Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to this motion. Canadians do care about the environment. Canadians care about the environment, and they care about climate change. Constituents in my riding of Perth—Wellington care about the environment and climate change. They tell me that. Small businesses, families and the agricultural community care about the environment. After all, farmers are the original conservationists. They are closest to the ground, closest to the natural resources and closest to the natural environment that they depend on for their livelihoods and way of life, so they care about this. They care about what we as a country and we as a Parliament are doing for the environment and to combat climate change.
I also hear from my constituents about the negative impact the policies of the Liberal government are having on their families, their communities and small businesses in Perth—Wellington. They tell me on their doorsteps, write to my office and send emails, and I see it on social media. They are concerned about the rising cost of living. They are concerned about the impact and effect the carbon tax is having on the cost of taking their kids to soccer practice, driving to a part-time job, running their businesses and caring for their families. They are concerned about this. They are concerned that they are being taxed and taxed again, and seeing no tangible impact of those changes.
Today's motion is very simple. It calls on the House to express its opinion that we should repeal the carbon tax, which it has been shown will not meet the Paris targets. In fact, it will fall far short of meeting those targets. The motion calls on the House to endorse a real environment plan. I am proud to say that tomorrow Canadians will see what a real environment plan looks like.
The government fails to understand that people in my riding and Canadians across the country are not wasteful people. They care about the environment, and they care about their communities. They do not waste. They are already making changes where they can. They have made their best efforts and are continuing to make their best efforts, because they care.
I recently came across a comment by a small business owner just outside of St. Marys, Ontario. She wrote that as she listened to our Prime Minister stumble over the question regarding how his family were changing their lifestyle to help the environment, she thought of her husband, whom she called the unintentional environmentalist. He has flown on an airplane once in his life, in 1991, to attend a friend's wedding in B.C. His idea of a holiday is a day trip to a local museum or pioneer village, or a train ride to Toronto to watch a ball game. A fun Saturday night is staying home watching the game on TV. He has never used a fast-food drive-through. He does not even drink coffee.
On the rare occasion that he goes out for something to eat, he always goes into the restaurant to dine. When he goes to work, he packs a lunch in a reusable container and fills his water jug from the tap. His favourite drink, milk, is purchased from the local variety store in recyclable jugs. He shops locally, and the limited clothing in his closet comes from work, the township or sports team sources. His little Honda only leaves the driveway when there is a purpose, and he does multiple errands where possible. Christmas and birthday gifts are books, given and received, not trinkets from offshore. One can see his footprint is quite small.
That is reflective of so many Canadians, so many of my constituents and so many Canadians across the country who are making an effort. Then they see the Liberal government taxing them more, and they see a Prime Minister who, when asked the very simple question of what he personally and his family are doing, stumbled over his own words and made some incoherent comment about a “drink box-water bottle-sort of thing”. That is not good enough for Canadians. It is not good enough for Canadians who are making a real effort to reduce their carbon footprint. It is not good enough for Canadians who are struggling to get by because of the cost of having the Liberals in office.
Rural communities like mine are struggling because of these costs. They do not have the benefit of mass transit systems that our urban cousins have. Someone who works in Atwood but lives in Listowel cannot take a bus to work; someone who lives in Stratford cannot take a subway to St. Marys to visit family, and a person in Arthur cannot take a transit bus to Mount Forest for appointments. It is not possible, yet this carbon tax is putting an added burden on these Canadians.
I often hear about the cost of heating people's homes, and of course the carbon tax is increasing the cost of heating homes. Luckily, the Conservative Party has proposed to lower the cost of heating homes by removing the GST portion of the HST from home heating to help families get ahead.
The problem we see is that the Liberals are not talking about an environment plan. It is a tax plan. It is a tax plan that they claim takes with one hand and gives back with the other hand, but we see them reaching into both pockets. Their rebate plan was clearly not as advertised: We saw Canadians in Ontario being told they would receive $307 back, yet the vast majority received far less than promised.
We see the Liberals, at every opportunity they get, fearmongering. They say that anyone who is opposed to the carbon tax is somehow a climate change denier. They use strong-man arguments to try to paint hard-working Canadians and the opposition as climate change deniers. However, at the end of the day, we know that the Liberals are just using empty, symbolic gestures rather than taking real action. Real action is what Conservatives take.
Real action is what Conservatives will take once again in October when we are given the honour, hopefully, of serving this great country. It was a Conservative government, under Brian Mulroney, that introduced, signed and ratified the acid rain treaty. Contrast that with the Liberal government, which signed the Kyoto protocol and then did nothing. I am proud to be a member of the Conservative government that, during its time in office, actually saw emissions decrease.
We often talk about coal-fired power plants. In fact, it was a Conservative government in 2001 in Ontario that began the process of phasing out coal in Ontario, having a meaningful and real impact on emissions in Perth—Wellington and across Canada. In my riding, many people heat their homes with natural gas. It is fascinating that the Liberal carbon tax gives a more favourable rate to coal than it does to natural gas, which is a far cleaner use of electricity and energy. Once again, the Liberals do not care about that. They care about revenues and money, and that is exactly what the Liberal plan is: a tax plan.
Yesterday we saw the Liberals vote in favour of declaring a climate change emergency, which is a symbolic gesture but has no meaningful or tangible impact. The NDP member for New Westminster—Burnaby said, “I have to comment on what just transpired. The Liberals are slapping each other on the back because they passed a motion that is meaningless.”
That is exactly what we are seeing with the Liberals: meaningless gestures rather than taking real action. Real action is what we will see tomorrow, when the Conservatives unveil our plan.
I realize that my time is running short, but I want to make a few final comments. The carbon tax is not benefiting our environment. In fact, in 2016 Canada was 44 megatonnes over its Paris target. In 2017, that number rose to 66 megatonnes. Last year, it was 103 megatonnes above the Paris commitment.
Then we find out from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the only way the Liberals will even come close to hitting their Paris targets is if they increase by five times the cost of the carbon tax, from $20 today to $102. That means people in ridings across Ontario and Canada could be paying as much as 23¢ per litre of gasoline more into the coffers of the Liberal government.
Under the Conservative plan, we will have the best chance of meeting our Paris targets. Under the Conservative plan, we will have a meaningful commitment to the environment, a meaningful plan to combat climate change and a meaningful plan that will benefit all Canadians, rather than the tax plan that we see from the Liberals.