House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.


Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.


Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

You will see when the time comes.

As to the matter the member alluded to, the environment ministers meet frequently. They have a very good relationship with Quebec. Mr. Béchard had a very good meeting with Mr. Baird. Now it is up to them to decide what to do.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Langley B.C.


Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her comments and her hard work in representing Quebec well.

I would like to begin by emphasizing clearly that the government is committed to taking immediate and concrete action to address the issue of climate change and cleaning up the environment.

As the Prime Minister said in his speech of February 5, just two days ago:

--we have to have a realistic plan, not just empty rhetoric.

Our government supports a concerted global effort to deal with climate change--and such an effort [ to be effective] must include the major emitters, including the United States and China.

But we cannot ask others to act unless we are prepared to start at home, with real action on greenhouse gases and air pollution.

In short, the time for empty rhetoric is over. It is time for real action.

This government has a realistic plan. Our government has launched an ambitious environmental agenda that will have clear benefits for the environment and for the health of all Canadians.

The environment, particularly climate change, is a fundamental, multi-faceted issue that will require collaborative efforts from all levels of government.

We are committed to working with the provinces and territories in order to address shared challenges while ensuring that national and provincial efforts are well coordinated. Environment is a shared jurisdiction where all governments have a responsibility to act and to be accountable to their citizens.

Quebec is a significant player in the environment, as are all the provinces and territories. We recognize that Quebec has a comprehensive climate change plan and we commend the province's efforts. We have a good working relationship on many federal-provincial issues, not only with Quebec but with other provinces as well. The federal government is equally committed to taking action on climate change and I hope our two governments can work together to achieve shared goals and objectives.

As well, in this House, our government has decided to follow a different course of action in regard to funding of environmental programs.

The government has recently committed over $2 billion in a series of ecoenergy measures to promote both renewable energy and energy efficiency. These initiatives will complement current and future provincial and territorial efforts on climate change and support shared goals and objectives on air pollution and greenhouse gases in every region of the country, including Quebec.

In short, this funding will deliver real results. Canadians from coast to coast to coast will benefit as concrete reductions in greenhouse gases and air pollutants are achieved. I am confident that these initiatives, which will complement Quebec's climate change plan, will be well received by all Quebeckers.

We value provincial and territorial expertise in all aspects of environmental management and local considerations and will ensure that this expertise is utilized when moving forward on the environmental agenda.

In fact, many elements of the government's new ecoenergy programs will require joint efforts, including participation of the federal, provincial and territorial governments, industry, and the universities. Public-private partnerships with industry and federal and provincial governments will be forged where there is a shared interest.

In fact, ours is the first federal government to come forward with a comprehensive plan to regulate both greenhouse gases and pollutants in the industrial sector.

This government is committed to achieving real and measurable results that will produce health and environmental benefits for all Canadians. When it comes to the health of Canadians and the environment, we are not simply willing to adopt voluntary approaches, which do not necessarily lead to meaningful improvements.

We will set realistic and concrete mandatory targets for the short, the medium and the long term that will result in cleaner air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a healthier environment.

Our approach is balanced. New regulations will be complemented by a series of new programs that will support national goals and objectives.

The new ecoenergy initiatives are a prime example of our balanced approach, as they will complement the government's regulatory measures under the proposed clean air act, Bill C-30. They will deliver real results while regulations are being developed. They will also drive the technological innovation required to support upcoming regulations.

Provinces and territories are responsible for a great deal of the day to day delivery of the environmental programs. They work directly with local business, industry and municipalities, and they manage and monitor many facets of the environment across the wide expanse of the country.

We recognize that all levels of government are currently taking action to tackle air emissions. As such, we have launched a frank and transparent process of dialogue to ensure continued exchange of information throughout the regulatory development process.

At the beginning of November last year, consultations on the regulatory framework were launched with provinces and territories as well as with industrial sectors, aboriginal groups and non-governmental organizations.

I am pleased to say that to date these consultations have been positive and constructive. Provinces and territories are generally supportive of the federal government's efforts to introduce regulatory measures and to consult on setting the targets and the timelines.

We will continue to work in partnership and will respect shared responsibility among all levels of government. Our ongoing dialogue with the provinces and territories is key to achieving consistent and comprehensive national outcomes.

Our Minister of the Environment has met with several of his provincial and territorial counterparts, including Quebec's Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks. These meetings have been productive, with a shared view that both orders of government can continue to work together.

In fact, we are pleased to say that provinces and territories recognize that this government is taking immediate action on climate change and is prepared to work in collaboration to address this shared challenge.

The government's policy is clear. We will establish targets that will result in concrete improvements in environmental outcomes. These targets will be realistic and they will be achievable.

The environmental agenda developed by this government ensures a balance between recognizing the increased federal role to act in the national interest while ensuring provincial cooperation on an ongoing basis.

This government values the work of provinces and territories and believes they are critical players in environmental management. We will work with them in a cooperative and productive manner as this environmental agenda is further developed.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.


Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment's speech. In his presentation, he said, among other things, that when it comes to environmental issues, the Conservative government plans to recognize provincial governments' expertise.

Is he aware that, over the years, Quebec has developed extraordinary expertise on environmental matters, that the province wants to implement an innovative greenhouse gas management program, and that to make it happen, it needs the $328 million from the federal government?

Earlier today, his colleague from Beauport—Limoilou, her expression speaking volumes, claimed she did not know how she would vote on this very important Bloc Québécois motion.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment know how he will be voting on this motion, which is so important for Quebeckers and for the global environment?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.


Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member well knows, I have met numerous times, on the environment committee and the legislative committee, with representatives from the Bloc.

He knows well that this government is committed to cleaning up the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He knows well that one of the first people our new environment minister met was the minister of the environment in Quebec.

We are working collaboratively. We are working together and we respect one another's roles in cleaning up the environment, but the fact is that the Bloc has no hope of ever getting anything done for Quebeckers. It is this government that is committed to doing so.

The hon. member also knows well that the former Liberal government did nothing on the environment, and he knows that this government has already taken action.

