House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreement.


Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

You are quite right, Mr. Speaker.

What the Prime Minister had called a controversial hypothesis and his former critic called a great socialist plot is in fact the greatest menace to this planet, something the government is turning its back on and systematically trying to pretend does not exist.

It gets worse.

Then we find out about the Friends of Science, a group much like the tobacco industry group formed to try to pretend that tobacco is not bad for us. When all the scientific evidence said that tobacco could kill us, Friends of Tobacco came forward and purported to have scientific evidence indicating that it was not bad for us.

In a similar fashion, this group, Friends of Science, was formed. Where did this group get its funding? The funding was set up by an individual by the name of Barry Cooper, a very close associate of the Prime Minister. The objective was to funnel oil money through a system of hiding where it came from to allow it to get to Friends of Science so they could try to create doubt among the population that climate change is real.

It does not end there.

This Friends of Science group has all kinds of connections to the Conservative Party of Canada, from Barry Cooper to Morten Paulsen, Tom Harris, and others. The Conservative Party and Friends of Science are one and the same. This group, which seeks to sell our planet down the river, which seeks to confuse and distort the facts, is closely tied to the Conservatives.

We have to look at what action we must take going forward. It struck me when David Suzuki made a statement saying that the planet does not care whether we continue to exist or we eradicate ourselves. The reality is that we are making our own decisions about whether or not we stay on this planet. It is up to us to find balance. It is up to us to lead the way and ensure that we strike a balance with our planet at a time when, within a generation, our oceans and our trees will be saturated with CO2 emissions, at a time when permafrost is lifting at an unbelievable pace and releasing more and more CO2 into the atmosphere, at a time when ice, which is 90% reflective of energy, is turning into water, which is 90% absorbent of energy, and at a time when Asia is booming and its CO2 emissions are increasing day after day.

We do not have a lot of time. We certainly do not have time for a government that distorts the facts, tries to mislead Canadians and does not take action on the issue.

It is imperative that this motion pass. I would say it is imperative that we lead the way and ensure that we deal with the issue of climate change. Our very invitation to stay on this earth depends upon it.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


Bob Mills Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, having listened to that from a Liberal is really quite amazing considering the 13 years that I have been here listening to the promises.

Climate change was identified in 1992. Nothing was done.

In 1997, we signed on to Kyoto. Nothing was done.

In 2002, in Johannesburg, again we identified the problem. Nothing was done.

Here we are in 2006 and that member has the nerve to stand and lecture about what the Liberals have done, when in fact we are 35% above 1990 levels and Canada had agreed to be 6% below 1990 levels. What he cannot possibly imagine is how we could ever achieve that. If he looked at reality, he would see that this is 195 megatonnes of carbon that we would have to remove from the environment. It is not achievable. What does he not understand? We had to start in 1993 and we had to have an aggressive plan to deal with this climate change problem. The previous government did nothing.

Fortunately, at least there are countries that are trying to come up with solutions. I have attended the COP meetings, the meetings of the Conference of the Parties to Kyoto. Those meetings consist of 190 countries. Each of those countries has its own problems, its own social problems, climate problems, et cetera, and we are supposed to come to some sort of agreement on how to solve climate change. It is not happening. It is a dream. It is just a dream.

Fortunately, the G-8 plus five, consisting of the G-8 members plus India, China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, are coming up with solutions. Fortunately, the Asia-Pacific partnership is looking at solutions. At least, hopefully, someone is going to deal with climate change, but certainly 190 countries are not going to come up with consensus in time and they are not going to achieve their targets.

Why do we have to oppose this bill? We have a number of reasons.

Obviously, this bill would place a huge drain on the administrative part of the government without allowing the government to focus on the actual reductions that are necessary. This bill would oblige the Minister of the Environment to establish an annual climate change plan and to make regulations and would also oblige the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to review the plan and the proposed regulations and submit a report to Parliament.

Obviously the previous government did not do any of those things. There were no reports. There was no record. Nothing ever happened. There was just a lot of talk.

While this bill would be totally cumbersome and would obviously take a huge amount of resources of the government, we should spend the money on an actual plan, on actually doing things, not dreaming about buying credits from some foreign country and sending them off. No one has been able to explain to me how buying credits from a foreign country is in fact going to help the global environment.

