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House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

Nuclear Safety and Control ActGovernment Orders

December 6th, 2002 / 12:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among members about the vote that will eventually happen on Bill C-4. To permit as many members as possible to participate on this, I would like to move the following motion. I move:

That, when no member rises to speak during consideration of Bill C-4, the question shall be put and a division thereon deemed to have been requested and deferred until Tuesday, December 10 at 3:00 p.m.

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12:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

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12:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

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12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

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12:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The question is on third reading of Bill C-4. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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12:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Pursuant to Standing Order 45, the division is deemed requested and deferred until Tuesday, December 10 at 3 p.m.

The House resumed from December 3 consideration of the motion, and of the amendment and the amendment to the amendment.

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12:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties in the House. I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following. I move

That, during consideration of Government Order, Government Business No. 9 this day, the Chair shall not receive any dilatory motion, quorum call or request for unanimous consent to propose any motion, and, when no member rises to speak, or 2:30 p.m., whichever occurs first, the Chair shall adjourn the House to the next sitting day.

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12:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the House give its consent to the government House leader to propose the motion?

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12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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12:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Does the House give its consent to the motion?

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12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

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12:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether this motion is required, but out of an abundance of caution, I wish to renew the notice I gave yesterday with respect to Government Order, Government Business No. 9, namely, that, at the next sitting of the House a minister of the Crown shall propose, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that the debate be not further adjourned

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12:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to conclude my speech on this very important matter.

This week we have heard from government members who have stood in this place during debate and question period preaching doom and gloom if we do not ratify the Kyoto accord. The minister and other government members have acted as if they were the only people who cared about the earth or as if they were the only ones with children or who were worried about the future. That is simply not true.

Like the Minister of the Environment, I am a trained lawyer. I emphasize that I am not a scientist but neither is the minister. Unlike him, I do not pretend to know exactly what effect human CO

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emissions have on climate. I do not know. However, as recently as last week 27 climate specialists stated, “Delaying ratification for a short period so as to allow proper scientific consultations to take place will do absolutely no damage to Canada or the environment and is unquestionably the prudent and responsible course of action at this time”.

Included in this group are presenters and reviewers of the 2001 IPCC report. The truth is there are thousands and thousands of scientists on both sides of this debate and no amount of wishing by the Minister of the Environment can make it otherwise.

The Kyoto protocol is not based on science; it is based on politics, on a desperate desire for a legacy by the Prime Minister, an expired prime minister. It is driven by fear and an environmental industry that is every bit as self-interested as anyone else. It is certainly not based on a strong fiscal plan.

Kyoto will be a body blow to the Canadian economy, its cost ranging as high as $40 billion and 450,000 jobs lost. The Minister of the Environment tells us in the House day after day, “Trust us. Trust me. We will develop the plan. We will work on the Canadian solution. Trust us. Ratify this accord and we will make it work. You have got to believe us”.

Let us look at some of the facts. The government just took $1 billion and poof, out into the wind it went on the firearms registry. The firearms registry is bad enough. The government absolutely wasted $1 billion.

In British Columbia the provincial government used $450 million to build three fast ferries and the people threw out that government. That party is now down to two seats.

The Liberals took $1 billion to create a database. It is appalling. It is sickening. Now those guys are telling us to trust them, trust them on the database. I heard someone from the government talking in question period today on the Sea King helicopter procurement and I just about choked. He said, “We are accelerating the contract”. Two years ago they split the contract in two and now they are bringing it back together and saying, “We are accelerating the contract, it will be quicker”, after completely bungling the issue for the last 10 years.

Now the Liberals say, “Trust us on the Kyoto accord” when the scientific community is split on it, when the entire Canadian industry has concerns about it, and when we are the only country in the western hemisphere to buy into it. Our largest trading partners are not buying into it. Why? Because they know it is not the right way to go.

Yes, we should clean up our environment. Yes, we want to ensure that our environment is there for our children. Do we want to clean up our air? Absolutely. Do we want to try to reduce smog? Absolutely. Is that what the Kyoto protocol is all about? Absolutely not.

The government charades are an absolute disgrace. After their record, the Liberals are trying to pull the wool over the Canadian people's eyes. Since being elected in 1997, we have seen the $1 billion boondoggle and Groupaction contracts. The way the Liberals blow money out of this place one would think they had a printing press out in the lobby. It is absolutely incomprehensible to spend $1 billion on a database.

