There is so much missing in this budget to respond to climate change

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, Jim MacNeill, who was one of Canada’s leading environmental diplomats globally, the author of the Brundtland report “Our Common Future”, used to say that the federal budget is the single most environmental statement made by any government. There is so much missing in this budget to respond to climate change.

I am going to focus on just one thing and that is support for solar energy. It is taking off. Solar panels are now a cheaper source of electricity than coal and Canada’s Department of Finance actually takes active measures to increase the cost of solar for Canadians. We not only do not help; we add large tariffs. I first raised this with former finance minister Joe Oliver. Why are we putting tariffs on solar panels? It makes it harder.

I hear from local companies that they are installing solar panels on people’s homes without federal support. We should be doing everything possible to allow local communities, homeowners, and businesses to install their own renewable energy. We make it harder for them. Why are we putting tariffs on solar panels from China?

Joël Lightbound – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands and the Leader of the Green Party for her question.

I believe it is important to examine all opportunities to encourage the transition to energy and an economy that are greener, more responsible, and cleaner. With respect to the 2018 budget, I would say, reluctantly, that in the budget implementation bill, for example, we are putting a price on carbon that will apply across the country.

It is a first, because unlike the previous government, which may have had a greenhouse gas reduction target but never had a plan, this is part of our plan to reach the targets that we have set. That is what distinguishes our government from the previous one.

I believe that putting a price on carbon pollution is an important part of the budget implementation bill. We know that it works, and that it is good for the economy and for the environment.