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House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was judiciary.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

November 9th, 2006 / 2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has always refused to take a serious position on climate change. He continues to maintain that it does not exist. His party is opposed to the Kyoto protocol. His government is opposed to specific targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As for the Minister of the Environment, when we can find her she just muddies the waters.

We have put forward a proposal with four points establishing a strong Canadian position. Will the Prime Minister save Canada's reputation and tell his minister to defend this position in Nairobi?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this government was the first to present a serious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the number of air pollutants in Canada. With regard to his government's record, I can quote the Liberal member for Kings—Hants:

Instead the government's plan in terms of the Kyoto agreement was basically written on the back of an airplane napkin on the way to Kyoto. There was no long term planning. There was no real negotiation with the provinces or with industry sectors. In fact it was a last minute, hastily drafted agreement.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have seen that the emperor has no clothes; 71% of them are telling him the Conservatives have no plan whatsoever.

What we are asking is that the Prime Minister change a course which is a disaster for our environment, a disaster for our foreign policy and a gross abandonment of our responsibility for the world.

Will he not face the evidence that the planet is more important than any neo-conservative anti-climate change ideology? Will he order his minister to follow a sensible course of action in Nairobi? Will he order her to stop trying to destroy the Kyoto protocol and to adopt some short term targets, fund projects in the developing world and set ambitious concrete goals for the next phase of Kyoto which is essential for our planet?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the previous emperor had no clothes on Kyoto. That is why the people of Canada changed the emperor in the last election campaign.

Let me quote once again one of his own members, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca who said the following:

Unfortunately Kyoto is a shell game. My friend knows well that the [Liberal] government has made this into a shell game. We are to pay countries like Russia to buy the ability to produce greenhouse gases. We will produce the same amount of greenhouse gases and say disingenuously that we have met our commitments.

That was the plan of the previous government. It is not the plan of this government.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what planet the new government is living on, but the rest of us are trying to save planet Earth.

The Minister of the Environment has wasted this year as the world chair on climate change. Not only is she going to the conference in Kenya with no prescription for global action, she is going with zero plan for Canadian action. The Minister of the Environment is not a leader on the environment. She is an anti-leader.

Will the Prime Minister order his minister to quit trying to undermine Kyoto? Will he adopt the sensible non-partisan plan that was proposed this morning by the opposition parties?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment is going to Nairobi as the first minister of the environment in the history of this country who has tabled legislation to deal with the problem of greenhouse gases.

The party opposite signed Canada on to Kyoto a decade ago, for 13 years did not produce a single plan, and now has the gall to actually suggest that the Liberals would go to Nairobi and commit us to even more targets while we are still waiting to see their plan after 13 years.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians and most members of this House are demanding that Canada attain the Kyoto protocol targets and want stringent targets for phase two.

Most other countries are willing to take bold steps to fight climate change. The consensus is clear.

What more does the minister need in order to take action? Why is she sabotaging international efforts? When will the Conservatives stop playing politics and side with the rest of the planet?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Canada's clean air act will enable us to meet our Kyoto protocol obligations, except for the unattainable targets set by the Liberals. We will set new targets in order to make real progress, together with our international partners. We hope that the Liberals will support Canada's clean air act.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are fed up with the minister's doublespeak. The environment is their top priority. They have the right to know what she has ordered her senior officials to say in Nairobi.

Will the minister continue to dig in her heels and refuse to listen to Canadians who believe in Kyoto, or will she stand up in this place and promise to meet the short-term Kyoto protocol targets? In light of the consensus at the Montreal conference, will she give her unqualified support to more stringent targets for phase two?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we have been honest with Canadians, honest with our international partners and honest with ourselves, compared to the last government. We have said to the international community,we are committed to the Kyoto protocol, committed to working with them, but we cannot meet the unachievable, unreachable targets set by the former government.

I would encourage the hon. member to go to the United Nations website or the Environment Canada website, which has all of our position related to Kyoto posted there for everyone to see, before we leave for Nairobi.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has said repeatedly that the Kyoto protocol objectives are unrealistic and unattainable. The Prime Minister said we needed to go beyond the Kyoto objectives, which, according to him, is what his bill achieves. Let us just say that the government's position is ambiguous, to say the least.

With the climate change conference underway in Nairobi, will the Prime Minister stop sowing confusion about his position on the Kyoto protocol?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, speaking of confusion on Kyoto, it is interesting to see this new alliance on the environment between the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois.

