House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Conservative Pontiac, QC

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My colleague is asking me what we have done. I can tell him about my personal experience as a citizen who is concerned about the environment.

I was talking earlier about my experience at the Société de transport de l'Outaouais. Each day, 365 days a year, residents of the Outaouais region use the bridges to go to work in Ottawa. By implementing reserved traffic lanes, we have eliminated the equivalent of over 20,000 cars a year.

These are concrete measures. Unfortunately, the previous government did not support concrete measures. I see the member nodding in agreement. However, if our credits and incentives succeed in convincing people to use public transit to go to work, I think it will be good for everybody.

I congratulate the member on the work he has done. I believe it is important and we must continue.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would remind the Minister of Transport to address his comments through the Chair.

One more brief question, the hon. member for Trinity—Spadina.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, Toronto had 63 smog days last year. Under the former Liberal government greenhouse gas emissions went up by 24% to 25%.

Canada is the only country where we do not fund the operating budget of public transit systems. That is not acceptable. The roads are in poor shape. I am a cyclist. I ride my bike every day, but in Ottawa it is very difficult because the roads are in very poor shape.

I was reminded that the tax credit was started in 1999. Nelson Riis, a former NDP member of Parliament, pushed for it. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is saying that we need the tax credit but the tax credit does not produce. We can buy the buses but there is not enough money to operate them.

My question for the minister is would we be able to get a 5¢ gas tax credit now for public transit so that--

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Sorry, but we have to keep moving on.

The hon. Minister of Transport.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Conservative Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know the work that has been done by our hon. colleague and her husband, and all the work that was done when he was president of the federation. I was also there as one of the cheerleaders as a town councillor to push for this, so it is not just one member of the House who pushed for it. It is many people in a lot of communities in a lot of town halls and in places across this country who want to support initiatives that give results.

Initiatives that give results are the ones that we spoke about before, initiatives for instance, whereby the government of Ontario, the municipal-regional organization in Toronto, all support public transit. We should be continuing, collectively speaking, to push for initiatives such as those so that we can not only better the health of Canadians but increase their quality of life. Those are the things that count.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to explain before my colleagues, the hon. members of the House of Commons, some of the reasons why I support the motion introduced by my colleague in the Bloc Québécois, the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, demanding compliance with the objectives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions established under the Kyoto protocol.

I would like to say, first of all, that my personal health status has a lot to do with the extreme importance I attach to this issue. Like thousands of our compatriots and millions of people around the world, I have asthma.

Members may have already heard me coughing here in the House, and although these untimely noises are beyond my control, I would like to offer my apologies to this kind assembly.

I do not want to base my presentation solely on my personal situation, which is not of much concern, ultimately, in comparison with the health problems that some of our fellow citizens face.

I should just say that I forgot to mention I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi.

It seems to me though, and people will certainly agree, that not enough attention is paid in the current debate to the effects that greenhouse gases have on our health and how urgent it is, therefore, to take action.

Sometimes I wonder what air those who put so much energy into polluting the atmosphere breathe or what world oil producers and other large generators of greenhouse gases live in. Do they not see the effects of all this pollution on their children, on themselves, and on the entire planet? Do they want a tomorrow for future generations?

We should all be implementing, and should have for a long time now, lasting solutions to a problem for which we are entirely responsible as human beings.

On the international level, we should be following the example of the European Union, which reduced greenhouse gas emissions by minus 1.4% in 2003, while Canada increased its emissions by 24.2%.

We could even draw inspiration from Quebec, which had the best record in Canada for greenhouse gas emissions in 2003 at 12 tonnes per person. That is clearly below the Canadian average of 23 tonnes per person.

Rather than building on all these positive models that are based on fundamental principles such as those presented by the Bloc Québécois—namely, honouring international commitments, fairness, and respect for Quebec's jurisdictions—the Minister of the Environment is considering joining the United States in the Asia-Pacific partnership.

