Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the parliamentary secretary's recitation of his talking points. I think I have heard them about a dozen times before. They are in some respects reflective of why there has been no progress made on this file in the last nine or ten years and the reason for the hon. member for Beaches—East York's presentation of what I consider to be a very able bill.
The NDP is a party that takes climate change and carbon pricing seriously. The Green Party is a party that takes climate change and carbon pricing seriously, as does the Liberal Party. The only party in the House that does not take either climate change or carbon pricing seriously is the Conservative Party, and the parliamentary secretary has just given a classic demonstration of why we have not made any progress on this file over the last nine years.
As the temperatures of the earth rise, Rome burns while Nero fiddles.
I found all of the things that the parliamentary secretary said they have done to be ironic. What he neglected to say is that there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that the government will achieve its own Copenhagen targets, which were watered down from those the previous government had set. We are in a situation where three out of the four parties in the House take the issue seriously but, regrettably, the governing party does not.
In the last few weeks, the leader of the Liberal Party gave a demonstration of how we would go about achieving these targets. The first thing he did was to meet with the premiers. That is a novel concept for the Prime Minister. He has had nine years to meet with the premiers, but unfortunately has not been able to clear up his schedule, except from time to time before hockey games, where he can fit in 15 or 20 minutes to meet with the premiers. On the other hand, the Liberal leader has met with many of the premiers, sometimes on multiple occasions. In the case of Premier Wynne, he has talked with her about the issue of pricing carbon.
B.C., Alberta, Quebec, and probably Ontario very shortly will all price carbon one way or another. That makes for about 85% of the overall economy. The junior levels of government have all moved on from the federal government, because the people of Canada and the premiers of Canada take the issue of pricing carbon seriously. The leader of the Liberal Party has met with those premiers who are taking this issue seriously.
The second thing he did was fly to Calgary. Not only did he fly to Calgary, but he also went to the Calgary Petroleum Club. He went there, a place not exactly friendly to a person of his last name, and reminded them of his last name. He told the people there that we in Canada have to price carbon. He said, “You know Canada needs to have a price on carbon. The good news is that we’re already on our way.” It was a mature and honest conversation with the area of the country that has the most difficulty with carbon emissions.
If the environmental argument does not persuade members, perhaps the economic argument will. If we are to get our resources to tidewater, we need to be serious about the environment. What is good for the environment is actually good for the whole economy.
The Keystone XL pipeline has been a colossal mess both economically and politically. It has been an economic and political disaster. In fact, it is a classic case of political mismanagement. Alienating the most powerful individual in the world about something that we need and want is wondrous to behold.
Not only does the Prime Minister not talk to the premiers, but he also does not talk to the leader of the free world and our largest trading partner. It seems a bizarre way to go about trying to get an international / North American price on carbon.
The leader of the Liberal Party proposed a model for Canadians that they understand and with which they have some experience—namely, a health care model. Canada is a confederation, and we succeed in this confederation when we collaborate. He suggested a health care model for how we will price carbon.
He then said we have to set the goals. That is consistent with what the hon. member for Beaches—East York indicated, that targets have to be set. The national government has to be engaged, whether it is cap and trade as it is with Quebec and California, possibly Ontario as well, or whether it is a tax as it is in British Columbia, whether it is revenue neutral or revenue generating. The leader of the Liberal Party is agnostic as to how a province or a territory will meet its goals. Do whatever it takes, but these will be the national goals and these will be the breakouts of the goals.
Fifth, acknowledge that some of the provinces will need more assistance than others, just as in the health care model. Some provinces are more successful at achieving health outcomes than are others. If we understand the health model that way, then we will also understand the model that is being suggested by the leader of the Liberal Party. If the parties were serious, we could get this done. The provinces and territories have not had a serious partner in nine years.
Sixth, he made a commitment to go to Paris in October or November of this year to negotiate Canada's final goals. Could someone please tell me the last time the Prime Minister of Canada attended a COP conference since 2006? The Prime Minster avoids those conferences like the plague because he is not serious. He is not serious about pricing carbon, and he is not serious about COP. If the leader of the Liberal Party has the good fortune of being elected as the prime minister of Canada, he has committed himself to go to Paris.
The seventh point is that the leader of the Liberal Party would call a conference of the confederation within 150 days of the commencement of government. He would go to the conference, get the targets, aggregate the targets among the various provinces and territories, and commit to what needs to be done to achieve the targets.
The nonsense that the parliamentary secretary spouted about destroying the economy in order to achieve the targets is just that. The federal government is nowhere to be found in the whole development of the clean energy sector. The sector has pretty well done it on its own, and it is responsible for an equal number of jobs to oil and gas, which is around 27,000 direct and 275,000 indirect jobs.
Finally, just to show that the government is not serious, there is a paragraph in the Lima conference that says that each nation will submit a target by the end of March, an intended nationally determined contribution, due at the end of March. I dare say that neither the minister nor the parliamentary secretary will be able to shed any light on whether that target has been set.
We will support this bill. It is a step in the right direction. It is a little overly prescriptive, but nevertheless it is a useful contribution to a debate. It shows a seriousness on the part of some parliamentarians to actually deal with what many say is the existential threat of our time.
I thank the hon. member for his efforts in putting together a very useful bill for the House to consider.