House of Commons Hansard #88 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was energy.

Topics

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

Vote #116

Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed from October 4 consideration of the motion, of the amendment, and of the amendment to the amendment.

Paris AgreementGovernment Orders

October 5th, 2016 / 3:35 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for Mississauga East—Cooksville.

I rise today to speak in favour of the Paris agreement and the government's motion for Canada to participate in this global attempt to reduce climate change.

On December 12, 2015, Canada and 194 other countries reached the Paris agreement, an ambitious and balanced plan to fight climate change. The new agreement would strengthen efforts to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2° Celsius and to pursue further efforts to limit the increase to 1.5° Celsius. In addition, the Paris agreement aims to foster climate resilience and to lower greenhouse gas development.

There has been much said in the House, on a national level, about the benefits and risks of the Paris agreement. I thought I would bring the discussion to a sub-national level and focus on the role of local municipal governments, the roles of public and private corporations, and the role of civil society using the lens of my community of Oakville. It will require all of us working together to achieve the aims of this agreement, and my community of Oakville is an exemplar of the co-operation that will be required.

Oakville's vision is to be the most livable town in Canada. The town's 2005 environmental strategic plan recognizes that our quality of life rests on the quality of our environment and on our respect for our natural and cultural heritage.

In 2015 the town achieved milestone 5 of the ICLEI Federation of Canadian Municipalities partners GHG reduction program. This capstone achievement reflected the town's accomplishment of the target of a 20% reduction in corporate GHG emissions by 2014 from 2004. Oakville is only one of 30 Canadian municipalities to have achieved a milestone 5 level.

Council has now reset the energy and GHG reduction targets to ensure that the town is continuing to achieve measurable results. An example of this plan is the i-Tree 2016 study of Oakville's urban forest. There are two million trees in Oakville. Oakville's urban forest canopy coverage is about 28%. In Oakville, the total value of annual home energy savings provided by the tree canopy is $1,800,000. As a result of these energy savings, about 2,200 tonnes of carbon emissions are avoided each year, with an annual carbon value of $172,000.

Oakville's trees sequester about 5,900 tonnes of carbon each year, with an associated annual carbon value of $460,000. Oakville's tree root systems store approximately 148,000 tonnes of carbon, with an associated carbon value of $11.5 million.

We can grow our tree canopy by 50% in years to come.

With over 185 kilometres of on- and off-road cycling paths, over 300 kilometres of trails, 1,420 hectares of parkland, 31 waterfront parks, and more than 200 parks with playgrounds and sports fields, Oakville has recreational opportunities for everyone.

While our local tree canopy expansion plan will contribute to Canada's Paris agreement commitments, it will also continue to provide a superb living environment for residents. These are win-win carbon reduction strategies.

Oakville council has confirmed its commitment to support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally by harmonizing specific town reduction targets to match global targets.

The largest public corporation in Oakville is Halton Healthcare. The new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital is a thoughtfully designed, state-of-the-art centre of health care excellence. Although eight storeys tall and 1.6 million square feet in size, OTMH is highly energy efficient, incorporating many innovative technologies to reduce its carbon footprint. The energy efficient design measures put in place avoid electrical consumption of 16,700,000 kWh annually, enough energy to supply 1,850 homes in Oakville with electricity annually. It is saving dollars and reducing GHG emissions.

The new building, built to LEED® Silver standards, has been recognized by the high performance new construction incentive program for achieving a tier 3 level of more than 50% in energy savings. Construction of the new OTMH included a 500 kilowatt solar array, which was donated as a gift to the hospital by Hatch Industries.

To date Halton Healthcare has received energy payments totalling $154,000 while saving approximately 290 tonnes annually in GHG emissions compared to natural gas powered generation. These are win-win carbon reduction strategies.

The largest private corporation in Oakville is Ford of Canada. Ford is part of an automotive industry that is in active transition to a low-carbon economy. The auto manufacturing sector is a key driver for Canada's economy, contributing significantly to our nation's manufacturing GDP, and providing tens of thousands of direct and indirect high-paying jobs.

