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
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.