Mr. Speaker, the motion members of Parliament are debating today is the following:
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 the costs.
This motion is a Canadian Alliance motion but the origin of the words in the motion come from the mouth of the former Liberal finance minister, whom the majority of Liberal caucus members support to be the next prime minister of Canada. We agree with the former finance minister. We have taken his statement on Kyoto and used it as our motion being debated today.
The former finance minister said that before Kyoto is ratified Canadians are owed some things. He said Canadians are owed a plan and that there must be enough discussion with Canadians about the plan so that they can understand it. He said Canadians must be told what benefits the plan will deliver and how Kyoto targets will be reached. Finally, he said that Canadians must be given the costs they will have to pay.
This is all very reasonable and we agree with the former finance minister. That is why our motion uses his words. We hope other members of the House will agree as well and that they will vote for our motion.
Canadians care passionately about our wonderful land and the beauty of our environment from coast to coast. We value clean skies, unspoiled lands and fresh pure water. The Canadian Alliance, as a political party, is specifically committed to protecting and preserving Canada's natural environment.
It is my privilege to represent the people of Calgary—Nose Hill. Our city is close to the Rocky Mountains and the many parks, rivers, streams and natural acres in and around that area. It is a delight to enjoy our own home area, to have people from around the world visit and find pleasure there.
Unfortunately the purpose of Kyoto is not to protect or clean up our environment. The purpose of Kyoto is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Carbon dioxide is produced when we travel in vehicles, heat our homes and as industry operates to make our goods and products.
Carbon dioxide is not carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a component of smog. Carbon dioxide is not. Carbon dioxide is not the soot that forms smog. All it may do, and there is a lot of divided opinion on this, is make the earth marginally warmer over several decades. Surely we have more pressing environmental matters in which to put our scarce resources.
Only 20% of carbon dioxide is produced by industry. The other 80% is produced by ordinary people who travel, heat their homes and use their appliances. Therefore Kyoto means much more costly vehicles and driving less. Kyoto means higher home construction costs and keeping the thermostat not as warm as we would like. Kyoto means more expensive appliances. It means higher costs to those who make our goods and products.
Those higher costs will be considered by anybody who might invest in industry or develop new industries in Canada. Higher costs mean less profit. Some potential investors will inevitably decide not to go ahead. This is especially true when those same business people can locate in the U.S. or Mexico, and not be subject to the extra Kyoto costs.
The U.S. president says Kyoto would cost his economy $400 billion U.S. The U.S. is dealing vigorously with environmental protection but will not sign Kyoto. The Australian Prime Minister said:
...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.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time.
The Liberals' own estimates, which they are trying to hide from cabinet, says 200,000 jobs will be lost and Kyoto will cost Canadians a whopping $16.5 billion.
This is an outfit with a sorry track record of lowballing program costs in order to sell them. Let us look at the firearms registry which it said would cost $85 million and will end up close to an unbelievable $1 billion with objectives not even achieved.
Other Kyoto cost estimates are much higher. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters say job losses will be at 450,000 in their sector alone. Business organizations say the cost to Canada will be an extra $33 billion for Kyoto. Who are Canadians to believe? It is hard to believe the federal government not only because of its track record but because there are no final cost figures in its material so far. When the real estimates were leaked a few weeks ago, the 200,000 jobs and the $16.5 billion a year, there was so much shock that Liberals have been scrambling ever since to keep them under wraps.
The government is much less than trustworthy on such matters but even if its secret figures are correct, Kyoto will cost each person in Canada over $500 a year. That is over $2,000 for a family of four. Some of those Canadians will not be working because of the Kyoto fallout. If business estimates are more realistic, the cost will be over $1,000 per Canadian, over $4,000 for a family of four.
What will this mean for people in the Atlantic provinces for example? Here are figures from the work of Dr. Mark Jaccard who is responsible for the Canadian Industrial Energy End-use Data and Analysis Centre, funded by the Canadian government and other agencies. He also chaired the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Based on Dr. Jaccard's work, the cost in Atlantic Canada for heating oil will rise from the current Statistics Canada average of $1,150 a year to $1,800 a year. Electricity costs will go up for the average Atlantic Canadian from $1,200 a year to $2,000 a year. Gasoline costs will take a jump from an average of $2,100 per year per Atlantic Canadian to $3,200 per year. Right now, gas costs 78.9¢ a litre in Halifax. Look for that to go up a lot more under Kyoto.
Kyoto will hit struggling Atlantic Canadians, those from our poorest have not provinces, and hit them hard, right in the pocketbook. It will hit our seniors and those on fixed incomes hardest of all. How are they supposed to pay these increased costs for heating oil, electricity and gasoline on fixed incomes?
Offshore gas and oil development in Atlantic Canada is forecast to generate $36 billion in revenue for Nova Scotia alone but without question, Kyoto will negatively impact that potential development. Already some investors are pulling out of the sector. Kyoto has the potential to pull the rug right out from under that bright economic development future forecast for the Atlantic provinces.
All of this is money that will not be able to be used to fund health care, to educate our children, to help out with the cost of drugs, and the rising cost of home care as our population ages. The job losses and lost investment will shrink the tax base needed to support our most important social programs just when the need for them is becoming more critical. Even if we gave up those jobs, even if we gave up those billions, and put those billions into reducing carbon dioxide emissions, let us be clear about what might be gained.
Canada produces only 2% of the world's man-made greenhouse gases. We know that. It is not in dispute. If we were to keep our Kyoto commitments to the letter, and by the way the Liberal government has made it clear it wants to weasel out of the full quota, but even if we did not, Canada's efforts would slow, not reduce, the rate of global greenhouse gas production by less than one-quarter of a percent.
All of this is masterminded by a government whose track record on the environment is so bad that just this week the Environment Commissioner lashed it for the hundreds of toxic sites left to fester. In a country like ours, scores of communities lack clean water to drink without boiling.
That is under this government. However it would take billions from the pockets of Canadians to fund the Prime Minister's Kyoto legacy, to slow the production of carbon dioxide in the air by less than one-quarter of a per cent, while our social programs and our health care go begging. That is the priority of the government.
We believe this must not go ahead without some clear answers from the government. As our environment critic has said, we believe the path to real environment protection does not lie with Kyoto at all. We urge the House to support today's motion.