It is the new environment, Madam Speaker. One gets very excited about the carbon tax and fighting it and fighting the perpetrator of the carbon tax. I hope Canadians will forgive me for that. It was a slip of the tongue.
The carbon tax has been imposed by the disastrous Liberal Prime Minister. Canadians have to pay for his mistake of putting in place a carbon tax and not reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Let me explain this.
If somebody in Canada wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that individual has to first realize that Canada has an agricultural-based economy. We also have a natural resource-based economy and a manufacturing-based economy. All of these industries are carbon intensive. They take energy to run. It is cold here in Ottawa. Just taking a few short steps outside the House of Commons today makes one realize that we need energy to heat our buildings in the middle of January.
The reality is that many Canadians have to drive to work. Canada does not have the same sort of public transit infrastructure that a small European country has. When we put all of those things together and look at the economic context of Canada, we understand that the price the Prime Minister has put on carbon will do nothing to change the demand for carbon.
People who have to drive to work in downtown Calgary from my riding of Calgary Nose Hill, after the disastrous failure to build the green line in my riding that my former government committed to, need to fill up their cars. They do not really have a choice of how to commute to work. The price of gas does not matter as they have to put gas in their cars. If it is more expensive, that means more money coming out of their pockets. The only way they can change their behaviour is by saying it is no longer affordable for them to drive to work. In that case we would see an economic reduction instead of what the Liberals always talk about, which is growing Canada's economy and balancing the environment.
Under our former Conservative government we saw for the first time in Canadian history a decoupling of economic growth. We saw the economy grow and greenhouse gas emissions drop. Why was that? It was because we told each of the major emitting sectors in Canada that we would put regulations in place such that they would have to adapt to a lower carbon emitting standard over time. That resulted in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions with respect to passenger vehicles and the coal-fired electricity sector. All those regulations were put in place under the Conservative government.
The carbon tax is just a consumption tax. It is like the Liberals have added another GST to Canada's economy. It is not going to do anything to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As somebody who cares about this issue, it is so devastating for me to watch their uninformed environment minister be completely unaware of any of the realities of the failed economic model of this situation.
My colleague who just made a speech spoke to their hidden agenda. She said the carbon tax is not high enough and that we need to make it higher. Anybody who watches the Liberal government knows that it cannot resist raising a tax. Anybody who thinks that the carbon tax is bad now, should know that it is going to go up.
The government has no plan on how to grow the economy. It only has a plan to build a deficit. What does that mean? Today's deficit is tomorrow's taxes. We have a carbon tax that is not going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we have huge growing deficits. For the amount of money that the Liberal government has spent on nothing that has materially impacted the lives of Canadians in a positive way, we could have sent a gold-plated rocket ship to the moon.
Canadians do not see anything for these deficits, but they will see increased taxes. Canadians are tired of paying for the Prime Minister's ego, his love for himself and his failed policies. That is why we cannot trust Liberals on any sort of policy related to sustainable development, but I want to build on that case.
We know the carbon tax is a failure, but there is something even bigger in terms of hypocrisy. The government has done everything possible to undermine the workers in the energy sector and the industries that are part of the energy sector across this country. It has done everything possible to call their jobs dirty. The Prime Minister even said in Paris that he wished they could phase out the energy sector faster.
The people on this side of the aisle support transporting Canada's energy products in the most environmentally responsible way, which is pipelines. The Liberals across the aisle are content to let our energy products be transported by rail, which has both environmental implications and implications on our agriculture sector. They are saying they should use rail and and not pipelines or they should shut the energy sector down, but at the same time, what are they doing?
Let us talk about a pipeline, one of the few pipelines that the Liberal Party loves, and that is a pipeline of fecal matter. That is right. The same Liberal government that says it does not like pipelines got behind the former mayor of Quebec and approved the City of Montreal dumping billions of litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.
People in the energy sector are told on a daily basis that their jobs are dirty and that pipelines are not environmentally sustainable. One has to appreciate the level of frustration and anger at the hypocrisy of the environment minister telling them their jobs are dirty and the government is working against pipelines. I believe her chief of staff made an entire career out of fighting pipelines. It is “no pipelines for the energy sector”, but what did the Liberals do in their first months in office? On the minister's sixth day in office, when a top priority was to turn the lights on in the office, the environment minister approved a plan for the City of Montreal to dump billions of litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. There are concerns about pipelines in Quebec, but not about fecal matter pipelines. Fecal matter pipelines are okay. Job-creating energy pipelines are not okay. That is sustainable development under the Liberal government.
It gets worse. I am not sure what other word I can use for “fecal matter” in the House that is parliamentary, but viewers at home can imagine and insert the word appropriately here. The Conservative government said we should not be developing a pipeline of fecal matter since there were a lot of concerns about fish habitat and the terrible precedent that this decision would create for the future. We wanted to ensure that all of the appropriate actions and research had been done and we actually named a panel to review the plan. In October of 2015, the former Conservative government mandated an independent science review panel to review the proposed discharge of the raw sewage of Montreal. This was a very important step.
