Corporate influence is why a government brings in carbon taxes then buys a pipeline

Ms. Elizabeth May – Member for Saanich—Gulf Islands

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague, the parliamentary secretary for environment and climate change, knows how deeply I lament the weakness of the government’s plan, just as much or more than I lament the fact that the Conservatives have no plan. The Liberal plan will take us nowhere near Stephen Harper’s old target, which puts us on a path, as the hon. parliamentary secretary well knows, to catastrophic climate breakdown that could deprive our own children of a livable world.

We are in a climate emergency, yet in this place, as in many parliaments around the world, we continue to pretend that the incremental efforts to do something in the right direction should be applauded, even as we know, and this is a really enormous example of cognitive dissonance, that what we are doing now is not enough to protect our children.

The Conservatives may not know it. Some do. Certainly some hon. Conservative members know it. The NDP should know it, but its plans are also nowhere near achieving the kinds of reductions that actually are about phasing out fossil fuels, 100%, by 2050 and cutting Canada’s use of fossil fuels by at least 50% within a decade.

I do not think it is solely corporate influence, but can the hon. parliamentary secretary deny that corporate influence is a big part of why a government tries to have its cake and eat it too? It brings in carbon taxes and then buys a pipeline.

Mr. Sean Fraser – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the hon. member on her recent nuptials. I have a few friends who attended, and they said it was an incredible time. I want to personally congratulate her, on the record.

When it comes to the member’s question, she is absolutely right that we need to be doing more and more. We have to have a plan that is based on science that is going to protect us against the kind of catastrophic danger she warns of.

The fact is that we are trying to implement the solutions that will have the greatest impact. That is why we are accepting the advice of people like Professor William Nordhaus, who won the Nobel Prize in economics last year for his development of the kind of approach to pricing pollution we are now implementing. That is why we are making the largest investment in the history of public transit and embracing green technology and green infrastructure. I look forward to continuing to put forward more and more.

On the issue the member raised about corporate influence, it is important that when we are developing policy, we pay attention to how it is going to have an impact on Canadian industry and the Canadian economy as well. I believe that climate change is not just a great challenge for us but is an extraordinary opportunity. If we can work with companies to help them become more efficient and put people to work converting us towards a more effective and efficient future, then I think we are on the right track. I look forward to getting there one day alongside the member.