House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regions.

Topics

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the biggest and most glaring omission linked to these series of amendments is that the government, in throwing out the clean air act, which was rewritten and strengthened, actually threw out a very sophisticated cap and trade designed system for the country, which met with the approval of different provinces. It would have adjusted the reinvestment of resources, royalties and revenues coming from a cap and trade system in the appropriate provinces. It dealt with the question of allocation. It dealt with the question of carbon pricing. It dealt with all those things we know we will need to deal with. Why did the government do that? Why did it set us back five years at least and maybe a decade?

There is nothing here on cap and trade and yet the Conservatives keep talking about a dialogue with Washington. As I say, it is a dialogue of the deaf.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill S-3 is relatively simple. It is an act to amend the Energy Efficiency Act.

The bill's purpose is basically to update the Energy Efficiency Act by improving the effectiveness of the regulations. The nuance here is that I did not say by improving energy efficiency but rather the effectiveness of the regulations by allowing classes of products to be established instead of simple products The bill's purpose is also to strengthen the labelling requirements and broaden the scope of the minister’s report to the House of Commons.

In view of all this, the Bloc Québécois supports Bill S-3 in principle. However, we must still criticize the Conservatives’ inaction on this file. It seems at first glance that the proposed changes are an improvement because they target unregulated products and toughen the standards for other products.

It is impossible to know, though, whether this is real progress or just the updating of standards already regularly done by the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique. In other words, does this bill imply a certain amount of political leadership or is it just one update among many to standards already covered by the mission of the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique.

Whatever the case may be, even if there is progress that goes beyond business as usual, the proposed changes are still pretty minor ultimately and hardly suffice to lend any credibility to the sum total of measures taken by the Conservative government, which still fails to realize how urgent it is to fight climate change.

Several changes are proposed in the bill. If we quickly go through the clauses one by one, there is the definition of a few terms: interprovincial trade and importation; information to be provided by dealers; retention of documents. Then we arrive at a point, though, that is a little more interesting, that is to say, the extension of the regulatory power.

One of the main changes that Bill S-3 makes to the Energy Efficiency Act is in this clause—clause 5—which changes the regulatory power of the Governor in Council. Thanks to these regulations, the Governor in Council will henceforth be able to target a certain class of products: products that affect or control energy consumption.

The labelling part might also be of interest depending on how far the minister wants to take it. In addition, there are reports to Parliament, reports on the establishment of standards, and the clauses on when it comes into force.

On the whole, there is not much in the bill in the way of measures to promote energy efficiency in everyday living. The bill focuses more on regulatory improvements that can give the government more power. But will this government use that power to make energy use more efficient?

Even though Bill S-3 broadens the regulatory parameters of the Energy Efficiency Act, it is not yet known to what extent that increased regulatory authority will be used. For example, the amendments could lead to the establishment of strict vehicle emissions standards to improve energy efficiency or the introduction of mandatory energy efficiency labelling on vehicles, something the Bloc Québécois has been calling for for a number of years.

In addition, if it is done properly, the standardization of labelling and energy efficiency criteria could make it easier in the long run to establish carbon markets. Unfortunately, given what the Conservative government has done since it came to power, we doubt its goodwill when it comes to the environment. However, even though in keeping with its exclusive authority over trade, the federal government is authorized to set energy efficiency standards, the Bloc Québécois will see to it that Quebec is not unfairly penalized.

One day, the government decided to turn the corner, but where was it headed? We still wonder. The Conservative government said in a press release that the proposed amendments to the Energy Efficiency Act were based on the Government of Canada's action plan to fight climate change. That strategy was introduced in October 2006, when the government released a notice of intent to regulate air emissions. The notice of intent was followed in April 20007 by the regulatory framework for air emissions, which indicated that work had started on a series of amendments to the energy efficiency regulations. Of course, the government has taken action on a number of products I could list, but they have fallen far short of expectations.

