Debates of Dec. 9th, 2002
House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was kyoto.
- Committees of the House
- Food and Drugs Act
- Kyoto Protocol
- Business of the House
- Kyoto Protocol
- Child Pornography
- Convention Centre
- Health Care
- Radio Nord Communications
- Éduco-Pop des Bois-Francs in Victoriaville
- Kyoto Protocol
- École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
- Middle East
- Kyoto Protocol
- Michel Berthiaume and Allan Loney
- Health Care
- Government Contracts
- Human Rights
- Firearms Registry
- Queen's Jubilee Medal
- Acts of Bravery
- Goods and Services Tax
- Government Contracts
- National Defence
- Firearms Registry
- Government Contracts
- École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
- Government Contracts
- École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
- Firearms Registry
- École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
- Kyoto Protocol
- Coast Guard
- Motion Picture Production
- Highway Infrastructure
- Kyoto Protocol
- Organized Crime
- Kyoto Protocol
- Government Response to Petitions
- Interparliamentary Delegations
- Gun Control Legislation Expiry Act
- Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
- Question No. 17
- Question No. 38
- Request for Emergency Debate
- Kyoto Protocol
Question No. 38
Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS
Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.
Question No. 38
Is that agreed?
Question No. 38
Some hon. members
Request for Emergency Debate
I am in receipt of a notice of motion under Standing Order 52 from the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.
Request for Emergency Debate
Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC
Mr. Speaker, I have sent you a formal application for an emergency debate, this evening, to deal with the issue of the request for federal funding by the École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe.
Today is the day the dean of this college of veterinary medicine has to start writing his report. There is precious little time left before the American Veterinary Medical Association decides either to maintain the college's accreditation, give the college an extension or simply remove the accreditation.
This is a matter of some urgency. I hope that you will grant my request for an emergency debate on this issue.
Request for Emergency Debate
The Chair has considered the request of the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. I do not think this matter really warrants an emergency debate at this time. At any rate, I will review the request and remarks he made today, and come back to the House later, probably not today, but soon.
The House resumed consideration of the motion, the amendment, and the amendment to the amendment.
December 9th, 2002 / 3:20 p.m.
When the debate was interrupted for oral question period, the hon. member for Champlain had the floor. He has 10 minutes remaining for his remarks.
Marcel Gagnon Champlain, QC
Mr. Speaker, I do not know if I will use all of my remaining 10 minutes, but I want to reiterate that I am extremely interested in the Kyoto protocol issue, as, increasingly, is everyone else.
In oral question period, the leader of the Progressive Conservatives asked the Prime Minister a question. If I remember his question correctly, he asked him if, in ten years, Kyoto would be as successful as the gun registry.
The Prime Minister responded, “In ten years, neither the leader nor myself will be able to reply to this question”. I am sure that I will not be able to reply to this question either. I am almost the same age as the Prime Minister and the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.
What interests me is that we are not doing this for ourselves. We are doing it for those who will come after us. As legislators, we are not here for our own good, we do not need to win debates; rather, we are here to hand down the most viable country and planet possible.
Fifty years ago, when I was in college, a teacher told us that in our lifetime we would be able to have breakfast in Montreal and lunch in Paris. We all laughed and said that it was impossible. Today, our planet has become so small that anything is possible. It is even possible to destroy it, and this is what we are doing. If I look at how things were 50 years ago, I can say that my father and my ancestors left us, to me and to people from my generation, an extremely clean planet, compared to what it is today.
Sometimes, I tell my children about the precious things that we had back then. For example, we could catch as many fish as we wanted in the small Sainte-Brigitte River. This was a small but rather extraordinary river. They ask me where that river is located and what happened to the fish. Not only have the fish disappeared, but so has the river. It is the case not just with that river. Considering what we are doing to the earth and to the environment, the legacy we are about to leave to future generations is not something we can be proud of.
The Kyoto protocol is a good thing and it is a beginning. We will ratify it, but then we will have to act. This is important. It is not only the foundation of our economy, but also the foundation of our life.
Before members' statements, I was saying that, personally, I was shocked to see that, whenever we talk about protecting the environment—we saw it again when we discussed GMOs this morning—we only discuss effectiveness in terms of dollars and in relation to the economy. The planet will outlast us, but it is not sure that mankind will continue if we do not develop our world in a more orderly and respectful fashion. We must develop our planet by respecting the environment and by ensuring that it outlasts us while being as clean as possible for our descendants.
As was said prior to oral question period, in the past 12 years, $66 billion was spent on research into improving oil drilling and the petroleum industry in general.
During that time, only some $350 million was spent on developing clean energies, wind energy in particular. It can provide every comfort we require, every comfort we need, while respecting the environment. Yet, there is certainly a great future for renewable energies. This is an area with an incredible job creation potential, and in regions where this type of energy is needed for regional development.
To take areas in Quebec for example, such as the Gaspé, the Magdalen Islands and the North Shore, these are all areas where windpowered generators could be installed in order to tap energy that would not pollute the planet, would not pollute the environment, and would make it possible for us to develop as we need to develop. We must not cop out by saying, “I won't be around in 10 years to see what has been accomplished”.
I would like to see the Prime Minister, the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, myself and all the others of our vintage who will not be around this place in ten years be able to take pride in what we did for those who continue to live on this planet.
The Kyoto protocol must be ratified. I trust that we will reach an agreement with the provinces while respecting them. After all that Quebec has done to protect the environment, it ought not to be forced now to pay its share for what others did not do. Quebec has been vigilant; there is still work to be done, but it has been vigilant. Energy in Quebec is cleaner than what is used elsewhere.
