Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address the Canadian Alliance motion on the important and fundamental issue of climate change and on the ratification and implementation of the Kyoto protocol.
When we first read the motion, we were inclined to support it, because it appeared full of good intentions and properly drafted. However, after taking an in depth look at its substance, we soon realized that it was far from reflecting the views that the Bloc Quebecois has always defended in this House, as it did with stakeholders last March regarding the ratification of the Kyoto protocol.
There are three fundamental reasons why we will vote against this motion from the Canadian Alliance this evening. First, let us look at the wording of the motion, which reads:
That, before the Kyoto Protocol is ratified by the House, there should be an implementation plan that Canadians understand, that sets out the benefits, how the targets are to be reached and its costs.
Here, in the House, we have always argued that the Kyoto protocol should be ratified at the earliest opportunity and that no conditions should be attached to this ratification, because this issue is too important for the protection of natural heritage and public health. We must proceed quickly.
Accordingly, on March 7, we set up a coalition in Quebec that included over one hundred groups from civil society, from the academic and environmental sector, and also some members of Parliament representing various political parties in this House. These groups had one thing to say and that was “That Canada should take the necessary measures to ratify the Kyoto protocol before the month of June”. This was our hope at the time.
Today, I am rather surprised by the arguments used by the government regarding this motion. When the delegation that he was heading and that I was part of was in Johannesburg, the Prime Minister of Canada stated that the government and the House would make a decision before the end of the year. The Prime Minister said in Johannesburg that the House would vote on the ratification of the Kyoto protocol before the end of this year. The motion before us today provides that the ratification of the Kyoto protocol by the House would be conditional on an implementation plan that Canadians understand.
It is clear today in the House that there is no difference between the Canadian Alliance and the member for LaSalle—Émard. The clear statement made by the member for LaSalle—Émard indicated that he wanted an implementation plan in place before proceeding with ratification. This is what the Canadian Alliance motion before us today would propose.
If the government party—and incidentally, we have not heard one word today about their intentions with respect to the motion—votes in favour of this motion this evening, this would clearly mean that the Johannesburg commitment, made some weeks ago by the Prime Minister, will have been broken. We would be back to square one.
This is not the position of the Bloc Quebecois. The position of the Bloc Quebecois calls for a quick ratification of Kyoto. The government and the Prime Minister made a commitment to have the House ratify it before the year is out and I think they must vote against this motion.
There is a second aspect. It appears that when it comes to implementation, this motion implies that the Canadian Alliance is proposing a Canadian solution to climate change, similar to what the U.S. and George W. Bush are proposing today.
We in the Bloc Quebecois believe that what is needed is an international solution to deal with climate change. This international solution depends on the speedy ratification of the Kyoto protocol, because we believe there are internal mechanisms that have allowed the Government of Canada to obtain significant concessions from the international community.
As part of its implementation of the protocol, the Government of Canada will be able to incorporate 52 megatonnes for carbon sinks into the 6% reduction objective. Emissions credits, which can be traded on the market, have been established. Green development methods have been integrated into the Kyoto protocol. There are joint mechanisms.
We believe that Canada has already managed to obtain significant concessions from the international community. The way to fight climate change now is by respecting the fundamentals of the Kyoto protocol, in other words, by respecting the mechanisms contained in the protocol.
I will, if I may, express my disappointment with respect to the plan, or the overview of an action plan, unveiled this morning by the minister. A three-step action plan is proposed.
The first consists in reducing emissions by 80 megatonnes based on the 2000-01 budget. Naturally, the investments would be incorporated into renewable energies. Even if we had always wanted more of previous budgets to be earmarked for green energy—and still do—we can be happy with this.
The problem lies in steps two and three of the minister's action plan. He proposes a 100 megatonne reduction in Canadian emissions based on a sectorial distribution that is unfair to Quebec, one that will give heavy greenhouse gas emitters, the western oil industry in particular, an opportunity to increase emissions by close to 14%, while a heavier burden will be imposed on the Quebec manufacturing sector, which has already succeeded in reducing its emissions. A heavier burden as well will be placed on the Canadian forestry industry, which has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 19% since 1990.
These industries, which have made efforts, would be penalized by a federal implementation plan. This we cannot accept, nor can we accept that a heavier emissions burden be imposed on Quebec when Alberta and the west are the ones that have not done their bit.
It is worth keeping in mind that, in Canada, two provinces have drafted and implemented action plans for climate change: Quebec and Manitoba. When one has a precise action plan with clear objectives, those objectives can be attained. The proof: between 1990 and 2000, Quebec reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 1%, while the west allowed its to increase.
Quebec is responsible for 12.5% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, while it contains 24% of the population.
How can we accept that, based on a distribution we would like to think was equitable, the polluter pay principle would not be applied?
