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

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to partake in this debate. We are involved in a historic debate in which we are saying to Canadians, and hopefully the world community, that the status quo is not an option.

In 1950 the population of this planet was 2.5 billion. Right now the population of the planet is approximately 6.3 billion. By 2050 the population of this planet will be 9 billion. There is no question that if the human race is to survive, we have to reduce our environmental footprint.

We live on a small planet with finite resources. They are not endless so we have to start using our resources much more efficiently. We in the western world, the industrialized world, are the greatest users of energy. Consider what would happen if China, India, Africa and Asia had the same level of consumption. If we were to export our SUVs, our energy consumption, on a per capita basis to the rest of the world, our planet would not survive.

We are looking at a global problem and we need global solutions. For those who say that whatever we save in comparison to the rest of the world is 2% or less, the point is that everybody on this planet will have to take action, and will have to look toward a green future.

The majority of Canadians believe that addressing climate change is something that must be done because clean air and water are essential to our health and quality of life. They are part of the heritage we must leave for future generations.

The release of certain pollutants into the atmosphere, known collectively as greenhouse gas emissions, is increasing the overall temperature of the Earth's atmosphere. Even if it did not, surely to God nobody in the House would argue that greenhouse gas emissions are good. All we have to do is look at the number of smog alert days that occur in Canada. I can say that my community of Kitchener--Waterloo has too many, given the wind patterns we have coming in from the U.S. and picking up on the industrial sector.

When we signed the protocol in 1997, we joined with 180 other countries and pledged to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We have promised to lower our emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2008 to 2012. Our goal is to come up with the best plan of action that will achieve our targets, minimize costs and maximize benefits to our economy as well as the environment, improve competitiveness, ensure no unreasonable burden to a region of the country, and provide flexibility to deal with uncertainties. We will be able to meet our objectives while ensuring robust economic growth.

We have examined the concerns of Canadians regarding implementation and have released a climate change draft plan on how we can meet our emissions reduction commitments. For almost five years, we consulted with provinces, territories, business stakeholders and the Canadian public before reaching the decision to proceed with ratification.

Much has been said on how this might hurt the economy. Let me draw on a simple example in my community called TeleflexGFI. It addresses one area which the action plan does not even take into account in terms of reduction of greenhouse gases. That is the use of natural gas.

Canada has an incredible abundance of natural gas. Huge deposits of frozen natural gas pellets were found recently off the coast of Vancouver Island. Alberta has vast amounts of natural gas.

In 1994 in my riding of Kitchener--Waterloo a company that used to manufacture armaments, Devtek Industries, spun off a company called GFI Control Systems with the help of the government. GFI Control Systems allows automobiles to use alternate fuels such as natural gas and propane.

The vast abundance of natural gas that Canada has as well as the new discoveries off the west coast of Vancouver Island are a possible solution, but these have not been included in the action plan. Economic opportunities have occurred in my community. There is continued job growth.

This company is the leader in new technologies. Since 1997 the federal government, through technology partnerships Canada, has invested approximately $10 million in this company. It has resulted in jobs here in Canada and very positive action in the area of greenhouse gas reduction. There is no friendlier alternate fuel than natural gas in terms of green technology.

Approximately one-quarter of Canada's natural gas exports, the equivalent of about 225 billion litres of gasoline, would be sufficient to displace all of the projected gasoline and diesel fuel consumed by road transportation in 2010. Natural gas is the only fuel that is transported to pumps via pipelines thus further reducing truck volume on highways and the ensuing emissions that come from that.

Over the past two decades Canada has nurtured a number of companies that have become global leaders in natural gas vehicle technology and refueling equipment. They are able to rapidly expand the size of the natural gas and propane vehicle fleets and the volume of natural gas and propane used in Canada. In order to create and sustain markets for alternative fuel vehicles, support from all levels of government, particularly the federal government, is essential.

