For more information about A Real Plan to Protect our Environment, please visit ARealPlan.ca.
My Vision for Canada – A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment
It is always a pleasure to be back in Gatineau, a green space within minutes of downtown Ottawa. Gatineau is one of the greenest cities in Quebec.
Thank you Ed and Joel for that introduction.
And thank you all for joining us here today for what is the most highly anticipated policy announcement from an opposition party in Canadian history.
There’s a reason why that’s the case.
Why so many Canadians are looking to Conservatives for new ideas and leadership on this critically important issue.
Why our friends in the media have speculated for months on end as to when we would release this policy.
And why the Liberals have obsessed over it, literally counting the days until the Conservative plan is released – and attacking it even before it’s made public.
It’s because the Liberals have failed.
If Trudeau’s approach was working – if Canada’s environment and its performance was actually improving – nobody would care what Conservatives to have to say about it.
But the Liberal approach is not working.
And Canadians need an alternative.
Canadians trusted Justin Trudeau when he said he would protect the environment and lower Canada’s emissions.
Instead, all they got was a carbon tax.
The carbon tax isn’t simply another Liberal tax grab.
It is so much more than that. It represents a betrayal of trust.
A classic Liberal bait and switch, promising Canadians a plan to lower emissions and protect the environment and instead delivering nothing but a tax to punish taxpayers and pad government revenues.
Canadians remember the Kyoto Accord.
Despite successive majority governments and years of wishful thinking, the Liberals never made progress to meet Kyoto’s emissions targets.
When our previous Conservative government came to power in 2006, Kyoto was out of reach. The Liberals’ inaction had made it impossible to achieve.
Thirteen years later, we are in the same situation.
This time, it is the Paris Agreement. Another international effort to combat climate change, another big promise from a Liberal government asking Canada to do its part.
And another failure.
Just after being elected, Justin Trudeau committed Canada to the Paris Agreement and promised Canadians he would reach its targets – which also happen to be the same targets set by the previous Conservative government: A 30% reduction of 2005 greenhouse gas emissions levels by 2030.
That promise, like so many others from this government, has been broken.
Not only is Canada failing to hit our targets, we are getting further and further away.
In 2016, we were 44 megatonnes over target. In 2017, that number rose to 66 megatonnes. And last year, we were 103 megatonnes over.
Trudeau’s solution? A carbon tax.
A carbon tax that will hit hard-working families the hardest, with higher costs for gasoline, groceries, and home heating.
A carbon tax that won’t apply at all to some of Canada’s biggest emitters, thanks to a sweetheart exemption deal from Justin Trudeau that will allow them to pay no tax on up to 90% of their emissions.
And a carbon tax that will go higher if he’s re-elected.
How high is anybody’s guess. They won’t answer questions when they are put to them.
And just last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that in order to reach Paris, the Liberal Carbon tax would have to be over $100 per tonne – in all 10 provinces, not just those Trudeau has forced his tax on.
With sales taxes, this would add 23 cents a litre to the price of gas and cost an average Ontario family of four about $1,000 more per year.
That’s only the beginning. Trudeau’s own Environment department is already planning for a $300 a tonne carbon tax.
As an environmental policy, the carbon tax is – by every possible measure and projection – a failure of epic proportions.
It makes virtually no contribution to the global fight against climate change.
And it only makes life more expensive for Canadian families and small businesses.
It is simply not as advertised.
We must adopt a new approach. And Conservatives are ready.
We should all be concerned about climate change – about the kind of planet we will leave to future generations.
But the question is not if we are concerned. Or if we should be concerned.
Of course we should be.
The real question is: what should Canada do?
Empty words and symbolic gestures, which are the trademark of the Liberals’ environmental policy, will not help.
Canadians expect results. And Conservatives know that Liberals are great at making promises.
But Conservatives are great at delivering.
Because protecting the environment is a core conservative principle.
Whatever we inherit from those who came before us we must leave in better shape for those who come after us.
And Conservatives have a proud legacy when it comes to managing Canada’s natural environment and improving Canada’s environmental performance.
