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Liberal MP for Ottawa South (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2015, with 60% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Paris Agreement October 4th, 2016
Madam Speaker, I want to turn to my colleague, in terms of some of the solutions he was proffering during his speech.
Halifax–Dartmouth is going to have to take a leadership role for Atlantic Canada; there is no doubt about it. Our government is pursuing an innovation agenda for Atlantic Canada.
Could he help us understand where he might see some of the economic opportunities—jobs, jobs, jobs—inherent in addressing the climate crisis by becoming more efficient?
For example, there is a lot of discussion about Atlantic Canada becoming a global sustainable food superpower; particularly, in aquaculture and the fisheries industry.
Could he help us give some thought to how he sees the positioning of Halifax–Dartmouth as a major urban and suburban area to provide solutions and create wealth?
Paris Agreement October 4th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, the wonderful thing about the Paris treaty is that for the first time in 50 years all major polluters and parties are inside the tent. That is why it is such a watershed moment for the globe and human history. The United States and China have made hard commitments. They have timelines. They have to move to reduce on their own basis their own targets. We are showing leadership because Canada has always shown leadership. It is going to be important to co-operate with our American and Mexican neighbours in the context of NAFTA. There is no doubt about that.
It is important for us to keep focused here on this watershed moment. For the first time, 200 nations have come together and said, “We are going to get serious, like adults, and deal with this crisis. We can no longer pretend. We can no longer invent a fiction.”
With respect to Canada being responsible for a small percentage of the global emissions, not having Canada take action is like standing at a campsite 20 feet apart from others camping beside you, holding a bag of garbage over the lake, as they hold their bag of garbage, and saying we will stop putting our garbage in the lake when they stop putting their garbage in the lake. That is not the way in which we can move forward.
That is why Paris was a watershed moment. I am very encouraged. I think we are going to make huge progress.
Paris Agreement October 4th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, the member is not seriously trying to posit in the House that the green energy plan of Ontario is responsible for the 2008 collapse in the global markets. Surely to God, he is not trying to foist that on unsuspecting MPs who are listening.
The reality is this. It is going to take a concerted effort. It will take an effort to harness our programming, our fiscal incentives. It will take an effort to streamline the costing of carbon. It will take an effort to ensure, as we have promised to do, that all the revenues are transferred to each and every province as a revenue-neutral shift. The provinces can do with that revenue as they wish, just as Alberta has been doing for decades. Alberta led this country in imposing the first serious charge on carbon. There are lots of opportunities here for us.
Let me just cite one that was eliminated by the member's previous government. We had an eco-energy program to retrofit our homes. A start-up sector with thousands of individuals was squashed by a government that did not believe in the role and purpose of government to assist in this transition.
Paris Agreement October 4th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to pick up where I left off before question period.
I want to go back to the theme I was raising, which was one of opportunity. For so many decades now, the debate around climate change has been steeped in terms that I describe as pain, grief, and cost. It actually is very disappointing to hear today and this week so much narrative from the Conservative official opposition that seems mired, stuck, in this context of pain, grief, and cost.
In every situation, we have moved historically as a species, as a planet, through all sorts of phases. I prefer to shift the discussion from the magnitude of a challenge, and it is a big challenge, what we are trying to do is a big challenge, to the magnitude of opportunity.
Let us refocus the lens to look at opportunity. In some of the remarks I made earlier, I talked about the magnitude of opportunity for environmental technologies. Goldman Sachs is tracking this on an hour-by-hour basis. The reality is that there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, ultimately millions of jobs available to us, if we want to retool our economy. This is the magnitude of the opportunity before us.
I want to end by reminding my colleagues on all sides of the House that this is an issue that really does transcend partisanship. For example, I give Prime Minister Brian Mulroney 100% credit for understanding that the best, most efficient way to solve the acid rain challenge in North America was to use a cap-and-trade mechanism with President Reagan to reduce NOx and SOx emissions across North America, and thereby save millions of freshwater lakes. I support the real Preston Manning, who is imploring and begging Conservatives from around the country to get with the program and understand the role and the purpose of market mechanisms.
As my remarks come to an end, I think we can come to a consensus here amongst all parties. It is time for us to move forward. It is time for us to show the leadership that we can.
