Evidence of meeting #7 for Bill C-30 (39th Parliament, 1st Session) in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was targets.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Mark Jaccard  School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University
Nancy Hughes Anthony  President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
David Martin  Greenpeace Canada
Alexander Wood  President and Chief Executive Officer, National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
Michael Murphy  Executive Vice-President, Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

7:10 p.m.

Greenpeace Canada

David Martin

The ones that are worse than Canada are Turkey, Spain, and Portugal.

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Thank you.

To Professor Jaccard, many would have us believe it's Kyoto or nothing to make things work, but now we're 35% above where we need to be. I'm wondering if you could express your opinion on that.

7:10 p.m.

Prof. Mark Jaccard

My opinion on what, Kyoto or nothing?

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Yes, the fact that we're 35% ahead of where we need to be, and still it's being professed that it's Kyoto or nothing.

7:10 p.m.

Prof. Mark Jaccard

As I said earlier, I don't believe we'll hit our Kyoto target or that we can buy--politically get away with--the credits that would allow us to comply with our Kyoto Protocol commitment.

I do believe Canada should be playing a leadership role today in implementing policies on greenhouse gas reduction, but they'll be a waste of time if they're not compulsory-type policies. I also believe we can set an example and work with the United States in that endeavour. I think they'll be changing their position over the next few years. That's something where I believe the United States will be using even trade pressures to bring along countries such as China and India.

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Okay.

To Ms. Hughes Anthony, as an important stakeholder in all of this, do you have any suggested amendments towards this bill? You represent so many people involved in the economic engine in Canada. Do you have any amendments that you think we could live by and that would still do what needs to be done with regard to protecting our environment?

7:10 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Nancy Hughes Anthony

Thank you, Mr. Manning. I'm not prepared at this point to say that we have proposed amendments to suggest. Perhaps I can take that under advisement.

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Would you be interested in providing the committee, over the next couple of weeks if you get the opportunity, with some amendments for our discussions?

Okay, thank you.

7:10 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Laurie Hawn

Time is up. Thank you, Mr. Manning.

Mr. Scarpaleggia for five, please.

February 12th, 2007 / 7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'd like to follow up on a point with you, Professor Jaccard. You say that we can't even meet our Kyoto targets by buying credits, correct?

7:10 p.m.

Prof. Mark Jaccard

Yes. I don't have certainty on that. That's my judgment.

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Do you see it as a sort of all-or-nothing proposition? That is, if we can't meet our Kyoto targets by buying credits, should we just not participate in that market at all?

7:10 p.m.

Prof. Mark Jaccard

I don't think about this a lot. I think about how we can get going.

At this point, I think it would be very good for the rich countries of the world to set aggressive targets for themselves, with policies that make those targets happen. Basically, that's what's happening in the world. The Europeans are acting. The Americans are not, the Australians are not, and other countries, such as Russia and so on, are not taking actions but really are benefiting from reductions that happened earlier.

So only a small part of the world is really acting right now. I think Canada needs to step to the plate and start acting. I think we can help the world more by taking fairly aggressive domestic action right now.

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Thank you.

Mr. Martin, in your brief you say that because industry is responsible for 50% of emissions, it should be responsible for cutting...?

7:10 p.m.

Greenpeace Canada

David Martin

For cutting 50%, or more than 50%. I think we need a fixed, absolute cap on emissions for industry that extends a Kyoto-level target.

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

I understand your point, but to me the number is almost too clear-cut. It seems almost like a rule of thumb. It just doesn't seem like a number that comes out of some detailed, serious analysis.

When you say, “Well, 50%, therefore 50%”, it might be a good rule of thumb, but it just doesn't seem to be something that would be well supported in the details.

7:15 p.m.

Greenpeace Canada

David Martin

I know it isn't easy when it comes to the negotiations, when it goes sector by sector, and when you have to deal with those industries and all of their particular problems, hassles, benefits, and costs, but it's the kind of negotiating that needs to be done.

I think governments need to be seen to be fair. I think Canadians expect this shouldn't be put on our backs as individual consumers and industry has to be brought to the table to pay their fair share.

7:15 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

I see your point. You're basically saying you have to start somewhere.

Ms. Hughes Anthony, you'll recall that about two years ago the Liberal government at the time proposed using CEPA to regulate greenhouse gases, something it followed through on. There was in fact a lot of controversy around it.

