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House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was impaired.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, he can talk about Reform research all he likes, but those numbers came from the Conference Board of Canada.

Canadians are sick and tired of these non-answers. We are 32 days away from this conference and Canadians do not know what is going on. It is shame that the price of cabinet solidarity has to affect the price of gas.

I ask the prime minister one more time, do not run and hide, do not dodge or weave from the question, just answer it. How much cash will Kyoto cost?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, all the countries of the world are going to Kyoto. Everybody realizes that they have to make a contribution. Everybody in the world realizes that there is a serious problem except the Reform Party of Canada.

TaxationOral Question Period

October 30th, 1997 / 2:15 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we know the prime minister is prepared to sock it to consumers for his diplomatic friends, but where is the finance minister in all of this? He seems to be laying pretty low. But he is the one with his hand on the tax lever. Is he going to pull it, or is the environment minister running finance now?

My question is just how high is the minister going to drive up taxes?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has worked reasonably well as a team. We have managed to balance the books in four years. A little magazine called The Economist this week stated that Canada is doing the best job in public finances of all the countries of the G-7.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, Liberals go absolutely ballistic when gas prices go up and down a couple of cents around every Labour Day weekend. But, boy, when the finance minister or the environment minister or whoever is running finance these days wants to raise the price by 30 cents a litre forever, they blame it on Rio, or I guess on Kyoto now.

Why will the finance minister or the prime minister not put all the speculation to an end? Why does he not just rule out tax increases right now? Rule them out.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is again an invention of the Reform Party. Its members cannot find anything concrete, so they have to use their poor imaginations to talk about price increases on gasoline. The people of Canada know how non-serious these people are. They are just trying to invent problems. We have enough to solve the real problems and we are solving them so well that they have to invent problems to attack the government.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Most countries have made their positions known on the objectives for greenhouse gas emission reduction to be presented at the Kyoto conference to be held in a few weeks.

Since the Canadian position is not yet known, my question is: When does the Canadian government intend to make a final decision on the position it will be presenting in Kyoto?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, definitely before the Kyoto conference.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the Canadian position must be supported by the provinces, they being the ones primarily responsible for this matter, what strategy does the federal government intend to implement in order to obtain a consensus on the position to be defended in Kyoto and on its subsequent implementation?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that it what my ministers are involved in at the present time. They have met with the ministers responsible and we are holding discussions with the provinces. We are holding discussions with the energy sector. We are holding discussions with the industrial sector, which also wants to make a contribution, and with the environmental protectionists.

Our position will, we hope, be acceptable to all Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

We know that not all provinces produce the same amount of greenhouse gases. For example, Alberta, which has 9% of Canada's population, is responsible for 27% of the greenhouse gases produced in Canada.

What strategy does the federal government intend to adopt in order to convince the most recalcitrant provinces to participate in the collective effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are speaking with all of the provinces that have problems. In Canada, the problems are not always exactly the same from one province to another.

I believe that both the Government of Alberta and the people of Alberta want to make their contribution, because responsible people are aware of the importance of addressing this problem, which poses a threat to so many people throughout the world.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, to avoid a repetition of what happened in Rio, how will the federal government make sure this time that all of the provinces will formally comply with the objectives set at Kyoto, when we know that only Quebec and British Columbia followed up on what was agreed to in Rio?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat disappointed to hear the hon. member telling me that the Canadian government did not do a good job in Rio, because the minister representing the Canadian government at that time was, if I am not mistaken, a certain Lucien Bouchard.

Multilateral Agreement On InvestmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the prime minister.

Canadian NGO representatives, just returned from the OECD meetings in Paris, confirm that the draft text of the multilateral agreement on investment is all but a done deal.

This government tells Canadians that our health care, social programs, environmental and labour standards and our culture will be protected, but behind closed doors in Paris Canada's negotiators have completely failed to fight for such protection.

Can the prime minister confirm that this is why no progress on these essential protections has been made?

Multilateral Agreement On InvestmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is clearly inaccurate to say it is a done deal.

How can she say they are secret negotiations when last week the OECD invited over 40 international organizations, including the Council of Canadians?

Some people would have us remove ourselves from the world: no trade, no investment, no rules and ultimately no jobs.

That may be her position but it is certainly not the position of this government because Canadians deserve and want much more.

Multilateral Agreement On InvestmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is precisely because trade and investment are so important that we need to get these rules right, and we need to get them right for Canada.

Last week in this House the trade minister assured us that he supports binding commitments on labour and environmental standards. Today we have learned that the current MAI draft contains no such safeguards.

Will the prime minister assure Canadians that this government will refuse to sign any multilateral agreement on investments that does not contain binding labour and environmental standards?

Multilateral Agreement On InvestmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that Canada has among the highest labour and environmental standards in the international community.

Certainly we will not sell short either the environment or labour. Clearly the MAI also will not undermine any laws or regulations we currently have on the books that govern both environment and labour.

The member wants us to abdicate or walk away from the talks but that is not going to advance either the interest of the environment or labour. The interest is to stand and to fight for your interest and principles rather than running away.

Again, that is their position, not ours.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will take the opportunity to correct the prime minister who said that Mr. Bouchard was the minister of the environment in Rio. It was myself. I regret to report that neither Mr. Bouchard nor myself would view that as a compliment.

There must be a lot of smog in the cabinet room these days because there is a lot of confusion on the government's position. I would like to help those members out today and ask whether or not, as they go to Kyoto, they will have a position that will encourage a tradable permit system as was recommended by the Commission for Environmental Co-operation put together by NAFTA, of which the Minister of the Environment happens to be a member.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

I understand that the file was prepared by Mr. Bouchard and he gave it to the hon. member to take there. I am sorry to link the two of you but I have no choice.

On the question that the hon. member put, yes it is one of the things that we want to do to make sure that we have credit for what we do. Very often our actions help others deal with problems and we are trying to get credit so that when we are helping somebody else Canadians will get the credit as with the fact that Alberta is selling natural gas to the Americans in order to—

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Sherbrooke.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the smog has obviously not evaporated because the prime minister did not understand my question.

My question is whether or not this government is going to propose a tradable permit system between Canada, the United States and Mexico, as was recommended by the group on the environment between the three counties.

Second, will the government also propose a system that will allow us to take credit for efforts in other countries?

Finally, will there be regional variations in our position to allow Alberta to have a fair shake?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said that we believe in getting credit for what we do with others. That does not imply only doing it with Mexico and the United States. We would like to extend it to other countries.

In terms of within industry or within regions of Canada, it is another possibility that we are looking at.

Tobacco LegislationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the health minister is weakening the tobacco bill. First it is race cars, next it will be tennis, then jazz festivals and then equestrian events.

The minister knows full well that the path he is on is the wrong path. Why has he chosen to grovel and snivel at the feet of the big tobacco companies instead of being the Minister of Health?

Tobacco LegislationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the new writers for the Reform Party not only engage in fiction writing but very colourful fiction writing at that.

The hon. member was in his place last year when this government introduced and then adopted the toughest anti-tobacco legislation in the western world. That legislation is going to be linked with significant efforts and substantial sums of money over the next five years in a co-ordinated effort across this country to reduce the consumption of tobacco and persuade young people not to start smoking. That is our objective.