In fact, there were reactions to Bill S-3. The bill has not attracted a lot of media attention, and reactions reported tend to be low key. The industry welcomed the proposed regulations with a shrug. A spokesperson for Sony Canada stated that it would have little effect on the firm's electronic equipment for the general public. According to comments by Candace Haymen in an email, all Sony TVs consume less than one watt of energy in standby mode, and Sony is constantly developing new technologies to improve its products' energy efficiency. Reaction by environmental groups was equally reserved. According to Julia Langer of the World Wildlife Fund, Canada lags in matters of energy efficiency well behind most of the OECD countries. She said that the government must impose tighter restrictions rather than administrative measures on industry if it is determined to save energy. She said it was not bad, but that they were impatient to have real regulations banning products that were not energy efficient.

The global nature of the regulatory authority provided for in the bill also attracted our attention. The bill would amend the Energy Efficiency Act to allow for the regulation of products that affect or control energy consumption. That could, one day, lead to the establishment of regulations limiting the consumption of water by household appliances and plumbing fixtures such as dishwashers, shower heads and toilets by making reduced flow equipment mandatory, as its use affects energy consumption

Up to now, however, in its famous green plan, the Conservative government has shown that, even in the establishment of greenhouse gas reduction targets, it still prefers the oil companies to the environment, advocating an intensity reduction approach over absolute reduction targets, thus encouraging the industry, whose greenhouse gas emissions have grown by nearly 50% since 1990, to continue its polluting development.

Although strengthening energy efficiency legislation is a positive thing in itself, strong and integrated measures are needed to produce tangible results. Only real political will can achieve this, something sorely lacking among the Prime Minister's troops.

It must also be said that the government's plan is ineffective. The government released its greenhouse gas regulatory framework on April 26, 2007. The plan is based on reductions in emission intensity, in other words, emission reduction for each unit of goods produced regardless of the number of goods produced. The reductions planned in this regulatory framework are 6% of the intensity based on the 2006 level for the first three years of its application, that is, from 2008 to 2010. For the years following, the subsequent annual reduction would be 2% of the intensity.

According to Conservative government projections, which, in the opinion of the national round table on the environment and the economy, are probably exaggerated, this intensity reduction in connection with other measures, that is environmental programs, should make it possible to stabilize Canadian emissions between 2010 and 2012 and result in an absolute 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels by 2020. As I said, it was probably exaggerated.

Although Canada has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions over the 2008-12 period by an average of 6% in comparison with 1990, it plans to limit the growth of its emissions and start reducing them only at the end of this period. In 2012, therefore, Canada will probably emit more than 180 metric tonnes over the target it set for itself in the Kyoto protocol. In plain English, even if the optimistic forecasts turn out to be right, the Conservative plan will not achieve the levels required under the Kyoto protocol until more than 10 years after its deadline.

I should say as well that this plan is very unfair to Quebec. Quebec has tried very hard. For example, a Quebec aluminum plant that has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% in comparison with 1990 will still have to accept the same intensity reductions as a tar sands plant in Alberta whose emissions have doubled since 1990. In addition, plans like this based on intensity targets will not utilize the full potential of a carbon exchange in Montreal. Companies will be allowed to reduce the intensity of their emissions without regard for their total emissions, and that reduces the attraction of the carbon credit market. This means that Quebec’s manufacturing industry will be doubly penalized because it will not benefit as much from its efforts as it would have under a system with absolute targets.

We know now that the dinosaurs and the Conservatives co-existed—a certain secretary told us so last week—and knowing that oil is a fossil fuel, we might expect that there would be a bit of the Conservatives in oil. Sure enough, their program to reduce greenhouse gases still favours the oil companies. Climate change is one of the most important challenges facing humanity. The scientific evidence is mounting and the consequences are stunning. We must act without delay in a way that is both effective and fair.

The Bloc Québécois has long proposed a credible greenhouse gas reduction plan that is based on the polluter pays principle and that fully recognizes the efforts made since 1990. For years we have been demanding a plan to implement the Kyoto protocol, that is to say, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the 2008-12 period by an average of 6% below the 1990 level. Unfortunately, the result of the Liberals’ inaction and the ideologically driven stubbornness of the Conservatives is that there is no chance now of fully achieving our targets under the Kyoto protocol. Far from being an excuse to give up, though, this should motivate us now to roll up our sleeves and do all we can to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.