However, I feel there is a problem in Quebec that we must address, and that is the automobile. There is another mindset today that means that we have to go around in vehicles that use two to three times the gas used in the 1980s. Back then, we could buy cars that used six, seven, or eight litres of fuel every 100 kilometres. Today, more and more people are going around in cars built like tanks. In the middle of the city we see four wheel drive, all terrain vehicles that were designed to navigate woods or steep inclines. Why? Where is the comfort in polluting the planet in such an unbelievable way?
I heard a survey on the radio last week, where people were asked, “Would you like to have an all terrain vehicle with four wheel drive that costs $85,000?” The respondents said, “I would like to have one, but I could never afford it”. When asked, “If you could afford it, would you buy one?”, people said “Yes”. Then they were asked, “Even if the vehicle uses 20 litres of fuel every 100 kilometres, would you buy it anyway?” The answer was, “Yes, I would buy it anyway”. To some extent, that is what is happening now, as 75% of all cars on the road are unbelievable gas guzzlers.
Maybe Kyoto could help us think about this. The obligation to reduce our share of pollution will probably lead us to make choices that would be more logical for all citizens and more logical with respect to the development of the planet and the legacy we leave for coming generations.
John Maloney Erie—Lincoln, ON
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Charleswood--St. James--Assiniboia.
It gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to speak on this issue of great importance, not only for us today but for generations to come. I wonder if there would have been so much debate on this issue if we were forced to be in this place during the long, abnormally hot summers that we now experience. I am sure that most of us would find it unbearable on several levels.
While some people say that the science is not there to support Kyoto, I say they should look out their window and ask themselves if the weather patterns are what they remember from when they were growing up. In my area of Erie--Lincoln, many of us did not even have air conditioning in the summer because we could enjoy the cool breezes coming off Lakes Erie and Ontario. I am sad to say that due to the long, hot, and humid summers that we now experience, the air conditioning business in our area has literally taken off.
We should ask ourselves how many people, especially young people, now have asthma, when it was almost unheard of when I was growing up. We can look at the Saguenay floods, the prairie drought, and the eastern Canada ice storm. Are these a sign of things to come? This is only in Canada. What about the natural catastrophes that are occurring all around the world?
I want to use the responses to the common questions that my Erie--Lincoln constituents posed to me as a basis for my remarks. Many of us, myself included, are not scientists and have difficulty assessing this plan based upon technical knowledge. It is like electricity or the Internet, we might not understand exactly how it works, but we know that it is a good thing.
My constituents have questions, like many other Canadians, about how this would affect them. Recently one of my chambers of commerce asked how the Kyoto protocol would affect jobs as well as taxes and the economy. The Government of Canada is working hard to predict what climate change, and our plan to fight it, would mean for our economy, our health and our environment. We must assess the costs and benefits of acting to stop climate change and weigh them against the consequences of doing nothing at all.
There have been various estimates on what ratifying the Kyoto protocol would mean for economic growth and employment in Canada. The most credible analysis comes from the analysis and modelling group, AMG, on the national climate change process. The AMG is comprised of officials from every province and territory. It consults widely with experts from industry, academia and the environmental community.
The most recent analysis by the AMG assumes that Canada would implement Kyoto using a mixture of targeted measures and market mechanisms like domestic emissions trading. Under this scenario Canada's economy would be 30.4% bigger in 2012, instead of 31%. Another way to say this is that Kyoto may result in about $7.2 billion in potential lost economic growth over the next 10 years, or about $24 per year per Canadian.
It is important to note that this economic analysis does not include several important considerations that would lower projected costs. For example, it does not consider the economic benefits of implementing a climate change policy. The dollar value of the additional health and environmental benefits of fighting climate change is estimated to be between $300 million and $500 million a year. There are some estimates that are even higher. In Ontario alone, the Ontario Medical Association estimates that air pollution causes the deaths of 1,900 people every year and a cost of $10 billion per year.
It is difficult for any economic model to capture the economic benefits of the technological growth that would result from companies innovating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore likely that the projected economic costs are over-estimated.
In considering the Kyoto protocol, the Liberal government must think about the cost of doing nothing. The AMG analysis does not include the cost of inaction, and yet the reason the Liberal government is committed to stopping climate change is because we are certain it would damage our health, environment and economy. The 1998 ice storm in eastern Canada was a dramatic demonstration of the kind of damage climate change could inflict. The ice storm left three million Canadians without power for varying periods and cost $5.4 billion.
All things considered, we are confident that the overall benefits to Canada, such as reduced smog, improved human health, and a more innovative and efficient economy would far outweigh any costs.
Some people are under the impression that the government is rushing to ratify Kyoto without informing and consulting Canadians, but this is not the case. In fact, we are doing the opposite.
Canada first agreed to the Kyoto protocol in December 1997, almost five years ago. Since then we have been working with the provinces and territories, with industry and academics, with environmental groups and with cities, to find solutions to climate change. We are working with our partners to bring these solutions together in a complete, made in Canada plan.
Just how much has the Government of Canada consulted? Canada's federal, provincial and territorial environment and energy ministers have met twice a year since 1997 to debate our climate change policy and decide what actions to take. Their officials have met regularly in between. These ministers established the national climate change process to examine the impacts and benefits of implementing the Kyoto protocol and to consult with Canadians.
