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House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was accord.

Topics

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5:05 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, the member for Don Valley West made reference to the possible impact on jobs. I am glad he raised it. Would the member be interested in knowing that the very people who are most affected by the possible impact on jobs of the implementation of the Kyoto accord would be the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, the third largest private sector union in the country with 150,000 members?

Last week, along with the leader of the NDP, the member for Halifax, I went to its tenth convention in Toronto and it passed a resolution. The resolution stated that Kyoto must be ratified for the sake of the planet. It stated that there was no evidence that Kyoto would lead to layoffs or an economic disaster for Canada, and the CEP demanded a just transition program to ensure any workers who were affected, and communities, would not be left behind.

The hon. member can add that to the list of credible authorities on this subject which are convinced and confirmed. This union is not yielding to the fearmongering that the world will come to an end or life as we know it will end if we implement the Kyoto accord. The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada wants the government to ratify the Kyoto accord.

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5:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Madam Speaker, indeed, I met with same union yesterday. I entirely agree with it and with the previous member. However it is an important and appropriate function of government to be there for transitions caused by innovation, in whatever form, just as we had to be there for transition caused by the free trade agreement. That is the role of government.

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5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

There are only five minutes left for questions and comments. I know there was quite a lot of interest, but if everybody had kept their questions short and their answers short we would have managed to perhaps get two or three more. You can ask for unanimous consent. I am the servant of the House. Is there agreement that the hon. member have a minute to ask a question and a minute to answer?

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5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, in 1987, when I was Quebec's minister of the environment, I went to the United Nations for the launch of Ms. Brundtland's project, “Our Common Future”.

After Mrs. Brundtland tabled her famous report, which created sustainable development, there came to the roster a person nobody had heard of. His name was Abdul Gayoom. He is the president of the Maldive Islands. The Maldives are a string of 1,190 islands south of India, of which 200 are inhabited. When he started to speak I can assure everyone that people could have heard a pin drop. He explained that his island had been a peaceful, peace-loving country without any problems at all. Then he described it in the words of the great Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. He said “My island, in the words of Thor Heyerdahl, is like a string of pearls on a cushion of velvet blue. Suddenly our peace was destroyed”. In the 1980s, he said, tidal waves started to wash along the shore, creating damage and destruction. A year after they were worse, until the time when he spoke, saying that the last tidal wave had washed over the shore of the main island, causing tremendous destruction as well as death.

He said “Scientists tell us that the seas are rising faster in the last hundred years than they have risen 1,000 years before. They tell us the seas might rise between one and three metres in the next century. If it is anywhere up to two metres my whole island state will disappear under the sea”. He asked questions of those of us from the rich industrial world. He said “Tell me, you who have created plants and carbon-emitting plants, what have we, the people of the Maldives, done to deserve this?”

In 1997, ten years later, I was in Kyoto as a member of the Canadian delegation. The opening of the conference was received by two speeches, one by Vice-President Al Gore of the United States and another one by the president of the small island state of Nauru. The president of the island of Nauru said “My fellow citizens are watching the seas rise with fear and trepidation. They see the coral reef disappear. They see the seas continuing to rise and wash along the coast. We ask whether you are going to wait until we are washed under the sea before you start to do something about it”, at which time he turned to Vice-President Gore.

I strongly believe that far beyond the figures that we exchange here, like the jobs that are supposed to be lost and all the costs to this person and that person, it is a matter of equity and fairness first, because we of this rich world, we of this country, which is almost unlimited in the bounty of its natural resources, in the skill of its people, in its infrastructures, in universities galore, four in my own city alone, we have a duty to the others whom we are polluting. This is something that our friends from the Alliance never mention. It is something we never hear from Premier Klein and the Premier of Ontario.

What about the people who are being polluted by us? Some talk about 2% of pollution being from Canada, but what they do not say is that Canada and the United States are per capita the greatest users of energy. They are the greatest emitters of carbon gases per capita worldwide. Surely as the champions of energy use, as the champions of gas emissions, we have a duty to those who do not produce these gases. We have a duty to the innocent countries around the world and this is what Kyoto is all about. Kyoto is not for us. It is not for Alberta, Quebec, Ontario or the Maritimes. We can survive ourselves.

