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References to Climate in the 2019 Canadian Federal Leaders Debate

Here are all the references to climate change from the Canadian federal leaders English Language debate that took place on October 7, 2019. This debate was organized around five themes: Leadership in Canada and the world / Polarization, human rights and immigration / Indigenous issues / affordability and income security / environment and energy.

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Hon. Maxime Bernier:  We are the People’s Party, and we put Canada first. The other leaders on this stage are globalist. They spend your money to buy a seat at the UN Security Council, and also, they are giving your money to other countries to fight climate change in Asia and build roads in Africa. The UN is a dysfunctional organization, and we must be able to fight for our country. Actually, we are the only party that will have a foreign policies that is based on our security and prosperity for our country.

Elizabeth May:  …we really need to renegotiate the World Trade Organization and make it an organization that promotes climate action. We need a World Trade and Climate Organization. We need to support the rule of law and human rights around the world because we are world leaders.


Yves-François Blanchet: How many seconds will we – will you leave me before you jump in? Somebody invoking the truth should not be somebody denying climate change. And the use of socialism seems to come a little bit too easy.

Hon. Maxime Bernier:  I don’t deny climate change.

Elizabeth May:  The Greens are proposing a reinvigorated form of federalism. Modelled after what has been done in Australia, we want a council of Canadian governments. So the federal government, provincial, territorial, municipal, and the local orders of government need a seat at the table; so too do Indigenous leadership – First Nations, Métis, and Inuit – around the same table, finding common ground on urgent issues like health care, on the climate emergency, and working together in the public interest.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: with certain provinces right now, we are fighting on the defining issue of our time because Jason Kenney and Doug Ford and other Conservative Premiers don’t want to do anything on climate change. And we need a government in Ottawa that is going to fight them and fight for Canadians on climate change, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Jagmeet Singh:  Thank you. My question is to Mr. Trudeau. You know, you talk often about how Conservatives cut taxes for the wealthy and cut education and health care and other services. I’d agree with you, and I’ve heard you say this often. So my question is you criticize Mr. Harper on his climate targets but you failed to achieve them. You criticize Mr. Harper on the fact that he cut health care funding; you also cut them. You criticize Mr. Harper and Conservatives on giving billions to billionaires and corporations, but you gave $14 billion more. My question is this. Why do you keep letting down the people that voted for you?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: First thing we did was cut taxes for the middle class and raise them for the wealthiest one percent. And on climate change, after ten years of Stephen Harper doing nothing, in just four years we’ve reached three-quarters of the way to our 2030 targets, which we will meet and surpass. But we know that’s not enough. We’re going to continue to do more, like planting two billion trees, like moving forward on giving money up front so people can retrofit their homes, on making Canada net-zero by 2050. We know how important it is to move forward, and right now Mr. Scheer has promised that the first thing he would do is rip up the only real plan to fight climate change that Canada has ever had.

Elizabeth May:  Thank you. At the beginning of this segment, Mr. Singh pointed out that Mr. Trudeau has not changed the climate targets from those of Mr. Harper. It needs to be said very clearly, and I’m so disappointed because I believed the Liberals in 2015 that they would go with science-based, evidence-based policies. But the target — that Mr. Trudeau is saying he will hit by 2030 is a target for losing the fight against climate change because it ignores the science, it ignores the IPCC advice. On this stage tonight, the Green Party’s the only party with a plan, mission possible, that will –— actually protect us –

Hon Andrew Scheer:  Our plan takes the climate change fight global, recognizing that Canada can do more to fight climate change by exporting our clean technology and helping other countries  — lower their emissions –

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — (crosstalk) the experts are agreed that what a climate plan needs to do is to be ambitious and doable. And of the plans that are forward here on this stage, there’s only one plan that the experts have qualified as both ambitious and doable, and that is the plan that we have begun to put in place over the past four years.

Hon Andrew Scheer:  Mr. Trudeau’s plan is failing. It is making everything more expensive for hardworking Canadians, and he has granted a massive exemption to the country’s largest emitters.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not (crosstalk).

Hon Andrew Scheer:  Our plan takes the climate change fight global, recognizing that Canada can do more to fight climate change by exporting our clean technology and helping other countries –

Hon Andrew Scheer:  — lower their emissions –

Jagmeet Singh:   I’m someone that believes in fighting climate – the fli—fighting the climate crisis.