In addition to the measures that will reduce Quebec's dependency on oil, the Bloc Québécois is proposing a plan based on certain fundamental principles: respect for international commitments, application of the polluter-pay principle, fairness in effort required and full respect for Quebec's jurisdiction. The Bloc Québécois is therefore proposing a plan that will enable Canada to get back on track and to move as close as possible to the targets set by the Kyoto protocol by 2012. Furthermore, the plan will attempt to meet the reduction target recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to prevent climate change with irreversible consequences, that is a reduction of 25% to 40% in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990 levels, by 2020.

The plan is based on: establishing reduction targets in the short and medium term, that is between 2012 and 2020, with 1990 as the reference year; the use of a territorial approach; establishing a carbon exchange in Montreal; and federal measures that the government can implement in its own areas of jurisdiction.

The territorial approach assigns, by province, targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases in Canada. Thus, every province must meet certain conditions, including agreeing to a reduction of emissions equivalent to or greater than the targets set by the government. In other words, we are talking about reduction targets based on a territorial approach and a carbon market with tradeable permits, which would benefit those who have already met their objectives.

We must have measures to reduce greenhouse gases such as stricter vehicle emission standards to improve their energy efficiency, manufacturing standards for vehicles and programs to encourage the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles. It is also important to have mandatory fuel efficiency labelling to increase awareness and to help citizens make informed choices when they must purchase appliances, vehicles or any energy consuming item. We must also improve programs for developing and converting to renewable energy.

I will close by stating that, in principle, we support this bill. However, we demand and continue to expect from this Conservative government energy measures that will decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Madam Speaker, there was a meeting of scientists in Europe recently. They have found that the oceans are rising at twice the rate of what had been expected just two short years ago.

The ice caps in Greenland and in the Antarctic are disappearing far quicker than anybody had ever anticipated. This will have a profound impact on communities in low-lying areas as well as the temperatures of our oceans and our planet.

The government must work with other countries and attend the meeting in Copenhagen at the end of the year. In terms of moving toward Kyoto two, we must develop a system of trading where carbon has a price. We need to develop a carbon-based system where there is a price on carbon and we can use the market to bring down the emission of greenhouse gases. Could my colleague comment on that?

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Madam Speaker, although the member did not say so, I would nevertheless like to emphasize that I believe that time is of the essence. Many scientists have been speaking out on this for the past few months and have even gone as far as saying that it is irreversible at this time. However, I would like to be more optimistic and believe that every person of goodwill and every country of goodwill must immediately make an effort.

There have been some unwarranted deliberate delays when it comes to action that could be taken to fight greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, Canada is one of the countries guilty of this and we must now take real, rigorous action to reduce greenhouse gases as much as possible.

It is clear that if we do not take action immediately, the repercussions will be catastrophic, as we have already seen. The member mentioned rapidly melting polar ice. For all practical purposes, that ice was a source of water, but it was melting at a normal pace. Now it is melting much faster. We must act quickly and stop wasting time. The fight against greenhouse gases has become an economy in itself and is encouraging people to fight together.

A carbon exchange would really allow those who are incapable of reducing their emissions quickly to enable others to install systems to save the planet as quickly as possible.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, as always, I listened closely to the member from Sherbrooke's speech. Unfortunately, we often disagree on free trade issues, as we will this evening when we vote on the shipbuilding issue. It is unfortunate that the Bloc Québécois does not support what Quebec workers want.

However, when it comes to this particular environmental issue, we are in complete agreement. I listened closely to my colleague's speech, in which he said that the Conservative government's approach leaves much to be desired. They are doing so little, but we need so much more to really address the environmental challenges of climate change.

Given that Barack Obama's administration has done so much—it has addressed the issue of household appliances with a much broader program 10 times bigger than what this bill calls for—does the member for Sherbrooke think that both the Conservative government and this bill are basically a huge failure in light of everything we have to do, as he so rightly said, to address climate change?

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Madam Speaker, as you know, the Prime Minister is in the United States today, giving interviews to American newspapers. We know that the Conservatives are only just starting to believe that environmental problems and greenhouse gases are harmful to life on this earth. They are only just starting to believe that this might be true, since, as I said earlier, the Conservatives have said that humans coexisted with dinosaurs. The more things change, the more they stay the same. There is a huge lack of will on the Conservatives' part.