When I hear, in the coziness of living rooms in Alberta or elsewhere, people saying that we should have a made in Canada program, a made in Alberta program or a made in Ontario program, it makes me sick to my stomach. Because it does not respond to President Gayoom. It does not respond to the President of Nauru. It does not respond to Bangladesh, which is being flooded time and again. It does not respond to all the countries that are suffering from our pollution. It certainly does not respond to our own regions.

I would defy any member of the Alliance Party to speak to Senator Charlie Watt, an Inuit representative in our Senate, to speak to his sister Sheila Watt-Cloutier, or to speak to the chief of the Dene there, whom I have heard speak about the tremendous changes in the Arctic. Members can say it is cyclical, that it is not happening, but these people think it is happening. They see it happening. The ice cover is diminishing with great rapidity. The ice floes are breaking up. The glaciers are breaking up. The polar bears cannot find their prey because the ice floes are breaking up.

Charlie Watt has told me that polar bears are going way down, way east in Quebec, ravenous, looking for food. For the first time in the Arctic they are seeing dragonflies that they have never seen before. For the first time they are seeing plants growing in the Arctic that they have never seen before. For the last two summers they have had the hottest weather in the Arctic ever.

Reputable scientists from the Arctic Council have shown me, with graphs to back them up, that by 2070 the Arctic Sea will have no ice at all. It will be an open sea. Is that what we want? Is that what the people there want? They tell me that is not what they want. They want to live the way they have lived for thousands of years. They do not want to be impacted by the pollution that we create in southern Canada or in the United States.

I heard the MP for Calgary--Nose Hill say that the United States and Australia have not ratified. So what? Does Mr. Bush live in the Arctic? Does he live in Nauru? Does he live in the Maldives? He is ensconced in his beautiful White House and he can make pronouncements that affect the rest of the world for better or for worse, and this time it is for the worse. She did not mention that France has ratified, that Germany has ratified, that Sweden has ratified, that Norway has ratified, that Denmark has ratified, that Finland has ratified, that 93 countries, including Japan, have ratified. What about them?

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5:15 p.m.

An hon. member

And Canada.

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5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

And Canada is going to ratify because Canada has always been a leader in the environmental field. We were the first to ratify the biodiversity convention. We were at the head of the climate change process.

There is something we have to understand here. I get so saddened when I hear Premier Klein speak about climate change and refer to the farts of dinosaurs--he should know dinosaurs--and when I hear the minister of the environment of Ontario saying that Canadians who are in favour of Kyoto do not understand, that they probably think Kyoto is a make of car. How insulting to Canadians.

What Canadians understand is that this is a matter of fairness and equity toward the world we pollute and that we have to change our ways. We have to use cars a little less. We have to use SUVs far, far less or not at all. We have to use public transportation. We have to insulate our homes. We have to change our ways of living and doing. The examples are many.

I was just looking at a magazine that crossed my desk about investment opportunities for Kyoto: Suncor, an Alberta firm; BP, which reduced its emissions 10% below 1990 levels at no economic cost and whose earnings went from 17¢ a share to 36¢ by 2001; TransAlta, an Alberta company, whose goal is to reduce emissions of existing Canadian operations by 2024, had a net earnings per share increase from $1 to $1.27; 3M, which has reduced through its program 807,000 tonnes of pollutants and saved $827 million over the years; and Interface, whose waste reduction program, from 1995 to 2001, produced savings of over $185 million worldwide, including the plant in Belleville, Ontario, which has the most efficient production in the Interface group.

When I hear the naysayers, the people who are always looking for the negatives and the ways of not doing things, I am so saddened because I think of the people in the Arctic from whom I have heard. They do not like it. They do not like what is said. They want us to ratify. The people in Manitoba and Ontario want us to ratify. They are not stupid. They do not think Kyoto is a car. They know it is an international accord which binds us as Canadians to be part of the international community and to do things in favour of our fellow citizens worldwide.

This is why I will stand proud when the Prime Minister decides that the debate has taken place and we ratify. The dinosaurs in Ontario and Alberta, including Premier Klein, can talk about the farts of dinosaurs, because he should know.

