House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was efficiency.

Topics

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, of course we think there is value in the bill or we would not be voting in favour of it. That is not to say that we agree that it will have a significant effect.

Obviously it is important for everybody to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and to cleaner air. However, the government has the power to move forward on those sources that are the major causes of the problem in climate change and in air pollution, and it continues to stall on bringing forward the regulations to put the binding standards on the industrial sector and setting the binding targets. The energy sector itself is begging the government to come forward so that it can know where it is at and so that it can enter the cap and trade system.

Yes, they are laudable. I am glad they are being passed, and I look forward to actual enforcement of the bill. However, what is more important is that we move forward an entire plan. Let us bring forward a comprehensive bill, as they are doing in the United States. Let us learn from those dialogues if we are involved in them. Let us open up the dialogue so that we can all know what is being discussed and can all learn from those lessons.

I have benefited from discussions with American scientists and American lawmakers. I think it is incumbent upon this House to be sharing those dialogues widely with everybody in Canada so that we can know what measures are possible, so that we can expect that our government will move forward and adopt those as well.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Madam Speaker, I listened to the member give her presentation. She made some comments on the Alberta oil sands. Those comments were very negative towards the oil sands.

I do not think she has recognized the really significant improvement in the environmental record of the companies involved in the oil sands, the significant restoration that has already been done on some of the land that has been mined in the past.

Clearly the member either does not recognize or is not particularly concerned about the fact that in her constituency live thousands of workers who depend on the oil sands for their jobs.

She cannot have it both ways. Either she wants the oil sands to continue to develop and therefore for those constituents of hers to continue to have their jobs, or she wants the oil sands to be stopped and is willing to see those jobs lost.

It cannot be both ways. Progress in the oil sands cannot be stopped while still maintaining jobs. It simply does not work.

I wonder how the member responds to her constituents whose livelihoods depend upon development in the oil sands, and as I have said, development that has become more and more environmentally friendly as time goes on?

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I welcome the question, although it does not seem to have relevance to what I said. Today we are speaking about energy efficiency, not about reclamation. Truth be told, in fact, a very minuscule percentage of the oil sands or mine lands have been certified as reclaimed. It is an ongoing problem.

It is precisely because of the downturn in the oil sands that I am speaking so vociferously in favour of the government finally taking action to provide other employment opportunities in my province.

There has been 100% reliance on the oil sands filling the coffers of the federal government. The workers of Alberta deserve better attention and protection for sustainability of their employment. If we could have had a genuine major retrofit program supported by the federal government and a major program and a budget to support the development of the renewable energy sector, there could be jobs to fall back on.

The government dropped the ball. They put all the money into fossil fuels and yanked all the money out of all the alternative job creation prospects. So shame on the government.

I am the one who is standing up. The majority of people in Alberta have been asking for a pacing of the tar sands. I have never in this House said that I am opposed to the tar sands. I stand firm on the position that the tar sands should proceed within the full ambit and enforcement of strong federal and provincial environmental laws. That is simply what the people of Alberta are asking for. That is what the first nations who are impacted downstream and downwind are asking for. It is the responsibility of the government to stand up, particularly for first nations people.

Absolutely, that is why I am taking the position I am. We need to make sure that, like the United States, Europe and the Asian countries, we are moving towards a sustainable economy, which, as the International Energy Agency has said, is fossil fuel-based, but it is time to move forward with a new green energy economy.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Madam Speaker, my question for the member is in regard to the fuel efficiency or energy efficiency program being proposed by the Liberals as the job-killing carbon tax.

In the past, the NDP supported that carbon tax. Does she support a job-killing carbon tax?

I know the NDP in B.C. does not. Does her federal party support the carbon tax?

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi on a point of order.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. That question has absolutely nothing to do with Bill S-3. I am sorry, but it has nothing to do with it.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I shall be flexible, considering we are dealing with energy and energy efficiency. I am sure the hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona will give a relevant answer.

The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the intervention on my behalf. I have no problem answering the question.

From my personal perspective as the member of Parliament for Edmonton—Strathcona and for my party, we do not care what measure is taken as long as it sets the appropriate value on carbon so we actually start driving change.

This debate over cap and trade versus carbon tax has to end, and it has to end here today. Everybody worldwide has admitted that we must have the right value on carbon and we must put that in place now to drive the change as expeditiously as possible.

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today on this bill because we expect a lot from energy efficiency. It should be the norm by now. The first energy efficiency bill was introduced in 1992. Then nothing was done to improve energy efficiency for 17 years, even though the technology was changing.

Today the government has laboured mightily and given birth to a mouse. There may be headlines about energy efficiency but the results are tiny. We believe in energy efficiency and will therefore vote for the bill, but not because we think it is a major step forward that could be considered part of the government’s plan to reduce emissions by 20%. It is really puny. This is a very small bill. We will vote for it because we have nothing against mice. But is this something that will make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gases and our energy usage, as real energy efficiency could?

My colleague asked a question a little while ago about whether the hon. member from the NDP was opposed to using oil sands to produce fuel oil. That is not the question. If we were really serious about energy efficiency, the amount of fuel oil needed on earth and in Canada as a whole could be reduced. In that case, energy efficiency would have a major effect.

However, they are not talking here about changing our windows and insulation or making better foundations. They are not talking about changing the way heat is generated. They are talking about little things, the kitchen appliances and gadgets people have around their houses. They even talk about standby power. We agree in principle about standby power. However, that should be just one paragraph among fifty indicating where to save energy.

They say this will save 10% of the energy used in homes. As one of our colleagues just said, this applies only if people buy new equipment. It does not change the old equipment at all and will not change the situation very much. We know that homes built before 1940 can save as much as 65% of the energy they use. That is huge. It is not 10% but 65%. The amount of energy used in houses built in the 1960s and 1970s could easily be reduced by 50% to 55%. The amount of energy used by houses built in the last 10 years could easily be reduced by 40% to 45% because small improvements to prevent air exchanges have been made to these kinds of buildings. But the government talks proudly about a 10% energy reduction. That is what I call a mouse.

As I said earlier, beginning in 1992, energy efficiency improvements have been made in all areas, especially in factories, large buildings and high-rises. That is something we could do again. I am talking about buildings like those that belong to the government. They have been in power for three years, and the building next to the Confederation building still has single-glazed windows. Is that what they call energy efficiency? Honestly! All Government of Canada buildings are at about the same level: poorly renovated or not renovated at all.

The energy efficiency renovation industry creates as many jobs as the oil sands—maybe even more. Moreover, these jobs are located all over Canada, including in rural communities.

This would be an incredibly effective measure in this time of crisis, but they do not seem to get it.

I think that this bill, which makes grand claims to be about energy efficiency, is just a smokescreen. It does not really have anything to do with an action plan for a new green economy. We need an action plan for better living, an action plan that helps people waste less energy and reduces Canada's debt. Right now, our debt is huge because we use so much energy that comes from outside Canada. Even if we were to use our own energy from Alberta in eastern Canada, we would have to build pipelines, which would be very expensive.

If we reduce our electricity consumption through energy efficiency measures, our economic health will improve. They keep talking about taxes. I am not talking about taxes; I am talking about saving money. If we had more efficient cars, which we could have had for the past three years, we would save money and the planet by emitting fewer and fewer greenhouse gases, and—

Energy Efficiency Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I am sorry to have to interrupt the hon. member. He will have an opportunity to continue his interesting comments when we resume debate.

The House resumed from April 29, 2009, consideration of the motion.

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries
Private Members' Business

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on motion M-283 under private members' business, standing in the name of the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #60

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries
Private Members' Business

6 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed from May 4 consideration of the motion.