The US “exit” from the Paris Agreement + questioning continued tariffs for solar energy

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I certainly welcome the resolution from the government today on the ongoing commitment of the Canadian government to the Paris agreement. We had already voted in this place and confirmed our support as a Parliament.

I quibble with the introduction, because as much as President Trump announced from the rose garden that the U.S. was out of the Paris accord, actually the U.S. cannot legally leave the Paris accord until November 4, 2020, which quite by coincidence, is the day after the next U.S. presidential election. That is a process based on the exit provisions we negotiated at COP21, that the treaty would have to be in place for three years after entering into force and then states could give one year’s written notice.

My question for the Minister of Finance is similar to the one from my friend, the member for Edmonton Strathcona. What can we be doing in Canada, and particularly, what could his department be doing? For a government that has branded itself “sunny ways”, I would like to see more emphasis on solar energy.

Could the Minister of Finance update us as to why we continue to have a tariff on very efficient photovoltaic roofing tiles from China that directly take sunlight and produce electricity for those people who put them on the roofs of their buildings, whether schools or homes? It is time to take tariffs off solar energy.


Bill Morneau – Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think I should respond in a number of ways.

We continue to move forward on making the biggest possible impact on our long-term environmental health with the measure that we know will have the biggest long-term impact on that very health, and that is the pricing of carbon.

As we put forward the pan-Canadian approach to climate change, we knew that this single measure, moving from the roughly 85% or 86% of Canadians who were in agreement to 100% of Canadians, was critically important. However, setting targets that are going to have an important long-term ability for us to move forward progressively over time on this issue is also very important. From my standpoint, getting that right is critically important.

We will continue to move forward on other issues. On an ongoing basis, we will look at tariffs to see if there are ways we could remove them, because that is part of our free trade agenda. We will specifically look towards doing that in places that would have the biggest impact on our global trade as well as on our goals around environmental stewardship.