I really believe that it is time we moved and ratified--

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5:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Questions and comments. We have three members. If we keep it short we will get everybody in.

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5:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Canadian Alliance Prince Albert, SK

Madam Speaker, the member talks of dire circumstances. I will set out some facts for this gentleman. I would like him to respond.

Since 1950 the world's population has increased. Poverty in the world has been decreased. In 1950 the average man's life in this country was 49 years long. It is 78 years today. Women are living much longer. If the climate is getting as bad as he says it is, why is our population not going down? Why is poverty going down and why is our life expectancy not seriously declining? It just defies all his logic. I would be living on borrowed time if I were living in 1950 figures, but somehow the environment in this world has allowed me to live to the age of 56 and with any luck I will be 78 years of age. If the environmental circumstances are as serious as he says, how come we are living longer on this planet and we are living better as human beings as time goes on?

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5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I think my colleague over there proved my point. Of course he is living longer. So am I. I am probably living longer than my ancestors did, no doubt. I have a beautiful home. I have a very nice life. I have a very nice quality of life. I run a very nice car. But that is not what I see around the world when I move around.

In Canada we are ensconced in a little cocoon of selfishness. We should travel around and see that the world is not what the hon. member says it is. There are a lot of places where poverty is rampant. I have been to places in Indonesia, Asia and Africa where poverty, AIDS and all kinds of problems are killing millions of people. I do not even have to go to Africa or Asia. I have been to the Arctic. We can talk to the mothers who breastfeed their children where the level of PCBs is six times higher than in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. Is that right?

We can ask the people in the Arctic if they are happy with the conditions that we are imposing on them with our pollution. He should ask them if their quality of life is the same as it was 10 years ago. They will tell him no, because that is what they have told me. If the hon. member thinks I am exaggerating, Charlie Watt is just next door. He should ask him. He was born there and he will tell the hon. member about the dramatic changes he has seen in his own lifetime.

We of course are living much better, sure, but at a cost of using much more energy than we should and by creating much more pollution than we should. In fact since Kyoto started we have increased our energy waste by another 20%, for the last decade. That is what we have to change, not them, but us, and make it better so that there is a fairer and a level playing field for all of us.

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5:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Madam Speaker, I certainly have listened to both the Liberal members who have just spoken and I do have a couple of quick questions for them.

First, the previous member who spoke talked about proof that we have to bring in Kyoto, that we have had terrible droughts and we had terrible floods. Yes, we have, but when we hear “the worst drought in 65 years” or “the worst flood in 100 years”, in order to prove those statements there had to have been a worse drought 65 years ago and a worse flood 100 years ago. They dredge up stuff that just does not make a whole lot of sense in that context.

I have a specific question I would like to ask this hon. member. Kyoto is going to solve all our pollution problems, despite the fact that it only deals primarily in CO

2

, the CO

2

that is man-produced. This is not from bits and pieces taken from desperate demagogues, I think the other member called them. This is from pre-eminent PhDs in departments of climatology and atmospheric sciences and from environmental consultants, all doctorates, experts in this field, who provided this information. The amount of man-made CO

2

is less than one-half of 1% of the total amount produced by the planet.

If we totally eliminate all man-made CO

2

, we cause a change in the effect of CO

2

in the atmosphere of less than one-half of 1%. At the same time, 97% of the greenhouse effect is caused by water vapour, not by CO

2

, so how will Kyoto address pollution? Not shifting it around the air, but producing pollution, polluting streams, polluting soil, and acid rain, and at the same time, how will it address even climate change when the amount that Kyoto would address is such a little factor?

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5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I am prepared to admit that scientists are not unanimous in their views. There are scientists who say one thing and another group of scientists say another.

The member put out the premise as if his was the golden truth, the irreversible proof. However, just yesterday 27 of the most eminent scientists in Alberta said the exact different thing from what the member just said. There are 2,500 of the most credible worldwide scientists, including top climatologists assigned by the United Nations on a totally objective basis and from all countries of the world have told us that man-made carbon gases are changing climate to an extent that is a very serious risk for mankind.

