Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has been summoned by the Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities Committee to clarify his contentious statements on ending federal road funding. 

During the committee hearing on Wednesday, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party Melissa Lantsman said that Guilbeault and his colleagues were being called to appear so they can be held accountable for the extreme and reckless policy positions that he recently put forward.

“He has proven himself to Canadians to be a radical, far-left Greenpeace activist that he has described himself to be, and his actions as environment minister haven’t made any constructive changes or positive steps towards protecting the environment,” said Lantsman. 

“He has sought to divide, virtue signal, and implement an extremist agenda. At each point of his tenure, he has doubled down on the punishing carbon tax, that certainly doesn’t work, and that floods the government coffers with hundreds of millions of dollars that make Canadians poorer and not richer.”

Lantsman added that Guilbeault has an effective ban on fossil fuel development at a time when Canadians and the world need the country’s fossil fuels more than ever. Lastly, Lantsman talked about Guilbeault’s latest comments —that the government of Canada would no longer build any roads—a policy that she explained would negatively affect all Canadians.

Guilbeault said last Monday that road construction encourages people to use cars, so the federal government would no longer provide municipalities with funding for new roads. He said those funds should instead be used to fight climate change.

“Our government has made the decision to stop investing in new road infrastructure. Of course, we will continue to be there for cities, provinces, and territories to maintain the existing network, but there will be no more envelopes from the federal government to enlarge the road network,” he said.

After Premiers Danielle Smith and Doug Ford called out Guilbeault for his comments, he backtracked on them last Wednesday. He claimed that he should have been more precise with his language and that he was only referring to some road projects.

Conservative transport critic Mark Strahl introduced a motion summoning Guilbeault to explain his remarks before the transport committee.

The original motion proposed that the committee conduct a study with at least six meetings focused on infrastructure in Canada. It called on Guilbeault, the Minister of Housing, Sean Fraser, the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, the Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, and the CEO of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, Ehren Cory, to appear as witnesses before the committee.  Each of the invitees would appear alone for three hours. 

The transport committee gathered Wednesday morning to vote on the motion.

Following detailed discussions and an amendment and sub-amendment, the finalized motion was unanimously approved. This motion calls on Guilbeault, Fraser, and Rodriguez to appear for one hour each separately within 14 days. The hearing will take place outside of the normal hours of sitting of the committee, as it is an emergency hearing.