House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was isil.


(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #249

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.


The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:55 p.m.


Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, in May I asked the government if it would finally consider taking real action on climate change and implement a carbon fee and dividend system. In typical Conservative fashion, I did not get a real answer. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment had the gall to claim the Conservative non-approach is actually working.

The parliamentary secretary referenced his favourite non-truth, which is that carbon emissions have declined thanks to Conservative “action”. The facts do not bear out that claim. While emissions did drop in 2009, the decrease had nothing to do with the Conservatives, unless they wish to take credit for the global financial crisis.

Since 2009, owing to Conservative inaction and non-action, Canada's carbon emissions have been and are steadily rising. Our emissions will continue to rise without some kind of plan to address them. Without new measures by the government, we will not hit even the Conservatives' watered-down emission targets.

According to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, an important advisory group that was terminated by the Conservatives at the height of their anti-environment fervour in 2012, without real action climate change will cost Canada at least $5 billion each year just a few years from now and up to a whopping $43 billion each year by 2050. While the Conservatives pad the pockets of their big oil friends with billion-dollar subsidies, it is Canadians who will be paying the real price, and that is not just future generations: we are seeing those costs now.

How do we get out of this mess? One would think with such an obvious problem and such glaring inaction by the government that the solution must be really complicated, but it is not. The Conservatives are ignoring a very simple solution: we just need to put a price on carbon.

Canadians are smart people—much smarter than the government, it seems. They see the growing costs of doing nothing, the billions of dollars that their children will be forced to pay, and they are ready to make an investment. Canadians are telling pollsters and politicians that they are ready to pay a little bit now to avoid paying much more down the line, but the government continues to ignore them.

The Conservatives are not just ignoring Canadians; they are ignoring the experts also. Carbon pricing has been endorsed by scientists and economists alike. Agenda-setting finance organizations such as the IMF and The Economist support a price on carbon. So do Shell Oil and BP. Why would they not? Carbon pricing has been very successful in other jurisdictions: in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and even B.C.

Here in Canada, a price on carbon has actually coincided with economic growth in B.C. Since its introduction, emissions there have declined 10%, and B.C. has outpaced Canada's GDP growth over the same timeframe.

Carbon fee and dividend is a no-brainer. It is 100% revenue neutral, and not a penny would go to government. Though the price of carbon-intensive products will rise as companies pass the costs down, every dollar will be paid in a dividend cheque to Canadians on an equal, per capita basis.

No Canadian would be taxed under carbon fee and dividend, and those who choose to turn to more environmentally friendly products or to reduce their consumption will actually make money. It can provide a guaranteed annual income to every Canadian, so the NDP should like it.

Carbon fee and dividend reduces our carbon emissions and pays dividends to each and every Canadian, so why will the Conservatives not consider it? It might even get them re-elected.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario


Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to tell the House that we have taken action. The facts are there. It is estimated that Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 will be 128 megatonnes less than they would have been without action since 2005. That is a fact.

Moreover, Canada's per capita emissions are also at their lowest point since tracking began in 1990. That is a fact.

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, our government is implementing a sector-by-sector regulatory approach. It is working. We have already put in place regulations for the transportation sector and the electricity generating sectors.

In the transportation sector, with these regulations it is projected that the 2025 model year light-duty vehicles will consume up to 50% less fuel and produce about 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than 2008 vehicles. That is a fact.

Regulations for heavy-duty vehicles and engines will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the 2018 model year by up to 23% compared to vehicles manufactured prior to the regulatory period. That is a fact.

In the electricity generation sector, Canada already has one of the cleanest systems in the world, with over three-quarters of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases. By introducing a tough new regulatory performance standard for coal-fired electricity generation, Canada became the first major coal user to ban construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units. That is a fact.

Moreover, we have also announced our government's intent to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a group of greenhouse gases which can have warming potentials that are up to 1,000 to 3,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Canada will be aligning with regulations recently proposed by the United States and taking preemptive action to reduce and limit harmful HFC emissions before they increase. That is a fact.

Our government's regulatory approach is further enhanced by complementary measures that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the longer term. These measures include significant investments of over $10 billion in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, the development of clean energy technologies, and the production of cleaner energy and fossil fuels. That is a fact.

