House of Commons Hansard #289 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was change.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Papal Apology on Residential SchoolsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

[Chair read text of the motion to the House]

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

Vote #658

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded division, government orders will be extended by nine minutes.

When the House last considered the motion, the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable had six and a half minutes to finish his speech. Resuming debate, the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, to pick up where I left off when we switched to members' statements, we were discussing the motion moved by my colleague, the member for Carleton, that the House order that all documents be produced in their original and uncensored form indicating how much the federal carbon tax proposed in budget 2018 will cost Canadian families in order to put an end to the carbon tax cover-up. I was just talking about a memo we obtained through an access to information request. The memo was about the impact of carbon pricing on households' consumption expenditures across the income distribution. It is a quick read. It starts off by saying, “The key findings” of the analysis of the potential impact of carbon pricing “are as follows:”.

Unfortunately, I cannot show it here because our rules do not allow that, but it is easy to describe because it is a big black square. Everything is hidden and covered up so that Canadians and their representatives here in the House have no way of knowing how the carbon tax will affect average Canadian families. That is unacceptable.

During question period, we asked 11 questions. The hon. member for Carleton was quite well-spoken and tried to get an answer from each of the ministers opposite. We did not get an answer from the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change completely avoided all questions about this, as she did during her speech this morning. We did not get an answer and so the member asked each minister opposite to answer us. Sadly, the answer never came.

What are the Liberals afraid of? Why are they afraid to inform Canadians of the real cost of the carbon tax? The numbers are probably scary. The numbers are probably so large that any of the measures they introduced, supposedly to help the middle class, will be completely eclipsed by the cost of the carbon tax for every Canadian family.

Even the Prime Minister refuses to answer these questions. Yesterday, he was asked a very specific question in British Columbia. I quote, “Will Canadians expect to pay higher fuel prices with the carbon taxes?” I think that question is very clear. I repeat, “Will Canadians expect to pay higher fuel prices with the carbon taxes?” Here is the Prime Minister's response. “I think one of the things we've seen across the country is that the incentives that come from better behaviour, better choices, making choices to be cleaner and greener is exactly what we want.” What? I will repeat, because I think it needs to be clear. In response to the question, “Will Canadians expect to pay higher fuel prices with the carbon taxes?”, the Prime Minister said, “I think one of the things we've seen across the country is that the incentives that come from better behaviour, better choices, making choices to be cleaner and greener is exactly what we want.” I understood none of that. I did not understand what the Prime Minister was trying to say, but what I do understand is that the Prime Minister refused to answer a simple question from a journalist, “Will Canadians expect to pay higher fuel prices with the carbon taxes?”

In her speech this morning, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change talked about cynicism, people who are cynical about the effects of climate change, the effects of carbon on climate change. The real cynicism is here in the House. The Liberal government bears most of the blame for that. Canadians are cynical about politics because of answers like the one the Prime Minister gave and because of answers that the ministers failed to give today in question period. It is because of statements or speeches like the one given today by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who in 20 minutes did not respond in the least to the motion we moved today on the carbon tax and how much it will cost the average Canadian family.

It is very cynical to see that from a government that claims to be open and transparent. On the Liberal Party website it says, “Together, we can restore a sense of trust in our democracy. Greater openness and transparency are fundamental to accomplishing this.” Unfortunately, what we have seen since 2015 is a government that is increasingly secretive when it needs to be.

When we ask for answers and numbers, the government gives us nothing. Access to information requests turn up nothing but black squares. When we ask questions about the carbon tax in the House, they avoid the subject and do not answer our questions at all. The government is incapable of telling Canadians the truth, and that is what worries me. Canadians have the right to know how much this carbon tax will cost them, especially since there is some doubt about the effects of the tax.

In the agricultural sector, farmers have worked very hard in recent years to reduce their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, they will be the first to feel the sting of the carbon tax, and nobody knows how much it will cost them. How are they supposed to plan for the tax?