Rather than wait to find out whether his scientists are right or mine are right, I think that we take the precautionary approach. As human beings we must take--

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5:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

I apologize to the hon. member but his time is over.

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5:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Before we go to the next speaker, I am now prepared to rule on a point of order raised earlier today by the hon. government House leader concerning the bill introduced by the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre. I would like to thank the government House leader for having raised this matter, as well as the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre for his comments.

The bill proposes an amendment to the Income Tax Act to prevent businesses from deducting fines as an expense for income tax purposes.

The hon. government House leader raised the objection that the bill would have the effect of increasing taxation levels for businesses affected by it. The bill therefore could only be brought before the House if it were preceded by the adoption of a motion of ways and means.

Our procedure with respect to taxation matters is clear. House of Commons Procedure and Practice states, at page 758 to 759, and I quote:

The House must first adopt a Ways and Means motion before a bill which imposes a tax or other charge on the taxpayer can be introduced...

Before taxation legislation can be read a first time, a notice of a Ways and Means motion must first be tabled in the House by a Minister of the Crown;....

Furthermore, I will also refer the hon. member to Marleau and Montpetit, at page 898, which states:

With respect to the raising of revenue, a private Member cannot introduce bills which impose taxes. The power to initiate taxation rests solely with the government and any legislation which seeks an increase in taxation must be preceded by a ways and means motion.

The case before the House is clear. The bill introduced by the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre seeks to remove an existing tax exemption. If adopted, this measure would have the effect of increasing the tax payable by a certain group of taxpayers. Legislation of this sort, however worthy, may only be introduced when preceded by a motion of ways and means provided by a minister of the Crown, as I said earlier.

As the bill in question was not preceded by a ways and means motion, the proceedings this morning were not in acceptable form. I therefore rule them null and void and the order for second reading of the bill be discharged and the bill withdrawn from the Order Paper.

(Order discharged and Bill C-252 withdrawn)

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

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October 24th, 2002 / 5:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be dividing my time this afternoon with the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest.

I would like to start by talking a bit about provincial opposition to the Kyoto accord. I think we are all aware of the fact that eight of the ten provincial governments in the country oppose the ratification of the Kyoto accord, each for its own reason. If we look at the reasons, we would find they are very sound. The different reasons are the fact that there are a wide variety of different interests geographically spaced across the country which will be negatively affected by the Kyoto accord. The premier of Newfoundland is opposed to it, the premier of British Columbia is opposed to it and so are most of the premiers in between.

I want to begin my comments today by reading the observations of the premiers of Newfoundland and Alberta. The premier of Newfoundland, Roger Grimes, says the following, “I am at a loss as to what the Prime Minister means when he says we are going to sign on to the Kyoto accord. There are just too many questions”.

The premier of Alberta has said, along the same lines, signing the Kyoto accord is like “signing a mortgage for a property you have never seen and for a price that you have never discussed”. He goes on to say, “At the very least, the federal government must first evaluate costs, create a realistic implementation plan and then consult with the provinces, including a meeting with the first ministers”.

Yesterday the Ontario legislative assembly, my province, voted to reject the Kyoto accord as well. That now means that a substantial majority of the provinces in Canada, representing a substantial majority of our population, are opposed to the Kyoto accord.

This is significant, not really because it represents a wide variety of interests across the country and a wide cross section of the Canadian people, but also because of the fact that the Canadian constitution is written in such a way that it is not possible to implement an international treaty that affects areas of provincial jurisdiction, as this treaty does, without having provincial consent.

There was a very important court case in 1937 in which our then supreme court, the judicial committee of the Privy Council, ruled that Canadian provincial jurisdictions must be regarded for treaty making purposes as being water tight compartments. They are not within the jurisdiction of the federal government. The federal Crown cannot sign treaties on behalf of each of the provincial crowns.

As things stand now, eight of the ten provincial crowns are not on side and therefore it is simply impossible to implement a plan in a coherent and efficient manner, if such a thing is even possible under the parameters of the Kyoto accord, because of that provincial refusal to sign on.

Notwithstanding the bravado of the Prime Minister about ratifying the treaty by the end of the year and in advance of any meaningful and substantive work on a deal that would include the provinces, the fact is that this simply cannot go forward.

