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Evidence of meeting #5 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was warawa.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Normand Radford
Penny Becklumb  Committee Researcher

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Good morning and welcome, colleagues.

Welcome, Ms. Deschamps, to the Environment Committee.

To begin, I would like us to accept a request made by Minister Prentice. He would like to correct some mistakes contained in his presentation before the committee, which reads as follows. I will read it in English.

The emissions in North America, in the United States specifically, from coal-burning plants are 70 times the size of the emissions that come from the Canadian oil sands. The total emissions from the Canadian oil sands amount to .005% of the emissions of greenhouse gases from the United States.

That's the relative situation of which we're speaking.

Unless I'm mistaken, he was responding to a question asked by Mr. Bigras.

So he would like to correct that to say that the correct amount is 60 times the size of the emissions that come from Canadian oil sands, and the total emissions from the Canadian oil sands amount to 0.5% of the emissions of GHGs from the U.S.

If we can accept that, we can get on with our discussion of future business.

Yes, Mr. Warawa.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Did you want a motion to that effect?

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Yes, please.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

I move that the correction be made.

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Is everyone in agreement?

Ms. Duncan.

9:05 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

With all due respect, that would not be a correct statement. If you're simply comparing the coal-fired of the U.S. with the tar sands perhaps, but one cannot compare the total Canadian to the U.S., because we're not including the Canadian coal-fired then.

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Well, that.... Are there any comments on that?

Monsieur Bigras.

9:05 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Although it was a reply to my question, I agree with the changes. I believe that the issue raised by Ms. Duncan is relevant. If the minister believes that the blues should be corrected, we'll do so. This happens often in the House of Commons. However, if we don't agree with what the minister said, we can debate that later on. But for now, the right thing to do is to correct the situation. Everybody makes mistakes.

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

If the minister reads the transcripts of our committee's proceedings—something he probably does every day, I imagine—and decides he wants to add something, he can write to us. Thank you.

So today, I think everyone agrees that we should work on future business. Unless you disagree, I would like us to—

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Point of order.

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Do we need a formal vote?

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Well, you asked for a motion.

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay, well let's vote. Everyone in favour?

(Motion agreed to) [See Minutes of Proceedings]

Thank you, Mr. Warawa, for your guidance. It's my first experience chairing a committee, and maybe I'm cutting corners here, so thank you.

This morning, I was hoping we could generally discuss future business without entering into the details, that is, without dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Indeed, the steering committee will do that when it meets next Monday, March 2.

So as far as future business is concerned, my first question is what should we do next Thursday. Since the chair is not here and I will chair that meeting, and because I have a breakfast meeting before that, I would like to ask the committee that the meeting begin at 9:30 or 9:15 rather than 9:00 a.m. That would give me enough time to get here. In any case, the meeting won't last more than an hour. Is that a problem? Fine, thank you.

On the agenda for Thursday's meeting is the order-in-council review of Mr. Bob Hamilton's nomination to the position of Associate Deputy Minister for the Environment. Are there any comments with regard to Thursday's meeting than? No? That's fine.

The second point concerns water and oil sands, that is, the study proposed in a motion several weeks ago. I would like to remind you to give the clerk the names of witnesses you would like to hear so we can discuss them on Monday at the steering committee. Are there any comments on that issue?

I know that Mr. Warawa wanted to talk about committee travel. There was some talk of visiting the oil sands. I propose—and please let me know if you agree—that we discuss the matter at the steering committee—

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Chair, on a small point of order, I haven't been advised that there's a Monday steering committee meeting. Is there a meeting set that I've not been informed of?

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Yes, we spoke about it in general terms at the last meeting, in the very dying minutes of the last meeting. The notice will go out today, but you will recall that we discussed it—

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

I agree that we need to have a meeting. I just wasn't aware of the date that has apparently been picked.

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

We discussed it very quickly at the end of the meeting on the afternoon of March 2, I believe. But you're right, it hasn't really been formally announced yet.

Is that okay? Does that work for you?

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

What time will it be on March 2?

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

It will be at 1 p.m.

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

At 1 p.m., March 2. Hopefully I can be there.

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Thank you, Ms. Duncan.

So do you agree that we not discuss water and oil sands today and that the matter be discussed in detail at the steering committee? Any objections?

Mr. Warawa.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Chair, the plan at the steering committee is to agree on the list of witnesses or to review them to see if there are any objections. My understanding is that it was going to be left up to the chair and the clerk. Each would submit their list, and then it would be for the chair and the clerk to say who was coming when.

What is the purpose of the steering committee? Are we going to look at the scope...? Are we going to look at travel? Are we going to critique the list of witnesses? What is the purpose of that meeting?

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Vice-Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

My understanding, and I speak as a member of the steering committee, was that everyone would submit their list of suggested witnesses and that the subcommittee as a whole would look at those and make decisions and talk about travel and scope and themes. We could discuss those things among the four of us—I guess we're four—and have a good working discussion, as opposed to trying to sort out all of this here at this larger meeting, which I think could mean.... First of all, we don't have the lists of suggested witnesses. And secondly, I think there's a chance we could just get bogged down.

So that's what I would suggest.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Thank you for that clarification.

Further to that, would it be possible to get the list of witnesses so that it could be distributed to each of the...? Could we get that no later than Friday? Thursday of this week would be even better.

9:10 a.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Mr. Normand Radford

You'll get the lists I have this afternoon.