What we are asking for is very simple: transparent data. Canadians have the right to know how much the Liberal carbon tax will cost them so they can plan for it. The government claims to be helping the middle class, but if that is what it is really doing, it should start by being clear, open, and transparent and by giving Canadians the numbers. The numbers exist, as we discovered this morning in committee; the analyses say so. We want to see what is behind those big black squares. The Liberals must share that information with Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Deb Schulte Liberal King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague on the other side of the House if he has had a chance to have a look at the report that was released this week by Environment and Climate Change Canada on the estimated results of the federal carbon pollution pricing system. There is a tremendous amount of information in there that is answering some of the questions. Clearly, it is not a black box. There are answers in this document.

I want to point out one of the key findings, which is that pricing carbon reduces pollution, at the lowest cost to businesses and consumers. This is one of the findings of this report. It also has a World Bank analysis, the 2017 “State and trends of carbon pricing” report, which says that 67 jurisdictions, representing about half of the global economy, are putting a price on carbon. I hope that the member on the other side recognizes there is a problem. I would like to hear his solutions rather than the rhetoric about what is happening on this side of the House.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, look at how the Liberals refuse to answer a simple question. It is so ironic. Why can we not get an answer to a simple question? How much will the carbon tax cost Canadians? We will look at the numbers, see whether the tax is good, and see what we can do with it.

Without all the facts, how can Canadians decide whether this is a good tax?

I, for one, am sure that it is not a good tax, since the Liberals are refusing to give us the numbers.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the member that obviously transparency is a good thing. My worry is that we have a lot of sound and fury coming from the Conservatives to cover up the fact that they do not have a plan to tackle climate change. The cost to Canadians of not dealing with climate change, whether through a cap and trade system or a carbon tax, will be far higher than anything we have looked at so far. We have seen the impact of forest fires. We have seen the impact of climate change in rising sea levels in places like Richmond.

I would like to know what it is that the Conservatives are going to do. If they actually convince the Liberals to give up a carbon tax, what is it that they are talking about that would meet the challenges of climate change?

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, we used regulations, and carbon emissions were reduced by 2% during our Conservative government. It is that simple. If my colleague wants to know what we are doing, he just has to vote for us in 2019 and he will see.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I share one thing in common. We both represent great rural–urban ridings. My colleague has the second-best maple syrup production in Canada. The riding of Kitchener—Conestoga boasts the world's largest one-day maple syrup festival, so my colleague and I have a lot in common.

However, my colleague mentioned the farmers and how they are unable to calculate what this cost would be to them. I checked with one of the farmers in my riding, and he said that based on 50,000 litres of fuel that he uses per year, at 12¢ a litre, that is $6,000 he is going to have to pay in additional costs. Now we know that cost is going to be passed on to consumers. The government claims to stand up for the middle class, but this cost is going to add to the cost of their groceries and everything else.

I wonder if my colleague could muse as to why he thinks the Liberal government would be obstinate in not declaring what this will cost the average Canadian family.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I will have to publicly disagree with one of my Conservative colleagues here in the House for the very first time. The Festival de l'érable de Plessisville is the largest and greatest maple syrup festival in Canada and the world. There is a reason that my riding is called Mégantic—L'Érable.

If the member aspires to this same level of excellence, all he has to do is ask to change the name of his riding. There is just one Mégantic—L'Érable. It is my riding, and it hosts the best maple syrup festival in Canada. Unfortunately, I believe my time is up.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Deb Schulte Liberal King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Cloverdale—Langley City.

Addressing climate change and supporting clean growth is a top priority for the Government of Canada, for the provinces and territories, and indeed for all Canadians. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident. Sea levels are rising, threatening coastal regions with increased erosion. Extreme flood events and wildfires are becoming more common and severe. In the north, where temperatures are rising at three times the global average, the permafrost is thawing and the sea ice is melting.

The Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015 was a historic achievement and a clear signal from the international community that we need to act on climate change. Nearly 200 countries committed to taking strong action to reduce emissions. Canada can be proud of the role it has played on the international stage to advance the Paris Agreement.

Canada's commitment under the Paris Agreement is to reduce our emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. This is an ambitious but achievable target, and we have already started to take action.

Together with provinces and territories, and with input from indigenous peoples and other stakeholders, we developed the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, and it was adopted by first ministers in December 2016. This is our collective plan to reduce emissions while growing the economy and taking steps to adapt to climate change, unlike the party on the other side.

For the last decade, members of the party opposite refused to act on climate change, and some outright denied it was even real. In fact, some of them are taking credit for a reduction in emissions when our economy had the biggest slump since the last economic downturn. If that is their plan, I do not want any part of it.

In failing to implement a credible plan, they put our environment and our economy in jeopardy, as I have already mentioned. They continue to ignore the science and the reality unfolding in their very own communities. Doing nothing is not an option, and it misses the very significant economic opportunities for Canada.

Our climate plan is built around four pillars: pricing carbon pollution; complementary actions to reduce emissions; adaptation and climate resilience; and clean technology, innovation, and jobs.

Carbon pricing is a foundational element of our climate plan. Canadians know that pollution is not free. Climate pollution leads to droughts, floods, wildfires, and extreme weather, and it affects our health. All of these are already costing Canadians more than $1 billion a year in insurance costs alone.

Carbon pricing is based on the idea that the polluter should pay. When pollution has a price, polluting less saves money. Experts around the world agree that carbon pricing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions while driving clean innovation and creating new jobs. That is because it is not prescriptive. It allows companies and individuals to make their own decisions on how best to cut emissions.

Carbon pricing also encourages innovation. When it costs more to pollute, fuel switching, energy efficiency, and clean technologies become more desirable and valuable. Putting a price on carbon tells investors in Canada and around the world that we are on a path toward a low-carbon economy, and that Canada is a good place to develop and deploy new clean technologies.

The Government of Canada is taking a flexible approach when it comes to carbon pricing. We recognize that Canada's four largest provinces, representing over 80% of our population, have already implemented a price on carbon pollution. By the way, those provinces had the best economic growth last year.

The pan-Canadian approach we outlined in October 2016 laid out the government's intention to have carbon pricing in place throughout Canada, with broad coverage across the economy and increasing its stringency over time. This approach gives provinces and territories the flexibility to choose the pricing system that makes sense for their circumstances.

It could be a direct price system, such as B.C.'s carbon tax and Alberta's carbon levy, and a performance-based system for industrial facilities, or it could be a cap and trade system, such as those adopted in Ontario and Quebec. We continue to work with the remaining provinces and territories as they assess their options. Many are choosing to implement their own systems.

The government also committed to implementing a federal pricing system, which will apply in any province or territory that requests it, as well as in any province or territory that does not implement a system aligned with the federal benchmark.

The federal system has two components: combining a charge on fossil fuels, generally paid by fuel producers and distributors, with a performance-based system enabling emission trading for large industry. The performance-based system is designed to maintain the competitiveness of Canadian businesses and reduce the risk of carbon leakage, where emissions are displaced to other countries with weaker carbon policies. The system does this while preserving the incentive to reduce emissions and innovate. Performance standards will be set for big industrial operations. If they perform better than the standard, they get a credit they can sell; if they perform worse, they pay for their pollution. The standard creates an incentive to clean up their operations.

Our approach to carbon pricing recognizes the important work that provinces and territories have already done. It recognizes that different parts of the country may face different challenges and have different needs, but that at the end of the day, we all have to do our part.

Carbon pricing is important and foundational, but it is only one of the numerous actions we are taking to reduce emissions and drive clean growth. We are phasing out coal-fired power, cutting methane emissions from oil and gas operations, making buildings more energy efficient, and taking steps to put more zero-emission vehicles on the road.