They blow it off saying that they will fix the problem. The Liberals have been around here since 1993 and they have screwed up just about every single thing they have touched. It is time to throw those guys out.

On October 22 the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development released her audit on the government's environmental record. It was a long list of failed environmental commitments. The government says to trust it on the Kyoto accord. Its past record on the environment is dismal. The government was reminded of its failure to reduce toxic chemicals, harmful airborne particulates, its failure to clean up contaminated sites on federal lands, and the list goes on. This is from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Then the government says, “Trust us, believe in us. Just ratify the Kyoto accord and in the next year we will try to come up with a plan”. Even its own numbers do not add up. It is absolutely incomprehensible. The government wants Canadians to trust it after having one dismal failure after another from the government.

The commissioner also found that strategies and plans for some issues were missing or incomplete, and that objectives, targets and timetables were fuzzy or missing, and in some of its strategies, plans that did not exist. Does this sound familiar? Sure it does.

The Minister of the Environment stands up in question period day after day and waves his little green book and tries to cast insults on everyone saying that he is the only one that has any knowledge on this issue and that the rest of us have none. We have read the minister's little green book. There is one single number in that little green book of $1.6 billion. The government has already spent that.

There are no numbers. There are absolutely no assessments. The government has not done its homework, and the government says, “Trust us”. There was $1 billion in the HRDC scandal. I am going to keep repeating this next one until I am blue in the face. This week it was $1 billion for a database. That is bad enough. It is absolutely astonishing, but there is something that is even worse. The Auditor General pointed out to Canadians that the government had purposely hid it from Parliament.

How could anyone trust the government after one screw up after another? The minute these revelations come to light the government goes into full damage control mode, full defence mode. It is not okay. We are here as the caretakers of the public purse. We are supposed to have some sense of accountability in this place for how money is spent. The government blows $1 billion as if it were nothing. It is unbelievable that the government members can look Canadians in the eye and say, “Trust us”.

The truth is the Kyoto accord will not clean up the air. It will not plant a tree. It will not clean a stream. The truth is the government has no idea, not a clue on how much it will cost Canadians. The scientific community has been telling us it could cost $40 billion or $50 billion. They have been telling us it could be 450,000 jobs. The government does not have a clue.

The government knows about as much about how much Kyoto will cost as how much it will cost to fulfill the firearms registry. The government does not know how much the annual costs are. We have been witnessing this in question period for the last two days. The government does not have a clue. The government cannot tell Canadians. It has armies of people over there and it is in damage control mode. They blew away $1 billion. The government wants to get through next week so that when the House of Commons adjourns for two months, this issue will go away.

This time it will not go away. It is not only about the firearms registry, although that is bad enough. We in the Canadian Alliance believe we should be putting police officers on the street. We should be putting those resources into our police agencies to reduce crime. Then there would be greater safety. Then we would not have the tragedies such as that which we witnessed years ago in Montreal, and today is the anniversary. We could reduce such tragedies as occurred in Vancouver.

We believe we should be putting those resources into policing across the country, not into an ill-fated gun registry and blowing away $1 billion. We have to pound the message home that it is not okay.

The government wants us to trust that it will get Kyoto right and that it will come up with a plan. The truth is that it does not have a clue. The Minister of the Environment has no idea what this will cost. He wants us to trust him. He has put all his eggs in one basket, Kyoto. He has ignored environmental legislation. He has ignored cleaning up toxic waste sites. The list goes on and on, but he wants us to trust him.

How can anybody trust the government after its dismal accountability for the Canadian purse? I note that the former finance minister was the holder of the chequebook through all of this and kept writing the cheques. They kept having to go back to Treasury Board to quietly take more money out of different programs so they could fund another billion dollar boondoggle.

The only legacy the Prime Minister will be left with will be billion dollar boondoggles, and this one tops the list: a billion dollars for a database. It is enough to make anybody just about choke. Then it hides it from us. It is a disaster. Not one person in this country should trust the government.

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12:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Lunney Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, with our neighbours and NAFTA partners to the south not signing the Kyoto protocol, with the huge border we share with the United States, and with so much of our industry and development concentrated along the 49th parallel, I wonder if the hon. member shares my concerns.

In British Columbia we have just seen a mill close in Fort Langley and move across the 49th, just south of the border, taking with it 56 jobs. In that community of only 780 people south of the border, they are building a huge electrical generating plant, and I understand there are more on the drawing board.

