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Evidence of meeting #22 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was c-377.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

March 31st, 2008 / 5 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Thank you, Chair.

That's on page 8 of the evidence. My first question is, have you costed your plan? The response from Mr. Layton is that this is a set of targets, and that it will be up to the government of the day. That's this government. Bill C-377 is being considered right now. It's up to the government of the day to advance plans and figure out how we achieve those targets. He's saying it's up to the government to cost it. So it's absolutely accurate.

This is the question that keeps coming up: has it been costed? Mr. Layton said to cost it. It needs to be costed by the government. Mr. Bramley said it needs to be costed.

I went to the testimony of Vicki Pollard from the EU and Mr. James Hughes from the U.K. They recommended that an impact assessment be done before Bill C-377 move forward.

We've heard from every witness group, even the sponsor of the bill, even the person who helped write the bill. I think the question Canadians have is, what has changed? Mr. Layton is saying to do an impact analysis, a costing. And now Mr. Cullen is getting different directions from Mr. Layton. Mr. Layton began by saying to do a costing, and now he's telling Mr. Cullen to tell this committee not to do one. He's telling us not to do one now, to move forward with this bill without knowing what it's going to cost. Well, that's not the way to do things. You need to know whether it's feasible, whether it's been costed. It's very important. This is what we've been advised even from the EU, even from the U.K. Both have recommended an impact analysis.

Mr. Cullen is asking us to move an amendment. I think the analogy that Mr. Vellacott used of trying to build a house on a bad foundation was a good one. I've built a number of houses, and you have to start with a strong foundation. The footings have to be built on solid ground. You dig down to hard pan, or you put in pilings, but you have to have a solid foundation; otherwise it won't stand. We've heard from witness group after witness group that Bill C-377 does not have a good foundation. That's why I'm not moving an amendment on Bill C-377, because it's a badly flawed bill.

The Liberals have provided a number of amendments, as have the Bloc and the NDP. I trust they made those motions in good faith, but we have to get the witnesses back to find out if they came up with a bill that's going to be effective. We don't know that. They want us to move forward without all the information. That's very dangerous.

We have right now Canada's Turning the Corner plan, the regulatory framework on emissions. It is a plan that has been costed. It's a plan that will be effective. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020.

We also have absolute reductions in the Turning the Corner plan—60% to 70% by 2050. These are definitely the toughest targets in Canadian history and one of the toughest in the world.

If we had had a plan like this in place by a Conservative government back in the mid-nineties, we definitely would have been able to meet international targets. But we took over in 2006, and we ended up 33% off target. So we have a lot of making up to do. But this government is committed to absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Commissioner Ron Thompson was here a couple of weeks ago, and the NDP made the startling admission that the opposition's focus has been on trying to make sure the government fails. A comment was made by the NDP, admitting that this is what they've been trying to do, to cause the government to fail. But this government is not failing. The government is moving forward with absolute reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. Why? Because it needs to happen. We cannot permit greenhouse gas emissions to continue to climb in Canada or any other country in the world, and that's why we've taken strong leadership and have a plan that has been costed, that has policy, and that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada's new government launched an ambitious and realistic agenda to protect the health of Canadians, to improve environmental quality, and to position Canada as a clean energy superpower. The proposed framework is comprehensive and includes mandatory and enforceable reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. It also engages all Canadians to take significant measurable action at home in Canada.

The reason we focus on both greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants is that pollutants are the cause of death of one in twelve Canadians. Poor air quality has a major impact on the health of Canadians, costing billions of health care dollars and causing a reduction in quality of life, but also one Canadian in twelve dies. That's why our plan includes greenhouse gas reductions but also aims to clean up the air Canadians are breathing.

Climate change is a global issue of major concern to Canadians. Human activities continue to increase the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, producing changes in the climate that are already apparent. And they are. Being from British Columbia, I've seen the mountain pine beetle kill.

Very serious problems are being caused already in Canada by climate change. These changes include altered wind and precipitation patterns and the increased incidence of extreme weather events, droughts, and forest fires. In addition, glacier melt and warmer oceans could lead to significant rises in sea levels. The changes could imperil the way of life in vulnerable communities around the world and here in Canada. The changes would also result in significant economic costs.

It is critical that Canada do its part to address its own contribution to global climate change, and we are doing that. After many years of our not doing what we should be doing—and the Commissioner of the Environment sadly said there were a lot of announcements made but very little action, and we saw our emissions continue to climb, and climb, and climb, which was very embarrassing to Canada internationally—those days are over. We've now moved from voluntary action to mandatory regulatory action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Air pollution is a significant threat to human health and the Canadian environment. Each year smog contributes to thousands of deaths. There are other air pollutant problems such as acid rain and threatened biodiversity in forest and freshwater ecosystems. In order to address the real concern of Canadians suffering from the health effects of air pollution and to clean up Canada's environment, the government must act to reduce emissions of air pollutants—and it's doing that.

Addressing these challenges in a coordinated way will require nothing short of a complete transformation in the capital stock of energy-producing and -consuming businesses and households across Canada. While cooperation among all sectors of government will be required, the Government of Canada is uniquely situated to provide the leadership on this issue that will be required to meet the challenge in a cost-effective manner, in order to ensure the continued competitiveness of the Canadian economy.

We need to have a healthy economy, but we also need to have action on the environment, and that's what we're seeing now. This transformation will not be achieved through the sum of different and potentially conflicting provincial plans or by setting up rules for industry that vary from one area of the country to another. The government's clean air regulatory agenda, along with other initiatives to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, will provide a nationally consistent approach.

We've recently had the report Turning the Corner—An action plan to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution. The report was just released. It says:

Climate change is a global problem that requires global solutions. Canadians have long known that serious action is required. Previous Governments set ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gases, [yet] emissions increased year after year.