The United States and European alternative fuel vehicle markets are much larger and are growing faster than the Canadian market. There is a bit of irony in this. TeleflexGFI has produced over 30,000 vehicles with the new technology. The vast majority of them operate in the United States of America. It means that Canada's green technology is reducing greenhouse gas production in the United States.

The federal government could lead in this area. We could mandate that all vehicles use natural gas. This would include the green buses that run on the Hill and which, at the present time, use diesel fuel. We could make sure that all fleets in the federal service used natural gas. We could make sure that provincial and municipal fleets used natural gas. In this way we would not be displacing jobs; we would be creating them.

The greatest producer of natural gas right now is the province of Alberta. The opportunity for the province of Alberta to continue in the provision of energy to the rest of the country is still there. The possibilities for development of gas resources off Vancouver Island are there as well.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member why he feels that we have to sign on to the Kyoto protocol when the government could make its fleets use natural gas instead of petroleum now. There are many things that Canadians can do, with a Canadian solution, rather than buying into a European solution. Why does he feel we should not be doing these things anyway rather than signing on to the Kyoto protocol?

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is so very important to understand is that when we take action in preserving our environment on this very small planet we as a nation cannot do it alone. We have to do it in concert with the rest of the nations of this planet. We might represent 2% of the usage, but look at the benefits we would have if we could have an impact on 100% of the usage out there, if it were to assure a cleaner and healthier future for the planet Earth.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member, with all due respect, is getting completely mixed up between pollutants and greenhouse gases. Numerous times in his speech he mentioned that the greenhouse gases were pollutants, and he talked about natural gas being the answer. I would urge him to study basic chemistry. He will see for himself that when we burn natural gas, we get greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and water vapour. We get greenhouse gases.

He should not get mixed up between pollutants, which this side of the House is arguing to get control of, and greenhouse gases, which are part of an unproven theory about global warming. For goodness' sake, I urge the member to please study some basic chemistry and some basic science. He will see for himself that there is a huge difference between Kyoto and pollution.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the member, since he comes from North Vancouver, that when I come in from Vancouver Island via ferry going to Horseshoe Bay, too often I am unable to see Mount Baker because of all the pollution that is spewed out by the gasoline engines and diesel engines of cars in Vancouver. That is how bad the situation is: at times Mount Baker cannot be seen.

Let me say to the member across the way that smog is produced by present fuel usage of vehicles. That is where smog comes from. Let me also say to the member that there is probably no part of the country that is more greatly affected by that smog than the province he comes from and the community he represents.

I can say that the long term future of fuel usage is going to be fuel cells. To get to fuel cells, we need hydrogen infrastructure, which would be provided in the interim by the usage of natural gas as fuel. It is the friendliest fuel we have.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the hon. member for Red Deer spoke for about 11 hours here. At the end of those 11 hours I was more confused than ever before.

I would like to ask the hon. member to clarify one thing for me. The logic of the opposition is that if we have more greenhouse gases in the air we have better business. That is what they compare to the U.S., saying that obviously we would have less business. Are they proposing that we have more greenhouse gases so we can have more business in the country? Is that the proposal? Maybe he can explain to me this contradiction in logic.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, it would take some real flip-flops to make sense of a lot of the hot air that comes from the other side. We should consider putting in a monitor to measure the greenhouse gas emissions.

It is clear that evolving technologies mean that we will have to be a lot smarter in terms of our usage of energy, because not only can we not afford our wasteful energy practices, the planet cannot survive if that is what we are going to do.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, ignorance is a shame, but wilful ignorance is inexcusable, and that is what we see from the members opposite.

The fact of the matter is that Kyoto has nothing to do with smog. Perhaps I should repeat that. It has nothing to do with pollution in the air. It has nothing to do with pollution of our water. Kyoto is about carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. I hope that will assist Liberal members when they are speaking to this debate, because it is a very important point.

