Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak to the Bloc Québécois motion on the need to restore the funding promised by the previous government to the province of Quebec. With the amendments that have been accepted from our party, we have a very interesting opportunity to discuss this issue.
I agree with the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie on most of the points he makes. However, my experience in federal-provincial energy relations stems back to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In early 2000 I was appointed to the council that dealt with the fund. Early on we received numerous applications from municipalities in the province of Quebec. They wished to use innovation to develop new ways to deal with energy and to improve the systems that ran their communities.
It was not long before the provincial government at that time shut that whole opportunity down for the municipalities of Quebec. Those great ideas, which we saw in applications for the first six months, were shelved. It was an inter-jurisdictional dispute about who could receive resources to apply them to good work. We have to be careful with territorial aspects to dealing with international and global problems and not recognizing the importance of local participation and local ability to share with other similar concerns across the country and perhaps even across the world.
When we look territorially, we limit our scope. The types of projects that were presented in Quebec could well have been replicated across the country. The types of projects that we received in western Canada from municipalities could well have been used quite comfortably in Quebec. An arena in Weyburn, Saskatchewan is the same as an arena in Trois Rivières, Quebec. The problems are the same and the solutions are likely to be similar.
When we try to break things down into smaller parts, sometimes we find that the solutions, the opportunities and the results are not as good. Therefore, I want to be careful about this. That is my experience in the federal-provincial arena with energy related projects.
As well, at the federal-provincial level, we need cooperation on larger projects. When we talk about an east-west power grid, we need cooperation from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Labrador and Newfoundland. We need to think together about the ways to solve the issues that come with providing the transportation links for renewable energy across the country. It is not good enough that we operate in isolation.
In fact, there is no doubt we even have to think with countries outside our borders. We cannot ignore the elephant to the south. We cannot ignore it as a reality in our energy picture in North America. If we ignore it, we are not doing our job for Canada, for the globe or for our province. In the end that will not work.
We have to be cognizant of the nature of the problem and the ways that we can look for solutions. We have to work together cooperatively at all levels, regardless of our aspirations on the political side. This is not a political issue. It is an environmental issue and a global catastrophe on the way.
The leader of the Bloc says that Canada must respect its international agreements on the environment. There are not too many ordinary Canadians who would argue with this.
The NDP has been fighting with the Conservatives and the Liberals to live up to Kyoto for years. We all voted in favour of such a motion only last week. It is so very good to see the House respecting and honouring that agreement. Unfortunately, we still have not seen action on it which can even come close to making our way toward Kyoto.
The member called for the introduction of a market for carbon, along with hard emissions caps and a policy of polluter pays. Those have long been the NDP's plans for a greener Canada.
In fact, last June when we put forward a plan which would save average Canadians money, create jobs and clean up the air, the NDP's plan said that a New Democratic Party would give fair notice to large emitters. Starting in 2008, permissible emissions would be capped and the cap would be annually reduced, with an eventual goal of 50% reduction in emissions by 2030.
This is the kind of thing we want to see happen in the House of Commons today. This is the kind of action that can deliver Canada a Kyoto strategy. This is what can make it work for all of us.
We also want to introduce a market based auction for available emissions credits in 2009, with credits divided among sectors. At the outset, the auction would cover less than 10% of available credits, with a goal of all emissions credits sold by auction by 2030. Proceeds from the sale of emissions credits would go to sustainability projects across the country.
That is real action, and it is good to see other parties coming around to the NDP's thinking.
The Bloc's third point is that Canada must stop the government assistance to the oil industry. The NDP has been long calling for an end to this corporate welfare, started under the Liberals and continued under the Conservatives.
Last year Imperial Oil posted the largest profits in its history, $3 billion. Its parent company's, Exxon, was considerably larger, at $40 billion. Even the senators in the United States could not take that and swallow it. It was too much for them. It was outlandish, in the words of the senators from the country to the south of us. They want to brag about how much of that amount was made in the oil sands, and no doubt. The tax and royalty regimes in place for the oil sands are the biggest giveaway we have seen in a long time in the oil industry. It truly is remarkable that this continues today.
With record profits like this, do the oil companies really need these tax breaks? I think Chavez proved it in Venezuela when he upped the royalties by over 30%. There was only one oil company that walked out of the country, and that was Exxon. The rest stayed and made money.
In reality, things can happen in this country, as well.
I am not sure about the last two points made by the leader of the Bloc. I feel that a territorial approach to dealing with climate change, as I pointed out, would lead to lost opportunities, duplication of efforts and an inefficient use of the limited resources of all of us in the House and across the country.
Climate change is a problem faced by all the peoples of the planet. We have to work together, collectively. While there is room for individual action, I believe much more could be achieved by working together.
On the last point made by the leader, I agree that Canada must be prepared to offer financial help, but to all jurisdictions. I am glad to see that the Bloc has accepted the amendment. I really think the provision of $320 million to Quebec and commensurate amounts to other jurisdictions is a useful gesture at this point in time. However, the past commitment of that sum of money will not bring any of our provinces to Kyoto. That will not happen.