Why was that, Chair? Members of the opposition have admitted that when they were government, they really did not have the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But that's different. Things have changed, and this government is committed to seeing those reductions, but with a realistic plan, a concrete plan that will see those reductions come. They are dramatic, Chair: 20% by 2020 and 60% to 70% by 2050.

Today our greenhouse gas emissions are more than 25% higher than they were in 1990, putting Canada more than 32% above its Kyoto target. That's today. Without immediate action, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are projected to grow a further 24% by 2020 to reach about 940 megatonnes or 55% above the 1990 levels. That is unacceptable, and that's why we said it is time to turn the corner, and we are turning that corner.

Our government is committed to stopping the increase of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and dramatically reducing them. I was reading a little out of our Turning the Corner plan. Last April we released the high level framework of our Turning the Corner action plan for reducing emissions. It's a real plan. It's a plan that will achieve the results of absolute reductions in greenhouse gases, a plan that was costed, a plan that will reduce greenhouse gases.

Since then we have consulted with the provinces. We've consulted with environmental groups and industry to develop the details of our plan, which include forcing industry to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Forcing industry is huge. That's because we've moved from voluntary to mandatory.

Our plan includes setting up a carbon emissions trading market, including a carbon offset system, to provide incentives for Canadians to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We're providing industry with the tools it needs, the tools of a domestic carbon market, and we're also establishing the market price of carbon. We've heard from industry, we've heard from environmental groups, and we've heard from our international partners that these are necessary parts of the plan, and they are now part of a plan.

Our plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Canada is a responsible plan. It's a responsible path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to address the global threat of climate change. The Government of Canada has established the national target of an absolute reduction of 20% of greenhouse gas emissions from the 2006 levels by the year of 2020. That's a reduction of 330 megatonnes from projected levels. That's huge. The previous plan was that emissions were going up and were going to continue to go up. We are now seeing a dramatic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions--330 megatonnes. This is equal to eliminating the combined greenhouse gas emissions of Alberta, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. It's a huge accomplishment.

With the Turning the Corner plan, the government is taking action and putting into place, for the first time in Canadian history, one of the toughest regulatory regimes in the world to cut greenhouse gases. Our Turning the Corner plan requires reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases by big industry. Greenhouse gas emissions by the industrial sector will be reduced by 165 megatonnes from projected levels by 2020, an amount greater than the combined emissions by the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Existing facilities in all industrial sectors will face tough requirements to improve their emissions performance every year. Plants that began operating in 2004 will face even tougher requirements to force them to use cleaner fuels and greener technology.

New oil sands plants and coal-fired power plants coming into operation in 2012 or later--those that are now on the drawing board--will face the toughest requirements of all. The oil sands are one of Canada's greatest natural resources and a major engine to our economy, but we have a responsibility to this generation and future generations to ensure that they are developed in an environmentally responsible way. Without additional action today, emissions from the oil sands would grow dramatically in the coming years, and we can't allow that to happen.

The Government of Canada will require that all oil sand plants meet a tough new emission standard. Plants that began operation in 2004 or after will face even tougher standards based on the use of cleaner fuels. Plants starting operations in 2012 will be required to meet the toughest targets that will effectively put action into place for a new carbon capture and storage technology. It's a wonderful new technology.

When I was in Berlin, Germany, for the G8+5 conference--and Chair, you were there with me--it was wonderful to hear that the world is counting on carbon capture and storage. We also know that the biggest carbon capture and storage facility in the world is in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. What they do is this. In North Dakota, about 300 kilometres south, you have a synthetic coal gasification plant where they create natural gas out of gasifying coal, and from that they create electricity. The carbon dioxide from that plant is shipped 300 kilometres north to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and it's pumped into the ground for enhanced oil recovery. An oil field that wasn't producing anymore now is because of that technology.

The world shared with us in Berlin, and there were some of us in this room who were at that meeting--the chair, I myself, and there was a member from the Bloc, Mr. Cullen was there, and Mr. Godfrey was there. We heard the importance of carbon capture and storage. The world is hoping that approximately 25% of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions globally will be reduced because of carbon capture and storage.

So it's a very important technology, and who has that technology? Who is the world leader? Canada. That's why we saw, in Indonesia and Bali, one of the people who were down there as part of the Canadian delegation sharing that technology with the world. We are world leaders, and that's why we're requiring the new plants in the oil sands will have to use that technology, where you capture the carbon dioxide and it's pumped back into the ground. It can be stored there, and it has a less than 1% chance of escaping over a 5,000-year period. It's very safe. It solidifies as it's pumped into the ground, and it also can be used for safe storage, but it also can be used for enhanced oil recovery.

It's expensive technology, but that is what the world is counting on, and that's the leadership that Canada is providing. The leadership is requiring that the Canadian oil sands will have to use that.

Also, Canada must reduce emissions from the dirty coal-fired electricity generation--carbon capture and storage again. The new coal plants that are going to be built in Canada have to use carbon capture and storage.

So it's a very good-news story. I'm sure, Chair, it's something that excites you, because you've been aware of it for a number of years, and it's good news for Canada, but it's also good news for the world.

Many Canadians are not aware that in many provinces much of the electricity we use at home and at work is generated by coal-fired power plants. The Government of Canada believes it is simply irresponsible to keep building dirty coal-fired power plants. Coal-fired plants will have to meet a tough new emission standard. We'll also bring in regulations that will effectively end the construction of dirty coal-fired plants starting in 2012. This is all part of our regulatory Turning the Corner plan. Utilities that want to build coal-fired plants in the future will be required to meet targets based on the use of clean technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

These tough regulatory requirements will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands and electricity sectors by about 90 megatonnes, or 55% of the total expected reductions of the 165 megatonnes from industry, by 2020. This will be challenging for those sectors, but the government is confident they will step up and meet the challenge. It will happen.

