Mr. Speaker, I do have a legitimate point of order with regard to Bill C-288, the Kyoto implementation bill.
In your ruling of September 27, 2006, you concluded that Bill C-288 did not require a royal recommendation. I would appreciate your consideration of two developments that have occurred since that ruling.
First, the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development amended Bill C-288. In particular, I would like to draw two of these amendments to your attention.
One amendment was to include the require in clause 5(1)(a)(iii.1) that the government report:
measures to provide for a just transition for workers affected by greenhouse gas emission reductions
The second amendment added a new requirement in clause 10 for the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy to undertake research, gather information and advise the minister on the new climate change plan required by the bill.
The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy is funded through government appropriations and reports to Parliament through the Minister of the Environment. While the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy does currently undertake research on the environment, the specific research this amendment requires is a new and distinct responsibility and as such would involve expenditures for a new and distinct purpose.
On May, 2005, the Acting Speaker ruled that expenditures for a new purpose require a royal recommendation:
—a royal recommendation is required not only in the case where more money is being appropriated, but also in the case where the authorization to spend for a specific purpose is being significantly altered.
The second development that I wish to draw to your attention is recent public comments made by the member for Honoré-Mercier that Bill C-288 would necessitate the spending of public funds.
In a CBC radio program on December 9, 2006, the member stated, “The bill forces the government to meet its Kyoto commitments”. When the member was asked to elaborate on the cost to meet the emission reduction targets in the Kyoto protocol, the member stated:
Even the worst case scenario, which would be to buy almost all the credits on the international level, is within the range of the cuts of the GST they made.
The 2006 federal budget estimates that the cost of reducing the GST from 7% to 6% will be in the $8.69 billion range over the next two years.
It seems to me that Bill C-288 has been written in a way that appears to avoid specifying a requirement for direct new government spending.
However, the member's recent media statement indicates his belief that the bill would result in a very large requirement for new government spending. To use the member's own example, this could involve costs of over $4 billion a year.
Since this new information has become available after your ruling on Bill C-288, I would request that you clarify your ruling on whether Bill C-288 obliges the government to spend additional public funds.
If the House agrees, I am prepared to table a copy of both the transcript of member's remarks in both official languages.