House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was international.


Citizenship of Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Some hon. members


Citizenship of Canada ActGovernment Orders

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An hon. member

On division.

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The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

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Joe Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would ask that you seek consent to see the clock at 1:30 p.m. so that we may begin private members' business.

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The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

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Some hon. members


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The Deputy Speaker

It being 1:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Special Joint Committee on KyotoPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2002 / 12:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB


That a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons be appointed to examine and analyze the regional, sectoral, consumer, environmental and provincial impacts for meeting Kyoto targets as set out by the Prime Minister in 1997; invite the provinces and territories to provide their estimates of impacts and effects of the ratification or non-ratification of Kyoto on their economies; consider the effect on Canada of the ratification or non-ratification of the Protocol by the United States; determine if specific adjustment programs would be required to help Canadian provinces, regions, individuals and businesses adjust if the Kyoto Protocol is ratified; commission and receive a comprehensive and independent legal opinion on the constitutionality of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol without provincial agreement; and provide recommendations whether Canada should ratify the Protocol;

That seven Members of the Senate and sixteen Members of the House of Commons be members of the Committee with two Joint Chairpersons, to be named at a later date;

That changes in the membership, on the part of the House of Commons of the Committee, be effective immediately after a notification signed by the member acting as the chief Whip of any recognized party has been filed with the clerk of the Committee;

That no change in membership be permitted without the consent of the Member or Senator being replaced;

That the Committee be directed to consult broadly, examine relevant research studies and literature and review measures being used or developed in other jurisdictions;

That the Committee have the power to sit during sittings and adjournments of the Senate;

That the Committee have the power to report from time to time, to send for persons, papers and records, and to print such papers and evidence as may be ordered by the Committee;

That the Committee have the power to retain the services of expert, professional, technical and clerical staff, including legal counsel;

That a quorum of the Committee be twelve members whenever a vote, resolution or other decision is taken, so long as both Houses are represented, and that the Joint Chairpersons be authorized to hold meetings, to receive evidence and authorize the printing thereof, whenever six members are present, so long as both Houses are represented;

That the Committee be empowered to appoint, from among its members, such sub-committees as may be deemed advisable, and to delegate to such sub-committees, all or any of its power, except the power to report to the Senate and House of Commons;

That the Committee be empowered to adjourn from place to place within and outside Canada;

That the Committee be empowered to authorize television and radio broadcasting of any or all of its proceedings;

That the Committee be empowered to webcast its meetings;

That the Committee operate an interactive website to enable full participation of all Canadians;

That the Committee Reporting Service provide the same overnight service for transcripts as is provided for the House of Commons Hansard;

That the Committee present its final report no later than November 30, 2002 ; and

That a Message be sent to the Senate to acquaint that House accordingly.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this afternoon to discuss the merits of motion M-82. I would also like to thank the member for Fundy—Royal for his support on this very important issue.

Of all the issues facing this country today, none is more unpredictable and none is more potentially divisive than the decision we are being asked to take on the Kyoto protocol.

Virtually everyone in the House recognizes the need to address the issue of climate change. With the possible exception of health care, no single decision of this Parliament will have a greater impact on the welfare of future generations than the actions we take on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It is precisely because this is so important that we need to ensure that there is the widest possible base of consultations, not simply to gather the information but also to build the kind of consensus that would make any agreement possible.

It is precisely because this is so important that we need to know the facts. We cannot afford to make these decisions blindly. We must know, with a reasonable degree of certainty, what the impact will be, not just on the country as a whole, but that too, but also upon individual provinces, individual industrial sectors and individual regions of the country. We must have, on an issue of this magnitude, federal-provincial cooperation and agreement. There was some of that some months ago. It has been wasted by the way this process has proceeded over the last several months. There is still time for us carry out the consultations, for us to publish the facts, for us to achieve the kind of cooperation that is essential for any well based national initiative.

The motion proposes to let Parliament, through a joint committee of this House and the other place, do the work that the Government of Canada has so far failed to do with respect to Canada's obligations regarding Kyoto and the most effective path which Canada could follow in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead of carrying out that kind of broad consultation, the government is forging blindly ahead. There is no impact analysis. The cost estimates that have been prepared by the government are not even made available to ministers of the crown when they are considering what should be done on this issue. The support that had existed initially in concept among the provinces has virtually dissipated now. Very few provinces support the proposal and there is no plan that the government can bring forward at this stage.

I want to draw five years of history to the attention of the House on this issue. We have a situation here that is worse than the government failing to seek cooperation with the provinces. The government actually broke an agreement with the provinces that would have made it possible for us to proceed together on Kyoto and on the question of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Then it wasted five years in which a consensus could have been reached by the government that gave real priority over time to the development of that consensus.