My advice to the leader of the Bloc is that before continuing to associate himself with the Liberal record, he should read this quote, “I think our party has got into a mess on the environment. As a practical matter of politics, nobody knows what Kyoto is or what it commits us to”. It was the hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the past they have criticized the flaws in the Liberal plan. The only thing the Conservatives can come up with to remedy those flaws is to deny that greenhouse gases exist. They are not going to correct the situation that way.

Rather than continuing their denials, as they have been doing throughout the entire debate on Kyoto, could they not respect the first phase of Kyoto and impose stricter targets for the second phase, instead of defending the oil companies the way they do?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, now the Leader of the Bloc Québécois wants to work with the Liberal Party to resolve the greenhouse gas problem. This is a very interesting development. I see that Bob Rae is not a member of the Liberal Party, but he has enjoyed a lot of success in the leadership race so far.

Perhaps the leader of the Bloc Québécois could hop on his high speed train and go to the Liberal Party convention where he could also criticize the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will reply to the Prime Minister by saying that the Bloc Québécois is prepared to join with all the political parties and all the countries that wish to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but not with the Conservative government, which is associated with the NDP.

Montreal is the only place in Canada with a derivatives market. The Montreal stock exchange wants to set up an environmental market. In order to do that, specific standards must be set.

If the Minister of the Environment wants to support Montreal's initiative, what is she waiting for to establish specific standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, by opposing the clean air act the opposition and the Bloc Québécois are wasting the time of the House and of the Montreal stock exchange.

Why does the Bloc Québécois oppose the clean air act, and perhaps also the creation of the Montreal market?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I did not expect that I would have to reply to the questions, but I will do it.

The Bloc Québécois is opposed to the minister's bill because, unlike the Conservatives and the NDP, it firmly believes in Kyoto, like the rest of the world.

The minister's bill only includes targets for the year 2011. This is 2006 and if we wait until 2011, Montreal will not succeed.

Will the minister agree to set targets now?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I invite the opposition to read clauses 27, 29 and 33 of the clean air act, which allows a North American tradeable units system. As with acid rain, we need a North American solution. This is why we are consulting the parties, namely the Bloc Québécois, the Liberal Party, the NDP, and also the provinces and industries.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, average Americans sent a very strong message to George Bush indicating that they thought his war in Iraq was wrong. Every day we see more and more Canadians speaking out with their concerns about the Liberal-Conservative mission in Kandahar.

The Liberals and the Prime Minister do not have the support of average Canadians when it comes to the mission in Afghanistan.

Will the Prime Minister finally rethink this unbalanced and ill-defined mission before he meets the same fate as his southern cousin?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the concern the leader of the NDP has for my fate.

That said, regardless of what happens in the United States, our role here is to support our Canadian men and women in uniform. I understand that is what the leader of the NDP in Nova Scotia did yesterday in supporting an all party resolution. Darrell Dexter said, “Our job here in this province is to support our soldiers and our military personnel”. That is the job of Canadians in every province and in every party.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are reasons why more and more Canadians are opposed to the war in Afghanistan. The mission is unbalanced, there is no exit strategy and there is no measure of success. It is a mission that just is not working. Ordinary Americans have sent the Republicans the message that they do not support the war in Iraq.

Will the Prime Minister finally change the direction of the Afghanistan mission and rethink it, as needs to be done?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Afghanistan mission is a United Nations mission, and is supported by almost all of the countries in the world. It is supported by the government and people of Afghanistan. It is important that we always support our soldiers.

Before Remembrance Day, when we remember our veterans, I have to say that it is important to support our troops when they are in the armed forces as they are at present.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, every major environmental group in this country has slammed the Prime Minister, or, as he now describes himself, Canada's new emperor, on his 50 year environmental scheme. Canadians have overwhelmingly rejected the Conservative approach.

In a desperate attempt to salvage credibility, the Prime Minister voted non-confidence in his environment minister and asked the opposition parties to rewrite her legislation.

Given that the minister had her chance and failed, will the government commit now to allowing MPs who actually care about the environment to write Canada's environmental policy?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, if that is an offer of support for the clean air act to go to a legislative committee and to work with the government in putting forth a good piece of legislation, we are open to it and we always have been.

I would point out to the hon. member that we have support from the Clean Air Foundation, the Healthy Indoors Partnership, Pollution Probe, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Lung Association. We are happy to hear that the Liberal Party will also support us.