What they do not seem to understand is that air is shared by everyone and that the 556 coal-fired power plants being built in China using soft coal are a huge environmental problem. Let us help them with the technology so they can change. That would make a difference. That would really have some impact. Let us develop that gasification technology here in Canada and then transfer that technology to the developing countries where we could really make a difference. That is positive. That is the sort of positive thing we can do.

We have a bill in front of us that wants us to have more regulations, more government reports and more government planning. I do not have that much faith in government. I have a lot more faith in working with the provinces, in working with industry and in looking to the future and having a long term vision for where we want to go and how we want to deal with the climate change problem. I think that is obviously what Canadians expect us to do.

We need to reduce by 195 megatonnes to get to our target. Most people do not understand what a megatonne is, but basically, as the minister has said in the House, it would mean shutting down transportation, shutting off the lights and stopping everything if we were to achieve that target. It is not possible. Canadians do not want that.

Canadians want a plan from us. They want a plan that will deal with pollution and climate change and with the soil, the water, the land and everything that we do. That is the direction in which we need to go.

We hear from the other side of the House that we need to go after the oil and gas industry but that is not true. We need to rely on the capture and sequestering of CO2. We need to get into the gasification of everything from garbage to coal, and it is already happening. In some countries they have been doing that for a long time. Norway has been sequestering CO2 in the caverns underneath the North Sea for 10 years. This is not new technology. It does not need to be developed further. We just need to do it.

The former government did not do it when it was in power. It did not listen to advisers. It finally got down to the desperation $10 billion, which probably could have been $80 billion, and said that it would buy foreign carbon credits. Maybe that made the previous government feel better but it is like talking to the city council which says that it recycles plastic, which is wonderful, but where does the plastic go? It gets bundled, sent by ships through the Panama Canal and ends up going to a landfill in China. How does that make everyone feel? That is not really recycling. That is phony and it is not telling Canadians the truth. Let us get on with telling Canadians truthfully how we can deal with this.

We should be pretty excited about the green plan that is coming and that we will be able to implement. In some of the research Mark Jaccard has done, he says that it could cost Canadians up to $80 billion to start right now to try to achieve those targets. That is not feasible. It cannot be done so let us get on with the green plan. We do not need to be lectured about what should have happened because, again, we have sat here and watched but nothing has happened.

I was embarrassed at COP 10 in Argentina when the former minister of the environment stood and reported for this country and said that we had the one tonne challenge and that we would hit our targets. The one tonne challenge was designed to take care of 20 megatonnes if it worked. That was all we had to brag about. It was embarrassing when we were listening to other countries say that they were developing wind technology, alternate energies of different kinds, looking at wave technology and so on. We are not leaders in those areas and we should be. The jobs that are related, what we can do for our environment and for the global environment, it is pretty phenomenal.

As a Canadian and a member of Parliament in 2006, the legacy I want to leave is that we took action and we did something about the air, the water and the land. We can do it. Whether it is sequestering or whatever we want to do, we can be leaders and that is what we should aim for.

What we will be getting in the House is a real plan and we will carry it out. It will happen and Canadians will understand that, rather than buying carbon credits from some foreign country, we will be doing things here in Canada that will make a difference and will be transferable to other parts of the world.

We cannot support the bill. We do not think that more regulation and more planning is necessary. We need to take action and that is what we plan to do.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.


Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bill tabled on May 17 by the member for Honoré-Mercier would force the government to respect Canada's Kyoto protocol obligations.

It creates an obligation on the department to establish annually a climate change plan that respects shared jurisdictions and proposes regulations to fulfill the Kyoto protocol goals.

It also creates an obligation on the Commissioner of the Environment to review the annual climate change plan and submit a report to Parliament.

We support the principle underlying this bill. In fact, the essence of this bill resembles the motion the Bloc introduced on May 11, which was adopted by a majority of members of the House of Commons. We will present our suggestions for improving the bill during committee.

Clause 5 of the bill states that the federal government must table a climate change plan not later than May 31 of every year until 2013. The annual plan must respect provincial jurisdiction and include the following five elements: measures to be taken to reduce greenhouse gases; performance standards and market-based mechanisms; a description of spending or fiscal measures or incentives; bilateral agreements; and a report on overall results of the previous year's plan.