Moving forward, the Government of Canada will continue to look for opportunities to take action in a manner that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining job creation and economic growth. We will do that without the job-killing carbon tax that the opposition seems to be obsessed with implementing, which would raise the price of everything from groceries to anything to do with home heating or gasoline. That is something that Canadians do not want.

We will make sure that we decrease greenhouse gases while growing the economy.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

October 6th, 2014 / 7:05 p.m.


Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the Conservatives are copycatting U.S.A. emissions standards, but while it will hit its Copenhagen targets, we are not even going to come close.

The Conservatives are throwing their alleged Conservative principles out the window in rejecting this simple solution. Carbon fee and dividend is not a tax. It will not cost jobs. It is market-driven and fair. The government would give back every dollar to Canadians, and no new bureaucracy is needed, unlike the NDP's cap and trade scheme. It is right up the alley of the Conservatives.

Through quarterly dividend cheques to every Canadian, carbon fee and dividend will reduce poverty on a national scale and will reduce our emissions at the same time. The NDP should adopt it.

It is time for the Liberals to stop waffling and pick a price on carbon. Carbon fee and dividend is the best and most moderate system, and I hope the Liberals will consider it.

For all these reasons, the Green Party is totally supportive of carbon fee and dividend. It would enable us to steadily and progressively reduce our emissions without hurting our economy. It will help Canada to become a leader in green technology.

To reiterate, it might just get the government re-elected in next year's election campaign.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:05 p.m.


Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, beyond efforts to reduce emissions, our government is also taking steps to help Canadians adapt to a changing climate. Since 2006, we have invested $235 million in domestic adaptation initiatives in priority areas, such as human health, communities, and the economy. These initiatives aim to improve our understanding of climate change and to help Canadians plan for climate impacts, notably, in Canada's north.

My colleague brought up the Liberals, so I cannot help myself, I am going to comment. The Liberals, if members remember, signed on to something called the Kyoto accord. They signed on to this agreement with absolutely no plan to bring down any emissions. Under their watch, we saw greenhouse gases go up almost 130 megatonnes.

Our approach is working. We are seeing, for the first time ever, a decoupling of economic growth and greenhouse gases. This is historic. This is something that everyone in the House should be onboard with. Greenhouse gases have decreased, since 2006, 5.1%. We have seen our economy grow 10.6%.

This is working. This is something we all can be proud of, and I hope that everyone in the House really focuses on doing the best we can so that the economy continues to grow while greenhouse gases decrease.

JusticeAdjournment Proceedings

7:05 p.m.


Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to follow up on a question that I asked on June 18 about the process to replace the hon. Justice Louis LeBel, who will be retiring on November 30.

At the time, the justice minister responded that “there has been no process undertaken to date”, but he encouraged me to “look forward to the future with optimism”. I therefore anticipated that the government would use the ensuing summer months to begin consultations and get the process under way, if not completed. As such, it was particularly alarming to learn upon our return to Parliament in September by way of an order paper question that, in the words of the minister, the Supreme Court appointment process is “still under reconsideration”, and that it remains to be determined how the government will proceed.

Today is an especially appropriate day to be raising these issues because today the hon. Justice Clément Gascon took his seat on the Supreme Court. I have a great deal of respect for Justice Gascon, but the process by which he was chosen, following the Nadon fiasco, was a clear regression to a closed, unaccountable, unrepresentative process without an advisory selection panel, without any parliamentary involvement, and without any public participation.

In fact, since the Conservatives took over in 2006, the government has been watering down the appointment process that I was proud to initiate as minister of justice in 2004. That process, which led to the appointments of the hon. Justices Rosalie Abella and Louise Charron, included, for the first time, a public protocol setting forth the people to be consulted and an inclusive advisory panel composed of MPs, distinguished members of the legal community, and eminent public persons who evaluated and recommended candidates.

The evaluation criteria were made public from the outset, and prior to the appointments being finalized, I took questions as minister from a parliamentary committee about, among other things, how these criteria were met by the nominees. These measures were intended as a first step toward a more inclusive, transparent, and accountable process. Indeed, the committee submitted a report with recommendations for further improvements, and that report was made public.