Let me make the point sometimes forgotten. Federal, provincial and territorial ministers of the environment and ministers of energy met in Regina in November 1997 and they came to an agreement on Kyoto.

At the end of the conference, the ministers agreed on the strategy Canada would have to take during the negotiations on what would become the Kyoto protocol.

They agreed that domestic implementation was linked to the need to have a clear understanding of the implications of any package of measures, both in terms of environmental impact and economic impact. They agreed that emissions trading needed to be examined. They agreed to work collaboratively to develop an implementation plan. They agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2010. That was all agreed to five years ago this month in Regina in a federal-provincial process.

Then the Prime Minister decided not to honour the commitment his government made to the provinces. He decided to go it alone. What was his excuse? The then minister of resources said that the Government of Canada has the jurisdiction to sign treaties, that it does not need the provinces.

That is an argument I have heard before. I heard it when I was lead minister negotiating the free trade agreement. We were told by theorists that we did not need the provinces because it was strictly a federal jurisdiction.

Of course only the federal government under our law can sign treaties, but the practical reality is that in order to give effect to any major international obligation, Canada needs to have the cooperation of the provinces as well as the agreement of the federal government.

The government of the day broke the agreement it had with the provinces on those ideological grounds. It has left us in a situation now where we do not have the kind of consensus we need.

Then the government went to Kyoto. What was the basis of the agreement Canada made? What was the scientific basis of our agreement? The basis is simple. The Prime Minister of Canada said he was going to be tougher than the Americans. That was the basis upon which we went into the Kyoto protocol agreements to which our signature would make us obliged right now.

The issue is very clear. We must have decisions that bring the provinces in, not divisions that drive the provinces away. We cannot make so complex a treaty work if Quebec is shut out, if Alberta is shut out, if Ontario is shut out and if the other provinces are shut out.

There is a real alarm in the country about the economic consequences of these obligations and not simply, may I say, the economic consequences. In my own province, a province bruised by its experience with the national energy program, there is more talk about separation than I as a firm, committed federalist feel comfortable with. It is inspired directly by the concern that Albertans are seeing in this approach, the same kind of ham-handed, damn the consequences approach that was taken with the national energy program.

As a former foreign affairs minister, I have to say there is a grave danger here that we will be signing an international accord we are not able to honour. Not only will that make us subject to international penalities, it will also besmirch the name of Canada internationally. We are a country whose strength is that our word can be counted on. We are being asked to sign an accord here that we do not know whether we can honour.

Regardless of what can be said about it, the debate on Kyoto is no longer a debate about reducing greenhouse gases. Kyoto has become a symbol of Ottawa's approach when it comes to the provinces. After having done nothing for five years, the federal government is now getting ready to make a commitment to the international community without the support of the provinces, which it needs if it wants to meet the requirements of the accord.

After five years of inertia, the Prime Minister is rushing Parliament and the country into ratifying Kyoto. Rather than encourage a full debate, rather than address the concerns of those who are reticent to ratify without knowing the consequences or reticent to sign on if we cannot keep our word, the country is now faced with an artificial deadline of the end of this year.

It is time that Parliament did the work the government has failed to do.

Where the government will not hear arguments, let Parliament become the forum to which Canadians can come with their perspectives and their concerns. Where the government will not publish its impact analyses, let Parliament order those impact analyses to be published. Let Parliament receive the analyses done by others. The Prime Minister will not meet with the premiers. Let Parliament make sure that the views of and the alternatives from the provinces are heard.

The motion proposes the immediate creation of a joint special committee of the House of Commons and the Senate, and you, Sir, in introducing the motion have read the details. It is a detailed motion. It talks about the matters that would be considered.

On Tuesday, the leader of the government in the other place confirmed that while a general motion on the subject of ratification will be presented to both Houses before the Christmas holidays, the enabling legislation, the details, the facts about what it is we are going to be doing, will not come before Parliament until the spring. We are being asked to vote before December without any information. We are being asked to cast a blind vote in December, but we will not know the facts or the implications until some time later in the spring.

Parliament is therefore presented with an even greater need to collect and consider carefully the data on Kyoto. We have an obligation to ourselves and to our constituents to know the implications before we cast a vote.

We have a period of time, not a long time but a period of time during which it would be absolutely feasible to hold meaningful consultations and hearings and report back to this place before each of us is called upon to make a decision on the legislation.

I have already spoken with representatives of certain provinces about taking part in such a committee, to ensure that we have the opportunity to consider and debate the different perspectives of the provinces. Some provinces are prepared to participate in such a joint committee.

I urge members of the House to please not give in to the government's temporary view that Ottawa knows best on these issues, to not give in to the tradition of the fédéralisme dominateur that has caused so much difficulty in this country, that was at the birth of the national energy program, and that could have, had it been followed, undercut the free trade agreement.