Elizabeth May:  Thanks, Paige, and hey to UBC. Thank you. I raise my hands to the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territory. We need the kind of leadership that lifts people up, that doesn’t make people feel as if politics is rather disgusting and they’d rather not look at it. We have to restore the idea of real democracy, where every citizen has agency and power to work together. Mission possible for climate action we call all hands on deck. We’re going to need everybody. And to have the kind of democracy that really reflects everyone, we need fair voting. We need to get rad—rid of first past the post because it creates each political party as rival, warring camps, even when the elections are over.

Elizabeth May: Thank you, Susan. My question is to Justin Trudeau. Picking up from this very fractious discussion on Indigenous issues, but let’s face it, right now Indigenous peoples, the Assembly of First Nations are telling us their number one concern is the climate emergency. We need to focus on real solutions. It’s not good enough to have better rhetoric than Mr. Scheer, with all respect to Mr. Singh. It’s not about rhetoric. It’s about a target that’s grounded in science and to do with 60 percent reductions by 2030, not Mr. Singh’s 38 percent, not your 30 percent. Will you, Mr. Trudeau, join with all of us in an inner cabinet that gets rid of the partisanship and says after this election we move to protect our children’s future together?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We recognize that targets are important, and we’re going to be surpassing the targets we inherited, but targets are not a plan. We have a real plan that has delivered over the past four years on our way to banning single-use plastics, on putting a price on pollution right across the money – the country – in a way that returns money to Canadians, that actually makes, unlike what Mr. Scheer is saying, most Canadians better off, 80 percent of Canadians better off, with a price on pollution than they will be when he rips up our climate change if he were to form government after this election. We will continue to do the things that need to be done and bring Canadians along with it. Our plan is realistic and ambitious and doable. That is what Canadians need because the danger of not acting on the environment is tremendous. The danger of not having a plan for our future, either the environment or the economy, is going to be borne by our kids.

Elizabeth May:  The science is clear. Your target is a commitment to failure. That’s why it’s so doable and achievable, because it doesn’t do what the IPCC says we must do. We must go off fossil fuels as quickly as possible, and you bought a pipeline. You can’t be a climate leader and spend ten to $13 billion more on a project that by itself blows through our carbon budget. We have to –

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: A slogan is not a plan, Ms. May.

Elizabeth May:  No, we have a plan, get rid of fossil –

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: A slogan is not a plan. It is an unrealizable plan. Canadians need that action

Elizabeth May:  Not, it has been assessed by (crosstalk) —

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — that is going to actually make us better, fight climate change, protect the environment, and build a stronger economy for our kids. We have done more over the past four years than any government in the history of Canada –

Elizabeth May:  No, that’s not true. Paul Martin did more, but that’s alright. No one remembers the Paul Martin plan in 2005. It was better. But the reality is if you have a fire —

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: There’s much more to do. There’s much more to do. He didn’t deliver on that plan. Over the past four years we delivered on it.

Elizabeth May:  If you have a fire in a four-storey building, getting a one-storey ladder doesn’t do it.

Hon. Andrew Scheer:       That is completely false, and just because you say something over and over and over again doesn’t make it true. There is no Canadian –

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: It would be nice for you to learn that, Mr. Scheer. (Laughter).

Hon. Andrew Scheer:       There is no Canadian that believes they’re going to be better off by paying a carbon tax. You have given a massive exemption to the country’s largest polluters, and your plan is already failing.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: The economists, the experts, the Parliamentary Budget Officer points out 80 percent of Canadians are better off under our climate incentive.

Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk) because he had to trust the numbers you gave him. Nobody believes your numbers, Justin, because you have this –

Jagmeet Singh:  I want to say this directly to Canadians. You do not need to choose between Mr. Delay and Mr. Deny. There is another option. (Laughter). There is another option out there. We are committed to a real plan that’s going to take on the biggest polluters. It’s going to take on the powerful interests because that’s what we need to do. If we want to build a better future, it’s going to mean taking on the powerful.

Elizabeth May:  What is your target?

Jagmeet Singh: That means we’re going to have to cut our emissions by half.

Elizabeth May:  You can take on the powerful, but you need to have a plan that is rooted in the target that saves our kids’ future.

Jagmeet Singh:  It means we’re going to have to reduce our emissions by more than half. You’ve got to take on the powerful at the top. We’re prepared to do that.

Hon. Maxime Bernier: I just want to say (crosstalk). People must know that, Mr. Scheer and Mr. Trudeau, you’re the same on climate change.