It is possible for the government to ratify the accord with an implementation plan that ignores provincial jurisdictions but it would likely be struck down piece by piece in the courts as being an infringement of provincial jurisdictions. It would certainly be unjust, inequitable and it would inevitably involve transfers of wealth from certain sectors of the economy to certain other sectors and from certain regions of the country to certain others. We can only guess the ways in which this might occur. However we already are getting a taste before we even know what the details of any federal implementation plan would be when we watch the battling back and forth. We are starting to see the war of words developing between some of the different provincial governments as they jostle for position.

The kind of non-consultative, unilateralism that the federal government is employing of course encourages this sort of thing. Rather than bringing the premiers in to negotiate with each other on our behalf in some form of conclave where we have a sense of where the federal government is going, it has put us in a position where the premiers are forced to try to raise the stakes of offending their region to create pressures on us in this House so that the federal government will wind up adjusting the implementation plan to suit their region at the expense of some other particular region. It strikes me that this is highly divisive and highly destructive of our national unity and of our unity of purpose as a country. All this is without saying anything about the merits of the accord itself.

Looking at the accord itself, I want to point out some of the problems with it. These have been addressed to some degree already today but they are worth stating again.

The Kyoto accord and the way in which we might deal with through the purchase and trading of emission credits is treated as if it were some version of the emission credits that exist within some jurisdictions or the trading of pollutants among producers of certain types of pollutants.

When there is a single country or perhaps a single province in which pollutants can be traded, a cap is set and the amount of pollutants produced by each producer is determined. Low cost producers, those who can reduce their pollutants easily and at a low cost, proceed to lower their amounts of pollutants below the amount that would be legally required. They take additional credits accumulated and sell them to those to whom the cost of producing their pollutants would be greater, thereby producing the maximum possible gain for the least possible amount of dollars.

That is a great model when it is done domestically. However internationally and under the Kyoto treaty what is produced in fact is a farce because everybody negotiated their own level ahead of time. Canada did not participate nor did it fight hard to get a generous cap set on its emissions of CO

2

. While the negotiations for Kyoto were underway, the Australians negotiated to have an increase permitted in the level of CO

2

that they could produce. Canada did not. Instead we are to reduce our level of emissions to 6% below what they were in 1990, notwithstanding the fact that our current level of emissions is now 20% higher than it was in 1990.

Other countries in the developing world managed to negotiate a deal where they were excluded from the targets. Countries in the so-called transitional world, the ex-communist countries of eastern Europe, were excluded because they were in the position of transforming themselves from having dirty coal fired and very inefficient factories and mines.

The countries of the European Union took advantage of the fact that without any population growth, in fact in some cases with the expectation of population decreases, their emissions would basically flatten out on their own. The Americans simply refused to go along.

Canada finds itself in the position of being the only country in the world that is actually forced to reduce its emissions to any great number. The target of 240 megatonnes of reductions that Canada faces is virtually unique in the world. There are a wide variety of countries that have negotiated their own special deals and to whom we would now turn to buy our credits, perhaps Russia for example, or perhaps from a country that produces far more CO

2

than Canada does. If one leaves CO

2

aside and talks about actual pollutants, Russia is a far worse polluter than we are, yet it negotiated a better deal for itself.

We are not talking about transferring within some cap in order to reduce worldwide CO

2

levels. We are talking about something that will have no impact on CO

2

levels produced either worldwide or even in Canada. We are talking about purchasing a piece of paper that says, for example, that Russia, which has negotiated a better deal with us, is transferring some of the benefit to us at a great cost to our economy in paying the money to it for these credits.

We are really not talking about pollution. We are not talking about reducing CO

2

. We are not talking about climate change. The Kyoto accord in practice has the effect of creating a new kind of foreign aid program whereby we are not giving to those who are most needy or those who could make the best use of our foreign aid dollars. We are in fact transferring money from Canada to those countries that have managed to negotiate the best deals for themselves in the original Kyoto negotiations.

This does nothing for the environment. This is unfortunately a joke. Should this treaty come before the House for ratification, I hope members will decide not to ratify it.

