Madam Speaker, I am always happy to take part in debates in the House, especially on this issue. It is also always a pleasure to follow my colleague from Winnipeg North and his prose.
I can assure all members, and especially the member for Winnipeg North, that I will support the member for Abbotsford, because I know that he is on the right side. Based on his experience as a senior cabinet minister under our government, I know that he achieved great things for Canadians. I am sure he is on the right track.
We are gathered here today to discuss Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act. I will remind the House that this bill seeks to enhance, improve, change, and amend the initial bill, which had been adopted, tabled, and debated in 2008 by our government, under the guidance of the Hon. John Baird, then minister of the environment.
Various elements are addressed in this bill, but it is essentially about the environment. The speech I am going to make today is about the Liberal government's achievements and track record, considered against the commitments it made and the legacy we left behind from our time in government.
Let us look at the facts. In its electoral platform, the Liberal Party made numerous references to the environment scattered over more than 10 pages. Page 39 said that the Liberal government would “take action on climate change, put a price on carbon, and reduce carbon pollution”.
There are three assertions there: take action on climate change, put a price on carbon, and reduce carbon pollution. The first is debatable. The second is a promise that the Liberals did keep. The third is one they did not. That is the reality.
It is not the Conservatives who are saying so, but a neutral and objective authority, the Auditor General, who analyzed every step this government has taken in the past 31 months with regard to the environment.
The Auditor General reached three fundamental conclusions in his report to Parliament on the environment and sustainable development. Let us look at what he had to say in that report.
First, the Auditor General found that the Liberal government failed to reach the targets set when the Paris agreement was signed. Second, he found that there has not been any improvements with regard to greenhouse gas emissions. Third, he found that the federal government is not providing the proper and necessary leadership to fight climate change with the support and co-operation of the provinces. The environment is a federal-provincial joint responsibility and we need to work with the provinces.
The Auditor General found that the government failed in these three key areas, which are meeting targets, making progress, and providing leadership while working together with the provinces. The Auditor General said that.
This could undermine the efforts that must be made and the realities to which Canadians are accustomed when it comes time to take action on greenhouse gas emissions.
In fact, the Liberal strategy was quite simple. They would impose a Liberal carbon tax on all Canadians. Let us remember that the Prime Minister famously said in this place that the Liberals would work with the provinces and invited them to implement a carbon tax or participate in a carbon exchange.
At first, this makes sense. However, we should not overlook what else was said, namely that if the provinces did not agree, a carbon tax would be imposed on them.
That does not really show leadership. That is forcing the provinces to do what they are told, or it will be rammed down their throats.
That is the approach of a Liberal government that came to power by saying that it would work with the provinces. If they do not co-operate, the government will force them to do what it wants. We do not believe that that is the right approach.
We should remember that this government has a study in hand that indicates what the impact of the Liberal carbon tax will be on Canadian families, a report that is not available to Canadians. We submitted an access to information request, which we now have in hand.
I will quote this study, which spells out the cost to families of the Liberal carbon tax:
...the potential impact of a carbon price on households' consumption expenditures across the income distribution. The key findings are:
The rest is blacked out. All of the information has been redacted. When people are ashamed of their numbers, they hide them. When they are proud of their numbers, they make them public. In this case, not only are they not making the numbers public, but they are also hiding them. Apparently they do not want Canadians to know how the proposed Liberal carbon tax will impact them directly.
In our view, the Liberals are out of line. Let me remind the House that if the provinces happen to want to introduce carbon taxes and if they happen to want to introduce their own carbon exchanges, that is their choice. I have first-hand experience with that. In 2011, I represented Chauveau in the National Assembly. There was a debate on whether Quebec should join the carbon exchange. Some people were in favour of it and others were against it. The political party I led at the time was against it. There was a proper debate. There was a debate and a vote, and Quebec has had a carbon exchange ever since. I was against it then, and I still am. People got to pass judgment on my stance three times, and I was elected three times with a clear majority each time. I was perfectly fine with that.
Just because someone is against the carbon tax and the carbon exchange does not mean that they are against the environment, on the contrary. People are smart enough to differentiate between the Liberals' partisan position and the facts.
The facts might surprise some because the propaganda we keep hearing about how the Conservatives were against the environment, did nothing for the environment, and are the enemies of the environment is completely false and not backed by facts. We hear this propaganda far too often.
Our government started by implementing a green plan, Canada EcoTrust, a $1.5-billion program, with the support and co-operation of the provinces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a scientific, tangible, and practical way. Hon. members will recall that in February 2007, the Charest provincial government and the federal Conservative government agreed to invest $349.9 million to fight climate change. That was done with the help of technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it worked.
Those who claim the Conservative government did nothing are lying to Canadians. We worked in collaboration with the provinces, as well as private companies. I am in the best position to talk about it because there is a high-tech environmental firm in my riding called CO2 Solutions. For over 10 years, it has been working with Natural Resources Canada to shrink the Alberta oil industry's environmental footprint. Its methods are working. I am very proud of this company from my riding, because we believe that putting the ingenuity of private enterprise at the service of greenhouse gas reduction efforts is a promising approach.
Our government's track record therefore boasts a 2.2% decrease in greenhouse gases and a 16.9% increase in GDP. That is the perfect combination: tackling greenhouse gas emissions and growing Canada's economy.
Others will say that that is not true at all. I say that it is true. Public television viewers may have been a bit surprised last week when I answered an incisive question directly with that statistic. To silence the skeptics, I quickly put the information online, and I am pleased to repeat that statistic. The information comes from Natural Resources Canada:
Between 2005 and 2015, Canada's GHG emissions in the energy sector decreased 2.2% while real GDP grew by 16.9%.
That is the reality. Those are the facts. That is the Conservative track record. We had a real policy coupling economic prosperity with greenhouse gas reduction, unlike this government, which is not even capable of meeting its own targets, which incidentally are the targets that we set when we were in government and that were subsequently adopted by the Liberal government, President Obama, and the entire planet in the Paris Agreement.
That is the Conservative track record, and we are very proud of it.