When we look at the Natural Resources Canada outlook we see that in 1990, Quebec produced 87 megatons of carbon dioxide. The projection is that by 2020 it will be at 110 megatons. That increase includes the increase in generating capacity from wind by 8%, the refurbishing of a nuclear plant, and La Romaine hydro plant would be in service by that time.
In Quebec as well there are issues with reaching Kyoto targets. When so much of our energy is provided by hydroelectric power, then the solutions that we are looking for to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be focused more on space heating, residential, commercial and transportation. By 2020, the Quebec energy mix will be well over 50% fossil fuels.
Those are not easy problems that can be solved overnight by an infusion of $320 million into a provincial budget. Those are problems that are solved by long term action that plans for the energy future of this country, of North America and of the world.
Quebec's energy wealth is in hydroelectric power, one of the cleanest forms of energy available. With its vast hydroelectric potential, Quebec is well-suited to develop other forms of clean energy, such as wind or tidal power. Nothing is better than a reservoir full of water to match up to large expanses of wind farms across the very strong wind areas of the northern St. Lawrence.
It is anticipated that Quebec's demand for electricity will increase by about 10% between now and 2020. Support by hydroelectric alternative sources of energy could meet the increasing demand and provide residents of Quebec with clean and secure energy in the future. Investments in types of space heating that are above thermal energy from electricity would be very useful.
Geothermal is a natural match for Quebec. It is a natural thing to happen in that province which has such an abundance of good, clean hydroelectric power. The investment in geothermal in Quebec is a great investment and it should be made. It is an investment that has great potential for that province.
However, this is not the only energy that Quebec uses and needs. As I pointed out earlier, by 2020 over 50% of the energy in Quebec will be provided by fossil fuels. Quite clearly, in Canada we have a very secure supply of natural gas and oil. Those things are in a world of increasing turmoil and, in a world where we know that energy is an issue in almost every other place in the world, Canada can be a haven for its own citizens for those kinds of energy.
However, if that is the case, why does the Bloc support the development of liquefied natural gas entering into the Quebec market? Despite the overwhelming opposition from local residents, the Liberal government of Quebec is supporting the construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal at Lévis, across the river from Quebec City. Liquefied natural gas uses four times as much energy in its production and transportation as natural gas in a pipeline from western Canada.
Liquefied natural gas has a CO2 profile equivalent to crude oil. It is not the product that will provide clean energy to Quebec. It is, of course, transferring that CO2 to another country, whether it be Russia, Indonesia or Qatar, one of those countries where the greenhouse gases will be emitted into the atmosphere and add to the problem that we have globally with energy.
LNG creates an unacceptable safety hazard to those who live close by, including the residents of Quebec City's old town near the St. Lawrence River. They are still in the danger zone. This fact was recently supported by the area's public health officials.
As well, LNG would further increase Canada's and Quebec's energy insecurity because of where it comes from. Russia and the OPEC states have played energy politics in the past and are most likely to do it again. There is no question that the international market for LNG will grow and that the price will go up to match other mobile fuels that are available in the world, which will cause dislocation to those who invest in this type of technology.
What plan do we have for the gas that is going into Quebec now? A proponent outlines that it will increase the flow of gas from western Canada into the United States. The gas that we are now providing to Quebec will go down to the United States. When we sell more gas to the United States the proportionality clause of NAFTA comes into play and we are stuck with that. We are locked in.
Does that make sense in the world today? We know we are in a difficult situation with natural gas in Canada. We could maintain our own supply and do what we need to do for our own citizens but the exports of natural gas to the United States are beggaring our supply. We do have problems with natural gas and this type of activity in Quebec will just make them worse.
It seems unlikely to me that Quebeckers are in favour of trading clean, secure, domestic sources of energy for insecure foreign sources that release huge amounts of greenhouse gases.
I must ask my colleagues from the Bloc what their is position on this. Have the Bloc members had the time to take a position on this? Do we understand all the ramifications of what is happening in Quebec, in Nova Scotia and, potentially, in British Columbia with this product? No, we do not.
If we do not have an energy strategy for this country we are putting our country at risk as it moves along. This is unacceptable in a civilized country.
Tomorrow I will be making a presentation at the hearings concerning a terminal in Quebec City. Perhaps my Bloc colleagues would like to join me and talk about the nature of energy in this country and the importance of thinking ahead about energy and planning ahead. We cannot allow the world forces to run Canada.
For too many years we have allowed a laissez-faire system when it comes to energy. Every other exporting country in the world has taken hold of its energy resources and has said that it will work for them. What are we doing in Canada? We are holding North American Energy Working Group meetings where we are not truly having a debate among Canadians about what we should do with our energy. We are listening to what the United States wants us to do with our energy to help it out.
I think it is time we put Canada and Quebec first and it is time that we worked together to make a good future for people in Canada. It is up to us to save our grandchildren from a future where energy is coming from other countries, where we are at the vagaries of the world market and we have not put it together for ourselves.This is the time that we need to put it together for ourselves and we should.