We will work collaboratively. We will work together. We look forward to his assistance so that we can move forward as a government in cleaning up the environment.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.


Roger Gaudet Bloc Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is simple. I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary if Quebec is effectively entitled to $328 million. In fact, in his speech, the leader of my party, the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, said that Canada invested $66 billion in tar sands, natural gas and oil. Moreover, it had already invested $6 billion in a pilot project in Ontario. Let us not forget that Quebec contributed a quarter of those amounts, which total $72 billion. When divided by four, that is $18 billion, if my calculations are right.

Quebec is asking for $328 million, but nobody in the Conservative government can say if it will get it or not.

Let us be serious. The government constantly says that Liberals were 13 years in power and did nothing. Conservatives have already been in power for one year and have not done any better. What is the decision? Will they pay the $328 million, yes or no? That is what we want to know. We are not asking for much, only our just due

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.


Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure where the member has been for the last year. This government has taken action on the environment. We have accomplished more in the last year than the former Liberal government would have dreamed was even possible.

Only weeks ago in British Columbia we announced $30 million for the Great Bear Rain Forest. On the other coast, the government has invested $280 million to clean up the Sydney tar ponds. Why was this not done previously? Because of empty rhetoric and broken promises.

The Conservative government is a government of action. We will work with the province of Quebec. We want to and need to work together to see the passage of Bill C-30, Canada's legislation to clean up the environment in Canada and for the benefit of our globe.

Climate change is a real issue. We have to put down partisan politics. We have to work together for the health of our planet to stop climate change. I encourage the member to stop the rhetoric. Let us work together.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.


David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak this morning to the motion put forward by our colleagues.

I am pleased to rise in this House today to express my views on an issue as critical as the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

First, I would like to thank all the Bloc and NDP members for supporting the motion tabled in the House last week by the leader of the official opposition. Through their votes, the vast majority of hon. members confirmed their support for Kyoto and their commitment to fight climate change.

We know that the government is now all alone in its approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This shows that it is headed in the wrong direction. The motion that enjoyed the support of the three opposition parties recognized that human activities are largely responsible for the disruptions affecting the climate, and demanded that the government respect its Kyoto commitments.

The motion directed the Prime Minister to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to use the existing means provided in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to take necessary initiatives. The motion was adopted a week ago and the government is still not acting on it.

The Kyoto protocol is a cooperation tool that unites nations willing to address the international issue that global warming represents. It is not just a set of targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is not just a step forward, it is also, and more importantly, the right path that will lead us to results. The Kyoto protocol is dealing with the issue before it is too late, because the alarm is already sounding.

Last week, the intergovernmental panel on climate change, a group established by the United Nations, released a shocking report. It concluded that human activities are almost without a doubt responsible for global warming and are, consequently, also responsible for the major socio-economic disruptions that this warming trend could trigger in the years to come.

Despite the international panel's shocking statements last Friday, the Prime Minister cannot yet answer a question that I and many others have been asking him for over a year now. Where is his plan to fight climate change?

The only conclusion we are left with is that the Conservative government does not have a plan. The Prime Minister is trying to fool Canadians who are now more than ever concerned with the future of our planet. We cannot trust a Prime Minister who was leader of the opposition and called the Kyoto treaty a socialist scheme. He promised to battle its ratification, “whatever the cost”.

We know that if the Prime Minister were serious about climate change, he would have mentioned it in his last fiscal update, just last fall. If climate change were a priority at all for the Conservatives, it would at least have been mentioned perhaps in their Speech from the Throne or perhaps in their so-called list of five priorities during the campaign. It was absent from all those documents, from all those speeches and from all that rhetoric.

The Conservatives' record in the fight against greenhouse gas emissions is just pathetic. The Conservative government axed federal programs that promoted the reduction of greenhouse gases.

The proof? Here it is: $395 million cut from the EnerGuide program for home renovations; $500 million cut from the EnerGuide program for low-income homeowners; and $250 million cut from the partnership fund for climate change projects that the Liberals concluded with the provinces and municipalities.

Almost $600 million was cut from wind power production and renewable power production programs. The Conservatives did away with the One Tonne Challenge. They cut a billion dollars from the Climate Fund to reduce greenhouse gases. They cut $2 billion of general climate-change program funding.

The most recent victim of the Conservatives' cuts to environmental programs is the Commercial Building Incentive Program, which provided a financial incentive for the design and construction of new energy efficient buildings.

This was not a useless program; it produced results. Since its inception, this program supported no less than 541 projects in Canada that improved the energy performance of new buildings. These new buildings perform on average almost 35% better than similar buildings.

This program proved that it helped reduce greenhouse gases; every residential building, for example, built through the program emitted 182 fewer tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. For commercial buildings, the average reduction of greenhouse gases was 291 tonnes a year.

A government that eliminates such a program cannot say that it is taking care of the climate change problem. And similar announcements keep on coming.

Yesterday we learned that the government is shutting down the Northern Climate ExChange in the Yukon, which excels in climate change research in northern Canada and in the world. Since the Conservatives are cutting off their annual funding of $320,000, the researchers and scientists at Northern Climate ExChange have to end their studies.

If we do a quick calculation of all of the cuts, we get over $5.5 billion that has been eliminated from initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases—$5.5 billion in cuts. Is this how the government shows that it is serious about fighting climate change?

If the government is serious about action on climate change, it certainly has not shown it with its widely penned and so-called clean air act.

The Bill C-30 legislative committee has resurrected a bill that was dead on arrival in the House of Commons and only resurrected it with a promise to completely and utterly rewrite it.

Experts agree that there are no significant powers, not a single significant power to regulate in the new Bill C-30, that the government does not already possess under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. In short, the bill does nothing. I think we know that if the government were serious, it would have acted rather than punting the whole issue into Parliament.

Just half an hour ago, the Minister of the Environment refused to promise that the amended Bill C-30, once sent back to this chamber on March 30, would be acted on quickly by the government. He refused to guarantee and promise Canadian people that the hard work of the legislative committee would be implemented by the government. What kind of game is this when we are talking about such a serious issue for the future of the country?