The Government of Canada is making major investments in clean growth and climate change. We are investing over $2.2 billion to support clean technology and innovation, and over $21 billion in green infrastructure, including $2 billion for a disaster mitigation and adaptation fund. We have launched the $500-million low-carbon economy challenge, which will fund projects across Canada that reduce emissions and drive clean growth.

We are also working to make sure Canada is prepared for climate change. We are already seeing climate impacts, and they will only continue to increase in the future. That is why we are investing in infrastructure to protect against floods and other disasters, and we are helping to make sure communities across Canada have the information they need to make decisions with climate change in mind.

After the party opposite spent a decade dragging its feet on the climate file, Canadians deserve a serious, smart, and thoughtful plan to protect the environment and grow the economy. They deserve a plan that spurs innovation and creates well-paying middle-class jobs, and that is exactly what we are delivering.

Canadians know that now is the time to act. We are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change and the last generation that has the opportunity to stop it. That is why the government has a concrete plan and is not wasting any time putting it into action.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is the chair of the environment committee. She has worked hard to learn the ropes as a new MP, and has done a really good job of that. She has been able to work with the committee and come up with some consensus reports.

I noticed her speech was all about climate change, when in fact the matter we are discussing in the House is transparency, openness, and secrecy. It is, of course, secrecy that has characterized the Liberal government ever since its election. Members may recall that, during the election campaign, the Prime Minister said he was going to usher in a new era of openness and transparency.

Canadians watching today on television have a right to know how much the Liberal carbon tax will cost the average Canadian family. We should remember that the government has said the carbon tax is foundational to its climate change plan, so Canadians have a right to know what that tax means for them and how much it will cost.

The member is close to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Can she now tell us here in the House how much extra the average Canadian family will have to pay as a result of this carbon tax?

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 1st, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Deb Schulte Liberal King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I appreciate very much the wisdom and experience my colleague shared with me as we work together on the committee. It has been a wonderful experience, and I thank him for that.

There is nothing secret on this side of the House about what we are trying to do, regardless of the comments on the other side of the House. I believe the member knows very well that the implementation of this is dependent on our partners, the provinces and territories. It is really a matter of the different forms in which they are going to apply the price on pollution. Are they going to go with cap and trade, and what are they going to do with the revenues and benefits they will get back from that?

We cannot give a direct or specific answer because it is more complicated than one answer. It depends on our partners, how they implement it, and how they will give the money back within their own provinces and territories.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is important to hear what my friend has to say on this, coming from her experience as chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

One of the things that is a big concern to people in my community is the impact of climate change on our country and on every aspect of our lives, including the impact on agriculture and the impact of flooding in our communities.

Could the member speak to us about the cost of not taking action on climate change? That would be very helpful.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Deb Schulte Liberal King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, the cost of climate change is becoming really obvious to the average Canadian.

I just gave an example in my speech. It is increasing over time, but it is now at $1 billion a year in increased insurance costs that we, as Canadians, are going to have to find the money for. That is just one small aspect of the cost.

We are seeing the costs in our agriculture, and that will result in higher costs of buying food at the store. Farmers are struggling to try to deal with droughts and the changing climate, which means it will be later when they get product in the ground, and it is harder to harvest. We are starting to lose some seriously productive land to climate change.

With regard to floods, the same thing is happening. There are the costs of insurance, as I already mentioned, as well as the devastation that flooding causes to communities and the impact of redeveloping those communities.

We are just beginning to see the real impacts. There is no final number on that. We are gathering that information now, but it is definitely a significant and serious detriment to the economic well-being and the health of Canadians. We have to do something about it now. We cannot wait.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that pollution is not free. We see the cost of droughts, floods, wildfires, and extreme weather. We see the effects of pollution on our health. Canadians expect polluters to pay because it is the right thing to do for our kids and our grandkids.

