Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ File Photo

 

Carbon pricing came up several times in the House of Commons Question Period on Monday, Oct. 23. On the same day, Bill C-50, The Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act (also referred to as the “just transition act” passed second reading and was referred to committee. It is also known as “An Act respecting accountability, transparency and engagement to support the creation of sustainable jobs for workers and economic growth in a net-zero economy

Here are the carbon tax exchanges as recorded in Hansard, followed by an exchange on energy transition:

First exchange:

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this Liberal government, unfortunately, we no longer recognize the Canada we loved so much. Rents are much more expensive, actually twice as expensive. More and more people are being forced to live in their cars. In Canada, a G7 country, it is outrageous that men and women are having to live in their cars.

Meanwhile, those folks over there have come up with the brilliant idea of inventing and implementing a new carbon tax, with the radical support of the Bloc Québécois.

Seriously, can anyone in this government stand up and say that introducing a new tax is a good idea?

 

Hon. Soraya Martinez Ferrada (Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. There is a lot to unpack there.

I would start by saying that tackling climate change is about more than just taking care of the environment, which the Conservative Party does not want to do. It is also about building a transition economy. Fighting climate change means creating jobs. That is exactly what we are doing on this side of the House.

 

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, how could anyone think that saying that would change for the better the lives of people living in their cars? That is completely disconnected from the actual experience of those struggling with this government’s inflationary reality. For eight years, the Liberals have never controlled their spending. They created the inflationary measures that are making everything so expensive today. If that were not enough, now they want to radically increase the carbon tax with the complicit support of the Bloc Québécois.

Again, is there anyone in this government who can stand up and tell me with a straight face that it is a good idea to invent and implement a new tax when everyone is struggling?

 

Hon. Soraya Martinez Ferrada (Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, what I can say with a straight face is that the Conservative Party has voted against every measure proposed by this side of the House to provide support to families. The Canada child benefit and every investment we have made in housing come to mind. We still expect the Conservatives to vote in favour of Bill C‑56, which will stabilize grocery prices and get rid of the GST on new housing construction.

On this side of the House, we are taking care of people every day.

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Second exchange:

 

Mrs. Dominique Vien (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the carbon tax, which is pushing up the price of everything and which the Bloc Québécois wants to radically increase, is making Quebeckers poorer.

After eight years of this government, a young retiree has had to go back to work to pay her heating and grocery bills. The woman said that all her bills have gone up.

It is costly to vote for the Bloc Québécois. The Prime Minister must finally realize that his inflationary policies are hurting people.

When will he scrap his costly carbon tax?

 

Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, people watching us can sometimes get a little cynical about politics, especially when they hear this kind of thing from an opposition member who was part of a provincial government that happened to be the first government in North America to put a price on pollution.

She supported putting a price on pollution. She was part of a government that campaigned for years to put a price on pollution, not only in Quebec, but throughout North America. Now, all of a sudden, she is flip-flopping and changing her mind with the weather, all because she has a leader who, ideologically, does not believe in climate change.

It makes for a fair bit of cynicism among the public.

 

Mrs. Dominique Vien (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, things are so bad in our beautiful Canada that retired seniors have to go back to work to cover basic needs such as food and home heating. It is shameful. That is the reality after eight years of this Liberal government that is supported by the Bloc Québécois. Quebec was the province most affected by inflation for the fourth month in a row. It is costly to vote Bloc Québécois.

When will the Prime Minister cancel his disastrous carbon tax, which is radically increasing the price of everything?

 

Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I think it would be a stretch to describe former premier Jean Charest as a dangerous Bloc member, yet the opposition party member served under that premier for years. She believed in climate change at the time, but not anymore. She also used to believe in carbon pricing and implementing programs to support public transit and the electrification of transportation.

Today, she no longer believes in any of that, because she belongs to a party that is ideologically against fighting climate change and is against the idea of helping Canadians in the green transition.

 

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Third exchange (translated from French):

 

Mrs. Shelby Kramp-Neuman (Hastings—Lennox and Addington, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, Canada is an agricultural powerhouse, which is something that farmers of eastern Ontario and across Canada are all very proud of.

After eight years of the Liberal-NDP government, fanatical pursuit of failed, ideologically driven economic policy is crushing Canadian farmers. Too many families cannot even afford nutritious food. The reality is that the Prime Minister is not worth the cost.

When will the morally and politically bankrupt government wake up and stop punishing farmers with the inflation-inducing carbon tax?

 

Mr. Ryan Turnbull (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, if Conservatives really care about grocery prices, then why are they not supporting our affordability bill in the House? They have stated repeatedly that they are going to vote against measures that would increase competition and bring down food prices for Canadians. Do they expect us to believe that common sense means working against the interests of Canadians?

We are fighting for affordability for Canadians every step of the way. The Conservatives should get onside and support our affordability bill.

 

Mr. Richard Lehoux (Beauce, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, after eight years, the government continues to punish Canadians with its harmful carbon tax. Canadians are struggling to feed their families, and record numbers of them are turning to food banks. For the fourth month in a row, Quebec is the province hardest hit by inflation.

This is what happens when the Bloc-Liberal coalition agrees to impose a second carbon tax that applies to Quebec. Worse still, they want to radically increase it. It is costly to vote for the Bloc Québécois.

Will the government and its Bloc Québécois partners agree today to cancel their infamous carbon tax?

 

Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty incredible to see a colleague from Quebec who does not believe in climate change.

I just want to tell him all about the warming oceans, fishing industry concerns, endangered species and the tornadoes that destroyed our docks, our shorelines. We have to deal with shoreline erosion.

It is easy to see that the Conservatives have no plan. They are even cutting plans. That is who the Conservatives are.

 

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Fourth exchange:

 

Mr. Jake Stewart (Miramichi—Grand Lake, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the current NDP-Liberals driving up the cost of living in Atlantic Canada, this Prime Minister is just not worth the cost. Liberal MPs from Atlantic Canada have again decided to punish us by quadrupling the carbon tax to 61¢ per litre. Atlantic Canadians have had enough of the carbon tax. Will the Prime Minister now admit that the carbon tax is punishing Atlantic Canada and the most vulnerable people in our society?

 

Hon. Seamus O’Regan (Minister of Labour and Seniors, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, now is probably as good a time, and specifically right now, to remind this House that just about every member on that side of the House ran, of course, on a carbon tax. They had some way of going about it where people would collect green points that would go toward some sort of government-run Amway catalogue where they could collect some sort of greenie things that would be selected by the government. They can remind me, if they can. I can only assume that members from that side of the House would form this government committee where people could cash in their points.

We prefer, on this side of the House, to put cash back into the pockets of hard-working Canadians.

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Fifth exchange, on energy transition (translated from French):

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, Ind.)

Mr. Speaker, everyone is talking about the urgent need to act on climate change and the energy transition. Citizens are being asked to take action.

However, when it comes time to get reimbursed through the Canada greener homes grant, urgency takes a back seat. The provincial portion is reimbursed within two months of filing the paperwork, while at the federal level, Canadians have to wait more than 18 months to get their money. What is more, it is virtually impossible to talk to an official. If someone manages to get through, they are told that the system is overwhelmed.

Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. Will the minister take care of this problem, once and for all?

Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that there were initial problems with the program’s implementation. However, Natural Resources Canada has since put in place a series of measures to improve and facilitate access to the program so that people can actually renovate their homes, make them more energy efficient, save money on their energy bills and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, something the Conservatives are opposed to. In fact, if they came to power, they would abolish this program. We will continue to work with Canadians on both climate change and affordability.

 

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