Does the hon. member share my concern that Kyoto is a great plan for the development of the northern United States at Canada's expense? I wonder if he shares my concern or would care to comment on that.

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12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that in the Americas, Canada is the only industrialized country to sign on to the Kyoto protocol, or is about to ratify it.

As most members in the House know, or should know, some 85% of our trade--the figure is debatable, plus or minus a per cent or two--is with our neighbours to the south. Billions of dollars a day go across the border in two way trade with the United States. We cannot seem to get it through the Liberals' thick skulls that this will have a huge, disastrous impact on our economy.

Other industrialized countries, such as Australia, negotiated the Kyoto protocol at more than 8% of 1990 levels. Our negotiators' only mandate was to try to one up the Americans and they did not even do that. They negotiated 6% below 1990 levels. The worse thing is that it will not clean up the environment. It will create an economic disaster with our largest trading partner and it will cost Canadians in the magnitude of half a billion jobs.

The member is absolutely right. The alarm bells should be going off for businesses in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada. They should be panicking to throw the government as far as they can.

We have a Prime Minister who is more interested in demonstrating to the world that he is Mr. Green than any single worker in this country. We have a Minister of the Environment who is trying to get this Kyoto ratification through at any cost. He wants us to trust that his government will be able to do it. The last thing we should do is trust them.

Canadians should fire the government as far as they can. Taking $1 billion and blowing it into the wind like it has a printing press back there is unacceptable. How can the government talk about trust when it hides this from Parliament? It is bloody disgrace.

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12:40 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalSecretary of State (Western Economic Diversification) (Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Mr. Speaker, I have listened carefully and with interest to the statements by my colleague opposite on the Kyoto accord.

I would like to ask him a very specific question. How does he possibly think Canada will succeed economically if we do not develop the environmental technologies to meet the ever increasing standards that we all realize around the world need to be met for our health and to reduce energy consumption and therefore energy costs?

For the last 10 years California has been increasingly raising its emission standards and building the environmental technologies to meet its own standards, which it then will sell to the rest of the world. However, as we move into the future and try to meet California's standards we will have to buy its technology. When we raised our pulp emission standards in the early 1990s we bought Scandinavian equipment because we did not have the technology ourselves. We did the same thing with the Japanese automobile industry in the 1970s and 1980s when the first oil crisis occurred.

How on earth does the member think we will become a competitive trading country into the future if we are going to be totally dependent on foreign technologies, largely American?

The member talks about Kyoto not being accepted and ratified by the United States. The American states are raising their environmental standards and developing the technology to meet them, which we will then have to buy from them.

Let us look to the future and not just look to the past in terms of this very backward thinking.

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12:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect for the member, as he pointed out, the people in the United States have this great technology but they do not have Kyoto. My whole point is exactly what he is saying. He made my argument for me. We do not need the Minister of the Environment's little green book, for which he does not know the cost of developing the technologies.

Should we be reducing smog? Absolutely. Should we be trying to clean up the environment? Absolutely, 100%. Every single member over here will support that.

The hon. member said himself that if we do not ratify Kyoto we will have to buy the technology from the Americans. They are not ratifying Kyoto but they will continue to develop their technologies. We have some of the brightest minds here in Canada. We can do it here. However we need a government that will provide the economic policies so that this country can flourish and our economies will not lag behind. We need a government that will put resources into developing these technologies, not blow the money into the wind, into a firearm registry that has zero accountability.

The Liberals want us to trust them. We have seen billion dollar boondoggles. We have watched hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising contracts going to their friends who donate to the Liberal Party. Why should Canadians trust the government? There is not one reason.

With all due respect, the member made my argument for me. The minister's little green book will not develop these technologies. However we can develop those technologies if we have a strong, economic platform. Yes, we can. We do not need Kyoto. Kyoto will be another fatal disaster. If the government ratifies this we will be back in the House a few years from now saying, “Oh well, we just threw another billion dollars up against the wall and we haven't reached our CO

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emissions”.

The facts speak for themselves. We only have to look at the record. Do not blame me. Look at the government's record of mismanagement and hiding. It is an abuse of power and it blows it off like it does not even care. It is in full defence, full damage control mode.

The member who just spoke, and who I have the greatest respect for, is from British Columbia. He witnessed firsthand what happened when the provincial government out there blew $450 million on fast ferries. The public was outraged, as it rightly should have been, and it threw those members out of government. So far that party is down to two seats.