Why does the bill not require these climate change action plans to be tabled beyond 2013? Would it not be more appropriate to say that Canada will participate in phase II of the Kyoto protocol, and that the annual report will therefore be an important tool for following through with the fight against climate change?

Clearly, the bill will have to specify that bilateral agreements should be financial agreements that enable provinces wishing to implement the Kyoto protocol to accomplish these goals.

The fight against climate change will be one of the most important global issues in the coming decades. The Kyoto protocol is the product of many years’ work and collaboration within the international community, and is the most effective and most complete tool for fighting climate change.

With its recent opposition motion on May 11, the Bloc Québécois sent an unequivocal message to the Conservative government that the government must make a commitment to respect the Kyoto protocol, an international accord to which Canada is legally bound and to which 90% of Quebeckers lend their support. It if does not do so, it will cause Canada to lose any credibility it has internationally. Its reputation is at stake. This member’s bill bears the same message as the motion put forward by the Bloc in the hope that the Conservatives might understand.

The basic principles underlying the Bloc’s position, from the time study of the climate change file began, are based on respect for international commitments, on equity and on respect for Quebec’s areas of jurisdiction.

The Bloc Québécois is asking Ottawa for a plan to implement the Kyoto protocol, enabling the reduction of Canadian greenhouse gas emissions by 6% over 1990 levels and providing a series of measures within its areas of jurisdiction.

The Bloc is seeking concrete measures in five major areas.

First, we are asking for stricter standards in the manufacture of vehicles with a view to improving the energy efficiency of passenger vehicles and trucks, following the example set by California.

Second, we are asking for discounts on purchases of ecological vehicles, such as hybrid, electric and hydrogen vehicles. Incentives are key.

Third, we also want financial support for the development of renewable energy and we do not want cuts to the incentives for the windmill project.

Fourth, we want the abolition of the advantageous tax system for the oil companies.

Fifth, we are asking for grants to be given to agencies that are contributing to the effort to achieve the objectives of the Kyoto protocol and are helping to educate the public.

Furthermore, the Bloc Québécois wants the plan to include a system of emission objectives for large emitters, along with an exchange of emission rights, since by 2010 these industries, particularly the oil companies, will be responsible for more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. An equitable approach, as proposed by the Bloc Québécois, necessarily implies that large emitters be called to contribute according to their emissions.

An equitable approach for the provinces means that those that have made efforts in the past should be recognized accordingly. For example, there is the choice that Quebec made concerning hydro-electricity or the choice certain industries made to reduce their contributions to greenhouse gases, even before the Kyoto protocol.

At this point, it would be good to repeat the content of the Bloc Québécois motion passed in a majority vote—169 to 125—during our opposition day on May 11, 2006. The motion read as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) take the necessary measures to ensure that Canada meets its objective for greenhouse gas reduction established under the Kyoto Protocol, in an equitable manner while respecting the constitutional jurisdictions and responsibilities of Quebec and the provinces; and (b) publish, by October 15, 2006, an effective and equitable plan for complying with the Kyoto Protocol that includes a system of emission objectives for large emitters along with an exchange of emission rights accompanied by a bilateral agreement with Quebec-—

The Conservative position regarding the Kyoto protocol is worrisome. So far, they have made it clear that they do not intend to try to reach the target of a 6% reduction compared to 1990. They say that this target is unrealistic and unachievable. I feel this is irresponsible. The Conservative government has been a vocal opponent of Kyoto on the international scene.

To not respect the targets of the Kyoto protocol is to renounce it. The position taken by the Conservatives not only weakens Canada's credibility internationally, but it also runs the risk of raising doubt about the viability and pertinence of negotiating and signing multilateral agreements.

Responsible government means moving beyond a political agenda that is only a few months old. It means creating the necessary conditions to ensure the safety, health and prosperity of citizens for years to come.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, I thank the member for Honoré-Mercier for bringing this very important bill before the House. He has done an extraordinary job to bring the issue in clarity. He has argued in the House of the need for a royal recommendation. The member has amplified further on the ways in which we could meet our Kyoto commitments on the reduction of greenhouse gas levels, without the kind of spending the previous Conservative speaker seemed to indicate was absolutely necessary.

Let us have some background.

