MPP Tabuns asks the Premier a question:
Link to the Exchange - video on YouTube
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Speaker, this question is directed to the Premier.
Moments ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against the Premier and his Conservative campaign against action on the climate crisis. To quote the court: “Climate change is real ... and it poses a grave threat to humanity’s future.”
After years of wasted time and millions spent in losing court battles, is the Premier prepared to admit he was wrong, and to stop attacking efforts to fight the climate crisis?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to respond.
Hon. Jeff Yurek: Thanks to the member opposite for that question.
What we have done since day one of being elected, and which we’ll continue to do, is continue to fight for affordability for families and small businesses throughout this province.
We don’t disagree that climate change is a threat to this province and to this country. We want the same things that everyone wants—to reduce our GHG emissions, to protect our air, land and water. We want a strong climate plan. However, we want to take a different path. We believe there’s a different path, moving forward to achieve our goals, and it’s not necessarily what the members opposite are pushing. We think that we can move forward to reduce our GHG emissions and achieve our targets, and at the same time protect our air, land and water.
I’m proud to say that we have our first-ever strategy on hydrogen going forward with this government. We have our emissions reduction for heavy-duty vehicles going forward. And we have our emissions performance standards, which we are working with the federal government to implement in order to attack those heavy polluters in this province and reduce their emissions.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Again, back to the Premier: We need a Green New Democratic Deal to fight climate change and build a sustainable Ontario.
The government lost at the appeals court, and they lost at the Supreme Court. They wasted money putting stickers on gas pumps to show just how angry they were, and those stickers didn’t even stick. But anger won’t address the climate crisis; only real action will.
This is a government that wants to pave over wetlands to build warehouses and that calls carbon pricing a green scam.
When will they wake up, smell the coffee and start tackling the climate crisis the way Ontarians want them to?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will please take their seats.
The Minister of the Environment.
Hon. Jeff Yurek: Thanks again for that supplemental from the member opposite.
What we do believe is that we’re able to have a balance between a healthy, strong environment and a healthy economy. Through that healthy economy, we could put more efforts behind fighting climate change and we could put more efforts protecting our land, air and water.
For the members opposite, just to continue—not only have we introduced Ontario’s first hydrogen strategy consultation, but we have our climate change advisory panel reporting soon. We also are doing an impact assessment across this province for climate change to see how we can build resilience and change through communities throughout the province to prepare for the changes due to climate change. We’ve increased the renewable content of gasoline.
We are going to be moving forward with phasing out the total use of coal within this province—something that wasn’t completed by the previous government, something that was started originally by the previous Progressive Conservative government that is going to be finalized by a Progressive Conservative government.
We are going to continue our investment of $30 million into wetlands and our $20-million greenlands partnership program as we move forward to protect our land, air and water and fight climate change.