Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Welcome to the witnesses. It's good to have you here, and we really do appreciate your work.
As Mr. Scarpaleggia was speaking earlier about the concern that the government might introduce a strategy like this with great fanfare and then not follow through on it, it sounded familiar to me. At first I couldn't think of where I had heard that before, and then I remembered the 2005 report of the sustainable development commissioner, which read:
When it comes to protecting the environment, bold announcements are made and then often forgotten as soon as the confetti hits the ground. The federal government seems to have trouble crossing the finish line.
I realized where Mr. Scarpaleggia got that concern of his, and it's understandable, too.
And you, Mr. Commissioner, in your report, mentioned that your office has examined and reported to Parliament on sustainable development plans, noting serious shortcomings.
I have a note that in 1998 the report from your office said, among other things, “the federal government is failing to meet its policy commitments”.
In 1999, the report talked about:
...additional evidence of the gap between the federal government's intentions and its domestic actions. We are paying the price in terms of our health and our legacy to our children and grandchildren.
Federal departments are divided on the degree and significance of risks posed by some individual toxic substances, the interpretation and application of legislation and the nature of their respective roles and authorities. This has led to indecision, inaction and strained relations among departments.
In 2000, the report said that “the federal government...continues to have difficulty turning that commitment into action.”
In 2001: “The continued upward trend in Canada's emissions demonstrates that the government has not transformed its promises into results.”
In 2002: “The federal government's sustainable development deficit is continuing to grow.”
In 2003: “...there is a gap between what the government said it would do and what it is actually doing.”
In 2004: “Why is progress so slow?”
And then there's the 2005 report that I mentioned.
In 2006: “It is increasingly clear that Canada will not meet its international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Are those among the shortcomings that you mentioned in your comments earlier?