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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was water.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is a fight that the previous Liberal government abandoned before it even began. The Liberals cynically signed on to targets in 1997 that they had no intention, whatsoever, of keeping in 1997.

For seven years, the Liberals gave speeches and delivered rhetoric, but not results. This is why we saw greenhouse gas emissions increase by 35% over that period. The Liberals missed their targets by 26%. That is the Liberal record.

The Conservative government is going to act with a made in Canada plan, which it has already begun to do.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in her recent speech to the Canadian Club of Ottawa, the Minister of the Environment—and not the parliamentary secretary—stated that it was ridiculous to think that her government was abandoning the Kyoto protocol. According to the minister, the problem was not the Kyoto protocol but the fact that Canada's objectives were unattainable.

Can the Minister of the Environment tell this House what attainable objectives the government will set for Canada?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a very clear objective, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberals' real objective was to do nothing for 13 years.

This was not enough for Canadians or for a number of the candidates in the race for the leadership of the Liberal Party, including the member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, who criticized the Liberal government for having no plan.

In this government, we are developing a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned today that the Minister of Transport, the Prime Minister’s Quebec lieutenant, has serious reservations regarding the transfer of funds to the Government of Quebec so that it can implement its plan for the Kyoto protocol, a plan that, I would point out, has been very well received by environmental groups and the opposition in Quebec City.

How can the Prime Minister explain his stubborn refusal to work with the Government of Quebec, when that government has a plan for achieving the objectives of the Kyoto protocol? Where is the problem?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no problem. I find it somewhat curious for the leader of the Bloc Québécois to be asking questions about things that are under provincial jurisdiction. In this government, obviously, we respect the division of powers and provincial areas of jurisdiction. We are following the efforts of the Government of Quebec to improve the quality of the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions closely. We are going to work with all the provinces, including Quebec, to achieve those objectives.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not asking them to do anything in any areas that are under Quebec’s jurisdiction. We are telling them, when they are supposed to be the ones who recognize the fiscal imbalance, that there is too much money in Ottawa for what its responsibilities are. If they started by giving back $328 million to Quebec, that would be one step on the road to solving the fiscal imbalance. That is what we are very clearly telling them and that is what the previous government committed to doing, particularly when there is a real plan in Quebec and there is none here.

I am therefore asking why they would not support Quebec in achieving the objectives of the Kyoto protocol, when that would also make it possible for Canada to take a step forward.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, we congratulate any provincial government on its own efforts in areas that are under provincial jurisdiction. At the federal level, we are going to pursue concrete policies to achieve results so that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, that is why we included a tax credit in our first budget to increase the use of public transit, and that is why we have expanded the renewable energy regulations. We are going to continue on that same path.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Sierra Club released its report card grading the federal, provincial and territorial governments on their action for the environment. Executive director Stephen Hazell said, and I quote, “While some improvements are being made at the provincial and territorial level, the federal government is sliding in almost all subjects”.

Why does the federal government insist on standing by a position that nobody else supports when the experts tell us that it is heading in the wrong direction away from the 162 countries around the world that ratified the Kyoto protocol?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, after 13 years of Liberal rule, the Government of Canada now ranks 28 out of 29 in OECD countries on pollution control.

Compared to the United States on air pollution requirements, the U.S. requirements are either more stringent than ours or ours do not exist at all in comparison to the U.S.

We do have a lot of work to do and that is exactly what the government is doing.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada is in no position to preach to members of the international community today.

The plan the minister intends to introduce to reduce greenhouse gases looks a lot more like an Alberta oil company plan than a real environmental plan.

Given that the minister was until recently an advisor to the Government of Alberta on environmental issues, does she not think that the only decent thing to do is distance herself from Alberta oil companies and make decisions that are in line with international environmental values?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I will not engage in politics with the opposition party when it comes to the environment. I will not jeopardize the long term opportunity for the government to put a good plan in place for short term political gain. That is exactly what the last party did for 13 years and not only did it get an F, it was kicked out of class.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, we learned that there was no official communication between the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec about the environment. However, today, the Minister of Transport, the Quebec lieutenant, is saying that the federal government cannot tell the Charest government whether or not there will be any money for Kyoto.

My question for the Prime Minister is this: will there or will there not be any money?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our first budget provides for significant investment in public transit, infrastructure and municipalities. Clearly, we are keeping our promise to correct the fiscal imbalance by holding talks with the provinces.