On April 25, after a meeting with her American counterparts, the Minister of the Environment announced that her government would be taking a page from American successes in the areas of the environment and curbing air pollution.

Contrary to the claims of the Conservatives these days, the American approach to fighting climate change is not a model to be adopted. In fact, whereas greenhouse gas emissions totalled 23.4 tonnes per Canadian in 2003, they amounted to 23.7 tonnes per American.

What is it that the Conservatives really want to do? Reduce or increase greenhouse gas emissions? The question bears asking.

The Conservative government has indicated that it does not intend to attempt to honour the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels, as it deems this to be an unrealistic and unachievable target. The tragedy is that the Conservative government has shown no intention of meeting the Kyoto target.

Not meeting the Kyoto target is tantamount to abandoning Kyoto.

The Conservatives must realize that their position has serious consequences for Canada's credibility on the international stage.

They have to realize that their position could call the whole issue of the viability and relevance of the negotiations and the signing of multilateral agreements into question.

The Conservatives have to realize that they must not limit themselves to spending taxpayers' money on building prisons. They must invest in measures that will ensure our safety, our health and our prosperity for years to come.

Climate and extreme weather conditions, while they cannot be changed, are the result to a large extent of human action. We must react now and stop putting the lives of future generations in peril.

Returning to health matters, I appeal to the conscience of the Conservatives in the hope they will follow the example of the European Union, according to which:

Air quality is one of the prime environmental concerns of European citizens and, accordingly, of the European legislature, in so far as it affects not only the environment but also public health. The latest research has shown that air quality is one of the main causes of the increase in respiratory disorders.

For this reason and for all the others cited here today, the Conservatives must honour the objectives of the Kyoto protocol, as the Bloc Québécois is demanding in the name of the 90% of Quebeckers who have given it their support.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, members talked about buying hybrid vehicles but studies have shown that the environmental impact is perhaps not as important as expected.

Apart from environmentally friendly cars, we can still spend considerable amounts of money. I would like to ask my colleague opposite what the Bloc Québécois is suggesting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There is talk about investing money, but where does the Bloc think we should put this money?

I would really appreciate a suggestion that would not be limited to hybrid vehicles.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to tell the member that we could start by talking about where this money must not be invested. I talked about jails. I can also talk about huge subsidies given to the extremely polluting oil industry.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for her speech on the opposition motion on the Kyoto protocol.

I really liked the health aspects that she talked about in her speech. Indeed, often in this House both Conservatives and Liberals tell us about the economic costs of implementing the Kyoto protocol.

However, does she not think also that we should have a cost-benefit analysis of this implementation?

Indeed, investing in the Kyoto protocol is trying to improve people's health, trying to improve our environment, something which produces social benefits.

Does my colleague think that this analysis must go beyond the economic aspects? Can we also consider the beneficial effect implementing the Kyoto protocol has on the health of Quebeckers and Canadians?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for that remark.

Obviously this concept is implicit in the question, which I dealt with from another point of view. When we talk about health, in the long term we are avoiding much higher costs, and also avoiding a great deal of suffering for the population, which is entitled to breathe clean and healthy air.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have listened carefully to my colleague’s speech and the comments which followed.

She has indeed shared with us a problem that arises from the deterioration of the quality of our environment in Canada and Quebec. She feels the effects personally, particularly asthma. It has also been mentioned today in the House how much smog aggravates this situation.

However, in her statement, there were some errors with regard to the Kyoto protocol and our government’s commitment.

Of course, our government is in favour of pursuing efforts with a view to reducing the effects of climate change. I would like to remind my colleague that we are all hoping for the success and achievement of the Kyoto objectives. Even the most prominent environmental experts, however, acknowledge that achievement of these objectives is doubtful. Several analysts within the environmental community also doubt it.

I would invite my colleague to make sure that, before pushing the government to make commitments, some realistic commitments are being proposed.