Auto manufacturing is highly energy efficient, emitting less than 1% of industrial GHG emissions in Ontario, and half of the GHG emissions per vehicle compared to European auto manufacturing, which is an important consideration as we move forward with globally competitive carbon-reduction targets.

Auto is one of the largest green-tech sectors in the world, investing more than $200 billion U.S. in fuel efficiency and green tech through to 2025. Another $100 billion U.S. is being invested in electric vehicle development. Many of the innovative energy-efficiency strategies are being designed and tested right here in Canada.

Through an unprecedented year-over-year improvement plan, the 2025 model year vehicles—our cars—are projected to consume 50% less fuel than the 2008 vehicles. Post-2011, this will result in an estimated cumulative reduction of 266 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

To assist the industry, policies that educate and increase consumer demand for these new vehicle technologies will be critical to ensure the adoption of alternative energy and electric vehicle choices.

As a cautionary note, as we push forward with the Paris agreement, let us remember that auto manufacturing is highly trade-exposed. That is why the design of the pan-Canada framework for climate change, avoiding layering of subnational regulations under federal regulations, is critically important to the competitiveness of Canada's auto manufacturing and, ultimately, the achievement of Canada's economic and environmental objectives.

Care must be taken to maintain and grow Canada's manufacturing footprint to avoid the migration of many thousands of jobs through carbon leakage to other jurisdictions that have weaker climate policy commitments. With care, this can be a win-win agreement for auto.

Finally, I will address the role of civil society.

In my community of Oakville, I found more than 40 environmental groups and agencies with which residents of Oakville are directly involved, most with a focus on climate change. Hundreds of Oakville residents are engaged in making a difference globally by making change happen locally.

At a climate change consultation I hosted in August, more than 150 Oakvillians came out to talk with me and their neighbours about their concerns. We had 10 table topics, including many specific to the Paris agreement, such as international co-operation and commitments, and carbon pricing. Attendees supported the Paris agreement. Some wished it went further, faster, and are prepared for disruptive economic consequences; others support the direction, but want to ensure that our economy and jobs transition smoothly to a less carbon-dependent economy. However, they all want positive action.

I believe every Oakvillian wants to ensure that we conserve our environment, to leave as rich and sustainable an environment for our children as we inherited from our predecessors. I believe, based on the decisions and commitments of our town council and our public and private enterprises, and based on Oakville residents' engagement with civic groups and feedback from my consultations, that the vast majority of Oakvillians support the Paris agreement and want this government and this House of Parliament to proceed to join in the global fight against climate change.

I do not think our children and grandchildren will be concerned with which political party we represented in 2016. They would want to know why we did not act when we could to guarantee them drinkable water, breathable air, and a living environment.

I will be supporting this agreement.

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3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Oakville must be familiar with the Ontario Liberal gas plant scandal, where an entire plant was relocated to save seats in the legislature. Would the member opposite be able to share with the House the number of tonnes of carbon that transfer would have put into the atmosphere, and whether or not we will see this type of activity federally as well?

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3:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the most important thing to remember is that Ontario has already moved forward with the cessation of coal-fired producing plants. We are already seeing a dramatic decrease in smog days in Toronto and in my riding of Oakville.

I think everybody in Canada agrees that we need to move forward with a carbon-pricing model. It is the most effective policy measure to drive climate action and the transformation of global energy systems toward cleaner alternatives. As I said, people in Oakville support this direction.

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3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the hon. member's speech.

He mentioned the Paris agreement, yet it seems to me that we are far short of what this agreement requires. For example, in Paris, the reference year was 1990. Beginning in the 1990s, Quebec reached difficult targets, such as a 28% reduction by aluminum plants and a 78% reduction by lumber producers and various forestry industries. Now we are going to use 2006 as the reference year. That is the same target set by the Conservatives. It is low, very low.

Should we not be following the lead set by most other countries and use 1990 as the reference year, rather than the year we are discussing today?

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3:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, there seems to be a tension here. The NDP and others seem to want to see disruptive change. They want a change so fast on climate that job losses and economic losses could occur. The Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to not want to make any changes.