Let us turn our attention to a subject that fascinates government members, the Liberal record on the environment. Project green was introduced as the centrepiece of the greenest budget in Canadian history. To paraphrase the Minister of the Environment, who said that? Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party of Canada.

With several key platforms for action, six greenhouse gases were added to the list of toxins under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. A proposed large final emitter system was published and draft regulations were nearly released before the unexpected 2006 election. We released a proposed set of rules for an offset credit system to award credits to large and small industries, technology companies, municipalities, farmers, foresters and individual Canadians, achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions. That system would have also created a market, allowing these individuals, industries and organizations to sell their credits, which is one of the most efficient ways to get the maximum emissions reductions at the lowest cost.

Our climate fund was set to start operations in early 2006, acting as a kind of investment bank. It would have purchased reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, resulting from tangible projects. For Canadians, opportunities would have been available in every sector of the economy. Many different groups would have benefited from the fund: forestry companies that engaged in state of the art forest management practices; farmers who adopted low-till practices; property developers who included district heating and renewable energy elements in their plans for their new subdivisions; businesses that developed innovative ways to reduce emissions through recycling and energy efficiency; companies and municipalities that invested in their communities to encourage alternative transportation modes; municipalities that went further and captured landfill gas and used it to generate electricity; or courier companies that retrofitted their fleets.

We have lost a key year, 12 months of silence, 12 months of blame game. In the 12th month, what does the government do? It goes back into our green plan. It cherry-picks three core programs and re-gifts them for Canadians. Not only does it re-gift the programs, but seriously weakens all three.

In other words, at some point Canada's new government will have to deliver a plan. We will have to see a plan. The Canadian people are desirous of a plan.

Another major part of project green was the $250 million partnership fund. This fund was expected to grow to $2 billion to $3 billion as projects were expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 to 85 megatonnes by 2012.

The first project announced under the partnership fund was a three-way federal-provincial-private plan in Prince Edward Island to upgrade the province's electricity transmission system and to allow P.E.I. to take advantage of wind energy. This is exactly the kind of investment we need to leverage industry to fight climate change. It is a program that was stillborn with the Conservative government a year ago.

Our climate change plan was in fact a business strategy for Canada that generated beneficial investments across the economy. Where did that plan go?

We do not only denounce the lack of vision on the part of the government. The Liberal approach is quite different from what the Bloc Québécois is advocating. Today, the Bloc is calling for $328 million to be transferred from Ottawa's coffers, merely a transfer of money. We would prefer a partnership between the two levels of government.

When Canada ratified the Kyoto protocol in 1997, it joined its efforts in a cooperation agreement entered into by a number of countries to achieve a single goal. Climate change is a global problem that Canada cannot solve on its own, in isolation. We took the lead, we agreed to live up to our responsibilities and we committed ourselves to working to improve the situation.

Because we cannot ignore our allies in the fight against climate change, we must also seize the opportunity to work in close collaboration with each of the provinces, each of the territories, all of the cities and villages and aboriginal communities. We are talking here about a collective effort in which every level of government must do its part. The federal government should extend its hand to them and demonstrate its intention of collaborating. Cooperation is one of the keys to success. That is how we can be sure that our efforts are not in vain and that we are advancing toward our common goal.

Just as for all of the childcare agreements that the government had entered into with the 13 provinces and territories, just as for the Kelowna accord, the first comprehensive federal agreement with all of the major aboriginal and Métis communities, the objective of the Kyoto protocol Partnership Fund was to secure agreements between Ottawa and all of the provincial and territorial governments for fighting climate change.

We had a memorandum of agreement, with Quebec, which involved $328 million and possibly more. Similar agreements had been signed with Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. But after the 2006 election, Quebec found itself alone in its efforts to achieve the Kyoto protocol objectives. The federal government made a big mistake when it took away the $328 million we had set aside for Quebec to fight climate change.

In my closing remarks, I am going to ask the government again to table a plan for the people of Canada to honour our obligations under the international treaty called the Kyoto protocol.

As a nation and as a people, we committed to lead the world in a global response to a global problem. The government refuses to accept that although there are over 180 nation-states, there is only one atmosphere and there must be a global response. That is why 168 countries, including Canada, have signed the treaty. The government instead would like us to leave the treaty but will not tell Canadians the truth about it.

To conclude, I would like to move an amendment to the motion by the Bloc Québécois that is before us today.

I move that the motion be amended by replacing the words “the sum of” with the words “a sum of not less than” and by adding after the words “Kyoto Protocol targets” the following: “in accordance with the commitment made to all of the provinces and territories by the Partnership Fund established in Project Green”.

Those are my remarks. On this extraordinarily important time in Canadian history, we support the efforts of the Bloc Québécois; we support the efforts of all provinces and we are desperately looking forward to plan which engages Canadians, provinces, municipalities, towns and villages in what is the challenge of the 21st century: to reduce our greenhouse gases and protect the only atmosphere we have.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The amendment is in order. However, it is my duty to inform hon. members that pursuant to Standing Order 85, an amendment to an opposition motion may be moved only with the consent of the sponsor of the motion. The sponsor of the motion is not present in the House. In the event of the absence of the sponsor, it is permissible for consent to be either given or denied by the House leader, the deputy House leader, the whip or the deputy whip of the sponsor's party. Seeing as none of them is present at the moment, the amendment is not receivable at this time.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.


Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, that was a very precious presentation made by the member. It strikes me though that it was as vacuous as the Liberal policy that he was touting throughout his entire speech.

My understanding is that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty also made a promise that he was going to shut down all of the coal fired generation for hydro in the province of Ontario. Of course, any right thinking person would have known that that promise was simply not able to be kept. The amount of power required in order to keep the economy of Ontario going is such that there was no way it could have been kept, yet he went ahead and made that promise.

I wonder if the member might be able to inform us if he has had any discussion, perhaps at the Christmas dinner table, about that unkept promise. It seems to me it runs in the family of Liberals that there are all sorts of things said and there is absolutely never any intention to follow up, much less any actual action to follow up.

Our party is looking out for Canadians and is going to create action. We are not interested in mere precious speeches.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.


