautiful east central Alberta, where environmental stewardship has defined much of that region's legacy, and will continue to into the future.

I would just note that five generations of my family have worked the land in what is called Alberta's Special Areas. It is a testament to the stewardship of Albertans. “Special Areas” is a unique name in terms of a municipality, but let me give a quick history lesson. Back in the drought years of the 1930s, the government basically deemed that area unfit for habitation and was buying back land. My family was one of the few in the area to stick around. I would like to think that is where my family gets some of its tough nature from.

Over the last close to a century, we have seen the Special Areas go from being deemed almost unfit to becoming incredibly productive through successive generations of good agricultural practices and advancements in technology. The list goes on and on about the incredible advancements that ensured this region, which was largely misunderstood a century ago because of the challenges it faced during the drought, would have the strength it now does in terms of the environment. It leads as an example of good soil management, land management and agriculture.

We are truly the heart of the energy industry in Canada. I say this because in Hardisty, Alberta, billions of dollars of Canadian energy flow through the region. It is at the heart of the energy industry. Some incredible advancements in the environment have come about as a result of Canada's world-class oil and gas industry.

I note my time is quickly escaping. That happens when I talk with such pride about my constituency.

The hypocrisy of the Liberal agenda is highlighted so clearly in Bill C-12. Let me get into some of the specifics of that.

In laymen's terms, Bill C-12 is simply to bring forward a plan that will report on its plan and make changes if the plan does not go according to plan. I say that a bit facetiously, but that really is what Bill C-12 is about.

Further, there is a 15-member panel the minister plans to bring forward. It is interesting because all members of this House I think, certainly from the Conservative side, support a strong environment for our future, but we also believe that needs to go hand in hand with the economy, yet this panel has been pre-chosen by the minister opposite.

I would note some of the activism that defines the past, specifically I think of the minister of heritage who literally went to prison for breaking the law regarding environmental activism. That is the sort of agenda that in some cases is defining members who have been preselected, before Parliament has even passed this bill, to be on this 15-member panel that will present a plan to the plan that will evaluate the plan, and so on. It is rich that the government has said that somehow this will solve all the woes of the world, that it will accomplish its failures, when I know that, and this may surprise members opposite, the reality is this. Donald Trump had a better record for reducing emissions than the Prime Minister opposite. That may be surprising to some, but the numbers speak otherwise. The member opposite, specifically the Prime Minister, likes to contrast himself with the former president of the United States. That certainly is a contrast point, but I am not sure it is one the Prime Minister would be proud of, when Donald Trump has beaten his record on the environment and done so by a fairly substantial margin.

That highlights a few of the challenges I see with Bill C-12, the inconsistencies in the Liberal agenda and how the Liberals somehow think that, once again, punting something a bit further down the road releases them from accountability on this issue. I would suggest they have defined much of the conversation around it, but failed when it comes to actual action on the environment.

Let me get into a few examples of why I am proud to represent a region of the country that is really leading the world. I have talked a bit about energy. A few miles outside of the boundaries of Battle River—Crowfoot, in one of my neighbouring colleague's ridings, is an oil basin that a particular energy company works in and is able to produce net-zero oil. According to some of the most conservative estimates, energy demand is going to increase over the next couple of decades. Some estimates show it further than that. We are seeing a resurgence of demand, notably the price of oil has increased to much beyond pre-pandemic levels, and we are seeing demand for the actual volume of oil likely to surpass pre-pandemic levels at some point this year. Imagine net-zero oil. There should not be one member of this House who is opposed to the energy industry when we have demonstrated that we can, in the most environmental and ethical way, I would note, possible to ensure we have energy that can secure not only our country's future but the world's future.

We can look at biomass. I have a couple of biomass companies that are pioneering the way. We can secure carbon permanently from agricultural practices and building supplies, agricultural advancements that are absolutely incredible, such as carbon sequestration in the soil, and the list goes on.

There is a wide divide between what the Conservatives and the members opposite say on the environment, but I will say one thing. Canadians can count on the Conservatives to stand up for taking action on the environment, not just talk like the members opposite.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, the member started off his speech today by talking about Conservatives not having the narrative on climate action and how somehow Conservatives are seen as those who do not take climate action seriously. I can tell the member that I have heard members of the Conservative party, who are sitting in this House right now, talk about climate change as though it is not something that is human-caused. Of the membership of this member's party, 54% have said they do not believe in climate action.

Does he agree with the 54% that climate change is not made by humans?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, the member opposite referenced very specifically a motion that was brought forward at the Conservative Party convention. It was three paragraphs. He referenced six words of the beginning of that, and he knows full well, at least I hope he does, if he has actually read the motion that was brought forward—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question, because I think here lies a significant question that all Canadians need to ask, whether from Quebec, Alberta, the Maritimes, the west coast or whatever the case may be, and that is where we get our oil while this transition takes place. Do we get it from jurisdictions that have very poor environmental standards, jurisdictions that have few or no ethical standards, or from a choice supplier that could be Alberta?

I think many Canadians would agree they would rather have oil and energy produced by a jurisdiction like Alberta versus foreign jurisdictions that do not have those same standards. I hope the member from the Bloc would support that sort of initiative, which is truly good for not just Albertans or Quebeckers, but all Canadians.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:55 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I listened intently to the hon. member's remarks. At one point he suggested that parties other than his claim to own the narrative around climate change, and I would argue the Conservatives have certainly owned a narrative around the issue, it is simply not the narrative that resonates with most Canadians.

The vote at second reading on Bill C-12 is a vote on the principle of holding the government to account on its climate targets. If the Conservative party votes against the bill at second reading, how is anyone to understand that as anything other than a vote against the principle of climate accountability?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I find it interesting that the members opposite would be suggesting things that I am not sure are entirely within the scope of what is being debated here.

I look at Bill C-12 and I see many concerns. I have highlighted some of them and there are others that some of my colleagues have also done a great job at highlighting. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. Certainly, if this bill passes, a lot of questions will need to be asked and answered, hopefully along with changes made at committee.

Our job here in this House, the job of each and every member, is to represent our constituents. That is something that I will do each and every day to ensure that their voices are heard in this place.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 3:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, a federal bill that paves the way for real government accountability in the fight against climate change is very urgently needed.

I would be shocked if there were still elected members in this 43rd Parliament who would deny that the climate crisis will affect the entire planet in this century if governments do not legislate appropriately.

We are already feeling the effects of climate change, as evidenced by the increase in such extreme weather events as floods, forest fires, heat waves and so on.

Bill C-12 must not be taken lightly, and the provisions that must be included in it will require painstaking work in order to secure the future of the next generations.

We are being asked to lay the foundation for the common good. Our work must be done in a spirit of collaboration and willingness to listen. Legislating climate accountability is probably the most important challenge of the 21st century.

After Bill C-12 was introduced, we were able to identify the problems with it and rightfully raise red flags. We also had the time to compare this bill to other countries' legislation, gather information, share research, consult experts and reflect on what amendments would be required for such a bill to emerge and, above all, what it would need to come to fruition.

First, Bill C-12 does not include mandatory reduction targets. Instead, it requires the minister to set the targets. Therefore it is false to say that Bill C-12 would force the government to take action that would meet greenhouse gas reduction targets. It is a bit difficult to follow. The member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie stated that his government was ready to set targets and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change stated that he could perhaps include them in the bill. This is a reason for studying the bill in committee. However, at present, there is nothing in the bill to that effect and it is crucial.

Furthermore, the bill does not require the minister to fulfill his commitments. It requires him to prepare a progress report. If Canada does not meet its target, which, again, is not identified in the current version of the bill, then the minister is asked to include in his report the reasons Canada did not meet its target. That is it. Federal government officials confirmed that the bill does not provide for any binding measures or penalties for failing to meet targets.

The Prime Minister of Canada's defence against this criticism is that it is up to the voters to penalize the government if it fails. He 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.

Even though it is true that voters ultimately have the power to punish politicians, this statement primarily shows that the Prime Minister is opposed to making the greenhouse gas reduction targets binding. This means that he is opposed to requiring that Canada fulfill its international commitments, even though he just increased his targets in front of the many countries attending the U.S. President's summit.

The government cannot say that Bill C-12 contains restrictive measures while at the same time saying that the only real restriction is the election result. I remind the government that the climate crisis, the global risks associated with this crisis and its immeasurable consequences have nothing to do with election strategies. The government has a role and a responsibility as a legislator, and in my opinion, it is irresponsible and unconscionable for it to cheapen this legislation by shifting them to future governments.

In this version of Bill C-12, the action plan, the minister's reports and the method of calculating emissions are not subject to review by an independent authority. An essential component of this type of legislation depends on the diligent efforts of what Bill C-12 refers to as an advisory body. I mention this because Canada cannot achieve its ambitions or optimal progress on climate change until the government clarifies certain details about this body.

We will have to be vigilant with respect to the key aspects of this proposed advisory body. Its duties must be spelled out in the legislation, it must be composed of experts in relevant fields who have no conflicts of interest, and it must be completely independent. In our view, the people on this advisory body should not represent Canadians. There are 338 MPs in this place to do that. What we need are scientists.

Let us look at other countries with this type of body. In the United Kingdom, scientists represent 67% of the members; in France, 85%; in New Zealand, 33%; in Quebec, 75%; and in Canada, 7%.

Expert Corinne Le Quéré, who Quebec can be proud to count among those trained in its universities, has an incredible amount of experience preparing legislation combatting climate change.

She has spoken extensively about the absolute need to include specific targets in the act. There is no doubt that she has knowledge and advice to share regarding good governance because she contributed to the success of the U.K. climate change committee and she chairs France's high council on climate.

Corinne Le Quéré, the scientific community and environmental groups agree on the following essential elements: The committee's mandate and powers must be set out in the act; the act must specify that the committee must have access to all of the climate-related scientific knowledge, including indigenous knowledge; the committee must be properly funded; the committee must be able to provide its expertise in an independent manner, whether of its own initiative or at the request of parliamentarians; and the committee must be officially involved in establishing greenhouse gas reduction targets, monitoring progress and preparing related reports.

The hon. Minister of Environment and Climate Change has repeatedly stated that he is open to working with opposition parties to improve Bill C-12. As we know, people are becoming more and more aware of how the decisions we are making now will affect the future of the planet.

The Bloc Québécois has taken a firm stance on environmental issues in Canada, and we want to collaborate on this bill because, as we all know, this is a whole-of-government issue that transcends borders.

The only way we can achieve any progress is by viewing the climate crisis through that lens. Still, there are undeniable facts we must face. The first is that the clock is ticking. We have to get to net zero as fast as we can, before 2050 if possible. If we acknowledge that premise, this climate change act has to include all the right tools to ensure we get there as fast as possible.

We are calling on the government to be ambitious and courageous enough to put an end to the cycle that has resulted in Canada consistently missing its targets and failing to achieve its goals in recent decades.

The international community expects better. Lord Deben, chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change, explained to the parliamentarians present at the preparatory meeting for COP 26, which I attended, that Canada must fully grasp how its behaviour and climate inaction affect other countries around the world and realize that every country counts. He concluded with some words of wisdom: Humankind has not learned to live with respect for biodiversity, the environment and the health of our oceans. Humanity's very existence is weakened by what could happen in the future, and that is why we must fully grasp what is happening and avoid repeating the mistakes that brought us to where we are now.

We must protect biodiversity and preserve natural habitats for future generations. The areas that are supposedly protected by federal legislation must be truly protected. They must not be compromised, as when the government authorizes drilling off the coast of Newfoundland to cater to the oil industry.

I do not want the shores of the St. Lawrence River to erode or Quebec's native wildlife to disappear. I do not want to hear that thousands of people are dying because of pollution. Health Canada estimates that 15,300 premature deaths per year in Canada can be linked to pollution. I no longer want to witness the despair of people around the globe who are overwhelmed by the effects of our inaction. If their habitats are destroyed, they are forced to leave their islands and their homes, becoming climate refugees, while the sums promised by rich countries to help them adapt fall short of what is needed to address the real climate catastrophes.

Now is the time to get our priorities straight. Together we can still change the trajectory. Never before have we been in a situation where the earth is warming so fast, with the global temperature expected to rise by two degrees centigrade by 2043, which is not far off. We are running out of time, and small steps are no longer good enough. We need to take a giant leap forward.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 3:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

In my opinion, the government has a plan, but it lacks long-term vision. It presented 45 or 48 recommendations shortly before Christmas. However, there was nothing binding. We are at the point where we need binding measures if we want to meet our climate targets.

The problem is not the belugas in the St. Lawrence or the polar bears. The problem has to do with our children since they are the ones who will pay for all of our negligence of the past few decades and for our current negligence.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, like the member, I also hold out great hope for the work the environment committee has to do on this bill. There are some significant improvements that need to be made to the wording.

I want to ask the member about the importance of following up these words with action. We have a Liberal government that invested billions of our public dollars into purchasing a pipeline and is right now trying to increase its exporting capacity. I would like to hear the member's comments about where that money could have gone, and about the importance of starting a just transition for energy workers in provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan to those transferable skills we need for the renewable energy economy of the future.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 3:55 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

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

I will make a comparison. The budget includes a $17.6-billion investment for the transition to a green economy, but there was also a $17.1-billion investment in a pipeline, with more to come. This means that the amount allocated to the green economic recovery for all of Canada is only slightly higher than the cost of the pipeline.

My leader, the member for Beloeil—Chambly, has already said that he was willing for the pipeline money to be invested in Alberta so that workers could receive training or switch careers.

We already know about different energy sources that are within reach. Whether it is solar, wind or geothermal energy, they are all ready to go. We do not even have to do any research, we just have to get on board.

When my leader, the member for Beloeil—Chambly, made his remarks, he was standing in solidarity with the people of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 3:55 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague.

We have worked together at some conferences of the parties, including the one on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

She raised some really good points about other countries, their legislation and their advisory bodies. However, she did not mention the United Kingdom, which has an advisory body entirely made up of experts and scientists.

Why does she think the government introduced such a weak bill like Bill C-12 when we have such strong examples?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 3:55 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, with whom I have worked many times.

Bill C-12 was very weak. It was not what we expected, given the climate crisis we are currently experiencing. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is open to amendments. The Bloc Québécois is prepared to propose a number of amendments to make the bill binding and ensure that we can meet our targets.

As I said in my speech, this is not about belugas and polar bears. This is about our children and grandchildren.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 3:55 p.m.
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Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to speak to Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act. This bill fulfills an important commitment made by the government to put in place legally binding requirements for this government, and future governments, to set climate targets and publish plans to meet those targets in consultation with the public and interested stakeholders.

It includes important transparency and accountability mechanisms, including the requirement to publish milestone plans to achieve the targets we set, progress reports to assess whether we are on track to meet our targets, and assessment reports to determine whether targets have been met. If a target is not met, the minister must outline the reasons Canada failed to meet its target and give a description of actions the government will take to meet the target, as well as any other information the minister deems appropriate.

Bill C-12 also includes a role for the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, requiring the commissioner to examine and report on the government’s implementation of measures to mitigate climate change every five years.

Our government recognizes that we are faced with a climate emergency and we must act now. The overwhelming evidence behind climate change compels us to take action. That is why in December we released our strengthened climate plan, which contains over 64 measures and $15 billion in investments. Recently, budget 2021 included additional measures that will enable us to go even further, reflecting the government’s ambition and the seriousness of the challenge before us.

Science is the foundation of the Government of Canada’s action on climate change. We ended the war on science when a Liberal government was elected in 2015. Our government relies on evidence-based policy-making and depends on our scientists to provide information that helps us protect the environment. Canada has a strong science and knowledge base to draw on. This scientific foundation not only enables targeted action, but also allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of our actions and to adjust as needed.

Climate change is a global issue, and we cannot tackle it alone. That is why governments around the world rely on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a valuable, credible and independent source of scientific information, to inform their actions on climate change.

The IPCC “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C”, released in fall 2018, tells us that limiting future warming to 1.5°C instead of 2°C would reduce the negative impacts of climate change and allow most terrestrial and marine species to keep up with the pace of climate change, preserve coral reefs, increase the chance of keeping sea level rise below one metre this century, allow some Arctic sea ice to remain in the summer and allow more scope for adaptation, particularly in the agricultural sector.

The objective of the ECCC-led “Canada’s Changing Climate Report”, released in 2019, was to understand how and why Canada’s climate is changing and will continue to change in the future. This report is a comprehensive science assessment to help Canadians and policy-makers understand Canada’s changing climate so we can strengthen our resilience to climate change through adaptation and mitigation actions. The assessment confirms Canada’s climate has warmed mainly in response to global emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity. The effects of widespread warming are already evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the near future.

