Thank you for visiting my website. I hope this offers you useful information on the work I am doing as Regina-Wascana’s Member of Parliament.
If you have any questions or comments about any federal program or service, or need help dealing with any department or agency of the Government of Canada, please don’t hesitate to contact my Constituency Office. It is an honour to serve our community.
An important debate is underway in Saskatchewan about the tools to use to combat the accelerating impacts of climate change. Significant tax reductions should be part of the plan.
With more frequent, more severe and more damaging cycles of droughts and wildfires, storms and floods — which extract a heavy toll in Saskatchewan — it’s clear that a more volatile climate imposes costly risks and that man-made air pollution (from carbon emissions and other sources) is a big part of the problem.
Virtually everyone agrees that we need to prevent the worst climate change consequences as much as possible, and find ways to adapt to what we won’t be able to avoid. The debate is about how best to do that. A revenue-neutral approach like British Columbia has taken would enable the Saskatchewan government to safeguard this province’s competitiveness while cutting both property and income taxes.
Climate change is a tough, global problem. But we can’t just wish it away. It’s real and has to be dealt with. If solutions were easy, they would have been implemented long ago. People of goodwill hold strong and differing opinions about what to do. To be productive and find the best way forward, the discussion needs to stay factual and respectful.
As shown in Saskatchewan’s recent “White Paper on Climate Change”, there’s a lot of common ground among all levels of government about the investments needed in new technology and adaptation. The Government of Canada has undertaken to help with these. But differences persist around “carbon pricing” — that is, putting a price on the pollution that lies at the source of the problem.
It’s an odd thing about our society that we charge heavily for good things like fresh water, but there’s almost no charge at all on damaging things like air pollution. A price on pollution would provide an incentive to slow carbon emissions and stimulate technological innovation. Moreover, as other nations adopt carbon pricing to meet their emission reduction targets, more economic opportunities will be created for Saskatchewan.
A price on pollution would, for example, strengthen and expand markets for Saskatchewan’s important “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) technology. Not only can CCS help remove significant volumes of carbon coming from local coal-fired power plants, it can also be sold globally to countries like China and India. But it’s expensive, and the economics aren’t sufficiently attractive if pollution is essentially “free”.
Pricing carbon also strengthens Saskatchewan’s credentials to advocate for greater pipeline capacity to transport our valuable natural resources. It would also generate new revenue for the provincial government.
The idea has been discussed for years. It was explicitly promised during last year’s election, in the Throne Speech last November, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference last December in Paris, and at meetings of Canada’s First Ministers earlier this year in Vancouver.
Support crosses party lines and jurisdictions.
One version of carbon pricing was first implemented 10 years ago by a right-of-centre provincial government in British Columbia. That government is still in office today, and that province has the strongest economy in the country with the best record for slowing carbon emissions.
Different but essentially equivalent pricing approaches have been adopted in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.
The principle has been described by Reform Party founder, Preston Manning, as “a good idea” which he “wholeheartedly support(s)”. It is also endorsed by a new conservative advocacy group called “Clean Prosperity” led by Mark Cameron, a former senior policy advisor to Stephen Harper.
The Conservative Opposition leader in Ontario says he supports carbon pricing. So does the new Conservative Premier of Manitoba.
In the private sector, the business executives who lead Canada’s major petroleum and mining companies endorse the concept. So do insurance companies and financial institutions, because they see big losses accruing from the damages caused by climate change. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has long been an advocate for putting a price on pollution. So are many municipalities because of the serious risks to their infrastructure.
Here are some of the core elements of a national pollution pricing plan:
In addition — quite apart from the province’s revenue from pollution pricing — the Government of Canada will be making substantial new investments in Saskatchewan to help drive greater growth.
This could include major science and technology projects like CCS, crop production and others. It could help build smart power grids to link large emitters to hydro power with no emissions at all. It could invest in large-scale water conservation and development projects to better manage damaging flows from storms and floods, while expanding the province’s economic base through irrigation, more diversified agriculture, and in other fields like tourism and recreation.