David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me a wonderful opportunity to remind Canadians that it was not our party that guaranteed wait times within its first term of office and has now backed off publicly. It was not our party that promised not to undermine all those who held income trusts. The Prime Minister of Canada gave three separate speeches when he promised Canadians that he would not wreck their savings. Let us be honest about this issue.

The issue here is about partnership and whether or not the government even has a plan. Just moments ago in the committee the Minister of the Environment had several questions put to him by me and other members of all parties. After $5.6 billion in cuts in the last budget, $5.6 billion in cuts for climate change responses in this country, I asked the minister if he could please reveal to Canadians in dollar terms how much has been spent by the government in its first year of office. The minister was completely incapable of answering the question.

This is deserving of a national response. This is deserving of a plan from a government whose leader for 12 years before becoming Prime Minister was the leader of the anti-climate change movement in the country, who raised funds to undermine the ratification of the Kyoto protocol. This is a matter of record. This is not a matter of embellishment. What does the Prime Minister have to hide? Was he misleading Canadians then, or is he misleading them now? We do not know the answer to that question.

It is important for us now to move forward and find a plan for the country. We had a plan. It was disembowelled by the government. Some $5.6 billion was slashed, so now we are looking to see where the government is taking us.

Apparently we are not going to participate in the international emissions trading system, which is news to Canadian industry, particularly the oil and gas companies that are counting on the mechanism to reduce their greenhouse gases efficiently. We are not going to emulate the U.S. Clean Air Act which actually inspired the Kyoto protocol because it was there whence we derived the whole concept of a domestic emissions trading system.

We do not know where the government is going but we know there is Bill C-30, the so-called clean air act, which has been tossed to a legislative committee. When I asked the Minister of the Environment an hour ago whether he would agree to promise to Canadians that when that work came back to the chamber on March 30 he would move immediately to implement it, he said no.

My point is it is time for a plan from the government. There is no plan. The government is making it up as it goes along. What the Conservatives are really doing are jumping from ice floe to ice floe, handing out cheques across the country and re-gifting Liberal programs.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.


Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was quite interested when I heard the hon. member say that he was going to talk about the Liberal record and then he did what the Liberals always do, which was to use terminology such as “platforms for action”. He talked about “regulations nearly released”. He used the term “set to start operations”. I thought that was interesting.

I am wondering if the Liberals' motto on the environment might be changing from “didn't get it done” to “we were just about to maybe think about starting to potentially get it done”. After 13 years, the actual record was 35% above Kyoto targets, 28th out of 29 OECD countries in terms of air quality and a record number of smog days. Given the choice, and Canadians seem to have a choice, we can have a party that talked a good game for 13 years and never did anything or a party that in one year has proven that it can perform on the field.

When is the hon. member going to encourage his own Liberal leader and his party to stop playing games and get with the program, roll up their sleeves and actually start to work to get the clean air act passed?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.


David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a wonderful opportunity again for me to put questions to the government that were put to the Minister of the Environment an hour ago.

Every question I will now put to the government remains unanswered because the minister refused to answer or could not answer them. For example, I asked the minister and the government members whether they were prepared to monetize carbon. I and all Canadians would like an answer to that question.

Which is the most efficient way to move forward? Should we move using a domestic emissions trading system, an international emissions trading system or a carbon tax? Could they please explain to the Canadian people what it is they intend to do in this regard.

I also asked the minister if he could tell us what the price of a tonne of carbon was today in the European and Chicago markets. He could not answer. I asked the minister what the projected value was of the international carbon market by 2020 or 2050? He could not answer. I asked him on what scale his department estimated that the monetization of carbon would affect the Canadian economy, say, by 2017. He did not even understand what the quantization of carbon meant.

I asked him again whether he would introduce a cap and trade system for Canada. He could not or would not answer. On and on it went.

The point is that we are waiting for some indication from the government as to what it is it actually intends to do, other than master the blame game, which is precisely what we have been seeing for a year. When the polls struck, it desperately sought to put a green face on what is clearly an anti-climate change party.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.


Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague's speech was very thoughtful and articulate. I heard him say that Canada was 1 of 168 countries in the world that signed on to the Kyoto protocol.

During the parliamentary secretary's 10 minute speech, not one word was mentioned about Kyoto or the Kyoto agreement.

In the hon. member's knowledge of the history of this country, has a single Canadian government ever failed to follow through on an international commitment or an international treaty? It rather seems to be the mindset of the present government that, for the first time in Canadian history, an international commitment will not be honoured by Canada.

Is the hon. member's knowledge of history any different from mine?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.


David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the Government of Canada, first through its first Minister of the Environment, dispatched senior officials to a conference of the parties meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, to openly undermine the Kyoto treaty, this at a time when our country in the international community was actually chairing the entire international negotiation process. It was revealed to us through leaked documents from the Minister of the Environment's department that officials were dispatched to sabotage the process from the inside. Now we learn that it gets worse.

In answer to the member's question, I do not recollect, in my knowledge of international environmental treaty law, an occasion when a government has deliberately misled the international community in its reports. Now we learn that in the report sent by the government last November to the office that oversees the commitments of Canada and the 167 other countries under Kyoto, we learn that the only thing, after its first year in government, that the Conservatives have sent forward as a plan for Canada is the plan put forward by the hon. leader of the official opposition.

The 10 year, multi-billion dollar deal, the green plan that the Conservatives are so ready to reject, is the one they put forward to the international community.

It is interesting that in that report to the international community the government did not come clean and tell the international community that it had just eviscerated the very report that it put forward to actually substantiate that it might be doing something on climate change, cutting the funding of that plan by 50% and misleading the international community. I have never seen that before.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.


Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on the Bloc Québécois motion on air quality, the environment and the Kyoto protocol. I have listened to our Liberal colleague speaking of the green plan and so on. I believe he has neglected to say that their environmental plan has been a failure, and I will give him an example. Moreover, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development has pointed out that, even if the reduction measures set out in the Liberal government's 2005 plan had been fully implemented, it is hard to say whether the planned reductions would have been sufficient to allow us to fulfil our obligations. This was in the report tabled by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on September 28, 2006.