Moreover, today, in the third phase of its implementation plan, the Canadian government announced that it hopes to get 60 megatonnes through clean energy export credits. This is strictly a virtual concept, a concept that is being developed by senior federal officials. This is a concept that is not approved by the international community and that is not recognized in the Kyoto protocol. Today, Canada is hoping to apply a Canadian solution by incorporating a concept of clean energy exports that is not recognized by the international community.
We believe that the implementation plan is unfair and unworkable because it is based on premises that are not recognized in the Kyoto protocol. There is a risk that, in the end, the international community will not recognize the clean energy export credits for the reductions and the objective of 200 megatonnes that Canada pledged to achieve.
With the plan that was just presented, Canada would, in the end, fall far short of the objectives set for it by the international community. Therefore, we believe that we must use all the means provided in the Kyoto protocol, from carbon sinks to the development of clean modes of energy, not to mention the exchange of credits and a true reduction of emissions at source. This is how a true reduction in greenhouse gases will be achieved in Canada.
Today however, the government presents us with a sectoral plan that will penalize Quebec. Yet studies are available, which show that a territorial application of the Kyoto protocol in Canada is possible. This is a model that was developed in Europe, and agreed on by 15 sovereign nations of the European Union one year after the protocol was signed. This model could be applied in Quebec. Internal studies at the Department of the Environment show that, applied to Quebec, this three-pronged territorial model would be fair to those provinces that have done outstanding work in this regard.
How is it that 15 sovereign nations of the European Union can, within a year, come to an agreement on an approach to sharing the responsibilities arising from the Kyoto objective, and we cannot? This goes to show the extent to which this federation is not working. If Quebec was a sovereign nation, Kyoto would probably have been ratified. I repeat, Kyoto would have been ratified.
What does this mean? Countries like Quebec would have been able to avail themselves of the mechanisms contained in the protocol. Quebec could have taken advantage of the carbon sinks and emission trading credits. It could have used the clean development route or the joint approach.
Today instead we find ourselves paralyzed by a federal government that makes decisions based on a single region of Canada, and a single industry, and in the process penalizes Quebec, which has been making efforts since 1990. Let the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs rise in this House today and tell me, if he dares, that this approach to sharing Kyoto within the federation is fair and equitable.
We will demonstrate that implementing Kyoto will cost the aluminum industry in Quebec $4.73, while it will cost the Canadian oil industry only 3 cents. Is that a fair and equitable sharing of the Kyoto objective? Is that in keeping with the polluter pays principle endorsed by the Canadian government in Rio in 1992?
International conventions cannot be signed, and then the opposite action taken. People demand a certain consistency in policy. Today we have proof that the Canadian federation is not working. We will say that as often as necessary for as long as possible. We will ask the European Union if it believes that this is a fair distribution. We will ask all those countries that have decided to implement it whether they find the Canadian method fair and equitable.
We will, nevertheless, continue to support ratification of the Kyoto protocol. We continue to do so, because Quebec is acting as a responsible state, and has passed a motion in the National Assembly, with the unanimous support of all parties. All of us, whether Liberal, ADQ or PQ, want to see Canada assume its responsibilities.
We believe that the Kyoto protocol ought to be ratified. The effect of the motion before us today is to create a major loophole for the government, by not having it seek a vote on ratification of the protocol here in this House.
For example, the hon. member spoke of the throne speech and its reference to the government's commitment to introduce a motion on ratification of the Kyoto protocol before the end of the year. A few weeks prior to that, the Prime Minister announced before the international community that the House will be voting on the Kyoto protocol before the end of the year.
What we want to see, what we would have liked to have seen in this motion, is a clarification of this deadline. What we would have liked even more is a clarification of the fundamental difference between Kyoto ratification and Kyoto implementation.
More than 85% of Quebeckers, more than 90% even, are in favour of ratifying the Kyoto protocol. Even in some of the western provinces, there is a majority—a slim one, of course, someone might point out—but nevertheless a small majority of the public is in favour of ratification of the Kyoto protocol. Even in Ontario, where the current government is caught between a population that wants ratification and the problem of implementation by the federal government, there is a strong desire to get on with ratification.
I have barely two minutes left to say that there are basically three reasons why we will not support this motion. First, we think that it does not reflect the commitment made by the Prime Minister in Johannesburg, to the effect that the House would ratify the Kyoto protocol by the end of this year.
Second, we would have liked to see an important distinction made between implementation and ratification, primarily because this House decided to use an approach that is consistent with that of Quebec, where the coalition expressed its support for speedy ratification of the Kyoto protocol.
We were in favour of speedy ratification of the Kyoto protocol a year ago, we are today and we will continue to be tomorrow.