House of Commons Hansard #60 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was organ.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her comments. Climate change is having significant and devastating effects on other countries. We cannot think that our actions do not influence other countries. As I said in my speech, what we do not only influences our neighbours but also has a direct impact on them. Similarly, greenhouse gases produced by other countries affect us. Everyone in the international community must implement these measures. That is why these negotiations are so important and why we are proposing this motion today.

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague and my colleague from Halifax, for leading the charge in this debate.

I think the government has completely dropped the ball on this and is disappointing Canadians. The government is choosing to speak for a small segment of the oil industry rather than for Canadians at large.

According to the International Energy Commission, CO2 emissions in Canada went up 20% between 1990 and 2009. I would like my colleague to comment on how the NDP's plan for a cap and trade, something that we have all committed to and have campaigned on for a long time, might help reduce these really gross levels of CO2 emissions.

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The NDP's plan is very important. At some point, we need to tell the big polluters that we have had enough. We need to give them ways to reduce pollution. We must be demanding and not encourage a laissez-faire attitude where everyone does as they see fit. We must take real action and tell businesses and big polluters that enough is enough. We have a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on a very important issue. I am going to start by talking about Canada's role in this.

It has been deeply disappointing to me as a young Canadian to hear the opposition parties denigrate our country and our reputation in this area. It is false to say that, because we are taking tangible action at home, we are not leaders. We have made billions of dollars in investments and we have seen great improvement in our technology. This commitment is not just from our government, but also from all industry sectors. Our government has taken a strong action-focused approach to produce reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We have already started to see those results at home. More importantly, we are going to be doing this in such a way that our economy will not suffer.

The opposition talks about the need to balance the economy with the environment, yet I notice that it has no plans to do so. When opposition members talk about economic instruments to do this, they never talk about the cost or the long-term effects on our children. We can manage our environment. We can have environmental stewardship while having economic sustainability. That is where real action-focused results come into play and that is what our government is doing.

I would like to take the opportunity to present, once again, the Government of Canada's sector-by-sector strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. It is a national plan with a strong corresponding international component. We believe the best way to achieve results on climate change management is to better integrate our environmental objectives into Canada's economic structure. It is one way to maximize our competitiveness in a rapidly evolving global field.

There is no question our domestic businesses can be more productive and more efficient than ever while meeting our greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. We have aligned this target with that of the United States. Given the degree of integration within the North American economy, we will align our approaches to reducing emissions in a manner appropriate to the Canadian context.

One of the key pieces to our sector-by-sector approach is the new emissions regulations for cars and trucks. This is tangible action. Canada has already completed standards for regulating GHGs from new passenger cars and light trucks for the 2011 through 2016 model years, aligning with the U.S. on a common North American approach.

We have also issued a notice of intent to continue to develop more stringent standards for new cars in model year 2017 and beyond, working closely with the United States. Again, we are making sure that our industrial partners, stakeholders within the economy and international trading partners are included in the dialogue so that we can achieve real action while ensuring economic sustainability.

We are taking action in the area of electricity generated from coal-fired plants. In August, our government published new draft electricity regulations in the Canada Gazette, the result of extensive discussion with industry, provinces and stakeholders.

Our renewable fuel standards have mandated a 5% ethanol content for gasoline used by cars and trucks and a 2% average renewable fuel content in diesel fuel and heating oil. These regulations are one element of our broader renewable fuels strategy. They will bring significant environmental benefits to our country.

Clean and renewable energy has been a central focus in the government's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The various eco-energy initiatives of this government are helping to develop clean and efficient energy. My colleagues opposite spoke about this earlier today; however, they have consistently voted against these measures in our budget.

The eco-energy initiatives facilitate research and development in clean energy and renewables. The eco-energy efficiency initiative will make the housing, building and transportation industries more energy efficient and increase energy performance. The eco-energy retrofit homes program is helping Canadians to make energy-efficient home renovations.

In addition, we have invested another $40 million in Sustainable Development Technology Canada for the commercialization of clean technologies. This fund is becoming self-sustainable thanks to industry commercialized technologies that make tangible benefits to our environment in Canada. We are exporting this technology and seeing the growth of clean energy tech industry here at home.

As of 2010, the energy efficiency regulations' minimum energy performance standards have resulted in an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 26 megatons.

