House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The question is on third reading of Bill C-4. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Pursuant to Standing Order 45, the division is deemed requested and deferred until Tuesday, December 10 at 3 p.m.

The House resumed from December 3 consideration of the motion, and of the amendment and the amendment to the amendment.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties in the House. I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following. I move

That, during consideration of Government Order, Government Business No. 9 this day, the Chair shall not receive any dilatory motion, quorum call or request for unanimous consent to propose any motion, and, when no member rises to speak, or 2:30 p.m., whichever occurs first, the Chair shall adjourn the House to the next sitting day.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the House give its consent to the government House leader to propose the motion?

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Does the House give its consent to the motion?

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether this motion is required, but out of an abundance of caution, I wish to renew the notice I gave yesterday with respect to Government Order, Government Business No. 9, namely, that, at the next sitting of the House a minister of the Crown shall propose, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that the debate be not further adjourned

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to conclude my speech on this very important matter.

This week we have heard from government members who have stood in this place during debate and question period preaching doom and gloom if we do not ratify the Kyoto accord. The minister and other government members have acted as if they were the only people who cared about the earth or as if they were the only ones with children or who were worried about the future. That is simply not true.

Like the Minister of the Environment, I am a trained lawyer. I emphasize that I am not a scientist but neither is the minister. Unlike him, I do not pretend to know exactly what effect human CO

2

emissions have on climate. I do not know. However, as recently as last week 27 climate specialists stated, “Delaying ratification for a short period so as to allow proper scientific 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”.

Included in this group are presenters and reviewers of the 2001 IPCC report. The truth is there are thousands and thousands of scientists on both sides of this debate and no amount of wishing by the Minister of the Environment can make it otherwise.

The Kyoto protocol is not based on science; it is based on politics, on a desperate desire for a legacy by the Prime Minister, an expired prime minister. It is driven by fear and an environmental industry that is every bit as self-interested as anyone else. It is certainly not based on a strong fiscal plan.

Kyoto will be a body blow to the Canadian economy, its cost ranging as high as $40 billion and 450,000 jobs lost. The Minister of the Environment tells us in the House day after day, “Trust us. Trust me. We will develop the plan. We will work on the Canadian solution. Trust us. Ratify this accord and we will make it work. You have got to believe us”.

Let us look at some of the facts. The government just took $1 billion and poof, out into the wind it went on the firearms registry. The firearms registry is bad enough. The government absolutely wasted $1 billion.

In British Columbia the provincial government used $450 million to build three fast ferries and the people threw out that government. That party is now down to two seats.

The Liberals took $1 billion to create a database. It is appalling. It is sickening. Now those guys are telling us to trust them, trust them on the database. I heard someone from the government talking in question period today on the Sea King helicopter procurement and I just about choked. He said, “We are accelerating the contract”. Two years ago they split the contract in two and now they are bringing it back together and saying, “We are accelerating the contract, it will be quicker”, after completely bungling the issue for the last 10 years.

Now the Liberals say, “Trust us on the Kyoto accord” when the scientific community is split on it, when the entire Canadian industry has concerns about it, and when we are the only country in the western hemisphere to buy into it. Our largest trading partners are not buying into it. Why? Because they know it is not the right way to go.

Yes, we should clean up our environment. Yes, we want to ensure that our environment is there for our children. Do we want to clean up our air? Absolutely. Do we want to try to reduce smog? Absolutely. Is that what the Kyoto protocol is all about? Absolutely not.

The government charades are an absolute disgrace. After their record, the Liberals are trying to pull the wool over the Canadian people's eyes. Since being elected in 1997, we have seen the $1 billion boondoggle and Groupaction contracts. The way the Liberals blow money out of this place one would think they had a printing press out in the lobby. It is absolutely incomprehensible to spend $1 billion on a database.

They blow it off saying that they will fix the problem. The Liberals have been around here since 1993 and they have screwed up just about every single thing they have touched. It is time to throw those guys out.

On October 22 the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development released her audit on the government's environmental record. It was a long list of failed environmental commitments. The government says to trust it on the Kyoto accord. Its past record on the environment is dismal. The government was reminded of its failure to reduce toxic chemicals, harmful airborne particulates, its failure to clean up contaminated sites on federal lands, and the list goes on. This is from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Then the government says, “Trust us, believe in us. Just ratify the Kyoto accord and in the next year we will try to come up with a plan”. Even its own numbers do not add up. It is absolutely incomprehensible. The government wants Canadians to trust it after having one dismal failure after another from the government.

The commissioner also found that strategies and plans for some issues were missing or incomplete, and that objectives, targets and timetables were fuzzy or missing, and in some of its strategies, plans that did not exist. Does this sound familiar? Sure it does.

The Minister of the Environment stands up in question period day after day and waves his little green book and tries to cast insults on everyone saying that he is the only one that has any knowledge on this issue and that the rest of us have none. We have read the minister's little green book. There is one single number in that little green book of $1.6 billion. The government has already spent that.

There are no numbers. There are absolutely no assessments. The government has not done its homework, and the government says, “Trust us”. There was $1 billion in the HRDC scandal. I am going to keep repeating this next one until I am blue in the face. This week it was $1 billion for a database. That is bad enough. It is absolutely astonishing, but there is something that is even worse. The Auditor General pointed out to Canadians that the government had purposely hid it from Parliament.

