Thank you so much, Mr. Chair and Madam Clerk. I'm certainly very sorry I had to do this, because I have enormous respect for the work of the clerk. As the only member for the New Democratic Party, I sometimes feel that I need to assert my place because I'm with two bigger parties. There's no personal intent here.
I want to thank Mr. Maloney. I understand that he was an excellent chair, and I believe that we are going to get along very well.
I have the floor because I had stated my intention to bring forward a motion. I brought forward a motion because we have a lot of work ahead of us right now, and we have to hit the ground running for February. We cannot dilly-dally given the crisis we're facing on the planet and given the promises that the Prime Minister has made regarding our international obligations. It's incumbent upon this committee to do the hard work in order to make sure Canada lives up to its obligations.
It started off when I brought forward my motion. I had outreach from some of the other parties about how to improve the motion so that we could actually be more efficient at this meeting and not at cross-purposes.
I would like to bring forward this motion:
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), before February 15th, 2022, the committee undertake a two-meeting study concerning the development and implementation of the Emissions Reduction Fund—Onshore Program, with particular focus on the method of accounting for greenhouse gases; that the committee invite the Minister of Natural Resources, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, experts and stakeholders; that the committee make recommendations on the future of the program; and that the committee report its findings to the House;
That the Minister of Natural Resources be invited to appear before the committee prior to February 28th, 2022, for no fewer than two hours on the subject matter of the Supplementary Estimates (B) 2021-2022;
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), during the next eight meetings—
That's after this.
—the committee undertake a study of the government’s proposal for a greenhouse gas emissions cap on the oil and gas sector, including, but not limited to, the ability of Canada to meet its climate commitments articulated at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow; the government’s plans and targets for funding renewable energy; the role of carbon capture, utilisation, and sequestration (CCUS); that experts and stakeholders be invited to appear; that the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of the Environment be invited to appear; and that the committee report its findings to the House prior to April 29, 2022.
I won't take a lot of time. I'm just going to explain to my colleagues around the table why I think it's very important that we pass this motion as the beginning of our work as a committee.
Certainly, the issue of reduction of methane is one of the most primary tasks that we have to be able to deal with as a country, and the fund that was in place—the emissions reduction fund, the onshore program—received over half a million dollars. It was money that was supposed to be used to ensure we reached methane targets.
My colleague Mr. Simard is very clear on the importance of getting answers on this, because we find that Canada missed its methane targets, and the money that should have been spent in helping us decrease greenhouse gas emissions wasn't spent on that. We have an obligation to find out what went wrong in order to make sure this doesn't happen again, because when I speak with people in industry, they say we can easily hit the methane targets and we can exceed them.
If the Prime Minister is making promises of further reductions in methane when we haven't met the ones we already have, we need as a committee to provide recommendations to the government on what went wrong with this program, what needs to be fixed and how we meet methane targets.
The second part of this motion, regarding inviting the Minister of Natural Resources to talk to us on supplementary estimates, is very much I think an order of housekeeping, because this will come up. If we agree to a study in that time, we would have to be jostling around committee times. I got advice from members of other parties to put it in so that it's part of the work program. Of course, we're going to have the minister come forward on that, because it's self-evident.
The third issue, of course, is the need to have a plan on the emissions cap.
We know that on November 1, in Glasgow, the Prime Minister made a very important announcement to the world that, “We'll cap oil and gas sector emissions today and ensure they decrease tomorrow at a pace and scale needed to reach net-zero by 2050.” He went further: “That's no small task for a major oil and gas producing country. It's a big step that's absolutely necessary.”
I think my colleagues from all parties would agree on the importance of our examining how we are going to make this emissions cap. Does it begin now? We know that there is somewhat of a cap in Alberta, but that would allow for a large increase in production. Is the government going to support increasing production or decreasing production? How are we going to do that?
It comes to our committee to deal with this, my colleagues, because on the same day that he made the announcement at Glasgow, the environment minister wrote to that committee, the net-zero advisory body—which I'd never actually heard of—to ask for advice. I'm thinking that if the environment minister was looking for advice on how to set an emissions cap while the Prime Minister was making announcements on the international stage, our committee could do a lot of that work for the Prime Minister and we could come back with a credible plan.
Each of us will bring our own focus to it. For me, we have to have a plan that makes sure that our children have a world that's livable. We have to meet an emissions cap target that is credible, that is doable and that will be reached, because emissions continue to rise.
We need to do it within a frame, also, of the economic impacts. If sectors are going to be impacted, is there a plan for transition? We hear the words “just transition” thrown out and about, and I'm sure we'll end up looking at these issues later, but it all comes down to whether we can deliver on an emissions cap. If we can't deliver on an emissions cap, there's no talk about going further on issues such as the just transition.
I'm bringing this forward for a vote. I don't see that it is controversial. I think, across party lines, we all agree on these issues, so I'd like to put it forward to be voted on.