I think we have found a very balanced solution here to move forward with carbon pricing, to move forward with an economy that is less carbon intensive and carbon dependent, and at the same time make sure that, as we transition, we hold jobs and keep a strong economy moving forward. That is the plan Canadians want us to implement.

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3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, in particular, I take note of how the member concluded his comments and his speech, speaking about future generations. We have heard a lot in this House over the last few days about the various different stakeholders and people who will be affected by this.

One particular group that I find we are continually neglecting in this discussion is the future generation. We have heard members opposite ask questions about what to say to the seniors in their ridings who are going to be affected by a price on carbon.

My question to my hon. colleague is what do we say to future generations if we do not do this. How important is it that we get this right, now, so that future generations do not have to deal with it?

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3:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to have that conversation. I have children in all age groups right now.

I do not want to be having this conversation with them in 10, 15, or 20 years' time. I do not want to be having that conversation with my grandchildren. I do not think any member in this House wants to have a conversation about why we failed to address the problem of climate change when we had a chance to make a difference.

That is why it is so important that we proceed in this direction. That is why it is important that the Paris agreement and the Vancouver declaration be implemented. We owe this to future generations as much as we owe it to ourselves.

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3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to have a few minutes to speak on such an important topic. Climate change is the most serious threat that poses imminent, dangerous consequences to our communities, families, and economy.

The debate on whether this threat exists is over. Rapid change in climate is real. We have seen the damage it has caused over the past decade. Deadly storms, odd weather patterns, and the rapidly melting polar ice caps have produced a significant human and economic impact. This is a very real and present danger. It is a danger that is of paramount concern to all Canadians. This was demonstrated to me at a town hall meeting on climate change that I hosted with my fellow Mississauga MPs this summer. The over-capacity crowd at the town hall made it clear that people are looking to their government to take steps, to take leadership to change our current course. Leadership on this file over the past 10 years under the previous government's regime saw little to no action.

As a result, our reputation around the world was badly damaged. We made a promise, during last year's general election, to change course on climate change. We promised to stop the cycle of setting arbitrary, unreasoned targets.

We have worked with our provincial, territorial, and indigenous partners to achieve realistic targets. Since taking office, our government has taken steps to work with our partners, to establish realistic solutions, consistent with international obligations, that work toward growing the economy and protecting our planet for my children and all our children.

By signing onto the Paris agreement last October, just after we formed government, we emphatically signalled to the world that Canada is here to help.

I am very glad to be able to contribute to the debate today.

As we come to accept the reality of the extent of this climate disorder and start to take steps to curtail the current trend, let us double our efforts and reinforce our actions on the conditions that we must improve.

Already, global temperatures are one degree above pre-industrial levels, and rising. I mention pre-industrial, as this factor of industrialization significantly adds to the seriousness of the time we are at with climate change.

In addition, specific factors in our country substantially contribute to this disorder; namely, our geography and our climate. Our broad weather latitudes demand considerable fuel to warm us in winter and to cool us in summer. Our coast-to-coast-to-coast geography represents immense transportation requirements of fuel. Canada's reliance upon such primary industries as resource extraction and manufacturing adds further to the complications of our climate disorder.

The worldly repercussions of this disorder caused UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to declare that we are in a race against time. The rate at which temperatures are rising exceeds the capacity of our ecosystems to adapt naturally, so that our food production and our economic development are now threatened.

Here in Ontario, suddenly, climate changes or prolonged periods of drought and heat waves have had threatening consequences on our farmers. This summer alone, the weather has had devastating impacts upon our farmers' crops, their livelihood, and ultimately, our food source.

Even in my urban riding, extreme weather has taken its toll. In July 2013, the city of Mississauga was hammered by a flash flood of over 123 millimetres of rainfall in just a couple of hours. The result was mass flooding and power outages for many residents, causing extensive damage to their homes. They called it the 50-year storm—once in a lifetime. The sad thing is that we have had three so-called 50-year storms in the last 10 years.

Another example of this extreme weather was the severe ice storm that struck southern Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes in December 2013, when roads and trees were covered with 30 millimetres of ice, sending broken branches onto power lines and causing thousands of people to be without power for days and weeks following.