Through the eco-energy for renewable power program, we will see $1.5 billion in investments over the next 10 years to support our renewable energy industry. The eco-energy for biofuels program will provide production incentives to producers of cleaner renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel.

Our investments through the clean energy fund, eco-energy technology initiative and carbon capture and storage projects are helping to position Canada as a producer of clean, reliable electricity for decades to come, again, measures that the opposition continues to vote against in our budgets.

Last month, our government also announced that we will spend over $148 million over the next five years to help our country adapt to climate change. This funding will help us frame credible, science based responses to the impacts of climate change here at home. This funding builds on the $85 million that we have already spent over the past four years to help provinces, territories, municipalities and others develop important strategies for domestic adaptation to climate change.

The government made another important announcement for the environment last month. In recognition of the important work being carried out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality since 2006 through the clean air regulatory agenda, we announced that over the next five years our government will invest a further $600 million in the clean air regulatory agenda. This investment in the clean air agenda will help us to identify emerging air quality issues, measure and monitor the status of existing ones and evaluate action focused solutions that ensure that our economy is stable. It ensures that Canadians will literally breathe easier.

At the same time as we are focused on the long term, we are not neglecting the shorter term opportunities to address climate change here at home. For example, we are looking at ways to reduce soot, or black carbon, methane and ozone, which are short-lived climate forcers. Reductions of these climate forcers produce near-term benefits for the climate, particularly in the Arctic. We are also doing this work collaboratively with our partners in the United States, Mexico and elsewhere.

Our approach, along with the work done by the provinces, has brought us 25% of the way to reaching our 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, action-focused results.

It is work that complements a variety of existing regulatory and international efforts and holds the promise of some significant results.

It is also important that the reality of climate change be well understood and proactively managed. Our government firmly believes that, on the international front, only an agreement that includes all major emitters can deliver the greatest impact in addressing climate change. Canada is engaged at the international negotiations in South Africa in developing a strategic response to climate change. It is a question of enlightened self-interest. If we want Canada to meet the environmental challenges ahead, we need to help others do the same.

That is why Canada has stepped up with its fair share of climate change funding for developing countries, something that we pledge to deliver under the Copenhagen accord. We have already provided $400 million in fast-start financing in 2010-11 to help the world's poorest and most vulnerable nations develop clean energy options, address the problems caused by deforestation and boost sustainable agriculture. In turn, this funding reinforces our $100 million contribution in the 2008-09 World Bank pilot program on climate resilience.

In other words, we have implemented a proactive climate change action plan on domestic and international fronts, one that is tailored to our country's specific needs but based on our commitments at recent UN climate change summits in Copenhagen and in Cancun.

Canada's position is very simple: We will only support climate change agreements that are signed and ratified by all major emitters because the reality is that we are an integrated global economy and we need to be cognizant of that fact for our children. It is a straightforward, practical approach.

We have already declared that, however acute the international pressure, we will not agree to a second commitment period under the Kyoto protocol. The Kyoto protocol does not meet our simple criteria. It does not include targets for all of the world's greenhouse gas emitters. It ultimately covers less than 30% of global emissions. This is not what we need to do to achieve a global international binding commitment. We can do better than this. This is the way forward that has been discussed in the Copenhagen accord and in the Cancun agreements, which we are committed to continuing.

The agreements reached in Cancun a year ago established a workable template for continuous improvement in the future. Establishing a program to implement agreements is a major focus of the negotiations that are taking place right now in Durban, South Africa. Canada, led by our Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, is playing an active and constructive role in these negotiations.

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order, please. I would like to remind the member not to refer to any member of this chamber by their given name.

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

The reality is that Canada emits only 2% of the world's total emissions. That is why we need to work hard to get the 98% covered by a new agreement. Kyoto does not do that, never did that and cannot do that in the future. We need a new agreement that is fair, effective and applies to all major emitters to see real change.

This is not an easy task. However, we do not shy away from difficult tasks and we are not swayed by pressure and criticism from those who want to retain the status quo. The status quo was not good enough domestically, which is why we have established a strong regulatory approach to addressing climate change.

The status quo of Kyoto is not good enough on the international front. That is why Canada is showing brave leadership to address the reality of international climate change actions. If they are to be effective, they must include all major emitters, including the United States and China.

