Very briefly, we are going to be rolling out our own environment plan tomorrow.
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It is going to give Canada a better chance, the best chance, to meet its Paris targets. Therefore, I strongly support the motion before us, replacing the Liberal carbon tax plan with a real plan to address climate change. We have a Nobel Prize-winning economist who has said that this is the way to fight climate change. In , Stephen Harper, the former prime minister of Canada, said that putting a price on pollution was a way to fight climate change. We had the Pope last weekend endorse putting a price on pollution. Now I hear the Conservatives heckling about the fact that I am invoking the Pope.
How ironic is that? It is a basic economic principle that when we want to reduce something, we put a price on it.
How can the member stand here today and go against what a Nobel Prize-winning economist and what Stephen Harper, his former leader and the former prime minister of Canada, would say and endorse? Ed Fast :. Ed Fast: Mr. Speaker, we have a perfect example in Canada of a failed carbon tax policy, which is in my home province of British Columbia. It introduced a carbon tax back in with three promises.
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In , the British Columbia government of the day, which was a Liberal government by the way, made three promises about the carbon tax in B. First, it would be revenue neutral. In other words, we would take one dollar out of one pocket and put it back in the other pocket of the taxpayer. For a law that was in place, what is to date? Is the tax revenue neutral? No, it was eliminated, and it is now a cash cow for the government.
That promise was broken. The third promise was that it would reduce overall carbon emissions in B. These three broken promises prove the point that carbon taxation does not work. One thing is certain: Once the Conservatives sink their teeth into something, they hold on tight and do not let go. Unfortunately, they do not have an alternative plan. The Liberal government is being hypocritical. It says one thing and then buys a pipeline. Meanwhile, the Conservatives have been criticizing the price on pollution and acting as though we can continue to pollute without any consequences for future generations.
They have no plan. I would like my colleague to tell me what he will do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, I believe the member is genuine in wanting to make progress in addressing our emissions. They are global emissions, by the way, because this is a global challenge that requires a global response. Canada is perfectly positioned to deliver on that response.
Climate change has had a serious impact on my riding and on British Columbia in general. I would like to give an example. The science shows us that our winters are not as cold as they once were. Because our winters are not as cold, the mountain pine beetle has managed to survive through the winter months and not be killed off. This, in turn, has allowed the pine beetle to thrive, and in turn, it has devastated our forests. That has created two problems.
One is an economic problem. Throughout B. This can have a devastating impact on small rural communities. It is simply devastating. One of the reasons for these mill closures is a lack of fibre. Because too much forest has been killed off by the pine beetle, there is not enough supply for timber. That is one major problem. The second major problem is that all this dead timber, combined with our hot summers, has basically created a powder keg of fuel for a wildfire.
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Make no mistake. Be the cause lightning or humans, when there is a forest fire, this dead beetle wood is producing wildfire activity the likes of which British Columbia has never seen. This not only hurts tourism but can also harm human health. Those with respiratory issues have serious problems dealing with all the smoke and ash. There is also a loss of homes and small businesses and a massive cost for fighting those fires.
It is all part of a serious problem. However, here is the thing: the carbon tax does not stop this. It does nothing to help relieve the situation. The Liberals like to pretend otherwise, but after 10 years of having the carbon tax in British Columbia, our forest fire situation only looks more dire. Let us overlook that fact for a moment and see if the carbon tax is working otherwise in British Columbia. Total greenhouse gas emissions in B.
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Much of this paralleled what happened nationally with greenhouse gas emissions, and this was mainly attributed to the worldwide economic meltdown that occurred during the later part of that time frame. In the summer of , former premier Gordon Campbell introduced Canada's first carbon tax in the run-up to the B. The B. NDP opposed the carbon tax at that time. What has happened in B.
It is a great question. I hate to break this fact to the Liberal government, but total greenhouse emissions in British Columbia have gone up. Yes, they have gone up. In fact, there has been a 1. Let me repeat that for the benefit of the Minister of Environment. Since , there has been a 1. In other words, the carbon tax is not working.
We have also discovered something else. It is called carbon leakage. What is carbon leakage? Let me give members an example. Well, why not? Concrete is not exactly a lightweight, inexpensive product to import and then transport to other jurisdictions. What happened when B.
Naturally, it became more expensive. By , B. Of course, our federal Liberal government knows all about this. That is why, quietly last summer, the Liberals started giving carbon tax exemptions to some of Canada's biggest polluters. However, there is no exemption for small business in their plan, or in my home province, for the average middle-class family. In fact, in B. Ironically, the B.
Of course, the same principle applies to Canada, where we try to compete with some of our major trading partners that do not have a carbon tax. If BC industry loses market share to more polluting competitors, known as carbon leakage, it affects our economy and does not reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. To recap what we know from the British Columbia example, after 10 years of having a carbon tax, it has done nothing to prevent the serious climate-change-related problems we are facing in British Columbia.
Worse yet, the evidence also shows that it has done nothing to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions. They have actually increased since the B. It makes British Columbia less competitive, all the while letting major polluters off the hook. Basically, all the carbon tax has done in British Columbia is act as a giant tax grab for the NDP government. Here is another fact I will share on this point.
LNG project we often hear the Liberal government boast about, which, by the way, was first approved by the previous government, has been totally exempted from carbon tax increases. The only way this went forward was that it was totally exempted from future carbon tax increases, and it will be a major contributor to increasing B.
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Honestly, none of this reconciles, and the facts clearly show that. If members doubt the facts and evidence from British Columbia, look no further than our very own Parliamentary Budget Officer, who last week made it very clear that the present course of the Liberal government will completely and totally fail to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets it has set, unless, of course, the Liberal government desires to massively increase the carbon tax load for everyday citizens.
That point could not have been made any clearer. We are seeing mixed messages from the Liberal government on this. Will the Liberals or will they not massively raise the carbon tax if re-elected? We do not get clear answers.
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