The national climate change process has two main parts consisting of three working groups and 16 issue tables. These working groups and issue tables are comprised of more than 450 experts from different levels of government, industry, academia and non-governmental organizations. They have produced tens of thousands of pages of analysis and have spent thousands of hours in ministerial meetings, public consultations and technical workshops. Stakeholder meetings were held in every province and territory in 2000 and again in 2002.
Every sector of Canadian society has contributed to Canada's climate change policy. Our careful decision to ratify the Kyoto protocol is a result of these years of consultation and debate. The message we have heard is clear. As the effects of climate change become more severe, Canada, as the third largest per capita greenhouse gas emitter in the industrialized world, cannot afford to remain part of the problem. We must be part of the solution.
As a border community, many of my constituents have a very close working relationship with our friends in the United States and wonder why we are signing a deal that our largest trading partner, the United States, is refusing to ratify.
As of September 2002, 93 countries have ratified or acceded to the Kyoto protocol. Mexico, Japan, Great Britain and France have ratified. Russia is in the process of ratifying. While the Bush administration has signalled that it does not intend to ratify, it has launched its own global climate change initiative. State governments in the United States are far ahead of our provincial governments in Canada in implementing greenhouse gas reduction measures. Canadians risk making a huge mistake if they look only to the current position of the U.S. government to justify a decision not to ratify the Kyoto protocol.
Frankly, the United States is not a signatory to many international protocols and conventions concerning things like the protection of refugees, the rights of children, the International Criminal Court or the landmines treaty. I do not see this as a reason to automatically discount our own participation and our known policies on important international issues. Although we are friends with the United States we have the right and responsibility to take a different path when it is the right thing to do.
My chamber of commerce also asked, why would Canada commit to an unachievable target that also requires us to make payments to countries without targets?
How we address climate change may still be open to debate but not whether we address it. Canadians want action and we are committed to formulating a made in Canada contribution to the global climate change problem to meet our made in Canada Kyoto objectives. We are confident we would meet the objectives we negotiated.
There is nothing in the Kyoto protocol that requires Canada to make payments to countries without targets. However the protocol does allow Canada to work cooperatively with developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and get credit for doing so. Should we use these mechanisms the Liberal government is committed to investing primarily in projects that are consistent with our international development and trade promotion goals.
My constituents want to know what effort has the government made to create a best for Canada plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while protecting our economic prosperity?
We have been working on a best for Canada plan with the provinces and territories, with industry, academics and environmental groups, and with over 450 Canadian experts since 1997. The Kyoto protocol is part of Canada's made in Canada plan to fight climate change. We have a stake in having others take action to solve our Canadian problem and therefore we must do our share. Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. The Kyoto protocol is the only internationally agreed framework for global action. A fundamental principle of Kyoto is that each country has to address the issue according to its own unique circumstances. This is precisely what we are doing.
International agreements reached on the details of the Kyoto protocol over the past year reflect Canada's priority that taking action on climate change must be both cost effective and environmentally credible. The result is an international agreement that strongly reflects Canadian interests.
Under the national climate change process we have been working with our partners across the country to develop a strategy that makes sense for Canada. The result of the work is presented in the federal discussion paper on Canada's contribution to addressing climate change released on May 15, 2002. It identifies at least 40 targeted measures we can take to reduce emissions by up to 175 megatonnes which could at least meet 70% of our Kyoto target. It outlines how to achieve further reductions through market based measures like domestic emissions trading and by working cooperatively with other countries under the Kyoto protocol. This is what a made in Canada plan looks like.
In conclusion, I want to comment briefly on Canada as an important world leader in this area. If we want the rest of the world to act responsibly and protect the environment, then we need to be part of a global agreement.
Developed under the auspices of the United Nations, the Kyoto protocol is the only internationally agreed upon framework for action. It is the beginning of an international regime to tackle the issue. It is a first step in the right direction.
John Harvard Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the Kyoto protocol. I also want to thank the government for the vote on the accord. I say thanks because under our parliamentary system the government is not required to hold a ratification vote on an international treaty. That is the sole prerogative of government. However the government does understand the need for members of the House to express themselves on the accord. It is the democratic thing to do and it makes for good politics. Members of the House have opinions on the accord and those opinions should be heard.
I want to say right off the bat that I will be voting for the accord. For me, it is the right thing to do.
Scientists, I believe, have made the case for action around climate change. The time for action is now, before it is too late or before the challenge becomes much more daunting.
I know that there is a minority of scientists who see no need for Kyoto type action at this time. They think that climate change has been overestimated. They could be right but they are very much in the minority. About nine in ten scientists do not agree with that minority.
I am putting my money on the overwhelming majority. They simply cannot be ignored. After all, I have to look at myself in the mirror, decide with a small minority and then lose on that wild gamble, and that, to me, would be irresponsible in the extreme. I will not do it. So, I will support the accord. I see it as an insurance plan, at the very minimum, and if future developments show that it was not needed, then the cost of that insurance will not be out of order.
We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren. We owe that much to those who will inherit this planet from us.
Will there be some costs in some areas of our economy when Kyoto is implemented? The short answer to that is, yes, but let me quickly add that I am an optimist and believe that any bad flowing from the accord will be outweighed by the good. Economic models suggest that the economy will grow over the next eight years or so at about 17.5%. That is with Kyoto. Without Kyoto, it may have gone to about 18%. I suspect that most Canadians would agree that is a tolerant level of investment for protecting the environment.
We are a proud and very successful nation. We have built one of the best economies in the world and in what some people believe to be a cold and inhospitable climate. Well, our winters are long, but we have never let that deter us. We just dress warmly and get on with it.
Ours is a proud history. We have invited people from all around the world to come here and pursue their dreams. Millions have taken up our invitation and have helped build our country to what it is today.
