That was a very short opening statement. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thanks for joining us. I'm hoping that Finance Canada officials, Mr. Chair, can stay with us throughout the two-hour session this morning as their Environment counterparts were kind enough to do yesterday. Health Canada officials are to come and join us here quite shortly.
So we're hoping you can stay on over the two-hour period. Maybe you can give us some reflection before I get into some questions, if that's possible.
Mr. Gauthier, yesterday I put several questions to Environment Canada officials with respect to whether or not an economic analysis had been undertaken before the plan was officially made public and was announced by the Minister of the Environment.
Maybe you can help us understand, again. At the end of April, the Minister of the Environment said the cost of implementing his emission reductions plan for industry will cost the Canadian public, he said, about $8 billion annually. We have had some information fed to us that in fact, before this plan was even announced, Finance Canada officials did not want to be involved in the Bill C-288 economic analysis that was presented by the minister at the Senate committee. The Finance Canada officials declined to be involved in the calculations and they did not agree to warrant the numbers, to substantiate the numbers put forward by the minister at that particular meeting.
That was the meeting when he announced that the cost of Kyoto compliance would be $4,000 per family, you will recall. If you don't recall, that was the number. Curiously, it was exactly the same as the number used by Preston Manning almost 10 years to the day, when Mr. Manning stood up in the House of Commons and said it would cost $4,000 per family to achieve Kyoto compliance, which led us to wonder whether or not the minister had even adjusted for inflation.
Can you tell us how Finance Canada was involved in the economic analysis that was conducted? We were told that a robust model was performed. We couldn't get any details. We don't know what the capacity of Environment Canada is to even conduct such models. Can you help us understand what role Finance Canada played with these numbers, particularly the $8 billion annual cost? Were you involved in crafting these numbers? Did you provide the econometric modelling or any kind of other modelling capacity within the department?