All together, our government's industrial regulations will achieve half the reductions required to meet our national target of 20% reduction by 2020. These regulations will change how Canada produces and uses energy and will impose a price on carbon that will rise over time, and they will impact the entire economy. As such, they will provide important new incentives for innovation and new opportunities to develop Canadian green technologies.

Chair, I was at the GLOBE conference two weeks ago. At the trade show, it was wonderful to see what was happening in the technologies here in Canada.

We saw Iogen, a company that creates ethanol from waste product, from straw. They break it down using an enzyme to create alcohol, and it's 100% alcohol. It's like a big still. They mix gasoline with the alcohol to create ethanol, and it's called E85. Minister Baird arrived at the GLOBE conference in an E85-powered vehicle.

When I fuel up, there are gas stations already in British Columbia where you can buy ethanol. It's rated up to 10%.

But this is where the government, through a mandatory regulation--no longer voluntary--is moving forward with cleaner fuels and cleaner technology. In the end, we end up with absolute reductions of 20% by 2020. And we set a good example. We also end up with cleaner air for healthier Canadians.

The Government of Canada is taking further action that will cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and from buildings. These actions include mandatory renewable fuel content in gasoline, diesel, and heating oils. A moment ago, I mentioned what we saw at the GLOBE conference. It was very interesting.

For the first time in Canadian history we will have tough new fuel consumption standards for cars, light trucks, and sport utility vehicles. These are some of the toughest targets in the world and definitely in Canadian history. The vehicles--cars, light trucks, and sport utility vehicles--will have to burn less fuel and become more energy efficient.

New energy efficiency requirements for a wide range of commercial and consumer products such as dishwashers and commercial boilers and new national performance standards that'll ban inefficient incandescent light bulbs are actions the government is requiring with our Turning the Corner plan.

But we can already do that. We already have that technology and we are moving forward. These are minimum standards--20% reduction by 2020--but Canadians can already start doing that.

Chair, I've had the great pleasure of buying new fluorescent-type light bulbs as replacements and I've seen my electricity bill drop significantly. It's a nice light, and you can get different types of fluorescent lighting, all using much less energy. Instead of a 60-watt bulb, it's an 11-watt bulb. If you replace all the bulbs in your house, all of a sudden you're saving a lot of electricity. But there is different lighting. Some of the bulbs have a soft glow and some are very bright.

We are implementing ways of reducing our carbon footprint and cleaning up the environment.

Our government has also launched a broad suite of ecoACTION programs that will complement our regulatory initiatives and stimulate the growth of renewable energy and fuels: energy-efficient homes and buildings, fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and increased public infrastructure.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

Mr. Warawa, could I interrupt you for a minute to advise everyone, as I said I would at 5:25. Obviously we're not going to complete the bill, so I will be suspending and asking everyone to return immediately after the vote, and we'll carry on.

The bells will begin. We will suspend at that point and we'll return here right afterwards and carry on.

Mr. Warawa, the floor is yours.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Thank you.

So we believe that the federal initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—making our cars, our homes, and our industries much more efficient in their energy use—can achieve greenhouse gas reductions of 65 megatonnes from projected levels by 2020, equivalent to taking more than 16 million cars off the road, or eliminating the combined emissions of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. So these are very large numbers.

These tough federal regulatory and other actions are expected to result in greenhouse gas reductions of 230 megatonnes from projected levels by 2020. That is a huge number, Chair. Yet even with these tough new federal regulations and the promises of some provinces to close dirty coal-fired power plants and to increase their use of renewable and nuclear energy, the emissions from electricity generation are projected to be 90 megatonnes in 2020—still the single largest source of greenhouse gases in Canada.

The Government of Canada wants to achieve additional emission reductions from the electricity sector of 25 megatonnes by 2020—and that's in only 12 years from 2008. So in this very short period of time, there will be an additional 25 megatonnes in reductions from the electricity sector, equivalent to closing seven large coal-fired power plants. We're therefore setting up a clean electricity task force to work with the provinces and industry to meet this goal. If required, the Government of Canada is ready to use its regulatory powers to ensure that these cuts are achieved.

Provincial governments are already committed to targets that would require achieving greenhouse gas reductions of as much as 300 megatonnes by 2020. Over 200 provincial initiatives have been developed to date to begin achieving those great goals. While some of these initiatives overlap with federal actions, it is estimated they will provide an incremental 40 megatonnes in emission reductions by 2020. Most provinces have indicated they're planning to do even more to meet their own targets.

The Government of Canada has provided over $1.5 billion in new funding to the provinces and the territories to support their climate change initiatives. That's good news. I want to thank the Liberal members for supporting that. Unfortunately, the Bloc and the NDP voted against that $1.5 billion in initiatives to fight climate change.

We're convinced it's realistic and achievable for provinces and territories to take further action in the areas where they have important responsibilities, such as building standards, public transit, and urban planning. This is very important: public transit will not be successful if you do not have well-planned, sustainable communities.

We expect that the provinces will introduce new measures that will result, at minimum, in an additional 35 megatonnes of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. These will enable Canada not only to meet but, potentially, also to surpass its national target of a 20% absolute reduction in emissions from 2006 levels by 2020.

Canada will play an important role in negotiations to develop a new international agreement on climate change, with contributions from all the major emitters, including the United States and China and India. We should be seeking to ensure that global emissions are cut at least in half by 2050. The Government of Canada has committed to achieving a 60% to 70% reduction in Canada's emissions by 2050.