This legacy spans the full history of our country. The founder of our party and Canada’s first Prime Minister – Sir John A. Macdonald – laid the groundwork for the national parks system and created the first three – Banff, Yoho, and Glacier.
Years later, Prime Minister Robert Borden championed arctic exploration to establish a scientific understanding of our northern frontier.
Prime Minister John Diefenbaker further entrenched Canada’s arctic sovereignty with his Roads to Resources policy while also enshrining in legislation Canadian Environment Week, an annual tradition encouraging environmental action that continues to this day.
Brian Mulroney – named Canada’s greenest Prime Minister in 2006 – negotiated the Canada-United States acid rain treaty, created eight new national parks, and brought in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Canada’s first ever comprehensive pollution law.
The previous Conservative government achieved a net decline of greenhouse gas emissions between 2007 and 2015 through targeted programs in the agriculture, transportation, and energy sectors.
The plan I am announcing today – A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment – builds on our proud Conservative legacy.
Our plan strikes a balance between the need for Canada to combat climate change by reducing global emissions and our core promise of leaving more money in the pockets of Canadians and letting them get ahead.
A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment is built on three guiding principles:
1. Green technology, not taxes.
2. A cleaner and greener natural environment.
3. Taking the climate change fight global.
This plan is the most comprehensive environmental platform ever put forward by a political party in Canada – far surpassing anything Justin Trudeau put out before the 2015 election.
Eleven thousand words.
And fifty-five specific, realistic, and achievable policy commitments.
Now if I were to stand here today and walk you through all of them, we’d be here all night.
So instead, I will deal with the highlights.
First, Conservatives fundamentally believe that you cannot tax your way to a cleaner environment.
Instead, the answer lies in technology.
And A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment recognizes this.
First, we will implement Green Investment Standards that require polluters whose emissions exceed strict limits to invest in emissions-reduction technology specific to their industry.
We will set this limit at 40 kilotonnes per year. That’s 10 kilotonnes stricter than the Liberals’ output-based system.
Under the Conservative plan, it will not be free to pollute – and unlike the Liberal scheme, there will be no sweetheart deals for anybody.
However, rather than simply funneling money to the government as the Liberal plan dictates, emitters who exceed our limits will be required to invest in technology that will lower emissions to fight climate change.
Technology. Not taxes.
The fact is we can actually create more jobs in Canada through technological growth while at the same time lowering global emissions.
This is perhaps the single greatest difference between the Liberal scheme and the Conservative plan.
We will introduce the Green Homes Tax Credit, a two-year plan that will encourage Canadians to improve their homes with emissions-reducing technologies.
In 2017, emissions from buildings accounted for 12% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions. We cannot tackle climate change without making our buildings greener.
Canadianswill be eligible to receive a 20% refundable credit on their income tax for green improvements to their homes of over $1,000 and up to $20,000.
This will allow Canadians to save up to $3,800 on their green renovations in each year.
And we will introduce the Green Patent Credit for green innovators and entrepreneurs who create new emissions-reducing technologies.
This will lower the tax rate from 15% to 5% on income earned from the patent of a new green technology.
Now these are only three of several new policy proposals in our Green technology, not taxes plan.
Our second policy principle – A cleaner and greener natural environment – focuses squarely on protecting our air, land, water, and wildlife.
Canada is home to some of the most beautiful places on the planet.
From Stanley Park and Banff National Park in the west, to the Rocher Percé in Gaspésie to Gros Morne and the Cape Breton Highlands in the east, to Lancaster Sound and Nahanni in the north.
Just last week, I took my family fishing at Rideau Lake. And I watched as my children experienced the beauty and wonder it has to offer.
These areas, and many others, deserve our admiration and protection.
On this note, we will reinforce the protection against pests and invasive species that are threatening our habitats.
We will reinstate constructive consultations on protected areas with stakeholders and Indigenous groups, that were cancelled by the Trudeau Liberals.
We will reinstate funding for wetland, watershed, and fisheries conservation also revoked by the Liberals.
