Madam Speaker, it is with great pride and emotion that I rise today to talk about the environment. I do so with thoughts of my children and my granddaughter, who will be celebrating her first birthday in three weeks.
There are different ways of achieving our common goal of combatting climate change. Climate change is real, and we need to face that reality by taking positive, long-term measures that will make a real difference. Here is why we have concerns about Bill C-12.
Yesterday, our party and the hon. Leader of the Opposition and member for Durham tabled a concrete, realistic and responsible environmental action plan that will produce tangible results. It is a bold, innovative plan that appeals directly to Canadians to address and combat climate change.
The key component of the environmental plan that we tabled yesterday is the creation of a personal savings account. We recognize that carbon pricing is a reality and that we need to put a price on carbon. However, in contrast to the current approach, which involves a government-managed carbon tax, we, the Conservatives, want to give that responsibility to Canadians.
When someone makes a purchase with a carbon footprint, the carbon footprint charge will be printed in black and white on the bill. That amount will then be immediately transferred to a savings account. The Canadian consumer could then use that money to make purchases of their choice with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are starting from the premise that when one action is taken, another action will directly follow to offset the first action.
We believe that Canadians are in the best position to know what they need and how they can take action to combat carbon pollution. Instead of leaving this in the hands of the government, we are putting it in the hands of citizens.
We know that this is an innovative approach, and that is good because we need to innovate, think outside the box and get off the beaten path to deal with this problem properly. Adapting to this approach will be a real challenge, but that is exactly what we need to do. However, we want to do it with the help and participation of the provinces. We are not saying that here, in Ottawa, we know what is best and we will enforce that. We will work with the provinces to enable citizens to make the choices that they think are best, since Canadians themselves are the ones who know what is best for them and what is best for reducing their environmental footprint.
For example, someone could buy an electric bicycle, do renovations on their house by replacing their windows with energy-efficient ones, or buy a bus pass to avoid driving their car and therefore reduce their carbon footprint. These are positive, constructive, realistic and responsible initiatives that empower the individual.
That is not all. We go much further. We have a zero emission vehicle plan, which is especially great for Quebeckers. As everyone knows, Quebec has a lot of expertise in that area. Over in Saint-Jérôme, Lion Electric is making electric buses that are sold across North America, which is great. We will support the sector by investing $1 billion in building our electric vehicle manufacturing and developing affordable battery technology.
I have no personal connection to Saint-Jérôme, but it is well known that Saint-Jérôme is a hotspot for electric vehicle know-how. Saint-Jérôme CEGEP students can even earn an attestation of collegial studies in electric vehicle technology. This is a place where people are focused on the future and invest in training. We will put $1 billion into supporting this.
The same goes for our targets. We are inspired by British Columbia, which wants 30% of vehicles sold there to be electric by 2030. British Columbia is on its way, and we are following in its footsteps. Major auto industry players such as Ford and GM are following suit and have similar objectives. As our leader said recently, the world has changed, Canada has changed, and we have to head in that direction. This is how we will do it.
We also want to reduce industrial gas emissions. That will not happen overnight because we know that major polluters pollute more because of their philosophy and the fact that they have to produce so much. Our approach is to work with major polluters to reduce their gas emissions.
We also want to establish North American standards. I say this because we could set extremely strict standards in Canada, but if we do not do so in partnership with the Americans, in particular, we would of course be left with our hands tied behind our backs, as it would make our businesses less competitive globally. We therefore have to work with the Americans and come up with North American standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in various industries. That would be the realistic, responsible and correct approach to take, one that would not hurt Canada's economy, but on the contrary, would create some important opportunities.
We also want to develop a carbon capture credit. This technology exists in Canada, particularly in central Canada, in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for example. It is already highly developed, and it is constantly being improved. If Canadians were to put their faith in us in the next election, our government would make that a priority, with a $5-billion program to build that carbon capture capacity and innovation even further.
I know a little bit about this because a business in my riding, CO2 Solutions, had also developed this as a way to take action and reduce pollution through carbon capture. When carbon is emitted, it is immediately sequestered underground so it cannot damage the environment. These are positive, constructive and truly realistic approaches. Someone can have 100,000 crazy ideas, but they will not necessarily be feasible. We, on the other hand, have concrete and realistic solutions, and we are reaching out to the provinces and to businesses. Most importantly, we are putting measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the hands of Canadians.
However, we must recognize that with respect to Bill C-12, which we are debating today, something changed between the time the government introduced the bill and now. The government decided to create an advisory group and invite only people of its choosing to develop certain policies and ideas. If it is going to open the debate, it must open it to everyone. The government cannot choose only the people who will go along with it and then make us live with the potentially serious consequences of the decisions made. That is why we have very serious reservations. In fact, we think it is unacceptable. What the government did when the debate began was to introduce a new measure that literally no one saw coming.
Therefore, I would like to move the following amendment. I move:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “that” and substituting the following:
“the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, since the Bill fails to:
A. implement a plan that recognizes climate change is real and addresses the significant problem it represents, while also ensuring that economic development and job growth can flourish all across Canada; and
B. address the fact that, after committing to working with Parliament on the makeup of the advisory group, the government appointed climate activists whose influence, if acted upon, would lead to the destruction of the oil and gas sector, disproportionately threaten certain regions of the country and their essential industries, and weaken national unity.”