The Paris agreement on climate change awaits final ratification. I stand today to support its ratification. In signing this agreement initially in April on our behalf, our Prime Minister indicated that climate change would test our intelligence, our compassion, and our will, but we firmly believe that we are equal to these challenges. For Canada, this agreement would mean that our government is providing national leadership by working with provinces and territories to take action on climate change. We as a government realize that economic growth and implementing climate protection policies go hand in hand.

The Conference Board of Canada acknowledges Canada has a long way to go. Indeed, that is an accurate assessment for this vast and complex country. With our country's extensive geographic differences, significant adjustments in our technology and economy and attitude will be required. This government has promised to protect the environment and grow the economy. Vital to this is providing leadership, along with collaborating with our provincial and territorial partners to develop balanced solutions in establishing plans that are amenable to our partners in Confederation. Our government is providing this leadership. Appropriate federal funding and flexibility will be afforded to our territorial and provincial partners so they can design policies to meet the climate commitments we have made as a country, and so they can also keep in mind the economic requirements of their respective areas.

As our Prime Minister stated two days ago in his address to the House, “Because pollution crosses borders, all provinces must do their part.” New investments in green infrastructure, clean-tech manufacturing, and innovation, and incentives for clean investments are just a sample of the climate change assistance our government promised to its voters. In anticipation of the requirements of the Paris agreement and with awareness of the unique and demanding climate issues in this country, the 2016 budget provides full allocations for a framework that endorses and shapes a cleaner, more sustainable environment. As well, that same budget addresses the special economic requirements of the country as it adjusts to the intricacies of climate change.

Already, provinces and territories have envisioned a carbon-restricted future in some of their budgets, projects, and future plans. Some of our provinces have made an early start to their commitments by initiating their plans for carbon pricing appropriate to their own geographic and economic needs. It is promising to see the encouragement of electric and hybrid vehicles here in Ontario, for example. Even in my riding of Mississauga East—Cooksville, a constituent I met last week was telling me that he takes trees that have fallen due to the weather or that have been cut down because they are diseased, and reuses them for things like furniture, etc.

Forward thinking on counteracting carbon use was on the agenda of the Premier of Saskatchewan when he went to Paris in April with our delegates. He sought to promote carbon capture and storage technology. That is also really pioneering for that province. The world awaits such forward, intelligent thinking that is required in inventing technology for the impending non carbon age and in making the required economic adjustments and alterations in this upcoming era.

With the announcement two days ago of our new carbon plan, the potential is there for this to help our middle class and job creation, and to help our businesses be more competitive on the world stage. If we take the appropriate approach, keeping in mind our provincial counterparts' priorities, by working together we can achieve the results we want.

Canada already has an excellent reputation in the world when it comes to a technological zone for such forward thinking and inventions. We invented the Canadarm, for example. The innovative, flexible, hard-working, compassionate, never-give-up attitude of Canadians puts us in the right place to take on climate change.

We can do our part the Canadian way conscientiously, superlatively, and compassionately. Let us support the ratification of the Paris agreement. We need to do our part, and we will.

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4 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague mentioned Saskatchewan and the very innovative work done there when it comes to carbon capture sequestration.

I know that the Minister of Environment from Saskatchewan is a member of the subcommittee on clean technology, innovation, and jobs, which headed to Montreal to discuss the documents' review and make recommendations to the Prime Minister on how to move forward when it comes to tackling greenhouse emissions.

In response to the Prime Minister's unilateral decision to impose a carbon tax, what would the members say to the Premier of Saskatchewan and that minister who went to Montreal to continue the good work of the first ministers?

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4 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment is in Montreal, meeting with our provincial and territorial partners.

There are a number of working groups ongoing that are working towards our goal. This is a pan-Canadian goal. It is an incremental goal, starting now and putting down a benchmark and working together on carbon capture and these technologies and new clean-tech jobs.

I commend Saskatchewan for working so hard on this. It is coming together. This is all part of the model to getting us to where we want to be in the future.

To the Premier of Saskatchewan, to the minister, and to that working group, continue to double-down on our efforts and reinforce what we are doing, because we are headed in the right direction.

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4 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that I am in favour of the Paris agreement.

