It is up to provinces to implement a revenue-neutral price on carbon

On Thursday, June 7th, 2018 in Debate, Parliament

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I want to dive a bit into the carbon debate, because in his comments, the member said that they did not know if there would be a rebate. The way the backstop has been designed by the federal government for Bill C-74 is that there will be a carbon price across the country if provinces do not set up their own plans.

I actually think the architecture of this is quite good, and it puts a lie to the constant claim by the Liberals that they needed to give Rachel Notley a pipeline or they could never get a carbon price. A co-operative Alberta is certainly better than a resistant Alberta, but we have a resistant Saskatchewan, and we are plowing ahead. The carbon price will be across the country. It will backstop. It is up to every province if it is revenue neutral or not.

I want to get on the record that I regret that the new government in B.C. has moved away from revenue neutrality. For the first time since our carbon tax was put in place in B.C., it will be entering into the general revenues of the province.

I want to give the hon. member a chance to reflect on that. We need a carbon price. We need a much more vigorous, real carbon plan, which we do not have. However, there is a backstop, and it is up to each province if there is a rebate.

Daniel Blaikie – Member for Elmwood-Transcona

Mr. Speaker, the point I was trying to make in my speech was that I think there could have been a rebate factored into the backstop. What I think is deficient about the plan is that it does not do that. That would have been an excellent way for the federal government to model it for provinces that are initiating their own programs and say that this is how it can be done. For those provinces that do not bring in their own regimes, that would mean that low-income Canadians in those provinces would benefit from a rebate program. That is the real missed opportunity I see in the carbon pricing model.

The secondary point I was trying to make was that if we had been successful in separating that into a separate piece of legislation, we might have had the time to debate that point more fully instead of trying to lump it in with all the other initiatives included in the budget implementation act, although, unfortunately, not in the budget. There are a lot of things in the budget we should be moving ahead on that are not in this bill. If the government wants to introduce separate bills for those things, I actually think that would probably be the more appropriate way of going about it. However, if it is committed to the view, and it seems to be, that one act will implement the budget, then surely it could have put some of the better things from the budget in the act instead of leaving them out.

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