The following conclusions, based on the report’s headline statements, tell a story about Canada’s changing climate. Canada’s climate has warmed and will warm further in the future, driven by human activity, and this warming is effectively irreversible. Both past and future warming in Canada is, on average, about double the magnitude of global average temperature increases. Changing temperature and precipitation, and changes in snow and ice, have important implications for freshwater supply, and the seasonal availability of fresh water is changing with an increased risk of water supply shortages in summer. A warmer climate will intensify weather extremes in the future: extreme hot temperatures will become more frequent and more intense, which will increase the severity of heat waves; there will be increased drought and wildfire risks, since projected increases in precipitation are not sufficient to offset the effects of projected warming; and the projected increase in heavy precipitation, a main cause of urban and rural floods, will increase future flood risks that are now costing us billions. We have seen those kinds of floods up close and personal in my home province of Manitoba.

Achieving a future with limited warming requires Canada and the rest of the world to reduce emissions to net zero around mid-century. This is why we are embarking on a pathway of rapid emission reductions. We recently announced an ambitious target of 40% to 45% reductions by 2030, putting us on a path to net zero by 2050.

The science is clear that urgent action to reduce greenhouse gases is needed if this future, which is consistent with achieving the long-term temperature goals of the Paris agreement, is to be achieved. The evolving science continues to support an increased need for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate action must continue in parallel with research efforts, drawing on existing knowledge and incorporating new insights as they become available.

The cycle of setting targets, establishing reduction plans and reporting on progress set out in the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act provides key opportunities for state-of-the-science information to be integrated into the government’s efforts to achieve net zero by 2050.

I hope all members in the House will join the government in recognizing the urgency of climate change and support sending this important legislation to committee. The government has expressed its willingness to consider constructive amendments and hopes to work with all parties to strengthen and pass the legislation.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I always find it fascinating to hear the Liberals talk about their commitments and their environmental convictions.

In 2017, this Liberal government established new manufacturing standards for insulation boards that contained a highly polluting foaming agent. Companies that manufacture these boards, including Soprema, near Drummondville, in my riding, had four years, or until January 1, 2021, to comply with the new regulations.

However, for so-called economic reasons, this same government decided to grant exemptions to multinational companies, even though they already possessed the required technology, as the government knew full well. Could the member tell me how anyone can believe this government and trust it on environmental matters, when it does not even honour its own commitments or enforce its own industry standards?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, we did make commitments in the 2015 election platform that we would put a price on pollution and proceed down this path to getting a handle on our emissions. Indeed, we saw in the budget $17.6 billion to help create a more clean and sustainable future, including major investments in retrofits and other housing needs. Therefore, we are addressing the housing issue from coast to coast to coast.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary said that the Liberals were open to considering some amendments at committee. Opposition members would like to see just what kind of considerations the Liberals are concerned about here. We have already been public about the need for a 2025 milestone target, about clearer and stronger accountability on progress reporting, the assessment reporting, emissions reduction planning. We would also like to see the environment commissioner strengthened and made an independent officer.

Could the parliamentary secretary give us some feedback on those specific proposals and whether the Liberals will support those amendments at committee?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, although I wish I could, I am not a member of the environment committee, but I know there are people of good will and of intelligence on the committee. They produced the CEPA report unanimously in the last Parliament. I am sure they will come to a consensus on some of the issues the hon. member has mentioned. I do detect the hon. member supports the spirit of the bill, and we look forward to a good discussion at the environment committee.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not see anything in Bill C-12 that is concrete action to advance us toward the targets. I know the Liberals are not on track to meet even the 2030 targets. Could the member tell me what in the bill is evidence of a plan that would actually meet net zero by 2050?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I served with the hon. member on the status of women committee and enjoyed her able chairwomanship.

The reality is that we have not had hard targets previously. We have not had accountability legislation. That is entirely new. We intend to be very accountable. Unfortunately we never saw that from the Stephen Harper government. It cancelled Kyoto, conducted a very active war on science and, as we know, there are doubts in the Conservative party about the reality of climate change.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-12. We have had quite a lively debate today.

If we talk about this net zero by 2050 target and we look at the bill to see what it would actually do, we see it is a typical smoke-and-mirrors Liberal bill that does not have any substance to it. It essentially would put together a committee of liberal-leaning anti-oil and gas folks, who, by the way, have already been selected before Parliament even has had a chance to debate this legislation and amend it. That shows a real disrespect for the parliamentary process, and it is not a surprise because we see that continually from the Liberals. However, we have to wait until we have thorough debate here before moving on.

We are looking at a committee that will advise the government on a plan to get to net zero by 2050. Does this not imply that the Liberals do not have a plan right now? This is what that says. They have a whole department of climate change scientists and they have not achieved the 2030 targets. They have not made progress toward that. Emissions were at 730 megatonnes. They are still at 730 megatonnes now, and that is from 2005 to now.

Therefore, I do not see anything in the bill that really has the teeth to reach the goal of net zero, and not surprisingly. The Liberals did not meet the 2030 targets, as I mentioned. It is ridiculous that the Prime Minister has proposed even more stringent 2030 targets when he will not even meet the already committed to targets by Stephen Harper.

If I look at the plans that the Liberals have already outlined, they have not really made a lot of progress. The government was going to plant two billion trees. How is that going? Have any been planted? If the government cannot even plant trees, how can it get the rest of this done?

With my time, I will talk a bit about what ought to be done. It is not just my role as the opposition to criticize; it is my opposition duty to say what would be better.

First, when it comes to net zero, there is a lot of rhetoric in the House that the Liberals are science based. If they were science based, then the definition of net zero should be that which is emitted minus that which is absorbed. I already alluded to the amount that is emitted, which is 730 megatonnes for Canada. Then if we look at the things that are absorbed, we would look at the different ways carbon dioxide, for example, is absorbed. Land mass is one way that carbon dioxide is absorbed. Canada has a huge land mass. Water is another way that carbon dioxide is absorbed, and we have a huge water mass in Canada. Forest and agricultural plants are all taking carbon dioxide out of the air, so they should be counted as well. However, on the government website, these things are not counted.

When looking at forests, they are counting all the emissions that come from forest fires and all the emissions that come from processing trees into furniture and downstream things, but they give no credit for all the carbon dioxide that is being sucked out of the air, so that is a problem. It is the same on the agriculture side. We are talking about a substantial amount of absorption.

A 2014 report of the global carbon project stated that 37% of emissions were absorbed by land, the combination of soil, forest and agriculture, and 27% were absorbed by water. If we apply that to our 730 megatonnes of emissions, that would leave 263 megatonnes that we need to find a plan to reduce to actually achieve net zero from a science point of view.

How can we do that? A number of technologies are out there, including carbon sequestration and carbon sinks, for example, and we know projects are on the books to help address that. Those would take care of, arguably, 20 to 30 megatonnes, so that will not take it the whole way. The Conservatives have come up with a plan that actually would meet our 2030 targets and would put us in a very good path to meet net zero by 2050.

If we look at what has been successful in the world, and I know people did not like the last administration to the south, but sadly, it was one of the few countries that actually met the targets that were agreed upon. How was it done? It was not done with committees and rhetoric. The targets were met by incentivizing emissions reduction technology to be put in place in the major industrial emitters. That is an area that Canada should focus on. There is a substantial amount of that 263 megatonnes we need to find that we could find if we incentivized our major industrial emitters.

We also know that transportation emissions are a substantial portion. Our plan outlines how we would get those reduced. There is a number of good ideas there. In terms of building emissions, we know that is another source. The greening of buildings and the implementation of clean technology is key. However, we have more.

We can think about some of the great technologies, such as nuclear. There are these portable 30 and 50 megawatt nuclear stations that could replace diesel in the north and even beyond that. They could be leveraged to those places in the world that are on coal and other things. This is a great Canadian technology, which we should be putting in place to help here at home and then further away. Of course, going to lower carbon intensity fuels is another great idea.

Our Conservative plan has been verified by a reputable third party organization to actually meet the targets. That is important because targets without plans are dreams. That is what the Liberal government has right now. It has dreams and a lot of rhetoric, but it is not actually making tracks and making progress towards even achieving the 2030 targets, let alone the net-zero targets that have been suggested.

Our plan has been very well received by all of the experts out there. I am going to read some of the quotes. The principal economist for the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices said, “The Conservative plan is credible.”

Nic Rivers, associate professor for the University of Ottawa and the Canada research chair in climate and energy policy, wrote, “Overall, I'm impressed. I don't like everything in this plan, but it's a serious plan (with some details missing), and I'm really happy to see competition for stronger environmental policy, rather than weaker. Modeling shows approach meets target.”

Dale Beugin, VP of research and analysis at the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, said, “First, credit where credit is due for a serious plan. They've used modelling to ensure no magical thinking. They're relying on policies that will drive real emissions reductions. They are taking climate policy seriously.”

It is clear, from all of the people who have shown their support for the Conservative plan, that we are on the right track. That is not to say there is not more to be done. I am not opposed to planting trees. Trees are a carbon sink, but they have to be planted. One cannot just plan to plant them.

When we look at Bill C-12, I do not really see anything in here other than reporting mechanisms. There are targets but, again, they do not come with any teeth or any idea about how we would meet those targets.

I would encourage, when this bill goes to committee, the committee members take a look at exactly what needs to be put into this bill so that the tactics are clear for how we are going to get to net-zero emissions, and that they would actually amend the definition so that it would make sense. The way it is today, the Liberals are not counting everything that is absorbed and that will be important to the formula.

I think it is clear that I will not be supporting Bill C-12 in its current state. I would like to see some actual teeth to this. I am also very upset that in selecting the members for the committee, the government has selected a lot of anti-oil and gas people. I think that is stacking the deck in a direction that is not helpful. We will have oil and gas in Canada for a period of time, as we transition to a greener economy. There is a huge amount of emissions reduction that could be done in that area. Those people have already expressed that they have net-zero 2050 plans and are willing to participate.

Let us take advantage of that. Let us all work together. Let us come with a real plan to get to net zero by 2050.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, this will be a comment. The member indicated that there were a number of credible economists who are touting the new Conservative plan as a great plan and that putting a price on pollution is the right way to go. We have been trying to say that for four or five years. We have been quoting various economists from throughout the country who have been saying that we have to put a price mechanism on pollution if we want to do something about it.

I find it remarkable that the Conservatives are now coming in here and literally using the exact same phrases we have been using for the last four or five years to justify what we did.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have been clear that the punishing Liberal carbon tax does zero to reduce emissions in the atmosphere. It just puts money in the government coffers. Our plan is going to put the money back in the pockets of Canadians, so all together, we can participate in helping our country reduce its overall footprint. That is a good thing.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:20 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am going to say it out loud because I have not yet had the chance to. It is good to see this conversation about how we can reduce emissions and an attempt to get to a real plan.

It would be great to see Conservatives in this country join the Conservative leadership over decades, going back to Margaret Thatcher, in understanding that climate science requires a response. The concern I have is that the hon. member has suggested that carbon sequestration should be offset in the addition of our megatonnes of pollution.

We already know from our scientists that Canada's boreal forests are a net source of carbon because of insects, diseases and fires. We already know that our permafrost is thawing, creating its role as a net source of carbon.

Going back to Bill C-12, I do have a question for my hon. colleague. While I agree that it is egregious that the minister skipped the parliamentary committee process in appointing a committee in advance of amendments, would she agree it would be far better to have the committee based entirely on experts who could actually hold the government as a whole to account, not merely advise the minister?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is always passionate about this file.

It is very sad that the government, with a whole department of climate experts, does not have a plan. It has had six years in government, running on an agenda to do something to address climate change, and it has failed. What is important is to come up with a plan that all parties could agree to, so regardless of who is in the driver's seat, it will happen.

The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands pointed out the boreal forest and the fact it is a net emitter. That is what it is. That is a fact. Gaming the system to try to not count things because we do not like what they say is not science. Net-zero is net emissions minus net absorptions, regardless of where they are. I know that makes finding solutions and reducing more complicated, but we cannot just play a game with this. It is real.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Sarnia—Lambton for her speech. I will pick up where she and the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands left off talking about the forests and their contributions.

The member said it was gaming the system to not count the contributions of the forest. What I would say is those forests have been sequestering carbon, or not, for millennia. They are neither our emissions nor our sequestrations.

Where we can make a difference is by reducing our emissions. We can change that in the forest by how we manage the forest, but we cannot count all those carbon sequestration figures the forests are doing as our sequestration or as cutting down our emissions.

The member is a scientist. Perhaps she could comment on that.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would say, as a scientist, that net-zero is exactly that. It is net emissions. Regardless of the source, there are emissions that are man-made and emissions that are not man-made. That is all the emissions. Then, in the same light, there are absorptions. Net-zero really has to look at all of that. If it does not, then it is not really looking at the whole picture and people are picking and choosing what ought to be there.

I agree very much with the member that when it comes to forests, managing the wild fires and all these things we have seen, there are things we could do better. There are solutions the member pointed to. These are the conversations that we need to have, not the conversation in Bill C-12, which would do nothing to come up with any of those plans.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, with the introduction of the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act, our government is introducing legislation that will help address the extreme risks of climate change. The science is clear: Human activities are causing unprecedented changes to the earth's climate. Climate change also poses significant risks to human health and safety; the environment, including biodiversity; and economic growth.

Canada's climate is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world's and three times as fast in our northern regions. The effect of this warming is evident in many parts of Canada and will intensify in the future. The consequences of these changes are multiple. For example, the average participation is projected to increase for most of Canada. Also, the availability of fresh water is changing toward an increased risk of summer water shortages, and a warmer climate will intensify certain extreme weather conditions in the future, such as heat waves and floods. Canadians are already feeling the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, including the changing intensity and frequency of floods, storms and fires; coastal erosion; extreme heat events; melting permafrost; and rising sea levels. These impacts pose a significant risk to the safety, health and well-being of all Canadians; to our communities; to the economy; and to the natural environment.

It is important to ensure that Canadians are protected from these climate change risks. Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is critical to mitigating the risks of climate change, not only for Canada, but on a global scale. Indeed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that meeting this target is necessary to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reduce the risks of climate change. Limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C is especially important because it would make a marked difference in the impacts of climate change on all fronts. It would also give us more options for adapting to the effects of climate change, as opposed to a global temperature rise of 2°C.

When Canada ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016, it committed to setting and communicating ambitious national targets and taking ambitious domestic climate change mitigation actions to achieve them. Recall that the Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the efforts to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and, if possible, to limit this increase to 1.5°C. Currently, the target included in Canada's nationally determined contribution, communicated in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is for Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The government is committed to meeting and exceeding this target.

Our government is also committed to developing a plan for a prosperous carbon-neutral future for Canada by 2050, supported by public participation, provincial and territorial governments and expert advice. Canadians know that climate change threatens their health, their way of life and their planet. They want climate action now, and that is what this government will continue to do by immediately putting in place the plan to exceed Canada's 2030 climate targets and by legislating a carbon-neutral goal by 2050.

Achieving carbon neutrality by the government requires engaging in a process that takes into account the considerations of those most affected by climate change. Canada's aboriginal peoples and northern communities, while demonstrating exceptional resilience, are particularly vulnerable because of factors such as remoteness, inaccessibility, cold climate, aging and inefficient infrastructure, and reliance on diesel fuel systems to generate electricity and heat homes. That is why the government has committed to advancing the right spaced approach reflective in section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The government is also committed to strengthening its collaboration with Canada's aboriginal peoples on climate change mitigation measures. This commitment builds on initiatives already in place. For example, the government is funding and collaborating with first nations, Métis and Inuit on projects to monitor climate change and indigenous communities, build resilient infrastructure, prepare and implement strategic climate change adaption plans and develop green energy options that reduce reliance on diesel.

The plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 should also make the Canadian economy more resilient, inclusive and competitive. With the goal of creating a stronger, more resilient Canada in the wake of the current pandemic, climate action will be a cornerstone of our plan to sustain and create one million jobs across the country.

Despite the global issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change continues to progress. It remains important to recognize that climate change is a global issue that requires immediate action by all governments in Canada, as well as by industry, non-governmental organizations and individual Canadians. However, the government recognizes the important collective and individual actions that have already been taken and wants to sustain the momentum to mitigate climate change.

For example, the federal government and Alberta have launched a Canadian Emissions Reduction Innovation Network to support innovation that would enable the oil and gas industry to meet emissions regulations in a cost-effective manner by funding technology testing infrastructure at key facilities in Alberta and across the country to accelerate the commercialization of these technologies. This type of action demonstrates that it is possible to collectively contribute to climate change mitigation while respecting provincial autonomy, as the act intended to do.