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5:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Canadian Alliance Prince Albert, SK

Madam Speaker, it seems to me there is a two stage process involved here. The government could ratify the accord but the implementation of it seems to be something different. There are constitutional problems that exist on implementing a treaty of this nature. The ratification of the accord could be a straw man, to use that term, and the government very well know that legally it could have huge problems in implementing this because of constitutional precedents and the Canadian Constitution.

Could the hon. member enlighten the House on some of the constitutional hurdles involved in implementing a treaty like this?

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5:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, one of the problems is that the whole Kyoto accord is essentially an accounting shell game. The response of the government in trying to deal with the Kyoto accord has been to engage in its own accounting tricks and games. It is talking about the credits it might get for natural gas exports. It can get supposedly 70 megatonnes of credits, except that the Kyoto accord will not allow it. Therefore, the argument is all nonsense.

There was a discussion of getting credits for forests and for clean farming which the federal government would take. Those are under provincial jurisdictions. It has no right to make that assertion. The first thing that would happen if the accord were ratified here and we attempted to claim these credits for the federal government is that the provincial governments would say that those were their credits. They would take the federal government to court. In my opinion they would win. Crown land in Canada is provincial Crown land, outside of the territories.

There has been talk of credits for clean agricultural practices that form carbon sinks. Farming is a joint jurisdiction so it is not clear exactly who gets the credits. Certainly the federal government does not get them all so there would be a battle over that. Not only are the interests of the provinces at stake versus the federal government. Farmers would very much have a legitimate interest if we were to ratify the Kyoto accord. It would result, as many people believe, in higher prices for fertilizer and for the fossil fuels that are used for tractors and for transportation of farm goods, which would generally drive up farming costs and drive down farming incomes.

We can expect that farmers would have a very legitimate interest as well as having some kind of credit for their farming practices and for the benefits that are produced with those carbon sinks. Those are some of the kinds of problems we would run into. Frankly this thing would be tied up in litigation for a very long time.

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5:40 p.m.

Chicoutimi—Le Fjord Québec

Liberal

André Harvey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments.

Personally, what I am hearing in my riding and in my region—and all of the polls confirm this—is that the vast majority of people around the world are intuitively aware that we have a common challenge, where the survival of humanity is at stake. The damages caused by climate change are worsening at an alarming pace.

I would ask my colleague from the Canadian Alliance what he thinks of the comments made by his party's environment critic, who is more and more sensitive to climate change and to disasters. In my own region, there was the flood of 1996. It cost $750 million. So, climate change does have major consequences.

His party's critic said that despite the increase in natural disasters, he had to convince his caucus. So, it was a challenge for him. He also pointed out—and this is recorded in official texts—that his party was coming out against Kyoto so aggressively because it was to their benefit politically.

I would like to ask my colleague for his perspective on the difference in position between his party and that of its critic.

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5:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, the opposition that our party is expressing, that the eight premiers who oppose the Kyoto accord are expressing, that I think 70% of Albertans are expressing, and the opposition that arises in public opinion as awareness of the Kyoto accord and its full implications become clear, is driven by something other than the concerns to which the hon. member was referring to.

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5:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Madam Speaker, it is my honour today to speak to our supply day motion on the Kyoto accord. The motion states:

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.

In my speech I want to analyze this accord and break it down as to what it is exactly. We hear a lot of passionate dialogue from both sides, but it is incumbent upon us as parliamentarians to truly do some thinking and break down the accord.

What exactly is the Kyoto accord and why was it signed? The Kyoto accord was an agreement designed and negotiated in 1997. It was designed to force certain nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. By signing the agreement Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels. The motivation for the accord is that many scientists believe that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, caused by human activity, are at least partly responsible for climate change and global warming in ways harmful to humans on a global scale.

We should distinguish always between global warming and climate change. We must however recognize that there are differences in the scientific community about whether global warming is taking place. We must recognize that there are further differences within the community as to the causes of that warming, how much is due to human activity, and we must recognize that there are differences as to the affects of that warming on our climate.

I am not a scientist and not qualified to distinguish between which climatologist is right on which side. It is something that speaks to the fact that we should institute a parliamentary office of science and technology that reports to Parliament to help us in these matters.