All the Prime Minister sees in what Mr. Obama is saying is the publicity it can get for him. He may be thinking he can win a majority in the next election. I am here to say he can forget about that. At present, the Prime Minister is not yet sure he can do anything, not because he does not have the capacity or the means. We can see this from what the NDP member said. Canada's investment is minimal compared to what the United States is investing. It shows that the government has an astounding lack of will to act on energy efficiency and, by the same token, greenhouse gases and climate change.

When we talked about how the Northwest Passage is opening up, we even wondered whether it did not suit the Conservatives to have a faster passage through the north, since they want to develop the natural resources there. In the final analysis, I wonder whether the Conservative government is letting things slide on greenhouse gases and energy efficiency for purely financial and economic reasons.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The member for Terrebonne—Blainville for a quick question.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed the member for Sherbrooke's speech. He has a special ability to give excellent examples that help us understand what can happen. I would like to focus on what he said about the Conservatives keeping company with dinosaurs. We all know what happened to the dinosaurs: they were trapped in the ice and one day, they disappeared.

With that in mind, I have a question for my colleague. This bill is simple enough in and of itself, but to really understand it, one has to have a good grasp of the history of environmental policy. The provinces want a territorial approach. In this case, does the bill call for a territorial approach?

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Sherbrooke has one minute to answer.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Madam Speaker, the government's regulatory framework is based on reductions in intensity that have nothing to do with territorial reductions. In this case, that is not good for Quebec.

Over a period of time, Quebec made significant reductions, especially in some industries. During that same period, Alberta's greenhouse gas emissions increased by nearly 50%. That is bad for several provinces, particularly for Quebec, which has been making a sustained effort over several years to reduce greenhouse gases significantly. It is not good for Quebec and it is not fair. Intensity targets also do not get us any closer to setting up a carbon exchange. That is not good for Quebec either. We are still waiting for the Conservative government to change its ideology and come up with measures that are better for the situation as a whole.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

March 30th, 2009 / 5:25 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I am rising to speak to Bill S-3. It is a very important concept, but as hon. members will see from my remarks today, the bill does not go anywhere near far enough. A number of my colleagues in the House have said it is nice that we are taking some measures, but if we are to get serious about addressing pollution control and climate change, there is far more that needs to be done.

Why is energy efficiency important? Why would we even bother to bring forward amendments like this? We need to reduce our energy use. Why do we need to reduce energy use? Because most of our energy generation in Canada at this point in time, except for hydroelectricity, is fossil fuel based. Fossil fuel based power is the largest source of greenhouse gases that are emitted in Canada, and also the largest source of a number of pollutants.

Coal-fired power, which happens to be the largest source of greenhouse gases being emitted in Canada right now, is also the largest source of industrial mercury in Canada. It has been designated by the Government of Canada as being the priority substance for reduction. By getting more effective with energy use, we can reduce pollution and neurotoxins.

It provides cost savings. By reducing energy use, we save a lot of money not only to individual homeowners and business owners, but also to the Government of Canada. In this time of economic crisis when programs that should be supported are being cut left, right and centre, we could make a lot more revenue available to good programs if we cut energy use.

We can also save a lot of money, if people cut down their energy use, by building new generation facilities and transmission lines. The costs that individual homeowners, businesses and the government pay for electricity are based on the development of new generation and transmission lines, some of those transmission lines being built for export.

There is also the environmental impacts associated with the generation of electricity: the coal mines, the cooling ponds and so forth. Overall, it is a laudatory objective. The preamble of Bill S-3 states:

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring sustained improvement in the efficient use of energy in all sectors of the Canadian economy;

I will speak to that in a minute and talk about the inadequacies of the bill in dealing with what the preamble states.

Now more than ever the federal government needs to assert its powers to trigger energy efficient measures. We can do that through environmental protection measures. By having strict environmental controls, we encourage industry to be more efficient in how it generates power and to look for ways where it can actually encourage people to retrofit their homes.