The Liberals are busy patting themselves on the back and saying that they would have solved the environmental and air quality problems if they had been in power. This raises some questions, particularly since the environment minister at that time is now the leader of the Liberal Party. Now he thinks donning a green scarf is going to change Canada's environment.

I do not want to dwell on the Liberal position for too long. I do not believe they managed during their 13 years in power to demonstrate that they considered the environment important, considering that greenhouse gas emissions increased by 30% over that period. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development has even stated that the measures for 2005 could not achieve the Kyoto protocol objectives.

Regrettably, when we look at the new government—as it still wants to be called—one which was at one point totally opposed to the Kyoto protocol, we see it has been forced to set aside the Minister of the Environment in favour of another.

My congratulations to Canadians, to all those who have realized that the environment has become a priority for our country. A person cannot open a newspaper or listen to a news broadcast these days without realizing that the environment is becoming one of our priorities.

It is not a normal situation in our communities all over the country for little children to have asthma, and for children, adults and seniors to be sick because of environmental pollutants. It is our fundamental responsibility, as citizens and as human beings, to preserve our planet for our children, for future generations. How can we not make the environment a priority?

I can see that the Bloc Québécois wants to be the champion of the environment in Quebec, as if it had all the answers. As I recall, just before the election, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace said we were number one in terms of the environment. They did mention the Bloc Québécois, but never said this was the doing of the Bloc alone.

I should remind the House and the people of Canada and Quebec that we all have to work together, because environmental pollution is something that does not affect only Quebec. It is happening worldwide. We must therefore work together and collectively to prevent pollution. As a member of this House, I was very disappointed when the Bloc Québécois voted against a motion put before the House by the NDP to ban the use of pesticides on people's lawns.

I was very disappointed with the position taken by the Bloc Québécois, saying that this was a provincial jurisdiction. I find it hard to believe that pollutants fall under provincial jurisdiction.

Quebec had good legislation respecting pesticides. We even commended it for that. But in this House, in this Parliament, here in Ottawa, by voting against our motion to ban pesticides, Bloc members have prevented the rest of Canada from enjoying similar legislation. It struck me as unfortunate, especially since they paint themselves as saviours of the environment and of Kyoto. They opposed a motion going to the heart of the issue of health in the regions, as it dealt with the banning of pesticides on grassy areas in municipalities and towns. How could they oppose that?

It is almost as if they can think of only one thing: Quebec, and only Quebec. That is unfortunate. The motion before us is a case in point: it talks only about Quebec. An amendment might be put forward later. This time, one would hope that they will not vote the same way they did on pesticides. Hopefully, they will say that they are prepared to work together with the rest of Canada and agree with this benefiting all the provinces.

Let us talk about some of the amendments proposed by the NDP to Canada’s Clean Air Act. Canadians want us to act immediately to reduce pollution so their families can breathe cleaner air and Canada can do its part in the international effort to combat climate change at a world-wide level.

Re-writing the ineffective and inadequate Bill C-30, an Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act (Canada’s Clean Air Act) within a special legislative committee offers an important opportunity for Canada to get back on the road to reducing pollution and to combating climate change.

Once again, the NDP proposed the creation of a special legislative committee on the environment, on air quality, to study the Conservative bill so that we could deal with the problem immediately through this bill. A special committee would not have to follow the same procedures. So, in that sense, we could go faster. The NDP proposed that we could present amendments to the bill within 30 days.

Earlier, I listened to the Liberals telling us that Bill C-30 would do nothing to improve air quality in Canada. Unless I am completely mistaken, the opposition now forms a majority in the House of Commons and also on a special legislative committee. As a result, the opposition could present amendments to improve the bill so that it goes in the right direction.

We wanted to do that within 30 days to ensure that we had a bill before the budget is tabled in the House of Commons, because there could be a vote of non-confidence in the government after the budget is tabled. We wanted to be sure that the bill is through the House of Commons and sent to the Senate.

However, the other political parties, the Conservatives, the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois decided to delay review of the bill until March 31, or after the budget. This position of the other parties is regrettable. The Conservative party wanted to hear 40 witnesses in committee, and the Liberals wanted more than 40 witnesses. I do not know how many witnesses the Bloc Québécois also wanted to call.

If we do not already know what we need to improve the bill, if in 30 days we could not review the bill and agree on what needs to be done, instead of playing politics, then we are missing the boat. That is my sincere belief.

With a new bill, Parliament can ensure significant and immediate action enabling Canadians to see improvements in the air they breathe throughout their lives, in addition to protecting the planet for their children and their grandchildren.

The NDP is proposing a series of detailed changes to Bill C-30, which again commits Canada to respecting its short-term commitments under the Kyoto protocol and ensures the development of an exhaustive plan for it to meet internationally recognized scientific objectives in the medium and long term.

The NDP will continue to seek comments and other amendments from environmental experts and Canadians both during the period leading up to the work by the special committee and while it is working.

The amendments proposed by the NDP are to impose, by legislative rather than regulatory means, short-, medium- and long-term targets for absolute reductions of greenhouse gases by requiring that Canada: meet the 2008-2012 target under the Kyoto protocol; ensure an 80% reduction, based on scientific research, of 1990 levels by 2050; achieve the interim five-year targets between 2015 and 2050; and impose, by means of legislation rather than declaration of intent, an earlier-than-expected timetable for regulation of the industrial sector. Such regulations should be put in place by 2008.

The NDP also asks that Canada: impose, through legislation rather than regulation, a fixed cap for greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector of at least 45 megatonnes a year; require, by legislation, the establishment of mandatory standards for air contaminants in the year following the adoption of this new law, in addition to a plan for complying with these standards, including mandatory emission standards for large industrial facilities; require, by legislation, an energy efficiency standard for vehicle fuel that comes close to that of leading North American jurisdictions, which will be published by 2008 and which will be in place for production year 2011, so that vehicle manufacturers have sufficient notice concerning the expiry of the voluntary agreement. This would be accompanied by a new authority for the government to establish a fair transition fund for the automobile sector.

