Yes, Madam Speaker, that is sunny ways, and that is how we see things.
The economy and the environment have to go hand in hand. Let us change it around. The environment and the economy must go hand in hand. We have heard this over and over again in the House. It is actually true. It is something that former Prime Minister Harper used to say too, the economy and the environment go hand in hand. It has to be balanced. He also would say, though, that as things are done on the environment file, other countries must take on their responsibilities as well. It cannot be done alone or in a vacuum.
I think that Ontario found that out the hard way when it proceeded down the road that they went on, with green power, solar power, and wind power. It ended up driving every business out of Ontario, or any new investment out of Ontario maybe would be a more accurate phrase.
I am really looking forward to a new Conservative government here in Ontario that is actually going to bring back some competitiveness into the business sector in Ontario so that Ontario's businesses can compete.
A carbon tax in Saskatchewan will not happen. It is Saskatchewan's jurisdiction to put on a tax. A member across the aisle just asked a question to the member for Foothills about seeking the advice of the provincial governments for their analysis on the carbon tax, because he has admitted it was their domain. He is right. It is Saskatchewan's domain as to whether or not it decides to put on a carbon tax, and it knows that would be a bad decision.
That does not mean that Saskatchewan is not being responsible about the environment. It presented a plan to the federal government that would allow them to meet all their environmental requirements, emissions requirements, and be progressive without a carbon tax. One would think the environment minister would say that is great, that she is excited for Saskatchewan, and proud of it. However, what did she do? In the last budget she put $104 million in the budget for carbon costs. Wait a minute. This is supposed to be revenue neutral. Where is the $104 million coming from? There goes revenue neutral.
That just shows the reality of what the government is doing with the carbon tax. It is a way for it to tax people. It is a way for it to pick winners and losers in the economy as it sees fit. It is a way for the government to put its fingers where they do not belong.
In Saskatchewan we have been concerned about the environment for years, long before “environmental protection” and “environmental assessment” or “taking care of the environment” were the cool words being expressed by the environment minister here today, this week, or the last couple of years. I can think back to “no till”. Saskatchewan embraced no till. It is actually good for the soil, good for the water, and good for the environment. Farmers grabbed that technology and said, yes, this makes sense. The other thing that happened with no till was that it was economical. It made sense economically for them to do that. That is why it was embraced. This is a classic example of the economy and the environment going hand in hand. If we look at things in the economy that actually improve the environment, no till is a classic example. Direct seed is another classic example.
We should not kid ourselves. There were lots of challenges starting down that path, and lots of issues with weed management, crop rotations, and soil degradation. All of those things have to be figured out and managed, but the will and the spirit of the farmers of Canada, and in western Canada, can overcome that. Now if we look at the Prairies, and they end up with a summer with four or five inches of rain, they would still get a crop. However, back in the 1970s if they ended up with just four inches of rain, it would be a dust bowl. That is the advantage that Saskatchewan and the farmers in western Canada and Ontario have by taking care of the environment, and also by having a good economic future.
When we look at the carbon tax, it does not do that. If a farmer in western Canada has a carbon tax, he or she is less competitive than all other farmers in the world. We take the world price. The price for wheat is set in Minneapolis or Chicago, as are the prices for soybeans and canola. Everything is interrelated. When I have a carbon tax I cannot pass that cost on. I am not a manufacturer. I am a farmer. I take the market price based on the global supply and demand, so when I have to pay that cost it comes off my bottom line.
What does that mean to me and my operation? That means profits come out of my operation that normally would have gone to reinvesting in my farm to make it even more environmentally friendly and more economical, investing in new technologies and new machinery that would actually reduce my greenhouse gases even more. However, because I am sending it to Ottawa I cannot do that. Does that make sense?
There are so many things about the carbon tax that Canadians have to get their heads around, which the Liberals have not gotten their heads around.
We have manufacturing facilities and we have steel plants that are the most green and efficient in the world, yet because of the carbon tax they are shutting down. What will be replacing them? Those products still are required by Canadians and people around the world. The products that will be replacing them are from plants in other jurisdictions that do not have the same environmental regulations, that do not have the same requirements to labour codes and safety. The products are coming from India and China and places like that, which our Canadian companies cannot compete with because they have a carbon tax.
Have Liberals helped the environment when they shut down Canadian companies so that companies in China can just build more product as they see fit without any concern for the environment? No, they have done the opposite. They have not only put Canadians out of work; they have actually done more harm to the environment. There must be a better scheme to hit the emissions targets than a carbon tax, and that message has been repeated over and over again to that deaf group on the opposite side.
We have to step back and ask what they are doing this for. Why is this moving forward? Why would they want this? They have all this evidence to show them that the carbon tax does not work. Australia tried it and backed away from it and ended it. France was going to do it, but the French did their analysis and then said they were not going to do it. That is why we are asking the government to do its analysis and make it public because it might look at it and say this is stupid and we had better not do it. I think the reality is that they have looked at the numbers and said this is stupid but we are still going to do it.
What do we do? How do we help them? There are so many examples in the current government where the Liberals have done things where we tried to help them, but they put on their blinders and were going to do it their way. In the meantime, who pays? Canadians and Canadian jobs pay. At the end of the day, what does this country look like?
The Liberals inherited a balanced budget. They inherited a strong economy. They inherited a low unemployment rate. They have spent billions and billions of dollars, on what? What has it gone to? Has it gone to more government bureaucracy? I do not see any new bridges. I do not see any new roads. I do not see any new sewers or septic. I hear of a lot more bureaucrats being hired. I hear a lot of giggles and laughter over there. They can spend money like drunken sailors and they do not seem to care. I care, because my kids are going to pay for it. The graduation classes of 2018 are going to have to pay for the mistakes of the current government, and the Liberals do not care because they do not have to pay. It is not their money.
In closing, I look at this and I am amazed at how many times the government has refused to look at science, has refused to look at the evidence, and has decided to put things in place that go against science. The classic example is the number of bills they have put through this House of Commons where the minister gets the final say, not science and not industry. Decisions should be based on good science, whether it is a pipeline or a new food product. New food products should be based on science and whether they are safe to eat.
What do they put in? They put that the minister will decide, and by the way, the minister will decide without any consequences or any responsibility to inform how he or she came to that decision. They wonder why people do not want to invest in Canada. It is because it has become such an unpredictable environment to invest in. Why would they?
When we talk about a carbon tax cover-up, that is exactly what it is because I think they know the numbers and they do not want to tell us. The reason they do not want to tell us is that the numbers are bad and they are trying to look for another reason to hide this carbon tax. The latest spin is that it is the provinces' jurisdiction. Okay, if it is the provinces' jurisdiction, then they should butt out of Saskatchewan's business and mind their own.