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March 26th Weekly Update

Message From Tony

The cost-of-living crisis has been top of mind for Canadians, and a top priority for our government. Inflation, and the Bank of Canada’s high interest rates to control it, have created hardship, but with a steady decline in the inflation rate (down to 2.8% in February), there’s an expectation for interest rates to start declining this year. We are not out of the grips of inflation but are headed in the right direction.

Listening to the Conservatives, one would think that putting a price on pollution – a carbon tax – is the root cause of inflation. Remove the tax and inflation will fall seems to be their argument. But the facts tell a different story. Before I delve deeper, however, I hope we can agree on one key fact: the world is facing a climate crisis. We have seen destruction throughout our country, and despite the current wintry weather, we’ve experienced our warmest winter, on the heels of our warmest year. If we cannot agree on this fact, then, I am not sure this conversation can go much further.

Last summer, many Canadians lost their homes to floods, wildfires, and extreme weather. Poor air quality kept individuals indoors for fear of inhaling smoke. Masks were advised as the haze from our burning forests spread across North America – and even reached Europe. Lives were lost, land destroyed, and it cost our country billions of dollars. Some disagree with this premise, but I believe that most Canadians understand the environmental crisis we face and believe we must take action.

One method is putting a price on pollution – the Carbon Tax. Let’s consider the facts:

100% of the proceeds collected by the carbon tax are returned to Canadians through the quarterly Canada Carbon Rebate payments. Because these payments are universal and not based on income or other means, 8 out of 10 Canadians receive more money than they paid. Only those responsible for the highest emissions (larger homes, less fuel-efficient cars) may pay more than they receive through the CCR.

As the price on pollution increases (for example, the start of a new fiscal year on April 1), the CCR payments will also increase. If we removed the carbon tax, there would be no rebate. Most Canadians (and the environment) would be worse off.

The price on pollution is working. According to a recent emissions progress report, Canada is on track to exceed our interim 2026 emissions reductions goal. The report also shows that this program will be responsible for as much as one-third of our total reductions by 2030.

The head of the Bank of Canada has stated that the Canada Carbon Tax increases inflation by only 0.15 per cent.  Statistics Canada estimates that its impact on food prices is less than one per cent.

Trevor Tombe, Professor of Economics, University of Calgary, stated: “Overall, climate prices are not a key part of Canada’s recent inflation story. (Policy Options December 7, 2023). Or as Jim Stanford(Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work) noted: “In sum, blaming recent inflation on the carbon tax is just another attempt by right-wing populists to divert the legitimate anger of Canadians into destructive, anti-government channels. The carbon tax has no visible historical relationship to the rate of inflation.”

Tombe also states, “if we got rid of the carbon tax and the rebate, then this would harm a much larger fraction of lower-and middle-income households than it would higher-income households.”

Is it possible that those leading the charge to end the carbon tax are choosing to reward the wealthy at the expense of most Canadians? Disingenuous political slogans are not climate policy, nor do they reflect authentic leadership. Perhaps the Conservatives should amend theirs to “Axe the tax. Reward the rich.” I also suggest they heed what Christopher Rand (Director of the Max School of Public Policy at McGill University) wrote last week in the Globe & Mail: “But most of all: carbon pricing works. It works because markets work.” And after all, isn’t that what we should want?

Something to think about!

Celebrating the Persian New Year in Newmarket-Aurora

Last week, Persian communities in Newmarket-Aurora and around the world celebrated Nowruz, or the Persian New Year, which welcomes in Spring and highlights the importance of new beginnings. Over 300 million people celebrate Nowruz, representing the importance of introspection, gratitude, and spiritual renewal.

This past weekend, I was honoured to speak at the A4 Group’s Persian New Year celebration at the Royal Rose Gallery in Aurora. It was a pleasure to hear from familiar faces and meet many new ones as we reflected on personal growth, achievements, and aspirations for the future.

