Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Calgary Centre for his bill, C-262, which gives me another opportunity to talk about the environment and impress upon members that climate action is urgent.
On March 8, Natural Resources Canada announced the creation of an Alberta–Canada carbon capture, utilization and storage, or CCUS, steering committee. My colleagues who spoke before me have mentioned it. According to the news release, the steering committee “will leverage Alberta's early CCUS leadership to advance climate goals”. It goes on to say that “Canada's strengthened climate plan calls for the development of a comprehensive CCUS strategy”, a technology that was developed thanks to 20 years of federal support.
The minister is also quoted as follows: “Carbon capture technology creates jobs, lowers emissions and increases our competitiveness. It’s how we get to net zero.” I have to say, I have my doubts.
We will continue to be vigilant with respect to the government's official line, as the government continues to claim that it is green and supports the environment while it spends billions in public money to finance and support energies of the past. The Conservative bill we are debating is a positive response to the pressure of the oil and gas industry, which made no effort and took every possible step to maintain the influx of public money in its business model.
With Bill C-262, the Conservative Party is proposing to socialize the environmental costs of economic activity while retaining the profits and benefits in the private sector, and portraying this as fighting climate change, which the party does not acknowledge exists. The Bloc Québécois will not be fooled especially since the 47 signatory organizations represent two million Canadians and Quebeckers who wrote to federal ministers abut this issue the very day the steering committee was announced. They clearly signalled their opposition to the tax measures to expand access to subsidies for enhanced oil recovery, which is what this is really about.
Although certain subsidies can be an effective way to combat climate change, the tax benefits proposed in Bill C-262 are not. The bill would do three things, all with public money. It would make it easier for the oil industry to go back to its dirty, carbon-intensive processes; it would discourage the industries that produce CO2 from adopting clean technologies; and it would extend the lifespan of aging reservoirs.
Sad to say, if there is one area in which Canada is a leader, it is in promoting the oil industry in every way with all kinds of economic and regulatory measures. There is no shortage of unfortunate examples. The government needs to stop with these cynical anti-democracy practices, these public actions that hurt the environment, jeopardize climate action, compromise biodiversity, and are ultimately aimed at keeping the oil industry alive.
Bill C-262 contains four clauses, and I will speak specifically to clauses 2 and 4. Clause 2 reads as follows:
The greenhouse gas stored for the purposes of the storage project must be captured, transported and stored in accordance with the laws of Canada or a province or the laws of the United States or any of its states.
It is one thing for Canadian oil industry lobbyists to copy tactics first used in the United States, but it is quite another to propose a bill that would be enforced on the basis of the laws of another country. The Conservatives' enthusiasm for U.S.-style deregulation is concerning, especially since the climate crisis did not get nearly as much consideration as it deserved over the past few years of Republican rule.
We know that Bill C-262 is inspired by the U.S. 45Q tax credit, which the member spoke about. This tax credit could increase oil production in the United States by 400,000 barrels a day by 2035, which equates to an annual increase of 5.7 million tonnes of CO2. As if we needed more CO2 in the atmosphere.
The other clause, which establishes the tax credit and how it is calculated, speaks for itself. It would appear that what the credit actually does is cancel out the price of the carbon tax levy. If that is the case, this confirms the true intent of Bill C-262: to attack the carbon tax, which has now been declared constitutional, and render it ineffective.
The Conservative Party is openly opposed to the carbon tax and lacks the credibility to claim that Bill C-262 will help fight climate change. The green veneer is not convincing, I am sorry to say. The fact is, the majority of delegates at the Conservative Party convention voted down a resolution calling for the party to acknowledge the very existence of climate change.
I will never stop repeating that the Bloc Québécois supports the polluter pays principle, the cornerstone of environmental policies. Quebeckers should not have to bail out Canadian oil companies.
The Canada Energy Regulator's numbers do not lie. Six of the seven carbon capture and storage facilities are primarily used for enhanced oil recovery. Just one of these facilities is dedicated to permanent CO2 sequestration.
As with any technology, this one can be used as part of a plan to reduce emissions, but it does not have to be. Experts have not proven these technologies to be effective, nor is there a consensus in the scientific community. People say that they want to make decisions based on the science, but that is not the case here. These facilities are astronomically expensive. Furthermore, there are fewer than 30 such projects around the world, and more than 80% of them are designed to help increase oil production. To put that into perspective, the International Energy Agency estimates that it would ideally take 2,000 facilities to meet the Paris targets.
As though what I just said were not enough, we must not forget the biggest risk associated with promoting these facilities, that of diverting attention away from the most important part of the collective effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net-zero emissions. I will just mention the need to reduce sources of emissions, to affect demand, by reducing it, of course, and to promote a 100% renewable energy supply. In short, we must take the necessary action to quickly and significantly reduce emissions.
The World Health Organization has said that the climate crisis is the greatest threat to health in the 21st century. I will repeat that over and over again. That is what we should be introducing bills about.
I must admit that I am bothered by the way words are manipulated and certain phrases are repeated in press releases in an attempt to make Canadians believe that Canada is taking measures to fight climate change, when the reality is that the fossil fuel industry is guiding the actions of both the government and the official opposition.
With the ear of the official opposition, the industry set everything up so that such facilities are able to accommodate increased production at taxpayer expense. This bill is a case in point.
The government itself has been giving the industry what it wants with ongoing federal subsidies since 2015, including a 200% increase from 2019 to 2020. Subsidies also went up from 2018 to 2019, and, judging from its convention this weekend, the Liberal Party certainly does not want to reduce fossil fuel subsidies.
The Bloc Québécois stands with Canadians when proposed solutions are reasonable and transition-oriented. The Bloc Québécois will firmly and resolutely speak out against government power and public funds being used to protect private interests at the expense of the environment and climate action.
All of Canada clearly has the potential to develop renewable energy. Mixed messages and fossil fuel subsidies need to end, and climate action needs to start right now.