Putting a price on pollution is one of the most efficient tools we have to drive clean growth and cut carbon pollution. That is why carbon pricing is being adopted by countries around the world, and is a critical part of Canada's clean growth and climate plan. According to the World Bank, 67 jurisdictions around the world are putting a price on carbon, representing about half of the global economy. Pricing makes pollution more expensive, which encourages people and businesses to pollute less. On the other hand, it makes clean solutions cheaper, and puts more money back in the pockets of people, where they can better insulate their homes, ride the bus more often, or get a more fuel-efficient car the next time they buy one.

Four out of five Canadians already live in a jurisdiction that has a price on carbon pollution. Those provinces led the country in economic growth last year. We have evidence right here in Canada that carbon pricing works to cut emissions while maintaining economic growth. The province that I live in, my home province now, is British Columbia, and it has had a carbon tax for about a decade. Research has shown that it has helped cut fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while keeping the economy growing. Alberta has had carbon pricing in place for many years. It has among the highest employment growth rates in Canada.

The goal of putting a price on carbon pollution is to reduce emissions by sending a price signal to the economy as a whole. Recent projections by Environment and Climate Change Canada found that the national GDP is estimated to grow by about 2% a year between now and 2020, with or without carbon pricing. Businesses, investors, and consumers change their behaviour when they take carbon pricing into account in their daily decision-making. The clearer, more consistent, strong, and predictable the price signal, the greater its effectiveness in driving the choices that contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy. Carbon pricing spurs innovation, and innovation is key to keeping Canada's economy competitive.

Canadian businesses already know carbon pricing makes good sense and will help ensure they remain competitive in the emerging low-carbon economy. Canada's five major banks, along with many companies in the consumer goods, energy and resource development sectors, also support putting a price on pollution, as members of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, which includes 32 national and subnational governments, 150 businesses, and 67 strategic partners globally working to support and accelerate carbon pricing around the world. Industry leaders know that cutting emissions makes good business sense. Businesses that become more efficient and use less energy also cut their emissions and save money on fuel. That makes sense for the economy and for the bottom line.

In a letter to first ministers, 60 business, labour, and environment leaders signed a statement in support of carbon pricing. This consensus includes Suncor, Cenovus, Rio Tinto, Tembec, Loblaws, Desjardins, General Electric, The Co-operators, and the Nature Conservancy. As some of Canada's largest employers have pointed out, putting a price on carbon is good for business. They have said we can meet our Paris climate commitments, grow our exports of clean technologies, energy, resources, and other products, and position Canada to prosper in a changing world.

Today, Canada's clean tech sector ranks first out of the G20 countries, according to the 2017 Global Cleantech Innovation Index. This year, 13 of Canada's clean tech companies were ranked within the top 100 in the world. That is an amazing result. Canadian companies are blowing away the competition for the Carbon XPrize, an award for companies that find innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions. This year, four Canadian companies reached the final round for the $20-million award. Canada's clean tech success stories include: CarbonCure, a business that retrofits concrete plants with a technology that recycles carbon dioxide to make stronger, greener concrete; Solar Vision Inc., a Quebec-based business providing solar lighting technology; Enerkem, a business that turns Edmonton's non-recyclable waste into commonly used fuels and chemicals; and Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., a Gatineau-based biotech firm that is expanding low-carbon options for the biofuel industry. For example, it is turning carinata, a mustard-like seed, into jet fuel.

Clean growth represents a massive economic opportunity around the world. Carbon pricing will help Canadian companies create jobs and compete successfully in the global shift to a cleaner economy, an opportunity the World Bank estimates will be worth $23 trillion globally between now and 2030.

Although pricing pollution is the foundation of our climate action plan, we have built on that foundation. We are working every day to implement Canada's clean growth and climate action plan, which includes over $21 billion in green infrastructure investment that will help build energy-efficient homes and offices and help families save on their energy bills and over $20 billion to support public transit to help reduce commute times in our cities, increase the use of clean transportation, and allow people to spend more time with their families and less time in traffic.

