October 3, 2016

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-10-03 16:36 [p.5400]

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great privilege this afternoon to speak to Motion No. 8, the Paris climate change accord. I will be sharing my time this afternoon with the member for Wellington—Halton Hills.

Canadians coast to coast want a say in this issue of climate change. It is interesting. From the the Paris agreement, the Liberal government has all of a sudden adopted the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that were set by the previous Conservative government. Imagine that. The previous government, I will just let members know, set the 30% reduction of GHG by 2030 over the 2005 levels.

Granted, this is an ambitious goal, although it gives businesses time for planning to address the global emissions. We need a fair and effective approach to international efforts on climate change, and this must, as we all know in the House, include all of the world’s major emitters of greenhouse gases. Keep in mind, Canada represents only 1.6% of the global GHGs. Our government established reduction targets. We went from 1.9% down to 1.6% in our time of government.

The Province of Saskatchewan is trying to be a leader, as we all know, in carbon capture technology. Carbon capture technology can help to minimize CO2 emissions. While it might not be perfect in certain situations in the eyes of some environmentalists, it is seen as a way for the world to transform to renewable energy. There has to be a balance, as coal-fired power plants may still have sustainable life, not only in my province of Saskatchewan, but next door, in Alberta. Using these facilities will extend the life of many jobs and many local communities in these two provinces, not to mention that there should be some spin-off in selling this technological change worldwide. We can all point to China, as the Chinese are now building one new thermal coal plant every 10 days or so.

Right now, the Boundary Dam near Estevan is one such area in the province that is trying to be that world leader. The Boundary Dam has captured one million tonnes of CO2 this past year. That is equivalent to 240,000 cars being taken off the road, in a province that only has a population of 1.1 million. Saskatchewan mining operations continue to reduce the energy and water usage, and the GHG emissions, through initiatives such as heat recovery co-generation, continuous mining, remote control mining, and the use of electric vehicles. I saw this first-hand when I visited one of the mines about two weeks ago in Allan, Saskatchewan.

This takes time, and with the economy on the brink of disaster, time is needed. That is why the Province of Saskatchewan and our opposition government on this side of the House do not support the Vancouver declaration. Once the lone wolf of reason, Saskatchewan has recently been joined by all three territories, and now Nova Scotia.

Brad Wall, the Premier of Saskatchewan, said today in the legislature, “The level of disrespect shown by the Prime Minister and his government is [ridiculous]. Today is “stunning” in the House of Commons”. Wall made the comments to the Regina Leader-Post, saying the PM unilaterally imposed the carbon on the provinces and the territories. The premier said, “This meeting [this morning was] not worth the CO2 emissions it took for [all] environment ministers to [head to Montreal for discussions…]. This is a betrayal of the statements made by the Prime Minister in Vancouver this March.” That was when they had their meetings.

The Saskatchewan environment minister, Scott Moe, also said today, “the carbon tax will cost each family in [Saskatchewan] about $1,250 a year and the province $2.5 billion, while at the same time threatening jobs in the energy sector. […][facing] a tax could be on par with Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program [introduced in the 1980s].”

We all know what that led to: ongoing animosity between western provinces and Liberal governments.

I might add that Aaron Wudrick, from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, also slammed the current government, in that an average Canadian family could pay nearly $2,600 per year in new taxes by 2022. Canadians should hang on to their wallets.

These are the numbers that are now coming out. We had not talked about these numbers until I brought them to the House: $1,250 per family in Saskatchewan, and nearly $2,600 per family by the year 2022.

SaskPower, by 2030, wants to be 50% renewables: hydro, wind, solar, and geothermal. There is no guarantee on wind, so it needs to back that up with gas generation.

