Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg Centre. I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the federal New Democrats to speak to this motion. Having looked at the motion very carefully, we in the NDP disagree with every line that it puts forward.
It is quite astounding to listen to the comments of the Alliance member for Red Deer. They reminded me very much of the famous novel 1984 by George Orwell. This is a very good example of doublespeak.
The Canadian Alliance is telling the Canadian public that Kyoto is dangerous and harmful to the environment, that we should not proceed with it, that we should scotch the whole thing, pack it up and go somewhere else.
Alliance members are also saying that we should rely on human adaptation. In other words, we should tell all farmers facing drought or coastal communities facing flooding as a result of a rise in the ocean level to adapt. I have never heard any comment as utterly ridiculous. It completely flies in the face of real scientific evidence that has been developed over decades which tells us that we are facing an environmental catastrophe unless we as a global community are willing to act.
While I am pleased to have the opportunity to debate the motion, it is nothing more than a scare tactic. Reports from the Alberta oil companies are telling us that it will cost $40 billion to implement the Kyoto protocol.
Let us get real. There are costs to implementing Kyoto. Why should there not be? It has taken a number of years for society to destroy our environment. Destruction is all around us in terms of air quality in urban communities and the quality of the oceans. Yes, there is a cost to cleaning that up and to reversing the decisions we have made, but it is not the kinds of economic costs now being put forward by vested interests propagated by the Canadian Alliance. One study from the national institute of public health in the Netherlands shows that in Canadian terms it is something much closer to $198 million to $700 million, not $40 billion.
If we wanted a proper examination of this issue, why would we not put on the table one of the positive sides of Kyoto, the fact that it has been estimated that it will produce 65,000 new jobs, and the whole issue of the green economy? We could talk about investments in public infrastructure. We could talk about investments in retrofitting our buildings to save energy. Those are costs we would actually save. Those are issues where we would produce jobs and a green economy.
Contrary to what the hon. member for Red Deer was saying, that Kyoto would lead to a recession, I find it very insulting that he would put forward that kind of argument in the House to literally scare people away from the true reality of what is facing them.
We must recognize that as Canadians we consume more energy per capita than any other country in the world. We use more total energy than 700 million people on the African continent.
We in the NDP understand that this is not just a Canadian issue. This is an issue of global justice. This is an issue about what we do in the north and what happens in the south. If we somehow expect to maintain our privilege and our incredible levels of consumption and to say to developing countries that they cannot do the same, that they cannot enjoy the privileges we have, this truly is an issue of global justice.
We also have to look at other costs to our society. Anyone who has kids will know that there has been an incredible increase in asthma among children. Why? Because of our environment, our polluted air and global warming. We are now seeing a tremendous impact in terms of environmental health issues, which is costing our health care system billions of dollars.
I was very interested to hear the comments from my Bloc colleague who spoke about the ice storm and its $3 billion impact and about how those kinds of environmental catastrophes will continue to happen.
I think the motion today gives us an opportunity to raise the question as to whose interest is being served. It seems to me that the true colours of the Alliance Party have come through very strong today, colours, I might add, that are very polluted, because they are clearly sending out a message. They are articulating and defending a false position put forward by corporate Canada. I am proud to say that we in the NDP are in the House to uphold the public interest and I believe that is why we are elected.
Just in case the Liberals think they will get off scot free, I hope they will vote against this motion and I know there are individual Liberal members who have actually done a very good job of raising these issues within their own government and have taken a very good stand, but the Liberal government, I have to say, is not much better. For five years now it has been waffling on this issue. We have had conflicting statements from the Prime Minister, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of the Environment. They have been all over the map and we are no further ahead. We want to call on the Canadian government today to really show leadership and to not only reject the motion but to move ahead and ratify the Kyoto agreement and Canada's commitments.
By contrast, real leadership is coming from the community. We have environmental organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada and the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, all of whom have been producing excellent information to show us the reality of what will be happening in our environment if we do not adopt Kyoto. In fact, Greenpeace and the Sierra Legal Defence Fund released a study in February which shows that we could improve our urban air quality and meet one-third of the Kyoto commitment if only we would have stronger vehicle emission regulations on our automobiles. It is pretty shocking to know that SUVs, for example, will not be covered by any regulations until the year 2009. It is really astounding that as we escalate the degradation to our environment, regulations covering some of these very harmful gas guzzling vehicles like SUVs will not even come into effect for another seven years.
We have also seen a lot of leadership from groups like the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Jack Layton, president of that group, has made it his business and his mission to bring together the municipalities to say that if the federal government will not do anything and the provincial governments are all mucking around, then at least at the municipal level, where 80% of Canadians live in urban environments, they will show leadership and take a stand on this issue. We congratulate them for that.
Finally, let me say that we in the NDP have been unequivocal in our support of Kyoto. Our member for Windsor--St. Clair, our environment critic, has stood up in the House day after day pressing the government as to why it is waffling on this issue. We will continue to do that, along with the Canadian public, until the government meets its commitments that were laid out in the Kyoto accord. We have to hurry up and do this before it is too late. We have to meet our commitment because the survival of our planet and the future of our children depend on it.