Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Vancouver Island North.
I am pleased to speak in support of this motion that has come forward today. As we know, this motion is coming forward as a result of the work of the NDP in this Parliament. The SPP hearings, the hearings on the security and prosperity partnership, or deep integration, which the NDP forced at the international trade committee, have resulted in the first piece of what will have to be many different pieces of debate and discussion in this House of Commons.
We know that the SPP agenda started by the Liberal Party in 2005 is another piece of legislation recycled from the Liberals to the Conservatives. As we have seen in so many cases, the change in government has meant simply a change in entitlement. Now the Conservatives feel they have the entitlements that the Liberals used to feel they had, but essentially many of the policy directions are exactly the same.
Such is the case, of course, when it comes to the SPP, the security and prosperity partnership, or deep integration. A Liberal agenda was put in place and essentially organized behind the scenes, away from parliamentary scrutiny, away from public debate, and we have seen the Conservatives simply leap onto that bandwagon with enthusiasm, continuing the secrecy and the lack of public consultation. They are continuing to have decisions being taken behind the scenes that are extremely important to Canadians and are kept away from parliamentary scrutiny.
The NDP forced these first hearings on the SPP. What have we learned from these first hearings? They simply expose the tip of the iceberg, really, in terms of the overall agenda that is in place for the SPP put in place by the Liberals and continued by the Conservatives. Below the surface there are many other areas that need to be brought out into public scrutiny and public debate for meaningful public consultations. They need to be brought out for parliamentary debate.
We have learned just within these first few hearings about a number of things that should be very worrisome to Canadians. First off, we learned that the Conservative government is now pushing for more pesticide residue on the food that we eat in Canada. In an effort to eliminate these impediments to trade, the Conservatives are willing to allow a greater amount of pesticide residue.
The United States has the weakest environmental regulations in the western world when it comes to pesticide residue, far weaker than Europe's, for example, and yet this Conservative government is now pushing forward so that Canadians consuming food in Canada will have a greater amount of acceptable pesticide residue.
We know that pesticides are directly tied to many diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, but the Conservatives, like their Liberal predecessors, do not seem to be concerned about the health implications for Canadians. They are simply pushing through these regulation changes that would allow for more pesticides to be consumed by Canadians, unbeknownst to them, of course. It is completely unacceptable. As we know, the vast majority of Canadians want to see safer regulations. They want food that is much safer, yet we have seen the Liberals and Conservatives pushing exactly the opposite way in an effort to appease Washington.
Another example is safety regulations. Again, started by the Liberals and continued under the Conservatives, we saw the same attempt to try to diminish the number of flight attendants on Canadian flights. Flight attendants are extremely important in evacuation procedures. In the event of a major disaster with an airplane, it is the flight attendants who assist the passengers, particularly seniors and people with disabilities, in getting off the plane.
Again, this SPP agenda wants to diminish the number of flight attendants on Canadian planes. In the event of an accident where an evacuation needed to happen, there would be fewer flight attendants to assist those passengers. As we saw with the Air France disaster two years ago, it is vitally important that the flight attendants be there. In the Air France case, the flight attendants saved lives. In the case of any other potential disaster, it would be the same thing. The NDP pushed back and we stopped the government from doing this.
Those are just two examples of the types of initiatives the Conservatives are taking behind the scenes.
There are over 300 different regulatory areas in which this is happening, hidden behind the scenes, away from public consultation, away from any sort of public debate, and away from parliamentary scrutiny. This is taking place. It is an example of to what extent the Conservatives are willing to implement the Liberal agenda and to push through what is bad policy for Canadians.
Why are they doing this behind the scenes? As their allies, the corporate CEOs around the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, said, they did not believe that the public really wanted to have debates on these issues. As for what that means, what they are saying is that if the public found out what the Conservatives are doing, which is like what their Liberal predecessors did, Canadians would be profoundly disturbed by the direction the government has taken.
That is why they do not want this debate out in public, to the extent that we saw the chair of the international trade committee shut down the committee hearings on energy sovereignty. Gordon Laxer, an Albertan representing the Parkland Institute, one of the most respected Alberta institutions, came to speak in Ottawa on behalf of most Albertans who are concerned about the giveaways we have seen from both the provincial and the federal Conservatives.
An Albertan from the Parkland Institute, an important and reputed Alberta institution, came to Ottawa to give testimony on energy sovereignty, on what the Conservatives have given away, like the Liberals before them. Under proportionality, Canada is the only nation on earth that supplies a foreign country before it meets the needs of its own citizens.
Mr. Laxer was providing testimony to that effect. Most of eastern Canada now is supplied by offshore resources coming from the Middle East and other foreign countries. In the event of a supply shortage if that imported oil is cut off, we actually are forced to continue to supply the American market first, which means literally that Canadians freeze in the dark because of the Conservatives and their Liberal predecessors being completely incapable of standing up for the national interest.
When Mr. Laxer provided that testimony, the chair of the international trade committee tried to cut him off because he simply did not want Mr. Laxer's testimony to get out in the public domain. When the committee overruled him, the trade committee chair, unbelievably, showing profound disrespect to Albertans and all Canadians who are concerned about this issue, walked out of the meeting, trying to adjourn it.
For Canadians who are watching today, let me say that we now have that testimony restored, and they can find out what Mr. Laxer said about the incredible recklessness and irresponsibility of the Conservative government in giving away our energy resources without looking to Canada's interests first.
That brings us to the question of exports of water. Essentially, within the Conservative implementation of the Liberal agenda we now have, unbelievably, the issue of water exports back on the table. The vast majority of Canadians are opposed to water exports and water diversion. They are opposed for a number of reasons. One is because of the environmental devastation that results from this, and we have seen this in case after case where Canadians have spoken out on these issues, but also they are opposed because it makes no public policy sense whatsoever.
We may have a bank account that is rich in that we have 20% of the world's freshwater, but we only have about 6% of the world's renewable freshwater. In a very real sense when we talk about our water resources, that is our bank account. That is the 20% of standing water resources that is largely invested in our lakes, streams and rivers across the country, but its renewable resources are actually only equivalent to those of the United States.
The United States has been reckless with its use of water. Unfortunately, even though many Americans are speaking out on this issue, what we are seeing from those who now would seek water, rather than apply environmentally sustainable polices, is pressure to simply take Canadian water, as if somehow having a few more years of freshwater supplies from Canada is going to avoid the environmental catastrophes that many people apprehend in the United States.
It is simply not acceptable to share our water. If any bulk water exports or diversions start, under NAFTA right now they cannot be stopped. That is why the NDP is supporting this motion. We need to make it very clear that bulk water exports and water diversions are unacceptable and they are not environmentally sustainable. The NDP corner of the House will be fighting the SPP agenda and fighting water exports. That is why we in the NDP support the motion.