One concrete example of that is in California where Pacific Gas and Electric Company determined it made more sense rather than build a new, big, expensive generation facility, to pay people to retrofit their homes and businesses. It has been a very successful program. The end result was that they got a higher rate, but people used less power.

The Government of Canada could also use its fiscal powers. It could impose fees, a higher cost on non-energy-efficient appliances and so forth. There is a lot of market measures we could use that we are simply not using. We could use our spending power. We could put conditions on the transfer of money.

For example, we are sending billions of dollars to provincial governments and to the private sector to test carbon sequestration. We could be putting conditions on that money by saying to industry that if it agreed to phase out some of its coal-fired power plants, we would help pay for its testing of technology.

This bill, as the Conservatives' plan to tackle climate change, is a pretty small baby step in the right direction, but it falls short. The amendments mirror the amendments to the Energy Efficiency Act in Bill C-30, the clean air and climate change bill, which was approved by the environment committee in the 39th Parliament but has not been acted upon. That bill would have added a preamble to the Energy Efficiency Act to support setting continuous economy-wide improvement targets in energy efficiency in Canada, with two sections added to the Energy Efficiency Act.

The first change that would have been made would require the governor in council to prescribe energy efficient standards for all energy-using products, not just a handful, this list of five, but all energy-using products that are responsible for significant or growing energy consumption in Canada.

Second, the cabinet would be required to review all energy efficient standards within three years after they were introduced or amended in after third year thereafter. Through this review, every energy efficiency standard would have had to meet or exceed the most stringent levels found in North America.

Regrettably the bill is not that far-reaching. It is extremely limited.

The bill would delete that second requirement. There is no guarantee that the standards made would be as good as any other North American jurisdiction. This could mean that, once again, Canada could be outstripped by the United States on energy efficiency and ultimately on climate change, including setting standards for the manufacture of equipment. If we do not set higher energy standards, there is a possibility that we could not even ship our goods or sell them to the United States if it has higher standards, which President Obama is moving toward.

President Obama has directed higher efficiency standards for everyday household appliances such as dishwashers, lamps and so forth. He has directed quick, clear progress on energy efficiency. The final rules are to be in place by this August, requiring energy efficiency standards for a very lengthy list of products, three times the list offered up in Bill S-3. I will not go through the entire review, but is a very comprehensive list.

His directive also asks for his department of energy to meet all deadlines in setting energy standards and evaluate them in priority order and finish some ahead of schedule if possible.

Bill S-3 will subject a limited list of products to new energy efficiency regulations for only commercial clothes washers, dishwashers, incandescent fluorescent lamps, battery chargers and satellite set top boxes. There is no indication whether the standards released will be as stringent as those in the United States and whether there will be any mechanism to ensure Canada is a leader in energy efficiency rather than a follower.

Instead of this minimalist approach, why are we not allowing Canadians to buy the best possible energy efficient appliances? Why are we continuing to allow the sale and the manufacturing in Canada of products that are not serving Canadians? Canadians will be best served by the most efficient possible appliance. Why do we not then only enable the sale of the most efficient energy appliances or ban the sale of outdated ones that burn energy and put up costs for all Canadians?

Why not pursue innovative approaches such as what the Pembina Institute has talked about and that some American states have adopted, for example, the innovative electricity conservation option called “virtual power”. If any kind of mechanism, building or part of a building or appliance is not in use, the computer automatically shuts off that equipment. It is an incredibly innovative approach and it is time for our country to move ahead into these more innovative approaches.

Bill S-3 professes to ensure the sustained improvement in the efficient use of energy in all sectors. If we are serious about addressing energy efficiency and energy conservation in Canada, we need to tackle the single largest source of greenhouse gases. Incidentally it is also the single largest remaining source of industrial mercury emissions in Canada and across North America. That is coal-fired power plants.

Canada is criticizing the United States and China for their proposals for the expansion of the coal-fired power plants. The federal government is doing nothing in the exercise of its available powers and mandate to foster the closure of these plants at the end of their operating life. The federal government should take this action if we are really serious about energy efficiency in Canada.

