House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was kyoto.

Topics

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

1 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the great job you are doing in refereeing the debate today.

I asked the member for LaSalle—Émard about this, and I will ask the hon. member as well. The CEP union has wholeheartedly endorsed the Kyoto protocol and ratification, but it knows that some of its workers may be displaced by current conditions if Kyoto goes ahead. It is asking the government to put in place financial transition programs to make sure that the workers who are put out of work in a particular industry have a soft landing.

Will the hon. member be supporting those initiatives?

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1 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand and appreciate the kinds of concerns that have been raised. Those concerns have been raised time and again in the House in regard to how various groups and individuals, especially in certain occupations and certain regions of the country, are going to be affected.

However, what we have to ask ourselves is: What is going to affect them? We really do not know right now what the creative minds of the country will create in the next 20 years to cope with the kinds of problems that I and other members have been talking about. There is much that could be done. When it comes to producing energy, we are just at the beginning. Once we start rolling, we will find the creative minds of this world producing strategies, instruments, techniques and so forth that will drastically and dramatically change lifestyles, occupations and so forth, not only in Canada but all over the world.

However, there is one fact--

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1 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

However, the member is out of time.

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1 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I heard two points from the member who just spoke and the previous speaker on the government side of the House. I hope everyone in Canada remembers what they had to say.

The former minister of finance stood in the House and proclaimed, for everyone to hear, that Kyoto would not cost anything. This will cost millions and millions. To try to deny that is a pure fallacy, not only to the House but to the nation.

I was asked three questions this morning by very concerned constituents in my province of Saskatchewan, which is primarily an agricultural province. First, how much will this cost? No one can answer that question. If it costs 2¢ a litre for all the fuel that is consumed, that puts a lot of farmers out of business. People would not phone a car company, say that they want a certain kind of a car, ask what it would cost and then say they will buy it even though the salesperson was not sure of the price. People do not do that. People phone and ask me, and I am sure they ask members on the government side of the House, how much this is going to cost. Nothing. Who is kidding who? No one is buying that.

The second thing that no one is buying is what was said by the member who just spoke, that all of a sudden we are going to become diseased, we are all going to die from breathing problems and all of the other things. There are just as many scientists who, after listening to what the gentleman had to say, would have one word in response, “hogwash”. Many scientific facts say that is hogwash.

My hon. colleague, in talking about the weather and the changes in it, mentioned Greenland. Some real sharp high school students, who had not done their homework, phoned me the other day. They even wanted to know the number in the lounge. They wanted an example of climate changes in the world. I asked them if they knew where Greenland was. I told them that Greenland was so named because it was green at one time, that it was gorgeous, that it was growing gardens and vegetables, but that was 1,000 years ago. Climate has gone up and down over the years and it always will.

If the province of Saskatchewan will be hurt the way I think it will, it will be disastrous. I heard the hon. member saying that all parts of Canada will be treated equally under Kyoto. Once again, no one believes that. All parts of Canada will be hurt and hurt badly, particularly the province of Ontario which has the largest consumers of fuel and gas. First, Ontario consumers will pay the higher price, which they are not paying now. I rolled in here last night and, going back to the old measurement, gas was 80¢ an imperial gallon cheaper than what it was when I filled up before I left the airport in Regina.

Going back to this, let us put 2¢ on every litre of gas that goes through farm machinery. Add the fact that Saskatchewan does not have enough money right now to pay the crop insurance claims. Then, with all of that, say that no part of Canada will be adversely affected. It is simply not true.

I speak for my province and my constituency. My constituency has the only two coal-fired turbo plants. I would challenge anyone on that side of the House to say that industry will not be affected. There is also a huge oil patch in my constituency. I again challenge anyone on that side of the House to say that will not be affected. We know that jobs were lost before and we will lose a lot more.

The hon. member from the NDP asked the government if there were layoffs. I wonder why he was asking that. I heard from that side of the House that they would increase employment, but if the unions are looking for layoffs, what about the oil patch? What about the farmers who cannot cope with the new prices?

The questions keep coming in, questions for which the government has not supplied any answers.

The hon. gentleman, who just spoke before me, used scare tactics on Canadians saying that if we do not move on Kyoto everybody will drop dead in 10 years. What kind of malarkey is that, to stand and talk about that in the House?

What happened in 1918? It was the biggest flu epidemic to ever hit Canada and we have never had one since. Was that caused by pollution? To draw these facts out of the historical perspective is nothing but nonsense.

The government has not learned, and it certainly did not learn with gun registration, to do things on a cooperative basis. We will not get cooperation out of a province like mine if it goes under with taxation. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has a motto, “Go ahead and tax me, I'm a Canadian”.

