Madam Speaker, there is a strange atmosphere in here. There are two extremes in the House, both of which are panicking over the polls. In fact, I could even say there are three extremes.
The government is starting to make last-minute decisions in a panic. If there is one point on which I could agree with the Conservatives, it is that panic has gripped the government, spurring it to make poor decisions, such as last week's announcement. The parties are caught in what I will call populism, meaning that they propose any old thing and toss slogans around. The Bloc Québécois just saw the proof once again. We asked for an explanation, but we received a string of slogans by way of an answer. No doubt they will make great sound bites, but they ring hollow.
I will talk about the absence of truth, the trick that certain political parties have of proposing any old thing to the House, not for the purpose of benefiting the common good or helping the citizens of Quebec and Canada, but for the purpose of scoring points. How do they score these political points? They move a motion that they know the other political parties cannot support because it contains measures that are unreasonable. Then they can reproach the other parties for not adopting the motion.
I will therefore continue my speech along this emotional path, especially since it threw me earlier, Madam Speaker, when you confused my riding with that of another member. My colleague from Trois-Rivières is very smart, likeable and charismatic, so I will take this as a compliment. However, I do not think he is quite as handsome as me, so I am a little irked. All joking aside, I should clarify, since I forgot to do it earlier, that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Trois-Rivières, for whom I have the utmost affection, of course.
Once again, the motion presented to the House does not make sense. The basic idea is not bad. However, as is often the case with measures proposed by the NDP, either the math does not add up or Quebec's jurisdictions are disrespected. It is always one or the other. One need only consider the pan-Canadian pharmacare plan. The Bloc agrees with it in principle. We are not here to harm Canada. However, when we ask them to put in writing that Quebec would have the right to opt out, they refuse to do so. We are therefore forced to vote against the pharmacare plan, because we want to protect Quebec. Then we are accused of not wanting pharmacare.
It is the same thing with the Conservatives. They are accusing us—oh, the irony—of having voted for a second carbon tax. I heard it yesterday and again today from the Leader of the Opposition. That was never put to a vote, however. Their so-called second carbon tax, this falsehood that Conservatives like to repeat all over the media and every other forum, is a regulation that was adopted by the government. We never voted on this regulation which, just like the first carbon tax, does not apply in Quebec because Quebec already has an equivalent regulation in place. Quebec's regulation is actually more stringent. This regulation has no effect on Quebec, but Conservatives repeat all day long that it does and that the Bloc Québécois voted for it. If that is not lying, I do not know what is.
I want to come back to the NDP's motion. They are talking about giving people a chance. We are on board with that. However, the Bloc Québécois believes in energy equity, or in other words, we believe that efforts must be made to prevent global warming while helping low-income people. That is what we should be doing, but it is not what the NDP is proposing in its motion. I hope that the NDP's intentions are nobler than the Conservatives'. I hope that the NPD does not intend to simply say tomorrow that the Bloc voted against their motion, because that would be very disappointing. That may happen. We will see. We will then know what to expect in the future.
The big problem with the NDP's motion is that it does not look at how much this measure will cost or fully consider where the money for implementing it will come from. Putting a tax on the excessive profits of oil companies seems like a good idea. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's estimates, that would generate about $1 billion per year. My colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie even pointed that out earlier. However, the proposed measures would cost $4.5 billion per year for the GST and even more for the heat pumps. The NPD wants to give everyone a free heat pump.
See how sensitive, tricky and also a little dishonest that is?
They are nice; they want to help Canadians. They want to give everyone heat pumps, but that is not realistic. I, too, would love to give everyone a heat pump. I would like that. Earlier, my colleague was more reasonable than I was. She tried to temper things by saying that various factors could lower the price tag and it might be about $77 billion. However, according to the figures I have, it could be closer to $100 billion. That is significant. That is a major measure. It is not that we are against heat pumps, but this just does not make sense.
That is the sad thing about all this. I dream of a time when MPs will work together, presenting reasonable measures for the common good. We are presented with measures that make no sense, and then, tomorrow, we will be criticized for voting against them. I find it very difficult to deal with this kind of populist dishonesty on a daily basis in the House. It is all about scoring points and making a good impression. The motion we are considering seems to indicate that the NDP is seeing that the polls are changing and they are in a bit of a panic. They want to show that they, too, want to eliminate taxes. That is what we are seeing today.
I will go over the proposal briefly, starting with removing the GST from residential heating. I am not saying that is a bad idea or one not worth looking at, but how do we distinguish electricity used for heating from that used for everything else in Quebec when more than 80% of Quebeckers have electric heat? How is that going to be adjusted with respect to people in western Canada and the Atlantic provinces who heat with oil?
They use electricity too, but their power bills will not be adjusted, while their heating oil cost will. That means rewarding fossil fuel use. Do people still want to promote fossil fuels? Some things do not work. As I said, this measure would be very expensive.
The funniest, most bizarre measure—I am not sure how else to describe it—is giving everyone a free heat pump, including people in the middle class. It looks like they want to give free heat pumps to a whole lot of people. What is the plan for compensating people who are already installing one? What is the plan for making sure that businesses that do this kind of work can keep up with demand? I predict the price of heat pumps will skyrocket in the next two months. That is pretty clear.
How is the government going to balance the books then? We often hear people say that we have to balance the budget. A measure that costs about $100 billion is huge. With that kind of measure, how are we helping people living on low and modest incomes?
As someone mentioned earlier, does that mean that people whose heating costs are included in their rent get nothing? Will landlords already charging high rents receive a tax credit? Will people living in 28-room luxury homes be exempt from paying tax on the heating for their huge mansions?
Parties have to think before proposing measures. I want to stress that I am a moderate and reasonable person. I understand the basic intention. The parties want to do something, but they are coming up with wild solutions knowing full well that almost no one will vote for them because nothing balances at the end of the month. Then they will call us out for refusing to help people.
Meanwhile, the Bloc Québécois is looking for support regarding subsidies for oil companies, for example. We have been talking a lot about how much they are making, because their profits are ridiculous. Not only are they making profits, but by 2035, it is expected that the Canadian government will have given them $83 billion in subsidies. That is a lot of money that could go toward heat pumps. Could those subsidies be eliminated so old age pensions could be increased starting at age 65 for people who need them to buy groceries and pay their bills? Could we be reasonable and sit down to talk about how we could establish credits to help low-income people, people who need support or who need assistance because they have a large family so it is hard to put food on the table?
We should be focusing on things like this, in other words, specific, concrete things that affect people's daily lives, without resorting to disgusting populism and creating sound bites to smear other political parties.
I am sick of that. I want to work on behalf of Quebeckers.