The NDP also asks that, by legislation, the government set a carbon cap and establish a carbon-trading system in Canada and that it eliminate key tax incentives for the gas and oil sector, particularly the accelerated depreciation deduction given for tar sands development.

I think this is a very unfortunate situation for Canadians. A few weeks ago, I listened to a program in French on Radio-Canada about the research done in Alberta. Rivers there are polluted and this has posed a threat to an aboriginal community. It seems that the government is prepared to agree to increase oil production in western Canada by five times more than current production. We are told that production today, with current technology, causes an incredible amount of pollution.

We must therefore ask ourselves the following questions. Is the Conservative government serious? Is the Prime Minister of Canada, who is from Alberta, really serious? Will he do what is best for the environment? Will he take the requests of Canadians to heart and respond to them sincerely, with concrete action?

Here is an example of concrete action: in north-eastern New Brunswick, along the Baie-des-Chaleurs, and in the Gaspé near Matane, windmills have been built to generate electricity. That is one way of combating pollution. The area I come from is ideal for that.

People always say that politicians make promises that they never keep. I can promise that there will be plenty of wind for the rest of our days and for future generations. There will always be wind. That is a promise we can keep and windmills need wind.

What sort of investments has the government made so far to fight pollution and to help the environment? Whether we like it or not, we need light, electricity and resources. However, we could be doing more. What is the government doing to encourage so-called green cars, which do not pollute? What is it doing about that? We hear nothing about it and even if they do talk, the talk is not followed by action.

In my area, for example, there is a coal-fired power plant in Belledune. Why would the federal government not invest for the longer term in natural gas in northern New Brunswick? The cuts it made in EI benefits paid in that area amount to $85 million a year. It could invest that in the environment. These are concrete measures that would do good, create good jobs and be better for the environment than coal use.

Since the Bloc Québécois introduced the motion I would like to ask its permission to propose an amendment to promote cooperation in the interest of all Canadians.

I propose, seconded by the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie, the following amendment:

That the motion be amended by adding the word “minimum” before the word “sum”, and by adding immediately after the words “Kyoto Protocol targets”: “, and that, after negotiations, the Government of Canada should provide appropriate funds to all other Canadian provinces and territories to make the transition towards Kyoto”.

I would like to ask for the support of the Bloc to introduce that amendment.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The amendment is in order. However, I must inform the members that, according to Standing Order 85, an amendment to an opposition motion can only be introduced with the consent of the mover of the motion.

Consequently, I ask the hon. House leader of the Bloc Québécois if he consents to the introduction of the amendment.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.


Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I accept the amendment proposed by the NDP and I agree to debate it.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The amendment is in order.

On questions and comments, the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I salute the initiative of the member for Acadie—Bathurst concerning his amendment.

I think that the amendment moved by the NDP confirms one thing, which is that the territorial approach that the Bloc Québécois has been advocating for years is the best approach for Canada to meet the Kyoto protocol targets.

Quebec is not asking for $328 million so it can beg Ottawa for money to fight climate change. Since the provinces are responsible for producing and distributing energy and this energy is consumed in the provinces, this is the most effective and efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Does my colleague recognize that the best way to reach the Kyoto targets is to transfer this money to the provinces, with the obligation to respect the Kyoto commitments in the territories and the provinces?

This territorial approach is aimed at leaving the provinces with the responsibility to reach their targets—binding ones, if necessary—while committing to a financial transfer from Ottawa to the provinces. This is probably the best way to maximize the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for each dollar invested and to ensure that the Liberal approach, which provides for the spending of billions of dollars in the fight against climate change, does not lead to a 30% increase.

Does my colleague recognize that this territorial approach, which is also aimed at transferring funds to the provinces, which have a major responsibility for the management of natural resources, is the best way to reach the Kyoto protocol targets?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.


Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

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

I believe that if a province is proactive, if it is moving forward and if it has an acceptable plan that meets the Kyoto targets, then the country should support that province. For example, Manitoba has a plan. That province wants to move forward and work with the industry. We must work hard to prevent our planet from continuing to be polluted. Considering the health and well-being of our children, the health and well-being of future generations, how could we be opposed to a population that wants to take charge and to fight pollution? We must ensure that we have a planet that is clean, a planet on which we enjoy living.

I am grateful to the Bloc Québécois for supporting the NDP amendment to include the provinces. It is now up to the provinces to propose plans. If some provinces cannot propose plans, it will be up to the federal government to act. It is the responsibility of the Conservatives to take action and clean our planet—or at least take part in that cleaning—to respect the Kyoto protocol and to meet the targets set, so that Canadians from coast to coast will enjoy a clean environment. This is one of our basic responsibilities.

We cannot rely only on what the Liberals have said during their 13 years in office, when pollution increased by 30%.

We cannot trust the Conservatives, who are now in office and who want to achieve the objectives by the year 2050. We must fight pollution now. We must work hard.

A majority of opposition members support the idea of making changes to Bill C-30. We must show Canadians, who are so concerned, that we want to take action.

Earlier, I referred to the Radio-Canada news story and I mentioned how it generated concern among the public. People in our ridings often tell us that, even though temperatures may be mild, they are worried.

We must act now. As leaders in Canada and in this Parliament, it is our responsibility to act.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.


Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I applaud the member opposite for his speech. He talked about many environmentally related things.

He talked about wind, and we do not hear enough about wind energy, solar energy and what the federal government should be doing to promote alternative forms of energy.

He talked about automobiles. As I understand the science of global warming or climate change, automobiles account for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and automobile manufacturers are doing more and more, as I understand it, to manufacture automobiles which will emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The member also talked about targets and the difficulty that we as a country have had in meeting our Kyoto targets. As he may know, heavy industry's large final emitters account for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions. I am sure the hon. member opposite would agree with that.

He may also know that the oil sands industry was to have produced one million barrels of oil per day by the year 2020. It reached that target as of two years ago, so the growth in the oil sands industry has been unprecedented, almost unbelievable, and the oil sands industry is a huge emitter of greenhouse gas emissions.

Does the member opposite see, as I do, a clear link between the incredible growth in the oil sands in the last five years and our inability as a country to meet our Kyoto targets?