The opposition at the time, the Conservative opposition, did some sabre rattling, threatened to bring down the government, and made all kinds of alarmist statements, such as the following one, which I hate to bring up, because it involves the chair of the environment committee, who is a fine fellow, and I want to make that clear. At the time, Mr. Mills said:

Placing the control of greenhouse gas emissions under the CEPA would be a de facto carbon tax, which would result in the loss of thousands of jobs and would increase the cost of heat, electricity, and transportation.

How did your organization react at the time? Whether or not to put greenhouse gases under CEPA was a hot issue. I'm sure you had something to say about it. What did you say?

7:15 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Nancy Hughes Anthony

I'll ask Mr. Murphy, who was involved at the time, to respond.

7:15 p.m.

Executive Vice-President, Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Michael Murphy

When it happened, you essentially heard the government of the day say they would call GHGs toxic. A lot of our members scratched their heads and asked under what definition it qualified. I think there was some negative reaction from that standpoint.

There wasn't a negative reaction to thinking about dealing with GHGs from a CEPA perspective in terms of the legislation. Because there was a lot of history here for the business community in terms of environmental protection legislation, a lot of our members were used to dealing with it.

You now have a program that basically says we'll amend it and take them out of there, and we'll create another section in the act and deal with it that way. I think people said okay, there's another proposal, and they would work with that. There's no question that there were clearly some folks who were upset about it.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Laurie Hawn

Your time is up, Mr. Scarpaleggia. Time flies when you're having fun.

Mr. Paradis, you have five minutes.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My questions are for Ms. Hughes Anthony.

Ms. Hughes Anthony, I am aware of your reputation. I know that you figure amongst the 50 most influential women in the business world. I'm therefore very pleased to have an opportunity to ask you questions today, particularly since you made a statement earlier that, at the very least, can be described as interesting or troubling.

You were saying that many small- and medium-sized businesses do not yet know the impacts, what might happen. These SMEs have been over-looked: they are not part of the debate.

First of all, I would like you to tell us what are, in your mind, the key aspects for achieving a sustainable environmental economy. In your opinion, how can we achieve this?

Then, I would like you to describe your vision regarding the technologies that should be used, bearing in mind the realities of the SMEs that don't necessarily have enough operating funds to make such a change.

Earlier, you talked about the short and long term. I would like to hear your analysis of this aspect in particular.

7:15 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Nancy Hughes Anthony

Thank you very much. I am not, obviously, a scientist by profession but I do think that you're completely right. Our economy is essentially an economy of SMEs. It's also an economy of consumers. The debates that have taken place over the past few years have emphasized the industrial sectors. That is a good thing, because some sectors, such as the energy production sector, can be changed.

As regards consumers like us, the SMEs have really been overlooked, completely overlooked in my opinion. I think that some things are completely essential and that we have to put more effort into education. As I pointed out, we prepared a small report with the Pollution Probe Foundation which discussed reducing waste, modernizing heating and ventilation equipment, improving means of transport, etc. These are all things that will eventually serve to decrease pollution and improve energy efficiency, etc.

In my opinion, "a good plan" would demonstrate the government's clear intention to regulate certain industries and would also include targets, objectives or something aimed at the world of consumers and SMEs.

I was quite struck by Professor Jaccard's observation that energy efficiency sometimes leads to a plethora of new energy devices. I think what he was referring to is what I call the beer-fridge phenomenon: when you buy a more efficient refrigerator, you take the old one and you put it in the basement and put your beer in it--or maybe I'm just speaking to myself--and therefore you have not effectively reduced your energy consumption that much.

I do seriously think that any good plan will have to have measures that will touch the small-business community directly and will give guidance as well to consumers. It will have to be more direct and more informative than the one-tonne challenge, if I may say so.

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

There is talk about new technologies which, for some, may be more innovative than others. Given the current situation, how are the SMEs reacting to these ideas? Do you feel that there is a desire to make this change? Is Bill C-30 a good thing? Is this a good start that will lead to the use of technologies that are more compatible with sustainable development?

There are many SMEs in my riding. It is often said that we will start by doing business, but it obvious that the environment is there, and we want to take care of it. What has the reception been like? What means could we adopt, in your opinion, to go in this direction and link business with the preservation of the environment?