This government is therefore working closely with the provinces and municipalities to ensure that they have the tax resources they need to do their work.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, after years of Liberal inaction, we forced the Liberal Party to invest in public transit and the environment. This House voted this money and adopted a motion calling on Canada to honour its Kyoto commitments.

Why is the government refusing to respect the democratic will of the elected members of this House? And why is it refusing to give the provinces the money earmarked for combating greenhouse gas emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the leader of the NDP that, in its first budget, this government immediately made $94.4 million available to Quebec for public transit.

Any surplus in excess of $2 billion in 2005-06 will be used to pay Quebec up to $210 million for the Public Transit Capital Trust, rapid transit and urban buses.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the matter of climate change, we have seen the government savagely cut programs established by the former government. We have also seen the government renege on Canada's commitments under the Kyoto protocol. And now the Minister of Transport is closing the door on collaborating with Quebec.

I am not very happy that they are ripping out so many programs. I even want to help them. In this regard, I have tabled a made in Canada private member's bill. Will they support it?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, what the member introduced has no relevance to what this government will put forward in terms of a realistic, achievable and affordable plan to reduce greenhouse gases and pollution.

In terms of working with the Quebec government, my office is in constant contact with the environment minister in Quebec. I would reiterate, and the minister from Quebec has said the same thing, that the number one cause of greenhouse gases in Quebec is transportation. The most important thing we can do is invest in public transit and to find ways to get people out of their cars and on to public transit, which is exactly what the federal government has done.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, they will do a lot of things.

We have read it: all the Quebec lieutenant is proposing is to look into the possibility of talks with the provinces and territories about equipping heavy vehicles with speed regulators. That is impressive. Except that Quebec's plan already includes this measure. I invite my colleague from the Pontiac to read about it on page 24 of a very interesting document.

Once he has perused this action plan will he attempt to convince his colleague, the Minister of the Environment, not to abandon Quebec? Will he tell her that we have had enough of this policy of abandonment?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, far from it. One of the key things in the Government of Quebec's plan is investment in public transit. Another key thing is it is trying to increase ridership to get people out of their cars and on to public transportation, which is is one of the incentives that this government has put in place.

EnerGuide ProgramOral Questions

June 19th, 2006 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the EnerGuide program for retrofitting houses was popular with Canadians and very effective, cutting greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of a mere $20 per tonne, about the best value in the world.

By contrast, the Conservative bus pass program will cost about $2,000 per tonne, 100 times more expensive. The Conservative government has trashed programs like EnerGuide only to shift the money to bus passes, meaning there will be less action on climate change but a higher cost.

Why is the government making such a fundamentally perverse decision?

EnerGuide ProgramOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained many times in the House before, only 50¢ of every $1 in that program went into doing anything for the environment. Those are the facts. Those programs were introduced by previous Liberal governments.

It should be no surprise to Canadians that there were a number of programs introduced by the previous Liberal government that just did not deliver. The Liberal record on greenhouse gas reductions was an unmitigated disaster. This government will not follow the Liberal government's record.

EnerGuide ProgramOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has killed all federal programs to help Canadians upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes, including those aimed at low income families. Such programs helped cut greenhouse gas emissions while saving Canadian families on average more than $400 each and every year on their energy bills. That one savings alone would be bigger than all of the benefits the average family may receive from the government's convoluted hodgepodge of tax credits.

Why is the government abandoning the policies that worked, abandoning Canadians and trashing the environment?

EnerGuide ProgramOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member that of some 120 programs, 95 are still currently in place. It should be no surprise to the hon. member that their programs did not work. If their programs worked, why are greenhouse gases 35% above Liberal targets? That is not a record that I would be proud of.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister announced this morning that he intends to create a Canadian securities commission. In doing so, he will be going against the wishes of Quebec and most of the provinces, catering only to Toronto's point of view.

After so often repeating that it will respect the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces, does the government endorse the finance minister's plan, which goes completely against its commitment?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

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

I believe the question relates to the speech I gave in Halifax this morning relating to a potential common securities regulator for Canada.

This is an important issue with respect to making sense of our economic union and in ensuring the provincial and federal governments work out a system whereby we have strong, effective and efficient capital markets in Canada so we can get away from a situation.

We are the only western industrialized society that has multiple securities regulators. We want to work on that in cooperation with the provinces toward a common national securities regulator.