Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Winnipeg North.
It is an honour to stand in the House today on behalf of the people of Burnaby and North Vancouver to speak in the strongest possible terms in favour of this motion. Canada and the world are in a very real and urgent climate crisis. If we are to ensure a better future for our kids, our grandkids and their grandkids after that, we can no longer take our environment for granted.
Since being elected in 2015, our government has been firmly committed to climate action. The pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change is a comprehensive framework that will ensure we meet our Paris targets and go beyond them. I encourage everyone in this House to read my 10-page report on the topic, entitled “Our Government's Work on Climate Change and the Environment”. It is available on my website at terrybeechmp.ca/policy.
I have a special guest with me today, my daughter Nova, who is now five and a half months old. This is her first trip to Ottawa. I thought there would be no better opportunity for her to visit this House than during a debate on the defining issue of our generation.
The IPCC has made our collective impact on the world very clear. Already, the human race has warmed the planet a full degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If we do nothing, this will increase to 1.5° C between Nova's 12th and 34th birthdays. We are running out of time.
Climate change should not and cannot be a partisan issue. It needs to be an issue that brings us together so that we collectively bring all of our tools to the fight. I come to this House every day hoping to be inspired, not just by my own party but by all of the amazing and talented people Canadians have sent to this place to fight on behalf of our collective futures. Working together and alongside our colleagues in the world, I know we can solve this.
There have been people who refer to different versions of the green new deal as a potential path forward. The version I am most familiar with is House Resolution No. 109, brought forward by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in the United States. After reading this resolution, it is quite inspiring to see how much contemporary Canadian policy has already made its way into the proposed green new deal.
Here are 10 quick examples:
Number one, the green new deal calls for a reduction in emissions, with a goal of reaching net zero. In Canada, we have a national price on pollution as part of a 50-point plan to lower emissions.
Number two is the creation of good, high-paying jobs, especially in the energy sector. In Canada, we have created more than a million jobs in the last three and a half years, many of which are in the clean energy sector.
Number three is major investments in infrastructure. Our historic $180-billion infrastructure plan is shortening commutes, protecting our environment and making life more affordable.
Number four is to secure clean water, air and soil. We have restored and modernized environmental protection legislation, invested billions in protecting and restoring habitat and phased out the use of coal, just to name a few.
Number five is to empower indigenous people to thrive. No relationship is more important to our government, which is why we are taking unprecedented action to ensure indigenous Canadians have a more prosperous future.
Number six is having 100% clean power. We are on track to have 90% of our power coming from non-emitting sources before 2030.
Number seven is to upgrade buildings to be more energy efficient. In budget 2019, we dedicated more than $1 billion to doing just that.
Number eight is investing in transportation infrastructure and electric vehicles. This week, we announced a further $1.4 billion investment in SkyTrain capacity, not to mention the $300 million in electric vehicle incentives and a quarter of a billion dollars in charging infrastructure that has already been announced. Canadians have told us that they want to drive their electric vehicles from Vancouver Island to Prince Edward Island, and we are making that a reality.
Number nine is to increase forestation. Canada has long been a leader in sustainable forest management, another environmental issue that B.C. has shown leadership on.
Number ten is investing in research and development. Our government has recommitted Canada to being a leader in research, science and development. In budget 2018, we made the largest investment in science and university research in Canadian history.
Obviously, these measures do not get us the whole way that we need to go, but they do represent a significant down payment that is putting Canada on the right track. This month, Clean Energy Canada, a think tank at Simon Fraser University, released a new report entitled “Missing the Bigger Picture”. In this report, it detailed the extraordinary growth of the Canadian clean energy sector. Canada's clean energy sector grew at an annual rate of 4.8% over a period of seven years. In 2017, this sector accounted for 298,000 jobs spread across every province.
In 2017 alone, there was $35.3 billion invested in this space: $5.3 billion was invested in British Columbia, and accounted for 32,000 British Columbia jobs. British Columbia's leadership, as the first province to set a price on pollution, has given it a noticeable strategic advantage. In fact, if we look at the Global Cleantech 100 list, out of the 12 Canadian companies that made the list, half of them are located in British Columbia.
Let us talk about carbon pricing. In B.C., where this was first implemented in 2008, we witnessed a 16% reduction in per capita fossil fuel use, while per capita use increased by 3% in the rest of Canada. During this time, B.C. also enjoyed the best economic growth in the country.
To be clear, a market-based economic incentive has to be a part of the solution if we are going to reverse the trajectory of climate change. Carbon pricing is effective for four primary reasons. First, it gives every person and business an economic incentive to make better environmental choices. Second, it speeds up the tipping point at which renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels. Third, it gives Canadians an advantage in building innovative clean energy companies and technologies. Fourth, and most importantly, it helps to save the planet and it is the right thing to do for future generations.
Done correctly, our policies will work to protect the environment and grow the economy at the same time. I would recommend that individuals in this House read my other report, entitled “Our Government's Work to Strengthen The Economy”. This 12-page document is also available on my website at terrybeechmp.ca/policy.
There are two primary arguments against putting a price on pollution. The first is that Canada makes up less than 2% of global emissions. While this is true, Canada is also the ninth-nighest emitter in the world. In fact, if we take the top 10 countries, China, America, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Iran, Canada and Saudi Arabia, we collectively account for 64% of emissions. This also means that countries that contribute less than 2% of emissions individually, collectively account for 46% of emissions.
This gives Canada a very special opportunity to be a leader in the world. We are big enough to be a part of the top 10 and make a real difference on 64% of the problem, but we are also small enough to demonstrate to the world what a country that makes up less than 2% of the world's emissions can do to help save the planet.
We know that the best catalyst for good policy is precedent, so let us work together to make Canada a positive example for the world.
The second argument is that putting a price on pollution is simply unaffordable for the average Canadian. This argument is a bit disingenuous given that our price on pollution is revenue neutral. If affordability is truly a cause that members in this House want to show leadership on, then I question why so many have not supported our policies to make life more affordable for Canadians.
We have made historic investments of more than $55 billion to improve housing affordability, invested $7.5 billion in child care and lowered taxes for the middle class. We have lowered taxes for small business, reduced credit card service charges and made massive investments in public transit. We have improved the working tax benefit and moved forward on a national poverty strategy that has seen 825,000 Canadians lifted out of poverty.
Canada now enjoys the lowest rate of poverty in the history of our country. The Canada child benefit on its own lifted 300,000 children out of poverty. This means that our children are not only going to be better off today but 25 years from now, when they become the next generation of doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs, Canada itself will be better off as well.
In summary, we are in a climate emergency, and we need to continue to move forward in a way that protects the environment, grows the economy, and makes life more affordable so that the average Canadian can get ahead. It will not be easy, but Canadians are counting on all of us to work together to make sure we get this right.