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.


Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, as the member has said, we see that the oil sands were supposed to have a million barrels in 2020. I believe that is what I understood him to say. They have been producing this amount for almost two years already, and they are looking ahead to producing five times more.

As I said, when we looked at the commentary on the documentary that was done by the French channel of CBC, we saw that people are worried about that. They are very worried. Rivers are polluted already. Nothing has been done about it. The aboriginals who live around that river are at a loss. We heard yesterday in the House of Commons how pitiful it is in some of our aboriginal villages. We are not looking after them. It is as if we do not care. It does not make sense.

If we do not look after the environment, if we do not do the right things that need to done, we will be sorry. Maybe we will not be here to be sorry, but our next generations will be caught in it. Our next generations are our kids and the kids of our kids. Do we not love them? How could we be so selfish as to not do the right things now?

As for wind power, as I explained a few minutes ago in French, our other official language, in northern New Brunswick people sometimes say that politicians do not tell the truth, that they lie. But I can say this truth: we will promise wind forever in northern New Brunswick. We could have wind power there that does not pollute our planet. People are ready to come to an agreement with the government, but where is the federal government on this?

We have coal energy in Belledune, New Brunswick. Why do we not get natural gas and cut down the emissions of gas as compared to coal? Things could be done, but there is no action. We have a lot of talk but no action.

I was pleased this week that action has been taken in the House. I proposed to the procedure and House affairs committee that all the ministers' cars idling outside, 27 cars idling for two, three and four hours, should shut down. It put the government to shame and the engines were shut down. That is positive. That is concrete stuff. That is action.

That is the type of action we have to take. We have to lead on the environment. We have that responsibility as leaders of our country. We have been elected by the people of our constituencies. We have been elected to lead our country. The citizens of our country are saying that enough is enough and that we must look after the environment because we cannot continue on the road that we are on.

Not too long ago, I met someone in my riding who said, “Is it not beautiful? Look at the sun. It is the most beautiful--

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders



The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order. Resuming debate, the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders



Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have today the great pleasure to speak to a motion introduced by the leader of the Bloc Québécois which has to do with the Kyoto protocol. The motion proposes:

That, having recognized the principle of complying with the Kyoto targets, it is the opinion of this House that the government should provide the Government of Quebec with the sum of $328 million to enable it to implement its plan to meet the Kyoto Protocol targets.

We also took note of the amendment introduced by the NDP, the purpose of which was to indicate clearly that the $328 million is of course a minimum and that the government should also give the appropriate amounts to the other provinces that wish to embark on the fight against climate change.

I would say that the original Bloc motion plus the NDP amendment prove one thing. The first part of the motion refers to the fact that the principle of complying with the Kyoto protocol has been recognized in this House. What does that mean? First, it means that through the House of Commons and parliamentarians, we have taken strong action to send to the government the clear message that we want a credible plan for fighting climate change that incorporates the Kyoto targets.

I will remind you that last May, the Bloc Québécois tabled a motion calling on the government to table this credible plan incorporating the Kyoto protocol targets. The majority of members in this House—from the Bloc, the NDP and the Liberal Party—voted in favour. The principles of compliance with the Kyoto protocol that are included in the Bloc’s motion today are thus repeated, and we would like the majority of the House to repeat this support many times expressed by parliamentarians, in the Bloc Québécois motion in May, in Bill C-288 tabled by the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier, and again this week in an opposition motion calling for compliance with the Kyoto protocol.

However, the reality is quite different. Greenhouse gas emissions have risen 27% since 1990. So billions of dollars have been invested in Canada to fight climate change, but the results have not come. This means that, to comply with its Kyoto targets, as things now stand the government will have to reduce its emissions not just by 27%, but also by another 6% on top of that.

In my opinion, the results presented by the Conservative government in Nairobi—results that can be attributed to the Liberal efforts of recent years—must drive home to us the importance of changing our approach to combating climate change in Canada.

What is that approach? First of all, it is a voluntary approach which—if absolutely necessary, of course—would establish regulations, as proposed by the Liberal finance minister of the time, in a budget for example. But it was also an approach that would provide for regulations based on emission intensity.

What does that mean? It means that in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions imposed on industry, we would take production into consideration and not set a reduction target based on the total quantity of greenhouse gases produced by these different industrial sectors.

This approach which has been adopted by the federal government, both Liberal and Conservative, is nothing but a gain, a savings and an advantage for the oil companies and the big polluters.

We are calling on the government to base its greenhouse gas reductions and its emission targets for large industrial emitters on the total quantity discharged by the different industrial sectors. But the Conservative government, which has adopted the same policy as the previous government, an approach that is ineffective, inefficient and unfair, is perpetuating an approach that has not yielded the desired results in the battle against greenhouse gas emissions.

We are today proposing to change this approach, to adopt a territorial approach whereby the provinces would be asked to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in binding fashion, obliging them to cut emissions within their territory by 6%, while leaving them free to establish the plans, policies and programs they want.

The reason for doing this is quite simply because the energy policy of Quebec, which generates 95% of its power from hydroelectricity, is not the energy policy of Western Canada, which depends on hydrocarbons, oil sands and fossil fuels. The energy policy of Quebec is not that of Alberta. Neither is it the energy policy of Ontario, which has favoured coal in recent years, and more recently, nuclear power.

Therefore, since there is no common energy policy across Canada and since energy and natural resources are managed by the provinces, we must ensure that the provinces are involved.

Remember what the environment commissioner told us in her report on climate change programs. The provinces must be part of the solution because that is where electricity is produced, distributed and used.

The government must recognize today that we should stay away from a sectorial approach and adopt a territorial approach that will allow us to put in place an effective, efficient and fairer national policy with regard to climate change. Canada's problem in fighting climate change has nothing to do with the programs themselves, as they already exist, but it has to do with the fact that they are not adapted to the provinces' energy reality.

Tuesday, at the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, we heard from a prominent climate expert who is a professor at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. He told us, and I quote:

One of the reasons for Canada's failure is its desire to have the same approach for all the players, supposedly because it is more equitable, even though the situation is not the same for all the players.