It is essential for us to recognize, and I am glad one of the hon. members on the other side recognized it, that there is not a scientific consensus on these issues and we cannot pretend it is science on one side and one premier on the other. It is foolish and wrong to do that.

If we want to examine the accord itself we should recognize the accord was signed by industrialized nations. In order for Kyoto to have a status of international law a minimum of 55 developed countries representing 55 emissions from industrialized nations must ratify the accord. It is important to keep in mind that so-called developing nations like China and India, who produce approximately 45% of man-made greenhouse gases, are exempt from Kyoto. There are no limits in this accord on the amount of CO

2

they can produce.

If we look at who has ratified it, it is the European Union. If we look at the amounts it has to reduce by, it is certainly not as much as Canada and the fact is that its growth and population rate is stagnant. Those are factors we must consider when we look at this.

If we look at who has not ratified Kyoto, but who initially did sign on, there are two examples. Both the United States and Australia have refused to sign the accord. The result of their decisions is that the accord must be ratified by both Russia and Canada in order for it to take affect. Russia has postponed its decision on ratification until next year.

It is important for us to explain to people that if Russia does not sign, the accord will fail regardless of what Canada does, but if Russia does sign then obviously Canada's 2% will be required to meet that 55% hurdle.

It is interesting to hear some members on the government side talk about President Bush and his motivation for not ratifying the accord. The fact of the matter is that it was debated and discussed before a U.S. senate hearing, a hearing unlike in Canada, where witnesses had to take an oath before the hearing. At the end of those hearings the senate voted on the issue. The senate vote was 95 to 0 against.

For people to say that it is President Bush and his ties to the oil industry is factually incorrect. Why would people like Ted Kennedy, a strong environmentalist, vote against this accord in the senate? It is because of the evidence presented before the committee. We should keep that in mind and not simply say it was because of one certain person's ties to a certain industry.

We should keep in mind why Australia, which as my previous colleague pointed out, negotiated an increase in emissions over 1990 levels. Prime Minister John Howard said:

The reason it is not in Australia's interests to ratify the Kyoto Protocol is that because the arrangements are currently, and are likely under present settings to continue to exclude both developing countries and the United States, for us to ratify the protocol would cost us jobs and damage our industry. That is why the Australian government will continue to oppose ratification.

Even more important than the question of who has or who has not ratified the accord is by how much do other nations have to reduce their emissions? During the negotiations in 1997 the European Union and Russia already knew that they were in a position to meet their emission targets that they were signing off on. Further more, nations such as China, India, Brazil and Mexico were not even covered by this stage of the Kyoto accord and were not obliged to make any reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions.

Therefore, given these factors, will Kyoto result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions? According to one United Nations estimate even full compliance with the Kyoto accord will only slow the increase of greenhouse gases and worldwide production will still be 30% higher in 2012 than it was in 1990. Again, this is another fact that must be put on the table.

How does the accord apply specifically to Canada? Canada is responsible for 2.2% of the world's emissions, admittedly one of the bigger emitters proportionately. There are certain factors which make this so: a growing population, a cold climate, a large geographic land mass and a resource based economy. We must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels, but that means, depending on whose figures we trust, 23% to 30% below present day or 2012 levels.

How will we achieve these targets? That is what the motion is about today. That is what is so disappointing about the document that was hastily produced this morning. There is still no implementation plan nor cost analysis. Even the government's own suggestions as to what it would do from a public policy standpoint does not include the costs attached to that. How can we as parliamentarians or Canadians expect to either ratify or not ratify the accord when the government is not even providing those costs?

Other colleagues have talked about the emissions credits. The Minister of the Environment has said that we should receive credits toward our Kyoto reduction targets by exporting clean energy, such as natural gas and hydroelectric power, to the United States. This notion has been rejected twice by the Europeans and they show no sign of wanting to reopen or negotiate this section of the agreement.

The Prime Minister has stated publicly that we can be flexible in meeting our targets because we have until 2012 to meet our obligations. That is frankly not true. Article 3 of the accord states that the overall emissions of greenhouse gases must be, in Canada's case, 6% below 1990 levels as an average between 2008 and 2012. We do not have until 2012 to develop an implementation plan. Even further each nation must have made demonstrable progress on commitments by 2005 which is coming upon us very quickly.