She made another error in her speech, concerning the fact that the government is committed to the Kyoto protocol but it is also trying other approaches. Our government finds that the reduction of greenhouse gases is so important that not only must we pursue the Kyoto protocol, but also we must do so with the other countries who are not signatories.

Does my colleague also recognize that, in addition to pursuing our efforts with our partners concerning Kyoto, we must continue our efforts with the other, non-signatory countries? Indeed, the reduction of greenhouse gases is too important for it to be left in such a process—

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am sorry to interrupt, but the member must be allowed time to answer the question.

The hon. member for Papineau.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I reply to my colleague that obviously we must pursue efforts in all areas.

However, we note on the part of the Conservatives a glaring failure to act. In my opinion, the best way to pursue objectives is to begin immediately. What we are being presented with is really a wait-and-see approach. This is a situation in which we will never be able to make the decision required.

Whatever reduction we achieve with the proposals currently on the table will still be a step in the right direction as far as the future is concerned.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion by the member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie. I would also like to thank the hon. member for Papineau for splitting her time with me, so that I have a chance to speak.

The Bloc Québécois believes that combatting climate change will be one of the most important global issues in the decades to come.

For weeks, the Harper government has been trying to make the question of climate change and of saving the planet go away. Canada, after years of foot-dragging and a lack of political will, is already lagging behind, supposedly because the previous government fell down on the job, the targets would cost too much and the Kyoto protocol was not a made-in-Canada solution.

The present government is using all of this in its effort to have us believe that climate change is not important and that not all climate change is Canadian, when the old saying tells us to clean up our own backyard first before looking to see whether the neighbour’s yard needs cleaning.

The Kyoto protocol is the result of many years of work and cooperation in the international community. I myself was a Canadian delegate to the Rio Conference, for solar energy. That was when greenhouse gases first started to get talked about, under Mr. Mulroney, in fact.

The targets and objectives are in fact modest if we are going to effectively solve the climate problems created by man. The government must commit itself to honouring the Kyoto protocol.

How does the minister think that she is going to persuade people to reduce their GHG emissions if she gives the very clear impression that she does not know what she is going to do?

At present, 90% of Quebecers support the Kyoto protocol. People are finding it hard to believe that Kyoto is so bad that the targets have to be thrown out with the implementation plan, because the plan was not adequate for the task. That amounts to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The fundamental principles on which the Bloc Québécois position on the question of climate change is based are that we honour international commitments, that we be fair, and that Quebec’s areas of jurisdiction be respected.

The Bloc Québécois is asking that the Harper government put forward a plan for implementing the Kyoto protocol that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions--

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I apologize for interrupting, but this is the second time that the member has used the Prime Minister’s surname.

I would ask the member to refer to him by title or riding.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was talking about a series of measures that would respect provincial jurisdictions.

I will respond to the member for Louis-Hébert who was asking earlier about some of the concrete measures that we would like to see. We want to see the elimination of tax breaks for oil companies. We want to see grants to organizations that contribute to the effort towards our Kyoto targets. We want stricter standards for all vehicles to make them more energy efficient. We want rebates for those who buy environmentally-friendly vehicles. We want financial support for the development of renewable sources of energy such as wind energy, which has made enormous progress over the last 15 years, but there is still a lot of work to be done in that area. We are at the point where researchers are looking to produce wind energy strictly electronically, without friction. It would be extraordinary, and we must support these kinds of initiatives.

With regard to solar energy, we know how to produce passive solar energy, but that technology has not been applied. Therefore we need to develop it further so it can be applied universally in Canada and in Quebec.

Photovoltaic systems which provide solar energy are about fifteen years behind compared to wind generators. So there is a lot of development work to be done in that area. We could even sell that product abroad.