This is our opportunity as parliamentarians to assert and to honour our responsibility to ensure that there is informed debate, to ensure that for Canadians, before we commit ourselves to one of the most significant, extensive undertakings the country will consider in the next decade, there is an opportunity for us to have some certainty that we know what we are doing, that we are not acting blindly, or that we are not acting with the federal government against the provinces in a way that builds in the kind of division that has always proved so destructive in this country and is giving every sign of proving destructive now on the Kyoto question.

To paraphrase Edmund Burke, we owe our constituents much more than just our votes on this issue. We owe our constituents our judgment. It has to be an informed judgment. None of us here can honestly say that he or she knows enough about the implications of this proposed accord to make an intelligent vote without hearing more facts.

Let us use the opportunity of the motion to give ourselves the tools we need to enhance our knowledge of the consequences of the vote that is being thrust upon us. Let us give ourselves the opportunity to see if there is some better way for Canada to contribute to the response to greenhouse gas emissions. Let us give ourselves the opportunity to see if there are some better ways for us to use our international reputation and, indeed, to protect our international reputation and not put ourselves in a position where we sign an agreement we cannot honour.

Given the critical importance of this issue, and given that two days ago the House changed the Standing Orders in order to extend the opportunity to make private members' business votable, I would ask for unanimous consent to make this item a votable item in the House.

I thank the House for its attention. I look forward to debate and to a decision on my request for unanimous consent to make the motion votable.

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The Deputy Speaker

Does the right hon. member for Calgary Centre have unanimous consent of the House to make the motion votable?

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Halifax West Nova Scotia


Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in this debate on Motion M-82, proposed by the right hon. member for Calgary Centre.

This motion, should it be adopted, would express the opinion of the House on the creation of a special joint committee to examine the impacts of the Kyoto protocol. One of the problems with this motion is that the Senate would have to approve the creation of such committee. The House alone cannot strike a special joint committee.

The right hon. member for Calgary Centre has certainly heard about the ideas expressed recently by members of the Senate concerning the creation of joint committees and the problems that it causes for both Houses.

That being said, he worked diligently on his motion to create a special joint committee that would have the mandate to examine and analyze the regional, sectoral, consumer, environmental and provincial impacts of meeting Kyoto targets; to encourage the provinces and territories to provide their opinions as to the effects of ratification; to consider the effect on Canada of the ratification or non-ratification of the protocol by the United States; to determine if specific adjustment programs would be required; to obtain a comprehensive legal opinion on the constitutionality of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol without provincial agreement; and to provide recommendations as to whether Canada should ratify the protocol.

The government has stated its support for the ratification of the Kyoto protocol on climate change, but the position of the right hon. member is less clear.

For the government's part, we have been consulting extensively with the provinces, industry and the Canadian public on the Kyoto protocol.

A chronology of activities may help members of the House. Activities on climate change date back at least 10 years when Canada agreed to the United Nations' framework convention on climate change in 1992, at which time, I would note, the right hon. member was seated on a different side of the House. I would note that at that time he and his party did not advocate the establishment of a joint committee to study that matter.

After the conclusion of international negotiations on the Kyoto protocol in 1997, Canada's first ministers agreed to begin examining ways of meeting our climate change commitments and tasked their energy and environment ministers to design Canada's national implementation strategy for the Kyoto protocol.

Ongoing discussions with the provinces, territories and other stakeholders have thus been underway for many years. In June 2001, at the G-8 summit in Italy, the Prime Minister indicated that a decision with respect to the ratification of Kyoto would be taken by the end of 2002. The government has taken significant efforts toward this goal in 2002.

In May of this year the government released a discussion paper on Canada's contribution to addressing climate change, presenting options to meet our commitments. The discussion paper was considered by federal and provincial energy and environment ministers at their meeting on May 21, 2002. There were consultations with approximately 900 stakeholders in June.

More recently, the government tabled in the House a draft plan on October 24 which outlined how Canada would meet its Kyoto commitments. The Minister of the Environment stated in the House:

What we have put forward is an approach built on the best ideas to come out of the five years of constructive consultations with the provinces and territories, with private industry, with environmental groups and with the Canadian public.

This approach is based on principles on which I believe we can all agree, including: made in Canada within an international framework; collaboration and partnership; fairness; sharing, and no unreasonable burden; and transparency.

The Minister of the Environment noted that the government had tabled in the House its draft plan to engage in further substantive discussions with the provinces and territories. It should therefore be obvious that the government would have supported the October 24 opposition day motion that before the Kyoto protocol is ratified there should be a plan that Canadians understand, with costs, benefits and targets.

I understand that environment and energy ministers are scheduled to meet again on November 21 to further shape this plan. This will be their fourth meeting in 2002.

