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Bill 16 the Climate and Green Plan - asking for details of the amendments

On Monday October 22, I asked in Question Period for the government to table the amendments it is to make to Bill 16 its Climate and Green Plan Implementation Act. This bill had passed second reading October 4th.  Premier Brian Pallister had announced the day before that he was going to remove the carbon tax from this bill.  But in order to remover the carbon tax this meant very large changes to Bill 16.   The bill was originally to go to committee on October 11, but Manitoba Liberals delayed this so that more people would be aware of the committee meeting and the major changes being proposed by the Conservatives.   So with the committee meeting coming up (it was held October 24th and 25th), I asked the Conservatives to provide the precise details of their amendments to Bill 16 so that presenters at the committee meeting would have this information before they presented.  As you will see below, the Conservatives refused to provide this information.  In fact they did not release the details of the amendments until after all presenters on bill 16 had made their presentations.  

Climate and Green Plan Act

Request to Table Amendments
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the Premier has done a complete about-face on Bill 16, his plan to address climate change and to save the planet.
      We will soon have committee meetings on the Premier's plan, or lack of it, to address climate change. [interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order.
Mr. Gerrard: People wishing to present at the committee would like to know the specifics of the   amendments the Premier will put forward–[interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order.
Mr. Gerrard: –to Bill 16 so that they can provide useful advice on saving the planet.
      Will the Premier table today his amendments to Bill 16 so that all will know the specific changes he's proposing?
Hon. Rochelle Squires (Minister of Sustainable Development): I'd like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to everybody who signed up to present to Bill 16 committee last week, and I'd like to say shame on that member and his Liberal caucus for having members of the public come down to this Chamber, to this Legislative Building, to make their voices heard, only to be thwarted by that member playing politics.
      So shame on him, and I certainly hope that he will not do that again this week when we invite–
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a supplementary question.
Mr. Gerrard: The Premier wanted to take this to committee without the amendments, without people knowing what was going to be in this new bill after he'd ripped it apart.
      Now, even with the price on pollution in the original bill, it was pretty darn weak. And now, without a price on pollution, major improvements are clearly needed. The IPCC is saying there's a greater urgency–[interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order.
Mr. Gerrard: –than ever to save the planet. William Nordhaus is being recognized with a Nobel Prize for work showing that putting a price on pollution is effective.
      What is the full extent of the changes the Premier's proposing? What will the new bill look like?
Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): I'm really appreciative of the member's preamble because we now finally, for the first time, have a position that's different with the Ottawa-west and Ottawa-east. Because Ottawa-east has said that they want to introduce a lower levy than the one we had originally proposed. That's what they said: a lower levy. And the member just went on record as saying it's not high enough.
      So good. Good for him. He and Prime Minister Trudeau are in conflict with one another. Now he's got disagreement with Ottawa-east. Congratulations.
      We're taking the carbon tax out of the bill. [interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order.
Mr. Pallister: We're taking the carbon tax out of the bill because it's dangerous for Manitoba and its future, and the people of Manitoba will benefit from that amendment. [interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order.
      The honourable member for River Heights, on a final supplementary.
Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, Bill 16 without the price on pollution is like a ghost bill without a physical framework. Economists are clear: putting a price on pollution is much less restrictive to businesses and more economically efficient than regulatory approaches. The Premier actually said that before.
      Businesses need to know what regulatory approaches the Premier will take. It's only reasonable for the Premier to release his amendments ahead of time, as he now opposes the central premise of what was Bill 16.
      Will the Premier please table his amendments today so that presenters to Bill 16 know what the government plans at committee stage?
Mr. Pallister: Well, Madam Speaker, the member seems confused, and he wasn't confused in the '90s when he served as a Member of Parliament and cut health-care transfers to the provinces. He wasn't confused then. He supported reducing support for health care in the 1990s. And now, I don't know how we can get it any simpler for him: we're taking the carbon tax out of the bill.
      It's as straightforward as it can possibly be. We're saying no to the carbon tax. We're saying yes to green. We're going to move ahead with our green initiatives, Madam Speaker. There are many of them and we're serious about them. But the NDP and Liberals now have to fight over who wants to raise the carbon tax higher so they can go after that special-interest vote that they're so concerned about.
      Madam Speaker, the people we're concerned about are the people that are going to have to pay $1,500 more a year for higher home heating and gas for their vehicles. We're concerned about them.
      Madam Speaker, we'll stand up for Manitobans. He can stand up for Ottawa.


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