Well over 100 years ago we built a railroad from coast to coast. Some said at the time that it could not be done.
We fought in two world wars. Our nation matured in that process and the world recognized that Canada's soldiers are second to none.
We have built our country on two founding languages and, if that was not enough, we proudly proclaimed ourselves a multicultural nation about 30 years ago.
Why do I say those things in a debate about the Kyoto protocol? It is simple. We Canadians can do anything we set our minds to. We are up to the Kyoto challenge.
I truly believe that when ratification happens, Canadians will realize that there is no going back. I believe that it will be cathartic for our country. It will help us throw off our fears and march forward.
I think we will see innovation in this country like this country has never seen before. We will see our business community take up the challenge. It already has in some quarters. I will speak more about that in just a few minutes.
Canada has a dynamic private sector. It will not be left behind. Those in the private sector are smart, resourceful, competitive and are hungry for success. I have complete faith in them. Our government has already promised a strong partnership with the business sector to get the job done.
Our government is committed. It is committed to all concerned to do everything possible to meet the Kyoto targets by 2012. It will be a strong challenge but the government is in for the long haul.
The government has also committed to a plan that will not impose an unfair burden on any industry or region of the country. That is important. This is a responsible approach. If there are any national burdens they must be shared. I know, for example, that there are concerns in Alberta where the oil and gas industry is concentrated, but our government is committed to working with the Alberta government and with the Alberta people. Alberta will be treated fairly, as will all provinces and all territories.
Common sense tells us that the federal government must be fair to all regions, and it will be. There can be no other way. This great country was built on cooperation and partnership and that rule will be followed in Kyoto.
The federal government has been consulting widely with stakeholders, provinces, territories, municipalities and NGOs for several years. That will not stop. In fact, it will intensify. We are committed to getting things right. Canada is turning a corner on Kyoto. It is the right corner. Turning this corner takes us toward more opportunities and, in the long run, toward a more competitive economy.
That has already started. The environment minister reminded us of this when he kicked off the debate several days ago. It is worthwhile repeating what he said. He said:
Many companies are making the first important step of making their operations more efficient when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. DaimlerChrysler Canada has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions for each vehicle it manufactures by 42%. DuPont Canada set a 10 year goal that would reduce energy use by 25% per unit. It reached that goal in less than half the time it had put aside to do so. Syncrude Canada has reduced greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of production by 26% since 1988.
That paves the way for the next step, which is to cut total emissions through wise energy use. We have examples, such as Weyerhaeuser Canada's Prince Albert, Saskatchewan plant which is energy self-sufficient and which has drastically cut its greenhouse gas emissions. Interface Inc. reduced energy consumption at its Belleville, Ontario plant by more than 35% between 1993 and 1997 while production increased 58%. Mountain Equipment Co-op's new store here in Ottawa has reduced its energy consumption by over 50%.
As members can see, the great work has already begun. It will not stop. In fact, it will only accelerate. This is why I see the glass half full when it comes to Kyoto. We can do it and we will do it. I am sure there will be some bumps on the road. That is inevitable. However those bumps will not feel so bad if we work together. Working together is one of the keys to success.
To do that we will all have to make a special effort to avoid playing politics with Kyoto. I know it is tempting for some politicians to fearmonger and endeavour to pit one region against another to put the federal government, or any other government for that matter, in a bad light. That is a dangerous game. It can damage the economy and threaten national unity.
In conclusion, I believe that all Canadians want us and every level of government to set aside partisan political differences and pull together for the sake of this great country. We can do it. We must do it. Canadians are counting on us.
Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my opposition to ratifying the Kyoto protocol.
The Canadian Alliance supports the policies that contribute to creating a healthier environment and economic growth. The Kyoto accord on the environment is an international agreement with grave deficiencies, and it does not advance either of these objectives.
We oppose the Kyoto protocol and, instead, advocate the adoption, together with the provinces, of real Canadian policies to meet our environmental objectives.
In discussing Kyoto today, I have to point out, first and foremost, that we are debating this in an atmosphere of closure. Why? Is it because we have a real deadline to implement concrete plans to achieve national or international targets? The answer is, of course, no. It is precisely the opposite.
We have closure today precisely because there is no deadline and there are no plans. Instead of having deadlines, plans and goals, we must insist on moving forward because the government is simply increasingly embarrassed by the state of the debate and it needs to move on.
In many ways this is like gun control, the sponsorship program, GST corporate rebates and the HRDC scandals. The government does not know what it is doing but it must proceed to pretend that it does know what it is doing. And to show that it is moving on, it must of course spend money, and not just Monopoly money. We have talked about this and have thrown figures around as if they were just accounting abstractions. This is the money of ordinary, hardworking people, that was taken off their paycheques.
We will waste in this protocol, not hundreds of millions of dollars, not billions, but the potential wastage of tens of billions of dollars and perhaps the destruction of the economy itself. If this pattern continues, not only will we waste that kind of money but the government will engage in an elaborate cover-up as long as possible to ensure that the costs are not known until a true crisis is reached.
So far what has the debate on Kyoto revealed, not just in the House but in the public over the past few weeks? It has revealed the following, and I will go through these step by step.
First, the Kyoto protocol does not deal with critical environmental issues. Second, it does not even deal sufficiently with those it is actually supposed to address. Third, it unfairly penalizes Canada. Fourth, the costs, if implemented, will be astronomical. Fifth, I will review the actual state of the plan to achieve these targets and, in particular, look at the implementation status in light of the coming to office of a new prime minister some time within about a year.
