Special to Niagara Now/The Lake Report
Climate change is an important issue facing our generation and generations that will come after us. Human activities are having a real impact on the environment worldwide, and to deny this, is a failure to understand the issue.
I have been proud of both Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s commitment to fight climate change and protect the environment, and in the necessary leadership he has demonstrated in this important policy area.
In April 2021, Mr. O’Toole released our party's plan to fight climate change and protect our environment. It pledges to accomplish this without doing it on the backs of hard-working Canadians. Our plan will also better support Canadians who struggle to get by, as goods, services, and life overall, have become more expensive from inflation and ever-increasing federal taxes, because of this unsustainable Liberal government.
Within our proposed climate change plan, a Conservative government would scrap the federal carbon tax and work with the provinces to implement an innovative Personal Low Carbon Savings Account. This would maintain a consumer price on carbon but without one penny going to the government. You keep your money for yourself and decide how to best spend it on environmentally friendly products.
Our plan also commits to requiring that 15 per cent of the natural gas we use to fuel transit fleets, generate electricity, power industry, and heat homes and businesses be renewable by 2030.
It further includes commitments to work with the Biden administration in the United States to set minimum North American standards for key industrial sectors, backed up by border carbon tariffs to prevent leakage of emissions – and jobs – to countries with lower environmental and emissions standards, like China.
Getting more zero-emission vehicles on the road, developing markets for Canadian nuclear technology and natural gas, and rapidly accelerating the deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) are also key parts of our party's plan.
Canadians have seen that the Liberal approach to climate change is one of big government taxes and phasing out key private sector jobs at a time when we need them most. Our plan puts consumers in the driver’s seat and will reduce emissions while preserving jobs in all sectors of the economy.
My Liberal opponent recently wrote an opinion piece for The Lake Report that said she is “proud of the leadership our federal government demonstrated from 2015-2019 in fighting climate change after 10 years of inaction by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.”
Good thing it’s her opinion because the reality is that between 2015 and 2019, the Trudeau Liberals adopted the same emission targets the Harper government had established – the same ones they criticized in the past two elections.
And yet, what has happened over the six years they have been in office? According to an Environment Canada report in April 2021, greenhouse gas emissions in Canada actually increased in 2019 over the previous year.
But we should not be surprised by this lack of leadership from Justin Trudeau.
Remember, it was 2013 when Justin Trudeau admitted that he holds a level of admiration for China because their “basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.”
Let us not forget that same economy belongs to a communist-led Chinese government that continues to imprison our citizens, commits acts of genocide against the Uyghur Muslim minority in their country, and is still powered by dirty coal – generating power, producing some of the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
According to the international research company Rhodium Group, in 2019, China’s emissions not only eclipsed those of the U.S. — the world’s second-largest emitter — but also, for the first time, surpassed the emissions of all developed countries combined.
Simply put, when real leadership is needed in the world, Justin Trudeau continues to be missing in action.
And when my Liberal opponent blatantly lies in her opinion piece by writing, “Conservatives under Erin O’Toole continue to ignore climate change,” she should issue an apology for misleading readers of The Lake Report.
Tony Baldinelli is the Conservative MP for the riding of Niagara Falls.