At home, we will stop the dramatic growth in our greenhouse gas emissions and cut them by 20%, in absolute terms, between now and 2020, as I pointed out, which is only 12 years away. This will require all of us to do our part: the federal, provincial, and territorial governments; municipalities; industry; and individual Canadians. Together we can meet our target. In doing so, we as a country will put in place large-scale carbon capture and storage and other existing technologies; we'll generate 90% of our power from sources that do not emit greenhouse gases; and we'll increase electricity from renewable sources, like wind and wave power, by 20 times. These are examples of this government actually getting it done. We'll cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal by more than 50%. We'll increase average fuel efficiency in new vehicles by 20%. We'll improve Canada's energy efficiency by 20%. That's our national energy efficiency.

These and other actions will change the path of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. Canada will move from rapid growth to achieving absolute reductions of 20%, based in 2006 levels, and a reduction of 330 megatonnes from projected levels in 2020.

The challenge to meet these targets by 2020 is great. It's a big challenge. However, the Government of Canada believes in the commitment, ingenuity, and willingness of Canadians to tackle the challenge of climate change while continuing to grow our economy. Together we are ready to face the challenge and to win.

Chair, we need to win. We need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that each of us is responsible for. There are lots of opportunities and lots of ways to find out how we can reduce our carbon footprint. And it's fun to do. As I mentioned earlier, I replaced all my light bulbs, but I also bought a new hot water tank and found out that the new hot water tank was a lot more efficient. Also, when I leave the Hill, I turn my hot water tank off. Why heat water when we're not here? So I've done that. At home, I've reduced the temperature of the hot water tank. I have a new efficient hot water tank and efficient light bulbs.

What's also good is that I'm not the only one doing it and that it's fun; we have a lot of Canadians doing it. With more and more energy-efficient light bulbs available, the prices have come down. And we have a way of disposing of the light bulbs, because you don't want to just take the fluorescent bulbs and dispose of them in the regular garbage. You want to bring them back to where you got them. They will collect them and dispose of them in a safe manner, because the fluorescent bulbs have mercury, and you do not want to just throw them away and have them break and release the mercury.

That brings up another point, Chair. The government is very concerned about the mercury content in our environment. That's why we have a new program requiring vehicles that are scrapped to have the switches taken out of them to capture that mercury. We do not want it released into the atmosphere. The days of using our atmosphere as a dumping ground for greenhouse gas emissions, for mercury, and for pollutants are over. This government is very serious about reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we're putting into the air.

Our regulations will have real, tangible health and environmental benefits for Canadians. These benefits, in turn, will have positive economic effects. A robust regulatory system will also promote technological investment and innovation in Canada, yielding long-term economic benefits from enhanced productivity, improved energy efficiency, greater competitiveness, and more importantly, the ability to sell Canadian products and know-how abroad.

When I was at that global conference, it wasn't just Iogen that I saw there. I saw energy-efficient vehicles. I saw solar technology. I saw a technology for operating rooms. The gases coming from the anesthetics that are provided in operating theatres have 12,000 times the impact of carbon dioxide, so capturing those gases and having them brought down and managed in a safe manner is very good for the environment: 12,000 times carbon dioxide from the operating theatres.

Instead of having methane, which is a natural gas but is 21 times stronger than carbon dioxide, you capture that from landfills, from animal waste, and just by flaring it, it becomes carbon dioxide, but you can capture that and use that as a commodity to run vehicles. It provides a balance within our system. Instead of pulling more fuels from below the earth, we recycle what we already have above the earth. It provides that technology not only for Canadians but for the world.

We saw that at the trade show. It was exciting that a lot of that technology is happening right here in Canada. We're sharing that with the world too.

We also saw Iogen. As well, we saw other waste products, cellulose waste, trees. They can take trees, or waste product from trees, and make fuel from it too, which I think is a better way than taking food stock. We use cellulose technology to create the ethanol, and you can then run your cars and vehicles in a much more environmentally friendly way.

Each of us needs to do our part, but a lot of the world-leading technology is right here in Canada. It's very exciting.

Strong regulations will inevitably come at a cost, and those costs will be borne, at least in part, by every individual Canadian and his or her family. Consumer products, including cars and home appliances, could become more expensive. Electricity and fuel prices will rise. All Canadians must be prepared to bear this extra responsibility in order to get the job done. This government is committed to doing that, and I know Canadians are too.

In implementing the clean air regulatory agenda, the government will work with provincial and territorial governments, industry, environmental health groups, scientists, municipalities and communities, and individual Canadians. These partnerships will ensure that all segments of Canadian society have the opportunity to reduce their emissions and achieve a cleaner, healthier Canada for current and future generations—other examples of this government setting the example and getting it done.

As a side note, we have now hydrogen-powered buses on the Hill. The typical bus that we see running around on Parliament Hill is a green bus, and there are some white buses for the Senate. But we also now have hydrogen-powered buses. They're burning hydrogen, and the only thing coming out of the exhaust pipe is water. It's very exciting, another example of Canadian technology.

The government is also taking other action. In the last Speech from the Throne, the government committed to take measures to achieve—

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

I'm sorry.

Mr. Bigras, on a point of order.

5:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Chairman, for the committee's benefit, can you tell me which document the parliamentary secretary is alluding to?

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

Mr. Warawa, could you inform us of the document you're reading, please?

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

This is called the Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions. This is the Turning the Corner plan.

I think it's important for members of the committee who are supporting Bill C-377 to remember what witnesses have told us, namely, that the bill is missing substance, has jurisdictional issues, and is poorly written. The opposition has tried to rewrite it, but it's a flawed bill. Canada now has a Turning the Corner plan. And this plan will achieve what the committee wants, which is absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

If the committee supports Bill C-377, they obviously are not aware of the good plan that Canada now has. And that's why I was providing some of the highlights of it for the committee.