In addition, last year the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change jointly announced a $100-million investment in Clean Resource Innovation Network to support research and development projects that promote environmental and economic performance in the oil and gas sector.

Government-wide collaboration on climate change mitigation is critical, which is why the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act provides for consultations with federal ministers who have responsibilities for action that can be taken to achieve our greenhouse gas emissions targets.

The Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act will contribute to further action on climate change mitigation by requiring the establishment of national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets based on the best available science and by promoting transparency and accountability in meeting those targets. In doing so, the bill will support Canada's achievement of carbon neutrality by 2015 and Canada's international commitments to mitigate climate change.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will strongly disagree with my neighbour and colleague, the member of Parliament for Cloverdale—Langley City. Our handling of the pandemic has been noted by magazines, newspapers and media around the world. Canadians have had the most vaccinations procured for them, as compared with any other country in the world. This week we have 20 million vaccinations.

I got calls today from our provincial folks, our Minister of Health and others on how to roll out even more vaccines and get them into the arms of Canadians. Over 33% of Canadians have already been vaccinated with one shot. We are number three in the G20. We are doing very well. We have one of the highest success rates in controlling COVID-19 and are keeping the death toll and serious illness rates to a very low minimum. That is being done in combination with Canadians, who have put grit and commitment toward controlling COVID-19, which has been active. At the same time, we are helping Canadians get—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have so many concerns.

I do not know whether my colleague listened to the speech given by my esteemed colleague from Repentigny. It is actually hard for me to explain to the people of Laurentides—Labelle how this translates into accountability. The first thing they are going to ask me is what is going on with Bill C-12. I will reply that we have to look at the purpose of the bill.

It says that the purpose of the bill is not to set targets, but rather require that targets be set. It is 2021. Now is the time to do that. It also says that we need to support international commitments. That will help Canada meet its obligations. People are afraid.

During the pandemic, we have been relying on science. Why can we not do the same for the environment, as people have been calling for, loud and clear, for decades?

I would like my colleague to comment on that.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I live in a province that has accepted the science, and folks on the other side of the aisle are now thinking carbon pricing is a great idea. Imitation is the best form of flattery, so I thank them for that.

In my province of British Columbia, climate pricing has been in place for over a decade now, and we have been seeing the results of it. Almost one out of every 10 vehicles sold is electric, and oil and gas consumption at the petrol pumps has been down significantly. B.C. has been cleaning its environment in that respect, and nationally we have physical attributes, such as planting two billion trees. There are industry standards, even in the oil and gas sector, that are helping to reduce carbon emissions. There are even comments from some CEOs, like the head of Shell Canada, who think that Bill C-10 is the right direction.

Whether we look at industry, the average Canadian or stakeholders—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would simply ask the member why this bill is so timid and so late. Jack Layton tabled a similar bill 15 years ago and it was killed by the Conservatives. The Liberals have been in power for six years and this is what we get.

Why have we not seen more urgency and more action from the government?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have been working hard on this since forming government in 2015. We committed to the Paris accord, and there now is a government south of the border that has reinstated itself in it. We have even committed to increasing the targets of the Paris accord.

The Liberal government has been committed ever since it has been in government. Challenges have happened in the past, and as the member opposite said, the Conservatives killed a bill previously. Every member of the Conservative Party has fought tooth and nail not to have any environmental policies put in place. However, our government, the Liberal government, hopefully along with other parties in the House, will continue to commit to a direction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean the environment and have one of the best climate action plans on this planet.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, environment and climate change are issues that consistently rank as top concerns for the constituents of my riding in Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. That is why I am pleased to have this short opportunity to intervene and give some of my thoughts on the bill that is before us, Bill C-12.

The reason this issue ranks so highly in concern among my constituents is that we have had consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments that have failed to meet a single climate target. I think Canadians are quite tired at this point, it being 2021, of governments committing to targets and then missing them again and again and again. We are running out of time to turn things around.

I often wonder where we would be today if, all the way back in 2010, the Senate had not killed Jack Layton's climate change accountability act, which was passed by the democratically elected House of Commons. We would have had 11 years of legislated targets in place, and I think Canada would be well on its way to achieving what we need to as a country.

Climate scientists have most definitely reached a strong consensus that, in the absence of any measures to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions significantly, changes in our climate will be substantial and will have long-lasting effects on many of earth's physical and biological systems. The evidence is very clear. It is no longer in dispute. We have observable data. We can compare it with the fossil record and with what we see in earth's geographic record. It is there for all to see.

We know these changes are going to bring about more frequent and more severe winter storms and summer hurricanes. Many parts of the world are going to see deadly heat waves that will result in mass casualties. We are going to see desertification spread and prolonged droughts. Many populations that are already suffering extreme water shortages are going to see those problems exacerbated.

Here in Canada, we are already becoming familiar with the wildfire season, which is beginning earlier, lasting longer and is much more intense, especially in provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia. Of course, because Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and much of the world's population lives on the coastline, we are going to be impacted by the sea level rise. The levels the oceans will rise by may not look like all that much, but when these are combined with shifting tides and storms, many cities are going to face some extreme flooding dangers, and many in the world have already seen this.

We have seen a rise in ocean acidification, which has an impact on our fisheries because of the bleaching of corals and combines with all sorts of problems in our oceans. Of course, all of these problems are going to contribute to the migration of millions of climate refugees. Although Canada, by virtue of its geography, is separated from much of the world by the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, we live in an increasingly globalized world, and for us to say we will be immune to all of these problems is a venture into fantasy.

We know we will be impacted by negative supply shocks. We know many of these climate-related weather phenomena are going to have a physical impact on Canadian infrastructure. We know our financial system is going to be negatively impacted, and we can see that in some of the data that already exists. According to some reports, climate-related disasters cost the world approximately $650 billion from 2016-2018. We know that a warming world is going to depress growth in agricultural yields by upwards of 30% by the year 2050. That is going to impact many small-scale farmers around the world.

The UN Environment Programme estimates the global cost of adapting to climate impacts to grow to anywhere from $140 billion to $300 billion per year in just nine short years: by the year 2030. This could increase to almost $500 billion per year by 2050. When I hear members in the House of Commons wonder aloud about the costs of the transition, I do not think we fully appreciate the costs of doing nothing or of not doing enough.

I have a very real concern about the biological effects of climate change and what it is going to do to our ecosystems, but for those who are more aligned to the monetary matters of our country, we have to be prepared to ask ourselves how much, as a country, we are prepared to spend in future years' tax revenues. How much are we prepared to spend to adapt to a changing climate and to fix the disasters? These are going to range in the billions of dollars just for Canada. The smart economics are for us to start making changes now and address this problem before the costs start spiralling out of control. This is why we, as a country, must have legislated targets in order to reduce our emissions.

I understand that Canada has fossil fuels. We have been developing them and exporting them, and we have many people whose livelihoods depend on the sector. The changes coming our way are not going to be easy, but they are going to be necessary. This is why, if we are going to do justice to the energy workers currently employed in the oil and gas sector, we absolutely must have a just transition strategy in place. We can already see the writing on the wall. Increasingly, investment is drying up and we are going to see more and more investment firms and banks start listing fossil fuel reserves as stranded assets. We need to identify the fact that many energy workers have transferable skills that are going to be needed in the renewable energy economy in the future. In addition, in Bill C-12 we need to start employing that just transition strategy so that we can take advantage of their skill sets and really position ourselves where we need to be.

I think Bill C-12 is a great first draft and, like any first draft, there is a nucleus of an idea there that we can work with. However, I believe that it needs substantial revisions. The legislation as it is currently written would allow targets to be set by the minister of the environment for the years 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045. The bill also requires that we have an emissions reduction plan, a progress report and assessment report for each target. It would establish an arm's-length advisory body to provide the minister of the environment with advice on how to achieve net zero emissions. It would require the minister of finance to prepare an annual report detailing how we are managing financial risks and so on. While there are some good things in place, and it is a step in the right direction, I believe that, given we are arguably in the most critical decade for addressing climate change, waiting until 2030 is a bridge too far. When the bill gets to committee, I would like to see committee members work constructively together to make some significant amendments to the bill.

I think that we absolutely must have a 2025 milestone target that would require a progress report by 2023 and an assessment in 2027. I also believe that we need far clearer and stronger accountability measures put in place on progress reporting, assessment reporting, emissions reduction planning and target setting. Again, this is a moment in time, and given what we know about climate change, we need to be upfront and very transparent with the Canadian people about what we as a country need to do. Also, the environment commissioner needs to be made an independent officer, similar to other independent officers of Parliament. As well, the legislation before us should not be by itself but should come along with those significant investments in that just and sustainable recovery plan that is going to support our workers, families and communities with training and good jobs.

To conclude, I implore my colleagues, even those who have doubts about the bill, to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let us recognize that Bill C-12 has its flaws and that there is a lot to be desired within the bill, but let us at least vote in principle to support the idea behind the bill, get it to committee and allow important witness testimony to inform the amendments that it needs in order to make it a much better bill and one that Canada needs.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, Nature Energy just put out a study from the University of California that states roughly 20% of electric vehicle owners in California replaced their cars with gas ones, with the main reason being the length of time to charge.

Does the member recognize the serious problem of discontinuance due to the technological challenges we still face at this time?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, like any early stage of a technology that is being adopted, we still have more advances that can be done. The technology with respect to zero-emission vehicles is growing rapidly. A lot of car companies are now starting to throw considerable financial weight into this, and I think we are going to see in short order a huge improvement not only in battery life but also in battery charge capacity.

I own a zero-emission vehicle. It depends on the kind of charger one gets, but it allows me to meet my needs quite ably and it is very satisfying knowing I am going around town not having any emissions. In a recent Angus Reid poll, only 34% of Conservative Party supporters said they believed climate change was human-caused. The Conservatives have a real problem, and the Conservative Party has to own up to that and really have a frank conversation with its membership on the seriousness of this problem.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is so incredibly short-sighted when Conservative members try to use the early place in the evolution of a particular product as an excuse for why we need to abandon it completely. The first electric car I had was not fully electric. It was a Chevy Volt and only had 40 kilometres' worth of electricity on a charge. The electric car I have now, the Hyundai Kona, can get me to Ottawa on a charge and then I charge it here before going back home.

Did the member feel like banging his head against the wall the way I did when he listened to the previous question he heard?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I need to save my forehead from that kind of pain, but in all seriousness, to the member's point, it is important to underline that with any early adaptation of a technology there will always be growing pains. We saw it at the turn of the last century when people were transitioning from horses and buggies to the first petrol-powered cars. It will take time for the infrastructure to spread and for electric cars to really get to where people need them to be, but it is happening. Many vehicles out there now have a 400-kilometre or 500-kilometre range on a single charge, which is a huge improvement over just five years of the technology being out there.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. In terms of banging heads against the wall, I cannot say the Liberals are helping much. I also think that there are many things giving them a headache at the end of the day.

Bill C-215, introduced by my colleague from Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, was a climate bill with teeth that required the government to meet its targets by 2050. The bill we are currently studying is very timid, although we support it in principle. I would like to know whether my colleague sees the many paradoxes in the Liberals' actions in the fight against climate change.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I live in a province where the Liberals spent billions of our dollars to buy a bitumen-exporting pipeline and are spending billions more to increase its exporting capacity, so I very much understand his concerns.

I recognize what the Bloc has done on climate change. I also want to recognize the member for Winnipeg Centre in our own party, who has also brought up similar legislation. There are a lot of efforts from all parties, and we all need to collectively come together to treat this issue with the seriousness it deserves and make sure our actions meet our words in the House of Commons.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-12, such an important bill. I do not think there is anything more important than what this bill seeks to set in motion.

We have made it very clear that we must reach net-zero by 2050 and that we must exceed the Paris climate targets by 2030. What this bill would do is set the framework to establish and measure those targets, but more importantly, afterwards, figure out if something needs to be adjusted and hold accountability back to Parliament for whatever governments come and go between now and 2050, so that Canadians have an ability to assess how we are doing.

I say that nothing is more important than this, because I cannot think of any particular piece of legislation that could trump this in terms of the impact it would have for generations to come.

I think of my children, who are 17, four and two, and the world they will live in 50 years from now. I worry about what it will look like from an environmental perspective and from an ecosystem perspective, not just here in Canada, as there is no doubt, in my opinion, that we are probably one of the better-off countries in terms of the effects of climate change, but what climate change will mean to things like world order. What impact will climate refugees, those seeking refugee status as a result of climate change, have in our world? Nothing matters more, in my opinion, than what this legislation attempts to hold governments to account on as we move into the future.

I think of some of the discussions that have been had today, and I think of what it is going to take to get to this. A lot of people talk about how this is going to be very challenging, how there is a lot of work that needs to be done, how electric vehicles are not where they need to be and what the real impact on reducing those emissions will be, and it is daunting to think about it. I think we really have to change a lot of what we do.

However, if we stop there and only consider the daunting perspective of what needs to be done, we will completely miss the opportunity that comes along with it. In my opinion, there is a great opportunity here to be leaders in the technology. Who does not want to develop those new technologies that the world will adopt? Who does not want to be an exporter of great technology? We need to be at the leading edge of this so that we are exporting our technologies around the world, as other nations that are developing are looking for ways to do things differently and to be more environmentally sensitive so that the impact is more environmentally correct, but also on a more localized level.

I will never forget one of the climate strike rallies in Kingston on a Friday afternoon a couple of years ago. One of the organizers of the event, Gavin Hutchison, whom I know very well as he helped me in my 2015 campaign, came up to me and said, “Think of the potential for job creation in doing what we need to do.” Kingston is renowned for its old buildings, and of course old buildings do not lend themselves well to being extremely efficient until they have been retrofitted. Gavin pointed over to Kingston city hall and said, “Think of the work that has to be done to change those windows to triple-pane windows and relook at the way we do our heating systems by using geothermal and other ways of doing things.” All of this will employ thousands of people in the short, medium and long term in order to get to where we need to be.

When we have a debate like this, I think of somebody like Gavin. For somebody who is so incredibly passionate and who understands the dire circumstances we are in, he still has the ability to be optimistic. He still looks at the glass as half-full, rather than saying, “Oh well, I can only drive 300 kilometres with my electric car, so I may as well go back to the F-150”, which, by the way, is going electric in the next couple of years. People like Gavin do not think like that. The vast majority of Canadians do not think like that. They look at things from an optimistic perspective. Our economy and markets look at things optimistically: Where will the leading-edge technology be? Capital for anything with the term “green” attached to it is readily available because the markets know that this is where the future is.

We are about to unlock incredible potential with the way our commitment to our environmental responsibilities is changing. I think of some of the opposition to this bill that I have heard today and I cannot seem to wrap my head around it. Conservative members seem to suggest that they are against this bill and I cannot understand why. When we think about it, this bill basically says that we establish benchmarks and then measure ourselves against them. What more would an opposition party want than that? We are literally putting this into legislation. We are saying, this is what we are going to accomplish and, by the way, we are going to follow up to see if we actually did it. With the ammunition it would give to the Conservative Party in attacking and holding a government to account, I cannot understand why anybody would be against this. Even if someone was against doing anything with respect to climate change, there is still the opportunity to hold the government to account.

That brings me to my next point. Are the Conservatives really against this bill, or are they against the evolution and modernizing of our economy so that we can get to where we are being more environmentally responsible? It is so funny that the member for Battle River—Crowfoot, who was speaking earlier, was talking about Liberals being hypocrites. This is coming from a party that, by the way, now supports pricing pollution and clean fuel standards. For years, they fought us on this. They repeatedly said that the Liberals were trying to pass a carbon tax, that they cannot and will not have it, and now it is suddenly what they are going to do.

As if that was not the best part, I want to read something the member for Battle River—Crowfoot said in this House today. Members might find this interesting. The member said, “all members of this House...certainly from the Conservative side, support a strong environment for our future, but we also believe that needs to go hand in hand with the economy”. A Conservative member in this House today said the environment needs to go hand in hand with the economy. I feel for the previous minister of environment, the member for Ottawa Centre, who for years sat in the House saying the exact same thing and she was heckled repeatedly for it. What is next? Are the Conservatives going to come in here and say “the middle class and those working hard to join it”? Is that the next line that is going to start coming from the Conservatives?

I will end with where I started. Nothing is more important than this bill. Nothing is more important than defining what our future will look like and, even more importantly, holding any government to account to make sure it delivers, and if it does not, understanding exactly what it is going to do differently so that it does. Without this, nothing else really matters. This is the most important thing that we can do for future generations.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, actions speak louder than words. My hon. colleague has said what the government is going to do, but the government has been in power for almost six years and emissions have not gone down. The government has filibustered at committee, obfuscated and done everything it can to avoid making sure that information is provided to this House, to Parliament and to Canadians.

