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Select discussion: Choquette (NDP) discusses environmental implications of Bill C-59

Posted In:  Budget,  Climate Change,  General,  Oil & Energy
June 10, 2015

Debate content unrelated to the environment has been removed.

House of Commons Debates, 41st Parl, 2nd Sess, No 228 (10 June 2015) at 14880.

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    Mr. Speaker, today is truly a very sad, very anti-democratic day. The government is imposing closure for the 100th time. It is imposing closure not only on us in the opposition, but on the people of Drummond as well.

    The people of Drummond elected me as their representative to speak on their behalf here in the House of Commons and to discuss the budget. The people of Drummond certainly want to know what is in the budget for fighting climate change.

    What does this budget include for the environment? Nothing. It needs to be said. There is nothing for the environment, nothing for dealing with climate change, nothing for the economy of the future, and nothing for transitioning to green energy. I wanted to mention that in my speech, but I might not get to that because of this new closure motion.

    The government is preventing me from having a say and preventing the people of Drummond from having a voice here in the House of Commons. That is very serious.

    What is more, this comes on the heels of the Prime Minister‘s trip to the G7, where he once again undermined discussions to reach an iron-clad agreement to fight climate change. The G7 members in Europe wanted an agreement to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

    Of course the Conservative Prime Minister undermined that effort and now the timeframe has been extended to 2100, which is the same as putting it off indefinitely.

    The government needs to respect democracy as well as the people of Drummond and all the other ridings, who also have the right to express themselves.

  • [Debate content removed]

    Mr. Speaker, today is a sad day, for it is the 100th time the Conservative government has put a gag order on members. We must not forget that the role of members in this House is to represent our constituents and stand up for their ideas and their aspirations.

    I represent the people of the riding of Drummond, and they want me to be able to have my say on this bill to implement certain provisions of the budget. The bill is extremely important, because it will have a significant impact on their lives. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have imposed a 100th gag order, which is a new record. It is completely shameful. On top of that, we are nearing the end of this term. Fortunately, we will have the chance to get rid of this Conservative government in the upcoming election.

    I am very pleased nonetheless to have this tremendous opportunity to speak to this bad bill, an opportunity that some of my colleagues will unfortunately not have. Once again, the Conservatives have introduced an omnibus budget implementation bill. This mammoth bill was drafted in order to ram through—to say nothing of the gag order—hundreds of changes to a number of laws, without any study or scrutiny.

    Let us talk about the Conservatives’ bad ideas that are going to hurt the middle class. On the weekend, I attended half a dozen events where I met with people from Drummond’s middle class and those who aspire to be part of the middle class. They told me that the NDP’s measures would encourage the middle class and that the Conservatives’ measures, such as income splitting, would certainly not help them. That measure will benefit only the wealthiest 15% of our society. It is not going to help the people who truly need help in the riding of Drummond, and it will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

    Canadians need our help. They need us to set a $15 an hour national minimum wage and implement a national child care program. With that improvement, Quebec would have a better-quality child care system. Canadians need us to cancel the $36 billion in cuts to health care that the Conservatives are planning to make over the next decade. These are bad decisions the Conservative government is making.

    The Conservatives are also increasing the TFSA contribution limit. This will also benefit the wealthiest in our society, but there is nothing for the middle class or the people in Drummond who aspire to be part of it.

    Families in Drummondville and the greater Drummond area want a responsible government that will address the challenges of this decade and this century, such as the fight against climate change. There is nothing in this budget implementation bill about the environment or the fight against climate change. We need to stimulate the economy, but we need an economy that is in line with the three pillars of sustainable development.

    I do not need to remind the House that the leader of the NDP, the member for Outremont, is the one who implemented the Sustainable Development Act in Quebec. He is the father of sustainable development. He is very familiar with the three pillars of sustainable development, whether we are talking about the economy or respect for the environment. Of course we need to stimulate the economy, but in doing so we need to be respectful of the environment and workers. Unfortunately, there is nothing about that in this budget.