Paris Agreement October 4th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, given the shortness of time, I want to focus on a couple of key themes in this debate about our response to and our plan for climate change and the Paris process.
The first thing I want to remind all colleagues is that this has nothing to do with ideology. It is not ideology, it is not voodoo; it is science. There are 2,200 Nobel Peace Prize winners and IPCC scientists telling us that we have to hold global temperature increases to between 2°C and 4°C. We have droughts, we have floods, we have sea levels rising. Ask the mayor of Miami. We have the insurance industry that blew the whistle two decades ago and told us there was a canary in the coal mine. Major storms are becoming more frequent, claim costs are way up, and insurability is way down. Ask Lloyd's of London.
Scientists are also telling us that if we see a 4°C to 6°C temperature increase by 2100, then 30% to 40% of all known species—and we do not know all the species yet—will be threatened. As one of my kids might say, “Houston, we have a problem”.
First, we must stabilize global emissions by 2050 and then reduce them. That is what we have decided to do as a planet, and it is clear why we are doing this. It is the right thing to do. In fact, it is the only thing to do.
I believe that our plan is about a new generation of politics. It cuts across genders, it throws out the old notion of a left-right spectrum, and cuts across all age groups, all socio-economic clusters, all cultures, all Canadians. Why? It is because there is only one atmosphere, one world, one people, one destiny.
Apparently, we are so insane on this side of the House that we want to get as much as we can from the $3 trillion environmental technologies market, which Goldman Sachs says is only getting bigger, and getting bigger faster. I think we are all with Sir Nicholas Stern from the London School of Economics, who has said that we can pay now and make the shift and prosper, or pay later and pay an awful lot. That is why he called on the planet to invest 1% of global GDP now to avoid a potential loss of 20% of global GDP by 2050. This is about winning the race and leading the world.
We are heading as a country and a planet at breakneck speed into a carbon-constrained future. As one of the world's top environmental economists once said, we did not get out of the stone age because we ran out of stones. We are also not going to get out of the fossil fuel age because we are running out of fossil fuels. We are going to transition from the fossil fuel age to a new carbon-constrained world.
We spent last week debating national security. This debate, in my mind, is partly about national security, but it is largely about natural security and whether we are going to learn as a species to live within the carrying capacity of the planet. Scientists have told us there is a theoretical threshold that we do not want to cross. They do not know where it is. That is why we continue to invest in science. That is why we have so many data collection points on climate all over the world, in order to monitor and know the effects.
We do not want to play Russian roulette with the atmosphere, do we? No one wants to play Russian roulette with the carrying capacity of the planet, because we have all agreed to take a precautionary approach. We have to take a long, hard look at the planet's carrying capacity to sustain us, and our economies and consumption patterns, all the while assimilating our waste.
We should also be cognizant of this: two billion more people will be coming to join us on this planet in the next 30 years. We cannot feed 900 million of them now, so how in the name of God are we going to deal with this challenge? How are we going to move with our agricultural production processes? How are we going to deal with the consumption trends?
I should say here that I will be splitting my time with the member for Vancouver Quadra. I am sure that member will be coming back to many of these themes.
I want to close before today's statements by members by saying this. When we burn fossil fuels, we are asking our atmosphere to assimilate greenhouse gases. Is it not interesting to note that when construction containers are filled up with waste, a tipping fee has to be paid to drive them over and dump the waste into a dump site, but when we burn fossil fuels we pay very little, if anything, for the privilege of emitting greenhouse gases into the one solitary atmosphere we have.
That is why pricing carbon pollution is all about crossing the Rubicon. Every single economist tells us that this is the right thing to do. In fact, soyons honnêtes, Stephen Harper as Prime Minister of Canada went to London, England, where he gave a global energy superpower speech and said that by 2018 carbon would be priced at $150 a tonne in Canada under his cap-and-trade system.
This is about internalizing a cost that heretofore has remained outside our economic measurement, outside our economic accounting. It is time for us to internalize that cost, because it will have a profound influence on efficiency.
This is a race about becoming the cleanest economy in the world. Therefore, we have to choose. We are competing. What does it mean to be the cleanest economy in the world? It means being the most efficient economy in the world, most efficient with energy, most efficient with material and matter, most efficient with water. That is the race we are embroiled in, and the jurisdiction that gets it best is the jurisdiction that is going to win, that is going to have the jobs, that is going to create the wealth, and that it is going to lead the way in a trajectory for the future.