What are the costs of implementing Kyoto? The estimates vary widely. The Alberta government estimates over $33 billion each year. The federal government did estimate $16.5 billion and 200,000 lost jobs. However there are even fights within the government departments themselves, between environment and natural resources, over the figures. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters have estimated at least 450,000 jobs lost in the manufacturing sector alone.

There is another cost that I want to raise which may be a greater cost as it pertains to lost investment and opportunities because of the uncertainty caused by the lack of a plan by the federal government to implement this accord. When businesses and investors do not know how the accord will affect them, it creates uncertainty and they withdraw their funds.

We have the Minister of Natural Resources stating publicly that we will get credit for clean energy exports. This has been denied twice. We have the Prime Minister stating that we have time to be flexible when we do not. This is unsettling to investors and entrepreneurs.

That is why the Canadian Alliance opposes this accord. That is why we are proposing the motion today which states that we must have these full costs known before we have a vote on ratification.

It is incumbent upon us to be clear on why we oppose Kyoto. We oppose it because our major trading partners, such as the U.S. and Mexico, will not be subject to the accord. If Kyoto were ratified, Canada would be the only industrialized nation in the western hemisphere to have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to any great extent. We oppose it because major emitters, like China and India, will not have to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions at all. In fact, they can increase them and there are no restrictions on them at all.

There is no credible plan by the federal government on how to implement this. Last, it is very questionable and we believe this accord does not really address preserving our environment because it is not an environmental accord. It is incumbent upon us as the opposition to not just have a debate between Kyoto and no Kyoto--

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5:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The hon. member's time has expired. Ten minutes does go by fast when a member has a lot to say.

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5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I always enjoy debating with the member. I am on a very productive committee with him. It is an excellent interaction so I know he will have excellent answers for my three questions.

First, to help advance the knowledge in the debate, could he outline on the other side of the coin any benefits or cost savings he sees from signing Kyoto? In a balanced debate, there are things on both sides of the balance sheet.

Second, I am curious as to how he answers the e-mails of the many people who are in support of Kyoto such as all of us receive.

Finally, how could he abandon the farmers in his riding? They have been his so drastically by the drought in recent years which has devastated their families as one of the effects of climate change.

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5:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Madam Speaker, I should point out that I always enjoy the questions from the member for Yukon. They are very well thought out.

On the questions about any benefits or cost savings from Kyoto, the fact of the matter is that with the lack of a credible plan by the federal government, that is very hard to answer.

Part of the issue, and I want to raise this in response to the question, is that many companies such as Suncor, have already made some dramatic reductions in their emissions intensity. They have already done so because it is in their economic interest to try to release as little as energy as possible in their economic process.

I toured the oil sands this summer and they said over and over again that they are working to reduce their emissions intensity. The problem is that the emissions are up overall because production is up so much. If they want to cut their emissions as a gross total, they will have to ramp down their production by 20% to 30%. We could allow them time to reduce their emissions, particularly Suncor, whose SO

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emissions have been reduced dramatically over the past five years. We have that happening through economic growth. We do not impoverish our way to a clean environment; we do it through innovation and growth which allows that technological change to occur.

In terms of answering any e-mails from people who support Kyoto, I am very honest about the fact that I oppose Kyoto. I do what I tried to do in the first part of my speech which is to lay out what the accord is and what are some of the details of the accord but then I state very clearly that I oppose it and I give the reason. My responsibility as a parliamentarian is to be as honest with people as possible. I also refer them to government websites and the climate change website and others so they can get that perspective.

In terms of the farm issue, my family's farm is in Wainwright. It is very unfortunate for members on the other side to tell western farmers that the drought situation is caused by not implementing Kyoto. That is really dangerous and demagogic. There has been no linkage in all the research that I have done to prove that human action on greenhouse gases caused the drought that happened last summer in western Canada. Why did the drought happen in the 1930s in western Canada? Was that a cause of human action on the climate?

For the people who say that, I talk about people's livelihoods out west, and they should really prove some linkage before they start throwing out statements like that.