The government is also taking other action. In the last Speech from the Throne, the government committed to take measures to achieve tangible improvements in our environment, including reductions in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Back in 2006, the budget allocated $1.9 billion to initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean up the air Canadians breath. It included a 15.5% tax credit for the purchase of monthly public transit passes. This was meant to encourage individual Canadians and their families to leave their cars at home and take more environmentally sustainable modes of transportation. There was also $1.3 billion for public transit and capital investments.

It's unfortunate that in the last two budgets the Bloc and the NDP voted against providing billions of dollars for public transit, which was quite surprising. I would have thought that they would support those wonderful environmental incentives. But no, they voted against it.

In December 2006, the government announced two key environmental measures. The first was the new chemicals management plan. I was there when we launched it. It was a very exciting day. The plan takes immediate action to regulate chemicals that are harmful to human health or the environment.

Canada was the first country in the world to categorize 23,000 legacy chemical substances. This action has allowed the government to move forward to ensure that chemical substances are handled safely. The government has challenged industry to provide the government with information on how they are safely handling 200 high-priority chemical substances. The government has committed $300 million over five years to implement the chemicals management plan, which is already having positive results.

The government also announced that it would require fuel producers and importers, by 2010, to have an average annual renewable content of at least 5% of the volume of gasolines that they produce or import. There are already gas stations that sell an ethanol content in their fuels, and it helps protect the environment. I encourage people to look for gas stations that sell gasoline with ethanol in it.

Upon successful demonstration of renewable diesel fuel use under Canadian conditions, the government will require an average 2% renewable fuel content in diesel fuel and heating oil by no later than 2012. That's only four years away.

The government also announced funding of $365 million to bolster the development of biofuels and other bio-products. Unfortunately, the Bloc and the NDP voted against this.

These actions will significantly reduce air emissions from the fuel Canadians use to travel, transport goods, and heat their homes. To complement the clean air regulatory agenda, the government will also use targeted incentives and programs that will allow industry and consumers to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants.

The ecoENERGY initiatives are there to help Canadians use energy and fuels more efficiently, to boost renewable energy supplies, and to develop cleaner energy technologies. These include programs to offer support and information on retrofits to homeowners and small businesses and organizations--good news--to encourage the construction and retrofit of more energy-efficient buildings and houses, and to accelerate energy savings investments within Canada's industrial sector.

In addition, the Minister of Natural Resources and Alberta's--

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

Yes, Mr. Regan, go ahead on a point of order.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Chair, my honourable colleague seems to be reading a document that's totally unrelated to the bill and to the amendment in question. I'm wondering if that's proper procedure.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

Well, Mr. Regan, I'm afraid that we're talking about the amendment; we're talking about climate change. The area is pretty broad. It is rather difficult. I would ask the member to try to zero in on the amendment that's here.

I've been here only 15 years and I must admit I've never seen anything quite like this. We are just reading, but I guess that's what we're doing. I'm afraid we do have to look at the amendment. I would like to be referring to the amendment and deal with that one. I would ask the member to at least try to refer to the amendment occasionally in his reading.

We're on clause 10.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Yes, we are, thank you.

Clause 10 says:

10. (1) On or before May 31 of each year, the Minister shall prepare a statement setting out (a) the measures taken by the Government of Canada to ensure that its commitment under section 5 and the targets set out in the target plan are being met, including measures taken in respect of (i) regulated emission limits and performance standards, (ii) market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading or offsets, (iii) spending or fiscal incentives, including a just transition fund for industry, and (iv) cooperation or agreements with provinces, territories or other governments; and (b) the Canadian greenhouse gas emission reductions that are reasonably expected to result from each of those measures in each of the next ten years; and (c) the level of Canadian greenhouse gas emissions in each of the following ten years to be used as a baseline to quantify the reductions referred to in paragraph (b).

That's exactly what I'm speaking to, Chair, and that is clause 10.

The Minister of Natural Resources and Alberta's Minister of Energy have commissioned a Canada-Alberta ecoENERGY Carbon Capture and Storage Task Force. The task force is made up of CEOs from the oil, power, and pipeline industries, as well as a member of the academic community. It's been tasked with examining the opportunities for the large-scale application of carbon capture and storage technology in Canada. Based on that examination, the task force will provide a comprehensive set of options describing how government and industry can work together to take advantage of those opportunities. In carbon capture and storage technology, Canada is the world leader.

When we were in Germany, I asked if there has been a mapping of geological formations globally. We were told, no, each country is going to be responsible for that. But Canada has taken that leadership in carbon capture and storage, and we have that model in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. It's very important that we not continue to dump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We need to capture it. That's going to be happening on new projects in the oil sands, and it will also be required for new coal-fired electric generating plants.

We also look forward to Ontario shutting down those coal-fired plants and building these new electric-fired plants with carbon capture and storage, and I'm sure Mr. McGuinty is looking forward to that too.

On March 19, 2007, just a year ago, our government further demonstrated its commitment to environmental action to provide health and environmental benefits to Canadians by allocating $4.5 billion in budget 2007 for initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases and their pollution, as well as water conservation enforcement initiatives. These initiatives included the following: $1.5 billion for the trust fund for clean air and climate change, a new national trust fund that provides financial support for provincial and territorial government projects that will result in real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants. Did the Bloc support that? No. Did the NDP support that? No.

It included a rebalancing of the tax system to encourage investments in the oil sands and other sectors in clean and renewable energy, while phasing out the accelerated capital cost allowance put in by the previous Liberal government for the oil sands development. Did the Bloc support that? No. Did the NDP support that? No.

It also included an extension to 2020 for existing tax incentives for clean energy production and an expansion of the eligibility to cover wave and tidal energy, as well as additional solar energy and waste-to-energy technologies. Surely the Bloc would have supported that. Did they support it? No. Did the NDP support that? No.

We also funded performance-based rebates on vehicles according to their fuel efficiency, with levies on fuel-inefficient vehicles beginning with the 2011 year. Did the Bloc support that? No. Did the NDP support that? No.