We are phasing out coal from our electricity system by 2030. This is the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road, significantly reducing our carbon emissions. This phase-out will prevent 260 premature deaths, 40,000 asthma episodes, and 190,000 days of breathing difficulty and reduced activity, resulting in health benefits of $1.2 billion over the lifetime of the regulations. With the help of an expert panel, we are making sure that the transition is a fair one for coal workers and communities.

We are strengthening building codes and standards for energy efficiency and we are implementing a clean fuel standard to clean up the fuels Canadians use.

This is a comprehensive, smart, and practical plan, the kind of plan one adopts when one is serious about clean growth and climate action. That is the work we are doing every day for our kids and grandkids and to help Canadians prosper today.

The party opposite does not share that vision. Under Stephen Harper, the party wasted a decade failing to act on climate change. Over the weekend, we learned that the Conservatives' approach to our Paris targets is built on waving a magic wand and hoping the pollution goes away. Canadians simply deserve better. They deserve a serious, smart, and thoughtful plan to protect the environment and grow the economy, and that is exactly what we are delivering.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague and neighbour in the riding of Cloverdale—Langley City. We work quite well. I am in the township of Langley and he represents the city of Langley, and we work quite well together and agree on a lot of things, but on this one we do not.

I am sure the member is hearing, as I am, about the price of gas at the pumps in Langley. Right now it is $1.62 a litre. That is outrageously high. It is the highest in Canada. The Liberal plan is for it to go to $2 a litre, $3 a litre, $5 a litre, whatever it takes to change the driving habits of Canadians.

How high will gas prices go in Langley before his Liberal Party is satisfied that people in Langley have been forced to reduce the amount of driving? Right now they have not reduced the amount they are driving, so how high does he want the gas prices to go to force people to drive less?

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to represent the community of Langley, and we do share a portion of the township of Langley. I hear from drivers about the price of gas. I would like to point out that in the Lower Mainland, the structure of our gas pricing includes a transit levy. We see that things like the price of gas do provide direct incentives for people to change behaviours. When people buy a litre of gas, that is also supporting transit improvement.

I can proudly say our government has committed over a billion dollars to the South of Fraser transit improvement. It is through these kinds of investments, the things that I talked about, that we will be able to help citizens in the Langley area to transition and get out of their vehicles and use transit as we build those cleaner and more efficient ways of moving people around our neighbourhood. It also means people are out of their vehicles and not sitting in traffic, but spending time in our community and enjoying the beautiful—

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. Questions and comments, the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague, and my ears pricked up when he talked about the Paris accord and how the Conservatives had no plan. The Conservatives were in denial, but the Liberals seem to me to be focused on hot air. They adopted Stephen Harper's targets.

All the reports that are being issued show that the Liberals do not have a plan to meet the Paris targets because they think that if they say nice things greenhouse gas emissions will diminish and the world will become a better place. I have been here 15 years and I have heard Liberals say lots of nice things about environment, but I have never seen a coherent action plan and I have yet to see it now. If we are going to deal with the climate crisis, we could start by at least admitting that the government has not made serious commitments on the ground of the kind we have seen in Alberta with the Notley government, which is trying to deal with this head-on. The current government has spent more time putting up photo ops than in providing any coherent plan to meet the Paris targets.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would say that we actually have an amazing plan. The pan-Canadian framework was a great way to move the conversation forward on climate change in Canada. We were able to meet with the provinces and territories to negotiate reductions. We were able to deal with Alberta and bring Alberta into the pan-Canadian framework, which gives really good targets on limits for emissions. Discussions are continuing within provinces and territories about other ways that they can contribute by looking at things like methane reduction limits, from which we will all benefit, so I tend to disagree with the statement that was made. I offer that our government does have a lot of substance and a great vision for the country to deal with a very real and pressing issue, which is that of climate change in Canada and across the world.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak on today's motion to produce the documents on carbon tax and to touch on a few sleights of hand and inaccuracies from the Liberal government in its claims of being transparent on the federal carbon tax.