After millions of years of remaining constant, greenhouse gas levels, particularly CO2, started to climb sharply at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Greenhouses gas levels are now almost certainly higher than they have been in 20 million years. This is not a natural fluctuation. It is a side effect of the greenhouse gases being trapped in the atmosphere, much like a giant greenhouse. The heating is called global warming, and we are talking about that.

Global warming has already reduced the depth of the winter polar ice caps since the 1970s by 40%. Polar bears will become extinct if the ice retreat continues, and 90% of all glaciers on the planet have retreated significantly in the last 50 years. As the white reflective snow melts, which is even more efficient at absorbing solar energy, this causes acceleration of the heat effect.

“So what”, some people would say. “Who likes snow and ice?” Let us consider some facts.

The computer models show that up to a metre sea level rise over the next 100 years. More heat means more energy in the atmosphere. That means more turbulent weather. Have we seen more turbulent weather? Already I think we can agree. Super hurricanes will cause millions if not billions of dollars in property damage. Witness what happened in New Orleans.

More heat means a redistribution of rain patterns. We are now seeing freakish storms all over the world, which may dump many feet of water in a single day. We have seen many examples of that already. Does this have something to do with global warming? Probably.

This also means drought in places that previously had abundant rainfall. Does anyone realize what happened in B.C.? The province went for something like almost a month without rain in the Vancouver area. I was there for about a week and everything was dry. Stanley Park was dry. It has never been like that. Something is happening. We may deny the science, but we cannot deny the reality.

Because of these freakish storms, we have droughts in certain places. At a prime time in our history, Canada had to actually import grain because of droughts. For the first time in our history, rainy Vancouver's drinking water reservoirs are almost empty.

Would it not be nice to live in a warmer climate? What is wrong with that? There are at least three drawbacks.

First, we may find that we have to run our air conditioners all year round. We will be using all the extra electricity to run air conditioners. By the law of supply and demand, electricity prices will go through the roof and we may find ourselves unable to afford or run an air conditioner.

With higher temperatures, water evaporates more quickly. Global warming disrupts rainfall patterns, bringing extra rain to some places and drought in others. For those in the drought, tap water will have to be brought in. That means higher water bills. It also means skyrocketing food costs, since farmers need huge amounts of water for irrigation. Every degree rise in temperature requires 10% more water.

If people live in Alberta or Saskatchewan or if they live in the Ganges River valley, their tap water comes from glacier melt water. Those regions will experience summer water shortages. It is absolutely a fact.

The trees cannot pack up and move either to a cooler climate. We lost many of our grand fir trees in the summer of 2002 due to heat and drought. We pretty well had to cut them down and replant a new heat tolerant species to deal with it. It will take at least a generation for the newly planted forest to mature.

The Kyoto protocol is an agreement under which industrialized countries will reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2% compared to what we had in 1990. Note that compared to the emission levels that would be expected by 2010 without the Kyoto Protocol, this target represents a 29% cut. The goal is lower overall emissions of six greenhouse gases. They include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphurhexafloride, HFCs and PFCs calculated as an average over the five year period 2008 and 2012.

National targets range from 8% reductions for the European Union to permit increases of 8% in places like Australia. Not everybody has the same problem. Other countries like India and China, which have ratified the protocol, are not required to reduce carbon emissions under the present agreement for certain particular reasons, which I will not go into. However, the objective of the overall protocol is the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with our climate system. It is all about that.

The treaty was negotiated in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, opened for signature on March 16, 1998 and closed on March 15, 1999. The agreement came into force on February 16, 2005. As of April 2006, a total of 163 countries have ratified the agreement, representing over 61.6% of emissions.

On December 17, 2002, Canada ratified the treaty. While numerous polls have shown support for the Kyoto protocol, somewhere around 70%, there is still some opposition, and I know where it is. It is in the Conservative caucus.

If we think about it, there are some business groups and non-governmental clients with energy concerns using similar arguments to those being used in the United States, which has not signed on to the Kyoto protocol. I think it has something to do with its tremendous reliance on coal-fired plants, particularly in the Ohio Valley.

The United States is not prepared to make that commitment and it has not made any plans to deal with Kyoto. It seems to me that the American administration on the other side here feels it is better to go with George Bush than it is to deal with this matter in Canada.

