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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.

Topics

Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the member heard me. I said that we are acting. We have moved forward with Bill C-36. It will reduce the number of years that people have to be in the workforce in order to ensure they get CPP disability. This will help at least 3,700 people in the next few years.

We are moving forward on other initiatives. This government is acting on behalf of disabled Canadians everywhere.

Canada PostOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for Canada Post has shown total disregard toward Canada Post's recent decision to replace home delivery with community mailboxes in my riding.

These mailboxes have been moved to an area of extremely high traffic, which poses a serious safety threat to my constituents, hence I ask the minister, when will this issue be addressed and the safety of my constituents guaranteed by the minister?

Canada PostOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, that question has been addressed. Not only has this House adopted a resolution to maintain rural mail delivery, but we have also acted by emitting a directive to Canada Post so that it maintains and continues it. Therefore, we will be able to take care of that issue. We are looking at it.

Incidentally, the chief executive officer of Canada Post will be going to committee to answer questions such as those raised by the hon. member.

Senate Tenure LegislationOral Questions

February 8th, 2007 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader is on record as supporting term limits for senators. Bill S-4, which is currently stalled in the Senate, would do exactly that. It would place an eight year term limit on senators.

Could the Minister for Democratic Reform tell this House the importance of Bill S-4 as part of this government's package on democratic reform?

Senate Tenure LegislationOral Questions

3 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, today is day 254 since the bill to limit Senate terms to eight years was introduced in the Senate.

On May 8, 2006, the current leader of the Liberal Party stated to the Canadian press that he supported term limits, if members can believe it, but last week the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate described the role of senators as follows:

You are appointed. You're not accountable.

That is the attitude of the Liberal Party. I am not surprised. It has been the attitude of the Liberal Party for some time.

We have a very different view. That is why we brought in accountability. I would challenge the leader of the Liberal Party to call his--

Senate Tenure LegislationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Brossard--La Prairie.

TransportationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Montreal's Agence métropolitaine de transport commissioned feasibility studies for the construction of light rail transit linking the South Shore to Montreal via the Champlain bridge. Such studies have been available for some time now.

Why is the Minister of Transport refusing to release these studies?

TransportationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I will look into my honourable colleague's allegations.

That said, I would add that the Agence métropolitaine de transport is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Quebec. I will ask my officials to find out where this file is at and how the Government of Quebec is involved.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Petar Cobankovic, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management for the Republic of Croatia.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Senior Chaplains of NATO and other allied countries, here for the 18th International Military Chiefs of Chaplains Conference. I invite all hon. members to a reception in honour of our guests at 3:15 in room 216 north.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the usual manner, I wonder if the leader of the government in the House could provide the House with a briefing on the work that he plans to call before the House for the rest of this week and through next week.

While he is doing that, I wonder if he could specifically indicate his view with respect to the request that has been made today by a number of members of the official opposition that the government provide some time in the form of a take note debate at some point next week when all members of the House might discuss the topic of the safety of Canadians travelling in Mexico.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, today we will be continuing the debate on the Bloc opposition motion.

Tomorrow we will begin debate on the statutory order concerning the Anti-terrorism Act. That is for the extension of its provisions.

Next week will be justice week, when the government will showcase part of its safer streets agenda, starting on Monday with the continuation of the debate on the Anti-terrorism Act if it is not completed on Friday.

On Tuesday we plan to begin debate on Bill C-35, which deals with bail reform, and on Wednesday we will resume debate on the second reading stage of the dangerous offenders legislation, Bill C-27.

Thursday, February 15 shall be an allotted day.

On Friday it is my intention to call the report stage of Bill C-10 on mandatory minimum penalties, on the assumption that the justice committee can have it to the House by that time.

For each day, we will have the following business scheduled as backup bills: Bill C-31, the voter integrity legislation; Bill C-44, relating to human rights; Bill C-11, on transport; and Bill C-33, the technical income tax act.

I will be working closely with my counterpart in the Senate with respect to progress on Bill S-4 or, as we keep hearing, the lack of progress.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, a strong, effective and responsible government must speak with one voice, whether it be in the Senate or the House of Commons. The fact that the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate cannot present the same position on Bill S-4 is further evidence that the Liberals are currently not fit to govern. I certainly would like the opportunity for this House to deal with that bill.

The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to this opposition motion brought forward by the Bloc Québécois. In his opening remarks, the leader of the Bloc showed how important it is that our motion be debated and adopted by this House. The motion reads as follows:

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.