My own constituency is taxing junior hockey clubs that never made a cent and is forcing teenage girls who are running a canteen to pay collectively $120 a year. I tell them to watch out if they go back to babysitting because they probably will have to pay taxes on that as well.

Giving credits to other countries, selling credits and so on, nobody knows how it will work. The government has not explained it. While all this is going on, we will be paying a very heavy price. Implementing this treaty will result in massive job losses. Somebody said that there would be some job increases. Every time one oil well is shut down 100 employees are closed off. Every time an extra tax is placed on the fuel industry the same thing will happen.

It will affect my province and western Canada very significantly. What can we do? There is one thing we could do and this is where the government could put some money in to save a whole lot. We could have it so that we go to the power corporations, put up the 110 charges and when it is kicking out so much it would automatically cut in and supply the fuel and the electricity for the farm. That is cooperation.

Down on Highway 18 we have a huge trucking plant. The windmill goes and as soon as it reaches a certain point it cuts in and supplies the electricity saving tonnes of coal and tonnes of emissions. These are the things that we could do but we have not even stepped out, first and foremost, to look at the cooperative approach.

Last week I was in Holland. I was amazed to learn that it is light years ahead of us. It has to buy most of its power but it also has its own wind generating plants that do just as I described.

We have not taken these positive approaches. We have not yet begun to look at other alternative fuel sources. I would say to all the people who have a cottage, a Ski-Doo, a Sea-Doo, a four-wheeler and an SUV, they will pay a lot of money because those are the big burners. We do not have to go to the extremes that the government is suggesting. We have to take the cooperative approach and we have not done that.

More people in my province today have quit farming than in the last 20 years. I received a number of phone calls this morning from constituents wanting to know basically the same thing: What effect will Kyoto have on the farming operation? The government owes these people an answer to that question but it does not have the answer. Everything it is saying is that it will design the plan but that we must give our cooperation to pass this accord and then it will tell us. That is not the way it works, which is why this is off to a very shaky start.

Another question I was asked is: Will the Kyoto accord have any effect on the growing of crops? They mention crops because they require a great deal of fertilization using a substance that has now been labelled toxic. I do not know the answer to that. Members of the House do not know the answer to that. The minister also does not know the answer to that.

As an individual, I will not buy a pig in a poke. I will not, as a representative of the coal-fired generators, coal mining, gas wells, oil wells, say that I support Kyoto, a deal that could well put them, because of the costs of the taxes thereof, just like in the national energy policy, out of business.

To say that this will affect different parts of Canada all the same way is not true. The government knows it is not true and it should not be standing in the House saying that. It will affect those areas that produce the fuels that we are presently using. Why does it not come out clean and say that it will?

There are too many unknowns for any person in the House to stand and support the agreement. Let me say that there are far more unknowns than there are knowns. Why would we want to support a basket of unknowns when we have no idea where this will lead us down the road?

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1:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the hon. member a very simple question. I want to read a quote, tell him where it came from and ask him if he agrees with it. “We care about the environment, of course we care, but we care about money first”.

That was a quote from the environment critic of the Alliance Party made just the other day. Does the hon. member support his colleague in that statement or not?

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1:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, nobody cares more for the environment and has shown more toward a cleaner environment than the area from which I come. Therefore, when the member asks me if we care about the environment, absolutely we care about the environment. We care about the environment very much. That is why we want to take the lead in providing other fuels and other sources of fuels. That is why we want to take the lead in the petroleum industry to be more consistent with emission qualities.

We care about the environment. What we do not care for is the scare tactics that we will all die if we do not do something about it real fast and that we will all be treated equally. We know that will not take place, but indeed we are very conscious of the environment.

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1:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the other day I was speaking on behalf of the Canadian Alliance and the agriculture critic team that I head up. I was making the point quite clearly that the issue in this country and around the world is that pollution actually does have a negative effect on people's health as opposed to CO

2

, which does not have a negative impact. It starts to stretch the imagination to say that CO

2

is connected to this, is connected to that and connected to that, and ultimately somebody gets sick.

I am asking this member if in fact the country should not be concentrating on reducing pollution as an objective as opposed to worrying about the possibility that mankind is affecting, in a very small way, the greenhouse gas effect of global warming.

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1:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely true. The emissions harm our breathing and cause skin rashes. Those are the types of things we need to be look at. We have come a long way but we have not gone far enough.

Kyoto in itself in reducing the carbon dioxide in the air will not give us what we need. We should be looking for those things that cut emissions and cut them very quickly. I do not think we can really tie the two issues together like the government is trying to do.

