Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in response to the question both on the Notice Paper and delivered orally tonight.
Before I begin, I would like to thank my colleague and friend from Bow River. Despite our friendship, I have to say that I could not disagree more strongly with his position on this particular file. The Conservative Party had 10 years in government, and now a total of 13 years, to come up with a plan to actually deal with pollution. It still does not have one and refuses to come forward with a solid plan to protect our environment.
Quite frankly, Canadians know that protecting our environment is a priority. Even though I think most would acknowledge that this is the case, my colleague across the way, who belongs to one of the biggest political parties in the country's history, does not have a plan to take climate change seriously. In my opinion, the party he represents is out of touch and is being extremely short-sighted. In fact, the question here tonight is not asking what the government can do to help and protect our environment; it is asking about the cost of doing something.
To answer the question as succinctly as I can, there is going to be a net benefit for Canadians with the plan to put a price on pollution, not a detriment. My colleague does not even need to take my word for it. He can ask Stephen Harper's former director of policy, who indicated that the government's plan to put a price on pollution is going to result in middle-class families being better off. They will have more money in their pockets as a result. Our plan to put a price on pollution is going to protect the environment, help grow the economy and put more money in the pockets of Canadians.
We are taking action on the environment and the economy and doing so in ways that are going to benefit both. Putting a price on pollution is widely recognized as the most efficient way to reduce emissions and to create a sustainable clean-growth economy.
Pollution, quite frankly, already has a cost. The cost of inaction is greater than the cost of addressing the problem. We are already suffering from effects like smog, which not only has an environmental impact but a health impact. We are experiencing floods and wildfires in different parts of the country, like the very fire raging over the province the member represents.
Putting a price on pollution lets everyone see the cost of pollution so we can do something about it. Unlike the Conservatives, whose plan seems to be nothing further than making pollution free, we are making life more expensive for polluters and more affordable for Canadians. If my colleague is sincerely worried about the cost of a price on pollution for Canadians, I will reassure him by telling him that the cost of inaction, as I said, is greater than the cost of taking the problem seriously.
I wonder if the member understands that the cost of inaction on climate is actually going to exceed $5 billion by 2020, because that is the cost of not taking this threat seriously. In fact, we know that by 2020, our historical failure to take threats to the environment seriously is going to exceed this incredible figure of $5 billion.
I like to work from evidence-based decision-making, not decision-based evidence-making, and the evidence is clear. We have seen the governor of the Bank of England, a Canadian, Mark Carney, indicate that the economic opportunity is $23 trillion.
Our government is protecting the environment, taking the challenges posed by climate change seriously and trying to capitalize on the opportunity to make Canadians better off and to protect the environment, not only for ourselves but for our kids.