This $328 million represents the amount that the Government of Quebec needs, according to its calculations, to fully meet our Kyoto targets and be a model for the rest of the country in the pursuit of these targets that are so important to Quebec, to Canada and to the whole planet. But we have been facing terrible obstacles in this debate.

First there was the Liberal Party's attitude. The current leader of the Liberal Party, who was Minister of the Environment at the time, said this about the request for $328 million:

The $328 million was conditional on an agreement with regard to the projects. As these funds were not a transfer, we had to agree on the nature of the projects. The problem with the Government of Quebec is that it did not have any project to propose to us. It wanted to receive a transfer and then develop its plan. I said that I could not do that.

This quote shows the position of the current leader of the Liberal Party. He believes that something that has not been approved by the federal government cannot be good. Even though Quebec demonstrated that it had a good plan, a real plan that would help it meet the targets, that plan was simply dismissed by the Liberal Party. We were expecting a different attitude from the Conservative government when it came to power. Unfortunately, particularly in this sector, we are facing objections that show a lack of understanding of environmental issues. I will repeat what the Prime Minister was saying in 2002. He may have changed his mind since. He should tell us if that is the case.

The Prime Minister described the Kyoto protocol as essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations. Implementation of the treaty would do a great deal of harm to the oil and gas industry, which is vital to the economies of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Workers and consumers everywhere in Canada will lose. There are no Canadian winners under the Kyoto accord.

I have become aware, particularly in the last two weeks, that the Conservative government was incapable of grasping the fact that development must now take into consideration the overall environmental costs of a project. The days are now gone when development could be assessed solely from the economic point of view. Now, when a project is assessed, we need to know what the environmental costs of it will be, and these must be included in the project.

When anyone claims to be developing the economy of Canada without taking these effects into account, serious harm is being done to the quality of Canada's environment, as well as the condition of the entire planet. We have recently seen statements such as this one by the Prime Minister being totally contradicted by international experts. Scientists have clearly and unequivocally stated that 90% of climate change was due to human activity—the actions of men and women—and that this problem absolutely needed to be solved as soon as possible.

There is indeed a great deal still to be done. In 2002, the current Minister of Natural Resources said:

—I will start off with a very bold statement, that Kyoto should not be ratified. It is based on uncertain science with new doubts coming to light almost daily.

That is no longer the case today. Clearly, climate change is the result of human activity. The scientists have spoken. He can no longer say such things and he must recognize that we are in a context where action must be taken, or we are headed straight for disaster. Quebec and Canada will be particularly affected because, according to experts in the field, global warming will occur more rapidly in Nordic regions.

The Minister of Natural Resources also said:

Some pie in the sky thinking that Kyoto is going to green the earth and save the environment...We support a strong economy and a sustainable environment, two things that Kyoto simply cannot deliver.

It is no longer possible to draw a distinction between a vigorous economy and a quality environment. They have to be taken together. The $328 million we want the federal government to invest, that are owed to Quebec and will enable it to achieve its targets, will be used to improve public transit, which will also help the economy.

I am quite open about this because in my own riding, in La Pocatière, the Bombardier plant can produce subway cars. There are others in Quebec that can produce buses. These are all measures that would generate economic activity while at the same time helping to improve the environment and deal with climate change.

The other example, which is absolutely fabulous, is the question of an emissions exchange. In this regard, these are not statements from a few years ago that they still refuse to correct. The Minister of the Environment said only this morning that an emissions exchange could not be set up at the same time as Quebec’s plan. So why did Quebec ask for both these things at the same time?

He is confusing a lot of things that are actually quite clear. It is easy to see why he said last week in Paris that he was totally surprised and amazed that the planet’s scientists had demonstrated that human activity was responsible for climate change.

Here is a specific example in regard to an emissions exchange. A company in my region, in Rivière-du-Loup, was willing to make a significant investment because people had said we would have this. The standards had to be clear and specific for there to be an economic advantage to investing in this exchange.

By deciding not to institute these standards, the Conservative government disrupted this plan, although it is not the only one. There are many others. There are all the people who do not make a great show of being environmentalists but who want to do what is right for sustainable development and find themselves stymied by what the government did.

Our motion today is aimed simply at enabling Quebec to do what it would have done much more quickly over the last few years if it had been a sovereign state. Things would have been different if Quebec had not been forced to go and beg Ottawa for money because the reality is still that the federal government collects the taxes while the needs are in the provinces. This is apparent in the fiscal imbalance and the very clear expression of it in achieving Kyoto.