As the Speech from the Throne stated, the government will bring a resolution later this fall to Parliament on the issue of ratifying the Kyoto protocol.

In his address in reply to the throne speech the Prime Minister stated:

We have no choice but to act. It is our moral responsibility and it is in our enduring interest.

We are working hard with Canadian provinces and industries to develop an approach that will work for everyone. We will call for a fair contribution from every sector of society. We will have to reward innovators. Invest in new technologies. Be more efficient and productive. We can reduce the costs and maximize the opportunities. Citizens and consumers are ready to adjust their behaviour. Obviously, it will not be easy. We are grappling with very difficult issues. But I have no doubt that, working together, we will do it. We will have a strategy in place that allows us to meet our obligations by 2012.

The right hon. member for Calgary Centre wants to divert attention from the issues of the Kyoto protocol by the notion of a joint committee process. This is certainly not the case for all opposition members. For example, our colleagues in the Bloc and the NDP have been urging the government to ratify the protocol.

My question is this: Does the right hon. member have a position on the Kyoto protocol? If so, let him state it clearly and not hide behind the diversion that he has put before the House today.

Special Joint Committee on KyotoPrivate Members' Business

1 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government asked if the right hon. member had a position. I must ask whether it is fair to ask any member of the House if they have a position on something if the government cannot give us the details of what it is all about.

We do not know the costs of Kyoto. We do not know what effect it will have on jobs. We get phony figures from the Minister of the Environment all the time. It is not fair for the government to ask where an individual might stand on an issue. My party has a position. We are opposed to this. We have done our own research and it shows that this is not good for the House of Commons and not good for Canadians.

Canadians are growing more apprehensive every day about the dire consequences of the Kyoto accord. All the soothing assurances of those on the Liberal side, all their spin and fearmongering about the future of the planet, is being ignored. It has as much influence as what was said by a previous government about the benefits of the GST. The fact is, like the GST, the more Canadians learn about the Kyoto accord the more they fear and hate it.

Here is where we stand today. The Liberal government has committed Canada, without the permission of Canadians, to the Kyoto accord.

A week ago in New Delhi, as was pointed out by Diane Francis in a very perceptive and pointed column yesterday, the developing nations have opted out of Kyoto. If the developing nations are opting out of it at a furious pace, why is it that a developed and industrialized country like Canada is staying with this ill-advised and economically dangerous scheme?

Canadians know what the impact on their lives will be when the price of a litre of gasoline doubles. It will be disastrous for most Canadian families but not for ministers of the crown, or for the Prime Minister, or for the owner of Canada Steamship Lines because they ride around in chauffeur driven cars or, in the case of the owner of Canada Steamship Lines, he has enough money that $3 a litre probably would not be a problem.

I hope Canadians, who are busy preparing for Christmas and doing their Christmas shopping, understand that under the Liberal's Kyoto scheme, Christmas will be a lot less merry in the future. Their Christmas turkeys will probably triple in price because of increased production costs.

The government always asks where we get our figures. Well I say, just look at the gun registry which was originally going to cost $80 million but is now close to $1 billion. The Liberals do not know how to plan. I hope Canadians will remember who the turkeys were who introduced this wild-eyed scheme called Kyoto.

Heating the House at Christmas will likely be costly. It will probably double what it is now thanks to the Liberal Kyoto scheme. Driving out to visit friends at Christmas will double or triple because of the increased cost of gasoline.

Canadians surely will not understand why Canada is leading the charge on Kyoto when China and India are exempt on emission limits. Canadians know that those two countries spew out, as Diane Francis said, as much CO


in a day as Canada does in a year. Why should we be any different? Our friends to the south are not joining Kyoto. They are trying to solve other serious environmental emission problems.

If the Liberals would come clean and admit that Kyoto is basically just a worldwide welfare scheme to transfer wealth from the developed and industrialized countries, then Canadians could decide whether to support it on the merits of its basic purpose.

Canadians should be told and they should understand that the Prime Minister is going to jam Kyoto through, force it on them without their approval and without any regard at all for the consequences.

When the Prime Minister finally reaches the end of the longest retirement in political history, his pension will cover the astronomical costs of Kyoto. What about people on lower and fixed incomes? How will they heat their homes and feed their families at costs that soar into the high heavens? Not all Canadians go to Florida compounds to get away from the winter chill. The Prime Minister will leave them in the lurch in the cold with his Liberal Kyoto scheme.

We in the Canadian Alliance Party intend to support the motion, not because we think like the hon. member for Calgary Centre that another special committee is the answer to everything, but because we want to use this opportunity to alert Canadians.

The truth about the Liberal Kyoto scheme must be told by somebody. The Liberals, because it is their scheme, will not tell the truth on this matter, so it falls to the official opposition to do so.

