I call the meeting to order.
I'd like to tell you a bit about my last day and a half, and my visit to Washington as part of the G8+5 dialogue group. This is something that everyone will hopefully be interested in, because it deals with the environment.
We had four countries represented. We had a member from South Africa, a member from Brazil, a member from the U.K., and Canadians. We were looking for a way to sustain the G8+5 dialogue group once we report in Tokyo on June 28. That report on June 28 will be on solutions to climate change for the G8+5--the 13 countries--which we've been working on for three years. The importance of it is that if those countries accept it—and we believe they will, as they're 95% toward accepting those solutions—they represent over 70% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world. So to have the G8 countries plus China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa on side agreeing to the solutions to climate change will be well worth reporting.
Our visits were basically to get a feeling for where the U.S. is at this time. We were joined by the Pope and Gordon Brown on the same day in Washington, which made it a little more interesting. They weren't part of our committee--I don't want to mislead you--but they were there and it made for a pretty exciting day in Washington.
Our job was to talk about the Lieberman-McCain bill that is coming forward, and so on, and the Boxer bill, which is going to be debated in the U.S. Senate on June 2. They will talk about setting hard targets and the cap-and-trade process for the U.S. So there will be a very important two- or three-week debate in the U.S. Senate on climate change. It will be the first time they debate that in the U.S., and they will probably make some pretty strong moves on climate change for the first time. So we see it as a very major move forward for the U.S.
We met with the Lieberman group, we met with the McCain group, and we had a long meeting with Floyd DesChamps, the leading adviser to Senator McCain. We were certainly on the very same wavelength. If he were to become president, I think it would be a huge move forward in terms of the climate change file.
We met with Congresswoman McCollum and got some interesting insight into her interest in poverty, poverty related to climate change, and the migration of people, and so on, that will result from changes due to climate change.
We met with Congressman Gilchrest, and I think he, above all, understands the issue. He was extremely well informed, and it was quite impressive to hear his take on the middle group--the middle congressmen--of both Democrats and Republicans who want to work on the climate change file and are pretty dedicated to getting something done in the U.S.
We then met with Edward Markey, who is the lead person on climate change in the U.S. He is the one appointed. He is in the inner circle in the Congress, and he's very interested in working with us further. He joined us in Brazilia for the last forum, and he will join us in Japan at the end of June.
The next day we met Monique Barbut of the UN Global Environment Facility. Canada gives $158 million to that group, and we wanted to see where she was coming from. She particularly encouraged us to get involved with the oceans, the Arctic, and the effects--mitigation and adaptation, but mainly adaptation--in those areas.
Our main purpose for being there was to talk to the World Bank. An interesting sidelight was that we met with the staff of the World Bank, and if any of you've never visited the World Bank, I can tell you it is a massive organization. We were rather overwhelmed by how big it was.
We did talk to the staff, and we had a half-hour presentation when we had our opportunity to say what we thought as a G8+5 group. Remember, it's a non-partisan, non-political group; it's got all parties involved. So we had questions and answers, and it was very interesting to meet with that staff.
We then met with Senator John Kerry. John Kerry has been part of our group from day one and is very important in carrying the Senate side. Olympia Snowe was another senator we met. She's very dedicated to the file as well and an excellent person to meet with. We then met with Graeme Wheeler, the managing director of the World Bank, and with Kathy Sierra, who is an important person within the bank as well.
Basically, I think they encouraged us. They will provide sustainable funding for the G8+5 dialogue group and, I believe, will help us to really push the issue of climate change at that level.
So all in all, it was a very successful trip. I thank the committee for agreeing to change the meeting date to today so I could attend those very important meetings. I think I can say on behalf of our group that we were very pleased with how they went. We won't take credit for President Bush's statement in the Rose Garden, but you notice that he also mentioned climate change and mentioned that they're going to get to zero growth at some point in the future. There was no detail there, but at least there was a statement about climate change, and that's moving a long way.
As you can imagine, the Americans are totally involved in electioneering, and the presidential race was mentioned everywhere we went and is a major part of what's happening down there. I think all of us should probably be glad we're not congressmen who have to get elected every two years; for a senator it's every six years. They seem to be in perpetual campaign mode when you visit these people in their offices on a one-on-one basis.
I don't know if you have any questions. I felt it was a very successful meeting, and I think that Bryon Wilfert and I would both agree that we were able to add a lot on the Canadian perspective. I think it's rather unique that they always find it interesting that two parties are here working together on the issue of climate change.
That's my quick report to you, and if there are any questions, I'd be glad to answer them or give you any detail later on. But it was a positive meeting. Let me tell you that over the last number of years, all the meetings haven't been as positive as the one we had in the U.S. yesterday. Anyway, that's that.
We have a couple of motions I might go to right now. I think we could possibly deal with Mr. Bigras' first. I think you do have a letter, and I will ask Mr. Bigras to very briefly tell us about this. I believe we can deal with this rather quickly.