I was glad that the Canadian government accepted the necessary temperature targets of between 1.5º and 2º Celsius to keep our earth below those temperature increases. It is a real concern in my riding of South Okanagan—West Kootenay, where we are facing depleting water resources, increasing irrigation needs, and increasing forest fires. All of those things are of great concern.

However, I am concerned about how the government is planning to tackle this. How is it actually going to get to these temperature targets?

In particular, the Liberals took the NDP platform on ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as a really important part of their own platform. Since then, they have done nothing. What are the government's plans to end those subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and turn them into subsidies for clean tech and green technology?

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4 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite right. I have heard from farmers about how their crops have been devastated by the hot weather and some of these droughts. It is causing turmoil when we talk about business.

The member also talked about planning, and that is exactly correct. We have brought forward a plan with targets that balance our environment and the economy. Working to help farmers over these years as we look to put on a cap-and-trade type model or a price on carbon pollution is something we can do in lockstep with our communities and provinces and territories, which have done a lot of the heavy lifting already.

We are providing leadership through the Paris agreement to make sure that all of this works. For too long we were stagnant and not doing anything. We had 10 years of being really adrift. Now we have a plan and are moving forward.

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4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to represent my constituency of Langley—Aldergrove and to speak before you, a member of Parliament who is so well respected. I will be sharing my time with the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek.

I was honoured in the last Parliament to be the parliamentary secretary to the minister of the environment—actually five different ministers—and then to be chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. That is because the environment is so important to me and my community. We need to move forward and clean up some previous environmental practices, which is one of the first things we did when I became the parliamentary secretary in 2006. The Sydney tar ponds was one of the most overstudied and well known contaminated sites. I was honoured to present the funding and then to see the finished product, the cleaning up of the city tar ponds. The previous government was committed to a sustainable environment.

I was also honoured to work with a former Liberal MP, John Godfrey, on the Sustainable Development Act, working across party lines for a cleaner environment. Over my political career, I have found that the more we work together, the more we can move ahead. It is almost like oars in a boat: if everyone is rowing in the same direction, great progress can be made. But if everyone is rowing in different directions, they will end up turning around in circles. In dealing with the environment, it is so important that we put aside politics, keep our promises, and move forward.

Today's motion is that the House support the government's decision to ratify the Paris agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by Canada in New York on April 22, 2016. We support that. The 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 was a plan the previous government committed to. We were on track to meet those targets. The fact is that with the growing economy under the previous government and the growth in jobs, we were at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dramatically reducing pollutants that were causing health problems. We were getting it done, growing the economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants.

The second half of the motion calls on the House to support the March 3, 2016 Vancouver declaration calling on the federal government, the provinces, and the territories to work together to develop a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. That is where I have great difficulty, where I think the government has taken the whole process off the rails so to speak.

On Monday, the Prime Minister announced in a very dictatorial the way it was going to be. I harken back to the promises made during the election when the Prime Minister said that he was committed to working with the provinces. However, on Monday, we saw that all come to a screeching halt. He promised that he would not impose a climate change plan on the provinces. He called that nonsensical, but on Monday he deviated from that and told the provinces, “This is what thou shalt do”.

We have to work with one another. We have to show respect for one another. I have found great success over the years in working with different environmental groups. In my riding of Langley, there is a group called LEPS, Langley Environmental Partners Society. It is successful in working in a non-partisan way with anyone interested in improving the environment. Over the last 11 years, we have planted together 1,000 trees a year. It has helped me distribute these 1,000 trees a year, thus more than 11,000 trees handed out in the riding in total. Trees are good. I love it when we come together as a community in partnering and working together on the environment.

A healthy environment is not just for this generation but for future generations too. We have a responsibility to show respect, work arm-in-arm with one another, and improve that. That is not what is happening with the action of the government. I hope that the government will pause and that it will consider changing course.

I just heard from the Liberal member across the way. I encourage him to rethink his thoughts. He told the Premier of Saskatchewan to double down. What does that mean? The Prime Minister said it is because of the lack of leadership being seen from the provinces that he has had to force this on them. Then we have members of his caucus saying, “Premiers, you need to double down”. That is not working together on a common cause. The target of a 30% reduction by 2030 is achievable if we work together.

