Mr. Speaker, I was on the committee that looked at Bill C-30 and I listened intently to the witnesses. I went to every meeting and I spoke to NDP members at length in relation to what they were proposing. Today, we see they are asking us to call Bill C-30. I am prepared to call it something. I would call, quite frankly, a collection of really bad ideas and a couple of good ones. What the government is going to do is take the good ones and put them to work for Canadians.
I am also pleased to address the House on the issue of what our government has done regarding the establishment of greenhouse gas and air pollution reduction targets. This is very important to Canadians.
The government has brought forward a comprehensive and integrated regulatory framework, which not only addresses greenhouse gases, but which also calls for concrete action to reduce air pollution which affects the health of Canadians every day.
Canadians have probably heard this one time or two times before, but Canada's new government did inherit a mess of ineffective and counterproductive strategies for air pollution and greenhouse gases. The previous government's strategies just did not deliver what Canadians need, that is healthy air and a healthy environment. This government is committed to do that.
The inaction by the previous Liberal government and the failure to set and follow up on plans and priorities for greenhouse gases and air pollution reduction requires a more realistic approach. We want to get results. We are done with talking, and the motion calls for more of that. We are not prepared to do that any longer. We think it has happened enough and we will get results for Canadians.
That is why the government has brought forward a regulatory framework to significantly reduce GHGs and air emissions from industrial sectors. That is why we have and will continue to introduce additional measures as time goes to fight climate change and to fight air pollution, which is so important to Canadians.
For those people who are listening, do not take my word for it and do not take the word of the member opposite. Look at the legislation, look at the website and talk to the experts. Canadians will see that this government is taking real concrete steps to help the health of Canadians.
I underline the point that we are putting in place regulatory reductions, not voluntary reductions as the previous government did, of greenhouse gas and air pollutants in place. We are setting stringent targets, but achievable sector based targets for emission reductions. What is more, the government's approach ensures that there is actual accountability. We stand for accountability on this side of the House and these steps and this approach ensures accountability as well as flexibility to accelerate these actions, as required by this government. We are taking real steps and we are going to continue to do so.
I will turn my attention now to what I consider some key aspects on what this government approached is based, aspects that set it apart from the lack of actions that was taken before by the previous government.
Our goals are the goals of Canadians. We have listened intently to the goals of Canadians. The legislation we have proposed and the continued changes and advancements that we will making are clearly what Canadians want to protect the health, the environment and the prosperity of Canadian jobs.
We are getting the job done and getting it done the right way, for our future, our children and our grandchildren. Our government has set targets which contribute to significant reductions, not only of greenhouse gases but also of air pollutants which are so important. These reductions will provide immediate and long term health benefits for Canadians. Often the air pollutants and the greenhouse gases come from the same source, so it makes sense to do this as a collection of ideas that work toward a better quality of life for Canadians.
I want to also take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of regulating reductions in air pollution at the same time as we regulate greenhouse gas reduction. The health impacts of poor air quality are very evident. Until people are touched by those poor air quality standards and the health effects of those, people do not realize what is important to them. As a government we realize what is important to Canadians. Approximately 5,900 deaths or 8% of all deaths in eight Canadian cities can be linked to air pollution every year. The government will get the job done for Canadians to protect their health.
We are also aware of reported increases over the last few decades of certain diseases affecting our population. I have even seen it in my community and in my own family. This is a significant cause for concern and one that in certain instances can be related to the quality of the air we breathe.
We know that asthma is increasing in our population. In fact, over the past 20 years it has more than tripled in children zero to 14 years of age. According to the 1996-97 national population health survey, over 2.2 million Canadians have been diagnosed with asthma by a physician. That is right, some 12.2% of children and 6.3% of adults have complaints of asthma. My youngest child Michael has asthma. Until we see what takes place with somebody with serious asthma and how it affects the qualify of life, we do not realize how important the steps are that this government is taking for Canadians.
It is clear that we need to take action now, not some six months or six years later as the NDP has proposed. We need to take action now to reduce all potential causes that increase incidences of illness and death, especially those which affect our children.
This government's approach--