Saskatchewan, as we all know, and as has been mentioned before in the House, has three coal-fired power plants in the province: Boundary Dam, Shand, and Poplar River. Saskatchewan feels that it is being singled out unfairly over this carbon tax, dealing with agriculture, with vehicles, and with utilities. Other provinces, like Manitoba, B.C., and Quebec, have the advantage with hydro, which may be the cleanest resource of them all. All three provinces are exporting to the United States. Therefore I ask: Would Manitoba sell its hydro to a province like Saskatchewan cheaper than it does to the United States, which it is currently doing today?

I was also reminded on Friday night, when I was going back home, that Saskatchewan companies right now, like many in this country, are exploring all possibilities on new energy. The former Liberal MP, Gary Merasty, is president of Des Nedhe Development. It is in my riding of Saskatoon—Grasswood. Many of its workers were on the same plane that I was, from Toronto to Saskatoon, on Friday night. We had a good handful of officials, and they had been in Germany looking at wind power possibilities. The Saskatoon delegation, somewhat upbeat I might say about their exploratory trip, were feeling that it may help their situation back home in Saskatchewan. This is what companies in Saskatchewan and Canada are doing. They are reaching out worldwide and sharing information.

We fundamentally oppose efforts by the current federal government to increase the overall tax burden of Canadian taxpayers. I gave members the numbers earlier: $1,250 for each family in Saskatchewan, and nearly $2,600 Canada-wide for every family by 2022.

On the overall tax burden on Canadian taxpayers, and certainly over what the plan would look like, we are chasing away investment. This has resulted, as we all know, in the loss of thousands of Canadian jobs in Alberta and Saskatchewan, all dealing with the oil and gas sector. It has had major impacts on those two provinces, along with Labrador and Newfoundland.

What is really disturbing is a recent report released by Meyers Norris Penny, which showed that 64% of people in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are living within $200 a month of not being able to pay their bills and debt. Laid-off workers and families are not the only ones who are hurting now.

Adam Legge, the president of Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said that, “greenhouse operations [in Alberta] will be taxed for carbon-incentive products they currently use, such as fertilizers”.

The reason that the Saskatchewan government turned down a wind power project near Chaplin, Saskatchewan the environment minister said, was that “potential impacts on migratory birds were [simply] too great”. This is the reason that the government could not approve the project.

I might add that groups like Ducks Unlimited also have a big say in western Canada. We have a great Ducks Unlimited organization in our province. It has done a tremendous amount of work.

A previous Conservative government reduced the carbon emissions and grew the economy. We are stalled right now, and that is why provinces and the territories today are more than skeptical about the Vancouver declaration developing a pan-Canadian network on clean growth and climate change.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-10-03 16:47 [p.5402]

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the hon. member heard my speech. I talked openly about the premier of Saskatchewan today and the level of disrespect shown by the Prime Minister and the government in the House of Commons today.

The people of Saskatchewan are not happy. When they find out their taxes are going up $1,250 by Saskatchewan statistics, we are not going to be happy coast to coast to coast.

I was happy about the Paris accord, but I am certainly not happy with the Vancouver declaration and will not vote for it in this.
Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-10-03 16:49 [p.5402]

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, there are companies in the province of Saskatchewan and elsewhere in Canada that are going worldwide. We all know that we want to work on fair climate change plan, but what does it look like? My province right now has unemployment of nearly 8%. Next door in Alberta it is over 8%. So where are we going? All I am saying is that there needs to be a balance, which takes time because government and business need to get on the same page, which does not happen overnight.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-10-03 16:50 [p.5402]

Mr. Speaker, it is not revenue neutral. We were told today in this place that it is revenue neutral. We already have stories out there. The price of gas is going up 11.5¢ a litre. In my province, we import a lot of vegetables in the winter. We cannot grow vegetables when it is minus 40°, so this is not going to be revenue neutral. We have been told by the premier of Saskatchewan that it is going to cost families $1,250 a year. We have been told by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation that it is going to cost homeowners over $2,600 a year by the year 2022. We were told this is revenue neutral. I say to the members across the way, as the premier of Saskatchewan said today, it is not revenue neutral.

The full debate can be found online at:  http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=42&Ses=1&DocId=8467027