I'd like to move this motion, Chair, and I appreciate the time of the committee.
I think it's important for those present today, without the motion in front of them, to hear the details of the motion. It's with considerable regret, frustration, and due process that this motion has come before us today.
I'll read it in detail, and then we can get into the debate as quickly as possible. It reads:
That because the Minister of the Environment has: 1) indicated in Bonn that Canada would not live up to its international obligations under the Kyoto Protocol; 2) refused to address the municipal mayors and councillors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities assembled in Montreal in June, 2006; 3) been the first Federal Minister of the Environment to refuse to attend the annual Smog Summit in Toronto; 4) refused to appear before this committee in spite of a standing and open invitation; 5) tabled no plan for Canada to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions or to address Canada's pollution problems; 6) done nothing to stop the regressive cuts to beneficial environmental programs such as EnerGuide for Houses Retrofit Incentive Program and for Low-Income Households; 7) implemented no single measure to conserve or protect Canada's environment to date
The final motion reads:
That the Standing Committee of the Environment and Sustainable Development call on the Government of Canada to dismiss the Minister of the Environment from her current cabinet position and that this decision be reported to the House.
For those committee members who have worked with me in the past, I'm not one to deal with serious issues lightly. It's been an incredibly frustrating experience, both through question period and our inability to receive answers to questions that are significant to Canadians from coast to coast to coast, with respect to climate change in particular, but other issues in general.
At the base of this argument is a basic accountability that we as parliamentarians must demand of the government. In previous administrations and in the current one, other ministers have made themselves available to committee, particularly when the request has been forthcoming. Quite frankly, with such a critical issue facing Canadians today—and that is, of climate change and increasing pollution—there simply must be a minister who is willing to answer questions of their colleagues, answer questions of Canadians, and put forward a reliable climate change plan.
Clearly we've waited far too long for this.