How could anyone trust the government after one screw up after another? The minute these revelations come to light the government goes into full damage control mode, full defence mode. It is not okay. We are here as the caretakers of the public purse. We are supposed to have some sense of accountability in this place for how money is spent. The government blows $1 billion as if it were nothing. It is unbelievable that the government members can look Canadians in the eye and say, “Trust us”.

The truth is the Kyoto accord will not clean up the air. It will not plant a tree. It will not clean a stream. The truth is the government has no idea, not a clue on how much it will cost Canadians. The scientific community has been telling us it could cost $40 billion or $50 billion. They have been telling us it could be 450,000 jobs. The government does not have a clue.

The government knows about as much about how much Kyoto will cost as how much it will cost to fulfill the firearms registry. The government does not know how much the annual costs are. We have been witnessing this in question period for the last two days. The government does not have a clue. The government cannot tell Canadians. It has armies of people over there and it is in damage control mode. They blew away $1 billion. The government wants to get through next week so that when the House of Commons adjourns for two months, this issue will go away.

This time it will not go away. It is not only about the firearms registry, although that is bad enough. We in the Canadian Alliance believe we should be putting police officers on the street. We should be putting those resources into our police agencies to reduce crime. Then there would be greater safety. Then we would not have the tragedies such as that which we witnessed years ago in Montreal, and today is the anniversary. We could reduce such tragedies as occurred in Vancouver.

We believe we should be putting those resources into policing across the country, not into an ill-fated gun registry and blowing away $1 billion. We have to pound the message home that it is not okay.

The government wants us to trust that it will get Kyoto right and that it will come up with a plan. The truth is that it does not have a clue. The Minister of the Environment has no idea what this will cost. He wants us to trust him. He has put all his eggs in one basket, Kyoto. He has ignored environmental legislation. He has ignored cleaning up toxic waste sites. The list goes on and on, but he wants us to trust him.

How can anybody trust the government after its dismal accountability for the Canadian purse? I note that the former finance minister was the holder of the chequebook through all of this and kept writing the cheques. They kept having to go back to Treasury Board to quietly take more money out of different programs so they could fund another billion dollar boondoggle.

The only legacy the Prime Minister will be left with will be billion dollar boondoggles, and this one tops the list: a billion dollars for a database. It is enough to make anybody just about choke. Then it hides it from us. It is a disaster. Not one person in this country should trust the government.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, with our neighbours and NAFTA partners to the south not signing the Kyoto protocol, with the huge border we share with the United States, and with so much of our industry and development concentrated along the 49th parallel, I wonder if the hon. member shares my concerns.

In British Columbia we have just seen a mill close in Fort Langley and move across the 49th, just south of the border, taking with it 56 jobs. In that community of only 780 people south of the border, they are building a huge electrical generating plant, and I understand there are more on the drawing board.

Does the hon. member share my concern that Kyoto is a great plan for the development of the northern United States at Canada's expense? I wonder if he shares my concern or would care to comment on that.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that in the Americas, Canada is the only industrialized country to sign on to the Kyoto protocol, or is about to ratify it.

As most members in the House know, or should know, some 85% of our trade--the figure is debatable, plus or minus a per cent or two--is with our neighbours to the south. Billions of dollars a day go across the border in two way trade with the United States. We cannot seem to get it through the Liberals' thick skulls that this will have a huge, disastrous impact on our economy.

Other industrialized countries, such as Australia, negotiated the Kyoto protocol at more than 8% of 1990 levels. Our negotiators' only mandate was to try to one up the Americans and they did not even do that. They negotiated 6% below 1990 levels. The worse thing is that it will not clean up the environment. It will create an economic disaster with our largest trading partner and it will cost Canadians in the magnitude of half a billion jobs.

The member is absolutely right. The alarm bells should be going off for businesses in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada. They should be panicking to throw the government as far as they can.

We have a Prime Minister who is more interested in demonstrating to the world that he is Mr. Green than any single worker in this country. We have a Minister of the Environment who is trying to get this Kyoto ratification through at any cost. He wants us to trust that his government will be able to do it. The last thing we should do is trust them.

Canadians should fire the government as far as they can. Taking $1 billion and blowing it into the wind like it has a printing press back there is unacceptable. How can the government talk about trust when it hides this from Parliament? It is bloody disgrace.

Kyoto Protocol
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Secretary of State (Western Economic Diversification) (Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Mr. Speaker, I have listened carefully and with interest to the statements by my colleague opposite on the Kyoto accord.

I would like to ask him a very specific question. How does he possibly think Canada will succeed economically if we do not develop the environmental technologies to meet the ever increasing standards that we all realize around the world need to be met for our health and to reduce energy consumption and therefore energy costs?

For the last 10 years California has been increasingly raising its emission standards and building the environmental technologies to meet its own standards, which it then will sell to the rest of the world. However, as we move into the future and try to meet California's standards we will have to buy its technology. When we raised our pulp emission standards in the early 1990s we bought Scandinavian equipment because we did not have the technology ourselves. We did the same thing with the Japanese automobile industry in the 1970s and 1980s when the first oil crisis occurred.

How on earth does the member think we will become a competitive trading country into the future if we are going to be totally dependent on foreign technologies, largely American?

The member talks about Kyoto not being accepted and ratified by the United States. The American states are raising their environmental standards and developing the technology to meet them, which we will then have to buy from them.

Let us look to the future and not just look to the past in terms of this very backward thinking.