Can my hon. colleague tell us exactly how this legislation will hold the government to account?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do remember very well when this member helped get this government into power in 2015.

The legislation is very clear. It talks about establishing the framework. It has the years in it for which accountability will come back once the benchmarks are established. The opposition can then follow along in the timeline to see if the government has reached the targets. If it has not, then it might be time for another energetic question period. That is basically how they will be able to follow along and make sure that the government is held accountable.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I listen to my colleague, I cannot help but think of the novel 1984 by George Orwell.

I am not thinking of the party in power in the Orwell's novel, but rather of his concept of doublethink. Doublethink is the ability to hold two completely different opinions and to believe them both while forgetting that they are completely contradictory.

In its budget, the Liberal Party has allocated $21.6 billion for a green recovery. However, it spent $17 billion on a pipeline and gave the go-ahead to offshore drilling without an environmental assessment. At present, it is introducing Bill C-12, which contains nothing that is binding on the government.

Can my hon. colleague tell me why the government voted against Bill C-215 and is now proposing a much more timid bill?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no doublethink here. I am on the record as having said that I did not think it was a good idea to purchase a pipeline. I am on the record as having said that. I am saying what I think. I am standing here as an individual member of Parliament to deliver that.

This bill is at the stage where we would like to get it to committee, so that if a member is interested in advocating for why targets need to be in this bill, as opposed to it just being a framework, then I think it would be a great opportunity for the member and others to do that at committee. I have heard others say that, and I am not even completely against it. I would love to hear what the committee has to say about that.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:05 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member said that we have to change a lot of what we do, and yet we have seen the Liberal government continuing and increasing the massive oil and gas subsidies that are given, but it has given very little to clean energy.

What I really want to talk about is the Trans Mountain pipeline. The latest estimate from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, and also by the company, is $18.5 billion, to build the pipeline and ram it through. It will result in the mutilation and destruction of the Burnett Creek watershed, which is just a few kilometres from here. It will substantially increase greenhouse gas emissions. It is a massive mega project that essentially means Canada will never be able to meet its commitments under Paris.

My question is very simple. The government is ramming this pipeline through, which means 50 years of increased oil and gas exports, raw bitumen. Why is the government not actually walking the talk?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, one might think the member did not hear the answer to the previous question. I just finished saying that I am on the record as having said that I am not in favour of the purchase of that pipeline. I do respect the fact that there are competing challenges when we do these things. I realize that the government would have had to weigh a whole host of different variables into making that decision, and I respect that.

On oil and gas subsidies, I could not agree with the member more. Again, that is another thing I am on the record for, as saying that I do not think we should be subsidizing oil and gas in Canada.

I would encourage the member to listen to my speech and then ask me a question. If he is going to go off topic onto something that is completely different, like the two issues he brought up, he should at least find out what my position is on them, so that we can have a meaningful discussion about it when he does ask me a question.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to Bill C-12, an act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

The legislation before the House is nothing more than more virtue-signalling from a virtue-signalling government led by a virtue-signalling Prime Minister. The Liberals talk the talk when it comes to reducing GHGs, but when it comes to walking the walk and actually delivering, the government, without more, gets a big fat F.

Accountability is in the title of the bill. Accountability is mentioned eight more times in the body of the bill. However, make no mistake that when the Liberals talk about accountability and when they incorporate the word “accountability” into their own legislation, they mean not accountability for the Liberals. After all, the first targets provided for in the bill are in the year 2030, which is nearly a decade from now, likely long after the government has left office and almost certainly long after the Prime Minister has left office.

When the Liberals talk about accountability therefore, they are talking about accountability for future governments, but not for themselves. So much for the Liberals talking about accountability. It is no wonder that the Liberals want to impose accountability on future government, while exempting themselves from the same accountability. This is not the first time the government has set targets for reducing GHG emissions and then completely failing to meet them. When the Prime Minister took office in 2015, he committed to the Paris climate accord and with it the Paris targets of a 30% reduction of GHG emissions from 2005 levels by the year 2030.

How is the government fairing with respect to meeting that target? According to the national inventory report published by the Department of Environment and Climate Change, the government is projected to miss its 2030 targets by a full 15%. It is important to emphasize that the national inventory report is a government report. That is the government's own projection. It is missing the mark by 15%. In response to that, this projection is likely wildly optimistic given the fact that over the last six years under the government's watch GHG emissions have gone up, not down.

It is important to note that not only is the government way off from meeting its 2030 Paris commitments, it failed to meet the previous 2020 commitment of reducing GHGs 17% below 2005 levels. The government missed that target by a whopping 123 million tonnes. To put that into context, that is the equivalent of Canada's entire agricultural sector and a good part of Canada's electricity sector.

It should be noted that while the government completely failed to meet its 2020 targets of a 17% reduction, our neighbour to the south, the United States, actually did achieve those targets set by the previous Obama administration in 2009. The U.S. reduced its GHG levels by 21% under the Trump administration.

I know the Prime Minister likes to compare himself to President Trump, but I certainly think he would be rather embarrassed to to learn that under the Trump administration the U.S. achieved its 2020 targets, while he completely missed the mark.

What does the Prime Minister say after completely blowing the 2020 targets and being completely off track with regard to 2030? The Prime Minister's answer, being the virtue-signalling Prime Minister he is, is to simply pull a new number out of a hat and come up with a new and more ambitious target, forgetting the fact he cannot even meet his Paris target.

When the government tabled its budget, the government said that we should forget 30% and that it would up the ante to a 36% reduction. Then, three days later when the Prime Minister appeared at the Biden climate summit, the Prime Minister said that 36% was nothing, that it was a pittance, how about 45%? That is a 9% increase with respect to a commitment to reduce Canada's GHGs within the span of three days.

At the U.S. Biden climate summit, President Biden committed to a 50% to 52% reduction. How much longer will it be before the Prime Minister suddenly announces that it will not be 45% but that will be 50% to 52%? Surely the Prime Minister, being a virtue signaller, will want to outpace President Biden. Why not 55%, 60% or maybe even 80%? What a sham this is.

If the policies implemented by the government to justify its targets did not have such a devastating effect on entire sectors of the Canadian economy, the Prime Minister changing targets seemingly every day on a napkin would constitute a national joke. While the Prime Minister seemingly could not outbid himself fast enough before President Biden, lapping it up with other world leaders, there was a world leader also at the summit, who leads a country that produces the most GHG emissions in the world, that being President Xi of China.

What was President Xi's commitment at the summit? He said that China would “strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030”. Let us let that sink in. In other words, President Xi committed to increasing GHG emissions over the next 10 years. This is from a country that contributes to 28% of global emissions, and is rising every day, compared to Canada's 1.5%. What was the Prime Minister's response to President Xi's total lack of a commitment? He said nothing. He is apparently fine with China increasing GHG emissions. He is apparently fine with China building hundreds of coal-fired power plants as we speak.

Simply put, the best that can be said for the Prime Minister's approach when it comes to reducing GHGs is that it is a wholly unserious one from a wholly unserious Prime Minister.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech.

Honestly, for the sake of future generations, I have a hard time swallowing what the government on the other side of the House and the former government have to say. I was around in 2009. This issue was top of mind for me when the Copenhagen meeting was being held. What happened then? His own government threw in the towel.

It is therefore hard for me to participate in these debates and see what kind of resolve there is. Earlier I spoke about targets and objectives, and I wondered if the government was going to walk the talk. All I can say is that I am ashamed.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle that under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, Canada actually saw a real reduction in GHGs. The Chrétien government signed the Kyoto accord and did precisely nothing. The current government signed on to the Paris agreement and we have gone backward, not forward.

With respect to the Conservative Party, we have put forward a comprehensive plan that recognizes this is a global issue that requires working with our allies and that we have to deal with countries that are the biggest emitters, including China.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the climate crisis is the foundational political issue of our times. There are rarely issues in politics that are existential, but this is one of them. Our planet is at stake. Ecosystems may be permanently destroyed, species may go extinct and human existence will be irreparably altered.

Over the last 25 years, we have seen numerous targets and pledges made by successive Liberal governments to meet carbon reduction targets and the Liberals have missed every single one of them. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Given that the Liberals have a 100% record at failing to hit their targets as well as their contradictory behaviour in expanding fossil fuel infrastructure, could the member tell me how Canadians could possibly trust the Liberal government to hit these targets without annual mandatory reductions or a 2025 target?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Vancouver Kingsway is absolutely right. The current government has missed the mark time and time again.

As I noted at the beginning of my speech, one of the problems with this bill is that the first target is set in 2030, nearly 10 years from now, roughly three elections or four elections away. Very simply put, the government is not serious when it comes to transparency or accountability.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, as a farmer, I have been in the business of carbon sequestration all my life and it is pretty exciting to see what kind of things we can do. If we take a look at the greenhouse, we pump CO2 in there. We go from 400 parts per million to 1,000 parts per million and we get a 21% to 61% increase in crop yield. It is amazing.

I wonder if my colleague could talk about the Conservatives' plan to support and encourage individual Canadian innovators in finding new technologies that improve our environment.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, my friend from Cloverdale—Langley City is absolutely right that carbon sequestration is key to reducing Canada's GHG emissions. I know my province of Alberta had called on the federal government to step up to the plate and provide real leadership. We saw a mere pittance in the budget toward supporting carbon capture and storage.

By contrast, the Conservative Party has a real plan, including a $5-billion commitment to build carbon capture capacity and innovation. It is absolutely key. The Conservatives are committed to doing it, and working with the provinces toward reducing GHGs.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:25 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and privilege to rise today to speak to Bill C-12 from the territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and to serve the communities in Nanaimo—Ladysmith and the unceded territory of Snaw-naw-as, Stz'uminus, Snuneymuxw and Lyackson first nations.

Climate concerns rank very high in my riding. On November 21, I had the pleasure of taking part in the inaugural meeting of the Community Climate Hub here in Nanaimo. There were some great presentations and sharing of ideas about what we can do as a community to combat climate change. The ideas included creating active, transportation-friendly streets; improving our local food system and lowering the carbon footprint of our food; energy retrofits for homes, businesses and institutions; and transitioning from fossil-fuel heating, oil and fracked gas to electricity and heat pumps. There were suggestions for better public transit and for protecting the local natural environment with green spaces to ensure a vibrant biodiversity both within the city and in the surrounding area. It was an energizing meeting. Climate action at the personal and community level is important and necessary, but all of the actions that Canadians take individually and locally can be wiped out with the approval of a single diluted bitumen pipeline or a liquefied fracked gas terminal.

Just days before this community meeting, the federal government tabled Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act. Unfortunately, this piece of legislation will not hold this government to account for emissions reductions or the next government or the government after that. The accountability does not start until 2030, and that accountability is weak at best. We need climate action and accountability now.

In 2015, this government went to the Paris summit with the Harper government's target to reduce emissions by 30% over 2005 levels by 2030. The government left Paris with that pathetic target in place and tried to pretend that it was the Paris target. In the Paris climate accord decision document, Canada agreed to set new emissions reduction targets in 2020 and every five years after that. It did not happen. It was not until Earth Day this year under pressure from the Biden administration that the government increased the target to between 40% to 45% by 2030. That target is still completely inadequate and fails to address the urgency of the climate crisis. We still do not have a 2025 target that we committed to under the Paris accord.

The last IPCC report states that we have just 10 years to bring emissions down substantially or we cannot keep global warming to under 1.5°. The prospect of a livable future for our children and grandchildren is in peril.

I have heard the argument too many times that what Canada does in terms of climate action will make no difference, but, in fact, we are the ninth highest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet and the eleventh highest emitter of greenhouse gases per capita. When we compare greenhouse gas emissions reductions, we have the worst record of the G8. Canada is a climate laggard.

The U.K. has a carbon budget law that binds governments to emissions targets and holds them accountable. In other words, it eliminates politics from climate action. In 1990, the U.K. produced 25% more emissions than Canada. It has reduced its emissions by 42% and made a commitment at Paris to reduce emissions by 68% by 2030. Collectively, the 27 countries of the European Union have reduced their emissions by 25% since 1990.

Canada's current emission levels are 21% higher than they were in 1990. That is not climate leadership, it is shameful. Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have signed on to nine international climate accords and have failed on every account. None of the governments that signed those agreements created a plan, and Canada has not met a single one of the commitments it has made.

Canada's last target, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, was set by the Harper Conservative government in 2009. Eight provinces and three territories representing 85% of Canada's population were on track to meet that target, but two provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, increased greenhouse gas emissions so much that they completely wiped out the sacrifices, investments and advancements to climate action made by the rest of the country.

These emissions increases can be attributed almost exclusively to the oil and gas industry. Where is the accountability? How is it that the federal government cannot ensure that the provinces work together to meet our international commitments?

Now British Columbia is joining the rogue provinces ignoring Canada's commitment to climate action and accountability. B.C. is providing billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies for fracking and the export of liquified fracked gas. LNG Canada is owned and controlled by five foreign multinationals. It will be the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia. The B.C. government is practically giving the resource away by providing fracking companies with billions of dollars in deep-well subsidies while only collecting a fraction in royalties.

From the wellhead to the end consumer, fracked gas has the equivalent greenhouse gas footprint as burning coal for electricity. Extracting natural gas through hydraulic fracking releases methane into the atmosphere. For the first 20 years after it is released, methane is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Fracking uses and poisons huge amounts of water, poisons airsheds and has been linked to increased risks of asthma, cancer and birth defects. Fracking causes earthquakes, and yet the B.C. government allows it in the vicinity of huge hydroelectric dams.

Many jurisdictions around the world have either placed moratoriums on hydraulic gas fracking or banned it outright. Some jurisdictions are also banning the installation of gas heating and gas appliances in new construction. Why? It is because they understand that creating more demand for a product that releases climate-destroying methane is irresponsible.

Fracking needs to be banned in Canada. It is incompatible with lowering carbon emissions, combatting climate change, protecting fresh water, maintaining a healthy environment, and respecting indigenous sovereignty, rights and title.

As I speak, some of the last big-tree old-growth forests in B.C. are either being logged or are under immediate threat of being logged, trees that sequester massive amounts of carbon, far more than an acre of seedlings. The B.C. government is allowing those trees to be cut down. The B.C. government is also allowing whole trees to be ground up into pellets and exported as biofuel. That is not climate leadership.

These are just some of the reasons that Canada needs a carbon budget law. We need to take politics out of climate action, and follow the science. The priorities of the government demonstrate that it is not serious enough about the existential threat of climate change. The government is spending $17 billion on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Trans Mountain is not just a climate loser, it is a money loser. According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, the only way that TMX will not result in billions of dollars in losses is if the government abandons action on climate change and increases oil sands production.

We need a just transition for fossil fuel workers and an end to all subsidies to the oil and gas industry. Research conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which breaks down new and recycled spending promises, shows that the government is proposing to allocate just 0.25% of Canada’s GDP toward climate action. That is far less than the 2% of GDP that leading climate economist Nicholas Stern says is needed to stop global warming from surpassing two degrees.

Canada has committed $5.1 billion per year towards climate action, when we need to be committing $40 billion a year. That is not climate leadership. The climate crisis is the defining struggle of our generation, just as World War II was the struggle of our grandparents' generation. Focusing on incentives for households and businesses is not enough. The government must take charge, force the provinces into line to meet our international commitments and bind us to a whole-of-government approach that mandates action to win this struggle.

The real obstacle is not the climate deniers, it is politicians who recognize the science but lack the courage to remove politics from climate action. We need a carbon budget law. Bill C-12 is not it, and does not meet the challenge before us. It provides a false sense of security, and pushes long overdue action and accountability down the road for another decade.

Young people across this country are demanding better from us. They, our children and our grandchildren deserve more than this weak piece of legislation.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to go back to the part of the member's speech where he was talking about the offsets between different provinces. To be completely honest, it is not something I was entirely aware of. He was suggesting that some provinces have done better and that a couple of others have done worse, which is how the offset was calculated. Can he expand on that?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:35 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, if we look at the analysis of our 2020 target for the Copenhagen Accord, Ontario met the target. Other provinces reduced their emissions and had a plan they followed through on. They reduced their emissions by almost 17%, which was what the target was. Alberta and Saskatchewan increased their emissions so much that we basically flatlined between 2005 and 2020, so we did not meet those targets.

What is happening now in British Columbia means we are going to see a massive expansion in fracking for LNG Canada. We know that gas fracking is terrible for the climate. It is a climate killer. When we put methane into the atmosphere, it is 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas. It is going to create a serious problem for us. We have a third province that has now hopped onto this bandwagon of being a climate rogue and the federal government needs to step up, show leadership and make sure the provinces are held to account for our international agreements.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, I really appreciated my colleague's detailed speech. We will remember these failures for the rest of our lives.