All of this enhances the economic and environmental credibility we need to get our vital natural resources to market.
The bottom line is a more prosperous, diversified, cleaner and successful Saskatchewan.
Like everyone else, I can remember exactly where I was on that clear, sunny September morning in 2001 when terrorists struck viciously at the United States – in New York City, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania.
I was Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and I was co-chairing a meeting in Quebec City of all federal/provincial/territorial Ministers of energy. As we watched the horror unfolding and the twin towers collapsing, all our thoughts turned to loved ones, family and neighbours, and then we immediately turned our agenda to the protection of Canada’s vital energy production and transmission infrastructure.
Now, 15 years later, I have the honour to serve as Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness. And yesterday (Sunday, September 11th, 2016) it was my responsibility to join with the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation in a memorial ceremony in Ottawa to honour all firefighters for their service and sacrifice.
This event is held every year at about this time, but it was particularly powerful and poignant this year because 2016 is the 15th anniversary of the horrific attacks on 9-11.
Nearly 3,000 innocent lives were snuffed out, including 24 Canadians. Some 343 members of the New York City Fire Department were killed in the line of duty.
That day is etched in blood and terror, but from that brutality arose a legacy of heroes – from the people in Gander providing food and shelter for thousands of suddenly stranded travellers, to the valiant First Responders running INTO harm’s way in lower Manhattan.
One and all, they showed the very best of the human spirit, the last drop of devotion, and the core of steel that upholds the open, inclusive, generous, democratic way in which we want to live our lives.
Firefighters were ALWAYS heroes. But since 9-11, their image everywhere has become synonymous with service, duty, honour, valour, sacrifice and defiance in the face of those who would attack our way of life.
Going forward, we will honour that spirit by rooting the purpose and intent of all our national security policies in two simultaneous goals – to be effective in keeping Canadians safe, and to safeguard the precious rights and freedoms that make Canada, Canada.
We will never allow fear, hate and division to scar who we are and what we stand for.
Eleven years ago, as Canada’s Finance Minister, I had the privilege of launching a new form of revenue-sharing between the Government of Canada and every municipality in the country. It was called the federal Gas Tax transfer and was implemented in the Budget which I tabled in the House of Commons on February 23, 2005.
The purpose was to provide municipal governments with a new and substantial stream of revenue which they could use to upgrade their local community infrastructure. It was calculated as a proportion of the federal Excise Tax collected on gasoline sales and distributed across the country on a per capita basis.
Clean, simple, fair and transparent – the federal Gas Tax transfer rapidly became very popular with cities, towns, villages and rural communities everywhere. In addition to augmenting their local revenues, the transfer was also a gesture of federal respect toward the value and validity of local decision-making.
Every federal government since has preserved or enhanced what we first launched in 2005.
Nationally, the federal Gas Tax transfer totals some $2-billion annually. Saskatchewan’s share on a per capita basis is close to $60-million per year. The first instalment for half that amount has already been delivered in 2016. The other half will come later in the year.
For individual municipalities, it’s all proportional. In a small community like my home town of Wilcox, the transfer is worth about $20,000. For my home city of Regina, it’s worth more than $11.5-million.
Altogether since 2005, this transfer has contributed more than $485-million to community infrastructure projects of all kinds from one end of Saskatchewan to the other.
This is just one component of the federal government’s infrastructure investment plan. Including the federal Gas Tax transfer, the Building Canada Fund, the new federal funding streams for Transit, Social Infrastructure and Green projects, a one-time Strategic Investment Fund for education and science, and direct capital projects undertaken entirely within federal jurisdiction – the total federal investment in infrastructure over this coming decade will exceed $120-billion.
Most of that federal funding will leverage additional financial contributions from provinces, municipalities, other institutions and/or the private sector which, together, will generate the largest national infrastructure investment in Canadian history.
This means good jobs and better economic growth in the short term, and even more growth and greater job creation for the future.
See what each Saskatchewan municipality is entitled to this year right here.
Published on Huffington Post
Published on Huffington Post .
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