If Quebec had 100% of the taxes, its development plan would have been in place for a long time because it has a vested interest, in terms of the environment and the economy, but also generally speaking, in terms of sustainable development, in seeing that happen.

We have been waiting for this $328 million for two years and we still have not received it. Yet, this had been promised by the current government. It is dithering. We never know clearly where it will go. We had the positions of the current leader of the opposition who said, when he was the environment minister: “I will agree project by project”. Then, we had the Conservative minister who simply did not want to sign. We saw her in Nairobi, Africa, when she almost insulted the Minister of Environment of Quebec, Mr. Claude Béchard, by leaving him in the hallway when he had an interesting project to propose and an interesting record. For its part, the federal government did not have any record, but it had the floor. It spoke for Quebec and Canada, saying that Kyoto was not necessary or that it would not respect the projected targets.

Today, we have a new minister, but we still have the same kind of dithering. This is why we brought this debate to this House. We will have the opportunity to see where everyone stands.

Will the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservative Party and the NDP support this Bloc Québécois motion, which reads:

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.

Once we have the results, we will see where everyone stands. Are we indeed concerned about rewarding people who are doing their job well, in terms of the environment? Will the need for a territorial approach be respected, so that everyone can meet their targets based on their particular energy and consumption profile?

In Quebec, we have made choices in this regard in the past, and today, we are entitled to reap the benefits. This is what I hope we will obtain.

Will the Conservative government agree to recognize that the $328 million must be handed over? Has the Liberal Party of Canada changed its tune from the positions held by its current leader, who was then the environment minister and insisted on proof that each project was good?

I see that I am out of time. Nevertheless, I call on this House to pass this motion, so that justice is finally done for Quebeckers when it comes to the environment, and something is done for the rest of Canada and the planet at the same time. There would certainly be nothing wrong in Quebec being able to look forward to the same future as the rest of the planet in this regard.

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to put the following question to my colleague, who is our industry critic.

The Canadian economy, which is based on oil and hydrocarbons, is costing Quebec a lot. Quebec is not an oil producer. Of course, in a hydrocarbon-based economy, the Canadian dollar fluctuates according to the strength or the price of oil. This has created major drawbacks for the province's economy, including job losses.

Can he tell us how many jobs have been lost in Quebec's manufacturing sector since oil has taken over the stock exchange and the Canadian dollar?

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the economy can be sick, somewhat as people can sometimes be sick. There is an illness that could be called “Dutch disease”. In an economy where natural resources are very important, if we do nothing but give them our full attention, the result is a negative impact on the rest of the economy.

As the Leader of the Bloc Québécois was saying in his speech this morning, it is very clear that the evolution of the value of the Canadian dollar has almost exactly tracked the increase in the price of oil. As a result, we have moved from a 65¢ dollar to 85¢ today, and the dollar was skirting 90¢ less than six months ago. This has forced our manufacturing industries to adjust very quickly, without being able to benefit in any way from an action plan of the federal government which agreed to making big profits off our natural resources, but found ways for the people who supported the economy and developed our manufacturing industry to continue to be competitive.

We have in hand a perfect tool for this. A unanimous report has been adopted by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. There are 22 recommendations, some of which concern sustainable development. Others concern businesses, to give them the option of accelerated depreciation. Others concern worker availability and intellectual property, to ensure that we escape this cycle whereby three months after people from emerging countries come here to visit us, they start producing at home what we were producing here. This has been raised by certain business owners. So there is a report in place. We hope that it is taken into account in the next budget. We shall see what comes of this.

However, the first thing we are demanding is that the federal government recognize that Quebec has practised development which takes into account the concepts of sustainable development, and that Quebec has to be supported in that direction. Quebec has a plan that is working, but it needs $328 million from the federal government so that it can achieve its objectives.

We would like to get this money as soon as possible, while we are part of the federal system. Currently, this is the way to get it. We must keep on asking for it. The Bloc Québécois is submitting this request to the House. No other party has this approach. I have not seen the Liberals say that Quebec has to be given $328 million, or the NDP, or the Conservatives. However we are able to do this, because we are elected by the population of Quebec to defend the interests of Quebec.

In the end, the clearest message is that, if Quebeckers controlled the entire toolbox, if they had all of their income taxes, in no way would they be forced to seek this $328 million from a government that is depending on another majority. Quebec could decide this in its national parliament, the National Assembly of Quebec. This is why the ultimate solution for the development of Quebec is to be found through sovereignty.