Canadians must know that already major investments are being delayed or perhaps cancelled because of the Liberal Kyoto scheme. How can we expect people to invest in new industry in Ontario or anywhere else in Canada when they have no idea what the hidden costs of the Liberal Kyoto scheme will be?

Canadians should also know that of all the parties in this House, only the Canadian Alliance stands four square opposed to Kyoto. Our friends to the near left like it. Their neighbours a little further to the left love it. Their neighbours further away on their left will embrace it because they are trying to muscle in on the support of the parties that separate us from them.

The right hon. member wants a special joint committee of the Senate and the House to tour the whole nation to talk to everybody who will be hurt by Kyoto and report back by November 30. This means that the committee would talk to 30 million Canadians, thousands of executives from our corporate sector, union heads, school bus drivers, and hockey and soccer moms and dads, and report back in 22 days.

However we will support it with amendment because it might help delay Kyoto for a few hours and that at least will give Canadians a few more hours of memories of what Canada was before the Liberals destroyed our economy.

One company alone in the west might cancel planned spending of $300 million because of Kyoto uncertainty. That flushing noise we hear is more jobs disappearing down the Kyoto black hole.

Corporate uncertainty in Ontario is stalling job growth. What do the Liberals care? When the full impact of the Kyoto disaster is felt, the Liberals will blame the member for Calgary Centre for composing a motion that did not deter them from wrecking the economy.

The Liberal Kyoto scheme promises to be the disaster of the millennium. I want it known and on the record that every Liberal who sits behind or beside the Prime Minister is supporting this destructive and ruinous scheme. And I want every Canadian to remember that in the next election.

We certainly will be reminding them that the only friends Canadians had inside the House of Commons were the members of the Canadian Alliance who stood shoulder to shoulder against the Liberal's destructive Kyoto accord.

I move:

That the motion be amended by replacing the words “November 30, 2002” with “March 28, 2003”.

I might at the same time, in the good spirit of the matter that was passed in the House this week to make all private member's business votable, ask for unanimous consent that Motion No. 82 be votable.

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The Deputy Speaker

Let us deal with the matter of unanimous consent. Does the hon. member have unanimous consent?

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Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak in the debate on Motion M-82 put forward by the hon. member for Calgary Centre concerning the Kyoto protocol and the establishment of a joint committee.

Before getting into my comments on this motion, I would like to qualify what the member for Calgary Centre said, for at least three-quarters of his speech, about the provinces appearing to be opposed to the ratification of Kyoto.

I think he is making a historical as well as a technical error. It is important to separate the ratification of the protocol from its implementation. In this regard, I would remind hon. members of the Premier of Alberta's failure to create a Canadian coalition of provincial premiers to oppose the ratification of Kyoto at the last federal-provincial environment ministers meeting.

The Canadian consensus of the provincial environment ministers is not about not ratifying Kyoto, but rather about not implementing it. If the hon. member takes a look at the 12 points on which they agreed in Halifax, he will see that what the provinces are asking for is not that the Kyoto protocol not be ratified by the federal government, but rather that there be an equitable sharing of the Kyoto objective. They want the efforts made in the past by industries and by provinces like Quebec and Manitoba, which took it upon themselves to put in place action plans dealing with climate change, to be taken into account; they are asking the federal government to factor into the sharing of the Kyoto objective the different economic realities across the country.

We agree on the fact that, in Halifax, the provinces did not oppose the ratification, but rather the implementation of the Kyoto protocol. The Alliance member was absolutely right when he gave the central element of the real objective of this motion. He supports this motion because it will delay the ratification of the Kyoto protocol.

Since 1995, several consultations were held under the National Action Program on Climate Change. In January 2002, I checked the various consultations that have been held in Canada. As of January 18, 2002—not including the federal consultations in all Canadian cities on the four options put forward by the federal government—14 cities were visited, including Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver; 450 experts were consulted and there were 16 issue tables over a period of five years. Of course, this does not include all the conferences and meetings of federal and provincial ministers. I think the will to ratify the Kyoto accord has been clearly expressed.

I am glad to see that the hon. member for Calgary Centre would like us to discuss the impacts of Kyoto. This will allows us to speak about these undeniable impacts in the House today.

The question that begs to be asked is why we should start all over again all the work that has been done on the environmental impacts of the implementation of Kyoto in Canada and its regions. The UN International Panel on Climate Change has told us climate change impacts will be floods, more frequent droughts, irreversible damage to natural areas, and a higher prevalence of several infectious diseases.

This 2001 report deals with the impacts of adjustment and vulnerability to climate changes. In Quebec, the impact will be catastrophic. The water flow in the St. Lawrence River will be reduced by 15 to 20%.

There will certainly be an environmental impact associated with climate change. Why launch another consultation and create a joint committee just to have it confirm what the UN Intergovernmental Panel has already confirmed?