I encourage everyone to learn more about the cultures, traditions, and contributions of Canadians from Persian, Afghan, Kurdish, Zoroastrian, Bahá’í, Azerbaijani, Central Asian, and Ismaili communities during this festive time. Har Ruz etan Nowrouz, Nowruz etan Pyrouz! Happy Nowruz!

Apply today for the Centennial Flame Research Award

Every year, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) awards a Canadian citizen with a disability the Centennial Flame Research Award with the money collected from the fountain of the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill.

This year, the $7,500 award will be granted to a Canadian with a disability to conduct research on the contributions of one or more persons with disabilities to the public life of Canada. The research of the individual granted the award will be presented to HUMA and will be included in the Centennial Flame Research Award Act, which is tabled in both the House of Commons and the Senate.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be a Canadian citizen;
  • identify as a person with a disability; and
  • apply as an individual

To apply, applicants must submit the following information to the Clerk of the Committee by email:

  • A letter that, in no more than 1,000 words:
    • describes who they are and identifies their disability;
    • indicates their work or research experience, community involvement, or other relevant experience;
    • proposes their research subject, which must relate to the contributions of one or more persons with disabilities to the public life of Canada or to the activities of Parliament;
    • describes their research methodology; and
    • indicates the significance or impact of the proposed research. For example, this could include the intended outcome of the research, or how the research will be used or shared.
  • A letter of support for their application from a person of choice who is not the subject of the research. This letter should indicate the referee’s relationship to the applicant, and the referee’s occupation or credentials.
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, I encourage you to apply by emailing: HUMA@parl.gc.ca.

All documents must be submitted and postmarked on or before Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Keep the cash, care for climate: Canada Carbon Rebates being paid next month

The impacts of climate change are not pausing, they’re only accelerating, costing Canadians more with every passing year. Just last year, we’ve seen the effects of climate change through the worst wildfire season Canada has seen. Through Canada’s carbon pricing system, our government is making sure that it is not free to pollute while putting more money in the pockets of 8 out of 10 families.

None of the money collected through the carbon pricing system is given to the federal government. The money collected is instead returned to Canadians through the Carbon Rebate in provinces where the federal pricing system is in place. In Ontario, this rebate will provide $280 per quarter for a family of four and $560 per quarter for a single individual with no children. In addition to this amount, a 20% rural supplement is provided to Canadians residing in small and rural communities.

The carbon pricing system is our government’s way of fighting climate change and ensuring big polluters pay the most. This means that by switching to more sustainable options, like taking public transit to work and switching your home to electric heating, you can avoid paying carbon pricing while still receiving the quarterly Carbon Rebate.

Carbon pricing is working. We are on track to meet our climate target for the first time in history, and carbon pricing alone will account for 1/3 of our emission reductions by 2030. Don’t let the Conservatives Ruin the Rebate — Canadians need it more than ever.

An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada receives Royal Assent

MP Michael Couteau, Minister Ya'ra Saks, MP Van Bynen, Minister Gould, MP Robert Morrissey, MP Chad Collings, and MP Wayne Long (right to left) during the study of Bill C-35 in HUMA

In December 2022, our government tabled Bill C-35, An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada. Last Tuesday, March 19th, 2024, the Bill received Royal Assent, implementing protections for and reinforcing our commitment to early learning and child care in Canada.

This Act: 

  • reinforces the Government’s long-term commitment to early learning and child care by articulating the federal goal, vision, and principles for a Canada-wide system;
  • enshrines the Government of Canada’s commitment to sustained and ongoing funding for partners;
  • enhances accountability through reporting to Parliament on progress towards an early learning and child care system; and
  • establishes in law the National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care, which provides advice to the Government of Canada and serves as a forum for engagement on issues and challenges facing the early learning and child care sector.

Last year, I had the pleasure of studying Bill C-35 in depth in Committee with my colleagues and I am proud to see it passed into law. Our government will continue to fight for families in Canada and ensure that children get the supports they need to be successful.

Tony Van Bynen

Member of Parliament for
Newmarket—Aurora

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