In 2005 the result was limited to an ongoing war of words, primarily between the government and Alberta, which is Canada's primary oil and gas producer. I must admit that the Conservatives, in opposing Kyoto, talked about a made in Canada solution. However, we have to ask ourselves this. Can we find anywhere in the record any mention of how they will address the high emitters such as the petroleum gas industry and the oil sands? They have not mentioned it. This is where their key support is, and I understand it. That is politics.

However, we are the Parliament of Canada. This is the Government of Canada. It has to speak on behalf of the interests of all Canadians, not simply the supporters of the Conservatives, which is exactly what they did in terms of the funding cuts they just made.

We should look at it. When we look at it line by line, there is no question about it. It was who were unlikely to be Conservative supporters and they were zapped. It is all tied in with this whole meanspirited government that has no interest whatsoever in good policy. It is an ideological government that has absolutely no interest whatsoever in what makes good public policy on behalf of Canadians.

After the January election, the Conservative minority government expressed opposition to Kyoto and announced that Canada would have no chance of meeting its targets under it. However, when we signed this deal, we knew we were already behind. We signed it knowing that, because we still knew it was possible to meet our target under Kyoto.

I could go on in this matter, but the Kyoto protocol, which is supported by the Bloc, the NDP and the Liberals, is there. It has nothing to do with partisanship. It has to do with our serious concerns and our understanding of the science, that climate change is a risk to humanity and we must take action. The Conservative government has refused to do that and is dismantling everything that has been done so far in dealing with greenhouse gases. Shame on it.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.


Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a new member in the House and I represent the riding of Louis-Hébert.

Since my arrival, I have tried to remain objective in my work and to leave partisan politics aside. Today, we heard the Liberal presentation. They managed to increase greenhouse gas emissions by 35%. We were told of the extinction of polar bears. We were told about the problems out West and about insects that eat pine trees. We have been in power for six months. My colleague has given an account of the Liberal legacy.

To achieve the Kyoto targets, we have to reduce gases by 195 megatonnes. That means 195 million tonnes which, even at $10 per tonne, works out to about $19 billion sent abroad. What should be understood is that the Kyoto protocol does not reduce greenhouse gases, but allows us to purchase abroad the right to pollute. That changes nothing in my neighbourhood. It does not prevent individuals from developing emphysema, or seniors and youth from suffering from asthma. They continue to be affected by these gases and smog. That is the Liberals' legacy and we are trying to address the situation.

Earlier, we heard a statement that was almost scientific. This summer, I was in Chicoutimi, at the Monts-Valin interpretation centre. The staff of the centre explained to me that 10,000 years ago, 1,000 feet of ice covered the place where I was walking. That ice did not melt away in the past 100 years. It melted over the course of thousands of years; long before industrial activity could influence the melting of that ice. There are cycles of glaciation and cycles of melting. What stage are we at now? I met with some scientists and even their opinions are divided. Some think one way, others have a different opinion.

Our government is proposing today—or rather will be proposing over the next few days—a new green plan that will really seek to improve the situation. It will not be window dressing in the style of the Liberals. It will not be more posturing. It will be real action.

There is something that I would like my Liberal friends to explain. The former Liberal Minister of the Environment claims that it is impossible to meet the objectives of the Kyoto protocol. How is it that the Liberals continue to support a program whose objectives are impossible to meet, as the former minister says?

We hear it said that to be in favour of the Kyoto protocol means to be in favour of the environment. That is completely false. The Kyoto protocol is a protocol for the purchase and transfer of carbon credits. That is what we have to understand. It is unhealthy. It is soapbox oratory to try to make people believe that the Kyoto protocol is the solution to environmental problems in Quebec and across Canada. The purchase of carbon credits from Cameroon will make no difference to young people with respiratory problems or to older persons. To say otherwise is mere posturing.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Honoré-Mercier has a five minute right of reply.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.


Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we knew that the Conservatives did not like Kyoto, that they hated Kyoto. It has been proved that they have absolutely no understanding of Kyoto—not like you, of course, Mr. Speaker. I mean the people who spoke here today. They do not understand Kyoto.

My first words are to thank my hon. colleagues who spoke or expressed their support in one way or another for this important bill. I thank my hon. colleagues in the Liberal Party as well as in the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party.

The support from all the opposition parties shows in the clearest possible way that protecting the environment and fighting climate change cannot and must not become a partisan issue.

