Mr. Speaker, on February 18, I questioned the environment minister specifically about Canada giving billions of tax dollars to developing countries to in essence send taxpayers' moneys up in smoke in developing countries' smokestacks. The minister's response was unacceptable. I will quote that response today:
We will do it despite the opposition, which does not understand the link between the environment and the economy. The opposition does not understand that in global warming there is the word “global”.
Let me say that I understand what global means, but what the government is saying and what this minister was saying is this: in other words, no matter what the elected representatives of this country say, including me and including the members on this side of the House, no matter what we say, the Liberals are going to do it anyway. They are going to ignore the will of the people and the will of those elected representatives in making those decisions.
The Conservative Party does understand what will happen to Canada's economy if the Liberals fully implement Kyoto. Let me provide a little bit of background.
The Kyoto protocol, which of course was completed in December 1997 after nothing being done for several years, requires 55 countries, representing 55% of the emissions, to reduce greenhouse gases, to agree to do so. For Canada, our commitment is 6% below the 1990 level. We have to reach that by 2008-12.
It is estimated that in 2005 we must reduce our emissions by 270 to 300 megatonnes. What do those numbers mean? They mean a lot of things. They mean that this is going to hurt taxpayers a lot. There is going to be a lot of pain to reach these numbers for the Liberal government. Since 1990, in fact, because of the Liberals' inaction on this file and some growth in the economic sector of Canada's different industries, we have increased by nearly 30% our greenhouse gas emissions.
There has been no implementation by the Liberal government, no action up to this time, and now we are faced with emission problems and, quite frankly, a serious situation that, in my opinion and the opinion of many economists, is going to cripple our economy.
Recent studies actually indicate that Canadians will pay 100% more for electricity if the Kyoto plan is implemented and 60% more for natural gas. Indeed, we are already seeing an increase in gasoline prices at the pump. It is expected by some experts that we will see an 80% increase in gasoline prices as a result of the Kyoto implementation. Again, I say “ouch”. It is going to hurt a lot.
Economists say that this could even lead to a recession. Canada's buoyant economy will end up falling into the pit of recession. As a result, our economy obviously will lose many jobs and we will have serious problems.
I would like to talk briefly on what I am most concerned about. When we fall into a recession, as most countries do, the first things that are chopped are the environmental programs that have been implemented. I am concerned with that because we have a lot of problems in Canada's environment today. We need to protect and clean up our rivers. We need to clean up our lakes. We need to clean up our land sites; we have something like 30,000 contaminated sites in Canada that need to be cleaned up. There is absolutely no action on these.
I am concerned that the implementation of this Kyoto bill will actually work in reverse. Not only is it going to devastate the jobs and the economy of Canada, but it is also going to cut where we need the most action. We need action on the hands-on environment.
Even the government's own officials have admitted that the cost of Kyoto compliance will be at least $10 billion, not the original $5 billion that the Liberal government said it would cost.
My question is this. How can this government assure taxpayers that Liberal bungles will not cost us billions upon billions of dollars more and how is the government going to make sure we do not lapse into a recession?