Mr. Speaker, I do not mind being looked over but I do not want to be overlooked.
It gives me great pleasure to speak today on Bill C-29, the MMT legislation and the amendment thereto. Also, I would like to congratulate the Minister of the Environment for having the intestinal fortitude to reintroduce the bill before this legislature.
In Durham on a clear day, as the song goes, we can see forever. On a clear day in the summer sometimes we can see the CN Tower. This summer we saw less and less of the CN Tower as Toronto became smogged in.
People want to take responsibility for the environment and they want to do it in a number of different ways. Our automobile industry is addressing the real concerns people have about how the can take responsibility for the vehicles they drive and indeed in a lot of other industries as well. We have seen this in various areas, the packaging of products and so forth.
The automobile industry has been very responsive to the desire of people to have a clean and safe environment by a number of initiatives. It is moving toward alternative sources of fuel. We had
discussions in this House about the use of ethanol in our gasoline and there are other environmentally sensitive fuels available. In my riding General Motors is a major manufacturer employer and has been a leader in developing these kinds of technologies for its vehicles.
Recently I was surprised to learn that onboard diagnostic systems, which are state of the art, allow people to understand how their vehicles are performing relative to the pollutants.
Many years ago when catalytic converters were first introduced people said "how do we get them off our cars because they are affecting our fuel consumption?" People's attitudes have completely changed. Today that is not the attitude of a common person. People want to find out how they can be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
The automobile companies have wisely in their marketing systems realized this and that is why these onboard diagnostic systems exist. They give them the ability to know that their vehicles are performing as best they can and are not polluting the environment as much as possible with our current technology.
General Motors is disabling certain aspects of its onboard diagnostic systems for one very important reason. Manganese based fuel additives cause an 80 per cent residual within engines. As a consequence it creates a situation where the onboard diagnostic system does not work. Here we have a company which is recognizing the desire of people to have a safer and cleaner environment and producing technology to do that but which is unable to basically maintain that because of some of the fuel additives allowed in our gasoline.
There is an ongoing debate about manganese additives but it is the residual build-up within the engine that then turns around and basically makes the onboard diagnostic system not work. Part of that process is that if a catalytic converter is not working properly it should be replaced. People want to know that and those people want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
This legislation addresses that very real concern the average person has. I am surprised at the opposition to this from both opposition parties. I heard one of the Bloc members talk about bringing investment to this country. Some of the biggest investors in this country are the car manufacturing companies. In Ontario one out of six people can trace their jobs directly to automobile production. I am surprised that the Block has taken the position it has because similarly we have a significant plant in Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec that is also very interested in dealing with the desires of people to control the environment.
I was pleased to see Maureen Kempston-Darkes, president of the Canadian division of General Motors, announcing that her company and other car makers will introduce leading edge pollution control technologies to further reduce smog-causing emissions from automobiles.
They are not going to continue with that kind of research and development, they are not going to continue with those kinds of solutions to pollution if they do not get the assistance through people like us who will ban the use of MMT as a fuel additive. Clearly those vehicles are not going to perform up to their expectations as long as they have these components within the gasoline they produce.
In conclusion, I am very supportive of the MMT legislation, the banning of MMT. I believe the people of Durham desire to see alternate fuels and other technologies that companies like General Motors will develop to reduce fuel emissions and to create a cleaner air environment not only for us but for generations to come after us.
I look forward to the passage of this bill in all due haste.