I think it might actually be in the guide, Mr. Speaker. There apparently is a 200-page guide available to the Conservatives. It may be 500 pages according to the parliamentary secretary.
While there might be some fun to be had with this, this is also a serious issue. This describes a government unwilling to face the key issues of the day, the issues that Canadians are calling on us to address with most haste.
There has been a general agreement that there must be a calling for a state of the nation for Canadians when we realize what is happening to our planet, what is happening as a result of our actions on climate change.
Due to the Liberal's failure and the current government's continued denial, delay and inaction, Canada finds itself at least 35% above our international obligations under Kyoto. Government officials, the minister himself, and others have admitted to the fact that we will not meet our obligations by 2008 or 2012, but perhaps we will meet them by the year 2025.
It is incredible to me and to other Canadians, when we look at our international competitors in the European Union, Japan, Australia, and the United States, that we find Canada performing worse than all of them. Canada has given itself a record to the world saying that we will not abide by our signature on an international agreement, and we will not play a full role. We are telling the world that we will not pull our weight or contribute our fair share to battling what has truly become an international problem.
We received one important piece of testimony from witnesses when we were debating the clean air act. They asked us to consider the Kyoto framework and the protocol as an economic pact rather than simply an environmental one. This is an important designation for all members to realize here today.
The government has been asked to assess the threat of climate change to our economy and to the health of Canadians, and yet there has not been a single study performed by the Conservative government, or previous ones, to understand the impacts and the threats to our country with an increase in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. There has not been a simple understanding of what that impact will be like on all of our communities.
As we have watched the pine beetle devastation roll through our communities in British Columbia, devastating community after community by attacking the forests, a source of livelihood, we realized once and for all that the affects are real, that we must do something about it, and the time for inaction has long since past. The forestry councils of British Columbia have directly related this to the impact of climate change.
I would contend that every generation is met with a great challenge, whether it is seeking rights for all individuals, whether it is the emancipation of slavery, or whether it is fighting great despots in foreign lands. Every generation is judged by future generations as to the quality of handling that challenge. How did we respond to that challenge? How did our forebearers respond to the challenges of their day?
Every Remembrance Day we stand with pride and recognize the service of our veterans. We recognize that when that generation was met with a challenge, they faced that challenge. We look to previous generations and wonder how they responded to the challenge of finding the right spot for first nation women and minority groups.
Our generation's challenge is finding a way to conduct ourselves, conduct our economy, to live our lives in such a way that we do not do harm to ourselves or to our planet. I would contend that by the actions of the previous government and by the continued delay and denial of the Conservative government, future generations will hold us to account.
Future generations will decide when they look upon our record that it was simply for another CEO's bonus cheque in a Calgary office tower that we were unwilling to take the appropriate actions, that we were unwilling as a generation to move in the direction that was most needed and most called for by our children and their children.
Clearly, this issue of the environment and climate change must not be all that important to the Liberal Party as members can attest by their overwhelming attendance here this morning. It is an important issue for the New Democrats. For New Democrats this issue for our leader from Toronto—Danforth has been front and centre year in and year out, as we have seen governments bend to the will of inside corporate lobbyists rather than to the interests and needs of Canadians every day.
When the government first brought Bill C-30 forward, the clean air and climate change bill, and it was simply called the clean air bill in those days, that was one change we had to make quite quickly, it was dead on arrival. I remember standing in the foyer with all the media and the then environment minister who has since been replaced to much fanfare and much expectation that this bill would be the solution. This would be the silver bullet and finally some action.
As I flipped through the bill, as did other Canadians, we found that there was no serious action on climate change until the year 2040, as if we somehow had the luxury of time, the luxury to delay even further into the future.
The bill was dead on arrival. It met with no support from any other party in the House. There was no consultation with any other party in the House and there was not a single environmental group or a group of interest in the country who supported it in its measures.
I can also recall the day when the member for Toronto—Danforth, the leader of the New Democrats, stood in his place in the House of Commons and asked the Prime Minister to move the bill to a special committee. I recall the Conservatives guffawing and slamming their desks and laughing and calling out names of derision.
The Prime Minister stood in his place and said, “All right. Let's let a minority Parliament do its work. Let's let a process happen whereby each party will contribute their best ideas”. It was suggested that we bring forward the best witnesses we can from across the country and that no single party would win, but the best ideas would be allowed to win. Here was a novel concept for Canadians watching politicians, one of the most derided forms of occupation that could be had in this country, that they would somehow put aside partisan interests for a moment and allow a process to go ahead where every party would be allowed to move amendments, make changes and recommendations. Lo and behold, that is what happened.
Every party in this place made recommendations to the new revised bill. Every party voted for a majority of the sections of this bill. Yet here we find ourselves. All the media and the lobbyists and members of the government said that this could not be done, saying this simply cannot be done. But we got it done. We were able to find a place of consensus where everyone got something and everyone gave up something.
It is an old adage in negotiations that a good agreement is one where everyone gives something up. That is exactly what happened when we rewrote this bill and then renamed it.
The minority government's response to this has been to simply pretend it never happened, as if Canadians did not witness this experience, as if people are uninterested in the issues that we brought forward and that all the time and money that Parliament spent in good faith rewriting this bill simply did not exist. That is simply not true.
There was all sorts of sabre rattling as we entered into the spring session with the Prime Minister ready to go to the polls and, lo and behold, his numbers slipped in those very same polls and we do not have an election.
The Conservatives scrambled about the place and brought in another green plan. They stepped up to the plate for their second opportunity and it was another dud. Not a single environmental group in the country, not a single group, is interested in this at all.
The results of moving forward and what we were able to accomplish in a new and revised clean air and climate change bill were that national housing standards have an absolute lead and national targets for the first time have been placed into law that the cabinet cannot undo.
There are industrial targets for each sector and allowing those industries to use every tool available, unlike the government's bill which restricted the use of tools available.
Air pollution standards for the first time in this country will have national standards placed in the bill. The bill provides the ability to build the best vehicles in the world, the best cars and trucks for Canadians to drive, with the lowest emissions and the highest quality. This is what Canadians expect from us and this is what we delivered.
The government should bring the bill back to the House for a fair and free democratic vote today.