Mr. Speaker, I have good news for the member who just spoke. We are prepared to forward the full package to clean up the environment and clean up greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Lévis—Bellechasse.
I am surprised by this particular motion from the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie because it is ironic. I was not aware that the Bloc had actually signed on to the Constitution. I was very glad to hear that because my understanding is it is a separatist party, but the Bloc included that in its motion so I take it to mean that either I missed something or, indeed, the Bloc will be signing it in the near future and respecting the Constitution.
Nevertheless, I have had the privilege in the past of sitting on the environment committee with many of my colleagues here in the House. I have enjoyed that time. I have actually written a thesis, believe it or not, on the enforceability of judgments on cross-border pollutants. I participated in the Kyoto implementation study with over 50 stakeholders from private, public and non-government organizations. I have had the privilege of visiting Iceland for the Arctic Council on Climate Change. I saw the results of that.
I am an avid outdoors enthusiast. I would actually lay claim to the term “environmentalist”. I spend a lot of time outdoors. I am interested in a future for the environment not just for the present generation, but for my children, for my grandchildren, for all Canadians and all people who live on this planet Earth. I am very interested in that.
Although I am Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, a title which I am very honoured to have, I actually have a keen interest in the environment.
I have read the Pembina Institute report on oil sands fever, greenhouse emissions and chemical contamination in the last two weeks. I even had the privilege of meeting with Elizabeth May, who at the time was the executive director of the Sierra Club. We talked about greenhouse gases and what we could do in northern Alberta. I met with a representative from the David Suzuki Foundation, Dale Marshall, in the last two weeks.
I have done all that because I am interested in the environment, just like everyone on this side of the House, every Conservative here. We want a solution.
There is no question that our Earth is changing, and it has been changing for the last however many years that it has been around. We know it changes. Temperatures fluctuate, and they have fluctuated since the beginning of time. In fact in this very place we sit today, I guess the place was not here, but a huge layer of ice was here at one time, thousands of years ago. So things do change, and things are going to continue to change.
But what does create greenhouses? What is contributing to climate change is not just the natural function of the Earth, but it is also things like forest fires, which have a great impact on greenhouse gas emissions. It is automobiles that people drive back and forth to work. It is factories. It is electrical generation utility companies that provide electricity for us. It is manufacturing facilities. It is natural resource extraction processes. It is even the use of any kind of fossil fuel. Those things cause greenhouse gas emissions. It is just about everything we do that causes some form of greenhouse emissions.
In fact in this House today and every day since I have been here, there is a lot of hot air that goes up all the time. I am hoping today though with this particular speech we will not have much of it. I am hoping that some people will be interested.
I do want to identify one particular thing in history, and that is it was actually a Conservative government that took the first step on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Indeed, that very gentlemen, the right hon. Brian Mulroney, the former prime minister, was the first person in this House to bring forward legislation to deal with greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
Brian Mulroney was honoured recently as Canada's greenest prime minister. I am very proud of the fact that he was from a Conservative caucus. Indeed he introduced a very good plan. It was called the green plan and the name itself speaks volumes. He committed to do something that the Liberal government never did. He actually set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He actually had ideas on how to do it and he set plans. But that was prior to 1993 and that was prior to the Liberal government.
Guess what happened in 1993 and subsequently until a few months ago. The Liberals cut not just health care, which we saw immediately, not just the military, not just infrastructure, but they shelved that plan. They killed the green plan. Not only did they do nothing for 13 years, but they killed the 10 years before that which were actually starting to add something to greenhouse gas emissions reduction and climate change reduction.
We had 13 years of Liberal ineffectiveness and incompetence, quite frankly. There was a lack of accountability, no reporting mechanisms and plans to spend $13 billion of taxpayers' money on a plan that had no chance of working and effected no results.
What were the results of this money? Some money was spent. I can assure the House that we have not had great results. Our greenhouse gas emissions have gone up roughly 35% since the Kyoto targets the Liberal government set, and are 43% above those targets currently. So we have gone backwards in time, not just for the 13 years, but for the time before that when there was a Conservative government that introduced the green plan.
The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development is currently conducting a fair value for money audit and I am looking forward to those results. They will be coming out in the fall of 2006 and I really look forward to that audit. We do not want to blame people because we can do that all day. We want to ensure that we do not make the same mistakes again that have been made by the Liberal government in the past. We want to find what worked and what did not work, and do an appropriate audit to implement the things that can work and to fix those things that did not.
I am from Fort McMurray in northern Alberta and I am proud to be from that area. I keep hearing that the oil and gas industry is bad, bad, bad. I am pretty sure everyone here drives a car to work. I am proud of the industry because I have seen what it is doing. Syncrude Canada, for instance, a company in my area spent $2 billion recently on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by cleaning the pipes that exhaust the steam. I am proud of the role the private sector in Alberta has played and it is taking great steps.
In fact, the companies are taking steps beyond what is required by the government. Their children play with my children. The CEOs of those corporations are working there. They do not want to see health effects and side-effects. They want to create change to work toward a more positive environment for all of us.
As a government we will be focusing on achieving a better and stronger public and private partnership, something that was not done. We are not going to implement tasks that cannot be done. We are going to find solutions that we can work toward together. If the NDP and the Bloc had their druthers on this, they would close down all the factories and shut down all travel by car. In the wintertime, I am sorry, it is minus 30°, but we would have to turn off the heat and huddle in blankets. That would be their solution.
We are not going to take that approach because it is not helpful. We know that something has to be done but let us look at the realities. Here in Canada we have cold weather, some of the coldest weather in the world. We have long distances. We travel 25% longer than any other citizen of other countries on average. We have a very low population density and yes, we have a resource-based economy. I want to ensure that the members on the other side of the House heard that. Our economy is driven on the basis of natural resources.
This Conservative government will integrate the economy and the environment. We are going to put our money to work for the environment. We are going to work on our environment to help our economy. The two are not separate. They are not mutually exclusive. They are together and this government is going to ensure that we keep them together.
We are going to recognize energy as a key economic driver. We have lights on here today and probably some air conditioning, I am not quite sure about that because it is a little hot, but we use electricity and all Canadians use electricity. We have to recognize that energy is a key economic driver and we have to respect that.
Most importantly, something that was not done before, we have to have better management of government finances. We are the biggest company in Canada and we have a fiduciary duty to taxpayers to take care of their money. We must do a better job of that.
In the budget we have honoured all of the promises that we made in the election campaign, something that is different than any government has done in the last 10 or 15 years. We are going to follow through on our promises. We are going to enact a clean air act. We are going to work toward fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. We are going to have more energy security and innovation in our marketplace. We are going to make the difference.
We are going to protect our Arctic. We are going to ensure that we have sovereignty over our soil and the safety of our northern citizens as well as ensuring that we keep their aboriginal culture intact. We are going to invest in research and clean air technology.
We have an economic factor that gives us a huge and competitive advantage. Other things that are going to take place include: innovative technologies such as clean coal, carbon capturing sequestration and hydrocarbon extraction techniques. Those are things we are going to look at and work on.
We will use NAFTA as a tool and other international tools to ensure we receive the cooperation of the United States. The Prime Minister and the government is going to deliver a Canadian solution for Canadians that will help the environment. I am proud to be a part of that government.