    It was not surprising to see that on his recent trip to Europe for the G7 summit, the Prime Minister sabotaged the efforts of the heads of state in this organization. They wanted to reach an agreement, to take a strong stand by limiting climate change and achieving carbon neutrality or no carbon emissions by 2050.

    Unfortunately, the Conservative government, led by this Prime Minister, sabotaged the G7′s vision by extending that timeframe far into the future. He said that our goal should be 2100. Once again, this government is passing problems on to future generations. As his Minister of Finance said, the Prime Minister’s grandchildren will have to deal with this problem. That does not make any sense. It is a total lack of responsibility.

    Canada definitely needs an NDP government because the NDP is the only party that can replace this tired, irresponsible government that does not care about future generations. An NDP government will make these kinds of changes.

    There is no mention in this budget of programs to transition to green energy sources. As I mentioned, the government shows no desire to do so. Its weak Copenhagen target will not even be reached. This Conservative government was the only government in the world to withdraw from Kyoto. They are really out to lunch when they talk about the economy of the future. What, exactly, does that mean? It means an economy that will transition to green energy sources. The Conservative government has no plan to invest in green energy sources in its budget. It has no plan to stop subsidizing fossil fuels. Every year, Canada’s fossil fuel industry receives some $1.3 billion in subsidies and all kinds of assistance. That is a huge amount of money that goes to companies that do not need it. Oil and gas companies, as well as companies in the coal industry, do not represent the economy of the future. The economy of the future involves transitioning towards green energy sources and energy efficiency.

    Mr. Speaker, I see that I have just two minutes left. Time flies. That is why, as I said, it does not make sense to have a gag order.

    A few months ago, I moved a motion on energy efficiency. Unfortunately, the Conservatives opposed it.

    I would like to refer to some other reports, but since I do not have much time left, I will conclude with a few words about a report entitled “Acting on Climate Change”. This is a solution proposed by 60 Canadian scholars. These scientists from across Canada have proposed solutions to address climate change. The government could have found some inspiration there. The report is non-partisan and unbiased.

    According to the report, the first thing we need to do is put a price on carbon. We need a national emissions cap and trade system like the one that Quebec and California belong to. The NDP’s proposals are similar. The report also calls for the elimination of fossil fuel industry subsidies. The $1.3 billion I mentioned could be allocated to green solutions. That would create 10 times more jobs. There would be 10 times more jobs for the people of Drummond if the government took that money and invested it in green energy. In addition, investments in building and maintaining infrastructure would have to tie in to a long-term decarbonization goal. There are so many economic measures the Conservative government could have taken to turn our economy into a low-carbon-emissions economy, but it did not. It is not doing anything for the environment and has no vision for the future in that regard.

    The only party that has a vision for the future and can replace the Conservative government is the NDP, and that is what we will do on October 19. We will propose a comprehensive vision that integrates sustainable development, and we will grow the economy while respecting the environment and social issues.

  • [Debate content removed]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Beauport—Limoilou, who is doing excellent work on environmental concerns at the Port of Québec. I am very proud because we cannot move the economy into the future in any old way.

    There has to be a vision for sustainable development. I am so proud to be a member of the New Democratic Party, whose leader is the author of Quebec’s Sustainable Development Act. He knows exactly what it means to move the economy forward while respecting the environment and the social concerns of workers and people.

    When the people of Drummond hear about sustainable development and support for SMEs, they are truly happy because they know that is the way of the future. They know that 80% of new jobs are created by SMEs and that we need to give SMEs the opportunity to grow.

    That is why we have a plan that will not only let SMEs grow and develop, but will help them to create jobs and hire people.

    We also want to take back the $1.3 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies. It is shameful that this money is used for that when it should be used to create the sustainable economies of the future.

    We must not pass problems on to our grandchildren or, as the Minister of Finance said, pass the problems on to the Prime Minister‘s grandchildren. That makes no sense.

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