Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for raising the very pressing issue of the Kyoto agreement, which deals with greenhouse gas emissions, and the impact it will have on not only the budget but on the entire country.
In the absence of any other real plans on how we might achieve the targets in the Kyoto agreement that we signed, would the hon. member agree that one thing the federal government could and should have done in this budget was embark on a comprehensive energy retrofitting of the 68,000 federal government buildings that it owns?
I was part of the climate change task force that did comprehensive research in five different cities in this country and garnered the information needed to prove that we could reduce operating costs, harmful greenhouse gas emissions and create a great number of jobs by energy retrofitting those buildings, all at no upfront cost to the taxpayer. It would all be done by off balance sheet financing. Private sector investors, union pension funds for one, would pay for the retrofitting and be paid back slowly out of the energy savings, after which time the government would enjoy the benefit.
The best example in the hon. member's own area is the Harry Hayes building in downtown Calgary where just such a thing was done at a 40% saving and at no cost to the property owner.
Would the hon. member not agree that the one tangible thing the federal government could have done in this budget would have been to announce a comprehensive energy retrofit program for the buildings that it owns as an example to the owners of private buildings in the country to do the same thing?