I would like to hear his thoughts on the bill that unfortunately never came to be, as well as on the need to act very quickly, without the usual partisanship we see always focused on protecting the economy.

If we had invested in innovation and the environment in recent decades, we would have already transitioned to green energies. I would like to hear my colleague speak to that.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:35 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, we are so far behind in this country that other countries are far ahead of us. There is technology that is being developed in Canada that is being used in Europe. Corvus Energy in Richmond designed the battery system that has electrified the ferry fleets in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. We have a company in Mississauga that is creating hydrogen trains, locomotives, for the European train system. Canadian technology is being developed. We could be further ahead on that kind of technology development if we were promoting it as a government and not just sitting back and having our economy dependent on the extraction, rip and ship, of raw resources so that when a pipeline gets cancelled we have to have an emergency debate.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, we have heard the term “walk the walk” many times today. It reminds me of when I was at a G20 energy meeting in Argentina three years ago where the U.K. minister got up and said, “We have to walk the walk.” He was referring to climate accountability legislation the U.K. brought in. We now have a bill before us that kicks the can down the road another decade with weak targets. I guess I am despairing about what we have to do here to get that sense of urgency. I wonder if the member can comment on that.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:40 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I feel the member's urgency. I am a grandfather now and I fear for the future of my children and my grandchildren. This bill is not accountable at all. To do a review in 2028 of our 2030 targets is not good enough. We are supposed to be taking stock in 2023 of how our targets are being adhered to for our 2025 target. The Paris accord does not even mention 2030. We are climate laggards in this country. We need to get down to it and be accountable. We need a carbon budget law like the U.K. has.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:40 p.m.
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Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House today to debate Bill C-12, which our government introduced in the House.

This bill, which is entitled the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, is the culmination of many years of advocacy, work and national and international negotiations. It proposes a legislative framework to support our goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The need for this net-zero target is based on the best scientific knowledge available, which was clearly set out in the most recent special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, in 2018.

The report clearly illustrates the devastating effects of global warming of 1.5°C. It shows that human-induced warming has already reached an average of approximately 1°C above pre-industrial levels. I want to clarify, for the benefit of the House, that experts agree that humans are responsible for this warming, unlike what was said at the Conservative Party convention.

The science is clear: to hold the temperature increase to 1.5°C and stave off the worst effects of climate warming, we must achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Paris Agreement, to which Canada is a signatory, echoes these findings. It calls on governments around the world to take urgent, ambitious climate change action to maintain climate warming well below the bar of 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to below 1.5°C. This would prevent the worst consequences of climate change, and it is urgent that we act quickly so as not miss this positive opportunity that is slipping through our fingers.

It is extremely important to not only act quickly, but effectively. That is why the government established the net-zero advisory body, an independent body that will help Canada achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It will ensure that national greenhouse gas emission targets are established using the best available data. This advisory body will provide the Government of Canada with expert advice on how to reduce our emissions, reach our objectives and ensure that Canada excels in the net-zero economy of the 21st century. We expect that the proposed measures will serve as a catalyst for long-term growth that fosters low carbon emissions, sustainable jobs and our collective health and safety.

Canada is not alone in aiming for net zero by 2050. Many other countries, as well as provincial and state governments, cities and businesses have rallied to the net zero by 2050 target. Some countries have already legislated or signalled their intent to legislate their commitment to achieve net zero by 2050. These include Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, New Zealand and Japan. Here in Canada, Quebec has committed, Nova Scotia has legislated its commitment, and British Columbia's current government has also pledged to do so.

This push to achieve net zero by 2050 and the steps many governments have pledged to take to achieve that goal unite not just the international community but all segments of society, including environmental government agencies, unions, first nations, indigenous peoples and the private sector. Furthermore, environmental organizations such as Ecojustice, the David Suzuki Foundation, Équiterre and many others see the introduction of Bill C-12 as a major step forward for Canada.

Combined with a strong plan to fight climate change, this legislative framework will provide the necessary transparency and accountability, no matter which party is in power, throughout the entirety of the important and crucial challenge of achieving net-zero emissions.

Many large Canadian companies have already committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Furthermore, some Canadian companies such as Maple Leaf Foods and the Canadian Automobile Association, or CAA, are already carbon neutral.

In light of these efforts on all fronts, it is now Canada's turn to commit to reaching net-zero emissions by introducing the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act. This act will require national greenhouse gas emissions targets to be set every five years starting in 2030 in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This approach will ensure transparency with regard to the measures and progress necessary to reach this goal, earning Canadians' trust.

This legislation will create accountability to ensure we are meeting our targets. It also gives the Minister of Environment and Climate Change additional responsibilities, including the tabling of several progress reports and plans before Parliament.

If the target is not met in any given year, Canada will have to disclose why the target was not met. It will also be required to provide a description of actions the government is taking or will take to address the failure to achieve the target.

The legislation also requires the Minister of Finance to work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change 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.

We know that the cost of climate inaction can be very high. We need only think of the financial implications of natural disasters, not to mention the immense and immeasurable cost of lost biodiversity. These reports, enshrined in law, will ensure this financial transparency related to climate risks.

Finally, the legislation requires the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development to examine and report on the government's implementation of measures aimed at mitigating climate change at least once every five years.

All of these measures in the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act will ensure a clear and credible process for setting our targets and will allow for transparency and accountability on the progress made. This accountability is essential as Canada commits to net-zero emissions by 2050 and as we meet our new and ambitious target for 2030.

I remind members that the government announced a more detailed plan to meet our Paris commitments last fall. This plan included new investments to support and encourage Canadian businesses and help them expedite the transition to a successful, net-zero and sustainable economy that is, most importantly, globally competitive.

As the Prime Minister said, “Our most important international partners and competitors are positioning themselves to attract investment in new clean technologies. Canada needs to do at least that, if not more.”

Net zero offers the biggest economic opportunities of our age and will ensure a viable future for us, our children and our children's children. A few months after releasing our detailed plan, we responded to Canadians, who called on us to be even more ambitious and exceed our 2030 target under the Paris Agreement by almost a third for a total greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 40% to 45% by 2030.

Achieving our climate targets is ambitious, long-term work that requires immediate action on the part of all governments in Canada, industry, government organizations, indigenous peoples and the entire population. It is important to recognize the individual and collective actions already taken on this front. Provincial and territorial actions are very important to ensuring Canada's success in the fight against climate change. They will complement our actions and enable us to exceed our targets. The provinces and territories continue to announce ambitious new objectives and actions.

Just recently, the Government of Quebec launched the 2030 plan for a green economy, a policy framework for the electrification of transportation and to fight climate change. Although the bill before us today does not impose any obligations on the provinces and territories, their opinions and contributions, along with those of indigenous peoples, experts, non-governmental organizations and citizens, will be solicited with regard to the targets and plans prepared under the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act.

A single government cannot transform our economy for the future and ensure a prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050 on its own. I dream of the day that the Conservative Party of Canada, like the Conservative Party of Great Britain, will recognize the importance of climate change and of having serious plans and targets in place to address it.

I hope that the members of the opposition will support Bill C-12, which will hold us all accountable for this net-zero emissions future. This bill is necessary not only for the transparency it will bring, but also for the positive impact it will have on the health, opportunities and well-being of our children and grandchildren. It is a question of fairness.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, as I listened intently to the minister, I heard the word “effectively”. However, with all due respect to him, I do have one question.

Bill C-12 is indeed a step forward. Technically, no one in the House, not even our Conservative colleagues, can deny the realities of 2021.

There has been much talk of 2050. We would actually like to know what will happen in 2030, since there seems to be no desire to try and assess the targets.

Considering all the expertise he acquired in a previous life before he entered politics, what does the minister think of our position on this planet, which is dying because of greenhouse gases?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question.

I too find it alarming that one party in the House of Commons does not share our unease and concern about climate change.

With respect to Canada's international performance in the fight against climate change, I humbly confess that that is not only why I got into politics, but also why I joined the Liberal Party of Canada. For more than 25 years, I have been crusading for the environment and specifically for action on climate change.

I have seen governments come and go, here and elsewhere. I was impressed by what I saw from 2015 to 2019: carbon pricing, record-setting investments in public transit, transportation electrification and record-setting investments in nature-based solutions.

I would like to point out that, between 1992 and 2015, Canada managed to protect barely 2% of its marine areas. By 2019, that figure was around 19%. That all happened in four short years.

Nevertheless, we still have a lot to do. That is why we presented an even more ambitious action plan in December. As my colleague probably knows—

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:50 p.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, the Liberals talk about electrification, especially electric vehicles, and green technologies. I would like to ask the minister about his party. Back in 2015, the Prime Minister talked about how we had to transition out of manufacturing. In many respects, the auto industry has done that. How can the minister reconcile his party's plan?

Maybe he can tell us when was the last time Canada had a greenfield site. Maybe he can tell us why Canada does not have a battery plant. Could he tell us why Mexico and the United States are getting massive investments in new manufacturing, including Magna, a Canadian company that is not expanding its operations in Canada?

Perhaps the minister can explain why we are becoming dependent upon vehicle manufacturing of others instead of green, clean technology domestically, just like we are dependent upon vaccines from others right now? We are going to be completely dependent upon new lower-emission vehicles. Perhaps the minister can explain why the Liberal strategy is not producing any results and when Canada last had a greenfield site.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, I would beg to differ with the hon. member's characterization of what is happening in Canada.

Just a few months ago, there was an announcement by the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the Province of Ontario and Unifor, for the construction of North America's largest electric vehicle plant. Since then, we have heard more good news on this front. We are seeing a collaboration between the federal government and the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and many others, on the development of battery-powered vehicles. I could talk about the recent investment in Lion Electric, a Quebec company that produces electric school buses and all kinds of different types of trucks.

The member is right. He does have a point: It is an international race and Canada must be at the forefront of that race. If we do not do that, then we will become dependent. We are doing everything we can to ensure that Canada is at the forefront of this race. There is some very encouraging discussion with the new U.S. administration with respect to Canada-U.S. collaboration on electrification and on green technologies; conversations that unfortunately were not possible until just a few months ago.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 5:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Eric Melillo Conservative Kenora, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to join the discussion today on Bill C-12. This is an issue of great importance for me as climate change is an urgent issue for me and for many of my constituents across the Kenora riding and of course, many Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

In northwestern Ontario, we have seen many environmental changes and challenges in recent years. There have been shorter and warmer winter seasons. There have been more sporadic weather patterns and changing behaviour of wildlife and these are all new realities that we must face. That is why I believe it is incredibly important that we work with Canadians and with industries to ensure that we are doing our part to aid in the global effort to preserve and protect our environment for future generations. I will speak to that in more detail shortly.

First, I want to address the bill directly as I believe that the title of the bill in itself is somewhat misleading to Canadians who may be watching at home or see the speech online. I believe the bill does very little to bring transparency and accountability to Canada's efforts of reaching net zero by 2050. I believe that the bill is a typical Liberal bill. It places accountability on future governments, not its own. Through nearly six years of the Liberal government, it spent the majority of time either pointing fingers and criticizing past governments or making commitments such as this one for future governments. The one thing that the Liberals failed to do is hold themselves accountable.

The bill proposes the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, but there are very few details on how the government is planning to get there. The goal of net zero is something that our party shares with the current government. We also know that many Canadian industries share that goal and they are already on a path to reduce their emissions, diversify their operations and find innovative solutions to help Canada reach these goals. Again, the bill does not truly provide any support for those solutions. It is in many ways simply stating the target that they were planning to get to.

The government is already failing to meet its current climate commitment set for the year 2030. It is interesting that instead of taking action to reach the government's current goal, Liberals are now instead looking further down the road and committing to more aspirational goals. Unfortunately, given their track record thus far, I have very little faith in their ability to put Canada on track to meeting either the 2030 or 2050 targets.

Truly this is a government that has been big on promises and short on action on the environment. We know Liberals said they would plant two billion trees, but they have no plan to reach that target. They said they would put Canada on a path to reducing emissions, yet emissions continue to rise. They also continue to export non-recyclable Canadian waste abroad and in my riding they failed to take meaningful action to protect Lake of the Woods.

What is worse, the Liberals claim that they would balance economic activity with environmental protections, but even as they have been missing these environmental targets, they have done nothing to allow Canadian industry, which is some of the cleanest in the world, to thrive. We know that Canadian oil and gas holds itself to very high environmental standards and many in the industry are already committed to net zero by 2050.

Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Fort McMurray, Alberta. I was joined by the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka and others. I toured Suncor and I learned about the great work it is doing to supply clean and sustainable energy to the world and ensure that the environmental impacts of this are as minimal as possible. Suncor alone has planted over eight million trees as part of its reclamation programs and we know that is many more trees than the Liberals have been able to plant. That is in addition to the belated efforts of other energy companies that have similar programs. I believe overall that Canadian energy companies, often vilified by the Liberals, are actually doing more for the environment than the government itself.

The cement industry as well is taking ambitious steps to lower its emissions by transitioning to lower intensity, Portland Limestone Cement is investing hundreds of millions in low-carbon fuels. This is an industry that employs many in my riding and across the country.

I would like to talk about the forestry industry as well. It is a big employer in northwestern Ontario. It is taking a leadership role in helping Canada reach its low-carbon goals. Weyerhaeuser, which has an operation in Kenora, reduced its GHGs by 53% over the past two decades. It is becoming greener and more efficient every year. Resolute Forest Products, which has a mill in Ignace, has reduced its emissions by 83% compared to 2000 levels. Since 2010, only a decade ago, Domtar, which has an operation in Dryden, has seen its emissions decrease by nearly 20%. These are figures that the government could only dream of meeting itself.

If we look at the mining industry, which also employs many in my riding and is a major employer of first nations, it is taking great strides to reduce its environmental impact. Evolution, which has a mine in Balmertown, has increased by 11% the amount of water it is able to reuse. It is also continuing to take steps to reach its climate risk mitigation targets. Lastly, we know that clean, Canadian natural gas has the potential to lower global emissions by displacing less clean forms of energy and preventing carbon leakage abroad.

Canada's Conservatives recognize that industry must be at the table when we are talking about reaching net zero. We can lean on its expertise to help us reach our climate goals, while supplying the world with sustainable, ethically harvested natural resources. That is why it is so incredibly disappointing that the Liberals continue to take their cues from activists who are determined to destroy our industries instead of recognizing their environmental leadership.

The government has failed to address many environmental concerns and is on track to miss its targets. The government's only climate plan is to implement a tax redistribution scheme that makes life more difficult for hard-working, rural Canadians, and also lets big emitters off the hook.

I would like to take some time to discuss some of the tangible actions we must take to meet our targets. Primarily, we must incentivize and invest in innovative technologies to reduce emissions. We must incentivize Canadians to make their homes and their businesses more efficient and support industries as they make their operations cleaner and greener. We can do our part to reduce global emissions by supporting the responsible production of clean, Canadian energy and get it to international markets, reducing the world's reliance on coal and other high-intensity forms of energy.

We also need to continue to invest in conservation initiatives so future generations can continue to enjoy cleaner air, cleaner water and the beauty of our natural environment. We must not forget that it was under a Conservative government with former prime minister Brian Mulroney that we took decisive action on the acid rain crisis. I believe we now need a Conservative government with a similar vision to address the environmental questions of our time. That is exactly what we intend to do.

The Leader of the Opposition recently announced our climate plan. It is ambitious, but it is practical, with real targets and concrete steps to reach them. Under a Conservative government, Canada would embrace innovation, making real investments in the production of electric cars and trucks, as well as hydrogen vehicles. We would also invest $1 billion to deploy small modular reactors, a zero-emission source of electricity and heat across the country.

We would work with our neighbours to the south to establish North American standards for industry with border adjustments to prevent big emitters from outsourcing their emissions and their jobs to countries with lower environmental standards. We would place carbon border tariffs on goods imported from big polluters, like China, to ensure that we are holding all nations to the same standards that we set for ourselves. Additionally, we would invest $5 billion in carbon capture, utilization and storage to help our energy sector reduce emissions while continuing to provide high-paying jobs for Canadians.

I could go on, but I see that I am limited in time. I would like to say that Canada's Conservatives are going to move forward on this plan and many other things I cannot get to right now, but this is the plan that Canada needs as we seek to secure a greener future, not more empty rhetoric from the Liberals. If we want to combat the effects of climate change, Canada needs more than aspirational goals and empty words, but unfortunately, empty words are all that the Liberal bill provides.

