Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to speak to the draft legislation of Bill C-12, with regard to net-zero emissions. I am also very pleased to highlight some of our party's positions, which are set out in our position paper, entitled “Secure the Environment”. With a Conservative government, Canada will meet its Paris Agreement targets, importantly, without killing jobs or taxing an already over-taxed population. Our plan will help the environment while also helping Canadians succeed in every region of the country and in all sectors.
The Liberal plan is based on an ever-increasing taxation plan that, while being presented as being revenue neutral to the government, is certainly not revenue neutral to the taxpayer. At best it is a tax scheme that redistributes wealth away from those living in parts of the country where greater energy consumption is a fact of life. Why are they being punished for that?
The Conservative plan, on the other hand, is much fairer in that it sets aside some of the money that each consumer will pay for energy consumption into a personal savings account that the consumer can spend or invest as they see best for their own purposes on green options.
The big distinction between the Liberal carbon tax and the Conservatives' plan to secure the environment is that Conservatives trust Canadians to do the right thing, spend their money wisely, be incentivized to think green, act responsibly with regard to the environment and do their part. We all want to do that. The Liberals, on the other hand, think that government knows best. We think educated Canadians know best.
Bill C-12, while being promoted as a significant step forward in the fight against climate change, is really more symbolic than substantive. It might give the casual political observer the impression that something significant is happening, but keep in mind that Bill C-12 follows up from Canada's dismal record of setting, and then missing, its emissions reductions targets.
What does Bill C-12 do? I think this is important and should be read into the record, so let us take a look at section 16. This is under the heading “Failure to achieve target”, and it states:
If the Minister concludes that Canada has not achieved its national greenhouse gas emissions target for a milestone year or for 2050, as the case may be, the Minister must, after consulting with the ministers referred to in section 12, include the following in the assessment report:
(a) the reasons why Canada failed to meet the target;
(b) a description of actions the Government of Canada is taking or will take to address the failure to achieve the target; and
(c) any other information that the Minister considers appropriate.
What happens if we miss the target? Not much, we just set another target. We create more reports, and the conversation just continues as though nothing happened. If anything, this would help Canada's pulp and paper industry as more and more reports are being printed.
Canada is a federal country, as has been noted by some of the previous speakers, with parliamentary sovereignty shared among two levels of government. Much of what is needed to be accomplished in protecting the environment falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces under section 92(13) of the Constitution Act, 1867, property and civil rights within the province.
The federal government cannot do it on its own. It must work with the provinces. Sadly, the Liberal government's record is one of being sued by the provinces. The federal government won the last round, so I guess congratulations are in order, but Canadians are wondering why intergovernmental affairs on something as important as the environment needs to resort to the courts in the first place.
Why does the federal government not work with the provinces and come to a consensus on how to move forward? Conservatives understand the significance of that, and we will work with the provinces. Conservatives also recognize that the fight against global climate change is, in fact, global.
Canada cannot do it on its own. If it is global, after all, solutions also must be global. Canada is a large expanse of land. It is in the northern hemisphere. It is cold, and people must travel a lot and heat their homes and offices. That is just a fact of life in Canada.
Canada produces only a small fraction of the total world's greenhouse gas emissions, something often overlooked. Canadians want to do their part. We are inventive, we have great universities, we are leaders in technological advances and with strategic partnerships, we can develop and export green technology around the globe, not only for our own use domestically but internationally. We are a trading nation, but that trade must be fair. We have to be on an even playing field and if we are to impose tough environmental standards on ourselves, and I agree that we must, then it is only fair that others who trade with us should be held to the same or comparable standards.
Producers in countries with emission reductions targets and mechanisms compatible with our own would be exempt. Countries that do not and have high-emission reductions standards would have to pay. That way, the Conservative plan would secure both the environment and Canadian industry and jobs and would urge our American trading partner, our biggest trading partner, to adopt the same approach.
I want to talk about the oil and gas sector. Canada is a big producer, but also a responsible producer. We have the best minds in the world working on cleaner energy production, and that applies not only to renewable energy but also the more traditional oil and gas extraction, production, processing and delivery. We are a leader in all of that. To say that this sector needs to be phased out misses the reality of an ever-improving industry and the very obvious fact that the world needs Canada's oil and gas.
The International Energy Agency has projected that demand for oil will remain high for decades, and this is particularly true with the downturn in U.S. shale production. The world needs our oil and we need to produce it responsibly. We do not need to be talking about phasing it out.
The government's stated goal in phasing out oil and gas also overlooks the fact that since 1998, investment and production of Canada's oil sands is one of driving forces behind Canada's economic growth, and that must be true as we look to a pandemic recovery plan as well.
I also want to talk about LNG. The province of British Columbia is a big producer of natural gas and it can be a big tool in Canada helping the world become cleaner. Natural gas burns much cleaner than other fossil fuels and should be used at home and abroad to replace other more polluting energy sources. Using LNG instead of coal cuts emissions in half and countries across Asia are eager to do business with us.
Red tape imposed by the Liberal government means massive projects like Kitimat LNG being in danger of cancellation. This would not only hurt Canadians and Canadian jobs, but the planet. What Canada needs is a government that sends a message to the world that we are proud of our natural resources and that we will develop them in a responsible way. We will attract investment, not scare it off.
When we talk about investment, the Conservatives recognize that industry leaders are already changing their world view and investment strategies to be looked at through an ESG lens, an environmental, social and governance lens. Our plan recognizes that increasingly there is an expectation in global capital markets that ESG is an important factor. Our ESG leadership would help demonstrate the leadership of our oil and gas sector with respect to emissions-intensity reduction.
I want to mention indigenous peoples. We need to acknowledge the historic fact that they have not been treated respectfully. Canada needs to show leadership here as well. The current government has often said that no relationship is more important to it than with our indigenous peoples, but let us look at how that has worked out recently.
Coastal GasLink investors thought they had an understanding with the Wet’suwet’en people, the people whose traditional lands the pipeline will be built across, and who should be benefiting from that investment and structure. However, so far, it is not built and the protects continue—