Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte.
For a party that campaigned in 2015 on running an open and transparent government and on being “open by default”, it really is sad to see it has broken this promise, along with many other promises it made in the 2015 campaign.
We had no other choice but to bring this motion forward today. I want to read the motion. It states:
That, given the government’s failure to provide a clear explanation of the costs of its carbon tax policy, and given that the people of Ontario have rejected the carbon tax, the House call on the government to table, by June 22, 2018, how much the proposed federal carbon tax of $50 per tonne will cost a median Canadian family.
The government knows how much this tax will cost Canadians. It has documents that outline exactly how much it will cost, and we have those documents as well. The only difference is the documents we received have redacted information. That does not sound like “open by default” to me. What exactly do the Liberals have to hide behind all that black ink? We have a pretty good idea of what they are trying to hide by covering up these numbers.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer has provided us with some unsavoury data. In his most recent economic and fiscal outlook he found:
Implementation of [the federal government's] carbon pricing levy...will generate a headwind for the Canadian economy over the medium term as the levy rises from $10 per tonne of CO2 equivalent in 2018 to $50 per tonne in 2022. Based...on analysis conducted by the Ecofiscal Commission, we project that real GDP will be 0.5 per cent lower in 2022 [than it would otherwise be]. This amounts to $10 billion in 2022.
That is $10 billion out of our economy.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer speaks of headwinds. All of us who travel to Ottawa know how headwinds impact us. Travelling on the 401, the 407, or the 417, when we are travelling into headwinds we know our gas mileage is going to go down significantly. Likewise, we know the carbon tax will decrease our GDP significantly.
What this government has been open about since being elected is that it has no desire to control its reckless spending and bring the budget back to balance. Now we know that its plan to force a carbon tax on the provinces to finance its growing national debt will not even help balance the budget. It will do the exact opposite. It is going to cost our Canadian economy an extra $10 billion.
In addition to the damaging effects the tax will have on our economy, it will raise the cost of everything for my constituents of Kitchener—Conestoga. The Liberals admit that gasoline prices will go up by at least 11¢ a litre and that the cost of heating one's home will increase by over $200. The members of the Liberal Party may not think that is a lot of money, but for middle-class Canadians in my riding every penny counts. The Liberals forget that the decisions to commute to work, drive their kids to soccer or hockey practice, heat their homes, or travel to see loved ones are real choices to be made and that there are real costs involved. My constituents in Kitchener—Conestoga often have to commute into Toronto and other parts of Ontario for work, to visit family, or to watch a Blue Jays game. The Liberal carbon tax is going to force my constituents to choose between those important things and putting food on the table.
This past winter, in most parts of Canada, it was a pretty cold one. Perhaps members of the Liberal Party prefer to spend winters in Florida, or somewhere warm, but I can assure them, southwestern Ontario is known to dip well below freezing in the winter months, and that is what makes this carbon tax even more outrageous. It will punish Canadians for heating their homes. This is not a frivolous expense. It is an absolute necessity, and when asked about these rising costs, the Prime Minister responded that this is exactly what the government wants. The government should be working to lower taxes for Canadians and making life more affordable, not working to punish Canadians and impose unwanted taxes on the provinces.
That brings me to my next point. Last week, Ontarians were loud and clear. They are sick and tired of the Liberals' reckless spending, and they do not support a carbon tax. Ontarians have had enough with the failed energy plans of the Ontario Liberals and this Liberal government in Ottawa.
The provincial governments of Ontario and Saskatchewan have indicated they will be taking the federal government to court to fight against its top-down, heavy-handed, mandatory carbon tax.
Alberta will soon join them in opposing this tax that does absolutely nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What has become crystal clear since the Liberals formed government in 2015, is that their approach to federalism has left this country fractured. One only has to look at Alberta and British Columbia with two NDP governments warring with one another, introducing tariffs, and taking each other to court, all as a result of the government's failed leadership.
Under our Conservative government we saw an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and we did not raise taxes to do it. We focused on target regulations, incremental changes, and encouraging provinces to create their own individual plans. Members opposite would claim that we did not do anything for the environment, but that is simply not the case. As former chair of the environment committee, I know that our government was committed to cleaning up the environment, investing in wetlands, investing in conservation, and encouraging sustainable energy. That is how we see real change. In fact, during our government's mandate, greenhouse gas emissions reduced while the economy grew.
Canadians and Conservatives understand that we cannot tax our way to a cleaner environment. Take British Columbia as an example. Despite having the highest carbon tax in Canada, emissions have continued to rise in British Columbia. As a result, British Columbians now pay more for gas than anyone else in North America. British Columbia's carbon tax is not helping the environment, it is just costing people more to get to work and to take their kids to hockey or soccer practice.
Before the next election, our Conservative leader will be unveiling a detailed and comprehensive environmental plan. One thing that one can be sure about our plan, though, is that it will not punish everyday Canadians for commuting to work or for heating their homes.
Last, I would be remiss if I did not talk about the effect this carbon tax will have on our farmers. I represent some of Canada's best farmers in the rural part of Kitchener—Conestoga. I know that farmers are the best stewards of the land and that no one cares more about the well-being of our environment than they do.
Dale Leftwich, writing for RealAgriculture, has this to say in regard to farmers' impact on the environment and the effects of a federal liberal carbon tax:
Scientists are beginning to fully understand how much carbon is being sequestered in soils by farmers. There is evidence that reductions in summer fallow and new farming methods are improving soil health and increasing soil organic matter. In other words, the depletion of the soil which began with the first plowing has been reversed in recent years, and farms are now on a more sustainable footing. If pricing carbon acts as a deterrent to this trend, it will be worse than ineffective, it will be disastrous.
He went on to say:
There is a long shadow in Canada of poorly conceived energy policies. These have strained interprovincial relations and limited economic growth. Some see carbon pricing as déjà vu all over again. They suspect that urban dwellers will benefit from increased economic activity and jobs while farmers will be forced to foot the bill. Many farmers are also skeptical about the doom and gloom scenarios so common today. At the same time, because farmland sequesters huge amounts of carbon, farmers want to be considered part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Most do not want a cheque for what they do but would like to be left alone to farm in a sustainable manner, and not be harassed by yet another costly program based on incomplete science. They worry that expensive, ineffective onerous policies will be put in place, not because they are scientifically proven, but because they are popular. And that is an inconvenient truth that should worry us all.
I could not have said it better. I hope that members opposite will stand up for transparency, stand up for middle-class Canadians, and support this Conservative motion.