There has been some interest in why Conservatives voted this week to support the Paris Accord on Climate Change. Please permit me to share a few reflections with you.
Despite what the current government would like many Canadians to believe, the emission targets agreed to in the Paris Accord are actually those negotiated by our previous Conservative government under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. My vote in favour of the motion was a vote in favour of the Harper government’s targets, and NOT the Liberal’s job-killing carbon tax.
To be clear, a carbon tax is not imposed through the Paris Accord. It is nothing more than a Liberal-generated cash grab that hurts families and punishes job creators, while accomplishing nothing when it comes to bettering the environment.
I believe it’s important to note that the Paris Accord requires nations to set their own emissions targets and these targets are non-binding. Canada’s only obligation under the agreement is periodic reporting on our emissions, which we do anyways. The "rules" under the Paris Accord do not oblige any particular policy action. You can see a copy here.
It’s also worth pointing out that under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, greenhouse gas emissions actually went down—without industry being undercut, and without the imposition of new taxes. As we move forward, I don’t believe it serves us well to argue about the science of climate change, but rather focus on standing FOR scientific advancement, innovation, and the advancement of industry, while taking a stand against the Liberal’s carbon tax.
I believe we would do much more damage to our country’s industry by publicly opposing a non-binding agreement, than by being a part of the agreement while defending Canadian industry and our Conservative record. If we were to pull out of the agreement, it would result in a big target being placed on our back and would make market access difficult for Canadian businesses.
At the end of the day, the motion put forward by the Liberals had one purpose only, and that was to use an already ratified agreement to back the Conservatives into a corner and try to make us look bad. I am grieved that the current government is more interested in grandstanding than it is in taking action to advance Canadian commerce, natural resource development, and the health and conservation of our environment.