Canadians deserve better and the world deserves better. For years, the Liberals have been spinning their wheels in the fight against climate change. Conservatives actually have a road map and we are ready to get in the driver's seat to implement it.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 6:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I really like this member. He speaks clearly, and he comes here and speaks what I believe to be his own mind, but I just cannot get over it when Conservatives routinely hark back to Brian Mulroney. That is like me taking credit for the formation of this country, because I happen to come from the same riding as Sir John A. Macdonald. The Conservative party of Brian Mulroney does not exist anymore. They need to stop invoking his name.

When the member talks about the ability of people to invest in their homes to make them more energy efficient, how does he think the new plan that is presented by the Conservative party accomplishes that? All it would do is put money into the bank accounts of people who are wealthy, people who can afford to do those renovations anyway. How does he propose their plan would help those who do not have the resources to retrofit their homes?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 6:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Eric Melillo Conservative Kenora, ON

Madam Speaker, I always appreciate the member for Kingston and the Islands asking me questions and participating in the debate. We know he has a lot of thoughts and a lot of opinions he likes to share.

I would just say, with respect to the member, that we clearly disagree on the substance of the low-carbon savings account he was talking about. We know this is a measure that would keep more money in the pockets of Canadians. It would allow them to invest in greener technologies for themselves. It would not be a big government program that gives more revenue to the government and redistributes it across the country to those who have not been paying.

I stand by our plan. It is a credible and tangible plan that would help Canada reach its climate goals, and at the same time it would ensure we have more economic activity and more jobs than under the Liberal plan.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 6:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened to my colleague, whom I very much appreciate and would like to acknowledge. He is a fine member, and I hear he works hard for his constituents every day.

I just heard the last question from our Liberal friend, who said that the Conservatives keep talking about Brian Mulroney. Well, the Liberals keep talking about Pierre Elliott Trudeau, so they should not be so quick to criticize.

Now that my colleague has been criticized for talking about Brian Mulroney, I would like to hear what my colleague thinks about what the current Prime Minister of Canada has done for climate change, now that he has been in office for six years.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 6:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Eric Melillo Conservative Kenora, ON

Madam Speaker, I will answer in English, because my colleague will probably actually understand me better than if I tried my French.

It is important to note, as I have said in my speech, that the current Prime Minister talks a very good game on climate change, but when it comes to delivering, he has really been absent. I do believe the government needs to do more to work with our industries and to work with those who are already doing great work to help Canada reach environmental goals, instead of vilifying them and making them out to be the enemy.

That is the approach I would like to see the government take, and that is the approach we will take under the next Conservative government.

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May 3rd, 2021 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I can see the good intentions in Bill C-12, but like any first draft, I think it needs some revisions.

We have identified some ways in committee that we would like to see some substantive amendments come forward: 2025 milestone target, more powers for the advisory committee and maybe separating some of the targets and the plans away from the minister's mandate.

Does the member have any suggestions to the House about some of the improvements and amendments he would like to see to this bill to make it substantially stronger than what we have right before us?

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May 3rd, 2021 / 6:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Eric Melillo Conservative Kenora, ON

Madam Speaker, I believe there need to be binding targets on the government. I am not looking at 2030 or 2050. We need to ensure that we are doing our job to hold the government to account. Right now, I believe that is an important step, and I would add as well that we need to make sure the advisory body that is working with the government on this needs to have representatives from our energy industries and from natural resources, so that we can ensure we are leaning on their expertise and the innovation they have been working toward to help us reach our goals.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
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Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Madam Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to Bill C-12, an act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the bill; and

That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration at the second reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, since this bill has been introduced, the government's climate change plan has changed at least three times, while the bill has only been up for a couple of days of debate, no more than 12 hours in total. How can the government say that debate is done when it changes its plans and gives us no ability to debate the bill in this place?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
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North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, the bill is now up for its fifth day of debate since November. We have already had important conversations since the bill's tabling and we are very much looking forward to having further debate at the next stages of the bill.

I would note that the Conservatives have reversed their stated position in the House of Commons to support Bill C-12, with their motion last Friday to effectively kill the bill, and they did not include a 2050 net-zero commitment in their climate pamphlet. They announced that they would cancel Canada's new nationally determined contribution, and today, they tried to block debate on the bill yet again.

It is time for us to move to committee to ensure that we can have a robust discussion of how we—

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I would echo the frustration that all of a sudden we find ourselves in a rush to push the bill through. The bill was brought forward last November and then only appeared for one hour of debate in March. Now we find ourselves in April and we are in a huge panic to get the bill through to committee.

We do support climate accountability. I wonder if the minister could explain to us why he is so reluctant to commit to a specific number of megatonnes of greenhouse gases reduced by 2025 on the path to 2030.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, as I said, the bill is now up for its fifth day of debate since November. I am a little surprised to hear that from my New Democratic colleague, given that my understanding has been that the NDP members support the intent of the bill.

Certainly we are focused on ensuring transparency and accountability, and we have been very clear with all members of the House very much, including my colleagues in the New Democratic Party, that we are open to the consideration of ways in which to enhance transparency and accountability going forward.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, talking about climate change is important.

Personally, I am still wondering why people keep asking for time allocation. I am sure the problem stems from the government House leader's management of the calendar. It is not okay to prevent and circumscribe debate in the House. This is an important bill, and we have talked about it four times.

Why is the government having such a hard time managing its legislative calendar?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, this is now the fifth day of debate on this bill since November.

We have discussed this bill at length since it was introduced, and we are very eager to move on to the next stage of debate. All parties, including the Bloc Québécois, the NDP and even the Conservatives, though they backtracked last week, said they wanted to send this bill to committee.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I am afraid I find the Liberals' protestations that we are on the fifth day of debate rather thin. They brought it forward in November. Did we see it again in December? No. Did we see it in January? No. Did we see it in February? No. It came back in March for three and a half hours, conveniently on a Wednesday afternoon with very little time for debate, and then, worse, we did not see it again until one day in April, when we had one hour of debate on a Friday afternoon. We have not yet arrived at a slot that would be available for anyone who is not a Liberal, Conservative, Bloc or NDP member to speak.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, as I said, the bill is now up for its fifth day of debate since November, and we have certainly had some important conversations, but there will be opportunities for additional conversations at committee. It is important to all members in the House, even the Conservatives, until last week, and they have suggested that they support the principles of this bill. We have said that we are open to progressive and thoughtful amendments at committee.

There is significant and appropriate time for consideration at committee. It is time for us to move forward. For those of us who think climate change is a priority, we need to move forward.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, the last comment the minister made was “for those who think climate change is important”. Indeed, this is an important topic and we need to move on with it. We have seen over the last number of months procedural move after procedural move by the Conservatives to slow down debate on virtually everything. Nothing seems to matter anymore, other than proving that this government cannot do anything, and they will do whatever they can to make that a reality.

Would the minister not agree that given the current crisis in front of us with climate change, we need to deal with this now and move forward on this?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very disappointed to see the approach the Conservative Party has taken on this bill.

When it was first introduced, the Conservative Party critic said, “It may raise some eyebrows that my party will be supporting this bill at second reading, but if we are going to have any success, we need to find those things that we can agree upon and take action.” The Conservative finance critic, the member for Abbotsford, said, “Conservatives in the House support this legislation.”

Last week, they reversed their stated position in the House to support the bill and effectively tried to kill it. They did not include a 2050 net-zero commitment in their climate pamphlet. To be honest, I think Canadians find it very unusual that the Conservative Party is not willing to—

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

First, Madam Speaker, the minister is completely wrong. He says that the Conservative climate plan, which will achieve our targets for 2030, is a pamphlet. The targets that the government put out last week did not even have a napkin with a 40% to 45%. I take no criticism from the minister on this.

Generally, what is the urgency in pushing this bill forward? The government has already put forward a plan to hit existing targets, a terrible plan, but a plan nonetheless. It has appointed the advisory group and filled it with anti-oil extremists. However, I digress. It has been able to do many of the things that this bill purportedly says it would do. Why not let members have more input, particularly since the government has changed its own climate change goals three times since December of last year?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, there is a whole range of issues that probably should be addressed in what the hon. member said, but let me talk about the net-zero advisory body that will provide advice to the government as it charts the path to net zero. This group is comprised of exceptional Canadians, with a wide range of experience and expertise. This drive-by smearing by the Conservative Party is not only ridiculous, but it is offensive.

Some of the members include Gaëtan Thomas, CEO of Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick and the former CEO of New Brunswick Power; John Wright, former CEO of Saskatchewan Power; Linda Coady, who served as Enbridge's chief sustainability—

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:30 a.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. His government has targets, but its plan is incoherent, illogical and dubious.

We agree about the accountability to Parliament piece and the periodic review of greenhouse gas reduction target achievement.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change does not want us to do that review in 2025. What is he afraid of? Why does he want to wait until 2030?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I agree that there needs to be transparency throughout the process.

This legislation is all about accountability and complete transparency, including a binding legal process requiring the federal government to set climate targets, present an ambitious climate plan every five years between 2030 and 2050, and table a 2030 progress report by the end of 2027 as well as a 2030 assessment report within 30 days of the inventory report data—

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, it is unfortunate that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change is unilaterally imposing a gag order on Parliament, in other words, muzzling all the members who want to have their say, when this is such an important issue.

The Liberals have been in power for six years. Why is this minister forcing members to keep their mouths shut and not have this debate?

I would remind the minister of a Radio-Canada article published on April 26 that points out that partisanship must be set aside, since this is one of the most important issues for the future of our environment.

Why is the minister saying that it is important to get this bill to committee, but it is no longer important to discuss it in the House?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, it is time to do something about the climate crisis. The bill is now up for its fifth day of debate, and we have already had important conversations since it was tabled in November. We are very much looking forward to having further debate at the next stages of the bill.

Every party has said they support sending this bill to committee. The Bloc Québécois and the NDP agree, and even the Conservatives reversed their position last week.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:30 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I would like the minister's comments on the conflicting messaging that is coming from the Conservatives?

The member made reference to the legislation itself, but with respect to the environment, in general, the Conservative membership across the country does not recognize that climate change is real. Now the Conservatives seem to be taking a different position in their brochure, to which he made reference, where they appear to want to have some sort of a price on pollution.

Could the minister provide his thoughts on why it is important we have more clarity from the Conservative Party of Canada?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, it is very important that we have clarity from the Conservative Party on this issue. Certainly the fact that a majority of the Conservative Party's members voted to say, effectively, that climate change was not real is a cause for significant concern among the Canadian population. The fact that the Conservatives have put in place a carbon tax as part of the pamphlet they have released is a step forward, but the contents of the pamphlet are extremely disappointing and would make very little progress with respect to the climate issue.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:35 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, it is disingenuous for the minister to pretend that the government is serious about climate change when it is spending nearly $20 billion trying to ram through the Trans Mountain pipeline. It is also disingenuous for him to pretend that an hour of debate equals a day of debate. The fact is that over the last six months the government has not put this on the House agenda.

The minister says that he wants to have discussions at committee. The environmental movement, important environmental organizations and the NDP have all been pushing for 2025 targets. In the midst of this climate emergency, is the minister saying today that he will accept 2025 targets in the legislation?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, this government takes the climate crisis very seriously. We have developed Canada's first national climate plan. We have now enhanced our ambition with respect to the targets we are proceeding to address. We certainly support enhanced reporting to ensure that we and all future governments are on track to meet our newly announced nationally determined contribution for 2030. This is something we will be discussing at committee. It will be important, and I have been very clear, that we are open to constructive discussion about how we enhance transparency and accountability in this bill. We need to get it to committee and I look forward to doing that.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, I echo some of the comments of my colleague for New Westminster—Burnaby about the minister's disingenuousness about having this in front of Parliament in the first place. Would he prefer to have this type of legislation, which my party would like very much to debate and have our input on, decided by his bureaucrats alone without any input from democratically elected Canadians? That seems to be his bent, particularly with the clean fuel standard. This is a way of addressing the climate debate and seeing what options the country has going forward.

Would the minister not agree this is something Canadians should have their elected representatives put their opinions on in public?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, as I said, this bill is now up for its fifth day of debate since November. I am not sure why the hon. member would not see that committee discussion and debate would further that debate in public.

I note the Conservative Party used to support this bill. The member for Abbotsford indicated Conservatives in the House support this legislation. The member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola said that his party would be supporting this bill at second reading.

The Conservative Party reversed its stated position in the House of Commons to support Bill C-12 with its motion last Friday to effectively kill the bill. It did not include a 2050 net-zero commitment in the climate pamphlet it released a couple of weeks ago. It is important for us to move forward. Canadians want us to address climate change. They would like to see a Conservative Party that actually believes in climate change.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:35 a.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to echo the thoughts of my colleagues who have talked to the frustration we are seeing on the NDP side of the House. I talk to a lot of citizens concerned with climate action who have been frustrated for months by the lack of priority the government is putting on this. I spoke to this bill when it first came out in November. Here we are in April, five or six months later, and we are still talking about it. It has not even gone to committee.

The Conservatives have used various dysfunctional machinations to slow things down. We just had an hour of useless debate this morning. The NDP really wants climate action now. We really favour accountability in climate action. Jack Layton brought forward—

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I think the hon. member will remember when I introduced this bill I did actually speak to the fact that Jack Layton had introduced a bill some years ago. Unfortunately, it was killed by the Conservative Party of Canada.

As I say, we attach the same priority to moving this forward and addressing the climate crisis. I welcome the input from the hon. member and his colleagues, but we need to get this to committee so we can work to improve this bill. We need to get it through to ensure it is in place.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:35 a.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Environment.

Last week, we saw the government perform a magic trick with regard to the environment and fighting climate change in Canada. In the budget, the government proposed a 36% target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Then, three days later, on Earth Day, that target suddenly turned into 45%.

I would remind the House that Canada has never once managed to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets, neither the ones it set itself nor the ones agreed to in international agreements. It has never happened.

What happened between Monday and Thursday that made the target go from 36% to 45%?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, in December, our government unveiled its strengthened climate plan to meet and exceed its climate targets. Our plan included 64 new measures and $15 billion in investments to fulfil our commitments.

Last week, budget 2021 unveiled additional measures, including increased harmonization with our largest trading partner, the United States, to go even further. We will continue to work with Canadians, civil society organizations, the provinces, the territories and indigenous people to ensure that we meet our targets.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, this is, in fact, the first time I have had an opportunity to speak to this bill, so I find it completely disingenuous on the part of the government to say that we have had enough debate on this. This bill is completely inadequate. We have not met any of our climate targets in the past and this bill would not hold this government to account. It would not hold the next government to account. Our targets are inadequate for—

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I will start again. The debate on this bill has been completely inadequate. This is, in fact, the first time that I have had an opportunity to speak to this bill. I have tried in the past to get up and speak, ask questions and raise comments. This bill is completely inadequate. The Canadian government has failed to meet any of the climate targets that it has committed to, nine of them in a row. This bill would not hold the government to account. It would not hold the next government to account. Our current target is inadequate—

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, Bill C-12 has a legally binding process for the federal government to set climate targets and bring forward plans to meet those targets. It has rigorous ongoing process reports, yearly reports by the independent advisory body and ongoing audits by the Office of the Auditor General. Additionally, we proposed embedding Canada's new NDC for 2030 directly into the act as the target for 2030.

With respect to the comments on the climate plan, I would ask the hon. member to have a word with former B.C. Green Party leader and leading climate scientist Andrew Weaver. Last week he said, “For the very first time, I am now hopeful that the world will come together to dramatically reduce global GHG emissions,” and that the United States and Canada were providing important leadership.

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, climate change and the need to have action now requires leadership. Leadership is not about waiting for public opinion to be on one's side all the time. We have to make bold decisions and move with them quickly, as we did five years ago when we started talking about putting a price on pollution. We now see that the Conservatives have suddenly come to the conclusion that it is necessary, most likely because they realize that public opinion is on the side of pricing pollution.

Can the minister comment on the struggles that he and the government have gone through over the last five years in fighting the Conservatives on this issue, although now they suddenly have come to realize it is the right thing to do?

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, the Conservative Party has opposed climate action at almost every turn. I found it somewhat ironic that the Conservative Party, in the pamphlet it put out in the past few weeks, endorsed the carbon tax and the clean fuel standard, both of which it has attacked this government on, day by day. Unfortunately, the plan it has put forward is very weak. It will make very limited progress and I think Canadians understand they cannot trust the Conservative Party—

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, the minister was in this place and promised to work with all parties on Bill C-12. At that time, we gave the suggestion that perhaps there needed to be industry representation to make sure that critical industry voice was heard. What did the minister do? He promoted people who have said things on social media like, “At Davos we will tell world leaders to abandon the fossil fuel economy.” Another one stated, “[Canada] must demonstrate how a major fossil fuels producer and exporter can transition away from these pollutants”. He did the exact opposite.