Canadians have said they would trust the new government to come up with a plan that would help us achieve that target, that 30% reduction by 2030, but the government also promised no new taxes. The Prime Minister even admitted today during question period that it is a tax. It is a new tax on Canadians, and how will that new tax affect Canadians? Will it reduce greenhouse gas emissions? The previous government was able to reduce taxes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberal plan is to increase taxes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We can learn from past practices of what works and what does not. The previous Liberal government made aspirational commitments and emissions went up. Taxes went up; emissions went up. That is not the Conservative way, in which we reduced taxes and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan has been proven not to work, but how does that plan affect Canadians? I have a number of seniors who have retired and are on fixed incomes in the riding of Langley—Aldergrove. I am hearing from them already since the Prime Minister made his proclamation that thou shalt and that there would be a carbon tax, a new tax on everything. What does that mean? It means the government is advising seniors that they need to get another sweater, a little bit thicker sweater because they will have to turn down their thermostats. Their natural gas heating will go up and of course their food will cost more because it is transported from within or outside of communities. To drive to the doctor, to physiotherapy or home care, everything will go up: food, transportation, heating. It is endless, the cost of all goods.

What have the Liberals told Canadian seniors? I am honoured to be the critic for seniors. I have asked the Liberals to please appoint a minister for seniors and to please establish a national seniors strategy, because right now one in six Canadians is a senior. There are more seniors than youth in Canada right now, and that is changing very quickly. In six years it will be one in five. In 13 years it will be one in four. There is a major demographic shift and it is happening in a very short period of time and the government is not ready. What is its plan? It will increase the taxes on everything on every Canadian, particularly the Canadians who are on fixed incomes. The solution to that is that the government will give them an extra $70 a month. That is for those who are single. If they are living together, they get nothing extra but they will have to get a thicker sweater so that they can survive those winters.

Fortunately in Langley we have very mild winters, but much of Canada is very cold in the winter. Is that the solution of the government, to get a thicker sweater or an extra sweater? It shows disrespect for Canadian seniors. It shows disrespect for the provinces. It is not a plan. A tax is not a plan. I hope the government will reconsider what it is doing because it is not right.

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4:15 p.m.

Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest both to the member's speech and also to the Prime Minister's presentation on this issue. I do not recall a single penny accruing to the federal government out of anything the Prime Minister said with regard to the announcement that was made.

I am also fully aware, and I hope the member is as well, that the consultations and the conversations and the dialogue with provinces has been going on since the day we took office. It continues now and it will continue into the future as we find a way to deal with climate change.

In what part of the Prime Minister's remarks did he hear and identify that the federal government was collecting revenue off the proposition of putting a price on pollution? Can he point to a single sentence that shows that the federal government would collect anything on a proposal that has been tabled?

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4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, if the member looks at what the Prime Minister said when he met with the premiers and with the different ministers, he told them that this was the way it was going to be, that they would have a carbon tax and that they must increase the cost of every good on every Canadian. Brad Wall said, “The level of disrespect shown by the Prime Minister and his government today is stunning”.

Does that build bridges? Does that move us together? Is that slowing down, consulting, and showing respect for all levels of government? It is important that the government reconsider its approach, because if we do not show respect to one another we do not get respect. Therefore, I encourage the government to reconsider.

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4:15 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned in his speech the decline in carbon dioxide emissions in Canada while his government was in power in the 2008 to 2010 era. Everyone knows that those emissions only went down because the economy tanked in 2008 and Ontario took coal-fired plants off the grid. I wonder why his government cut funding for climate action, and why his government failed to act when it was in power.

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4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. However, I think there is great mischief at work in that question because it is far from the facts.

We became government in 2006 and remained in government until 2015. The economy experienced great difficulties in 2008 and on, but it grew 35% while we were in government. It did not tank. Rather, it grew because of strong Conservative fiscal management. However, during that 35% growth in the economy, emissions went down. Therefore, the policies of working together are effective and do reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pollutants that we breathe, which cause serious health problems, were also reduced by working with our international partners and all levels of government.