Let me start first with the fact that the accord does not deal with critical environmental issues. It is time to tell the truth about the Kyoto accord. I have been saying this across the country and I understand full well that this is politically difficult. Kyoto has been sold as a motherhood issue; the simple good of the planet versus economic greed. It is far easier to stand for the simple moral certainties of Kyoto's environmentalist rhetoric than to understand the messy reality of the accord's contents and their effects on our economic lives.
The truth is that many people who should have known better have been all too quiet for all too long as fearmongering, myth making and, on the part of the Prime Minister, legacy building, have seen the country stumble blindly toward implementing the worst international agreement the country has ever signed.
We have all no doubt seen the TV images that Kyoto has refuted to address. The huge plants and factories billowing great mushroom clouds of poisonous smog into the air. It is little wonder that a large percentage of the public thinks we should do something about this. We should, except that this has nothing to do with the Kyoto protocol. Missing in this utterly bogus sales job is one inconvenient little fact, the Kyoto accord has next to nothing to do with controlling pollution. Kyoto does not target particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide or any number of other pollutants. A couple are mentioned but none are targeted.
Kyoto simply does not target air quality. It is designed instead to address the so-called greenhouse gas phenomenon. The hypothesis is that the increase of certain gases, not necessarily pollutants, contribute to a long term global warming trend.
I will not comment at any length about the science of this other than to say the science remains in flux and is controversial. This is not just about issues of global warming or how these gases contribute to global warming, but the very reality that there has been constant climate change in the earth's history. We know this and quite frankly science knows very little about why over the epochs and the centuries those temperature changes have taken place in the first place.
Second, it does not matter what view we have of the science in any case since Kyoto has little to do with that anyway. The accord focuses on only one greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a naturally occurring gas essential to the life cycles of the planet.
The Kyoto protocol targets only a small percentage of carbon dioxide. Man-made carbon dioxide is only about 5% of the earth's today. Even more significant, two-thirds of man-made carbon dioxide emissions occur in countries not ratifying or that are exempt from Kyoto's targets. Worse yet, it is not even intended in Kyoto that a handful of implementing countries will achieve reduction targets. Instead the accord provides for an emissions trading credit scheme that allows countries like Canada to simply transfer money to other countries, some with far worse environmental records than our own, instead of cutting CO
The upshot is this. Canada's implementation will not lead to global reductions of CO
. In fact, the transfer of wealth, jobs and emissions to non-target countries virtually ensures that carbon dioxide emissions will increase under the Kyoto Protocol.
My third point is that this unfairly penalizes Canada. The hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, the former finance minister, says that international problems require international solutions. He is right about that, except that under this accord there are very few countries that will limit CO
emissions and most will do so only marginally.
Let me just go through the list. There are India, China and Mexico, our trading partner. India and China, two of the five biggest emitters in the world, are exempt from the accord. The United States and Australia are not ratifying it. Japan has ratified it but apparently will not implement it. In the cases of the European Union as a group and Russia, only the most modest targets have to be achieved. In fact, not a single other country in the western hemisphere, that is to say the Americas, has accepted a target under the Kyoto plan.
This government negotiated for Canada the toughest standards in the world. By ratifying this accord, we will be obligated to reduce emissions by a whopping 30% over projected levels by the end of the implementation period in 2012. In setting this target, our government failed to get for Canada consideration of things that cause high energy consumption in our country. It utterly failed to get recognition of our cold climate, our large distances and our population growth.
Fourth, as I said, the costs of this accord if implemented will be astronomical. We do not know precisely what the costs will be because we have no implementation plan, but it is not hard to figure out that the impact of reducing energy emissions on the scale of Kyoto will be enormous.
Independent estimates suggest that to achieve our Kyoto imposed targets, Canadians could be looking at 50% increases in the costs of gasoline and heating, up to 100% or a doubling of the cost of electricity, the loss of close to half a million jobs and economic costs of up to $40 billion for the economy. To put that in context, we are talking about $2,700 per household.
The government's own estimates on this have varied wildly over the past two years. We have had report after report with estimate after estimate. None of them are as high as the independent estimates, but they are all shockingly high.
Something to remember is this. Most of these costs will be borne by consumers, since almost 80% of CO
emissions are produced from the consumption of energy rather than the production of energy.
Today the government ministers have confirmed that the government will cap the cost of CO
reductions at about $15 per tonne for large emitters. The government thinks that this subsidization is somehow a wonderful thing and has attacked us for not backing it. However it has missed the point. We are not here, unlike the Liberal Party, to simply worry about the costs of this for business. We are here to worry about the costs of this for the country and for the ordinary people who will have to bear these costs.
Do not be led also, as the government would hope, that Kyoto's impact would be primarily regional in nature. Because it attacks energy consumption, much more so than production, the negative economic impact of Kyoto will be felt from coast to coast, which is why virtually every province began to balk as we began to move closer to ratification and implementation plans.
Let me talk about the state of the implementation debate, because that is really where we have to go. For reasons that are beyond frankly convention and legal practice, the government is intent on ratifying without a plan or without any implementation, regulations or draft legislation of any kind.
The state of implementation the last two years has been the most bizarre barrage of constantly revised draft reports, whether it is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, or a comic book or whatever the latest thing is. There is no legislation, no regulations, few costs, no explanation of how it we will really meet the targets and no concrete actions.
In the latest version of the plan the government has said that it will meet its targets by taking three steps. I will go through them one at a time. Unfortunately I do not have as much time as the member for Red Deer to go through all this details, but let me summarize where we are at in the current implementation plan.