We have done a great deal in western Canada. We produce gas and have switched over to gas producing which creates less emissions. We have cleaned all the coal stacks. We have done everything to make this possible and I am sure others across Canada have also done things.

However let us not confuse the public about the reduction of carbon dioxide and tying that closely to emissions. They simply cannot be tied together.

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Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will ask the hon. gentleman this question one more time. His environment critic, who I assume speaks on behalf of his party, said that the Alliance cared about the environment of course, but it cared about money first, which means money first, environment later.

Does the hon. member support his environmental critic spokesperson for his party on that point because the Canadian people want to know exactly where the Alliance stands?

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1:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, first, the hon. member has taken that totally out of context. I am concerned about the cost as well. I am concerned about people being laid off. I am concerned with the price we will have to pay to heat our houses. I am concerned about all these things.

The hon. member says that I am concerned about financing first. I think the hon. gentleman wanted to know right away how much the unemployed people, those laid off from the industry, will get paid.

Obviously I could say that he is concerned about money first. Is he not?

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1:20 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, at the outset I just wish to say I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Kitchener--Waterloo.

The essential ingredients of engaging the threat of climate change and committing to a remedy are threefold: first, an understanding that the science is real; second, the corollary of seeing through the misinformation and hyperbole that has been employed to blur these realities; and, third, seeing the growth potential and advantages that current and future engagement of the Kyoto process presents.

The science itself is not in doubt. The conclusions that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the main national academies of science, including that of the United States, represent a broad international consensus with little serious dissent. Indeed, the latest findings of the IPCC show that the expected range of temperature change is greater than previously envisioned, that human activities are directly attributable to helping cause the climate change phenomenon and that climate change will, for the most part, have negative impact on the global ecosystem and the human race, particularly those most vulnerable and least responsible for it: Canada's Arctic, small island states and the sub-Saharan.

In Canada the effects have been marked and will become more so: more severe weather events; lowered fresh water level; droughts; sea level rise on all three coasts; longer and more intense heat waves with worse air pollution; and corresponding increase in heat related illness, to name but a few. These realities fly in the face of those who have chosen to balk at the need to address climate change and instead have elected to obfuscate and at times fearmonger with so-called economic forecasts that have no basis in research or fact.

As an example, in a major announcement made in March 2002, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce claimed “Canada's GDP would drop by up to 2.5% in 2010 under the Kyoto Protocol”, but cited no study to back up this number.

In September 2002, at the news conference to launch the “Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions”, the chamber's president made the groundless statement that Kyoto would “destroy the economy”. She cited no study to back up this claim. This is the “Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions”; some responsible, some solutions.

These dynamics underscore in some way the difficulty of communicating climate change. Sir Crispin Tickell, now at Harvard, has put it this way.

He first references those who are in the state of denial, “There are none so deaf as those who do not want to hear”. I think we can safely include therein these irresponsible naysayers who forecast doom and destruction.

He draws a comparison to the beginning of the 19th century, when everyone knew that slavery was wrong. There was a tacit conspiracy to do little or nothing about it. Too many interests were at stake. Leadership, public agitation and a few visible disasters were needed to bring slavery to an end. It also needed morality and a sense of public and private responsibility.

I think his analogy is excellent. Today as we debate the ratification of the Kyoto protocol, we are indeed encountering vested interests, but the leadership of this Prime Minister and this government is clear. We do acknowledge the need for public and private responsibility and the commitment to combat climate change. We realize the need to ratify the Kyoto protocol and thereby engage the mechanism that will help us accomplish this task.

Sir Crispin spoke of the need for public agitation as an ingredient necessary to turn a society and an economy from a routine course to a challenging new redirected course. The public agitation we are experiencing and the engagement of Canadians in the Kyoto debate is exactly what is needed.

Canadians are concerned about their country and their planet. They know we play within a global ecosystem that is seriously stressed by greenhouse gas emissions. They intend to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem. They are not deterred by naysayers and doomsayers. They strongly support the Kyoto protocol as a logical first step to addressing the damage human activities have wrought.

As I mentioned at the outset, I would like to speak, with what time remains, on the growth potential and the advantages, as well as the economic realities of the implementation of the Kyoto protocol and our plan to achieve Canada's objective. I am indebted to the Pembina Institute for much of this research.

Under the most likely implementation scenario, as jointly developed by federal and provincial governments after extensive consultation with industry, Canada's GDP would be just 0.4% smaller with Kyoto than without. This means Kyoto would reduce Canada's projected GDP growth during the current decade from 30% to 29.5%. No province would suffer an impact on GDP greater than 0.5%. Disposable household income would be unaffected by Kyoto. Between now and 2010 Canada would create 1.26 million jobs with Kyoto, compared to 1.32 million without Kyoto. Gasoline prices would be unaffected, while natural gas prices would be 8% higher with Kyoto than without. The cost of producing a barrel of oil would rise by just a few cents. Let us keep in mind that the current cost is $25 U.S. per barrel.

