Mr. Speaker, you will notice the great cooperation from this side of the House in relation to that last motion, and indeed that is what we are trying to do with Canada's environment.
We want to take serious steps to make the environment, the air that Canadians breathe, better. As such, I am going to continue on, notwithstanding that I said this just before question period. I am going to continue from where I left off, and that is, on the issue of asthma and the health of Canadians.
We know that asthma is increasing in our population and in fact, I stated that it more than tripled in children aged zero to 14 over the past 20 years. According to the 1996-97 national population health survey, over 2.2 million Canadians have been diagnosed with asthma by a physician. That is 12.2% of children and 6.3% of adults in Canada. Indeed as I mentioned, my youngest child has asthma.
The quality of life for these people is dramatically affected by not taking action on the environment, by the previous 13 years of the previous Liberal government not taking action. That is why this government feels that we cannot accept what the NDP has put forward.
We want to take action now. We are done consulting. We want to make Canadians' health better. Indeed, it is clear that we need to take action to reduce all potential causes that increase incidents of illness and death, especially those which affect our children.
This government's approach will provide us with the authorities and tools which are so necessary in order to launch this fight against those terrible pollutants, to address the sources of both indoor and outdoor air pollution while setting in motion a very realistic plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I am proud of this government's motion, of these great steps that this Minister of Environment has taken, and the real action plan to come forward. Our mandatory reductions will reduce the impact of greenhouse gases and air pollution on the environment and the health of Canadians, which is so important to all Canadians.
These regulations will have real tangible benefits and I think many people do not realize how important these benefits will be. The estimated benefits by 2015, from the Conservative agenda for the reduced risk of death and illness associated with our air quality improvements, will be over $6 billion annually. That is correct, over $6 billion annually.
This puts the health benefits from air pollution reductions in the same broad range as the economic costs of meeting the air pollution and GHG emission targets. These have been calculated at less than 0.5% of our annual GDP. Thus in the short term, the GHG emission reduction strategy that we have put in place is balanced by the air pollution benefits.
This government's objective is to minimize or eliminate risks to the health of Canadians posed by environmental contaminants in the air. That is our goal. It is a very aggressive agenda, but we will get it done. As has been seen by Canadians, we do get the job done and we will continue to get the job done.
I sat in on Bill C-30 and I saw what the NDP was doing. I saw what the Liberals were doing. I saw what the Bloc was doing. What they were doing was playing politics with Canadians' lives, with the health of Canadians, and we in this government are not going to let that happen.
I looked at the aggressive agenda of the NDP to play politics. It is sort of like watching a person play Twister, not getting anything done but making a lot of confusion in the process, and indeed that is not what this government is going to do.
That is why our government has introduced one of the toughest plans in the world today on turning the corner on greenhouse gases and air pollution. Our government is bringing in mandatory, not voluntary, targets. We are going to get the job done for Canadians on the issue of the environment.