The first step is actions underway from action plan 2000 and budget 2001 from which some of the costs have been provided. However it is important to note that most of the measures mentioned are just demonstration projects, negotiations, incentive programs or cooperation with provinces rather than actual plans to limit emissions. It does suggest, and this is fascinating, that already the costs the government has agreed to, direct governmental costs to meet Kyoto, are running about $1.6 billion. What has this achieved? The government claims it will achieve reductions in the order of about 80 megatonnes. Our review of this on a step by step basis suggests that a claim of any more than about 40 megatonnes is an exaggeration.
The second step is a list of actions for which no cost estimates of any kind have been provided. Many of the items on the list of upcoming actions, double count items that are already in step one. Our repeated requests to the Minister of the Environment to provide specifics on this list have been rebuffed. What are the likely achievements? My office went through the proposals on a step by step basis and we can find no more than about 45 megatonnes of concrete reduction measures.
The third step in the government's plan descends into complete wishful thinking. For example the government is still including clean energy exports to the United States, even though Canada's request to include these exports has been repeatedly denied by the United Nations. The government admits that there is a gap of about 60 megatonnes in terms of achieving the 240 megatonne target that Canada will accept by ratification. The bottom line is this. Our analysis suggest that this plan has no more than about 85 megatonnes out of 240 megatonnes where there is a concrete idea of how we will proceed.
We will soon be left by the Prime Minister and it will soon fall to the member for LaSalle—Émard, the former finance minister, to deal with this and to move us forward. I would like to spend a few minutes to try to assess the implementation plan and where the member for LaSalle—Émard may go with this. In his early days of course he was a disciple of Maurice Strong, the international Canadian environmentalist, who not only had radical views on this issue but had been very close to the minister and, I understand, to the amassing of his personal wealth. In 1992 the former finance minister wrote the following:
We can begin by pressuring for an international convention to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 20% worldwide by 2005, using 1998 as a base year. We should set the example by exceeding that target at home.
He had no doubt back then. He was fearless. It was a proposal as radical, if not more radical than Kyoto. He was proposing to ram it down the throats of the provinces. He said in that period:
I am simply saying that if you are going to attack the problem of global warming, which is not only going to drown an island in the South Pacific but is also going to drown Anticosti Island, then you bloody well better understand that it is not going to be done from some provincial capital; it is going to have to be done at the federal level.
That is not just a very radical position, but radical terminology. Frankly it is the same line throughout his nine years as a cabinet minister.
However, recently the former finance minister has had many positions on the issue. I am tempted to say how many positions but I think I might exceed good taste here.
Two weeks before the Prime Minister went to Johannesburg to announce he would ratify the Kyoto accord, that was in September, the former finance minister said that he should do just that. Later he said that before Kyoto was signed there must be a comprehensive plan with a detailed study of the costs, benefits and impacts. Then he said that Kyoto should probably not be ratified unless and until all provinces were all side, the so-called national consensus.
Then he announced that he would vote for Kyoto when it came to this Parliament, as it will tomorrow, but the vote should be delayed. Then last week we had a virtuoso flip-flop performance in the House of Commons. I am tempted to call it, using the terminology of Rodney Dangerfield, a triple lindy. The former finance minister suggested that first, and I could read the quotes but I will not, that there would be great changes to our economy and lives because of Kyoto, but then suggested that he would ensure they would be absolutely costless.
He said that he supported ratification, but categorized the protocol as inadequate and rejected its centrepiece, the emissions trading scheme. Then he demanded there be investment certainty around the plan but said that the plan had been wrongly developed and must go back to the drawing board of public and parliamentary hearings. He said all this in the course of 10 minutes with his patented introduction “let me be very clear”.
The former finance minister did have one concrete proposal. It was to lob a cool $1.5 billion into green research technology and infrastructure. Let me quickly say that this reminds me of the first modern boondoggle, the scientific research tax credit that in 1983 exploded from $200 million to $3.5 billion in a matter of months. These programs are inherently difficult. It is inherently difficult to subsidize the development of cutting edge technology without subsidizing economically efficient technology that would be introduced anyway.
Let me summarize by saying that we will do this while the former finance minister stumbles around with his implementation plans. We will on this side of the House monitor the costs and the progress of this international agreement every step of the way. We will highlight ways of achieving modest CO
and pollution reductions and will make it very clear when we identify such reductions taking place. We will also monitor the costs closely and ensure that those costs do not fall inordinately on ordinary people.
We will highlight failures to achieve the outrageous targets until those targets are reduced. We will keep an eye on the government and an eye on its constant attempt to cover-up costs every step of the way.
On this side of the House we will do the only responsible thing, that is to vote not just against closure, not just against implementation, but frankly under the circumstance to vote against ratification of this accord without a plan.
I put the government on notice that this is only the beginning of the debate. We will fight this every step of the way. We will ensure that the government pays the price every step of the way either for the outrageous costs they have placed on Canadians or for its failure to achieve the targets to which it has unwittingly and irresponsibly committed the country.
Albina Guarnieri Mississauga East, ON
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for St. Catharines.
It is a rare event when the nations of the world put aside their national interests, economic concerns and trade disputes and join forces to tackle a global challenge. Climate change caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases threatens the world's industries as well as its people.
There is now legitimate concern that agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism will be impacted by changing weather patterns causing floods, droughts and other climate consequences over the decades to come. There could be few greater causes for the world to pull together.