Mr. Villeneuve also said:

It is clear that regional approaches are much more interesting since decisions regarding energy policies are made at the provincial level and natural resources are managed by the provinces.

Canada did commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6%. But can we adopt a so-called common approach that would be tailored to each province, something similar to what Europe did?

In 1997, Europe committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 8%. That same year, Europe went to Kyoto with specific objectives and a territorial approach to meet that 8% target. Under that approach, its sovereign countries—there were 15 at the time—would have different targets where some could increase their emissions and others could reduce them, taking into account various parameters such as the climate, which has a considerable impact on energy consumption. The economic structure has to be taken into account.

Each country's energy policy and wind energy potential must be taken into account in the targets negotiated with these countries.

This is a flexible approach that would let Canada continue to demonstrate to the international community that it is determined to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet its international commitments. Canada could also reach agreements with its provincial partners in order to develop a more effective climate change policy.

The third demand is the carbon exchange. Companies and industrial sectors are just waiting for greenhouse gas emissions regulations.

The government told us that it was going to base its regulation of the industry on emission intensity. In other words, in setting a target for each industrial sector, it was going to take into account production and greenhouse gas emissions. This approach cannot work.

On the one hand, this approach is unfair to industry sectors that have made efforts in the past, such as the industrial sectors in Quebec. Meanwhile, industrial sectors in the rest of Canada have increased their emissions by over 20%, nearly 30% since 1990. The industrial sectors in Quebec have succeeded in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 7%.

Sector-based intensity targets would clearly penalize companies and industrial sectors that have made efforts in the past and can show progress in fighting climate change. Not only is this intensity-based approach to climate change unfair, but it clearly jeopardizes the implementation of a carbon exchange in Canada.

The government has to understand that if it wants to set up a carbon exchange, which we support and would like to see in Montreal—I know that there is some discussion as to whether the exchange will be in Montreal or Toronto—then we must set strict reduction targets. Intensity targets will complicate Canada's implementation of a carbon exchange, a special tool allowed under the Kyoto protocol so that countries can reach their greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.

This morning, the minister appeared in committee. I asked him whether he favoured a territorial approach or a carbon exchange. His response was clear. Quebec was asking for too much. That is what the Minister of the Environment said. He made it even more clear how little he understands the establishment of a carbon exchange. This morning he told us that Quebec could not call for a territorial approach as well as a carbon exchange. It is totally illogical.

How can the minister say such things when Europe has indicated it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 8%? In Europe, the Kyoto protocol targets were divided territorially and the world’s most innovative carbon exchange established. It is so innovative that the Montreal climate exchange signed an agreement with the European carbon exchange, a side agreement to the conference on climate exchange in Montreal.

At the economic forum in Davos on January 25, the Premier of Quebec, it will be remembered, called for such an exchange to be established as quickly as possible.

What is the government waiting for then? The Montreal exchange is waiting for the federal government. All of Quebec is waiting for the Montreal exchange to be established to help improve Canada’s situation generally in the fight against climate change.

The government must commit as soon as possible to formulating regulations and targets for the industrial sector. It must let Quebec achieve the Kyoto protocol targets within the province and establish a carbon exchange.

There is a fourth element: the $328 million we are demanding from the government.

The minister told us in committee this morning that he was consulting, discussing and negotiating with the Government of Quebec for the $328 million. I have been the environment critic for years. I have seen a succession of ministers. I have seen them say no to Quebec over this significant transfer of $328 million. The former Liberal Minister of the Environment, the former Conservative minister and the current minister have all turned a deaf ear to Quebec’s demands, although it has a strategy for climate change.

With Quebeckers ready to commit public funds to meeting 72% of the Kyoto targets in Quebec’s plan of action we are asking Ottawa for some 30% only of the financial effort required to meet Kyoto targets, and time is a-wasting.

It is odd that when we discuss, here in this House, bills such as Bill C-48, which gives tax breaks to the oil industry, things move along more quickly, bills get passed and there is agreement.

I am talking about $250 million granted annually to the oil industry, according to the figures from the finance department. Let me quote some of them. The oil companies will have saved $55 million in 2003-04, $100 million in 2004-05 and $260 million in 2007-08.

Does anyone realize that the $328 million is the total for just two full fiscal years that the oil industry will have benefited from through Bill C-48? For 2007-08 alone, oil companies will save $260 million, while Quebec has been negotiating for years to get $328 million to meet Kyoto protocol targets.

We, on this side of the House, are saying that the policies of the Conservative government and of the Liberal government promote nothing less than a polluter-paid policy rather than a polluter-pay policy. This is an example. While the $328 million would be used to fund a plan to combat climate change in Quebec, the government is saying no, but saying yes to the oil companies. This does not make sense.

The government needs to acknowledge that the Kyoto protocol targets are, for the opposition in this House—including the Bloc Québécois, of course—a non negotiable objective. The government need not expect that we will negotiate on achieving the targets in the Kyoto protocol or its inclusion in Bill C-30. We want the Kyoto protocol targets to be part of Bill C-30. Let that be clear. We feel that a refusal by the government to include them would be nothing short of a slap in the face in the fight against climate change.

Finally, giving $328 million to Quebec has nothing to do with the tax incentives given to the oil industry. It has to do with fighting climate change and having a sustainable transportation policy in Quebec that is in line with Kyoto targets.

In closing, I hope members will consider this amended motion and vote in favour of it.

Opposition Motion—Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.


Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to read a quote to the hon. member. It states: “'The Government of Canada is being discriminatory and is preventing the Gaspésie from becoming an oil and gas producing region', roared Mr. Landry of the National Assembly. 'Had the federal government not discriminated against us, the drilling platforms would already be up and running and oil would already have started to flow', he told reporters in La Presse, December 18, 2002”.

Given that complying with Kyoto requires massive reductions in CO2 emissions, does the member support Mr. Landry's oil and gas ambitions in the Gaspé or is he willing to kill that plan? And if not, what other industry in Quebec would he be in favour of shutting down in order to comply with Kyoto?