Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to give the Conservatives an idea that might get them re-elected. Does that get their attention?
Polling shows clearly that the majority of Canadians are ready to pay more to reduce CO2 emissions. They are ready to pay more to put a price on carbon.
One would think that the parties would pay attention to what Canadians indicate they want, but let us look at the political realities around here.
The Conservatives have no plan to reduce CO2. They have no plan to put a price on carbon. On the contrary, they subsidize big oil and gas companies, and not even Canadian companies.
Here is an enlightening fact. Since 2009, thanks to Conservative inaction, Canada's carbon emissions have been steadily going up, not down, and that rise is expected to continue.
There are real costs to this inaction. The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy has estimated that without real action, climate change will cost Canada $5 billion a year just six years from now. By 2050, it predicts we will be paying between $21 billion and $43 billion each year.
The Liberals, in true Liberal fashion, say that they are ready to put a price on carbon, they just will not say what kind, or when or how.
The New Democrats, to be different than the Liberals, decided a decade ago, and I was there, that they were in favour of cap and trade. They do not really know how it works, because they do not really know much about business. However, they are for cap and trade, even though it would be bureaucratic, expensive and it would not work.
Therefore, where does that leave the Green Party?
The Green Party of Canada understands that we need to shift steadily to reduce CO2 and foster renewable sustainable energy sources. It has to be done in an orderly manner so as not to kill the Canada goose that lays the economic eggs. However, it has to be done steadily and progressively so we can build Canadian green technologies, create Canadian jobs, remain competitive internationally and save a very nice planet.
The fix is simple: put a price on carbon. Pay a little now to avoid paying a lot more in a few short years.
We have seen it implemented very successfully in Scandinavian and European countries, and even in British Columbia. That is why the Green Party of Canada is totally in favour of a price on CO2, under a method called “carbon fee and dividend”. People just have to Google it.
A big misconception is that people will be directly taxed from a carbon fee, which is not true. The Conservatives actively try to promote this untruth, so either they are wilfully misleading the public or they do not understand how carbon fee and dividend works.
No Canadian will be taxed under carbon fee and dividend. This fee would be applied only at the source. Producers would pass the cost on, but to alleviate the cost to consumers, the revenue collected from this fee would be given directly back to each and every Canadian on an equal per capita basis.
The benefits of carbon fee and dividend are clear, and they extend to the environment, the economy and to every Canadian.
The NDP should support it because it will reduce poverty at the same time it reduces CO2.
The Liberals should support it because sooner or later they have to come off the fence and pick some kind of price on carbon and this is the best alternative.
The Conservatives especially should support it because it is market driven, predictable, fair, creates no new bureaucracy or increased government costs and not one penny goes to government. It might just save their hold on government in the next election.
Therefore, will the government consider carbon fee and dividend?