OTTAWA – Thunder Bay-Superior North MP and Green Party Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer delivered a speech in the House of Commons on Carbon Fee and Dividend and Poverty.
The text of the speech is as follows:
The gap between the rich and poor in Canada continues to grow at an alarming rate. At least 3 million Canadians currently live in poverty… about one in ten! We are the tenth worst in the OECD.
Poverty is a problem that affects all Canadians. The financial burden of poverty in Canada is estimated to cost the government between $72 and $86 billion per year, in many ways.
C02 emissions, like poverty levels, have also been rising for years in Canada. The Conservatives have not taken any serious action to reverse either of these trends. Climate change is an incredibly serious issue. We need to start making a plan to reduce both carbon emissions and poverty. Like poverty, climate change is a moral issue, but it’s also an economic one. Canada is now paying billions of dollars annually due to forest fires, floods, and other effects of climate change.
Mr. Speaker, they are both moral issues with huge economic impacts as well for Canadians. As different as the two issues may appear to be they can be addressed by the same policy: Carbon Fee & Dividend. This is a carbon pricing system that will address carbon emissions without adding a penny of tax. It is a revenue neutral system in which the government gets zero money.
Instead every Canadian will receive an equal share of all the carbon fees. Coal mines, and oil and gas wells will pay a fee at the source, based on the potential to release CO2. The revenue generated from these payments will be paid directly to consumers on an equal per capita basis. Lower-income and middle class Canadians will make money on Carbon Fee & Dividend.
Carbon Dividends will use the market place to simultaneously tackle both climate change and income gaps.
All political parties should be in favour of a Carbon Fee & Dividend. It uses free markets, and addresses rising levels of both carbon emissions and poverty, all without implementing any tax system or any money going to the government. Presently the Conservatives have no policy to address climate change. The Liberals plan to make it someone else’s problem by passing the buck onto the provinces. And, the NDP is stuck on Cap and Trade: expensive, bureaucratic, and ineffective.
Chris Regan’s eco-fiscal commission was recently set up to decide upon eco-fiscal solutions for Canada. The commission was made up of prominent Liberals like former Prime Minister Paul Martin and prominent Conservatives like Preston Manning. It didn’t take long for the commission to come out staunchly in favour of putting a price on carbon.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise Mr. Speaker. The BC carbon pricing model is revenue neutral, and started with a low fee on carbon that has been slowly rising higher. The Conservatives have tried to slam the carbon pricing as a ‘job killer’, but the policy in BC has actually resulted in lower emissions and continued economic growth at a faster rate than much of Canada.
Carbon Fee & Dividend is a smart and effective policy that will decrease Canadian carbon emissions and reduce the divide between rich and poor, all without taxing Canadians or slowing economic growth.
Mr. Speaker, when will the three major parties start listening?
The Carbon Fee & Dividend would help solve our dangerously high emission rates while also closing the ever-growing gap between the richest and poorest Canadians.
The minister’s response only demonstrates what any Canadians who are paying attention already know: The Conservatives refuse to adopt an evidence-based policy for reducing carbon emissions. Instead, they’re going to continue putting forward bad policy that conforms to their ideologies and their agenda. They continue to push aside any ideas that run contrary to those ideologies and that agenda.
The members of this House have an obligation to work across party lines and to put forward policies that will benefit all Canadians. Carbon Fee & Dividend is such a policy.