Hon. Andrew Scheer: That’s false.

Hon. Maxime Bernier: You want to impose a carbon tax on Canadians and you want to impose more costly –

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I think that’s the most offensive thing you’ve said all night, Max, that we’re the same on climate change.

Hon. Maxime Bernier: You want to impose also a big tax on the big emitters, so you’re the same on climate change and you won’t be able to achieve your target.

Yves-Francois Blanchet: (Crosstalk) I’d like a few seconds with Mrs. May, please. I think you and I have to find some common grounds when we get into that House of Commons –

Elizabeth May: I don’t think it will be on JNL Quebec and the fact that you’re supporting a project that blows through more of the carbon budget against the will of many Quebeckers and threatens the St. Lawrence River.

Yves-Francois Blanchet: This is not what I had in mind, and I have provided answers to that. I think the goal should be down to almost nothing, not 30 percent, not 60 percent, almost nothing. What do you think about this idea of an equalization based on gas emissions? Those who are over the average emissions of Canada pay, and those who are under the average emissions get the money. The (inaudible) is for both parts.

Elizabeth May: What we have to do is work together. And with all due respect, that was the question I asked Mr. Trudeau. Are any of you prepared to accept the notion of changing status quo decision making so we form an internal cabinet based on (crosstalk)?

Yves-Francois Blanchet: (Crosstalk) does not help.

Hon. Andrew Scheer:  We’re going to help fight climate change by bringing in the green home renovation tax credit, which will put money in the pockets of Canadians and help lower emissions, and we’re going to pay for that –

Elizabeth May:  It won’t lower emissions. It will cause them to go through the roof.


Yves-François Blanchet: We propose a kind of equalization that would be based without any constitution change on how provinces perform in fighting climate change. Those who are over the average pay, those who are under the average receive the money, giving a strong encouragement for everybody to reduce — GHG emissions. Now. turning to equalization payments, we need equalization in Canada because we’re a country, we’re a family. We need to think like a family. Your proposal, Mr. Blanchet, would be to put an extra burden on those parts of Canada like Alberta that have the toughest challenge to meet the climate crisis. We’re concerned as Greens that we work together, that we not alienate Alberta…

Elizabeth May: We are facing a climate emergency, and anyone who understands the science – and I hope you do because we all —

Yves-François Blanchet: — very interesting. What is considered as the most progressive system to find climate change so far is this agreement between California and Quebec, this trade exchange system that forces businesses to lower their emission through time, and it works very well. And I was – I had the privilege of completing the negotiation of such a system and signing it. And it should be used elsewhere. Simple taxes that return into the pockets of people without any change in incentive are not the solution. Doing nothing, hoping that, you know, some spirit will come and solve the problem, is no solution either.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: As Mr. Blanchet said, Quebec and other provinces like BC have moved forward with putting a price on pollution. We’ve ensured that that price is put in right across the country because it is a mechanism that will both lower emissions and ensure that Canadians can afford this transition. The choice tonight is very clear between two parties that have very different views on climate change. Mr. Scheer wants to rip up the only serious plan on climate change Canada has ever had the day after the election, and we will continue to do more. We recognize we need to do more to fight climate change. That’s why we’re going to be surpassing our targets. That’s why we’re going to get to net zero by 2050.

Hon. Maxime Bernier:  At the People’s Party, we are the only real environmentalists party. Why? First of all, we want to do things that are possible. We want to do things that are possible to protect our health, our air, our environment, our water. All the other leaders claim to save the world and to save the climate. They cannot. Canada represents only two, 1.6 percent of the green gas emission [sic], and they claim also to be able to achieve the Paris Accord target; they cannot. They have to impose a carbon tax of $300 a tonne to do that and they won’t do it, they don’t do it. They’re hypocrites. We won’t have a tax on carbon and we —

Jagmeet Singh:   We are faced with a climate crisis; there’s no question about it. We’ve got massive forest fires, which make it hard to breathe in some parts of Canada, in the west. We’ve got massive flooding, which means people are losing their homes, in the east. This is a serious crisis. Now, while Mr. Trudeau has said a lot of nice things, let’s look at what he’s done. He said that he’s for the environment, but then he continues to exempt the biggest polluters from his price on pollution. He says he wants to fight the climate crisis and what does he do? He continues to subsidize oil and gas massively. He says he’s a climate leader. What does he do? He buys a pipeline. There’s a big gap between what Mr. Trudeau says —

Hon. Andrew Scheer:   I find myself agreeing with you again, Mr. Singh. On the environment, like so many issues, Justin Trudeau says one thing and then does something completely different. He’s talking about hitting 2050 targets. He can’t even meet 2030 targets. He talks about ripping up a real plan; his plan has been proven to fail. He has given – he has given a massive exemption to the country’s largest polluters. They – and they were able to negotiate themselves up to a 90 percent exemption from his carbon tax. Meanwhile, hardworking commuters, moms and dads taking their kids to school or driving to work, they have to pay the full brunt of that.