Those are concrete measures that I am suggesting in response to the member for Louis-Hébert. I am thinking about geothermy in particular. Canada's underground energy potential is enormous. I was talking with the deputy minister and we were saying that our country is extraordinary for that. It is one of the countries most capable of harnessing geothermal energy and also of putting the cold back into the ground. Geothermy used to be very expensive and worked almost exclusively with prototypes. Its price has just dropped by 50%. We need to develop that potential. There is as much energy in geothermy as there is in all the other sources of energy currently used in Canada.

The Bloc Québécois is asking the Harper government to make public, by October 15—

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member has again used the surname of the Prime Minister.

I would ask him to make a great effort to use the name of the riding or title of members of the House.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

I take due note of it, Mr. Speaker.

This Kyoto protocol contains measures in fields of jurisdiction that are truly effective in combating climate change, such as: strict regulations on manufacturing standards for all vehicles, with stiff penalties in cases of non-compliance that will be enforceable in the short term; elimination of the GST on the purchase of new cars that consume less than 6 litres of gasoline every 100 km, and incentives for efficient trucks; research and development grants for organizations working to combat climate change, such as the Centre d'expérimentation des véhicules électriques du Québec in Saint-Jérôme; creation of a tax deduction for public transit passes; and mandatory energy-efficiency labelling on all new and used vehicles sold in Canada.

The target for Quebec industries has to take into account the efforts they have made in the past. To determine the targets assigned to each industrial sector, the federal government must use 1990 as the reference year. Quebec’s industries have already managed to reduce their emissions by almost 10% since 1990. The latest efforts being asked of them are the most difficult to realize and the most expensive. The next federal plan must not penalize Quebec’s industries, which have been responsible and forward-looking.

The federal government claims that to achieve the Kyoto objectives we would have to stifle the Canadian economy and send billions of dollars abroad. This is false. Just take the example of the companies that have made their investments in greenhouse gas reduction cost-effective precisely by becoming more energy efficient. I will only cite three types of plants that have adopted this principle to achieve greater cost-effectiveness: the flat glass plants throughout the world, concrete makers, and aluminum smelters.

We prefer the territorial approach, in the context of a bilateral agreement with Quebec, as Quebec has requested. This approach is the most equitable toward Quebec and will permit it to acquire a better instrument for quickly attaining the objectives of the Kyoto protocol.

On the eve of the Bonn conference on climate change, the Bloc Québécois feels that the federal government must encourage developed countries to renew their commitment to reducing greenhouse gases after 2012, and must persuade developing countries—and this responds to the question of the hon. member on the other side of the House—that presently benefit from a reduction leave to make quantified, binding commitments for the sequel to Kyoto 1.

Will the only task of the Minister of the Environment be to cut the ribbon at the Kyoto 2 conference in Bonn?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2006 / 1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the province of Quebec is in the fortunate position of having a generous supply of hydro power, which probably explains why Quebeckers are doing a better job. They are blessed with that asset whereas the rest of us are not so fortunate.

I would like to refer to the member's ancestral forefathers. I recently read articles that said France had met its Kyoto standards. One explanation for it reaching its standards is the fact that almost all of its electrical power comes from nuclear power. The second explanation is the fact that the price of petroleum in France is two or three times higher than it is in Canada. Therefore, it has modified behaviour as far as reliance on motor vehicles. These are probably the two driving forces in France that explain why it has met Kyoto standards.

This is a global problem, not just a Quebec problem. As far as the plan for Canada, would he be advancing dramatic increases in the price of petroleum and the use of nuclear power?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

Quebec has made choices, that is plain. It is no accident that almost all our energy, a majority of our energy, and the heritage pool we have, come from hydro power. Those are choices that were made a long time ago. We also chose not to go with nuclear. France chose to do that, but Quebec did not. Quebec resisted, because of the nuclear waste, the lifespan of which we do not know.

The Bloc is proposing that the rest of Canada look to renewable energy. It has to be done. Renewable energy, particularly geothermal energy, is available everywhere in Canada. There may be less of it in Vancouver, but it is available in the rest of Canada. Cold climates and very hot climates provide extraordinary opportunities for geothermal energy.

