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House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentence.

Topics

7 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the parliamentary secretary, like the minister, does not know math and they are cutting back $3 billion from Ontario. The government has been irresponsible by increasing taxes to hard-working parents and Canadians.

I would like to share a letter I received from one of my constituents, addressed to the hon. Minister of the Environment with a copy sent to me, concerning the cancellation of the popular EnerGuide program and other ecological issues. The letter reads:

Several months ago the One Tonne Challenge was abruptly cancelled. And last week in the House of Commons you announced that Canada would be abandoning the Kyoto Accord. This disturbs me greatly. You are cancelling successful programs--yet saying that we cannot meet our Kyoto commitments. This shows a lack of intent.

As my constituent succinctly indicates, the government lacks intent and moreover the Conservative government lacks a true vision for Canada.

7 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I guess this is like nailing Jell-O to the wall. Obviously the member opposite has no comeback for the fact that the Ontario accord is fully funded, that it is being delivered now and will be delivered, so she is off on another tangent about some other program.

The members opposite failed Canadians in so many ways. They talked a lot about the environment, as the minister just did. In over a decade they did nothing put their signatures on a piece of paper while the environment in our country was degraded and got worse and worse. In fact, emissions increased under the former government.

The member opposite should hang her head in shame and get with the program that is really going to work for Canada, for Ontario, for the environment and for so many other areas. After failure, we need this success and it should be supported by everyone in the House.

7 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is very fortuitous to join the debate at this particular moment. The very topic we need to discuss in this next moment is around the environment and the somewhat confusing and often contradictory messages we have been from the new government.

Out of the intensity, action and vitriol of question period, the parliamentary secretary will be rising in his place with thoughts and innovative ideas to help clear away the confusion that so many Canadians are left facing after announcements go sideways and meetings have been disturbed. The message to the world has been embarrassing for all Canadians.

The government has potentially signed on to the Asia-Pacific accord, the AP6 as it is called, while this week in the United States even Republican legislators did not find any need to fund the program any more. It has been one of the greatest advocates of this program.

The minister, through the parliamentary secretary, hopefully will have some clarity on what the government intends to do about the most daunting environmental crisis our country and planet have ever faced. Those are words have come from the government itself.

In the face of such an incredible crisis, the government has signed itself up to a non-bonding, voluntary program, which one of its key initiators has backed out of and has abandoned.

I was in Bonn for the initial stages of the new negotiating round for 2012. The Canadian delegation showed up with the most confusing notion of having Canada refuse to sign up to any targets and commitments or push for voluntary mechanisms. The developing world showed up with plans and programs that far exceeded anything Canada could offer. It offered up some vague notions and allocated some money in the budget without any programming, something that the Conservative, Reform and Alliance Parties all spoke out against in this very House: never associate money without a proper plan in place. Then lo and behold in the Conservatives first budget, on one of the most critical issues, we have the money and no idea how to spend it.

The Conservatives have been much vilified in this place for having cancelled such programs like the EnerGuide. More than a year ago I stood in this place and challenged their former environment critic. The NDP had produced its own climate change plan, fully costed and run through economists. I offered it up to the then government of the day and the other parties in this place so we could debate the different initiatives. The Conservative critic of the environment at the time stood in his place and said that the Conservatives had a plan. After many years as a so-called government in waiting, they arrive in this place as the government. Lo and behold we have to wait more because they do not have a plan. They are consulting and looking around to stakeholder groups to somehow put some kind of voluntary initiative together that will not arrive.

I know the parliamentary secretary has an excellent speech that has been prepared for him. However, for our economy to have any sense of economic certainty going forward, his government needs to table a plan for us to debate and add to. His government, which waited so long to form the government, stated that it had a climate change plan. When can the House expect to see this plan and begin to debate its merits?

7:05 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member spoke about his confusion. I hope my presentation this evening will clarify things for him.

Our government is committed to a made in Canada plan that will see real reductions in greenhouse gases. This government will use a principled approach to develop and advance our made in Canada solution to address climate change. We will do this by taking action first here at home by investing in Canada for the benefit of all Canadians. Our plan will put Canadians first.

Our Prime Minister has shown the courage and leadership to address this pressing issue with a strong commitment to a made in Canada plan to clean up our environment. We will continue to work with industry, our colleagues in the House, the provinces and all Canadians in the development of our plan to ensure that we can show real results.

This government has already taken action through a significant funding commitment to public transit infrastructure, in the order of $1.3 billion. We have also introduced a tax credit for monthly and annual transit pass holders to encourage Canadians to use public transit, which is a more effective and less polluting alternative. These are all good ideas.

We have also agreed with the provinces and territories to move forward with the implementation of a 5% average renewable fuel content for gasoline and diesel by 2010 that will advance the agricultural economies, as well as bring cleaner fuel supplies to the market.

This government will take additional measures to begin to address the years of poor oversight on the environmental front. A made in Canada approach will see real progress in cleaning up our environment and in reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. We will do this in an open and transparent manner by setting realistic and achievable goals, not confusing goals.

We are also assessing existing programs to see if they fit with our goal of providing clean air and clean energy for Canadians. They have to be effective. Our approach will establish effective measures to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by including the right signals to assist industry in using innovative measures to reduce emissions. Our approach will include appropriate policies, strategies and measures to build up our capacity to adapt to the changing climate.

We will be working with the provinces and territories, with industry and with other Canadians. We will be looking at engaging communities and individual Canadians to reduce not only greenhouse gases but also other air pollutants.

We have also been clear that Canada will use its leadership position as the president of the international United Nations climate change process for 2006 to work with other countries to help advance a more effective, long term approach that will see real reduction in greenhouse gases globally.

7:10 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was caught off guard by the end of that speech. All I had asked for in my question was the date when Canadians could expect a plan and when the House would begin to debate all the grandiose terms that the parliamentary secretary has put forward.

Now the minister is musing about the use of a carbon trading market but on a voluntary basis, which would not force Canadian companies to participate, thereby creating further economic uncertainty in the largest final emitters, the biggest polluters in this country. I cannot get the parliamentary secretary, the minister or anyone in the government to offer Canadians the certainty of a date, a point in time when we can begin this debate.

There is no argument from this corner of the House of the long and disastrous wait we had when the Liberal Party was in government. Yet, lo and behold, there is a new government and it is dancing much to the same tune.

It worries me somewhat to trust the Prime Minister, when he stood in the House two days ago and seemed to confuse the very basic elements of greenhouse gases. He muddled the list and claimed one item was not a greenhouse gas and one was. The department website and government policy has named some chemicals as not being greenhouse gases. This is confusing Canadians even further still. Our trust may be misplaced.

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the member remains confused and still supports a Liberal plan that did not work, as we are 35% over the Kyoto target.

We are developing a made in Canada plan that will ensure real reductions in greenhouse gases. Our plan will provide opportunities to build a competitive and sustainable Canadian economy. It will provide energy efficiency. It will allow for the development and use of new Canadian technologies. It will provide greater accountability for Canadians. It will allow for greater regional development. It will provide improved public transit.

Our made in Canada approach will be effective and realistic.

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:14 p.m.)