House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, it always makes me laugh to see the Bloc members shouting so loudly.

They are the only ones in Parliament who voted against Bill C-268, which would have protected our own children from sex offenders. And they are the ones lecturing us. I am sorry, but Bill C-268 was very important. All the parliamentarians supported us.

The treatment of Canadian children is just as important as the treatment of children elsewhere.

7:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I asked a question about the cuts to research funding, and I did not receive an answer to my question. I was speaking about Katrin Meissner, an accomplished B.C. climate scientist, who is packing up and moving from Canada to Australia because of the cuts to science funding.

There was $365 million cut from science and technology when one adjusts for inflation. That is a substantial withdrawal of support for this very critical activity. Two thousand top researchers recently signed a petition calling for urgent federal action to stop the brain drain. Why, in 2009, do we have a government whose policies are driving our key researchers out of Canada? In fact a minister from the other side called it absurd that there would be continuing funding by government for science and research. This is very difficult for people to understand in my community, where I have the University of British Columbia and research is a key part of the economy and the well-being of people in the future.

The person who is moving is a climate scientist. It is particularly concerning that the government is eliminating its capability to do what needs to be done to reduce greenhouse gases. It does bring into question whether the government has any intention to reduce greenhouse gases or do anything to take action on climate change.

I would suggest that the record to date would lead to the answer of no. It has absolutely no intention or commitment to this issue. Three years, three ministers and three plans, with zero results. I will point out that the government is led by a prime minister who made this statement only a handful of years ago. He said:

We will oppose ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and its targets. We will work with the provinces and others to discourage the implementation of those targets. And we will rescind the targets when we have the opportunity to do so.

That is pretty clear. The government has no intention of reducing greenhouse gases. In contrast, when the Liberal Party was in government they were leaders on that issue. The Liberals ratified and negotiated Kyoto, and they went to work to bring industry and the public on board. We saw emissions drop between 2004 and 2006 under the former Liberal government. There has been a pathetic recidivism on this issue since the Conservative government took charge.

Surprisingly enough, the Conservative government did agree to a target. Let us look at how it is actually doing. We will turn to the report from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, in which it is clear that the Conservatives are a complete disaster on climate change. There is no honesty, no action, no tracking and no credibility. The commissioner said that the plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are missing information required by law, that the plans overstate expected emissions, and that the plans are not transparent and there is no system to monitor and report results.

The commissioner himself asked if the environment department could explain why it could supposedly estimate emission reductions in advance but could not actually measure these reductions after the fact.

7:10 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure exactly where to begin. The hon. member's question is replete with misinformation and falsehoods, both on science and technology and on the Liberal record regarding the environment. Of course, the record of the Liberals regarding the environment was that they increased greenhouse gas emissions by 35% over the time they were in office.

In terms of science and technology, we have indicated many times before, Canada continues to be a world leader in terms of its support for post-secondary research. We rank first in the G7 and second, after Sweden, among the 30 OECD countries in terms of higher education R and D expenditures as a percentage of GDP.

Through the federal S & T strategy, announced by the Prime Minister nearly two years ago, the government has demonstrated its commitment to build on this strong record.

This strategy has been backed up with strong action, with investments of over $7 billion in S & T funding, much of this geared to supporting world-class research.

For example, new funding totalling $240 million was provided to Genome Canada in budgets 2007 and 2008, allowing it to fund its operations and current research support until March 31, 2013. In fact, Genome is now running a major new competition, the results of which will be announced later this year.

Budget 2007 provided $50 million to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics to support its leading research, education and public outreach activities. In this same budget, we set aside $195 million to establish the centres of excellence in commercialization and research program to create world-class centres to advance research and promote commercialization of technologies, products and services.

A further $105 million was earmarked to support the operations of seven existing centres of excellence, such as the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia, the Life Science Research Institute in Halifax, and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

We also continue to invest in research and science infrastructure through the Canada foundation for innovation, with investments of $510 million in budget 2007 and $750 million in budget 2009. This support, aimed at modernizing research facilities and equipment in post-secondary institutions, is complemented by the massive $2 billion investment in university and college infrastructure outlined in budget 2009.

Most recently, budget 2009 invested $50 million to support the construction and establishment of University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing, a new world-class research facility in this exciting field with considerable promise.

In addition to the preceding targeted investments, we have provided significant funding increases for the federal granting councils to support their core programming, with increases totalling $205 million per year through actions taken in budgets 2006, 2007 and 2008. I should underline that these increases represent ongoing permanent increases in annual funding for the granting councils.

Our past investments and budget 2009 underscore our determination to help build a strong national competitive advantage through science and technology.

7:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government has failed Canadians on the economy, failed Canadians on research and failed Canadians on climate change, and all that member can do is read from a list of initiatives, succeeding to take credit for what the Liberal Party has done for this country in building world leadership on a range of issues.

Canadians care about climate change. The voters in my riding care. They are organizing a huge event for September to bring the community out. Vancouver is a leader on this issue. British Columbia is a leader on this issue and the federal government is a zero on this issue.

It abdicated its responsibility and covered its absence of action with bluster, pretense and misrepresentation. It is an embarrassment to be a politician with this calibre of behaviour on climate change, one of the key issues of today on which our children and grandchildren deserve action, not this--

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. parliamentary secretary.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member is aware of very well publicized comments made by her own leader in terms of the Liberal environmental strategy. I think the quote was, “We didn't get it done”. He said it over and over again, and we have seen that from time to time pop up in the media and different sources.

On the subject of the question that was originally asked which spurned on this late show tonight, which was investments in research, I just want to read, if I could, from an ad placed in the Globe and Mail by the University of Winnipeg where Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, a former Liberal cabinet minister and now president and vice-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg thanked the hon. President of the Treasury Board and the hon. Minister of State for Science and Technology for their leadership and investment. The ad says: “Thank you to the Government of Canada for its generous contribution of more than $18 million from the knowledge infrastructure program for the science complex and Richardson College for the Environment”.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Since the hon. member for Cape Breton—Canso is not present to raise the matter for which adjournment notice has been given, the notice is deemed withdrawn.

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:18 p.m.)