Mr. Speaker, I can safely say, with no hesitation whatsoever, that I approve fully of the idea put forward by the Bloc that $150 million a year is not a great deal of money given the complexity and scope of the problem we face. It would be much better spent exploring every avenue of recourse in green renewable energy sources rather than going further into an area of science that we believe was possibly a mistake from day one.
In his opening remarks, the hon. member from the Bloc mentioned that it was a cruel irony in a sense that the burning of fossil fuels was creating harmful greenhouse gas emissions that have caused climates to change and which have taken away our access to a cleaner form of energy which is hydroelectric energy. It is a vicious and unsustainable circle.
Still though to this date we are fortunate enough to have many opportunities to develop hydroelectric projects in most of the provinces. I look forward to being able to further open the north. As we get into the Northwest Territories we need to be able to get that power to market. One of the biggest problems with hydroelectric power is the line loss. When shipping hydroelectric power, many thousands of miles sometimes, a lot of the power is lost in the transmission. It is therefore necessary to convert the power to DC for transmission and then when it arrives at its destination it is reconverted back to AC power for marketing throughout households.
Many of those developments are fairly recent and as we get more sophisticated, new bipole lines will be built to add to our network and our grid. As an added benefit, we now have access to the American grids. We used to have to fight with every utility in the United States to get Canadian power onto its power grids. That is becoming a lot easier and the market opportunities are opening up for Canada to be a key producer of clean, efficient and economical hydroelectric energy.
I should point out that because it is a public utility, Manitoba enjoys the lowest hydroelectric costs in North America at 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour. This is something that would have been so disastrous if we had let the Tories stay in power for one more year because Manitoba Hydro would have been gone to the highest bidder. We would have killed the goose that laid the golden egg and that would have been tragic.