When Canada signed the Kyoto protocol in April 1998, it was touted as a global solution to a global problem. Unfortunately, it is now obvious that Kyoto is neither global nor truly the solution we had hoped for.
The Kyoto accord is now an agreement between Europe, Japan and New Zealand. The largest polluters are not participating. Countries responsible for two-thirds of the world's emissions are not part of the deal or have no emissions reduction targets. The countries with the fastest growth in emissions, China, India and the United States, are not subject to any restrictions. Even if Kyoto participants meet their targets, the impact on global warming will be insignificant over the next 50 years at least. This is well known.
What is less well known is that those Kyoto countries which are subject to emissions targets are not required to reduce their emissions as a group. This strange reality is the basis for the agreement being signed in the first place. One might have thought that an agreement to which Canada signed in 1998 might seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 1998 levels. This of course is not the case. 1990 was the base year. It is now obvious why that is. Between 1990 and 1998, many signatories had dramatic reductions in their own emissions.
Russia had 35% less emissions in 1998 than it did in 1990. Hence, its target of zero increase actually permits it to increase its emissions by 50% from the day it signed the treaty. The other former eastern bloc countries are in similar situations.
The European Union also had members that had dramatic reductions between 1990 and 1998. Germany's absorption of East Germany and the closure of coal-fired industries reduced its emissions by 15%. The widespread conversion from coal to natural gas in the U.K. reduced its emissions by over 8%. Overall, the European Union needs to reduce its emissions by only 4% to reach its target, not that challenging for a region with a very limited population growth.
The use of 1990 rather than 1998 as a base level was an effort to reduce commitments rather than reduce emissions. The absurd result is that when we take Canada, the United States and Australia out of the treaty, the remaining Kyoto participants as a group actually signed on to increase their emissions by 16% over 1998 levels. If they do better, they can sell credits to countries that have harder targets to meet.
While the United States and Australia want no part of that bargain, Canada will ratify the deal and will commit to reducing its greenhouse gases by 16% from the levels in 1998 when we signed on originally. That is the deal. Canada reduces its emissions by 16% from 1998; the rest of the Kyoto countries can collectively increase their emissions by curiously 16%.
Today Canada's target amounts to a 25% reduction from current levels. Our greenhouse gas emissions have risen because Canada has a growing population and because we have a growing oil and gas production industry.
Every year we take in over 200,000 immigrants. This requires some 80,000 more homes, homes that need to be heated, homes that use electricity. Our economy relies on this growth. We rely on growth in our oil patch. We watch auto sales and housing starts as key economic indicators. To restrain this growth will rob us of the economic strength we need to finance the transition to cleaner fuels and greater energy efficiency.
With the United States outside the deal, Canada is certain to suffer competitive consequences of any Kyoto measures that result in higher costs to producers or manufacturers.
The government has published a plan with some ideas as to how we might hope to meet our national targets. The total cost to Canadians of this revolutionary reduction in carbon emissions is predicted to be a rounding error in our GDP. We need a parliamentary review of our implementation plan to fully assess what this program will cost Canadians as consumers and taxpayers, something which our former finance minister has advocated religiously and which the Leader of the Opposition has failed to remember in his listing of what the finance minister has or has not said.
We need to determine whether the predicted economic benefits of energy efficiency can make a measurable difference nationwide. We need to identify all the industry sectors which may be most impacted. Most important, we have to let Canadians understand what we are committing to on their behalf. That has always been the role of Parliament and its committees: to guard the public purse and inform Canadians about what their government is doing.
Last Monday the Minister of Industry leapt before the cameras to lash out against the prudence of parliamentary committees studying government plans. He said:
I don't think that we can approach public life by saying every time there is a difficult decision to make, we'll send it to a committee. Sometimes you have to decide and sometimes everybody won't like it, but that's just too bad. You've got to make up your mind.
So said the minister. It is poetic justice that the very next day the Auditor General reported on a previous occasion when the minister voiced such an opinion.
The minister had promised Canadians that the gun registry would cost some $2 million net to taxpayers. Sheila Fraser reported that in fact it burned an $860 million hole in taxpayers' pockets, an error of some 40,000%. Yes, sometimes we just have to decide, but sometimes we should also make the right decisions, decisions that do not result in the worst cost overrun that the Auditor General has seen in her professional life.
One has to wonder what might have happened had there been a more careful review of cost assumptions. Had we known the true costs, we might have had the choice of whether we wanted to spend $100 million a year on a database or, for about the same amount of money, invest in 1,000 more police officers to target organized crime, parole violators or illegal guns. Canadians should have had that choice.
We did learn that legislating platitudes without a well studied plan can be devastating to taxpayers who are left with the bill. Only an independent and thorough assessment of our Kyoto plan can give us the confidence in the cost estimates. Only by knowing the costs can we determine what else we might have been able to achieve for Canadians with the same amount of money.
Canada must do its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We should invest in our future environment. We should invest in cleaner fuels and innovative ways to improve energy efficiency. We should aim to reach our Kyoto targets whether we are part of a treaty or not. We have a responsibility to ensure that Canadian inaction is in no way responsible for the future consequences of global warming.
We also have a responsibility to be honest with Canadians about the costs. We should know how many dollars will be sent to Russia to buy credits and how many jobs will be lost in the United States where emissions targets will not be a burden on industry. In essence, we need a fully detailed plan that would survive the scrutiny of a parliamentary committee and stand the test of time.
Kyoto is both a noble path and a blind alley. A parliamentary committee should be asked to light the way for Canadians.