All the parties are forming a common front to face the major challenges posed by climate change—all the parties except the Conservative Party.

For ideological reasons, the Conservative government is doing everything in its power to derail Kyoto. That is why the government tried to kill this bill using procedural questions. It tried to say that the bill would need a royal recommendation, which is obviously false. You confirmed that today, Mr. Speaker.

Allow me to provide a brief reminder about this important bill. Its objective is simple, very simple: to ensure that Canada meets its obligations under the Kyoto protocol. Its purpose is therefore to ensure that Canada complies with international law in this area.

In short, the bill would require the Minister of the Environment to prepare a climate change plan every year containing in particular a description of the measures to be taken to ensure that Canada meets its obligations under clause 3(1) of the Kyoto protocol.

The bill would also require the government to make, amend or repeal the necessary regulations in order to meet its obligations. In so doing, it may take into account the implementation of other governmental measures, including spending and federal-provincial agreements.

All of this can be done, if there is political will to do so, of course. However, this very political will is so desperately lacking within this government.

In the short time left, I would like to stress that more than anything else, this bill is about the future. It calls on the government to act responsibly and to act now. It calls for concrete action to improve the lives of future generations.

The environment is certainly an area in which we can act immediately, in order to improve the living conditions for future generations.

Not only can we act, but we must act. We cannot follow the Conservative lead and say that it is impossible, that it is too complicated, too difficult.

In fact, the government decided to give up before it had even started trying and this is simply unacceptable.

Climate change is one of the most important challenges facing humanity, not only from an environmental perspective, but also in terms of public health, food security, quality of life and economic prosperity.

As I have already clearly stated, when a government does not respect international law or the will of its own citizens, when it fails to assume its responsibilities regarding one of the most important challenges facing our planet, Parliament has the ability and the obligation to force the government to do so.

I therefore encourage all of my colleagues to vote in favour of this important bill. We must do it for our future, but above all, for the future of our children.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 7:07 p.m., the time for debate has expired.

Accordingly, the question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

Some hon. members



Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

Some hon. members


Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

Some hon. members


Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, October 4, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

7:05 p.m.


Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the member for Red Deer talk about the importance of wind energy at a time when the government has cancelled or frozen the program.

The Canadian wind energy sector is emerging as one of the key components in our energy mix for the next 20 years. As traditional sources of fuels and energies peak and dwindle, wind energy will remain strong and viable as there is nearly a limitless supply. The Liberal Party and the Liberal government recognized this. That is why in budget 2005 we committed to an expanded wind energy incentive by quadrupling the previous program and committing $200 million over five years.

Unfortunately, it would seem that this is not as clear to the Conservatives as it is to us. Perhaps some data will help them understand better.

The Canadian wind energy industry has shown impressive growth with an average annual increase of over 30% for the last five years. A recent report shows that wind energy firms are optimistic about future growth.

Globally, wind energy capacity increased from 18,000 megawatts to 59,000 megawatts between 2000 and 2005, and now produces enough power to meet the needs of more than 17 million homes. By 2010, global installed wind energy capacity is expected to be 149,000 megawatts.

As an example, wind energy met 20% of electricity demand in Denmark, 8% in Spain, 5% in Germany and 4% in Portugal and Ireland. Wind energy could easily meet 15% to 20% of Canada's total electricity needs based on an initial target of 10,000 megawatts by 2010, which would take us to about 4% of Canada's total electricity needs. Experience in other countries is clearly demonstrating that wind energy can make substantive and significant contributions to total electricity supplied.

Further, the wind energy industry can create jobs. Every one megawatt of installed wind energy capacity in Canada generates $1.5 million in investment and creates 2.5 direct and 8 indirect person years of employment. If 5% of Canada's electricity was generated by wind energy in 2015, such development would produce $19.5 billion in investment and create 32,500 direct and 104,000 indirect person years of employment.

In the last session, the Minister of Natural Resources claimed that the Conservative government did not scrap funding for the wind power production incentive program, but what he later admitted was that funding had been frozen, effectively paralyzing the program and creating uncertainty for this industry.

