The government is not meeting the goals of the environment and the economy going hand in hand

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, the member for King—Vaughan for the wonderful work she does as chair of the environment committee.

The problem is that the government is not, at all, meeting the goals of the environment and the economy going hand in hand, because that is only true when the actions taken for the environment and the actions taken for the economy are actually moving in the same direction, and that is to reduce greenhouse gases.

As Bill McKibben says, “The first rule of holes is…stop digging.” Announcing new oil drilling off Atlantic Canada and, I cannot get over how determined the government is, building a pipeline to British Columbia, these are not good economics. The pipeline does not have a market. That is why Kinder Morgan wanted to get away from it. It is all about selling, overseas, a product that we could be refining in Canada, and reducing or eliminating the imports of foreign oil that we have into Atlantic Canada.

We do not have a climate plan. The Auditor General made this point. I would just say to my hon. colleague, would it not be better if we determined what the global carbon budget is. In other words, what is the amount of carbon humanity can put in the atmosphere before we cross over the point of no return, in terms of self-accelerating, runaway global warming? What is that number? What is Canada’s share of making sure we do not cross that threshold? We could work backwards from there. It certainly would not be the old Harper target, which was never the Paris target but to which we remain committed. Thirty per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 is too little, too late.

Deborah Schulte – Member for King-Vaughan

Mr. Speaker, the challenge would be very straightforward if we just needed to stop, everything needed to go in harmony together, and we would end up at some type of Utopia.

We can have the same goal at the end, but how we plan on getting there is different, obviously, from what my colleague on the other side has outlined. We believe that we need to proceed in a balanced way. We have to transition. We have to ensure that Canadian workers do not suffer as we make this transition to a low-carbon economy.

We have made significant investments in clean technology and innovation, science and research, in our workers and in our communities. We cannot abandon workers as we try to move forward on this with our international commitments to reduce carbon emissions. I know there is an urgency and a real worry that we are not going to get where we need to, and that things will become even more difficult to manage as we move on. However, we cannot abandon workers as we move forward with our international commitments.

This is an investment that we are making in Canada’s future. We cannot just stop the use of fossil fuels and then continue to sell our resources at a discount because we cannot get it to world markets. We need the money to help fuel the transition that we are engaged in. That is why our plan is going to be successful.