If the minister wants to know why we have reversed our position, it is because he broke trust. No prime minister, and no government, should be divisive and try to tell a particular region or province that its aspirations have to take second to their own Davos crowd.

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, let us be serious here. The members of the group were selected to represent the diversity of the Canadian population. This included representation from all regions of the country as well as gender balance, indigenous people and visible minorities. It included a range of perspectives. I would say to my colleague that he should have a look at the full list. It includes Peter Tertzakian, the chief economist for ARC Financial, a major energy player in Calgary; Dan Wicklum, the CEO of the Transition Accelerator and the founder and CEO of Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance; Linda Coady, who served as Enbridge's chief vice-president of sustainability; and Gaëtan Thomas, who is the former CEO of New Brunswick Power. Let us be—

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, Canadians look at all of the climate targets that Canada has set, yet we have met none of them. They look at that record and have a hard time trusting that we are going to meet the 2030 target.

Would the minister please clearly explain what is so difficult about the target-setting process that prevents him from setting a target for 2025?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, as I have said, we are open to constructive amendments to improve transparency and accountability with respect to this bill going forward.

However, with respect to the climate plan and the comments that my hon. colleague has made, certainly this is a comprehensive approach. It has been recognized by the former leader of the NDP, who called the plan absolutely marvellous and said that it would put Canada on track with respect to our Paris accord obligations. He also said that the Prime Minister and I had published a very bold, all-encompassing, frankly brilliant climate plan. I suggest that perhaps the member might have a conversation with Mr. Mulcair.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, I am wondering what the government's plans are to deal with Canadians who are at risk of slipping into energy poverty. The regulations on the clean fuel standards printed in the Gazette show a very clear picture that middle- and lower-income Canadians are at risk of slipping into energy poverty because of increases in transportation fuel and home heating expenses.

How is this going to address that concern?

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, the clean fuel standard is an important part of reducing the carbon content of liquid fuels, and we certainly are working to ensure that it is implemented in a manner that is going to be affordable to all Canadians. That includes increasing accessibility to biofuels and hydrogen through the monies we have allocated to stimulate economic activity in those areas.

I find it a little bizarre that the hon. member is actually asking that question. He might want to review the Conservative Party pamphlet on climate change. It advocates for a more aggressive clean fuel standard, which will have other effects—

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, the minister likes to throw around words like “accountability” and “transparency”. The heritage minister said that the government would be putting the brand new 45% target into the bill, yet there has been zero debate on the bill since the targets were set.

How can we vote on the intent of the bill with zero debate on a significant change to the bill's goal?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, if the hon. member had read the bill when it was introduced, it has always been the case that Canada's nationally determined contribution would form the initial 2030 target for the accountability legislation. The nationally determined contribution was moved to 40%-45% last week, which is in line with the commitments that our country and all countries have made under the Paris agreement to ratchet up their ambitions over time and bring our targets in line with the 2° and, ideally, the 1.5° target.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:50 a.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I still do not understand why we do not have a 2025 target. I do not understand how we can meet our targets when this government continues to pour money into the fossil fuel industry, including $18 billion to the Trans Mountain expansion project and continuing to subsidize oil and gas.

How are we going to meet our targets, and how is the bill going to keep this government accountable when the first target is in 2030?

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, certainly having a robust and comprehensive climate plan is the first step. Canada has that, developed through the pan-Canadian framework and the strengthened climate plan we announced in December. We have added to that with additional investments made in the budget, as well as with the work we are doing with the Americans on a continental approach in a couple of different areas.

Certainly, it is the most detailed climate plan, or one of the most detailed that exists in the world, and Bill C-12 is an important part of that. It would provide transparency and accountability. As I have said, we are open to constructive amendments at committee as to how we can further improve it.

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April 27th, 2021 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, if the minister really wants to move this through the House and actually have some input on it, he may not have appointed all members of the board that should have resulted from this, as opposed to actually working with other members in the House of Commons in constructing that after this went through.

Is this legislation really just a hurdle that he has to get over as quickly as possible to implement a plan that he would rather implement in the dark corners than in public with consultation and input from other parties?

Bill C-12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, certainly the focus of the climate plan has required input from Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We have made a commitment that we will stand up an expert independent body that will provide additional advice to the government, as it goes forward, into finding net-zero pathways. This needs to draw on perspectives from all different parts of society. That is why we launched the independent net-zero advisory body. It is a group of exceptional Canadians across various parts of this country from industry, labour and academia to help us to ensure Canada is moving forward in the appropriate way, and I would—

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is rather disappointing to see the government bring in time allocation to restrict, or even muzzle, parliamentarians in their debate on a very important bill.

The environment is very important. I have said this many times and I cannot stress it enough. I want all Liberals and everyone to understand that our party, the Conservative Party of Canada, recognizes climate change.

Our leader presented an environment plan last week. I am not sure if that is what provoked the Liberals, but I want to point out that in the week following the presentation of our plan the Liberals changed their greenhouse gas reduction target three times. On Sunday, April 18, they were at 30%. In the budget presented on Monday, April 19, they were at 36%. On Thursday, April 22, in a bid to impress the rest of the world, that figure went up to 45%.

Canada's greenhouse gas emissions will go down in 2021, but I assure Canadians that this will have nothing to do with the Liberals. The current health crisis has indeed caused a worldwide reduction in greenhouse gases, and I hope that the Liberals will not take credit for it.

The Liberals have been in power for six years and, unfortunately, nothing has been done. From 2015 to 2021, greenhouse gas emissions increased by 5% under this government, which had a majority for four years and is now in minority in its second term, which will last who knows how long. That is a fact. Nevertheless, the Liberals have the audacity to tell us to keep quiet about this important subject. That is a big problem for me because there has to be respect for the institution.

Let me get back to the bill “respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050”. This bill fundamentally has merit because it seeks to protect the environment for future generations.

However, I, and many others in Canada, think that the Liberals have a hidden agenda. There are five parts to the bill summary, and one very important one is both troubling and worrisome. In the interests of transparency, something that the Conservatives really value, unlike the Liberals, I want to share a quote from the bill. The bill:

(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;

The bill itself says the following:

20(1) There is established an advisory body whose mandate is to provide the Minister with advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, including advice respecting measures and sectoral strategies that the Government of Canada could implement to achieve a greenhouse gas emissions target, and any matter referred to it by the Minister, and to conduct engagement activities related to achieving net-zero emissions.

21(2) The advisory body is composed of no more than fifteen members, who are appointed on a part-time basis for a renewable term of up to three years.

The very next part of Bill C-12 has to do with the committee's terms of reference. It states, “The Minister may determine and amend the terms of reference of the advisory body”.

As I said at the outset, the liberal government has a hidden agenda. Based on what we know right now about its membership, the government has appointed—or pre-appointed, if I may be so bold—people to the advisory body. However, the bill has yet to be accepted. The selection of members is therefore a concern.

I am giving the second part of my speech today. In the first part, I mentioned that we do recognize climate change and that all Canadians must work together if we want to get results.

Canada has a wealth of natural resources in oil and hydrocarbons. Not a single person from this industry has been appointed to the advisory body. The government prefers to import foreign oil from places where it has no control over how it is extracted.

We must begin the energy transition, and that can only happen if we use the resources we have. We must act intelligently, in partnership with all stakeholders involved in greenhouse gas emissions, so that everyone can contribute. That is the problem with Bill C-12.

My colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent moved a motion calling on the House to decline second reading of Bill C-12 and do the following very specific thing:

(b) address the fact that, after committing to working with Parliament on the makeup of the advisory group, the government appointed climate activists whose influence, if acted upon, would lead to the destruction of the oil and gas sector, disproportionally threaten certain regions of the country and their essential industries, and weaken national unity.

The Liberal government claims to be very inclusive. Can we work together to come up with solutions? Considering this government's attitude, we do not get the feeling that it wants to find solutions. It has a hidden agenda, and that is unfortunate.

We all recognize the importance of taking action on climate change, and it is the Conservative Party that will deliver.

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April 27th, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I have a very simple question for him.

We agree that the principle of Bill C-12 on climate accountability is a step in the right direction. In fact, Jack Layton introduced a bill along those lines in 2006. However, there is a lot missing from Bill C-12. The government wants to conduct assessments and produce reports every five years, but, for the Liberals, “in five years” means 2030. The year 2025 does not exist. We do not know why the Liberals are putting this off for practically a decade.

What does my Conservative Party colleague think about the fact that government is putting off Parliament's responsibilities?

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, with whom I have the pleasure of serving on the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

He is absolutely right about the fact that the Liberal government thinks this is so urgent that it has just imposed a gag order on us.

I want to take this opportunity to give my colleague a message. I think it is unfortunate that the New Democrats supported the amendment in question.

Let us get back to the facts. It is important to act now. I remember the Liberal government saying in 2018 that we needed to take action and that it was urgent we do so. Yes, it is urgent that we take action. However, as I already mentioned in the House, under Bill C-12, there will have been two majority governments and one year of a minority government before we begin to see results. That is ridiculous.

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April 27th, 2021 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis.

Had my colleague listened to my speech, he would have known that I said we need to work with all stakeholders in the industries involved. Workers want to have an impact. They want to contribute, but they are not represented on the advisory body. Oil and gas industry representatives are not part of the process.

Your government says it is inclusive, so you should work with everyone around the table to come up with a unanimous approach and have a meaningful impact on the environment. That is what we have to do for our children and grandchildren.

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April 27th, 2021 / 12:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a simple question for my colleague.

One of the Liberal government's key campaign promises was to plant two billion trees over about 10 years. That breaks down to 200 million trees a year. As far as we know, not that many trees have been planted, maybe 100,000. The government broke its promise.

What does my colleague think of the idea of planting trees to help combat climate change?

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to apologize for my previous intervention.

In response to the question by my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, I would say that unfortunately, the government has broken its promises yet again.

Tree planting is a tangible measure. Carbon capture from planting trees has a positive impact. Every environmentalist and every scientist agrees with that.

I would like to inform my colleague that all the members of the Conservative Party of Canada have planted far more trees than the Liberals have in six years.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, I salute my colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith.

We must act now if we want to have an impact as quickly as possible. We have had a health crisis. The current government was slow to react and to close the border, but it did react eventually. If we want to do something about the climate crisis, we must act very quickly.

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April 27th, 2021 / 12:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Madam Speaker, it is always an honour and privilege to be a strong voice for the hard-working people of Mississauga East—Cooksville. I know first-hand just how devastating the impacts of climate change can be on their lives. My riding in the city of Mississauga has had to deal with some of the worst flash flooding in the country. Extreme weather events that used to happen every 40 years are now happening every six years. Canadian cities are facing two crises as they converge in a perfect storm, the combination of a rapid rise in extreme weather events, as a result of climate change, with growing deficits in sewer and storm-water infrastructure.

On that note, I want to thank our government for the millions of infrastructure dollars in assistance it has provided Mississauga to help mitigate future flood damage. Per year, there are now 20 more days of rain in Canada. That is up 12% since 1950. In 2012, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimated that replacement costs for Canada's sewer and storm-water infrastructure would be almost $55 billion.

In Mississauga, we are seeing floods. Across Canada, we are seeing more intense fires, floods, droughts, heat waves and hurricanes tearing through communities, ripping away lives and livelihoods, and having increasingly dire impacts on our public health.

I say all this to make it crystal clear that climate change is the greatest long-term threat that we face as a community, both locally and globally. It is also our greatest economic opportunity. Members may ask how great it is, and it is a massive $2.6-trillion opportunity. By taking bold climate action, we will create new jobs for the future, strengthen our economy and grow the middle class, while also ensuring clean air and water for our kids and grandkids.

Canada has become a global leader in clean technology, with 11 Canadian companies appearing on the 2021 global clean tech 100 list of the most innovative and promising clean technologies from around the world.

Our neighbour to the south, our greatest trading partner and friend, the United States of America, has resolved to take bold action on climate change as an opportunity to create millions of good-paying middle-class jobs. Going forward, Canada will continue to work closely with the United States and other countries to reach our ambitious climate goals, creating growth and improving the well-being of all people.

Members may ask how we will achieve all that. It is spelled out through our government's ambitious Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act. The question will be posed, and it is a great question. Let me explain.

Let us look at some of this government's most recent investments. Since October 2020, we have invested $53.6 billion to establish Canada's green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, create jobs and secure a cleaner future for everyone. On top of that, budget 2021, which was announced last week, also builds on that approach, including through a new investment in Canada's net-zero accelerator that will incentivize Canadian businesses and industry to develop net-zero technologies and build our clean industrial advantage.

Budget 2021 also includes new measures to make life more affordable and communities more livable by helping more than 200,000 Canadians make their homes greener and working toward conserving 30% of Canada's lands and oceans by 2030. These new measures will help Canada exceed its Paris climate targets, reduce pollution and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Since 2015, we have been committed to finding real solutions to help tackle the climate crisis while also creating jobs, strengthening our economy and growing the middle class and those working hard to join it. We have put a rising price on pollution that puts money back into the pockets of Canadians, made new investments in public transit and banned harmful single-use plastics to protect our oceans. Together, we will continue to take action in fighting against climate change and secure a better future for Canadians.

Canada has set an ambitious emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement of 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. Bill C-12 brings the accountability and transparency that are required to achieve our goals. The bill has robust accountability and transparency included within it: a requirement to put in place a target and establish an emissions reduction plan, both to be tabled in Parliament within six months of coming into force of the act; a legally binding process for the federal government to set climate targets and bring forward an ambitious climate plan every five years between 2030 and 2050; a 2030 progress report, which must be tabled before the end of 2027; a 2030 assessment report, to be tabled within 30 days of the 2030 national inventory report data; an annual report detailing how the federal government is managing the financial risks of climate change and the opportunities; and a review by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development within five years of coming into force of the bill.

The very structure of the Paris Agreement is based on the year 2030. Our plans in provinces like B.C. are to be commended, as well as Quebec and those around the world. Bill C-12 includes best practices that we have found around the world, such as the creation of an advisory body.

This is consistent with the undertaking we have seen by our peer countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand and France. An advisory body composed of up to 15 experts is established to provide the Minister of Environment and Climate Change advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This advisory body would engage with experts, stakeholders, indigenous peoples and the public to make sure its advice is grounded in the priorities and ideas of all Canadians. The advisory body would submit an annual report to the Minister of Environment with respect to its advice and activities.

Bill C-12 would provide an opportunity to secure a prosperous and sustainable future. By taking this decisive action now, we are creating the industries of the future, creating good-paying jobs, advancing innovative technologies and protecting our country and the world from the utter destruction of climate change.

I encourage my fellow parliamentarians to support Bill C-12 and its speedy passage. They are voting for a bill that would set a strong foundation for a healthier environment, economic growth and possibilities for today and beyond.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, this member just voted to have this steamrolled through. I really hope he is interested in debating today.

The Minister of Environment has put forward an advisory council, and members of that advisory council have actually made comments against oil and gas, saying they want to phase it out, specifically the Davos approach. Does the member agree with that kind of rhetoric? Does he agree with the targeting of Alberta? Let us not forget Newfoundland and Labrador, which also has its own aspirations for oil and gas, as well as British Columbia, with liquefied natural gas.

Does the member agree with having that kind of division sown upon giving advice to the minister?

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April 27th, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Madam Speaker, I respect the hon. member, but I reject the premise of that question. That hon. member and the member's party, the Conservatives, have been obstructionists to any kind of climate change policy for the last six years. They have blocked, stymied and done everything possible to stop legislation in Canada from moving forward on real opportunity for meeting our targets. That member does not have the ground to stand upon. As well, members of the Conservative Party of Canada believe climate change is not real.

When it comes to the advisory council, it is representative of all of Canada, all sectors, genders, and indigenous people. It is the type of advisory panel one would want to see represented in the Parliament of Canada.

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April 27th, 2021 / 1:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, passion is a wonderful thing. I was moved by the speech that my colleague from Mississauga East—Cooksville gave. It reminded me of the fine speeches given by Jean-Marc Chaput, the well-known Quebec speaker who unfortunately passed away last year.

In 2017, the Liberal government imposed new greenhouse gas emission reduction standards for highly polluting products used to manufacture insulation board.

These new standards were to be implemented in 2021. In January 2021, afew months before the new rules were to go into effect, these same Liberals granted exemptions to multinationals, while Canadian businesses like Soprema had invested millions of dollars in a new product. This has led to an imbalance in the market, and Soprema is paying the price, even though it did all the right things.