The member also wants us to talk about the economic impacts of implementing the Kyoto protocol. Many studies have been done on this. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce conducted a study, as did the Pembina Institute and the federal government, but the impacts are real, including for Quebec.

The impact on Quebec will be at least neutral, if not positive. Why? There is a theory that applies here. The Porter theory says that energy efficiency, or efficiency of any sort, is synonymous with competitiveness. How could a company which is more energy efficient be less competitive? Would energy efficiency make a Canadian business or a Quebec business less competitive than an American one, just because the Kyoto protocol had not been ratified in the United States?

Could a Canadian company not profit from the decisions made in Delhi last week? A company which exports its technology and transfers clean technology could receive credits under the clean development mechanism.

Would a business be penalized if it is based in Europe and can sell on the tradable permits market?

In fact, if the United States does not ratify Kyoto, but Canada does, it will be quite the opposite. These companies will want to sell the permits on the market. The price of those permits will change.

Ratification of the Kyoto protocol will have some economic benefits. There will be technological transfers. So, clearly, if the West tries hard enough, it can succeed.

We had an example of this last week when a gas company bought a wind energy company. It is quite telling. Half of the potential for wind energy generation is concentrated in western Canada. Our resource communities could depend on this incredible resource. If we turn our back on progress, we will be unable to keep up with the rest of the world. I do not want Quebec and Canada to lose ground. We need to go forward. We have to be efficient. We have to promote innovation, which will in turn bring us wealth.

Those who argue today that ratifying Kyoto will make Canada lose ground are living in the past. They are cutting themselves off from technological developments and completely ignoring the need for Quebec and Canadian companies to be more competitive on an increasingly global market. Kyoto gives us an incredible opportunity.

Canada will also have to take into account the shared goals we have to set for ourselves, but which can however be achieved differently. That is the issue here. I support and will always support Canada's goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 6% under the Kyoto protocol. This has to be done fairly, in a way that takes into account the potential for efficiency in the various provinces. Since western Canada has major potential for wind energy generation, its demographic and economic situation must be taken into consideration. Climate conditions, which vary from coast to coast, must also be taken into consideration. It is a well-known fact that the weather has an impact on energy consumption.

So it is not true that sectoral objectives will be established for Kyoto. I strongly support the consensus of the provinces, in Halifax, where they joined forces and told the federal government “We want to do our share, we want a shared, but separate objective that will take into account the economic realities of the different regions. We want territorial, bilateral agreements”. This is what the Bloc has been suggesting for a year.

Last week, in Halifax, the provinces rejected the sectoral breakdown that Canada wants to impose, and they asked for a territorial approach. This is what we have been asking the federal government for for weeks and months, and we are pleased that this struck a chord in Halifax the other day.

I will conclude by pointing out that a distinction must be made between ratification and implementation. I think we must remove all the constraints that would prevent Canada from ratifying the Kyoto protocol. However, we must achieve a consensus in the House on a fair breakdown of the Kyoto objectives, based, among other things, on the European model. Fifteen sovereign countries which are members of the European Union have agreed on a model of fair territorial breakdown that establishes different objectives within the European Union. This is a shared and separate objective that we wish to apply here in Canada.

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Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by thanking the right hon. former Prime Minister for introducing the motion to the House today. While we may not agree with the substance of the motion, I want to indicate to the member for Calgary Centre that we really appreciate the opportunity to debate the issue today because it is so critically important. We are talking about one of the most fundamental issues facing the future of our planet.

While I may not agree, and I think I speak for all of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party caucus, with the main thrust of the motion, we appreciate the sense of frustration that is behind the motion and the concern that is being expressed by the member for Calgary Centre with the inadequacies of the government with respect to the environment and the Kyoto protocol.

At the outset we are in opposition to the motion because for us it represents a delay in what we consider a fundamental step toward solving very serious environmental problems in our society today.

Also we appreciate the concern with the bungling on the part of the Liberal government throughout the whole development of the Canada strategy pursuant with the Kyoto protocol but do not believe that this country can accept any delay in the ratification in principle of the Kyoto protocol.

We heard in the House today members suggest that we cannot possibly begin to consider ratification of a protocol if we do not have the complete plan and strategy developed, worked out and presented to the House. It would wonderful if we had the complete plan. It would be wonderful if the government had not delayed for so long, if it had consulted earlier on in the process with all the provincial and territorial governments and groups concerned and had brought a plan to the House by now. However the fact of the matter is that we are in a time squeeze. We have to ratify the protocol as soon as possible.

While I appreciate the concerns expressed by the member for Calgary Centre, I think it means a delay in that timetable, a delay that will have some very serious ramifications for not only Canadians but for our obligations internationally. It has been said, especially by the member from the Alliance, that before we look at the Kyoto protocol and Canada's plan for implementation, we have to dot every “i” and cross every “t” .