Currently, the 37 countries, plus the European community, that have commitments under the Kyoto protocol represent less than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Two of the world's most significant GHG emitters, China and the U.S., are currently responsible for close to 40% of global emissions and yet China and the United States are not parties to the Kyoto protocol and have no international legally binding emissions reductions commitments.

What is more, it is expected that China and other emerging economies will be responsible for almost all future growth in emissions and are expected to be responsible for about two-thirds of global emissions by 2020. As such, it will be essential for ensuring sustainable global development that major emerging economies take effective action now and in the future to mitigate emissions growth, as their economies grow.

The fact that the New Democrats and the Liberals have stubbornly adopted a nothing-but-Kyoto approach just shows that neither party is willing to face reality. When they signed on to Kyoto, the Liberals privately knew that they could not meet Kyoto's emissions targets.

Eddie Goldenberg, one of prime minister Jean Chrétien's former aides, revealed that the Liberals went ahead to the Kyoto protocol on climate change even though they knew there was a good chance Canada would not be able to meet its goals for pollution reduction. In a speech prepared for the Canadian Club of London, Ontario, and reported by the Toronto Star in 2007, Mr. Goldenberg said:

Nor was the government itself even ready at the time with what had to be done. The Kyoto targets were extremely ambitious and it was very possible that short-term deadlines would at the end of the day have to be extended.

Mr. Chrétien's ago wrote cheques that his party could not cash.

Then there is the NDP. Never having been in government, the NDP has often been the party asking questions and rarely the party answering them. That is convenient for the NDP. It does not need to answer the tough questions on its nothing-but-Kyoto policy, questions like: How many thousands of Canadian jobs would be lost as Canada hopelessly tries to meet unachievable Kyoto targets? If Canada signs on to a second Kyoto commitment period, how many billions of dollars in penalties will Canada have to pay for not meeting our unrealistic targets? Those countries producing over two-thirds of the world's greenhouse gas emissions have no obligations under Kyoto. How many megatons of greenhouse gases will be emitted by non-Kyoto parties? How much will these rise before the NDP realizes that Kyoto is not working?

This government is willing to ask the serious questions and deal with realistic achievable plans that involve all of our stakeholder groups across this country and internationally. Unlike the Liberals, we will not enter into agreements that we have no intention of keeping, and unlike the NDP, we base our plans on science and on reality.

As we continue this debate today, I want to ensure that what we talk about here is action focus, that we talk about the realities that Canada has at home and about the economic sustainability factors that we need to look at for our children. When we are talking about the debate on how we will manage our country, our greenhouses, et cetera for our children, we also need to ask how we can do this sustainably and how we can do this in such a way that we can achieve real action.

I am proud to say that our government's plan can do this, it will do this and we will continue moving forward as an international leader.

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that clean aerogen does not really deal with climate. The fact is that South African leaders said:

Canada, you were once considered a leader on global issues like human rights and environmental protection. Today you're home to polluting tar sands oil, speeding the dangerous effects of climate change.

In light of the fact that today China said that it was willing to enter into legally binding agreements, in light of the fact that the Conservative Senate killed the NDP climate change accountability act, in light of the fact that the government continues to give billions in tax breaks to fossil fuel companies, in light of the fact that the government has failed to renew the successful eco-energy renewable power program and in light of the fact that Canada is being outspent per capita 18:1 on renewable investments by the U.S., does the member actually believe any of the talking points that she has been sent here to deliver?

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, as someone who has worked with clean energy technology and as someone who works in a province and in a country where our energy sector provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of funding for social programs, I cannot accept my colleague's criticism of our country as not being an international leader in environmental stewardship. Our country operates in one of the most stringent environmental regulatory frameworks in the world. That is a fact. That is not a talking point. We are a leader in this. We also are one of the most socially responsible producers of energy. We are one of the freest countries in the world.

The fact that we are being criticized and the opposition is accepting this criticism against our country is shameful. When we look at what our government has done since 2006 as opposed to previous Liberal governments, previous governments that did not do anything, we see actual action occurring. We are seeing a reduction in almost every sector. We are seeing reductions in our transportation sector where we put in regulations this year. We are seeing reductions in our electricity production sector.

These are not talking points. This is reality. When will the opposition wake up to that?

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I must admit that I agree with almost nothing the parliamentary secretary said.