First, the Liberals announced their planned carbon tax on Canadians on October 3, 2016, but for reasons unknown to me, my constituents and I still have not been told how much it will cost or how much it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Second, upon announcing the planned carbon tax on Canadians, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change promised Canadians that all revenue collected would be given back to the province. We all know this is not true.

Third, they convinced Canadians that if they were elected, they would support and champion initiatives for the middle class and those working hard to join it. Instead, they increased taxes on small businesses and want to impose a job-killing carbon tax that will damage all of Canada.

I stand here today to implore the government to end its carbon tax cover-up and finally tell Canadians how much more families will have to pay when it comes into effect.

Here are a few examples of concerns I heard from some of my constituents.

Joe from Carlyle commented, “I am a farmer in the Carlyle area and I have some concerns. We both know about the carbon tax issue, and obviously it is a major concern. We know it will affect us, but how badly? That is the question. I am afraid for my family's future.”

Jeff from Estevan wrote, “On July 1st, 2012, Australia implemented a carbon tax. Two years later, in 2014, they repealed it. A statement on the Australian government's own website says 'Abolishing the carbon tax will lower costs for Australian businesses and ease cost of living pressures for households' so what can we expect from a carbon tax in Canada? Higher business costs and increased costs of living for households. This is not something I want to see implemented from any level of government. All in all it is an incredibly bad idea and I definitely do not support it.”

Jake, from Weyburn, wrote to the Prime Minister, to me, and to all Canadians to say this:

Adding a carbon tax to my farm's cost of production will make it less profitable, and ultimately less competitive with my neighbours to the south and across the oceans. I can only take what price is offered to me; I cannot pass along a carbon tax to my customers.

He continued:

So, let's exempt farmers, right? Make it revenue-neutral? While that may seem a simple solution, how will you go about that? I still have to purchase fertilizer, crop protection products, fuel, machinery, and so on. If those industries are paying a carbon tax, you can bet they will pass along that cost.

In conclusion, he stated:

If a carbon tax drives up my farm's costs without creating an incentive for me to reduce emissions, why have one at all? It does not achieve the required goal of reducing emissions, and hurts my family in the process. I thought your government was going to help the middle class?

These are just a sprinkling of correspondence, and they make excellent points about how the families of Souris—Moose Mountain would be affected. The trickle-down effect they talk about would affect all business operating costs, as well as families, by increasing the cost of heat, electricity, and food, yet the government will not tell them what the cost is.

We know the government has the figures because access to information requests have been filed. The finance department memo produced says that there is an analysis of the potential impact of a carbon price based on household consumption data across different income levels. However, the actual data from the analysis is blacked out.

The government says the analysis can be withheld for two reasons: because it is advice to the government or because it is information that can possibly harm the Canadian economy. If it is the latter, then we can only imagine the cost is going to be even worse than we expected. How can my communities and the people within them plan for their future?

Canadians want the whole truth, not these half-truths they have been given, like the Liberals' promise that a carbon tax would be revenue neutral. In May of last year, Environment and Climate Change Canada posted this on their website:

Whichever system is implemented—federal or provincial—revenues will remain in the provinces. Revenues from carbon pricing can be used to lower taxes, like in British Columbia, or support low- and middle-income families, like in Alberta.

It sounds great, but too bad it is utterly misleading. The minister has stood many times in this House to say that all the money that would be collected from the carbon tax would be given back to the provinces. We know for a fact that not all the money would be given back.

Let me expand on that. I recently submitted an Order Paper question and asked the following:

With regard to the carbon tax and the statement by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on CTV News on January 15, 2018, that “All the revenues go back to the provinces”: what is the projected amount which will be returned to each province as a result of the additional GST revenue collected from the carbon tax?

I know members are itching to know the answer to that:

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a broad-based tax on consumption in Canada that is calculated on the final amount charged for a good or service. The general rule that was adopted at the inception of the GST is that this final amount includes other taxes, levies, and charges that apply to the good or service and that may be embedded in the final price. This amount includes customs duties, federal and provincial product-specific taxes (e.g., on fuel, alcohol and tobacco products), as well as other environmental levies, including carbon pricing.