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to compare the Conservative and the Liberal stand on the environment.

The record of the Liberals after 13 years in power is pretty dismal. The Liberals kept saying they wanted to reach the targets set out in the Kyoto protocol, but they never did anything to get there. The Conservative approach is different. They say these targets are out of reach, and they do not want to do anything about it. Indeed, the only difference between the two is that the Conservatives are aware they are incompetent, but the Liberals did not know they were.

Here is my question: if we realize that, in this Parliament, we are not able to get the support of the government to reach these targets and help Quebec move forward, what solution is left to Quebeckers to take their own responsibilities and make their own choices?

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

The Bloc Quebecois is using all the democratic and parliamentary means at their disposal under the mandate they got from their constituents. That is why we are putting this kind of issue on the floor.

Members and ministers from Quebec, and ministers who are in charge of various issues know that this $328 million would be put to good use for the environment.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities should be well aware that this would have a significant and positive impact on public transit and improve the environment.

This is the situation we are in with the present system. I think that the solution is that Quebeckers should become sovereign to be able to make their own decisions with regard to the environment and everything else.

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will share my time with my colleague, the Secretary of State for Agriculture.

All political parties in the House of Commons hope to govern the country one day, except the Bloc Québécois. Its supreme ambition is to sit eternally in the opposition. All parties work hard to win the Super Bowl of Canadian politics, except the Bloc Québécois. The members of the Bloc Québécois are happy to sit in the stands, criticizing the teams on the field.

Today, the leader of the Bloc Québécois is proposing a resolution asking the government of Canada money for the government of Quebec. Last week, however, the leader of the Bloc Québécois supported a motion from the Liberal Party sponsored by the very man who personifies the futility and inefficiency of the environmental policy followed by the previous government.

But in its platform, during the election campaign, the Bloc was far less enthusiastic about the actions of the previous minister of the Environment. Here is what the platform said about the so-called plan from the previous minister: “This plan will not allow Canada to reach its objectives. It applies the polluter-paid principle and it is especially inequitable towards Quebec. Therefore, it is an awful plan”.

For the benefit of the leader of the Bloc Québécois and in response to his resolution, I will summarize what a government that takes its responsibilities seriously is doing to protect and restore the quality of our environment. There needs to be political will to establish a fair balance between environmental protection and economic growth, political will amongst all political parties and all governments.

This is why we welcome all the propositions to improve our clean air act, wherever they come from. What was the Bloc Québécois saying on clean air during the last election? Nothing at all. Not a word on that subject. The Bloc claims that it can achieve Quebec's sovereignty, but when it goes go before the public during an election campaign, it cannot even bring forward one single measure to improve the quality of the air that we breathe.

In fact, the emperor has no clothes.

As the Prime Minister said during his speech on Tuesday, the fundamental challenge that Canada is faced with now is to make real progress in the area of environmental protection while maintaining jobs and our standard of living. Our new government has already announced a number of tangible measures.

For example, for the first time ever in Canada, we will be moving to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from major industrial sectors. For the first time ever in Canada, we will be moving to regulate the fuel efficiency of motor vehicles, beginning with the 2011 model year. For the first time ever in Canada, we will be setting out enforceable regulatory targets for the short, medium and long term.

Canada's new government will implement new ecoenergy programs to support energy efficiency and stimulate the production of clean, renewable power. It will mandate greater use of ethanol and other renewable fuels. It will introduce measures to make energy efficient vehicles more affordable. It will provide better protection from hazardous chemicals through its new chemical management plan, and it will support new projects to preserve Canada's wilderness.

As the Prime Minister said, the actions of Canada's new government are rooted in the values and aspirations of all Canadians to serve our ultimate goal: a stronger, safer, better Canada.

The department I head is very aware that the activity for which it is responsible, transportation, is a large contributor to the problem of the deterioration of our environment. That is why we will be playing a key role in solving that problem.

Transportation is one of the biggest sources of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Transportation is largely responsible for smog: 59% of the carbon emissions and 53% of the nitrogen oxide emissions that pollute our cities. In our ports, marine transportation is the source of nearly 41% of sulphur oxide pollution.

We therefore cannot have a significant impact on greenhouse gases without taking energy-related measures to reduce emissions generated by the transportation industry. That is why the new government has made transportation issues central to its environment planning.

The portfolio of the Department of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities is also where the major issues of concern to governments and the public converge: economic productivity, transportation safety, sustainable development and quality of life in cities and communities.