I hope the government does not try to ignore the effective policies that we had, because they worked. We can see it in the facts. I hope the NDP will reconsider its approach also.

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4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before resuming debate, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît, Dairy Industry; the hon. member for Windsor West, Telecommunications Industry; the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, Indigenous Affairs.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek.

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4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, as we draw near the end of the time allotted for this debate, I would like to begin my remarks by noting that as the Prime Minister stood in this place on Monday and announced his $40-billion carbon tax, provincial representatives walked out of an environmental ministers' conference in Montreal, shocked to hear of this unilateral action from the media. If Canadians needed any further evidence that sunny ways are over, that was it. While I believe that all of us should do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we have to be realistic and understand that a one-size-fits-all approach cannot work in Canada.

I also believe that Canadians pay enough in taxes. As a member who represents a constituency with energy-intensive industries like mining, agriculture, and manufacturing, I am concerned that this new Liberal levy for the environment will be little more than a transfer of wealth from western Canada to Ottawa via some kind of new taxation.

The Prime Minister's contention that this initiative will be revenue neutral is hard to believe. It is hard to believe that a policy that will increase the federal government's accounts receivable by over $40 billion each year can be revenue neutral. This will become the second-largest source of federal revenue going forward, putting it ahead of the sales tax, the corporate income tax, the customs import duties, employment insurance premium revenues, and crown corporation revenues. Canada has entered an era of long-term deficit spending with no plan to return the country to balance. The temptation for the current government in particular to put these carbon revenues into general revenues will be strong.

Emissions have no borders. Canada should participate in international initiatives to reduce GHG emissions. It is in our best interest when our neighbours are environmentally responsible and the reverse is certainly true. It needs to be repeated that when a manufacturing plant moves 30 kilometres down the road to a jurisdiction that has lower costs for energy, nothing is gained. All that occur are job losses.

Greenhouse gas emissions are an international issue. Therefore, attempts to reduce them must involve all emitters, not just those in Canada. Pollution can be exported. Many developing countries would be happy to inherit the energy-intensive factories that will no longer be economically viable here in Canada with a new carbon tax. It goes without saying that Canada's environmental laws and their enforcement are much more stringent than those of nearly any other country. A factory moving overseas where oversight is less stringent can actually be detrimental to the international fight against greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada competes on just about everything. Canadian railways compete with U.S. railroads and U.S. trucking. Airlines, which already lose five million passengers per year to border airports, compete with international carriers. While President Obama committed the United States to the Paris conference targets, it's another thing for an outgoing president to act on that commitment.

A downtown-Toronto condo dweller will have a lower carbon footprint than someone living in Iqaluit or the producer from the Prairies. A small technology company in Montreal will have a lower carbon footprint than a trucking company that hauls automobile parts across the Ambassador Bridge. A homeowner living in the temperate climate of Victoria will undoubtedly need less natural gas or heating oil to warm his or her home in the winter than someone living in Saskatoon. Our federation is designed to accommodate the different realities of our regions.

When Canada agreed along with Mexico and the United States that 50% of its electricity would come from renewable sources by 2025, a standard that we surpass today, the Prime Minister was basking in the legacy of provincial investments in hydro power. However, the Prime Minister should not boast on the international stage that Canada is a leader in green power generation, given that under his made-up term of social licence it would be impossible presently to build these large-scale facilities that provide base load power to our cities.

For any environmental policy to last and to be effective, it needs to have buy-in from all who are involved. If environmental policy is built on a platform of animosity between the federal government and the provinces, that policy will be doomed to fail.

The Premier of Saskatchewan does not support this ill-conceived plan to raise taxes. The premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and the three northern territories also have serious doubts. As the fine print of the minister's plan is released, I am sure we will see more provinces question this massively expensive experiment in economic and social planning.

For a policy the Prime Minister claims was built on unanimous accord at a first ministers' meeting, there is a lot of discord in regard to what was agreed to in Vancouver. This sledgehammer approach taken by the Prime Minister is disrespectful to both the provinces and their elected representatives, who are all contributing to Canada's economic prosperity. Is this the new era of co-operative federalism the Prime Minister has been so keen to champion?