The point that this is not about pollution is one which I think the government deliberately does not want clarified. In fact, its ads supporting the Kyoto accord for some strange reason show factory chimneys belching noxious gases. The fact is that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Kyoto is not about pollution. It is not about environmental cleanup. If it is about anything, it is about greenhouse gases possibly, according to some people, causing global warming.

If we are going to make a rational decision on the Kyoto accord, a good decision, a sound decision, a decision in the best interests of Canada and Canadians, then we must be honest and clear about what it does and does not do.

On November 25, a group of climate specialists wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and made it public. The heading of their letter was, “Climate specialists urge the Canadian government to delay ratification of the Kyoto accord pending comprehensive science consultations”. The letter reads as follows:

Many climate science experts from Canada and around the world, while still strongly supporting environmental protection, equally strongly disagree with the scientific rationale for the Kyoto accord.

Nevertheless, the Government of Canada has yet to conduct comprehensive consultations with climate scientists in order to properly consider the range of informed opinion pertaining to the science of Kyoto.

Consequently, the views of dissenting scientists have not been properly heard or considered by the government.

Therefore, we, the undersigned climate scientists, call on the Government of Canada to delay a decision on the ratification of the Kyoto accord until after a thorough and comprehensive consultation is conducted with non-governmental climate specialists.

If the climate models are correct, the effects of implementing Kyoto will be so small as to be undetectable even a century from now.

That was said by scientists, by climate specialists. They continue:

Delaying ratification for a short period so as to allow proper science consultations to take place will do absolutely no damage to Canada or the environment and is unquestionably the prudent and responsible course of action at this time. Therefore, we implore the [Government of Canada] to proceed with comprehensive science consultations as soon as possible.

The letter is signed by a long list of climate specialists. More climate specialists have indicated since this letter was published that they too would like to sign on to the letter and endorse its contents.

One has to wonder why the government says that we have to sign Kyoto because there is a problem with climate change and then ignores the climate specialists. Does this make sense? It is pretty hard to follow that logic.

These scientists have come up with nine myths about Kyoto. I want to go over them quickly because Canadians deserve to know what climate specialists are saying about the rush to sign Kyoto and the lack of any scientific basis on which to do so.

Myth 1 is that “humanity is the primary cause of global climate change”. That is a myth. They say that even in the past thousand years “there were much warmer and colder periods than today”. It is a normal phenomenon that has been shown to exist over centuries.

Myth 1A is that “computer models show catastrophic warming in the future”. That is a myth. The fact is that there is no reason to expect a sudden turnaround. Rather, “continued adaptation and prosperity are much more likely”, say these climate specialists.

Myth 1B is that “the consensus of world scientists, as revealed by the UN's [international protocol on climate change], is that they agree that “humanity is causing significant climate change”. That is a myth, say these climate specialists, saying, “There is of course no consensus at all”. In fact, they say that this whole business was “advocacy”, not a scientific assessment.

Myth 1C is that “climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate”. Now we have our Prime Minister standing up in the House of Commons saying that if we do not sign Kyoto people will be dead in 30 years. Those are the myths being put out by supposedly responsible people in the country, but the climate specialists say that is nonsense. They say that there is not such a thing as unprecedented rates of climate change and that in fact in the past there have been “breathtakingly sudden variations in climate throughout the geologic record”.

Let us move to Myth 2, which is that “recent global temperature rise has been dramatic”. That is a myth. The climate specialists say that satellite temperature spot sensors reveal “only a very small amount of global warming since measurements began in 1979”, in fact, less than 1%.

Myth 3--

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order please. I will proceed to the next order of business, which is statements by members. The member will have approximately 12 minutes remaining after question period.

World AIDS Day
Statements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of activities took place around the world this past weekend in conjunction with World AIDS Day.

In Italy, Gabon, China, Iran, France, Great Britain, the United States, and in this country and many others, there were manifestations of great solidarity with the battle against this disease, which continues to claim far too many victims.

The marches, prayers, demonstrations and declarations are all highly encouraging. I join with all those who took part in these activities in encouraging action to halt the progress of this disease.