We funded $36 million over two years to support programs to get older high-emitting vehicles off the road. It's a good plan. When you get the older vehicles off the road, people then will buy new energy-efficient vehicles. Did the Bloc support that? No. Did the NDP support that? No. They do support Bill C-377, though, which is a bill with no plan and no costing.

Our plan included $2 billion over seven years to support the production of renewable fuels--$1.5 billion for operating incentives for producers of alternate low-emission fuels and $500 million for investing with the private sector in establishing large-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels, such as Iogen here in Ottawa--

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

It's in my riding.

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

It's a good-news story.

Did the Bloc support extending the public transit credit to different types of public transit, enhancing public transit? No. Did the NDP support that? No. We have a very serious trend here, where the Bloc and the NDP are not supporting environmental programs.

We provided funding to protect Canada's natural heritage, including $225 million for conserving ecologically sensitive lands and $110 million for protecting species at risk. Surely the Bloc would have supported that. They didn't. Did the NDP support that? No.

Our plan included $22 million over the next two years to strengthen environmental enforcement. You can make laws, but if you don't enforce them you are not going to have an effect. Volunteerism only works to a point. You need to have mandatory regulatory framework and it has to be enforced. Did the Bloc support enforcing the environmental laws of Canada? Did the NDP support that? No.

We provided $92 million over two years to improve the water that Canadians drink, to clean polluted water, to protect ecosystems, and to ensure the sustainability of Canada's fish resources. We included over $200 million in funding to renew the Canadian Coast Guard fleet and support fisheries, science, and research. Again, the Bloc and the NDP did not support that. Canadians wonder why not.

These initiatives will deliver real results while industrial regulations are developing, and will promote the technology innovation required to support upcoming regulations. In addition, these initiatives include the regulations to set Canada on the road to making real progress toward its Kyoto commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The real reductions in emissions that will be drawn by the regulations, coupled with the impact of both the non-regulatory actions above and the ambitious new initiatives being taken by provincial and territorial governments, mean that Canada's greenhouse gas emissions from all sources are expected to begin to decline as early as 2010. My colleagues brought that to the committee's attention. It's already happening. The environment is already cleaning up. We're getting it done.

I think it was Mr. Cullen who said that their focus has been on trying to get the government to fail. It's not working. The government is moving forward. We have a regulatory plan, a Turning the Corner plan that is already seeing results. Therefore absolute emissions continue to decline.

The government is committed to reducing Canada's total emissions of greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020, and by 60% to 70% by 2050. The government supports the Kyoto process--I think I'm hearing an echo here--and actions at home that will be the basis for Canada's participation in future international cooperative efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally. We've seen our minister, John Baird, do an incredible job making sure the post-Kyoto negotiations were successful in Indonesia.

We all need to do our part. Greenhouse gas emissions are affecting Canada. We're already seeing the results of a warming climate in Canada, but we're also seeing it globally. Canada is doing its part and taking that leadership that was not there for a number of years. We're also encouraging all the international major emitters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

At this point, 30% of the major greenhouse gas emitters are part of the Kyoto agreement. We need everybody to be willing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and that's what we're pushing for. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see everybody signing on and agreeing to a post-Kyoto target that included all the major emitters agreeing to reduce their greenhouse gases? And Canada is providing that leadership.

Significant long-term progress on greenhouse gases and air pollutants will be realized only through the development, commercialization, and employment of new, cleaner energy and transportation technologies, and through the active participation of all Canadians and all aspects of Canadian society. The government recognizes the need to work with all consumers, with industry and the provinces and the territories, to move forward to implement this aggressive plan. All Canadians will need to do their part to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution to help protect their health and their environment.

On October 21, 2006, our government published a notice of intent that imposed an integral, nationally consistent approach to the regulation of greenhouse gases and air pollutant emissions in order to protect the health and the environment of Canadians. Because greenhouse gases and air pollutants share many common sources, the coordination of requirements will allow firms to make cost-effective decisions to maximize synergies in reducing their emissions. As you reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted, you often are reducing the pollutants that are also going in the air, for the benefit of the health of Canadians. And in our Turning the Corner plan, we have a reduction in air pollutants in half by 2015—a very short period of time. These are huge, aggressive targets that will be achieved for the health of Canadians.

The government has signalled its determination to address greenhouse gases and air pollutants from key sources and has outlined a regulatory agenda for industrial sources, and transportation and consumer and commercial products, for more stringent energy efficiency standards and improved indoor air quality. The government is committed to these targets of a 20% reduction by 2020, and 60% to 70% by 2050.

Environmental protection is an area of shared jurisdiction between the federal and the provincial and territorial governments. The federal government has clear jurisdiction to regulate air emissions in order to protect the environment and the health of Canadians. The government recognizes the importance of endeavouring, in cooperation with the provinces and territories and aboriginal peoples, to achieve the highest level of environmental quality for all Canadians.

The provinces have taken important action to reduce air pollution emissions in their own jurisdictions. However, national consistency is necessary to provide a minimum level of air quality for all Canadians to ensure a level playing field and to protect the competitiveness of our Canadian industry in different regions by avoiding a patchwork of different regulations being applied to the same industrial sectors.

My colleague Mr. Harvey has brought up the point a number of times that the production of one tonne of aluminum produces four tonnes of carbon dioxide when it's produced in Canada, but in China it's seven. And with growing technology, my hope is that the four tonnes will be reduced more and more. So we need to make sure it's Canadian technology, the very best of technology, being used for aluminum too.

An integrated, nationally consistent approach will enable firms to reduce their emissions in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Again, Canada has to stay competitive. We don't want jobs leaving Canada; we want jobs in Canada. We want Canadian technology used to benefit the world globally for greenhouse gas emission reductions. The federal government has never—never—regulated emissions of greenhouse gases or air pollutants across industries before. This is the first government in Canadian history to do this.