Our plan is a real plan that takes the climate change fight global, recognizing that we could shut everything down here tomorrow

Elizabeth May:  You, unlike everyone else on this stage, clearly understand that we’re up against a real climate emergency. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given us hard timelines, challenging targets. If we’re going to do what’s required, it isn’t easy. We don’t grade on a curve and say because a plan is less ambitious, it’s therefore more doable. If it fails to meet the goal of holding global average temperature to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, we fail to give our kids a livable world. Greta Thunberg is right. The house is on fire. Grownups then stand up and say kids, get to safety, we’ve got this. We’ll take care of this for you.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We absolutely have to move faster. We absolutely have to do more, and that’s why we put forward an ambitious plan to continue that is reasonable, that is, that is doable and is going to make sure that we get to not just surpass our 2030 targets, but go beyond it. We’re banning single-use plastics, we’re putting a price on pollution right across the country, and we are fighting those Conservative Premiers who do not want to do their part to fight climate change. We recognize that transition to clean energy will not happen overnight. While we do, we should have less oil by rail and we need to get to new markets so we can invest all the – all the resources, all the money coming in from this pipeline into that green energy transition, into fighting climate change.


I know that’s a big piece of the way we move forward, how we invest in the new economy in that transition, and that’s what we’ve done. The choice tonight is do we pick a government that doesn’t believe in climate change or in fighting it or do we continue on the track we are — and be even more ambitious.

Hon. Maxime Bernier: Mr. Trudeau, I think we agree that we don’t agree on climate change. I believe that there’s no climate emergency. You believe the opposite. But you won’t be able to achieve the Paris Accord target. I’m not saying that. That’s the UN who said that. You need to impose a carbon tax over $300 a tonne and you don’t do that.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: In four years, Mr. Bernier —

Hon. Maxime Bernier:       Elizabeth May, just what – let me finish.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — we got three-quarters of the way there.

Hon. Maxime Bernier:       Elizabeth, she’s right and you’re right. She has a radical plan to fight climate change. It will destroy the economy, but what about you?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — we made it three-quarters of the way to reaching those 2030 targets, and over the next 11 years, including by planting two billion trees, we’re going to get there. But Mr. Sch—Mr. Bernier, what you don’t understand, what Mr. Scheer doesn’t understand, is you cannot build a plan for the future of our economy if you are not building a plan that protects the environment and fights climate change. That’s where both of you are completely wrong.

Jagmeet Singh:  Mr. Trudeau, I know that you say a lot of nice things and you’ve been saying a lot of great things on the stage today. But the problem is that you said a lot of these things in 2015 and you made it sound like you were going to make climate a big priority, but the reality is you did all these things, you bought a pipeline, you continue to subsidize oil and gas, and you continue to exempt the biggest polluters. So what’s it going to take now for Canadians to believe that you’re actually going to follow through on your promises? What’s it going to take for you to follow through on these commitments, because your words are not good enough anymore?

 Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Singh, we have reached three-quarters of the way to achieving our 2030 targets and we’re going to surpass them. And Mr. Singh, Canadians might be surprised to discover that your plan is to build a massive refinery in Alberta. And the only way to do that is with federal subsidies because there’s no private business case for it. Your plan to build a refinery in Alberta is worse for the environment —

Jagmeet Singh: It’s not our plan at all. That was not our plan.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — than building a pipeline to the (crosstalk) better place for our, our —

Jagmeet Singh:  I don’t know – that’s no way our commitment  — not our plan. I don’t know where you got that from. It’s not our plan. We would immediately end fossil fuel subsidies, we’d immediately invest in clean energy —

Jagmeet Singh: — we’d immediately do what’s needed.

