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.