Walt Lastewka St. Catharines, ON
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to speak in the House, especially at this time. It is the last opportunity to speak to the Kyoto protocol before members vote on the issue.
As a Canadian and as a member of Parliament I understand Kyoto must be implemented with the cooperation and consideration of all the provinces and territories. If we as Canadians want an agreement that will be adhered to, we must reach consensus with the provinces.
We must acknowledge our role as a leader on this issue. We must go forward with all the provinces and territories and work together toward a common goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions without reducing our economic efficiency. The federal and provincial governments, as some premiers have said, must work on the plan together.
Maintaining our strong economy is crucial. It would allow us to absorb any of the costs related to the implementation process and not have a negative impact.
By encouraging Canadians and Canadian companies to develop new technologies centred on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we not only develop a technology that is Canadian, we also create jobs in developing and sustaining that technology. Selling it abroad sustains our economy. In giving the world a leading edge with Canadian technology, we can help other countries, most certainly some developing countries, to meet their obligations.
Our mission should be that when the world looks for environmental solutions, Canada is the answer. If we want to share the best new technologies with the world, we must ensure that we obtain the highest level of cooperation in sharing our new ideas and technologies from around the country.
I travel across Canada as often as I can. This past summer I was on the east and west coasts visiting many small businesses with leading edge technologies, innovation and incubation centres. In considering my remarks on the accord, I realized that in order to meet our obligations under the Kyoto accord, we should establish a whole new level of cooperative enterprise across Canada.
For example, Iogen Corporation suggested a winning combination for Canadian public policy. On the environment: a greater than 90% reductions in net CO
emissions, uniquely bioethanol; improved air quality; and improved health of Canadians. On agriculture: new direct farm income of $200 million to $300 million annually; the creation of 1,150 direct plant jobs as well as on-farm baling, trucking and construction jobs; and crop diversity and the potential to invest in bioethanol facilities. Innovation and investment with the private sector is very important to develop uniquely Canadian technology, build a domestic industry with large export potential, and provide continued Canadian leadership in clean fuel technologies.
If we are going to encourage the cooperative efforts of business within Canada, we as a federal government must hold ourselves to the same standard. Those in industry must have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and what they can expect from the federal government regarding emissions reductions. In establishing a cap on emissions which has been discussed recently, business has the assurance that the federal government will assist in the greenhouse gas reduction process. Businesses can remain within their operating budgets and continue to flourish.
We must work beyond Kyoto. Developing countries will continue to consume energy at unprecedented rates. Their emissions will most certainly choke our planet if we do not provide them with the means to substantially reduce them.
Canada must become the world leader as the most energy efficient, technologically advanced country. We can accomplish this through cleaner fuels and efficient infrastructure, which will make our cities greener, and new innovative technologies.
Canada can and should be the world leader in the movement of global economies that have reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The solution to this problem is not a simple one. There is no one answer to the problem. All Canadians must consider themselves as part of the solution and our efforts must be focused accordingly. There must be a realistic approach to the task ahead of us and to the contribution that all of us will be required to make.
Just because the United States federal government pulled out of Kyoto does not mean that the American people pulled out. Just watch what is happening in many of the states. Many of the state governors are implementing projects today that meet Kyoto standards. It is interesting to note that the individual states are far ahead of the provinces. I only wish that the meetings over the last five years with the resources and energy ministers could have been more productive, and similarly with the environment ministers who met over the last five years.
I understand the environment ministers agreed on 9 out of the 12 principles. So let us finish working on the remaining three. We all agreed, for example, on 9 principles: first, all Canadians must have an opportunity for full and informed input into the development of the plan; second, the plan must respect provincial and territorial jurisdiction; third, the plan must include recognition of real emission reductions that have been achieved since 1990 or will be achieved thereafter; fourth, the plan must provide for bilateral or multilateral agreements between provinces and territories, and with the federal government; fifth, the plan must support innovation and new technology; sixth, the plan must maintain the economic competitiveness of Canadian business and industry; seventh, Canada must continue to demand recognition of clean energy exports; eighth, the plan must include incentives for all citizens, communities, businesses and jurisdictions to make the shift to an economy based on renewable and other clean other energy, lower emissions and sustainable practices across sectors; and ninth, the implementation of any climate change plan must include an incentive and allocation system that supports lower carbon emission sources of energy, such as hydroelectricity, wind power generation, ethanol and renewable and other clean sources of energy.
Nine of these twelve principles have been approved by the provinces and the federal government, and the other three require extra definition and clarity of financial risk, appropriately federally funded mitigation and recognition of the various sinks across the provinces and territories. We must continue to work on these and not give up.
The auto industry would like less variation of standards. I agree with it. Let us all move closer to California standards. This does not require new technology. We have the technology today. What is required is some innovation to get the costs down. We should be learning from the California standards and proceeding.
I have heard the opposition say that the Kyoto process should be more voluntary. I say to take the solutions on clean fuel, for example. Credit should be given to Irving Oil who, over the three to five year program, reduced its sulphur in gasoline. It has reached its goal. It has helped the country to reach its goal and has remained very competitive. In fact, Irving is a leader not only in the Atlantic region but on the eastern seaboard. We should be saying, “Job well done”, and proceeding to ensure that we have clean fuel right across the country.
I consider the approval in Parliament of the Kyoto protocol as the approval of a mission statement by Canada and Canadians. Let us work out all the initiatives to achieve our goal. We must be efficient, more open, more positive, and transparent going forward. Let us get on with getting the job done.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Lanark—Carleton, Official Languages; the hon. member for Etobicoke North, Securities Industry; and the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst, Airline Industry.