Mr. Speaker, while we are on the topic of getting advice from Stephen Harper, we might want to consider taking the advice of his former director of policy, who is currently out there defending a price on pollution. I would argue that yes, there are some folks from that previous government who have at least wised up when it comes to certain issues.
I welcome the opportunity to speak to this very important piece of legislation. I will be focusing my remarks today on part 1 of the second budget implementation act that is before us today, but before I do that, I would like to read out a few jurisdictions: Alberta, Argentina, Australia, British Columbia, Beijing, California, Chile, Denmark, the European Union, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Massachusetts, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tokyo, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and Washington state.
What do those jurisdictions have in common? I will tell everyone what they have in common. They currently have, or will have in the very near future, a price on pollution.
That is one of the things I am so incredibly proud of when it comes to this particular bill. We are taking the matter of our changing climate and how the world is going to respond to it seriously. The next time a Conservative member asks what Canada can do or what Canada's contribution to this is because we are responsible for so little in terms of pollution in the world, I will refer that member to the work Kazakhstan is currently doing. I can only imagine what its impact is, yet it still sees this as a very important matter to pursue.
We talk about why this legislation is important. Let me start with some of the impacts as they relate to health and how people in the world will be affected. These statistics are according to the World Health Organization. It has estimated that almost 12% of global deaths in 2012 came as a result of air pollution. The WHO also estimates that seven million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air, 4.2 million deaths as a result of exposure to outdoor air pollution and 3.8 million deaths as a result of exposure to various household pollutants. Ninety-one per cent of the world's population lives in places where poor air quality exceeds the WHO guideline limits. These are just the health reasons why this piece of legislation and doing something about pollution is so important.
Let us put that aside for a second and talk about the recent study the United Nations put out on climate change and what it means to the world. It means that in a very short time, we are talking about decades, we will change our environment throughout the world in a way that will significantly impact people. We might think, as Canadians, as I have said before in the House, that we live in a relatively safe climate and environment and ask what a difference of 1°C or 2°C will really make to us. That is fair enough, if we buy into that.
Perhaps we should consider for a second the migration impacts from climate change. When the world starts to make decisions, and people start to move around the world, those migration patterns will cause world disorder and lead to an environment that makes it a lot riskier for Canada to continue to participate on the world stage, as it relates to our economy and social issues, in the way we have come to know Canada can be great.
The way the budget implementation act proposes to deal with the price on pollution for those provinces and territories that have chosen not to participate, that have decided that they want to hold out, despite the huge list of jurisdictions I have listed that are participating, is by instituting a price on pollution. This would be a federal price on pollution that we would be collecting and immediately rebating back, sometimes in advance of collecting it, to individuals and households throughout the province in which it was collected. For example, in my home province of Ontario, 90% of the funds that would be collected through the price on pollution would be delivered right back to those households. The remaining 10% would be used to help schools, hospitals, indigenous peoples, universities, colleges, and small and medium-sized businesses deal with matters that pertain to becoming more efficient in terms of the impacts they are having on our climate.
We have had a lot of debate in this House about why a price on pollution is good and why some might think it would be bad. I stand by the well-documented economic theory that when we put certain prices on different mechanisms in the economy and the marketplace, we see the players in those marketplaces reacting differently. Therefore, when we put a price on pollution, those who are polluting will start to find ways to become more efficient. They will invest, they will create, and they will discover new ways of doing things that do not pollute as much so that they can increase their bottom lines. It is a basic economic principle. The fact that the Conservatives do not buy into this is astounding to me, quite honestly, speaking of which, I think it is an appropriate time to mention some of those who do support a price on pollution.
Let us talk about Doug Ford, the new Premier of Ontario, who our leader of the opposition is spending a lot of time with and becoming very close with. His chief budget adviser was quoted in an article, which reads:
Ontario's anti-carbon tax premier once told Canadian senators that putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions is “the single most important thing that any government can do to transition to a low-carbon economy.”
That was from the chief budget adviser for Doug Ford. I have already mentioned Stephen Harper's former director of policy, who is defending a price on pollution.
Let us get out of partisan politics and talk about the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer, who said that a carbon tax is the only way to genuinely and effectively solve climate change, which is exactly what we have been talking about. As reported by CBC,
Americans William Nordhaus and Paul Romer won this year's Nobel Memorial Prize in economic sciences for their work in adapting economic theory to take better account of environmental issues and technological progress.
According to the World Bank, international carbon pricing took off with the introduction of the flexibility mechanisms under the Kyoto protocol of 1997. I bring that up, because I think it is extremely relevant. It was a Liberal government at the time that signed onto Kyoto. However, shortly after, the Conservatives pulled out of it, despite the fact that we were on our way. We heard a little earlier about how the Conservatives fix the mistakes of the Liberals, but I think the exact opposite is happening right now.
In conclusion, I am extremely proud of this proposed legislation. I am extremely proud to see our government moving forward on this.
I started off by listing a number of jurisdictions and what they have done in their attempts to put a price on pollution. What I can also say is that a lot of those jurisdictions are reporting huge successes. For example, Sweden enacted its price on pollution in 1991. It was one of the first governments to do so. Sweden currently has GDP growth that is 60% higher than what it was in 1990 and at the same time has reduced its emissions by 25%. It grew its economy by 58%, which shows that growing the economy and decreasing emissions is possible.
As members can hear, my passion lies with the price on pollution. I am very proud to be part of a government that is bringing it forward.