I don't support spending money on hot air credits in Russia, where no greenhouse gas emissions will actually be reduced. It would just be credit for past actions. I think Canadians want us to take real actions here at home to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
When we take an integrated approach, we can hit two birds with one stone. That would mean that we could both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver cleaner air. That's a huge priority for a parent with an asthmatic child or for the elderly.
I represent a lot of senior citizens, and on some days they can't go out of their homes because of the air quality in this city. I'm the youngest member of the cabinet, but when I was first elected we didn't have smog days in Ottawa. Ten or twelve years ago we had pretty clean air, but increasingly we're having problems. I think Canadians want to take action on both.
I used the example of the coal-fired generating station at Lakeview. By closing it down, we were able to make a substantive reduction in greenhouse gases, and at the same time and for the same amount of money we were able to reduce pollution—NOx and SOx, smog. That gives a greater benefit to human health.
So why not take the integrated approach here in Canada, where we can deal with the number one global problem with the environment and the number one domestic health problem with respect to the environment? It just makes sense.
Now, some people will continue to support spending billions of dollars of taxpayers' money abroad. They can have that field to themselves. I don't think it's one that Canadians support. They'd like to see an integrated approach.
I think you are very right, Mr. Manning, when you talk about how cynical the public is. They've heard a lot of talk for a lot of years on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and they've seen nothing delivered—nothing. If you look at the chart up there, nothing. If you look at the actions in place in the last 10 years, nothing.
This is not a new issue. This is an issue that was first defined in Rio de Janeiro at the Earth Summit when Jean Charest was the Minister of the Environment and Brian Mulroney was the Prime Minister. But nothing happened—nothing.
I agree totally with the deputy leader of the Liberal Party when he said to the former environment minister that we didn't get it done; Canada didn't get it done. But what Canadians want to see are results. They want to see specific action that's realistic and attainable.
I think in the course of the next two months the government will do its part, and this committee has to accept its responsibility as well. We look forward to delivering for Canadians.