Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in the House and especially today for this opposition day motion, which talks about how the first carbon tax would increase the price of gas by 41¢ a litre and how the second, the clean fuel regulations, would add 20¢ more to that when sales tax is included. This will further exacerbate the cost of living issues that people are facing across the country.
What I want to do today in my speech is talk about what the carbon tax will do, talk about what it will not do and talk about what real solutions should be offered.
First of all, what does it actually do? It increases the price of things. It is not just the price of gasoline that is going up, because it is an escalator. For example, if we look at food, it has increased in price, on average, by 12%, but some items of food are up 30% and 40%.
When we are talking about a farmer who is producing the food, they will have to use more diesel and fuel to heat their barns and take care of growing their products and drying them. There is a carbon tax on that. To make it worse, there is a tax on the tax. The Liberals are applying tax on top of that, and it is a substantial amount of money. We are talking about $150,000 for a farmer. That is a real thing that they obviously have to pass on to the consumer.
Then they are shipping the product to a processing facility, and there is a carbon tax on that and a tax on the tax. Then at the processing facility, depending on the type of processing facility, there is a carbon tax on emissions. Then we are talking about shipping it to the grocery store. Again, that is another carbon tax and a tax on the tax. Then we get to the grocery store, and it has to be put in refrigerators. If the Liberal do not buy them, that is another expense, but then they are spending more energy trying to keep the products preserved.
What is happening is this is hurting individuals. Before the pandemic, the data reported said that half of Canadians were within $200 of not being able to pay their bills. Let us think about that. Then fast-forward to where we are now, where we have added a second carbon tax that is estimated, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, to cost each individual $538 a year. Half of Canadians were within $200 of not being able to pay their bills every month, and now the Liberals have added $600 more. That is on top of the estimated cost of the already existing carbon tax, which the Parliamentary Budget Officer says, depending on the province we live in, is between $1,500 and $3,000 a person.
By the time all these taxes, carbon taxes and the tax on the tax get to an individual, we are talking about $4,000 per Canadian. That is a substantial amount of money. If we break that down by month, we are talking $300 a month, which puts us way over the 50% of people who could not pay their bills if they had an increase of $200.
The Liberals are going to say that Canadians get back more than they give, but we know that is not true. I have seen my climate action rebate cheque come to me, $128.55 four times a year. Adding that up, it is nowhere near $4,000. It is absolutely a misrepresentation of the facts to say the government is giving Canadians more back. No, it is not.
I am getting calls at my office, continually, from individuals who are saying they cannot afford to pay their bills and are losing their house. I have a lot of seniors in my riding, and some of them have had to go back to work at 74 years of age in order to afford heating, gasoline, groceries, the whole thing. That is what the carbon tax is doing. It is adding to inflationary pressures that we already have from the out-of-control spending happening on the other side. That is what the carbon tax does.
Let us talk a little about what it does not do:
- It does not reduce emissions. It is a tax plan; it is not an emissions plan. If we look to who has met their Paris targets, our neighbours to the south have met their Paris targets, and they did it through emissions reduction technology and switching to fuels like nuclear, LNG and lower-carbon fuels. These are actual, concrete solutions. They put capital incentives in place so that businesses would put emissions reduction technology in place. That is how they did it, and they did it in four years.
- If we look at where we are, we were supposed to reduce our targets by 30% from the 2005 level. The 2005 level was 732 megatonnes and we are now at 670 megatonnes. In 20 years, we have reduced 60 megatonnes, but the target we have to get to is a reduction of 538. We are nowhere near the plan.
In the approach the Liberals have, they talk about tree planting. They are going to plant two billion trees. Do members know how many trees we already have in Canada? We have 318 billion trees in Canada and this is two billion more. More trees are always better, but the reality is that recent reports said the Liberals have planted less than 2% of these in years. It is because the program that was introduced does not work.
I know a great group, Climate Action Sarnia-Lambton, that wants to plant trees. I approached the minister and said that we have lots of volunteers who are willing to come out. They have all the tools. We just need the money to get the trees and get them in the ground. Do members know what I heard? We have to plant 10,000 trees or we cannot get any money. We have to start somewhere with a program that works a little better than that. That is what the carbon tax does not do.
I have heard this a lot in the discussion today during the debate: Well, what about the wildfires and what about the floods? We are seeing severe weather events and we are seeing them at a frequency that we have not seen before. However, Canada is less than 2% of the carbon footprint of the world. We could eliminate the whole thing and we are still going to get all of those wildfires and all of those floods, because we have countries, like China and India, that are building coal plants. China is 34% of the footprint.
What would be better is if we exported Canadian LNG. We could reduce the global footprint by over 10%. We could reduce five times our existing footprint. That is real climate action. Instead, 12 LNG projects have been shut down by the Liberal government.
What have other countries done?
- The Germans approached us. Germany decided to go down the green energy path, and they found out that it was so expensive that they got rid of it and went back onto coal and LNG. They approached us to get a contract with us for $58 billion, which we refused.
- The Australians used to have a carbon tax. They got rid of it. It made everything more expensive and it did not help them meet their goals.
We have a situation where countries are in need of our fuel. We are the most environmentally responsible producers of LNG in the world, but we cannot get anything built because a Bill C-69 project approval thing was put in place. We have seen the disaster that the government is making with the Trans Mountain project. It was supposed to be $7 billion and is up to $30 billion, and it is not even built yet.
The carbon tax hurts Canadians. It inflates their costs. People cannot afford to live. They are struggling. I know that Liberal MPs are hearing this from their constituents and they need to listen.
What we need to do is have emissions reduction technology, get on lower-carbon fuels, export them to the world and work together to get a better planet. That is what we need to do and that is the vision on this side of the House.