At that time, 10 years ago, it appeared that all parties agreed on the need for greater transparency, accountability, and inclusiveness in the appointment process. However, the government has since moved starkly in the opposite direction, to the point that earlier today, in response to a question from the member for Gatineau, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice indicated that the government envisages no role for Parliament in the process to replace Justice LeBel.

There are now less than two months until Justice LeBel will vacate his seat on the court. By the minister's own admission in his response to my order paper question three weeks ago, not only had the process to replace Justice LeBel not been initiated, but the government had not even decided what the process would be.

I would like to know whether that remains the case or whether the government has, by now, decided on a process. If it has, what does this process entail, what elements of the process have already occurred, and why has it been kept secret? If, on the other hand, the government has still not decided on a process, what is the cause of the delay and when will the process to replace Justice LeBel in fact begin?

JusticeAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

Mississauga—Erindale Ontario


Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite is now aware, the appointment to fill the vacancy of the Hon. Justice Fish has been completed and Mr. Justice Gascon has now taken his position on the top court. We congratulate him on taking his position there today.

The appointment of Mr. Justice Gascon to the Supreme Court of Canada was preceded by broad consultations with Quebec's legal community. These included the Government of Quebec, the province's Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court, the Canadian Bar Association, the Barreau du Québec, the Barreau de Montréal, and, of course, the Supreme Court itself.

This process confirmed Mr. Justice Gascon's reputation as an outstanding jurist whose professional integrity and wealth of legal knowledge and experience would make him an excellent addition to the nation's highest court.

It is often noted that one of the strengths of the judiciary in this country is the diversity of experience and skills that the individual judges bring to their tasks. The result is a combination of different but complementary perspectives, grounded in a shared devotion to the law and public service, that enriches our courts and our justice system as a whole.

This is particularly important in the context of our highest court, which is called upon to address issues of national concern and to speak with a unique authority in resolving contentious matters from across this country.

Over the years, the Supreme Court of Canada has been blessed with a great many brilliant jurists, and the appointment of Mr. Justice Gascon reflects our government's commitment to supporting that proud tradition of legal excellence and merit. Ensuring that Canadians everywhere can have confidence in our highest court and in our justice system as a whole continues to be one of our top priorities. The people of this country expect and deserve no less.

There will be no shortage of challenging issues to come in the months and years ahead, but I have no doubt that with the help of Mr. Justice Gascon, the Supreme Court of Canada, with a full complement of judges, will continue to serve the Canadian public with its customary integrity and efficiency.

What the hon. member opposite is really getting at is whether or not we will implement a review process for future Supreme Court of Canada appointments.

I can say with all certainty that we are reviewing the process, and when a decision has been reached, we will let Canadians know.

JusticeAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.


Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would concur with the parliamentary secretary that Justice Gascon is a distinguished jurist and that there was consultation; however—and this is the main point of my remarks—there was no protocol of who was consulted; there was no establishment of a judicial selection panel; there was no parliamentary review; there was no public engagement; there was no accountability. In fact, the Prime Minister's Office, in response to my order paper question, acknowledged that it in fact was the one that suspended the process.

As the Supreme Court is the pillar of our constitutional democracy, the arbiter of federal, provincial, and territorial relations, the ultimate guarantor of constitutional rights, that Supreme Court deserves better.

Thus far, the non-existent judicial appointment process prejudices the court, Parliament, the public, and the whole integrity of this process to secure the candidates.

JusticeAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.


Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the former minister of justice. I wonder if he could tell me what all of the following names have in common: Justice Bastarache, Justice Binnie, Justice Arbour, Justice LeBel, Justice Deschamps, Justice Fish, Justice Charron, and Justice Abella.

Let me help him out. They were all appointed between 1994 and 2005 by Liberal justice ministers, and none of them appeared before an ad hoc parliamentary committee to discuss their nominations.

In the cases of Justices Charron and Abella, my friend the member for Mount Royal was the minister of justice, and he appeared before an ad hoc parliamentary committee to discuss how and why they were chosen. However, the justices themselves did not appear before the committee.

JusticeAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The motion that the House do now adjourn is deemed to have been adopted.

Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:16 p.m.)