What did the sustainable development-loving environment minister, the “Alberta has dirty jobs” environment minister, the “no energy pipeline” environment minister do on her sixth day in office? She said, “No Alberta pipelines, but Montreal can dump away. Dump all of that fecal matter into the river. We do not need a fish habitat. Dump it in. Set that precedent. That is great.”
That is sustainable development under the Liberal government. We have a carbon tax that will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we have the Minister of Environment jetting around the world to climate action panels and cocktail receptions fully understanding that the government is never going to meet its own self-imposed greenhouse gas emissions target.
At the same time, the environment minister calls the jobs of the people in my riding dirty, tells the rest of Canada that we cannot put in place energy infrastructure, which is one of the most sustainable ways to transport energy products around the world, and signs off on a plan that had no review to dump billions of litres of fecal matter into the St. Lawrence River. I wonder how baby beluga felt about that.
This is why the government has no credibility whatsoever on sustainable development. It is one of the areas where the New Democratic Party and the Conservative Party can actually unite and say that there is no credibility there. However, it is even worse, because rather than talking about policy, government members just stand up and frankly repeat falsehoods. They are trying to buy the votes of Canadians with their mumbo jumbo while at the same building pipelines of billions of litres of raw sewage.
I want people to visualize a full porta-potty after the end of a summer fair, then multiply that by one billion and dump that into the St. Lawrence River. That is what we are talking about. That is what the environment minister did on her sixth day in office, yet the jobs of the people in my riding are dirty and we should phase out the energy sector. Pardon me if I have some level of skepticism about the government's sustainable development plan.
I thought we could not possibly go into the lead-up to the federal election and not deal with the Montreal raw sewage issue. The Liberals could not possibly stand by this, yet they are. That is their sustainable development priority. I am so proud that the leader of my party stood up and said that a Conservative government would not allow this. It is not something we think is sustainable development.
I look at some of the things the government could have done over the last several years. In 2017, 250 billion litres of raw sewage was spilled or leaked into our waterways without being treated. This is the equivalent of 86,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. Again, we can try to visualize that in terms of the volume of a porta-potty. However, pipelines with energy projects are not okay. The Liberals would rather they not happen. For pipelines, which are subject to the most rigorous environment assessments in the world, no, we cannot do that, but 86,000 Olympic-size swimming pools full of fecal matter are good to go. That is the Liberal Party's sustainable development agenda.
In 2016, under the government's watch, only 159 out of 269 municipalities reported their sewage leaks. Why is the Liberal government not concerned about these missing reports? Why is the government not helping these municipalities upgrade their sewage infrastructure to ensure that no raw sewage is spilled into Canadian waters?
On this issue I am pleased to say that the former Conservative government set the stage in 2012 with the first wastewater regulations as a means of cleaning up 150 billion litres of untreated or under-treated wastewater or sewage that is dumped into waterways each year. Again, where is the Liberals' action on the environment? It is making Canadians pay for the Prime Minister's mistake, his failed legacy of any sort of environmental standard whatsoever, at the pump or on their tax bills.
A lot of Canadians are waking up to the hypocrisy of the government across a majority of issues. It is very exciting to see. I was able to travel across British Columbia this month. I travelled into some ridings, such as Cloverdale—Langley City. We had a town hall and about 250 people showed up. I thought it was going to be an interesting room. There was a Liberal member of Parliament there who won by a considerable majority. I heard people stand up in that room and say that they voted for the Prime Minister and he betrayed them.
This is why the Conservative Party is rolling out a plan of pragmatism. It is why we have opposed government bills like Bill C-69, the no-more-pipelines bill, which would do nothing to practically clean up the Canadian environment but would do everything to make it harder for Canadians to work on a daily basis.
That is where we have to wonder what the current government is managing to. If it is managing to taxing Canadians more but getting fewer results, what is in it for Canadians? Why do they have to pay for the Prime Minister's mistakes? What are the motives of every person across the aisle who votes in favour of these bills that do nothing to help the Canadian environment or the economy but make lives worse for Canadians? Why are they doing this? They could be doing it because they have not actually reviewed this legislation and are not doing their jobs. That could be one matter.
When I watch the Prime Minister and the environment minister and what their priorities are, such as going to Tedx conferences and different conferences around the world, where they are spouting their talking points to international audiences, as opposed to looking at home and doing their jobs here and then reporting back to the world on success, I wonder if it is more about their egos and seeking power for power's sake as opposed to doing something that actually matters.
Members do not have to take my word for it, although I would like it if they did. The reality is that the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development talked about some of these issues in his report this year. It is important to highlight this, because it talks about the fact that the measures to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions contained in the government's framework have yet to be implemented. That is on top of the carbon tax the government has put forward, which is probably going to do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but is going to make Canadians pay for the Prime Minister's mistakes. The report is quite shocking for a government that had an environment minister dressed up as a climate crusader for Halloween and put it on Twitter. One would think a climate crusader could get a better report from the environment and sustainable development commissioner than that.
I want to close with this. The Liberals can stand up, obfuscate and put all these pretty talking points forward. At the end of the day, their priority and track record has been a carbon tax that makes life more expensive for Canadians and does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They have stymied energy infrastructure in this country and have prioritized billions of litres of fecal matter going into the St. Lawrence River.