House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was grain.

Topics

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:45 p.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Madam Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague from the Bloc and I have a question for him.

He has listened to the same testimony that I have been listening to at committee. We have heard that Bill C-377, now Bill C-311, is no longer relevant. It actually is a bad bill that opposition members are trying to divide and make into two bad bills. It sets targets that were before the global economic recession, targets that would be harmful to the Canadian economy. That is why the NDP leader said that it should be costed. It has not been costed yet and yet we have the Bloc members supporting these random targets that are no longer relevant.

We have also heard from testimony today from science the importance of having a harmonized, continental approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is not possible to do it in isolation. He should well know that because climate change is not a Canada issue. it is a global issue.

Why would the member want to do something in isolation from what the rest of the world is doing? Why does he have a history of not supporting good environmental programs? Why has he voted against carbon capture and storage in this House? Why has he voted against renewable fuels?

Why do those members just talk the talk but never walk the walk?

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, the member is mistaken. This side of the House is on the same page as the international community. The federal government is the one showing a serious lack of leadership and deciding to disagree with the international community.

As proof of that, last week Canada received the Fossil of the Day award, which is saying something. This is not a green award, it is a Fossil of the Day award for how the government negotiates on the world stage, more specifically for wanting to avoid using 1990 as the reference year in future international agreements.

I am calling on the member to rise and tell the House that his government and his department are the ones seriously lacking leadership. It is not this side of the House. On the contrary, we want the bill to be passed and for the targets to be based on scientific evidence.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I must acknowledge that my Bloc colleague has a lot of experience and expertise on the issue of climate change. He has a long history in the House on this issue.

It is very clear that the government has been taking a long time—four years, in fact—to propose greenhouse gas emission regulations. It is hiding behind the excuse that it must wait for the American government, the Obama government, to act first.

But if I am not mistaken, two bills have already been introduced in the United States, one in the House of Representatives, and one in the Senate. These bills set targets. Furthermore, President Obama has said that if the House of Representatives and the Senate could not agree on these bills or on an approach, that he, as President, would impose targets using his regulatory power.

At least we have an idea of where the Americans are going with this. What is the government waiting for? We could set some targets and develop an approach, since we have an idea of the scope of the Americans' forthcoming plans.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, that is exactly right.

As my hon. colleague indicated, any number of excuses can be used to justify inaction. As the member said earlier, the targets were good before the economic crisis, but apparently that is no longer the case. Why? That is the question.

The government should have listened to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, who said that, on the contrary, the economic crisis was a perfect opportunity to change our economies, create a new green agreement, and reposition our economies, sector by sector, towards sustainable development. It is not enough to invest only in concrete; we must also invest in green energy sources.

This government needs to understand that, by jumping on the American bandwagon, it has wasted a lot of time. In fact, when President Obama came into power, the government said it was scrapping its plan to fight climate change. We on this side of the House were very pleased, because that plan was going nowhere.

The government now knows very well where the Americans are headed. Since leadership is needed, we are calling on the government to introduce a bill on climate change as soon as possible, and not to wait, because as we know with this government, the longer they wait, the less likely they are to act.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend the member for his very thoughtful and very informed speech on Bill C-311. He is to be commended for the hard work he has done on the issue of climate change for the entire time he has been in office in this House, and I thank him.

I would like to ask the member if he could elaborate on the issue that the Conservatives keep raising, that we should be moving in sync on policy with our trading partners. If that is the case, then why are we not following the moves of our trading partner Japan, which we are inviting to our country for the G20, and our trading partner Britain, which we are inviting to our country as part of the G20?

The United Kingdom has announced a target of 26% by 2020. Japan has announced a target of 25% by 2020. Yes, indeed, it is true, the targets that were issued originally by the inter-party panel are being questioned. The inter-party panel in this year's report is saying that those targets are not strict enough. They are not deep enough. We are going to have to do more.

The International Energy Agency has said the way out of the economic recession around the world, the way to address climate change simultaneously is to shift investment towards a new green economy. What is the prime trigger? It is regulation. Where is the legislation that this House has tabled? Where are the regulations that this minister has tabled? Even Shell Canada asked yesterday, “Where are the regulations?”

I would appreciate the member's response.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, there are no regulations and there is no legislation. We are only at the regulatory framework stage. The problem with the government's approach is that it might end up penalizing companies and Quebec that have made efforts in the past.

What is being discussed internationally? Other countries are talking about targets and scientific observations, but also something else. Europe is considering imposing a carbon tax, an import tax for countries that do not respect their international climate change commitments. What does that mean for companies in Quebec and for Quebec? That means that because the rest of Canada is delinquent and Canada is a delinquent country when it comes to fighting climate change, companies in Quebec that have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 10% or more, risk having their exports taxed because the oil industry is a polluting and delinquent industry.

We cannot allow Quebec companies to pay for the mess the oil industry has created and continues to create. We will not stand for it in this House.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:50 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

One minute remains for a quick question or comment.

The hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciated the hon. member's speech. It is true what he said about the Conservatives denying climate change when they were the Reform Party. We also saw them deny the economic crisis. I want to know whether the hon. member agrees that we have to move forward with this motion and vote in favour of it in order to take action on climate change.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie has 30 seconds to respond.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, the bill before us is not just about fighting climate change. It will also help our economy shift towards a green and sustainable economy. What we need to understand is that if the Conservatives—or any other party—votes against this bill, not only are they voting against our ecosystems and the environment but they are voting against a prosperous and green economy in future years.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, how much time do I have for debate?

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

There is about five minutes for the hon. member's comments.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I will do my best to say what I need to within five minutes then.

I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to the motion with respect to Bill C-311, which alone is a bad bill, and now the motion proposes to split it and make two bad bills from the same one.

I am very concerned for a number of reasons. One is that one of the bills that is proposed would short-circuit fulsome debate on very serious matters by restricting the amount of time available to committee members. That is a very serious thing.

Just today after the hearing opened on Bill C-311, the committee heard from Bob Page, who is the chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. He said some very important things.

Primary among them, he said that industry or manufacturing in Ontario would be particularly hard hit by a bill like Bill C-311. We can see evidence that this is a bad bill and of course that is one of the reasons we need to debate it in a fulsome measure. It is one of the reasons I will be voting against this motion.

That brings up the question, of what Bill C-311 or what these two incarnations of it ultimately mean to the auto industry, which is a very significant question and one in which, I will remind the New Democrats, the taxpayers of this country are sharing in a very critical time, through a difficult restructuring of the industry in the hopes of having a good future for that industry to the tune of $10 billion. That is a very significant investment, one which the taxpayers deserve a return on investment for, instead of another kick to the industry, hoping to take it down, as the NDP is proposing to do.

Since the New Democrat MPs from Windsor West and Windsor—Tecumseh will not stand in their places and stand up for the auto industry by voting against this motion or against Bill C-311, I am going to have to do it.

I should point out for the record I am not surprised that those two NDP members would be voting against the auto industry by supporting this motion. They have a history of voting against the priorities of the Windsor-Essex region. They voted against the historic infrastructure stimulus funding that we have just announced. They have voted against billions of dollars, potentially, for a new border crossing for our region that would be good for the auto industry and its economic competitiveness, and of course they voted against the automotive aid itself.

Why do we need to consider this? We heard Mr. Page today in committee very clearly say that harmonization is the important way to go with respect to our targets and actions. He said harmonization was important because the economic competitiveness or the cost of operating will be a serious consideration for industry and where it locates. If we take a position that is clearly isolated from not only the United States but other major industrial countries in the world, that would be horrible for industry and the future of blue collar workers in this country.

What did he say? We also need to consider this in light of the fact that we are in tough economic times. That changes the affordability question for a lot of industries moving forward. Mr. Page said that we have to consider whether appropriate technologies required to reduce emissions can be deployed quickly enough. That is a serious consideration for the auto industry.

I am surprised that the NDP, which has long pretended to stand up for blue collar workers in this country, would turn its back on them with an irresponsible and bad bill like this. It is bad. It puts the future of the auto industry in serious jeopardy in this country. Shame on it. I expect NDP members to stand in their place and vote against this motion.

Mental Health
Statements By Members

October 8th, 2009 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to Mental Illness Awareness Week. This annual public education campaign helps to open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness.

Our government is proud of the work we have done to shed light on this important issue that affects our families, our colleagues, our neighbours and our country. People suffering from mental illness need not be burdened with a negative stigma from the general population or health care professionals. That is why our government has made mental health awareness a priority. By encouraging those affected to seek help, we can reduce the burden of mental illness on sufferers and on our society.

Last night I had the honour of speaking at the seventh annual Champions of Mental Health Awards where individuals, such as our own Minister of National Defence, received well received recognition for their tireless efforts to provide hope and relief to those who suffer from mental illness.

To all the champions of mental health awareness we congratulate them and thank them.

Global Relief Outreach
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, Global Relief Outreach is a Canadian-based NGO operating in Lesotho supporting locally developed and sustainable initiatives. These are local initiatives for projects that already exist but lack the necessary resources for success. There are three major initiatives.

The family scholarship fund provides academic support to orphaned and vulnerable high school students affected by HIV, creating an environment to encourage young advocates to support each other and their communities.

The Artisans Collective provides start-up capital and supplies, facilitates training of women living with HIV and connects them with business opportunities locally and abroad.

The Grandmothers Support Group sustains a local HIV home care operation run almost exclusively by grandmothers.

G.R.O. was created in 2006 by James White and two counterparts. The volunteer board includes Dr. Megan Landes, Terry Aldebert, James White and a volunteer executive team. I applaud them for their work.

The solution to challenges in countries like Lesotho exist in those countries. Organizations like G.R.O. simply recognize this and partner with them to make a real difference.

I look forward to meeting with them here in two weeks and encourage other MPs to meet with them as well.