Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on Motion No. 230 from my Conservative Party colleague. I am pleased to have the opportunity to share my opinion.
As my colleague said in his speech, he took this measure from the NDP's policy book. He even said that a number of NDP members and our party's leader spoke about the idea of lowering heating costs for Canadians. That said, our new plan is even more ambitious. Our idea of lowering heating costs for Canadians has evolved, so much so that our leader recently announced an even more ambitious measure than the one proposed by my colleague. The measure would lower heating costs at the source, which is the real solution to the problem we are debating today.
Of course heating is essential in Canada with our climate. It is a basic need just like housing. The recently unveiled NDP plan is very clear. We were just talking about it this morning, when we were unveiling our broader plan for the environment and climate change. Our plan would renovate all Canadian homes by 2050 to make them more energy efficient. This solution would allow Canadian homes to save $900 a year. My colleague's proposal, which consists in removing the GST from home energy bills, would save Canadians only $117 a year on average, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
This week, Habitat for Humanity in partnership with Université de Sherbrooke and engineers, announced that they would develop a house using new technologies that would cost on average $8 a month to heat. That is the type of solution we need to be looking at instead of a half measure that simply removes the GST from home energy bills. The Conservatives should have chosen that solution instead of coming up with a half measure and hoping that would solve all our problems. We have to address the problem at the source. Homes have to be more energy efficient. The less energy we need to heat our homes, the more we save. We think that is the best approach.
I know several members and leaders of APCHQ-Estrie back home in Sherbrooke. They told me that they were pretty disappointed when the previous Conservative government cancelled the eco-energy retrofit program, a program that offered savings to Canadians that make energy efficient retrofits. The Conservative government decided to cut that program between 2011 and 2015 in its attempt to balance the budget at all costs.
The Conservatives speak out of both sides of their mouths. Today they are complaining that the cost of heating is too high, but when they had a chance to fix the problem, they went in the opposite direction and cut a program that helped people renovate their home and make it more energy efficient, which reduced their energy bill at the source, not just when they got their bill. This encourages people to be more environmentally conscious.
I would to remind members that buildings, which must be heated and air conditioned, are the third largest source of greenhouse gases. They represent 25% of energy-related emissions. Of the current stock of buildings, 70% will still be in use in 2050. Thus, to reduce current and future emissions, one of the most important steps we can take is to make our housing stock more energy efficient.
There is another aspect of this motion that is disappointing. When I started reading it, it was familiar and was something the NDP had talked about already, up to the last paragraph, paragraph (e). Once again, the Conservatives are trotting out the carbon tax bogeyman. They seem to be fixated on this. They talk about it every day in the House. They mentioned it at the very end of this motion, and it seems like a poison pill to prevent the NDP from supporting it.
As the member said in his speech, these are measures that we presented in the past, but they added the provision to repeal the carbon tax. It would seem that my colleague has managed to ensure that he will not have the support of our party on this issue. In the spirit of co-operation, he should have stuck to the issue of the GST.
That was a little disappointing, so I am going to propose a slight amendment to the motion that will reveal my colleague's true intentions. I am going to propose removing the part about the carbon tax. He can mull that over for the few minutes we have left. We will see if his desire to advance his cause by collaborating with other parties is genuine or if he is just trying to score political points.
Regardless, I think his main intention, gaining traction for his idea, is good. In general, his intentions here are good, but I want to point out that the real solution is reducing at-source energy costs. By merely lowering the final bill after calculating energy consumption, we are not encouraging households to reduce consumption because we are not reducing costs at the source. That means the more energy one consumes, the bigger the discount at the end of the year. Some of my colleagues have already talked about this. The bigger one's house, the more energy it takes to heat, the more it costs and the bigger the annual savings. It is contradictory, in a way. We should be encouraging people to consume less energy, not more.
I am going to propose an amendment that will reveal my colleague's true intentions and show us whether his mindset is one of collaboration or confrontation. I propose that the motion be amended by deleting the words “(e) repeal the Carbon tax”.