Parliament Video: Jenny in the House: Imagine what could be achieved if Canada spent $4.5b on climate action instead of a leaky pipeline

On November 6, 2018, Jenny rose to speak about Government spending:

Jenny Kwan (NDP) Vancouver East, BC

"Madam Speaker, back in June, we learned that the Liberal government's financial adviser approached the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, raising the idea of the Canada pension plan investing in the Liberal government's plan to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline. As we know, the pipeline was already 65 years old before the Liberals bought it for $4.5 billion using public funds.

It is bad enough that the Liberal government decided to spend $4.5 billion of public funds on an old leaky pipeline. Imagine if, at the drop of the hat, the Liberals felt the need to truly back up their talk on climate change action and spent $4.5 billion transitioning Canada into a cleaner, greener economy and putting Canada on a pathway to be a global leader in green technology. Imagine what it would be like if that had happened instead.

Even worse, following the deal the senior executives of the Texas oil company the Liberal government bailed out literally laughed all the way to bank, cashing in on $1.5 million in bonuses for just continuing their jobs. It is even worse when this bailout is for a project for which the Federal Court found the National Energy Board's review failed to include the increase in tanker traffic and the negative impact that would have on endangered killer whales, and also failed in its duty to engage in meaningful consultations with first nations before giving the green light to the project.

It is inexcusable that the Liberal government is failing to follow through on its promise to scrap tax subsidies to the fossil fuel industries. Finally, it simply cannot be defended when all these bad decisions are made in the face of the greatest issue facing our generation, which is how we deal with climate action.

Whether it is unprecedented forest fires, record floods, increasingly radical weather patterns, the acidification of our oceans or the melting ice caps, we will be faced with catastrophic situations if we do not take real action now. To limit global temperature increases to 1.5°, Canada needs to lower its emissions to 325 million tonnes by 2030. According to the government's own performance report, we will only get down to 500 million tonnes. We are not even close, and bailing out Texas oil companies will not get us to our targets.

Public tax dollars funding executive bonuses instead of green energy infrastructure will not help us reduce emissions. Continuing to subsidize the fossil fuel industry through generous tax giveaways will not incentivize investment in green technology. Failing to consult with the indigenous people impacted by these ill-advised projects flies in the face of our commitments on reconciliation.

However, the government now sees fit to have its adviser make a pitch to the Canada pension plan to invest in this leaky pipeline. Not only is the government making terrible financial decisions now on climate change, but it is also trying to sell to the Canada pension plan something that would tie future generations to this bad decision. It is the wrong way to go."

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