Mr. Chair, I find it interesting that we had dealt with this motion. I spoke in good faith and presented this motion a few meetings ago, sharing with this committee that we needed more time. We heard from every witness group that we needed to have an impact analysis on this. I asked every group, and every group said, yes, we needed to have it.
Just thinking back to when Mr. Layton came...and I paraphrased him, I didn't give an exact quote, but if Mr. Cullen would like me to provide an exact quote, I will, because I have that in my package here.
At any rate, I was quite shocked when Mr. Layton said that Bill C-377 was presented to this committee as a dream but with no substance. It was a dream. He used the analogy of the railway, that they didn't know how they were going to build it but somehow, hopefully, they'd have it. He had no idea about the costing of this, about the impact analysis that we heard every witness group recommend.
What I did, Mr. Chair, was to recommend that we extend this. The committee said, no, they were quite sure they could ram Bill C-377 through with bare bones.
We heard that the federal government would receive these unlimited, unprecedented powers over all the provinces, and I was quite shocked to see that the Bloc supported that. We as a government respect provincial jurisdiction; no, they wanted to force Bill C-377 through as quickly as possible, without further consultation, when we were advised by these witnesses that there should be an impact analysis.
What I have to share in speaking to this motion will hopefully be quite thorough and will provide some direction to the committee in terms of where I'm coming from. I'm speaking to this motion to extend in frustration that this was not dealt with properly in the first place.
Mr. Chair, I was doing some research earlier today. I have a quote here from the Commissioner of the Environment, Madame Gélinas, referring to the Kyoto targets on climate change:
We expected that the federal government
—referring to the then Liberal government—
would have conducted economic, social, environmental, and risk analyses in support of its decision to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 1998...
Then she went on to say:
...we found that little economic analysis was completed, and the government was unable to provide evidence of detailed social, environmental, or risk analyses.
We all know what happened to the previous government's commitment to Kyoto. They signed on to 6% below 1990 levels. Did we achieve that as a country? No, we did not.
I believe the commissioner gave us some really clear direction on what we need to do as the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. We need to provide that analysis; otherwise, we're doomed to repeat the same mistake made by the previous Liberal government. You have these lofty ideas...and I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt that the motives were right, but without a plan, without knowing what it's going to cost, without a policy attached, whether it's done in a very short period of time or a long period of time, you will not be successful.
I take the issue of climate change and I take the issue of a warming climate very seriously, as I know the minister and the Prime Minister do. We have to present research. A costing, an impact analysis, has to be part of the equation.
By extending this for another few weeks, with no commitment from the NDP to provide the proper economic, social, and environmental risk analyses of Bill C-377, I'm concerned that we're going down the path to nowhere—with “nowhere” referring to where we will be at the end of the day.
We already have a very good plan, the Turning the Corner plan, from the government, which I'll share and elaborate on in a minute. Again, I just want to share with the committee how important it is that if we do extend it, that it be done with a plan, a commitment, that we are going to make sure that we have this analysis done that we heard about from every group.
Without it, as I said earlier, we're doomed to failure, as we saw with the Liberal Party. Their commitment was to 6% below 1990 levels, and we ended up being 33% above that target—not even close to the target. We see the same thing with Bill C-377. We have no bones; we have no policy, no costing, no impact. They want to move forward with an extension of a few weeks, but they do not want to consider the facts. They do not want to consider where this is going to take Canada and even if it is achievable.
We know that the plan the government has, with a target of a 20% reduction—an absolute reduction—by 2020, is achievable. It's been costed, it's planned, and there is a notice of intent and a gazetting coming. With the Turning the Corner plan we have a realistic plan and a further commitment of 60% to 70% absolute reductions by 2050.
Mr. Chairman, that is one of the toughest targets in Canadian history; it is the toughest target, and it's one of the toughest in the world.