For industrial sources, the October 2006 notice of intent to regulate indicated that the government would introduce a framework for short-term targets and compliance options by the spring of 2007. In the transportation sector, the Prime Minister reaffirmed, in his speech on February 6, 2007, that for the first time ever Canada's new government would regulate the fuel efficiency of motor vehicles, beginning with the 2011 model year. That's three years from now.

There's currently a memorandum of understanding between the auto industry and the government with a target of 5.3 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2010. That will be regulated for the 2011 model year, and the memorandum of understanding will end. The government will build on this agreement to establish an ambitious regulated fuel efficiency standard for the 2011 model benchmarked against a stringent dominant North American standard. That's good news. We need to have a level playing field, we need a clean environment, and it needs to be by regulation, and that is happening.

The government is also developing and will implement regulations to reduce smog- and acid-rain-forming emissions from vehicles, engines, and fuels. It will take action to reduce emissions from other modes of transportation, including rail, aviation, and marine. I live on the west coast, and marine is a very big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and our government is taking action on that.

The government is developing regulations that strengthen energy efficiency standards and labelling requirements for consumer and commercial products. The government is also developing, for the first time, a comprehensive regulatory agenda that will address indoor air quality--the first government to do that.

The goal of these actions is to improve significantly and measurably the health of Canadians and the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants.

Since the publication of the notice of intent in October, work has been ongoing on each of these priorities. The process you go through to end up with regulations has begun, and it began in October 2006. Two draft regulations in the transportation sector to reduce smog-forming pollutants from vehicles and engines have been published in the Canada Gazette. Work has also begun on a series of amendments to the energy efficiency regulations.

As I indicated in the notice of intent, an integrated approach to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants has been taken to maximize the benefits to the health of all Canadians and to the environment. In the notice of intent, the government committed to develop and implement an integrated, nationally consistent approach to the regulation of industrial air emissions.

As you can see, Chair, what I am speaking to relates directly to clause 10 of Bill C-377. In November and December of 2006, extensive consultations were undertaken with the provinces and territories, industry, aboriginal groups, and health and environmental groups on elements of the proposed approach and the development of the regulatory framework. A companion document was published to further elaborate and present elements and options for consultation. These consultations and the public comments received in response to the notice of intent have informed the development of the regulatory framework.

The regulations will mandate reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from the following industrial sectors: electricity; electricity generation produced by combustion; oil and gas, including upstream; oil and gas, downstream; petroleum; oil sands; and the natural gas pipelines.

Chair, we have a vote happening. I have much more that I'd like to share, and that's why I didn't believe we would complete today. I think we could complete it in another day.

At this point I would move that we adjourn.

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

We have a movement for adjournment, which is non-debatable. Our options basically, as everyone knows, would be to suspend when the bells go and then return, or hold the vote. We are now going to hold the vote on adjournment.

(Motion negatived)

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

We will suspend when the bells begin, and we'll be back here as soon as possible.

Are you carrying on, then, Mr. Warawa?

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Thank you.

For greenhouse gases, the framework sets a 2010 implementation date for emission intensity reduction targets. For air pollutants, the framework sets fixed emission caps that will enter into force as soon as possible between 2012 and 2015.

In order to minimize cost to industry and the impact in the economy, the framework contains compliance mechanisms intended to provide industry with flexibility in meeting its regulatory options.

The framework also requires rigorous monitoring and reporting in order to ensure compliance, assessment, and transparency.

These are all ingredients that are missing in Bill C-377. There is no costing. There is nothing on the framework. There are just international targets, with no costing and direction as to how Canada can achieve those targets.

As you can see, the Turning the Corner plan does include that--a costing, a framework, consultation, and a realistic plan that is already seeing positive results.

The short-term targets are expressed as reductions from the 2006 levels. To support the development and implementation of regulations, comprehensive and consistent baseline data for 2006 will be required from facilities in the regulated sectors. To this end, the government will require that facilities in those sectors that will be covered by the regulations report 2006 emissions and other relevant data under a notice issued under section 71 of CEPA 1999. That is also at work, and industry is required to report by the end of May of this year.

This is another example of the regulatory process happening. It's exciting, Chair, to see it actually happening. After years of inaction, this government is getting it done.

Are the bells ringing?

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

Yes, Mr. Warawa.

We will suspend, then, and we'll return immediately afterwards. If everyone could come back and get their food, we'll carry on.

We're suspended until the vote is over. There is one vote, I believe, so it should be pretty quick.

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

Yes, Mr. Warawa.

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

I have more points to make.

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

The speaking order I have is Mr. Warawa, Mr. Harvey, and then Mr. Watson.

Mr. Warawa, the floor is yours. We are carrying on from our meeting.

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. It's always good to talk about the environment.

Mr. Rodriguez is here. We have some new faces.

Anyway, the government will validate the benchmarked air pollution targets over the next several months. The government will work with industry, the provinces and territories, labour, and environmental and health groups during the validation process. The regulatory framework for air pollutants—that is, the targets, the compliance mechanisms, and the timetable for the entry into force of the regulations—will be finalized in the fall of 2007, which it was, and after the government has validated the benchmarked air pollutant targets.

While this validation process is under way, we've developed sector-specific regulations for the general provisions and those related to greenhouse gases, leading to publication of the draft regulations in Canada Gazette, Part I, in the spring of 2008. The regulations will be revised to incorporate the air pollutant provisions a few months later, following normal regulatory procedures.

So it takes time for a regulation to be implemented, and that whole process has begun. For those who weren't here, it's a process that is already having positive effects.