It is a lovely idea and great sentiment except that we are dealing with the practical reality of Canada's signature being required for the ratification of the Kyoto protocol to happen. All of us know the facts. We have debated time and again that the protocol is binding once it has been ratified by 55% of the signatories representing 55% of developed countries' carbon dioxide emissions in 1990.

Canada's signature is needed for us to achieve that target. Canada's participation is absolutely required in the process.

I believe that the ratification of the Kyoto protocol by the House, the Government of Canada, has to occur as soon as possible. We have to accept the principle and move on.

It is fundamental to this whole area that one has to have a principle and from that principle, policies, programs and strategies will flow. Policies, strategies and programs do not create the principle so let us just start with the basic fundamental issue at hand today. What is the position of the House and of Canadians with respect to the principle behind the Kyoto protocol? Let us move on that issue and then put all we have into developing the plans, strategies for implementation at full speed ahead.

I think there is a real sense of urgency about this matter. I say that because of the kind of information and evidence we have received from the point of view of the health and well-being of Canadians. If one simply looked at the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change issues in the context of health and well-being, one would feel compelled to act as quickly as possible.

It is not just New Democrats raising these issues. Over the last number of months and years, medical experts in the country have made the direct link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change with numerous and serious health problems in our society today.

I do not need to put it all on the record, but let me remind hon. members that we are talking about some very serious health consequences, such as 16,000 Canadians who die prematurely every year from intensifying air pollution. We are talking about ozone depletion, exposing all of us to higher radiation levels and cancers and creating other consequences of that exposure. We are talking about rising temperatures leading to new tropical diseases and contributing to nearly 100 deaths a year in Montreal and Toronto alone.

We are talking about serious expert advice from the Canadian Medical Association which passed two resolutions pertaining to the ratification of Kyoto, one in 1997 and one again in August of this year, because of its concern with the government's delaying tactics and bungling of the issue. It passed a motion urging the federal government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and to adopt a strategy that would reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 6% below 1990 levels by the year 2012. It passed that motion because it is very concerned about the impact on Canadian health and well-being.

The association said that the tailpipes and smokestacks that emit greenhouse gases are responsible for smog and other toxic pollutants. It went on to say that reducing these emissions would provide significant health benefits, not only in terms of the number of adverse health effects that could be avoided, but also the economic cost of illnesses due to these health effects. An unhealthy workforce does not lead to a strong economy.

In addition to the Canadian Medical Association, we know that doctors and health experts have organized into coalitions and are sending clear messages to the government each and every day about the dangers of not ratifying Kyoto and not moving on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

I want to refer specifically to Dr. Alan Abelsohn who is with the Ontario College of Family Physicians. He has stated that hundreds of reports consistently show that exposure to air pollution and smog affect death rates, hospitalizations, complications of asthma and bronchitis and lung damage in children and adults.

I also want to refer to Ron de Burger, director of Toronto Public Health's healthy environment program and a member of the Canadian Public Health Association, who has said that the Ontario Medical Association has calculated that smog costs more than $1 billion a year in hospital admissions, emergency room visits and absenteeism in Ontario alone.

These experts talk about the impact of burning oil, coal and gasoline products emissions that cause both global warming and air pollution. They go on to talk about the fact that heat and sunlight cause the emissions from vehicle exhausts and smokestacks to undergo chemical reactions and form smog.

I could go on with all kinds of expert testimony and the views of witnesses about the impact of both climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in terms of health and well-being, which cost all of us in terms of human health and economic health.

I would suggest to the member for Calgary Centre that he join with us in urging for immediate ratification of the Kyoto protocol. Let us cross this bridge and get on with developing the plans to put in place a just transition and a responsible program in response to those international and necessary commitments.

Special Joint Committee on KyotoPrivate Members' Business

1:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I had not planned on speaking to this private member's motion but I have to talk for a minute because the last speaker is doing what so many people are doing in terms of trying to sell the Kyoto accord. They are making statements about air pollution and smog that have absolutely nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions, specifically CO


. The generic discussion that develops is doing a great disservice to the Canadian public because there is obvious confusion.

Everyone is in favour of clean air. What we are talking about with Kyoto is a very specific emission, CO


, a greenhouse gas. It has absolutely nothing to do with the other symptoms and pollutants the member is speaking of.

It is a very unfair characterization and one that makes for lesser debate rather than greater debate. It is one that would indeed lead me to believe that supporting the motion is absolutely the right way to go so that the public can become informed rather than misinformed, which is the way things have been going most recently.

