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House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Motions in AmendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question.

My colleague said that the biggest expenditure was on equalization. Then I do not why there is chaos in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia and the other maritime provinces. People are saying that the Conservatives broke their promise. If what they did on equalization is the greatest thing the Conservatives have done, then they are really in trouble.

I am glad he raised defence. Several years ago the Liberal government's biggest priority was to replace the search and rescue planes. For the first time in history we would have put four of them north of 60 so Canadians could be protected. I do not know what the Conservative government has done with its defence expenditures, but this has been ignored. There is no tender out to replace those aging planes. The defence department did not purchase the planes that were planned for years ago. When one of those old planes crashes or cannot get to a rescue situation people are certainly going to hold the Conservative government to account.

Motions in AmendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, it is my duty and pleasure to speak again on the budget and try to reveal to Canadians the truth in regard to some of these allegations that have been thrown around over the course of this debate taking place this morning and throughout the rest of the day.

Certainly we have heard ad nauseam from the Liberals about the role of the New Democratic Party in the income trust fiasco. I want to go back through it for members and give a little history lesson. Income trusts have been in place for a while. The previous finance minister, in September 2005, gave indications of his sense that they were not going quite right. That caused a great disruption in finance fields in this country and eventually led the Liberals, over the course of the next few months, to come up with a different position, such that they kept income trust legislation intact through the federal election of 2006.

I think it is pretty clear that when the Conservatives got in they had supported the income trust legislation as well. The Prime Minister, in his comments during the election, certainly indicated that he was fully supportive of income trusts and the people who were engaged in them. He made some very valiant and self-serving statements during the election campaign about how he was going to continue to do this.

However, once the Conservatives assumed power, had full access to the finance department and understood the nature of what was going on with income trusts, their mood began to change. This change in mood took a while to build as a political entity, because of course we could not have this happening overnight. However, over the course of time and over the last year, the Conservatives came to the realization they had to move on income trusts, so they did, and in this budget they made those moves.

We in the NDP, who of course have been opposed to the concept of income trusts from the very beginning, were fine with what was happening here. We recognized its importance for fairness in the tax system and for the real need to ensure that we were going to collect full revenue from the variety of sources investing in our country, including people within the country.

Today we have the Liberals trying to make time on this issue. They are trying to work harder on this issue to make it appear as though there is a groundswell of bitterness and discontent over this issue across the country. We have all received emails that are very similar in nature and scope. They come to us over and over again in our email boxes from purported hordes of people who are concerned about the income trusts, and quite rightly, because many Canadians took a hit over the income trusts.

Really, these Canadians trusted those two other parties to fully represent the issues to them in a clear and precise manner. They thought the truth was there for them and they invested, but really it was not there and the nature of the income trusts was such that they could not proceed forever.

That is the historical nature of the income trust debate here in Canada. I certainly would like all in this House, and whoever may be listening, to understand that the only party that has had a consistent position on this is the New Democratic Party. We take some pride in that.

It is important that there is consistency in what we do. If we make a mistake, we have to acknowledge it. That is certainly something that the party to my left here needs to do. It is probably a little more to my right, but it sits on my left, and it certainly needs to do a little soul-searching in terms of its apologies to the people of this country for some of the obvious mistakes it made during the election campaign. That does not take away from the importance of what had to be done and now has been done.

As a new MP I have been quite interested in listening to the argument and debate over tax loopholes that has gone on in this Parliament. It is certainly encouraging to see that the budget contains elements that may actually address some of these issues. What the Conservatives were talking about was not very well outlined in the budget, but we certainly got the sense that they would like to pursue reducing the tax loopholes that are available in this country. That is something with which the Liberals had a great degree of difficulty for many, many years, even though, as we have seen, many, many reports told them to do exactly that, to reduce those loopholes, and they did not do it.

Once again, perhaps out of this will come a sense of more fairness in the tax system. We will wait and see what the Conservatives do with what they said in the budget they would do.

After I listened to the debate this morning, those are the tax issues that I thought needed some clarification.

The issue on which I tend to focus as energy critic is the need for an energy strategy in Canada. This budget clearly demonstrates that. We are spending money in areas such as renewable fuels, with $2.2 billion over seven years. It is not really about renewable energy, because by and large the program is about providing some further future methods of subsidy for farmers and for that approach. That is fine, but in terms of greenhouse gas reduction it really represents a very small amount of greenhouse gas reduction for a very large expenditure of government funds. As well, as we have seen lately in some of the reports and in the scientific information that has come out, even in terms of air emissions the move toward renewable fuels does very little to reduce smog.

We have seen a large expenditure of government funds for a purpose that I think we all sort of support, but really it is not tied to what arguably in the first effort of any energy strategy is energy efficiency and conservation.

