Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle.
For the first time in this 39th Parliament I have the honour to speak on behalf of all my electors from the riding of Brossard—La Prairie. I sincerely thank them for placing their confidence in me to defend their interests in Ottawa.
I also want to congratulate the environment critic, the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, for putting forward this opposition day motion.
People from my generation and all the hon. members of this House should adapt their vocabulary to that of the young generation. The first word young people ask us to adopt is Kyoto, as in the Kyoto protocol.
During a visit to Salon Jeunes-PROJET last Sunday at the Antoine-Brossard comprehensive school, I met students between the age of 10 and 12 who had a stand on greenhouse gases. These young 12-year-olds were explaining the complex phenomena of climate change, the Kyoto protocol and the many products that contribute to greenhouse gases. These young people used simple terms chosen with passion and sincerity. They have already realized that we are playing with their future and that today's decisions could compromise their health and viability on this planet.
The second principle that must be respected, based on the themes selected by these young people, is that of sustainable development. By definition, that is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Young people are entitled to hope to be able to meet their basic needs, such as clean water, clean air, clean land and energy, in the future.
The third theme selected by the young people concerned soft, renewable energies. Wind power immediately comes to mind. In addition to soft energies, issues such as energy efficiency, geothermics and green building in accordance with the LEED standard have to be discussed, as well as active and passive solar heating, research and development, and new technologies to solve the problems caused by greenhouse gases.
The fourth theme was environmentally-friendly transportation. An energy scheme to deal with the greenhouse gas issue requires the use of electric cars, hydrogen cars, biodiesel fuel and public transit, electric trains, and subway expansion, as well as the adoption of ethanol. Many producers in my riding, corn producers, came to see me. They have great expectations of this government with respect to the ethanol program.
The Bloc Québécois is recommending a series of initiatives that come under federal jurisdiction. These include stricter vehicle manufacturing standards to enhance energy efficiency, rebates on environmentally-friendly vehicles, and financial support for all renewable energies.
The Bloc's position on Kyoto is clear. It wants the international commitments already made to be met. It wants equity for Quebec in the federal plan. It wants Quebec's jurisdictions to be respected.
As for the international treaty, Canada’s reputation is on the line if this government refuses to meet the Kyoto objectives.
Environmental groups, both international and local, could launch a vast campaign to boycott our Canadian products. Canada’s credibility is at stake, and Quebec’s interests will inevitably be dragged into this maelstrom of boycotts. Quebec could also be drawn into this boycott. Failure to comply with a signed agreement will certainly influence Quebeckers in their choice, in their future, in their destiny, in their choice to become a sovereign country.
Most of Quebec’s energy production is based on hydroelectricity, which is clean, renewable energy that has done little to contribute to the Canada-wide increase in greenhouse gases. Between 1990 and 2003, Quebec’s emissions increased only 8.6%, in comparison with 34% in Alberta and 45% in Saskatchewan. In 2003, greenhouse gas emissions were 12.2 tonnes per capita in Quebec and 23.4 tonnes in Canada. In addition, this 23.4-tonne average increases to 26.8 tonnes per capita if Quebec is excluded from Canada, leaving what is called the ROC or rest of Canada. So it is 12.2 tonnes for Quebec and 26.8 tonnes for the ROC, or a factor of 2.2. That is what we are talking about when we talk about fairness.
Quebec’s choice of hydroelectric energy has certainly contributed to this enviable performance, but its success can also be attributed to the collective choices made by Quebec citizens, its industry, the National Assembly, and most importantly, the future vision and perceptive decisions made by the managers and planners of Hydro-Québec.
Quebec’s reduction plan is clear and specific. The transportation sector accounts for 38.5% of emissions, of which 85% comes from road transportation. Marine, rail and air account for a measly 15%. Quebec’s plan should focus first, therefore, on public transit.
In my riding, some projects are underway, in particular the SLR to relieve congestion on the Champlain bridge. This is a bold $1.2-billion project. We should remember, though, that $1 billion are wasted every year in wages and gasoline expenses as a result of congestion on the roads in my riding.
Quebec’s plan is simple. The shopping list is well-known and has been published in newspapers. It includes electric trains, subway and transportation line projects connecting the city of Montreal and its suburbs. The plan is clear in regard to the emissions of the trucking industry, and the Bloc is also in favour of intermodal transportation. The great St. Lawrence river will be used for marine transportation to carry many containers. In addition to intermodal transportation, the Bloc proposes more efficient motor vehicles and electric cars.
In contrast to the Conservatives, who claim these days that the American approach is not the way to go in the fight against climate change, I say that, luckily, some American states and big cities have disregarded the American government’s plan of attack and are working on reducing greenhouse gases. I could point, for instance, to the great city of Seattle, which has had some incredible success in this regard.
Rather than trying to revise its international obligations by calling Kyoto into question, the Conservative government should introduce its plan together with a fair agreement for Quebec, an agreement that recognizes Quebec’s past efforts.
In conclusion, I strongly support the motion of the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.