House of Commons Hansard #137 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

The Senate
Statements By Members

April 20th, 2007 / 11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week the Prime Minister announced that he will appoint Albertan Bert Brown as his first popularly elected senator when Senator Dan Hays retires this June. This is great news for Albertans and it is great news for Canadians.

Through our Senate election bill, we are strengthening democracy in Canada.

In the past, prime ministers have consulted ministers, MPs, friends, family, party members, and a whole host of other special interests before they made a Senate appointment. They, however, have not consulted the most important group of people of all: the Canadian public.

Now, the leader of the Liberal Party has criticized the Prime Minister's decision to appoint Bert Brown. Could it be he is just upset because during the 2004 election Bert Brown got more votes than all the Liberal MPs in Alberta combined?

We promised to modernize the unelected, unaccountable Senate, and that is exactly what we are doing.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, now the country knows that the Minister of the Environment is trying to scare Canadians with a report based on bogus assumptions and extreme views of the Kyoto accord.

But the minister's actions we now know were far more devious than that. He claimed that five independent economists support his report, but that is not true. Don Drummond supposedly was a supporter, but now we find out his support was only grudging. David Keith, the Calgary researcher, said: “I think the report overstates the difficulty of implementing policies in the short term”.

Why did this minister ask for expert opinions, but only used what suited his brazenly partisan purposes?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we tabled a report yesterday before the committee, a report that set out the implications of a private member's bill brought forward by the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party has been very clear. It does not believe that implementing the protocol would cost anything. It is a Kyoto without any price.

If it were so easy to do, if there were no price, no cost to Canadian industry, why is the member's own brother begging us not to bring in car emission standards in the province of Ontario?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of the Environment spent the whole day frightening Canadians about the costs associated with Kyoto. He stated in an irresponsible manner that the economy will be ruined. We have heard this argument before with regard to acid rain, the ozone layer and seat belts. It did not work back then and it will not work this time. Will the minister apologize to Canadians for his constant fearmongering?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has no plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Liberals had 10 long years to reduce greenhouse gases. If they had done nothing, that would have been a tremendous gift to Canadians, but the fact is they presided over higher harmful greenhouse gas emissions which rose considerably.

It is not only me who is saying that there will be a tremendous economic consequence. One of his very own caucus colleagues said “we are so far behind now that catch-up is impossible without shutting the country down”. This is what Liberal MPs are saying.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, this from one of the authors of the Walkerton tragedy in Ontario.

Yesterday, the government tabled a report in which the Conservatives proposed a tax on every tonne of carbon in this country at between $195 and $295 a tonne. It is their proposal. At the low end, this translates into a $15 billion per year tax on energy. Then the minister asked economists if this tax would have a negative effect on the economy and imagine, surprise, surprise, wait for it, they said “yes”.

I wonder did Chicken Little over there consult the finance minister before he wasted tax dollars that mock the intelligence of Canadians.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite owes all Canadians an apology. He was the president of the prime minister's national round table on the environment and the economy. Shortly after he became president of that organization, we saw a dramatic increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Was it either that he gave no good advice on how to implement Kyoto, or is it that the Liberal government would not accept it?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, a former federal minister of the environment is today the Prime Minister of Quebec, and that man is Jean Charest.

Yesterday, Mr. Charest commented on the Minister of the Environment's campaign of fear stating: “If we do not implement Kyoto, it will cost us dearly”.

And he even compared the campaign of fear to the arguments espoused when the decision was made to tackle acid rain.

Does the Prime Minister agree with Mr. Charest?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Conservative government dealt with the problem of acid rain 20 years ago. It was a Conservative government that did so. Mr. Mulroney was responsible for that.

I will just say to my colleague that the only government in the world that did absolutely nothing to reduce greenhouse gases was the Liberal government, of which he was a member.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government can muddy the waters all it wants, but the fact remains that the emperor has no clothes. Jean Charest is contradicting the minister and Quebec's minister of the environment goes so far as to say that he is fearmongering.

Furthermore, we have learned that the Minister of the Environment chose to set aside the opinions of experts who did not share his views. That is shameful.

How can the minister of misinformation and fear believe that he has any credibility at all in environmental matters?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the very best way to predict future success is to look at past action. The past action of the leader of the Liberal Party and the Liberal government was to do absolutely nothing on the environment by presiding over the biggest increase in harmful greenhouse gases around the world.

They have put forward a plan in terms of Bill C-288, a plan that they have not costed out. It is an irresponsible, reckless plan. If they believe Kyoto can be implemented with absolutely no cost, I challenge them to put this free Kyoto plan before Canadians.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the attempt by the Minister of the Environment to scare everyone with his catastrophic report has failed. The minister only succeeded in seriously undermining his credibility. Incidentally, the new Quebec Minister of the Environment, Line Beauchamp, did not hesitate to call the report alarmist, and said that inaction will have an even more disastrous impact for Quebec.

Will the minister pull himself together, stop his fearmongering and, instead, respect the consensus that is emerging in Quebec in favour of implementing the Kyoto protocol?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I fully agree with the Quebec minister that inaction is not an option. Inaction was the policy of the Liberal government. For 10 long years, we witnessed a major increase in greenhouse gas emissions. What was lacking over the past 10 years was a government that could work with the provinces. The Quebec Conservative caucus has been working very hard.

We gave Quebec a $350 million cheque to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is a good example of flexible federalism based on a true partnership with the provinces.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Premier of Quebec joined with all the observers in expressing his concerns and saying that the real question is the actual costs involved if we do not act.

Instead of causing us to waste time and money, should the minister not resolutely get to work and inform us of his plan to achieve the objectives of the Kyoto protocol?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the cost of inaction is, of course, mentioned in the report submitted to the Senate yesterday. The cost of inaction is that we are forced to do the work of 15 years in just 8 months. That is the real problem.

Our government has already made announcements in the transport and energy sectors, and also in our budget. We are about to make an announcement to regulate the industry. This is something that has never been done in the long 13 years since the Bloc Québécois first came here.