Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague for introducing this private member's motion. It is a very important subject. We share the feeling that this is a question of key importance.
I know my colleague is extremely concerned about matters of the environment. However, at this time when friends are fewer and fewer as days go by, we have almost completed an infrastructure program. The federal, provincial and municipal governments have joined together to launch a $6 billion program, effectively to renew infrastructure including the sewage systems in the country.
Whatever we do we cannot do by imposing ideas from the federal government. It has to start at the municipal level because sewage is a matter for municipalities to deal with and municipalities are creatures of provincial governments. This is why at the time of the election, in our red book, we decided to join with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and with all the provincial governments without exception to start a broad infrastructure program.
The $6 billion infrastructure program has achieved sewage treatment upgrades amounting to $2 billion in total. I will give a few examples of various projects that are being carried on under the program. In British Columbia, as the member for Comox-Alberni pointed out, there has been a $206 million upgrade projected of the Anascis Island sewage treatment plant; one of $2.2 million in Sherwood Park, Alberta; one in the Hamilton-Wentworth region of $25 million; one in Chicoutimi, Quebec, of $7.2 million; one in Grand Falls, New Brunswick; another one in Crossroads, P.E.I; another one in Deer Lake, Newfoundland; and so on.
The irony of it is that the leader of the Reform Party at the time of the election was quoted as saying:
Any politician who thinks he can stimulate a $700 billion GNP economy with some sewer projects or $2 billion to $3 billion in public works will believe he can start a 747 with a flashlight battery.
Therefore, with due respect, I think my colleague from Comox-Alberni should speak to his leader and suggest that sewer and infrastructure programs are key to the renewal of a prosperous economy. In fact the Reform Party, in its own budget plan, referred to physical and intellectual infrastructures on one page. However, as I read through it, there is not one mention of the environment or sewage projects. It mentions Canadian highways, airports, information transmission systems, ports, and railways, but not one word about the environment, sewage or water treatment.
It would seem to me that this is where it must start. If the member wants to do something constructive he should start at the level of his own party and persuade his leader to include the environment, sewage treatment plants, and infrastructure projects dealing with environmental needs in his future budget.
It is significant that during the infrastructure program the following provinces spent the greatest part of their money toward sewer upgrades and environmental projects. British Columbia has spent as much as 75 per cent, amounting to $488 million. Sixty per cent of all New Brunswick's infrastructure money went into environmental projects. In Newfoundland it was 48 per cent, in Nova Scotia 62 per cent, in P.E.I. 60 per cent. Admittedly, the other provinces spent a minor part of their infrastructure moneys in sewer and environmental projects. Even then, it is pretty significant. Alberta has spent 30 per cent to date, Saskatchewan 32 per cent, Quebec 33 per cent, Yukon 27 per cent, and so it goes.