Another possibility is to look to passive and active solar energy. There is also the possibility of using photovoltaic systems. There are many, many other types of energy that the rest of Canada can use to reduce the quantity of greenhouse gases, as Quebec has done.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, sometimes this debate seems academic. I hope people realize how serious this is.

I know the members for Yellowhead and Nunavut would agree with me that there are dramatic changes in the north. The ice roads are melting and species are becoming extinct. Polar bears, which people depend on for their livelihoods, are moving. The mountain pine beetle and Spruce beetle are coming to Yukon. People are losing their livelihoods, which enable them to feed their children. This is a very serious debate.

I was delighted the member mentioned renewable energies. The Liberals were supporting biodiesel, cellulose ethanol, grain ethanol, deepwater cooling, solar, water, wind, photovoltaic, geothermal, landfill, gas, hydro and biomass. Does he agree that it was good for the Liberal government to support those types of renewable energies and does his party support them?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would not want to make this a partisan issue. It is already painful enough to see the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party constantly arguing back and forth. Let us be progressive, and move forward, toward the future, toward renewable energy. That is the only real way to save the planet.

It is also important to keep the Kyoto protocol targets. If we abandon those targets, we will never be able to move on to a second Kyoto, which would be much more important than the first. The Kyoto protocol is the only way to save the North.

What would be dangerous is for the present government to keep the targets but decide to spread them over 25 years. That would amount to saying that we will not be aiming for those targets.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, those of us who are very committed to the Kyoto protocol and who wish we could have convinced the Conservatives to embrace the protocol lost our opportunity at the very moment the Bloc said it would support the Conservative budget. We lost our bargaining strength.

We could have convinced the Conservative Party to embrace and comply with Kyoto if we had the bargaining leverage. Why did the Bloc give in so easily? Why did it trade its bargaining chips and get nothing in return?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP member is in no position to be lecturing us. Last year, what the NDP got was money on paper. The NDP never had the money it traded for getting an agreement.

In my opinion, it is important that the $2 billion was kept in so that it can eventually be invested in renewable energy, if that is what the government wants to do, just as it is important to keep the $800 million for social housing in. Those are not words; that is real. That is why we voted for the budget.

We also really have to tackle the fiscal imbalance. For the first time in this House a government has admitted that it exists.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on the motion presented by the Bloc Québécois, which I must say is one of the more convoluted and complicated motions that I have ever seen in the House. If we read through the entrails of it, it basically says that, yes, we need to meet the Kyoto targets, but do not look to Quebec if we are to do that.

While I would agree that we need to acknowledge and recognize early movers, and there are some in Quebec, we need to recognize that across Canada. We all have to take some collective responsibility for dealing with greenhouse gases. My colleague from Yukon has pointed out, as we all recognize, that after years of the Conservative Party saying that the science was not clear, hopefully everyone in this chamber now understands that climate change and greenhouse gases are a problem.

We had a bit of the buck passing yesterday when the Minister of the Environment suggested that to meet the Kyoto targets we would have to take every train, plane and automobile off the streets of Canada. That is interesting.

We do know that the transportation sector contributes substantially to our greenhouse gas emissions. What was noticeably absent was the question of large emitters. Where was that in her remarks? Large emitters are oil and gas producers and large manufacturing plants. That is why we in Ontario, for example, must take some responsibility for the greenhouse gases that are produced by the manufacturing sector. Indeed, we must do that across Canada, but how can we leave out oil and gas producers?

Greenhouse gas emissions are something that we have to start taking some collective responsibility for. In 1997 the Canadian government signed the Kyoto protocol. The opposition has said it was for photo opportunities. That is a scandalous claim to make. We know that the Prime Minister at the time received some pressure and lobbying from environmental groups, quite rightly, that had a grave concern about greenhouse gases and their effect on climate change.