The battle is not yet won. The UN reports that there are close to 42 million individuals in the world who have contracted the AIDS virus.

This magnificent solidarity which unites us all must be reflected in our actions. Let the research continue so that this dread disease can be overcome.

Queen's Jubilee Medal
Statements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to once again commend 20 well-deserving residents of Crowfoot, Alberta whom I had the distinct honour of presenting with the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal this past Friday.

Each of these Canadian citizens have been “integral members of our community”. They have displayed a willingness to above and beyond the call of duty. They have been humble, giving and caring of every person who crosses their path and they have always been willing to lend a hand. They have made this country a better place to live.

I ask the members of the House to join me in congratulating Crowfoot's Golden Jubilee recipients: Dolores Aseltine, George Biggs, Jack Chapman, William Duncan, David Duzuba, Muriel Fankhanel, James Gillespie, Harry Gordon, George Geer, Rose Jardine, Mildred Luz, the late Thomas Machell, Walter McNary, Jack Mitchell, Morris Schultz, Auguste Simard, Gordon Taylor, Wanda Tkach, Joyce Webster and Chester Zajic.

I congratulate them all and thank them.

Health
Statements by Members

December 2nd, 2002 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Yesterday in Montreal we heard a great Canadian Prime Minister deliver an impassioned speech to the Liberal faithful.

The Prime Minister made it very clear that the provinces will have to commit to implement some of the Romanow commission recommendations before there will be any blank cheques.

The Prime Minister said “The Romanow report sets out a blueprint for the evolution of the public health insurance plan in the 21st century. New investments must focus on change and on results, such as ensuring access to quality health care around the clock, seven days a week”.

In the Speech from the Throne, the Prime Minister pledged to make health one of the key elements. Yesterday, the Prime Minister pledged to act very quickly, and said that his government will do its part.

Canadians and Quebeckers want the Government of Canada to come up with a comprehensive agreement which includes all of the provinces and territories.

Anti-personnel Landmines
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week marks the fifth anniversary of the Ottawa convention banning anti-personnel landmines.

For the past five years, Canada has done much under the Ottawa convention to resolve the issue of anti-personnel mines, and we continue to play an important role in this field.

Last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that the Government of Canada would be investing an additional $72 million in the Canadian Landmine Fund, which supports initiatives aimed at eliminating mines throughout the world.

This fund demonstrates Canada's long-term commitment to implement the convention and alleviate the suffering of communities affected by the presence of mines.

Canada leads international efforts aimed at eliminating anti-personnel mines and alleviating the suffering they cause.

Women, Sport and Physical Activity
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the organizers of the National Conference on Women, Sport and Physical Activity. The first conference of this kind to be held in over 21 years, the national conference was hosted from November 28 to December 1 in Hamilton, Ontario.

Approximately 300 delegates representing federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, sport, health and physical activity organizations, members of the media and the corporate sector attended.

The National Conference on Women, Sport and Physical Activity was organized by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, and was supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage (Sport Canada) and Health Canada. It followed as a legacy of the World Conference on Women and Sport hosted in Montreal in May 2002 under the auspices of the International Working Group on Women and Sport.

I would like to applaud the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity for organizing such a successful and very important event.

Forest Industry
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian forest industry continues to get beat up with U.S. tariffs that have so far this year cost our industry over $1 billion.

Since the spring the Canadian Alliance has been asking for a loan guarantee program for softwood producers. In early May the Minister for International Trade agreed with the Canadian Alliance that loan guarantees could be configured to avoid U.S. countervail action.

Seven months later the Minister for International Trade has not followed through and the Minister of Natural Resources is deferring action once again for at least three or four months. Workers and industry are increasingly concerned that no announcement this week guarantees no progress until February or March.

Why is the government so callous to the destructive fallout imposed on workers and companies as a result of U.S. tariffs on softwood lumber?