Hon. Andrew Scheer:  When Justin Trudeau took office, there were three major pipeline projects ready to go. Under his watch, all of them have failed. He had to take $4.5 billion of Canadian tax money to put the Trans Mountain Pipeline on life support, and he did that by sending $4.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to another country, to the United States, to be invested in the oil and gas sector there instead of here in Canada. His answer for his rationale for having two campaign planes was that he bought carbon offsets, which is just a thing that privileged people can do —

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: No. Mr. Scheer —

Hon. Andrew Scheer:       — to keep polluting.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk) I did not —

Hon. Andrew Scheer:       (Crosstalk) have to keep paying more.

Rosemary Barton:             Mr. Scheer, Mr. Scheer, Mr. Trudeau’s chance to respond.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Scheer, you did not buy carbon offsets for your transport because you don’t believe that climate change is real. You need to  — actually act in – you need to act in a way that is responsible, Mr. Scheer, and your plan is to rip up the only serious plan to fight climate change

Hon. Andrew Scheer:  Your plan is failing.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — that Canada has ever had. Canadians know— how important this is.

Elizabeth May:  To avoid catastrophic levels of global warming, we must double our current target, we must listen to science. We must not build the Trans Mountain Pipeline. It’s not the last because it gets cancelled if we’re serious. You can’t negotiate with physics. You can’t, as Prime Minister, you can’t as leader of the Liberal Party. There’s a carbon budget, it doesn’t budget. And that’s why it’s so heartbreaking for me to look at you today and know you could have done so much more the last four years. Please God you don’t get a majority this time around because…

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: From the Rockies —

Elizabeth May: — you won’t keep your promises.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — from the Rockies to the Bay of Fundy, Conservative Premiers have gotten elected on promises to do nothing on climate change, and we need a strong federal government to fight them to make sure that we are moving forward on protecting the future generations from the impacts of climate change.

Elizabeth May:  But your goal is a target for failure. When you hang on to Harper’s target of 30 percent by 2030, you are —

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We are going to pass that target.

Elizabeth May:  — pre-destining us. Well, you better get to double that target or you never get to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Yves-François Blanchet: Mr. Trudeau, you claim to have done a lot, but Canada is the worst emitter of GHG in the G20 per capita. So that’s not much of a success. But I have two questions from Quebec. First, will you agree with the demand of the Prime Minister of Quebec, Mr. Legault, that Quebec overview and environmental issues will have precedence over Canada’s overview? Second question, do you promise, after this judgment in British Columbia to not ever try to have a pipeline cross Quebec, ever?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: After ten years of Mr. Harper’s failures to get things built because he did not understand you have to work with Indigenous peoples, you have to work with local communities, you have to respect environmental science, we brought in a process that does exactly that. And we work with the provinces on ensuring that there’s not —

Yves-François Blanchet: Please answer. It’s ten seconds.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — a duplication of environmental – environmental oversight. That’s what Bill C-69 is all about. We know that the way we move forward is responsible and will be done —

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — in partnership

Jagmeet Singh: I want to just put in what this election’s all about. This election’s all about who’s going to fight for you, who’s going to stand up for you. And we’ve seen with Mr. Trudeau, he says nice words, but he gave $6 billion in corporate loan write-offs last year, $14 billion to the richest corporations. He keeps tax havens open, he keeps loopholes open. He hasn’t closed them in four years. We’re in it for people. We’re not in it for the rich. We’re going to deliver universal pharmacare for all, we’re going to deliver dental care programs, we’re going to invest in housing, we’re going to fight the climate crisis like we need to win it.

Jagmeet Singh:  — to hold to account this government, to form government in the next election.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: …because the fight against climate change, the fight for the future of our economy matters, and that’s the choice —

Elizabeth May:  We have completely mischaracterized our response to the climate emergency as something that somehow doesn’t help the economy. You have the biggest global economic opportunity in the history of humankind — in moving all fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I agree.

Elizabeth May:  But then you’re keeping fossil fuels going because your target is exactly half of what’s required. If this election is anything, it’s about trust and ethics, and we are in a climate emergency. We need grownups in the room to take responsibility.

Hon. Andrew Scheer: The fact of the matter is under Justin Trudeau, life will continue to get more expensive. He will continue to raise taxes. His carbon tax will go up. He’s afraid to tell you how much it will go up by. Under the Conservative plan, we’ll balance the budget, protect core services, and lower taxes for all Canadians.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Our price on pollution helps Canadians more – than removing it does.

Elizabeth May: Climate emergency —

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