The economic model that produces that scenario, as other economic models, fails to include these essential considerations.

First, the cost of not acting to protect the climate, although the costs of inaction are difficult to estimate, extreme weather events like drought and floods, projected to become more frequent if climate change continues unchecked, routinely cost Canada billions of dollars.

Second, the health co-benefits from reduced air pollution are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Third, there are vast opportunities in technological innovation in a low carbon economy. Kyoto implementation will benefit industries specializing in energy efficient buildings, transportation and industrial equipment, as well as alternative fuels and low impact renewable energy, the world's fastest growing sources of energy.

History has shown that when faced with a major challenge and allowed flexibility in meeting it, the private and public sectors exhibit an enormous capacity for technological innovation to solve the problems more quickly and at a lower cost than forecast. Look back at the Montreal protocol on ozone, the horrors but the necessities and what happened as a result of World War II and the Apollo Space Program.

Innovation is the most fundamental driver of economic growth and the Kyoto protocol can play a major role in stimulating it.

I fear I am almost out of time but I would have also liked to have addressed the Kyoto architecture and the Kyoto mechanisms in particular, such as international emissions trading, which are only available to us as signatories and are important for the House to be cognizant of.

One last point is that the Canadian public is engaged in this debate. That is vital and it is exciting. We have their attention and we must keep it as the implementation of Kyoto will involve every one of us, and Kyoto is just the beginning.

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1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, in her speech the member said that the science is not in doubt. However the fact remains, and she must know, that a long list of prominent Canadian scientists were in Ottawa only two weeks ago to dispute the science of the Kyoto accord. That list, if she wants it, is available from my office. It is also available on the web. It is very easy to find.

There is a longer list of opponents to Kyoto, more than 3,000 scientists from 106 countries, including 72 Nobel prize winners. The member can find it on the web at www.heartland.org/perspectives/appeal. She will find quite clearly that the science is in doubt. It is no good just standing there saying that it is not.

I would like to make one other comment and ask her a question on this. Does she not know that Canada's contribution to CO

2

emissions are only less than 2% of the world's total? If she was to go to the Environmental Protection Agency website or even the IPCC website, she will see that it does not even register on their scales.

How does the hon. member think that getting rid of even 100% of our emissions would even register on the world scale?

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1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, indeed Canada's greenhouse gas emissions represent 2% of the global emissions. We have been very much a part of multilateral efforts and treaties that address worldwide dilemmas. We are committed to this process.

If this process is allowed to crumble, the possibility of which exists if a requisite number of signatories representing a certain percentage of the greenhouse gas emissions do not sign, we realize what it would be like to recommence a process, whether it is 2% or 20%, that is vital to our health, to our children, to our north and to all of the global ecology to which I referred.

With regard to finding some scientists who for a variety of reasons have declined to accept what is worldwide accepted science, I will listen to the hon. member pick out one or two. It goes without saying that they do not belong to the flat earth society but frankly, the preponderance of national academies of science, the top people in the world and the data is there. There are none so deaf as those who will not listen.

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1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, since the member raised the point that there are none so blind as they who will not see, or something like that, might I say to her as for her state of denial, it is completely irrelevant if we are unable to alter climate change.

I would put to her that even though she criticizes the 3,000 scientists and 72 Nobel Prize winners who disagree, there is plenty of science that indicates there is a much better correlation to solar magnetic cycles from the year 1750 than there is correlation to carbon dioxide emissions. How does she explain that one?

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1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have addressed sufficiently the my scientist says, your scientist says comments. As my dear husband who is a lawyer says, “It is not the question he was supposed to answer to which I object, but the one he was about to”. Since he did not ask me the one I would like to have had asked, and I have heard many of his colleagues ask it, I would like to add that one of their greatest complaints is that in signing Kyoto, we will be put at a disadvantage with our neighbours to the south. I would have loved to have had another 40 minutes to address many points and that is one of them.

I point out some of the excellent research which shows that although the Bush administration has abandoned leadership on climate change, the American government still administers a much more substantial body of greenhouse gas reducing measures than even our government does. According to opponents of the Kyoto protocol, ratifying the protocol would damage Canada's economic competitiveness because the U.S. is not taking action to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The evidence assembled in this report shows that perhaps the biggest flaw in this argument is the erroneous assertion that they are not; they are collectively doing more than we and our provinces together are doing.