Mr. Speaker, I am very happy today to speak to this budget implementation bill, which will give me an opportunity to share my opinion and my assessment of the budget that was tabled by this government, particularly when it comes to the environment. Over the next ten minutes, I will emphasize this aspect in particular.
The government tried to convince us that this was an environment budget, that the first priority was to completely reinvest in the environment in order to solve a number of issues that are related to environmental problems.
Whether it was the issue of climate change, contaminated federal sites and lands, sewer systems, or improving national parks, the government tried to convince us that the environment was important and a priority.
I will remind the House that this budget only provided for $3 billion over five years to deal with issues related to the environment and sustainable development. For some, this is an impressive amount, and testifies to the government's willingness to commit itself to a real reinvestment in the environment. Some members on the government side might even claim that this is a green budget.
But it is important to compare figures, to put them into perspective and to examine the government's commitments against what was done in the past.
In this budget, the government announced $3 billion over five years for the environment and sustainable development, but it has spent $2.3 billion on this item since 1997. We are therefore looking at $700 million more over five years for environmental protection and sustainable development.
That is $700 million over five years, while the government often comes up with new legislation to provide an environmental framework or establish Canadian environmental standards for environmental protection.
The government is giving itself new legislative tools, be it the Species at Risk Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act or the changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. In light of this budget however, it seems clear to me that the government's financial commitments are not commensurate with the legislative action taken.
There is no point passing a species at risk act in this Parliament without providing the means to implement it.
So, the amount announced is a relative amount and a very small one compared to the size of the environmental challenges Canada will be facing and is currently facing.
For climatic changes alone, the government has announced $2 billion over five years in order to be able to achieve the Kyoto objective which, I remind hon. members, is a 6% reduction in greenhouse gases below the 1990 level by the period between 2008 and 2010.
Two billion dollars is a mere $300 million more than what the government had announced since 1997. That is $300 million more to achieve the Kyoto objective.
How can the government now claim that an additional $300 million will allow it to achieve the international objectives set for Canada, considering that the moneys allocated since 1997 have not resulted in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada but, on the contrary, in an increase in such emissions? Over a five year period, this additional $300 million over the amount earmarked in 1997, represents only $60 million more per year.
Of the $2 billion, $250 million will go to Sustainable Development Technology Canada, and $50 million to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and the Atmospheric Sciences. Improved tax incentives for renewable energies have also been announced.
Finally, and this is important, funding will be provided for other measures relating to climate change. These targeted measures are estimated at $1.7 billion, but over a five year period.
The important thing about this $1.7 billion for climate change is that Quebec is asking the federal government for a quick bilateral agreement, so as to have the financial means to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of a Canada-wide program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, why is the federal government not providing Quebec, and the other provinces, with the financial means to achieve the action plans aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
Quebec is one of the very few provinces, along with Manitoba, to have its own action plan on climate change. As we know, in Quebec, 95% of the electricity is hydro power; it is produced by using renewable energy. So, efforts should not be primarily focused on the energy and industrial levels, because industries in Quebec have managed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, efforts should focus on the transport sector. Indeed, this is where efforts should be made.
If we compare that to the west, the people there have seen a dizzying rise in sectorial and industrial emissions. Emissions in certain sectors, such as the tar sands and the oil industry, may increase by as much as 200% to 300%.
We need a Quebec action plan on climate change, allowing Quebec to attain its objective for reduction based on effective optimal efforts to be achieved by sector. Only Quebec can determine these efforts, through an action plan.
Another aspect is the decontamination of federal sites. The government is announcing $340 million over two years, which is very little.
I will remind hon. members that around that same date, March 26, 2001, the Bloc Quebecois obtained documents under the Access to Information Act indicating that there were a considerable number of contaminated sites in Quebec that fell under federal jurisdiction.
Some were in my riding of Jonquière, and others in the riding of my colleague from Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier. There must be more funding available for decontamination. This is a major issue. It is not true that, with the funding announced in the recent budget, we will be able to reduce the number of contaminated sites in the medium term. No point in talking about the short term; we must be realistic. Even in the very medium term, we will not manage.
I am opposed to this budget, precisely because it does not provide the funds to attain the environmental and sustainable development objectives we have set for ourselves.
My congratulations to all colleagues who will be speaking in the next few minutes in connection with this budget.