What's being proposed by Bill C-377, we know, will not have effects. It is, again, one of those announcements with no substance. Yet the government, with our Turning the Corner plan, does have a regulatory process that will see absolute reductions of 20% by 2020, and 60% to 70% by 2050—the toughest in Canadian history and one of the toughest in the world.

The government will monitor the evolving regulatory framework as the regulations are developed and implemented over the two years and will make adjustments as needed.

In addition, the government is committed to reviewing the regulations on industrial air emissions every five years in order to assess progress in reaching medium- and long-term emission reduction objectives. The first such review would take place in 2012. The review would entail an assessment of the effectiveness of measures taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, and of advances in industrial technology—energy production, industrial processes, and pollution abatement—in order to determine the potential for further emissions reductions consistent with the goal of continuous improvement. The review would also examine the state of air quality and possible changes in the Canadian industrial sector mix, including regional changes, that could affect the goal of achieving tangible benefits for the health of Canadians and the environment.

The federal government will set stringent national standards and will work to reach equivalency agreements with those provinces that set provincial emissions standards that are at least as stringent as the federal standards. We're already seeing that happening. Equivalency agreements will allow provincial leadership, while ensuring a national level of health and environmental protection—again, strong federal leadership.

You don't see that in Bill C-377. You see, again, the whole structure, as Mr. Vellacott said, built on a very shaky foundation. You see now, with the Turning the Corner plan, a very clear, strong mandatory regulatory framework that is already having positive effects for Canada's environment and for the global environment. As the proposed federal regulations are developed, the government intends to work with provinces and territories to avoid, as much as possible, any duplication and to ensure consistency in the way in which regulations are applied, again respecting provincial jurisdiction. We heard from the witnesses that Bill C-377 would give broad and unlimited powers to the federal government over the provinces.

Now, I was quite sure that the Bloc would then not support Bill C-377, but they did. They've made some amendments, but they do not want to hear from any witnesses to find out if their amendments are effective. Of course, our government wants to respect provincial jurisdictional responsibilities and authorities. In our regulatory framework of the Turning the Corner plan, it's very clear that we are proposing a plan that does respect provincial jurisdiction. It's already happening. It's already having a positive effect, and Bill C-377 would take us far from that. That's what many of the witnesses were indicating.

Most provinces restrict the emissions of air pollutants; however, standards vary considerably across the country. Alberta has also recently released draft regulations to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions in its territory. Since the federal government recognizes the important role played by the provinces and territories and their management, work will be undertaken with interested provinces and territories to make the best use possible of equivalency agreements. When an equivalency agreement has been reached, the Governor in Council can suspend the application of the specified CEPA 1999 regulations in the signing province so that only the equivalent provincial regime applies. That's good. The federal Minister of the Environment remains responsible for reporting annually to Parliament in the administration of the CEPA 1999 provisions that permit these equivalency agreements.

Again you have the minister reporting directly to Parliament--another good part of Turning the Corner. CEPA 1999 authorizes the minister to enter into an equivalency agreement with a province, territory, or aboriginal government if the minister and the other jurisdictions' governments demonstrate that there are provisions in force in that jurisdiction that meet or exceed the equivalent level of environmental protection mandated by the federal regulations in force, and include rights similar to those prescribed in sections 17 to 20 of CEPA 1999--the right of citizens to request an investigation of alleged offences under the other jurisdictions' legislation. We see this missing in Bill -377--sweeping powers, unlimited powers over the provinces, which is not in the provincial interest--and also we heard clearly that there would be a constitutional challenge. Yet we have already in place a respecting of those provincial jurisdictions in the Turning the Corner plan.

And clearly we have taken action already with the toughest targets in Canadian history, and that is very preferential to Bill -377, which we have heard is actually a hollow and phony bill.

Provincial enforcement certificates of approval, or permitting, or licensing systems can be recognized as a basis for an equivalency agreement. Once an equivalency agreement is negotiated, the Governor in Council may make an order declaring that the provisions of CEPA 1999 regulation that are the subject of the equivalency agreement do not apply in the jurisdiction of a particular province, territory, or aboriginal government with which the agreement has been negotiated. The result is that the regulation, or a portion of it, would stand down, leaving the subject matter of CEPA 1999 regulation to be governed by the laws of the province, territory, or aboriginal government with which the agreement was negotiated.

Regarding short-term emission intensity targets, the government has put in place a short-term emission intensity reduction target that will come into force in 2010. These targets will result in absolute reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases from industry as soon as 2010 and no later than 2012.

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

Yes, Mr. Cullen.

7:05 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

I would remind the parliamentary secretary, in his efforts to illuminate the committee on the issue, that repetition of the same point again and again is actually not allowable in debate.

Chair, I know it's difficult to follow the drone, but the parliamentary secretary and all committee members need to confine themselves to not only staying on topic but also not just continually reintroducing something. Referring to the government's so-called Turning the Corner plan again and again is actually not adding anything of substance to the discussion or the debate. It is just repetition for the sake of wasting time.

If it is the parliamentary secretary's intention to talk the clock out, he at the very least must refer to new topics and new ideas rather than just repeating the same one. Otherwise in this debate, we could simply read over the same page again and again, which is essentially what's been happening.

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Mills

Mr. Cullen, I agree with you.

I would ask the parliamentary secretary to stay on topic. We are talking about clause 10, and we hope to get that to a vote. I would also ask that he not repeat himself. It is difficult to pick up repeated sentences, but I will attempt to do that.

Thank you, Mr. Cullen.

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Thank you, Chair.

I am speaking to clause 10. What I said for a second time was not to repeat but to emphasize the importance of the fact that we need absolute reductions. And you phase in absolute reductions, starting with intensity, with very severe, tough intensity targets. This is all missing in Bill C-377.

Clause 10 says that....

Mr. Chair, I want to explain the relevance of clause 10. Do I have your permission to read clause 10 again?