I am curious about what the penalty will be should Saskatchewan not meet the standard set by the Prime Minister. Typically, when the federal government wants to partner with the provinces on something, the federal government puts in at least some amount of funding to get things started. I cannot help but think that the Prime Minister has decided to redesign our entire economy and put the odds against the three prairie provinces.

This carbon tax will not impact Canadians uniformly. Saskatchewan does not have the geography required for large-scale hydro dams, nor do we have the population size or density, for that matter, to make the economics of nuclear power viable. To my knowledge, combines do not run on solar power. In any year with lower than expected crop yields or low commodity prices, this new tax will have a far greater impact on my region than on any urban area.

The Prime Minister, his environment minister, and countless MPs here have repeated that putting a high tax on carbon is good for the economy and good for innovation. This statement must be challenged.

At its most basic level, this new tax is an additional cost for businesses and consumers. In any business, any additional cost is detrimental. What this new tax will do is make Canada's energy-intensive industries, like farming and mining, less competitive than those of other countries. The contention that increasing costs for businesses will make them more innovative is very naive. Every business, regardless of its sector, seeks to reduce the cost of inputs relative to its overall outputs.

I would like to conclude by pointing out the incredible inconsistency the Liberals are showing with this new $40 billion tax.

The Liberal government is actively supporting, through subsidies, the manufacturing of new aircraft and vehicles, which are two sectors that contribute the most to Canada's overall emissions. At the same time, the mining energy that produces the fuel to power these planes and cars is being ignored, and even worse, targeted.

For many years, as Ontario and Quebec were net recipients of equalization, it was British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador that financially supported our federation through a strong mining sector. Now, as commodity prices are lower, Ottawa is about to add to the pain that workers out west and out east in Newfoundland are experiencing.

The Prime Minister needs to reopen the dialogue with all premiers in order to develop and implement a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan that will actually work, as they are best positioned to understand the economic realities of their provinces. Going in alone, as the Prime Minister is doing, will ensure failure.

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4:25 p.m.

Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member opposite's statements and concerns, and I am not going to comment on the Premier of Alberta, who has welcomed this initiative. We now find out that the “P” in NDP stands for pipelines, apparently.

The newly minted Conservative Premier of Manitoba has said that they are working very hard on a plan that they think will excite Manitobans, and they look forward to further discussions with the federal government on the issues. They understand the new spirit of federalism that has taken hold, and they are working very hard.

I recognize that one or two premiers are struggling with this, and we have built a timetable into the process to make sure that we get as close to unanimity as possible.

I am also taken by the member's fascination with my riding and the condominiums of downtown Toronto. She is aware, of course, that not all residents of this country will experience climate change in the same way, nor will they experience the pollution that climate change generates in the lungs of children and families that live in those condominiums. I note that she routinely supports the island airport and routinely supports jets there. Jets, particularly short haul, are the highest single source of per capita greenhouse gases in this country.

If the member has such concern for the residents of different parts of this country, I wonder if she can put aside her regional focus and broaden her understanding of things like communities that live in condominiums, or in the far north, and actually come up with a collaborative process that succeeds in reducing greenhouse gases while transforming the economy while moving this forward?

Does the member have any ideas she can add that will cut greenhouse gases, while we build a new economy, and that will help the residents of my riding who happen to live in condominiums, which she routinely disdains and casts doubt and aspersions towards?

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4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, of course, I, and the Conservative caucus, do not oppose taking action on climate change. In fact, your government is using the very targets we set.

What I do not support is the government running roughshod over provincial and territorial rights. The provinces signed the Vancouver declaration, because they believed that it called for a collaborative and flexible approach. That is what I highlighted in my speech today. However, the government has already said that it intends to impose a national carbon tax, before the provinces could even draft plans to reduce their emissions and before the subcommittees could even come back and agree on language to make their recommendations to the Prime Minister.

If the government is interpreting the Vancouver declaration as a mandate to act unilaterally, then we cannot support it.

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4:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before I go to the next question, I just want to remind the member that I am sure when she said “your government” she did not mean the Speaker's government. She was talking about the hon. member. I just want to clarify that.

The hon. member for Drummond.