Here is the kicker:

The Pan-Canadian Framework includes the commitment that revenues from pricing carbon pollution will remain with the province or territory of origin. These revenues do not include those in respect of the GST charged on products that may have embedded carbon pricing costs in them.

Not only is the government going to tax on a tax, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change failed Canadians when she misled them to believe a carbon tax would be revenue neutral. This GST, on regular gasoline alone priced at $1 a litre, which it is not, will amount to over $2.4 billion per year for the Liberals to squander.

The Government of Saskatchewan has taken a firm stand against a carbon tax, arguing that, in addition to being somewhat ineffective in tackling global carbon emissions, a carbon tax will do substantial damage to the province's natural resource-dependent economy.

The Government of Saskatchewan has come up with a plan that suits Saskatchewan, and I agree. Other mechanisms, such as carbon capture and sequestration, are far more effective to reduce carbon emissions.

We have an incredible example of it in my hometown of Estevan. The work done by SaskPower and the Boundary Dam power station, with regard to their efforts in carbon capture and sequestration, CCS, has been a huge success. CCS functions to prevent large amounts of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere by large industrial and power plants.

Sadly, the Liberals have not yet indicated if this innovative and green technology will even be exempt from the carbon tax. Given that the Liberals plan to phase out coal-fired electricity, CCS needs to be considered as a green solution to the emissions by coal-fired power plants.

Here is a novel idea: Invest in this program and enhance CCS. After all, it captures 85,375 tonnes of CO2 every month, the equivalent of 21,300 vehicles off the road per month. Over two million tonnes of CO2 have been stored since 2015. This is technology the world wants and needs. Taiwan, Japan, and the United States are interested. Why not promote CCS in India, instead of clothing? To use the minister's words, “Get with the program.”

I wish I were putting my energy into building upon their successes, rather than standing here and arguing against a tax when we do not even have tangible results or data to study.

Instead of imposing a carbon tax on provinces and territories, the Liberals should focus on improving Canada's competitive advantage to support Canadian businesses. The Liberals' uncertainty is causing businesses to stand on the sidelines and wait, discouraging investment and hurting the economy.

It gets worse. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's latest report, the government's carbon pricing plan will cause the GDP to drop, costing Canadians $10 billion they would otherwise have gained by 2022.

What my constituents want is simple. They want to be the masters of their own destiny. They want to feel confident that at the end of a hard day's work, at jobs where they contribute, that they are not coming home to a house they cannot afford to heat, an empty fridge, or a car they cannot drive because gas is unaffordable. In order to determine their future, what they need and what they want is to know the facts.

The Liberals love to study things. Well, this study has been done. The information is there. They should free the study.

Conservatives are the party of lower taxes, so I will always advocate that on behalf of my constituents. That is how we will help the middle class and those working hard to join it. The Liberals need to end the carbon tax cover-up and finally tell Canadians how much more families will have to pay.

Opposition Motion—Production of Documents on the Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member will be surprised by who first proposed that there be a price on carbon.

Jon Harding of Imperial Oil said, “any climate policy should ensure the cost is applied evenly across the economy, maximize market mechanisms and minimize complexity and administrative costs”. Preston Manning of the Manning Foundation supports the idea of full-cost accounting. He said, “It's eventually got to come. It's just fairly basic concept that, with any production of energy, you've got to figure out what are the environmental impacts and then the cost of avoiding or mitigating them and then integrating that into the price of the product.” Jack Mintz, who the Conservative Party loves to quote, heads the University of Calgary's school of public policy. He said, “a carbon tax would allow Ottawa to cut subsidies to all forms of energy”, which the Harper government promised, “and allow the market to function.”

Which government, and it was not British Columbia, first imposed the carbon tax in March 2007?