After a decade of effective work with the provinces, the public and industry, the Liberal government made huge progress and emissions actually went down in 2005 during an economic boom. The reform party tried to block those moves every step of the way. Unfortunately, I am hearing the very same propaganda from the parliamentary secretary that we heard from the reform party over the years.

In terms of setting goals, I would hope the member has set goals for herself that it might be possible that she would not meet. However, by aiming high, we achieve more than if we do not set goals.

In this much lauded funding that the government is announcing, shamefully, because it was announced before, there is nothing new. Half of it is loans and the other half is a redirection of important international aid from other funding that the government had already committed to.

Could the parliamentary secretary please tell us of any new dollars going into the climate fund?

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question allows me to speak to the profoundly shameful history of the Liberal government's management of both our economy and our energy sector.

I will talk about the national energy plan that cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and a generational impact on western Canadians. I will talk about the Kyoto protocol that the Liberal government signed on to with no financial planning. I will talk about the dollars. There was absolutely no discussion on the cost of the Kyoto protocol to our economy or to implementing it. I will talk about the green shift, a carbon tax that would be a tax on everything with no cognizance of our economy's sustainable future.

I am so proud to stand here today and say that our country is a leader in environmental stewardship. We are a leader in putting regulations in place that will ensure the sustainability of our environment and, not only that, to monitor them and enforce them to ensure that funding is provided for clean energy technology to see the commercialization of new technologies, which will see a green economy develop in our country in the future.

Those are the things that our government stands for, is proud of and on which we are taking real action.

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

December 5th, 2011 / 12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP wants us to believe that we can grow the economy by Canada assuming the full cost of decarbonizing its own economy while assuming the additional costs of decarbonizing other global economies and simultaneously boosting taxes on Canadian companies and consumers. I do not know about other members, but to me, not growing the economy sounds like a recipe for disaster. That is why the United States never signed on to Kyoto. It is why the EU is backing away from further action under Kyoto. They recognize that everyone in the global economy has to be involved. That is why this country put its leadership behind the Copenhagen process, the only global process that has a real prospect of being able to grow our economies while improving global climate.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment like to answer the question about Canada's global leadership under Copenhagen?

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question gives me an opportunity to highlight, once again, the fact that our country is a leader in environmental sustainability and in dealing with climate change in a way that we are going to see real results.

Our government's approach, which includes a sector-by-sector regulatory approach, is designed to ensure our economic sustainability and, as he mentioned, see tangible results with regard to greenhouse gas emissions. The first sector we looked at was the transportation sector. We did that because we know it is a sector that creates a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions. We went forward with these regulations through a consultative process to find out how we could actually implement this while ensuring that our economy is not competitively disadvantaged. We are doing the same thing right now with our electricity sector. We are doing this sector by sector because we want to make sure that we are achieving those tangible results.

With regard to the question about economic sustainability, this is something that cannot be lost. It is easy to gloss over. We have heard it in the opposition rhetoric today. When we are looking at binding commitments and agreements in the future, we need to ensure that our approaches are similar to those being taken in the Copenhagen accord. Those approaches ensure that all emitters are on board and working toward the same goal and that our economy is sustained.

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, what spectacular stickhandling. Congratulations. Honestly, I have never heard anything quite like that.

I have a question. Last week, I saw, with my own eyes, members on the other side applaud when it was announced that Canada had once again received a fossil award.

What does my colleague think about that?

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I cannot support bringing into the House any sort of award that is designed to denigrate this country. This country is a leader in the world, period. The real award that we should be talking about is the fact that our country in a global recession sits atop of the G7 with regard to economic growth. We have seen over 600,000 net new jobs created. We are doing that at the same time as we are protecting our environment. That is an award we should be proud of. That is an award the opposition should be bringing forward.

Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, where is the credible plan? Where are the science-based targets? Right now the government can only get us 25% of the way there. How is it going to get the remaining 75%?

I would like to know if the hon. member truly appreciates what climate change will mean in Canada. There will be more extreme weather events. A rise in sea levels will affect Vancouver and the Hudson Bay lowlands. Lower Great Lakes levels will impact shipping. An increased frequency and severity of heatwaves will impact the health of Canadians. The melting permafrost will have an impact on infrastructure and housing in the north.

We do not inherit the environment from our parents; we borrow it from our grandchildren.