Paris Agreement October 4th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, my colleague started out strong with his speech, it dipped a bit in the middle, and then I did not understand most of the end of it. However, I want to go back to a couple of points he made.
Let us start where he left off. He said the Canadian Taxpayers Federation apparently ostensibly has hard numbers about the costs of complying with this putting a price on carbon plan that we tabled yesterday. First, I would like to ask if the member is prepared to go back to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and ask its members a different question. Can they tell the Canadian people what the costs will be on the average household if we do not take action on climate change? Let us flip this around. Let us stop pretending that there will not be consequential costs flowing from climate change effects in Canadian society.
Second, the member did refer to the use and the importance of the planet's wetlands. Canada possesses about one-quarter of the planet's wetlands. The member and I both know that, because for 10 years I was the president and CEO of the national round table that he referred to.
However, here is something that we did do as a Liberal administration. We created a system of national accounts at Stats Canada to track the important things like the extent of wetlands in Canada, to know how much we actually have and to move toward putting a value on the perfect and free water and air infiltration systems they provide. However, the previous government shut down that unit at Stats Canada. Is he prepared to resurrect that, to have us do that, so we can help his constituents understand the integral role wetlands can play in sequestering carbon?
Paris Agreement October 3rd, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by commending the hon. member for Abbotsford and his past government for the investments that government made in conservation. It is a fair assessment to say that the Conservative government built on the previous investments by other governments, as it is fair I think to say that we will build on theirs when it comes to conservation.
He did allude to the role of conservation, protected areas, and the ability of our natural environment to sequester carbon. When it comes to our natural environment, there is a role for that to play in this regard. However, I want to ask him why the current official Conservative opposition is in contradistinction to all conservative economic orthodoxy.
When Brian Mulroney faced a colossal challenge with acid rain killing eastern Canadian lakes, he entered into negotiations with his conservative counterparts in the United States and facilitated a cap-and-trade system for SOx and NOx, harnessing the power of a market mechanism to achieve the environmental outcomes we desired as a continent.
Preston Manning has been calling for the use of either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system now for years, claiming that it is Conservative economic orthodoxy to use those market mechanisms to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
Finally, I want the member to address this. There are two billion more people coming to join us on this planet in the next 30 to 40 years. The race that is on globally is about energy efficiency, materials efficiency, and water efficiency, without which, as is widely acknowledged globally, the carrying capacity of this planet will be insufficient to deal with that population. Can he help us understand why as a country we should not just join that race, but lead it?
Recovery Day Ottawa Award September 20th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to announce that my constituent and friend, Sister Louise Dunn of the Congregation of Notre Dame, is receiving the annual Recovery Day Ottawa Award for commitment and perseverance in supporting recovery for families affected by addiction.
As a high school teacher, she became concerned about the terrible impact of drugs and alcohol on her students, so at the tender age of 48, she retrained as an addiction counsellor. Thirty-three years ago, she co-founded Serenity Renewal for Families in my riding of Ottawa South.
Sister Louise has overseen the development and implementation of a wide range of unique dynamic programs that have helped thousands of individuals and families cope with the long-term effects of addiction. Sister Louise exemplifies what it is to be a Canadian by graciously helping those who are most in need.
Congratulations to Sister Louise.
Air Transportation June 13th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, Canadians are concerned about air safety. Pilots are reporting an increasing number of drone sightings near airports, including in my riding of Ottawa South. Flying a drone near aircraft without permission is extremely dangerous. Violators could face steep fines and/or jail time.
Could the Minister of Transport please update the House on how the government plans to further address this serious and troubling issue?
Business of Supply June 9th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I think the House heard the minister say that it was important to proceed under the rubric of the rule of law. This is a question of international public law procedure. I think he also alluded to the fact that it is important to pursue this because the evidence that is collected through those investigations is evidence that is very important in terms of the ultimate prosecution of those who commit these kinds of atrocities, genocides, and are prosecuted for them after the fact.
Could he expand on that so Canadians understand how that evidence through that process is indispensable for the successful prosecution at the back end?