I would like to know if my colleague believes that this is the way to reduce greenhouse gases and help companies get through this crisis.

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April 27th, 2021 / 1:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Madam Speaker, I offer my condolences for the loss of the member's friend, who was passionate about climate change and the subject.

When it comes to looking at industry and understanding about jobs, industry has gotten behind this legislation. The forestry industry is just one example, as well as labour. Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, said, “Canada can meet [its] international climate change obligations and create good jobs at the same time.” We are working together with all stakeholders to make sure we get this right.

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April 27th, 2021 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I am getting really bad flashbacks to 2005, when Stéphane Dion was standing in the House making the same kind of wild statements about making the world a better place, when in fact there were no standards, there were no plans, and year in, year out our greenhouse gas emissions were rising, as they have been under the Liberals.

Last year, the Liberal government put $18 billion into the oil and gas sector. How is it credible that the Liberals can tell the world they are leading, when they are not putting money into alternatives and continue to maintain the 20th century economy as it was?

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April 27th, 2021 / 1:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Madam Speaker, maybe the member did not have an opportunity to hear some of my remarks.

We have invested $53 billion in creating jobs and securing a cleaner future for everyone. In budget 2021, there are a number of initiatives for more affordable communities, more livable communities, helping 200,000 Canadians make their homes greener, and working toward conservation, with 30% of Canada's lands and oceans being protected by 2030. The targets are there, the numbers are there and the dollars are there, I say to the member.

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April 27th, 2021 / 1:05 p.m.
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Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to debate the federal government’s climate ambitions and the Liberal Party’s commitments in Bill C-12.

We are in quite a predicament. On the one hand, the Liberals want to accelerate the debate because they have just realized that they did not give Bill C-12 enough priority in their parliamentary calendar. On the other hand, the Conservatives have tabled a motion in amendment seeking, not to modify Bill C-12, but to draw the debate out and have “the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-12”. That is something.

It is ironic that the motion to amend asks the government to “implement a plan that recognizes climate change is real”, when the Conservative Party does not even recognize climate change exists. I would like to remind members that, at their convention a few weeks ago, 54% of Conservative members rejected a motion to recognize the existence of climate change. Regardless of what the party leader said to try to rectify the situation, the members were clear and, as a result, the environmental plan they tabled a few days later has no credibility at all.

The Conservatives want the government to fight climate change “while also ensuring that economic development and job growth can flourish all across Canada”. We understand that that is the Conservatives’ greatest fear; for them, a green shift means an economy in tatters. Just last week, a Conservative member moved a motion asking that the government recognize that “replacing oil and gas with more environmentally sustainable options is not technologically or economically feasible”. That is rich. Not only is it excessive to ask the government to do something like that, it is also irresponsible to make such a statement unequivocally. I fear that people will be misled.

Quebec is living proof that polluting fuels can be replaced by clean energy and that the green shift is good for the economy. Quebec is a champion for green energy and the reason Canada enjoys an enviable position on the world stage. We have an advantage over the 50 U.S. states and the other Canadian provinces thanks to these investments, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said as much recently. The green technologies developed in Quebec are already being marketed outside the country, and the benefits for Quebeckers are significant. For example, Hydro-Québec has signed agreements with New York, Vermont and Massachusetts.

There is much to reproach the government for, but it has understood one thing: we need to move forward with the development of green energy, because it is good for the planet and for the economy. We need to stop thinking about the environment and the economy as mutually exclusive, because they are actually complementary.

The Conservatives' amendment also tries to make the government admit that the members it appointed to the advisory group provided for in the bill included “climate activists whose influence, if acted upon, would lead to the destruction of the oil and gas sector, disproportionally threaten certain regions of the country and their essential industries, and weaken national unity.”

Once again, that is quite a statement. Of course, we are not surprised that the Conservative Party is defending the oil and gas sectors. Equally unsurprisingly, climate and environmental policy experts say that these two sectors are harmful to the environment. We cannot bury our heads in the sand. It would be surprising if the experts said that in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, we need to continue investing heavily in the oil and gas industry. That would be very surprising.

I expect that the experts are well aware that this industry is the Achilles heel of the government's climate ambitions, and that they are also aware that supporting the industry is not viable in the short, medium or long term if we want to meet our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

The government is certainly being ambitious with its targets, but it is becoming difficult to follow. Since the Liberal Party came to power, its greenhouse gas emission reduction target has been 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, which was the same target established by the Paris Agreement and Stephen Harper's government.

The climate plan presented last December proposed to exceed this target. With the increase in the federal carbon tax, we could now expect a 31% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The target in last Monday's budget was a 36% reduction by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. This new target was soon superseded when, on the margins of the climate summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden last Thursday, the Prime Minister of Canada announced a new target, or rather a range of targets.

Apparently, the target is now at least 40%, the minimum target that countries had to commit to in order to participate in the summit, but it could reach 45% if all goes well. The problem is that the $17.6 billion in green investments set out in the budget will allow us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36%, not 40% or 45%.

Normand Mousseau, a physics professor at the Université de Montréal, says that if all of the greenhouse gas reduction measures work, in the best-case scenario, we would see a 23% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030.

In an interview on Friday, he said that based on what is happening in other countries, a carbon tax alone is not enough to meet our targets. We need to create new standards or new regulations to decarbonize certain industries.

The federal government announced several billion dollars in investments, but the amounts are not aligned with the recently announced greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

We believe that this 40% or 45% reduction is more hot air than a real commitment. We believe that a real commitment would be ending support to the oil and gas industries. We believe that a real commitment would be announcing that we will never again finance a pipeline. We believe that a real commitment would start by incorporating the new target, whatever it is, into Bill C-12, which has not yet been done.

As the bill now reads, the minister must set a target for each milestone year, and the targets will be set one at a time, five years before the beginning of the milestone year to which they relate.

The problem is that the government refuses to include 2025 as a milestone year, because it is too soon or, more likely, because it would be unable to meet the target.

That means the first milestone year in Bill C-12 is 2030, and the target is a reduction of at least 40% in greenhouse gas emissions. I find it odd that the government is setting such a high bar for 2030 without establishing a means of measuring its progress before 2030, since that is the very purpose of the bill.

During question period last week, I asked the Minister of the Environment if the new Liberal target would be included in Bill C-12. The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, who appears to be acting as the new minister of the environment, answered that yes, it would be included.

Before I get too excited, I wonder whether the actual Minister of the Environment endorses this commitment and whether he will propose an amendment to his bill to fulfill it. I sincerely hope so, because it is ridiculous to have a climate act without a greenhouse gas reduction target. It is also ridiculous to say that the minister will set the target once the act is in effect, and it is still more ridiculous to say that he can change the targets as he goes along.

Bill C-12 must show Canadians that Canada is truly meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The act must be transparent and include a real accountability and reporting mechanism, because we are talking about climate accountability.

Seeing the Prime Minister make a commitment on the international stage is encouraging. It seems promising, and it is cute to do it on Earth Day. However, we must not forget that Canada has never succeeded in meeting any of the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets it has set over the years. Kyoto, Copenhagen, Paris: the Government of Canada has failed lamentably each time.

Moreover, Canada is at the bottom of the class. It is the only G7 country where greenhouse gas emissions have increased since 2015. Why? Because it is an oil-producing country and it is incapable of stopping.

All this makes me think of the concept of “doublethink” from George Orwell's 1984. I am not saying that this government and the regime in Orwell's novel are anything alike, but the Liberals' environmental discourse is a perfect example of doublethink. According to Orwell, doublethink is the ability to hold two conflicting opinions simultaneously by suspending critical thinking. In Orwell's words, doublethink means “to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic”.

In my opinion, that perfectly describes the Liberals' strategy when it comes to climate change. The Liberals know they have to act, so they talk about a green recovery, the electrification of transportation and bioforestry. At the same time, however, they continue to subsidize the oil and gas industry heavily. They spend billions to buy an oil pipeline and even allow companies to drill for oil without environmental assessments.

The unbelievable thing is that they are convinced that they are doing the right thing, precisely because they are applying doublethink to climate change. The Liberals know that they are contradicting themselves, but they still believe in the virtue of these two diametrically opposed visions. They are not fooling anyone. Most of us actually have more confidence in Joe Biden, the new U.S. President, whose intentions are clear.

President Biden has announced that the United States will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030. Remember, the U.S. is also an oil-producing country. In fact, it produces more oil than Canada and has a larger population, but its target is more ambitious than ours. This is not a competition, but at least the United States has started working harder, and it even had to pressure Canada to do the same.

I sincerely hope that the Liberal government hears this message and that it is serious about its ambitions and commitments, because we are in a climate crisis. Time is running out.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Eric Melillo Conservative Kenora, ON

Madam Speaker, I know this is a topic my friend from Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia is very passionate about. However, I will note to her that it is Canadian industry that in many ways is leading the way in the fight against climate change. Whether it is energy, forestry, mining or cement, we are seeing Canadian industry reducing GHG emissions by measures the government can only dream of right now. Why do the member and her party continue to follow the Liberals in their quest to destroy Canadian industry?

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 1:15 p.m.
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Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

I do not believe the liberals are destroying Canadian energy sectors such as the oil and gas industry. On the contrary, they are continuing to subsidize it, give it tax breaks and invest to ensure that these huge industries contribute to reducing greenhouse gases. In my opinion, however, we need to invest more in green energy and other such opportunities.

To meet the ambitious targets that have been set, we must move forward with the energy transition. I would say that the oil and gas industry also has to make this transition, while continuing to provide well-paying jobs. However, we must keep in mind and acknowledge that the oil and gas industry does generate pollution.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

I could not agree more. In fact, Bill C-215, which I introduced in the House, compels the government to be transparent about its climate ambitions, to have accountability mechanisms and to be accountable if it fails to meet its climate targets. The House, however, defeated my bill. We will try to improve Bill C-12 and ensure that it includes accountability measures.

The government cannot wait until 2030 to be accountable. It needs to begin by 2025. Time is running out, and we need to know whether its commitments are actually being met.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, the member spoke about the Conservative convention. The motion that the member is referring to contained many items. Members agreed on some but not all of those items. The same thing could be tried with the amendment that we are proposing today.

The amendment recognizes that climate change is real and makes other recommendations that members can either accept or not accept. I agree that we can support economic growth and environmental action at the same time. We also need to support our existing industry.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for making an effort to speak French. I also thank him for his question.

Unfortunately, I disagree with everything about the motion. First, as parliamentarians, we need to work to pass a climate accountability act. Canada still does not have climate legislation. It is all well and good to make commitments at the international level by setting targets that change every two or three days, but we still need to work together if we want to pass binding, transparent and responsible legislation.

That does not mean putting an end to any industry that is good for Canadians and Quebeckers. Rather, it means changing that industry, helping it to evolve and making a transition to something greener, which will help us meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets.

According to statistics and scientists, as it now stands, we are not going to meet those targets because of our polluting industries. We need to change our way of doing things and move toward greener energy production. Unfortunately, that—

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Gerald Soroka Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, today, I am speaking to Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act and to some of the bill's flaws, not least of which is the vital role our oil and gas sector plays and the role it will play in getting us to net zero.

When the Liberals first introduced the bill to the House back in November 2020, they introduced it primarily as a political wedge. I want to be clear that although we are opposed to this legislation, the Conservatives do support the aspirations of reaching net zero by 2050. We proposed an amendment to the legislation to recognize the importance of the role of oil and gas in reaching net zero. This position is also consistent with the Liberal Minister of Natural Resources's comments. Without this amendment, I cannot support the legislation.

The reality is that the Conservatives want to reduce our emissions, as most Canadians do, and we join Canadians in the goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Where we differ from the Liberals is how we get there.

While the Liberals are content to raise taxes on Canadians, making everything like home heating, groceries and driving to work more expensive, the Conservatives believe there is a better way, one that does not penalize the average Canadian, the very people the Liberals are claiming to help.

The Conservatives are the party of conservation. We want to conserve low tax rates for future generations, we want to conserve economic opportunity and we want to conserve our environment. These are all elements of our plan to secure the future.

When I talk about conserving the environment, I mean that on a number of fronts. The overarching goal of this legislation is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and balancing carbon emissions from industry is at the forefront.

However, another aspect less talked about is the environmental conservation of our national parks and protected lands that, when properly taken care of, also help us in lowering emissions by acting as carbon sinks. The leading cause of emissions coming from our national parks is forest fires. Unfortunately, forest fires devastate large areas of land far too often and when fires erupt, they exponentially emit carbon as the fire grows.

One thing that contributes to the large size of forest fires when they occur in the western part of the country is the infestation of mountain pine beetles. These beetles are an invasive species that destroy thousands of pine trees every year. When these trees die, they naturally emit carbon and the dried brush from standing or fallen trees will rapidly burn in the event of a forest fire. Mountain pine beetles are causing great damage along the eastern slopes of the rockies and the government must take action to control this invasive species and save our pine trees.

With investments in forest fire management and technology to extinguish these fires when they do occur, we can help curb emissions from forest fires and protect our parks. My riding of Yellowhead is home to Jasper National Park, one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Canada. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

There is often a misconception that the Conservatives do not care about the environment when, in fact, that is not the case at all. My riding, by percentage, in the last election was one of the most Conservative in the country, and voters were interested in our plan for the environment. The narrative that the Conservatives do not care about the environment must change, because it is simply false.

Recently I visited Enhance Energy's carbon sequestration wells in Clive, Alberta, and was beyond impressed with the emerging technology it was using to safely sequester carbon. This one company alone has sequestered enough carbon in its wells that is equivalent to the carbon emissions saved by every electric car on the road in Canada today. Any of my colleagues who are listening and are intrigued by this, post-COVID, I encourage them to visit and see the carbon sequestration wells in person.

This technology has huge benefits and is very exciting. This Alberta homegrown innovation will change the world in how we safely sequester emissions and store carbon.

The path forward to achieving net-zero by 2050 will not be an easy one, but with the political will, innovative science and smart investments, it is a worthy goal we can achieve.

My riding has business owners, environmental stewards, farmers, oil and gas, and other natural resource workers. It does not matter what line of work they are in, even the vast majority of resource-sector workers I meet deeply care about the environment, because they know that sustainability is important. As we transition to a greener economy, these workers must not be left behind.

I recently have noticed a change in the Liberals' messaging on our oil and gas sector. The throwaway line that they used when talking about oil and gas, and to justify the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, was that the economy and environment went hand in hand. Now they are not even using that line. Instead, they are avoiding talking about the economic benefits of our natural resource sector altogether.

As exemplified in our new Conservative plan to secure the environment, the Conservatives know that the economy and environment go hand in hand, which is why our plan is to cut emissions without cutting jobs.

My colleague, the member for Edmonton Manning, recently put forward his Motion No. 61, which I am proud to jointly second and support. I mention this, because I believe my position on both Motion No. 61, a motion calling on the House to support oil and gas, and Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act, are intertwined. If we achieve net zero by 2050 by simply transferring our emissions to other countries, potentially adding to world-wide emissions, commonly known as carbon leakage, destroying our economy in the process, what have we really accomplished?

Canadian oil is extracted with the highest environmental and labour standards in the world. If we phase-out our oil and gas industry but continue to import oil from other countries with lower environmental and labour standards, we are hurting both our economy and the environment. It just does not make sense. Instead, we need to champion our oil and gas industry and recognize the vital role it plays within our economy now and the vital role it will continue to play into the future.

Fooling Canadians by offloading our emissions to other countries through carbon leakage is a serious concern for the Conservatives. Addressing it is an important element of our plan to safeguard the environment. As we work toward net zero by 2050, we must remain conscience of not only the goal of reaching net zero, but cutting the 1.6% of global emissions for which we are responsible. The Conservative plan to introduce carbon-border tariffs aims to stop carbon leakage and ensures we are truly cutting our emissions and not transferring them elsewhere.

When I read Bill C-12, I read the word “accountability” eight times within the bill. However, for a bill that talks so much so much about accountability, it lacks it. The bill would ensure the accountability for future governments, but what about the current government?

The Liberals have failed to meet their 2020 targets by 123 million tonnes. The aspirations of the bill to achieve net zero is clear, but the Liberal plan is not working. The Auditor General's report revealed that the Liberal's carbon tax was in fact not revenue neutral, and the federal government collected $225 million more than it paid out in carbon tax rebates. Under the Liberals, we see higher taxes and higher emissions. We need an environmental plan that works for Canadians, a plan that puts more money back in their pockets, while reducing emissions, and a plan that creates jobs in emerging sectors.

While I agree with the aspirations of the bill to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, I cannot vote in favour of it without recognizing the importance that our natural resource sector would play in getting us there.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

April 27th, 2021 / 1:30 p.m.
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Bloc