The majority of coal-fired power plants have a 30% energy efficiency. Even the most efficient operate a 40% efficiency. That is a super critical plant. As far as I am aware, there is only one such plant in Canada, and that is in Alberta.

To run pollution control equipment, which we hope these plants will clean up their act and add on more pollution control equipment, they need to burn more coal. We get into this perverse cycle where in order to have energy efficiency and cost savings for the coal-fired generators, we burn more coal.

I want to offer up to the House as well some information that has come to my attention. I sought information from the government on the energy efficiency of public buildings. That is a sector where President Obama is leading. In his new stimulus package he has directed a massive energy efficiency program for all public buildings across the United States of America. We do not have that kind of stimulus package in our budget.

The information provided to me is most invaluable to the House. I have discovered that of the more than 26,000 buildings held by the Government of Canada, only 10 buildings are in the process of doing any energy efficient work whatsoever toward a LEED standard. That is reprehensible. If we are to expect the private sector, or households, or small businesses to move in the direction of energy efficiency, to turn in their older appliances and recyclables and buy more energy efficient equipment, surely the government should set the stage by example.

Environment Canada, alone, owns more than 5,000 buildings, yet only one of those buildings is in the process of being retrofitted. If we retrofitted the public buildings and saved only 1% energy use in our public facilities, we would save $3.5 million a year. If we improved the energy efficiency of our public buildings by 5%, we would save more than $18 million a year. Think of the programs for child care, for education, for seniors, for affordable housing, for environmental protection that we could benefit with $18 million a year. Essentially Canadian money is going out the stack in these government facilities.

I commend the government for bringing the bill forward. It is a nice tiny baby step forward. However, if we are to live up to what the bill says, which is improving energy efficiency in all sectors of the Canadian economy, then it is incumbent upon the government to table legislation forthwith to move us forward into this century and take real action on climate change, pollution reduction and protect Canadian health and save Canadians money.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed the member's speech. I will use this opportunity to bring up a point raised by one of my constituents and ask the member if she would be supportive of it. It is related to wind energy. Wind energy in the north costs a lot more because of the difficult conditions for putting it in, accessing it, repairing it, et cetera. We want any wind regime that the Government of Canada puts in place to reflect the higher cost, otherwise it does not make it effective. If we give $5 off a Cadillac and $5 off a bicycle, it has an effect on a bicycle, but not so much on a Cadillac.

Would the member be supportive, in any wind regime, to give us more of a break in the north to make it effective there?

Energy Efficiency Act
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5:40 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, it is my understanding that other jurisdictions have come up with remarkably innovative mechanisms to foster the move toward renewable cleaner power. Some of those are to give a higher rate for the power sold from renewable sources. However, particularly for the areas of our far north, where there are many isolated communities, and this would also apply to the northern Prairie regions where there are isolated communities, many of them first nation and Métis, it is incumbent upon the federal government to put money in to initiate these smaller distributed power centres.

One of the biggest losses to electricity is the long distribution lines, which are being fed by oil, gas or coal. A lot of dirty pollution goes out and it burns a lot of waste. It makes more sense to have localized energy production. If we are to move in that direction in some of these communities, it is incumbent upon the federal government at least to partner with either the territorial governments or some of the provincial governments, or maybe some of the first nations or even private enterprise. To move in that direction is a laudable suggestion.

Energy Efficiency Act
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5:40 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my hon. seatmate for her knowledge of Bill S-3. With regard to the fabrication of appliances that are not energy efficient, should they be left up to market forces, or should they be directed by the government to manufacture energy efficient appliances?

Energy Efficiency Act
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5:45 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, as the House has probably surmised by now from my interventions, I believe very much in law and order for the environment. We are talking about serious issues such as pollution control and the health of children who are severely impacted. I know studies in southern Ontario show that we have a serious problem with the health of families from the coal-fired power plants and other pollution sources.

It is time for us, the elected people, to be asserting our powers and directing the kinds of products we are manufacturing, importing and selling in our country.

Generally, under federal jurisdiction, we are left with the power over the manufacturing and import. We would set a course for Canada if we put in place much higher binding standards for equipment that is sold in Canada, whether appliances or otherwise, or the bigger sources of pollution, including automobiles.