We will reconvene the Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel the Liberals disbanded, so that those with the greatest interest in protecting species and habitats can share their expertise in how it will be done.
We will take real action on reducing plastic waste by harmonizing recycling standards across provinces and working with industry to cut down on excessive packaging.
And we will protect our waterways against wastewater dumping.
Not only this is absolutely disgusting, but it sends the message that our waterways are not important and can be polluted.
As Prime Minister, I will work with municipalities to end this practice.
Finally, our third policy principle – Taking the climate change fight global.
Greenhouse gas emissions do not recognize borders.
Nor are the impacts of climate change proportional to any one country’s emissions.
Whether emissions are reduced in Canada or in China, the scientific impact on global climate change is the exact same.
We don’t do the world any favours by driving investment and jobs away from Canada – where energy is cleaner and environmental standards are higher – and into the welcoming arms of countries with dirtier sources of energy and lower environmental standards.
Under that scenario, the Liberal scenario, everybody loses.
Canada loses jobs. And global emissions go up.
Canada could stop everything tomorrow. Natural resource development. Mining. Manufacturing. Agriculture. Everything. And it would mean almost nothing.
Justin Trudeau said so himself.
He said, quote, “Even if Canada stopped everything tomorrow, and the other countries didn’t have any solutions, it wouldn’t make a big difference.”
If you shut down Canada’s entire economy for a year, China would replace all our emissions within 3 weeks.
The fact is Canada will not make a meaningful contribution to fighting climate change by focusing only on our own emissions.
We must look beyond our borders.
This is the fresh new perspective Canada needs. And as Prime Minister, it will be mine.
It starts with exporting our environmental excellence.
I truly believe in the innovation and ingenuity of Canadians. And I am proud of what we have accomplished.
Our best and brightest are ready to make their mark on the global stage by reducing the emissions of the biggest world emitters.
Take liquified natural gas, or LNG, as an example.
LNG has tremendous potential to lower global emissions while also growing the Canadian economy.
By expanding our LNG capacity, we can help counties like China transition away from coal and dramatically lower global emissions.
Or take carbon capture and storage.
If China outfitted only 100 of its 3,000 coal plants with Canadian carbon capture and storage technology, they could eliminate more than 300 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year – nearly half of what Canada’s entire economy produces.
Our Real Plan to Protect Our Environment not only acknowledges these scientific realities, it lays out specific ways to get results that will bring us closer to our emissions reductions targets.
First, we will bring in a Green Expansion Accelerator that will provide targeted capital cost allowances to industries, like LNG, that can be shown to reduce emissions in other countries.
And we will create the new Canadian Clean Brand, a product designation that will communicate to the world which technologies can lower emissions around the world.
In closing, I would like to say a few words about the Paris Agreement.
Canada’s targets in this Agreement are Conservative targets.
The Liberals claim they are their targets, but they have put Canada on the wrong path.
We believe our plan is Canada’s best chance to meet the Paris targets.
In fact, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, in his report last week, made a point of saying that technological advancement and adoption alone could lower our baseline emissions by 101 megatonnes by 2030.
If that is true for Canada, imagine what Canadian technology can do for the world.
Now in closing, I want to say a few words about how we got here.
More and more Canadians are realizing that paying a tax isn’t going to help the environment.
That a carbon tax is not an environmental plan.
They are looking for a real plan.
A plan that is realistic and achievable.
A plan that doesn’t punish them for living their lives while acknowledging the truly global nature of the climate change problem.
That is our plan. The Conservative plan.
As history shows, it is Conservatives who have guided our progress towards real and significant environmental protection.
We did it before and we will do it again.
Climate change is real. And it represents a serious threat not only to Canada, but to our entire planet.
So we owe it to our children, who will inherit from us this great and beautiful country, to preserve the environment they will be entrusted to protect.
I am a father of five. And they mean absolutely everything to me. Everything I do in this job, I do for them.
And just as Conservatives will not leave our children a fiscal deficit, we will also not leave them an environmental deficit.
That is my vision for Canada.