The same thing deserves to happen to the government. It has no respect for the Canadian hardworking people who send taxpayer money to this institution.

I keep emphasizing that it is not about a gun registry, although, yes, we believe that money should be going into policing, it is about a government that can blow away a billion dollars and have complete disregard for the taxpayer. It could not care less about it. It tries to sweep it under the rug. It is wrong.

The worst thing is how did that billion dollars ever get in there if it hid it from Parliament? How did that happen? Did one of the ministers secretly go off and try to pull money from other departments? Will we finally get to the bottom of the truth in this matter? For the government to take a billion dollars to create a database and hide it from Parliament, that is borderline criminal.

It is time we throw the government out. It is time Canadians show the government what it deserves. When it stands up and says that we should trust it, how could anyone, even its own members, trust the government?

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12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, every time I hear from the members of the flat earth society I despair.

Before my hon. colleague throws out the government, does he know which party he will be in then? Which world does he belong to? Does he agree that we are part of an international community, that treaties are signed, not just by Canada but by a lot of countries? In this case, over 93 countries have signed, including all our allies: Japan and all the countries of Europe. He cites Australia. I could cite Japan, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany and France.

Does he not think that we have a duty to other countries of the world that are polluted by us, including our own fellow citizens from the Arctic region, including my colleague from Nunavut who has spoken very eloquently many times about the changes in the Arctic? Does he not think that we should do something for others for a change, instead of always looking inwardly to ourselves, as his party does in its silly little cocoon and cannot see beyond Alberta and B.C.? Does he not think that we have a responsibility toward the other people of the world as well and that is what Kyoto is about?

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12:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am still perplexed by these questions. The government wants to sign Kyoto because other countries have signed it. Canada negotiated a bad deal. Europe will trade emission credits within the EU and it knows the shutdown of the industry in eastern Europe will make it much easier for it to achieve its targets.

Yes, we should clean up our environment. Nobody is disputing that but this ill-fated Kyoto accord would not do that. I do not know what it will take for the government to understand that. The Kyoto accord is about reducing CO

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gases of which 95% are not man made, they are natural.

Canada does its fair share but it could do a lot more by ensuring we have a strong economy. We have a very different country. We have a large country with transportation issues. Our trading partners are not signing onto this. It is a bad deal and for the member to paint the Canadian Alliance as people who do not care is simply false.

We will protect the best interests of the country and ensure there is a strong economy for Canadians. We will do our part but we will not continue on the government's record of blowing money out into the wind as if it had its own printing presses. It is time for Canadians to look at the record and give what the government justly deserves and that is to toss it as far as they can.

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12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on the Kyoto protocol and represent the people of Nunavut on this important issue, I want to move the debate back to the topic at hand by putting a human face on the matter. I want to talk about what climate change is doing to a way of life and culture.

Inuit and northerners, people of the Arctic, live hand in hand with the environment and they are feeling the effects of climate change in their lives. Their lives are changing constantly because of the different factors that are happening in the world. They are not immune to it. They are experiencing it, just like every other group of people in the world.

The northerners and the people of my riding have been consistently supporting the government's intention to ratify the Kyoto protocol. I am sure we have all seen the first ministers' conference where the Premier of Nunavut took a strong position and urged the Government of Canada to ratify the Kyoto protocol.

One of the main reasons that people in the north are supporting ratification is that we are already experiencing the impact of climate change. We are living the changes every day. We all talk about the effect climate change would have on the people of tomorrow, but I want to stress to the people of Canada that the changes are happening now and we are feeling the changes today as I speak.

It has been documented by our people. We have heard from different sources like the hunters who go out every day and see the changes. My father is one of those people. He has lived in harmony with the land. He is 72 years old and has seen tremendous changes in our lives, not only affected by climate but also other factors. This is someone who I admire greatly and whose knowledge I trust. I would put my life in his hands because of his knowledge of the land, the climate and the weather.

He and other hunters are telling us today that they cannot predict what the weather would be like day to day because all the traditional knowledge that they have, that they use to rely on to determine their survival, is not consistent today with what they know and expect of the weather because nothing is reliable as far as the weather is concerned. The changes are so drastic that their knowledge is undermined by what is happening today.

We talk about melting permafrost. We live in an area where we do not have any basements for the houses because in some areas of the north we have permafrost only six feet below the ground. All our houses are built on this permafrost that is threatening to melt, as some people in Grise Fjord have noted.