Among other things, we are committed to transfer $5 billion in fuel tax revenues over five years to support an environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure. In due course, Quebec will receive $1.52 billion of that amount.

In the 2006 budget, we also announced an investment of $1.3 billion in public transit. Of that amount, $400 million was transferred to the provinces and territories in 2005-2006.

We also provided a new tax credit for people who buy monthly or long-term public transit passes. This credit, which can be claimed for every member of a family, amounts to two free months out of twelve. This kills two birds with one stone since it leaves more money in people's pockets and helps reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Never before have we seen, in only one year, such a big investment in mass transit or as much support from the government to Canada's mass transit sector.

These funds provide predictable funding to the municipalities and, as such, are giving them a fabulous boost, allowing them to simultaneously increase their transit capacities, reduce traffic jams and control air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

I should also point out that provincial transport ministers are the ones who approve the investments made by the transportation corporations that are funded through this initiative.

So, the provinces and territories have all the necessary leeway to fund any public transportation project that is deemed necessary.

Under this initiative, Quebec received $94.4 million. What was left of the $1.3 billion went to the public transit capital trust. This $900 million trust, from which Quebec received $210.8 million, has enabled that province to invest in the public transit infrastructure, based on its own priorities and needs, including in the rapid public transit system, intelligent transportation systems and other initiatives, such as reserved lanes for high occupancy vehicles and for bicycles.

These investments will impact significantly on the provision of public transit services. We are convinced that if we increase services, the number of users will also increase. The new Government of Canada is also investing in the demand side. We want to encourage people to use public transit.

The motion presented by the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie deals with the fundamental issue of financial transfers between the Government of Canada and the provinces, and particularly equalization.

I remind the House that in 2006-07, for example, Quebec received $5.5 billion in equalization payments. This is money that it can use at its discretion, including for environmental initiatives.

Moreover, the Minister of Finance recently informed his Quebec counterpart that, in 2007-08, the province will be getting at least $6.5 billion in equalization payments, until a new formula is announced, something that is expected in the 2007 budget.

The 2006 budget also detailed the commitments made by the federal government to restore fiscal balance by using an approach based primarily on five major principles, including accountability through clarity of roles and responsibilities, financial responsibility and budget transparency. The other two are predictable long term fiscal arrangements and a competitive and efficient economic union. So—

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the presentation by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. I would just like to point out to him that, from 1970 to 1999, the federal government invested $66 billion in the development of hydrocarbons, petroleum products and fossil energies, but invested nothing at all in the development of clean energies such as hydroelectricity in Quebec.

As a Quebecker, I am very comfortable with not being in power and standing up for the values of Quebeckers, unlike the minister, who is in power and going against the values of Quebeckers. Regarding the amount of $328 million, I do not think that it is too much to ask, given that $66 billion was spent on developing hydrocarbons and fossil energies and that one-quarter of that money came from Quebec.

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Conservative Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I clearly heard my hon. colleague come out with his big figures. What I just said was that, in the past year, Quebec received nearly $300 and some million to invest in public transit. Yours truly was very vocal in demanding everywhere that we be allowed to invest in transit companies to ensure, first, accessible transportation for everyone and, second, congestion reduction, thereby reducing polluting emissions.

The government did act on this issue and it is working closely with the Government of Quebec, because we sincerely believe that something has to be done to reduce greenhouse gas and polluting emissions.

Opposition Motion— Kyoto ProtocolBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the federal government could help the province of Quebec and all of the provinces in fact reach their Kyoto targets with one simple measure. The Government of Canada owns roughly 68,000 buildings across Canada. Many of them were built in an era when energy conservation was not an issue; they are wasteful and older. The government also leases space in many buildings that are of a similar vintage.

Through its energy retrofit program, the federal building initiative, it has renovated I believe less than 1,200 buildings total out of 68,000 and usually just in very simplistic ways, such as changing the light bulbs to a different type of ballast, et cetera, picking the low-hanging fruit.

I am sure the minister is aware that a unit of energy harvested from the existing system by demand side management measures is indistinguishable from a unit of energy generated at a generating station, except for a couple of important things. It is available at one-third the cost. It creates seven times the number of jobs. It is available and online immediately for resale to someone else. It saves greenhouse gas emissions. These are all huge pluses.

Would the minister not agree that one thing the feds could do immediately without even an outpouring of cash to the provinces would be to clean up those energy wasteful buildings?