In a May 26 letter from Mr. Robert Hornung, the president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, to the Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Hornung made it clear that the freezing of funds within the wind power production incentive program has had a serious negative effect on the industry. He said:

The fact that WPPI [wind power production incentive program] funds are frozen has made it difficult for the Federal Government to continue to work with projects currently in the process to obtain funds under the WPPI program. For example, projects must work with the Federal Government on a federal environmental assessment in order to have access to WPPI [the wind power production incentive program]. These processes have slowed down significantly or halted. As a result, valuable time is being lost for projects who are working to be in a position to access WPPI if the expansion proceeds. This means delay in ultimately getting these projects into the ground where they can provide significant economic benefits to local communities across Canada.

This is proof that the Conservative government cutbacks are hurting the industry and costing jobs for Canadians. As we have seen with the scrapping of the popular one tonne challenge and other programs, these are ideologically driven. I would ask the government to reinstate this very important program.

7:10 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec


Christian Paradis ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond today to the question asked by my hon. colleague, the member for Etobicoke North. The hon. member is concerned about the alleged cuts to programs. We know that programs such as EnerGuide or the one tonne challenge were deemed ineffective. That is why the current government is now looking into more effective programs.

I would like to remind the hon. member that the Minister of Finance made a $2 billion commitment to the environment and energy efficiency in the budget he brought down.

This is a significant investment. We think such an investment can be better used and provide better results than the money spent by the previous government.

Our government promised to pursue new directions in matters of climate change policy. We want a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a plan that takes into account the economic, social and environmental context of our country. We want to establish a plan that ensures clean air, water, soil and energy for Canadians—an effective and realistic way for Canada to address issues related to climate change.

It is not enough to do what the previous government did, which was to make an international commitment without developing a plan to honour that commitment and without determining what impact it might have on Canada. We have seen the results of that approach. Years after the Liberal government adopted programs and spent hundreds of millions of dollars on climate change initiatives, we are still far from achieving significant results and very far from meeting our commitments. The Liberals set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6%. Today, Canada's emissions are 35% above that target.

It is time to restructure our programs, and that is what we are doing. We have to find the best way of using this money for maximum impact on climate change.

Some of the current programs can be tailored to our strategy. In other cases, however, we will have to decide whether taxpayers' money might not be better used to support the new strategy. All the climate change initiatives are being reviewed, to make sure they produce real results for Canada.

My friend mentioned the EnerGuide program and the one tonne challenge. On re-evaluating these initiatives, the government concluded that taxpayers' money could be better used and spent on initiatives that will be more effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The government is developing a new strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As my friend is aware, the various ministers with responsibility in this area will be announcing specific initiatives in the coming weeks. The House will then see the wisdom of investing in programs that will have a real impact on air, water, soil and energy quality for Canadians.

7:15 p.m.


Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the government hides behind reviews, studies and platitudes, Canadian workers and the industry are suffering.

We have heard a lot about this Conservative government's “made in Canada” approach to our greenhouse gas and climate change problems, but to date the government has not given us anything concrete, only promises and hot air.

While the Prime Minister talks of Canada's energy resources to his friends in the Republican Party, his government is squandering and choking off a burgeoning energy industry by refusing to commit to the renewal and expansion of the wind power production incentive.

Does the parliamentary secretary have the courage to look up from his prepared text and commit to the House tonight that his backward and hypocritical government will do the right thing for a change and unfreeze and expand the wind power production incentive?

7:15 p.m.


Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. We arrived here in power as a new government and emissions are 35% over the previous government's target, and we are being asked to manage responsibly. In the meantime, while we are waiting for a new made in Canada solution to be implemented, the government is managing some 95 different programs that address climate change. These programs will continue in the current fiscal year and temporary financial assistance will be available, as is already the case. As I was saying earlier, the ministers concerned will make relevant announcements on specific programs.

From the beginning we realized that some programs were not achieving the desired results. My colleague referred to the One Tonne Challenge, for example, a marketing campaign run by the previous government. We do not want to adopt that approach. We want to use taxpayers' money in a way that will achieve the best results. We want to implement more effective and efficient programs to reduce emissions in a responsible manner.

We will continue to review current activities and support those that work. Furthermore, we are planning to add new activities that will help improve performance for all Canadians. We are committed to establishing a strategy that will ensure the quality of air, water, soil and energy.

7:15 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

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

(The House adjourned at 7:18 p.m.)