The government of Nunavut is doing a study on its own on the different changes that people are talking about. It is documenting these changes. One piece of information received was that the glaciers were melting and this can be noticeably seen as the landscape changes before our very eyes.

The other area that we are hearing about is the way that travel is changing in our part of the country. I can attest to that myself because the ice is melting so soon in the spring and freezing very late in the fall. That affects how people go out and travel in our part of the north, especially with the lakes or sea ice freezing so late. This in turn affects the animals, mammals and fish and whether we can even count on the species being where we normally expect them to be at certain times of the year.

In many of my interventions and speeches I always talk about how the people of the north are so adaptable, but I can say right now that these changes are happening so fast that we are caught in a time where we are finding it difficult to adapt. One can imagine what effect this is having on other living things in the north.

When the summit was taking place in Johannesburg we had people from the Arctic as part of the Canadian delegation. They were honoured to be there and that Canada recognized that the Arctic was one of the main indicators of climate change. We were pleased to have that recognition because that is where most of the changes are being felt today.

The changes that are happening today are very much a threat to our culture and way of life. We talk a lot about living in harmony with the environment. If the environment were to change, then our lives would change. We are a group of people that have undergone many changes. We feel that this is a direct threat to Inuit culture because of all the changes that are happening.

We are put in actual physical danger because of the changes to the weather and ice conditions. This is undermining traditional knowledge that has been passed down for generations. If the climate keeps changing at this accelerated rate we fear great changes would happen to our way of life, the lives of animals and the Inuit way of life overall.

We are concerned with the carbon dioxide emissions and how the temperatures might rise over the next while, even by 5°C in the summer, which may not seem like a lot, but to us it is.

With regard to health factors, we have the highest cancer rates and we have other detrimental health effects that people are experiencing in our part of the world. We have had many studies done where contaminants were reaching our people. These contaminants were coming from other parts of the world. We talk about pollution from different factories around the world and those contaminants were reaching the Arctic where the fragile ecosystem is greatly affected by these contaminants.

We have different researchers telling the people of the north that they must keep eating their traditional foods even though they are contaminated today because the harmful health effects of not eating them are greater than eating the contaminated food. That is the reality we have in the Arctic. We are being told to continue with the lesser of two evils. Even though we see contaminants from different sources from around the world entering the food cycle, it is still better for people to continue eating the traditional foods that we have always relied on for our survival.

Different research has proven that there were harmful effects of contaminants entering the breast milk of Inuit women. That is disturbing for us to hear. Again people are telling us that it is healthier to continue to use breast milk even though they know there are harmful contaminants in the mother's breast milk. Those are the realities that we are living with today.

So for the north, we very strongly urge the ratification of the Kyoto protocol because the expense of not doing something to improve the lives and the health of people is greater, and as a country we have to take the initiative to deal with the harmful effects in the environment and to help with the survival of a group of people and their culture.

As I said at the beginning of my intervention, I want to put a human face on this debate. We very strongly support the ratification of the Kyoto protocol because we feel that our very culture and our way of life is at stake, on the top of the human life that will be affected if we do not do anything.

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1 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, in her speech the member talked about contaminants that are affecting the health of people from her constituency. I think that is something that the government certainly should be dealing with.

It is ironic, I think, that this member would talk about the importance of dealing with the problem of contaminants affecting the health of her constituents and at the same time support the Kyoto agreement, because the Kyoto protocol has nothing to do with the contaminants she is talking about. It has zero to do with that.

Kyoto also has nothing to do with acid rain, nothing to do with the smog over Toronto or any of our Canadian cities, and nothing to do with any types of pollutants that are in our water, our soil and our air. It has only to do with carbon dioxide and the other small amounts of greenhouse gases which combine with water vapour. Water is the single largest greenhouse gas. The theory is that is causing global warming. It is unproven. She is supporting an agreement that deals with this unproven science about increasing temperature and yet in her speech she was talking about contaminants, which are absolutely not included in the Kyoto agreement. They have nothing to do with it.

Why does this member not support the position taken by the official opposition and others, which is to put government resources into dealing with real pollution problems like acid rain, pollution over our cities, smog and the types of pollution she is talking about, if it is in fact man-made? Why is she not encouraging the government to put money into those resources, deal with those very real environmental problems and forget about for now, at least until the science is clear, something that is so uncertain as whether man is causing global warming?

I would like to ask the member why she does not support that.