Watch the speech: http://bit.ly/2HMZxMf
CPC Opposition Day Motion: Pricing Carbon Pollution
May 1st, 2018
Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, M.P.
Wet Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg North.
I rise today to contribute to the case for a price on pollution – to give households and businesses a powerful incentive to save money by making greener choices, to provide clear direction and incentives for the further development of Canada’s clean-tech sector, to strengthen our ever-improving international reputation, and as a key aspect of our clean growth and climate plan.
Pricing carbon pollution works. This is a key result of the new analysis that our government published earlier this week. The study found that by 2022, a nationwide price on carbon pollution that meets the federal standard would eliminate 80 million to 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a major contribution to meeting Canada’s climate target under the Paris Agreement. It is the equivalent of taking between 23 million and 26 million cars off the road for a year.
To put this in context, our government’s decision to phase out coal-fired electricity – a very important step to protect the health of Canadians as well as to address climate change – is estimated to cut carbon pollution by 16 million tonnes in 2030. Our analysis finds that pricing carbon pollution will deliver five times the reductions of phasing out coal.
Our carbon-pricing study also found that growth would remain strong with a nationwide price on carbon pollution. Canada’s GDP is expected to grow by about 2% a year between now and 2022 without carbon pricing.
Pricing pollution is a win for the environment and for the economy. It is the approach that economists overwhelmingly recommend.
It is the policy that over 30 governments and 150 businesses have come together to support through the international Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, a group that includes Canada’s five major banks alongside Canadian companies in the consumer goods, energy, and resource-development sectors.
And yet, the party opposite says they plan to reach our Paris Agreement targets without putting a price on carbon. Mr. Speaker, this makes absolutely no sense, and it most certainly does not reflect a sound risk-management approach or a vision for Canada’s innovation economy.
Mr. Speaker, acting on climate change is a shared responsibility. Our government has developed Canada’s clean growth and climate action plan in partnership with provinces, territories, and indigenous peoples. Provinces have been leaders in pricing pollution when the federal government under former Prime Minister Harper was afraid to act. I am particularly proud, of course, of British Columbia’s leadership in this regard and I recall a decade of absolutely no support whatsoever, in fact regression, on the part of the federal government at that time.
Our pan-Canadian approach to pricing carbon intends to ensure a level playing field on carbon pricing across the country. The approach will expand the application of carbon already in place in Canada’s four largest provinces to the rest of Canada.
Right now, four out of five Canadians live in jurisdictions that are already pricing carbon. Those four provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia, are also the provinces that led the country in economic growth last year.
Under Canada’s clean growth and climate action plan, revenues from pricing pollution will always be returned to the province or territory they come from. If a province or territory adopts its own carbon-pricing system that meets the federal standard, that jurisdiction will decide how to use the revenues.
In B.C. today, for instance, carbon-pricing revenues fund tax cuts for small businesses and households. In Alberta, the revenues support rebates to families, action to phase out coal, and investment in energy efficiency. In Ontario, revenues from carbon pricing support clean energy, like solar panels. In Quebec, carbon pricing funds climate action, like investments in public transit.
Carbon pricing is recognized as a cost-effective way to reduce emissions and stimulate clean growth. The costs of inaction on climate change are significant. I recall when I was mayor of West Vancouver sitting in a seminar with Lloyd’s of London representatives, well over a decade ago, where the underwriters and insurance-industry leaders globally expressed their growing concern regarding the cost of extreme and unpredictable storm events, patterns of human settlement, and which housing developments would be even worth underwriting. That was ages ago.
Today, severe weather due to climate change is costing Canadians billions of dollars a year in insurance costs. Across the country, Canadians have experienced first-hand devastating wildfires, extreme flooding, severe droughts and stronger storms. Some estimates suggest that climate change will cost Canada’s economy $5 billion a year by 2020.
We know from examples from around the world that putting a price on carbon pollution helps to drive innovation and create good, middle-class jobs. According to the World Bank, jurisdictions representing about half the global economy are putting a price on carbon, not even including China’s national system which was recently announced.
Pricing carbon pollution is the new normal. It has been interesting to listen to the opposition as it looks in the rear-view mirror. Pricing carbon pollution spurs clean innovation, helping Canada to compete and prosper in the $23 trillion economic opportunity that clean growth represents around the world.
Governments can, and should, design their carbon pricing systems to avoid putting extra financial pressure on low income and middle class households. For example, provinces can choose to provide money back rebates, cut taxes, or fund discounts on energy saving programs and technology. That has certainly been borne out in British Columbia.
Governments in Canada are already making those choices. In Alberta, approximately 60% of households receive full or partial rebates to offset the cost of the carbon money. Families that earn less than $95,000 a year receive a full rebate to offset the costs associated with the carbon money.
Our government knows that pricing carbon pollution strengthens the economy and promotes a cleaner environment. This is the work that we are doing each and every day for our children and grandchildren, and to help Canadians prosper.
The party opposite does not share that vision. Under Stephen Harper, the party opposite spent a decade failing to act, to cut carbon pollution. Canadians deserve better. Canadians deserve a serious, smart and thoughtful plan to protect the environment and grow the economy.
Mr. Speaker, putting a price on carbon pollution is an important aspect of our plan to transition to, and to grow, a low-carbon economy.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.