The Prime Minister knew that the Kyoto accord was in jeopardy unless Canada signed on to the accord. The Prime Minister signed on to the Kyoto accord. What are the advantages of such an accord? The accord sets certain parameters. It sets certain stretch objectives and it puts in a framework for consequences if the targets are not met. By doing that, the Prime Minister saved the Kyoto protocol.

It could be argued, as some of us did at the time, that the goals would be very difficult to achieve and that we had to have a concrete plan. I think the government at the time was right to sign on to the Kyoto protocol. It was not too long ago, in fact in 2005, when the previous environment minister for the government brought out Project Green, which laid out a plan to move forward on climate change and achieve our Kyoto objectives.

Is it true that meeting our Kyoto objectives will be a stretch target? Absolutely. If we sit around in this chamber and debate and pass the buck, and throw it to the next generations, then we will have failed in our responsibility as members of Parliament. The government will have failed if it does not deal with it. We must deal with it.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the member for Halifax West.

We have heard a lot about this made in Canada solution. We do not know what that is. In fairness, the government has been in power for a short period of time, but it implies that the ozone layer knows a country's borders and that there is a recognition of that. We all know, on the Liberal side, that if Canada is to reduce greenhouse gas production, all citizens will have to play a part. That is why the previous government brought in programs such as the one tonne challenge and EnerGuide for housing which the present government is now gutting.

This morning at committee we found out from the departmental people that what the Minister of Natural Resources was talking about in terms of a 50¢ return to the people that were achieving energy reductions, 50¢ for the department and 50¢ for citizens, was actually a bit of a stretch in terms of the facts of the case. The facts are that there is about a 12¢ administrative charge that the department has to bear, but the other part is to do the pre and the post-audit.

Was the Minister of Natural Resources about to argue that we would not have any audit of the energy efficiencies that were planned to be undertaken? Would the experts have to go in and say, “yes, there is this kind of energy efficiency required that will be achieved”? Of course not. There is the question, was this getting the bang for the buck? However, the 50¢ dollar argument just does not cut it and we will be pursuing that one more.

There are many opportunities where the Conservative government talks about picking up the low lying fruit. We certainly have opportunities in the transportation sector. There is public transit. What our government decided to do was to invest in public transit infrastructure and in fact, if we talk to the public transit experts they say that is what is required.

The program that the government is proposing, a tax credit for public transit users, we all know in the House that it will only get about a 10% to 20% maximum lift in terms of new users of public transit. What it does is reward existing users. That is nice. It is nice to reward existing users, but is that the best use of taxpayers' dollars? We want to get more people on public transit.

There are a number of other opportunities in terms of biofuels, but in Canada unfortunately, we have a mixed grid with different provincial regulations and targets with respect to ethanol. We keep talking about corn, but we know that in the United States the Americans are talking about grass and corn stalks. We need to start to get a little more creative.

I would like to talk about the oil sands because I know that it is a politically sensitive area. We know on this side that the national energy program was not the way to proceed. If anyone on this side does not understand that now, we need to examine ourselves.

Certainly, I will not support moving away from world prices on oil and gas. If we were to put our head in the sand, no pun intended, about what the oil sands is doing in terms of our greenhouse gas emissions, then we would be missing the point. We know that areas like Fort McMurray are going nuts. There seems to be unbridled growth. We know that the oil sands production is going to double by 2012 and triple by 2020. There is about a 40% input of energy to get out a unit of energy from the oil sands. Its impact on the water resources is huge. To produce one barrel of oil from the oil sands it takes 2 to 4.5 barrels of water. The Athabasca River basin is under huge stress.

We need to deal with these issues quickly. Is clean coal an oxymoron? I do not think so. Some would argue that it is, but we need to deal with that. We need to deal with a host of other issues in a constructive and positive way. I am hoping that is what the government will do.