In particular the proponents of Kyoto become more and more desperate when they see that as people become educated, their education about the real impacts of Kyoto correspond almost identically with opposition to the accord because it is not in Canada's best interests. It is not even productive in terms of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. It will probably achieve the exact opposite because it will displace greenhouse gas emissions from our jurisdiction to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards than our own, either because we would be transferring our financial resources to those jurisdictions or we would be buying emissions credits which would allow them to continue on with their dirty industries and allow us to do the same.

That concludes what I wanted to say. I am very thankful that we have a motion which, if amended in the way the Canadian Alliance is suggesting, would be a very good motion indeed.

Special Joint Committee on KyotoPrivate Members' Business

1:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that the amendment proposed by the House leader of the official opposition certainly would be acceptable to us.

There was a question raised by the parliamentary secretary as to whether the other place would agree. We should not assume it would not. Certainly if we took an act of leadership here, there are plenty of indications that the other place would follow, so that in itself is not an objection to the House of Commons moving on that.

I was interested when the parliamentary secretary said the government was going to be seeking a legal opinion on the constitutionality of its acting alone. That must indicate it has some reservations about that. I certainly do. I think it is an open question. In fact, it is not a legal question at all. It is a very practical question.

We can have the jurisdiction set out. The practical question is, can we make this work? The reality is that in a country like this, where the Constitution is not perfect and does not reflect reality precisely, unless we have agreement between levels of government, we are not going to be able to give effect to things that we might be able to agree on.

I was very interested in the parliamentary secretary's selective chronology. I am extremely proud that it was a government of which I was part that took the initiative at Rio. In fact, when one looks back at most of the environmental progress made in the country, it was made by the government of that day.

We faced major issues. There is no question that we took initiatives then that provided Canada with an opportunity to go to Kyoto in 1997 with an agreed position that could have made a constructive contribution to dealing with greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, the government of the day broke the agreement it had with the provinces and did not take advantage of that opportunity.

I was somewhat taken aback by the comments of the Bloc Quebecois member, for two reasons.

First, I think that he was not accurate regarding the Halifax conference, because participants did not support ratification. The hon. member was silent on the issue of ratification. He did mention the disagreements with the plan, and there are a number of them. Allow me to quote, for example, a letter from Quebec minister Boisclair to federal authorities:

The impacts of this plan will be particularly disadvantageous for Quebec, where the manufacturing sector is very active--

He goes on to say:

I am flabbergasted to see the treatment that your government is about to give to Quebec--

Finally, he says:

Today, I am asking you to make representations to your government, so that it changes its plan--

I do not know why or how the Bloc Quebecois, here in the House, can support a blind approach, when the government of its own province is trying to know the details before there is a Canadian consensus.

I agree that the two things are different, but they both need to be spelled out, to be supported by facts. Here, we do not have the facts we need to make an educated decision.

Quebec has taken exception to the plan. Several other provinces have taken exception to the plan or to ratification. Most provinces have: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. There is no consensus on this plan from the provinces that in many cases will have to give effect to its implementation.

The question here really is this: Should we ratify something when there is so much uncertainty about what the consequences would be? Do we not have a higher duty to know what we are doing before we sign on to a ratification?

I was very struck by the observation of the member for Winnipeg North Centre who made the point that we are dealing with a time squeeze. When she talked of a time squeeze, she talked about the calendar by which nations sign on, or do not, to the international accord. That is one of the things we have to consider.

But the other thing we have to consider is, when will we be acting here in Parliament? We know that the implementation legislation will not be available to Parliament for another four or five months, so why are we rushing to meet the Prime Minister's deadline? Why are we rushing to make a decision by December when he cannot get an implementation bill in here before March or April? Why should we not wait to see the facts before we are asked to make a decision on ratification? That really is the question. Why are this Parliament and the public being asked to make decisions without the facts?

The parliamentary secretary quoted the Prime Minister as saying that we have no choice. I hear the echo of the 1984 election campaign in regard to having no choice. I remember John Turner saying that we have no choice. He lost an election over that.

Democracy is about choice. Democracy is about making informed choices. Parliament cannot make informed choices unless we have more facts than we have available to us right now. The question is, how will we use the time before Parliament has to decide? Will we go on ignoring the provinces, allowing splits to develop, which could, as I said earlier, have political implications that none of us want to see? Or will we take the responsibility that is uniquely before us now to have Parliament step in where the government has not acted, to allow us to make decisions based on facts?

I see you are properly restless, Mr. Speaker. I thank you for the opportunity and I thank my colleagues for the opportunity to hear the debate.

I rather wish, as all members do who introduce private members' bills, that there had been a vote on this because I think we would have found support for the motion had there been a vote on all sides of the House, but I thank the House for its indulgence.

Special Joint Committee on KyotoPrivate Members' Business

1:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired. As the motion has not been designated as a votable item, the order is dropped from the Order Paper.

It being 1.40 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, November 18, 2002, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 24 and 28.

(The House adjourned at 1.40 p.m.)