Leading that back to our auto industry, an investment of some of that money, some of those large capital sums, in retooling our auto industry would mean that it could start to compete for the small scale automotive highly efficient vehicle market that will develop over the next number of years, and that would probably achieve much more return for the economy and for greenhouse gas reductions and the reduction of smog and air pollution.

In the absence of this energy strategy, which looks at all the issues and puts them together in a fashion such that we can see the logical progression forward of our economy and society, the budget, in its dealings with energy issues and climate related issues linked to energy, has not really accomplished what I think all of us are looking for in the expenditure of public funds. I will not go into a lot of other examples of that.

I will wrap up by saying that the NDP clearly did not support this budget. It was supported by the Bloc and has moved forward. It has a more regional aspect, while I think that most of us in the NDP would have liked to see more directed programs. That did not happen. We will continue not to support the budget, but in the spirit of working together in Parliament we will try to find solutions that can be put forward in the future.

Motions in AmendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the member for Western Arctic spoke about the energy component. I realize that he is the critic for energy, but he speaks in defence of the Conservatives' position on income trusts. He would know that the governor of the Bank of Canada indicated at committee that income trusts were a completely reasonable and preferable vehicle for managing mature oil fields and depleting access, and in the absence of having these income trusts in that field, the beneficiaries would be offshore owners, American owners, and, mostly, multinational big oil companies that now have no competition in buying and operating those fields.

In light of the words of the governor of the Bank of Canada, how can the member, in the spirit of energy independence for our country, maintain the position that all income trusts are inherently bad?

Motions in AmendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, quite clearly there is concern about the mature nature of our oil and gas fields in the western Canada sedimentary basin. We should all be very concerned about them, because as those resources move to depletion, we are going to be taking on much more difficult energy solutions, much more carbon intensive energy solutions, and solutions that are not always going to work to Canada's benefit.

The ability to develop those mature fields certainly has some interest for me, but once again, in terms of an energy strategy for Canada, one where we bring the industry to the table so that we can understand what it sees as the proper vehicle for ensuring that the mature fields are completely run out, which is what I suppose most of us would like to see, I would wait until we have that kind of debate where all the options are put on the table.

To say that the vehicle that was designed for this is working pretty well on this road does not suggest there are not other things that would be more appropriate to do and to put on the road to carry forward.

Motions in AmendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by pointing out that of course the governor of the Bank of Canada said no such thing. In fact, he said that the significant tax advantage that existed in the income trust model would lead to less investment, lower productivity and less economic growth for all Canadians. Perhaps the Liberal Party wants to see that for Canadians. The Conservative government does not. We appreciate the NDP's support in that regard.

I would like to ask the member specifically about the budget. There are a couple of quotes that I thought I would run by him to see whether he is supportive of them.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said that budget 2007 is “a big budget for small business”. The Conservative government, it said, “met and exceeded our expectations”.

On forestry products, to which an NDP member spoke briefly, it was stated that the Conservative government “has sent a strong signal that it understands the need to encourage investment and innovation to keep jobs in Canada”.

The Canadian Home Builders' Association said that budget 2007 “will benefit a large number of businesses across the country”.

They have been very clear that this is a good budget. It is a good budget for industry, for manufacturing, for families, for health care and for post-secondary education. What is the NDP looking for? What would it support? I would love to know that. If not this budget, what? This budget is good for a lot of people.

Motions in AmendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I will touch on the forestry issue, because the NDP was not in favour of the softwood lumber deal. We saw that as a job losing proposition, which is exactly what it was. The investments that forest companies are making now are in sawmills across the border in the United States. Raw log exports are on the way up. The Canadian worker is going to suffer as a result.

We did not see anything in the budget that could change that rather alarming state of affairs in the forest industry in terms of employment. There was nothing in the budget that could possibly curtail that, other than perhaps a quota on raw log exports or offering up incentives such as making these raw log exports tariff free and putting them under the same tariff as lumber. That might have changed the nature of the softwood lumber deal. It might have made it one that was more in favour of keeping production in Canada.

Motions in AmendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would just like to ask the member if we could move on to S. O. 31s so that we get the timing good and we do not get too far behind today because there is a lot of important stuff happening this afternoon.

Motions in AmendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

I thank the hon. member for that point of order. It was indeed a very useful intervention from the point of view of the Chair.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Sarnia--Lambton.

Tourism WeekStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as Canadian Tourism Week begins, my community has developed an innovative solution to border security concerns for tourists.

My riding of Sarnia--Lambton holds tourism especially important. The Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia carries nearly 3.2 million visitors into my riding annually.

The GoBorder program is a regional program from Sarnia--Lambton that actively promotes cross-border travel and the use of NEXUS cards through a website, brochure, merchant discount program and a billboard ad campaign. GoBorder addresses the new documentation requirements under the WHTI to provide incentives for travellers on both sides of the border to apply for passports or NEXUS cards.

The “Show and Save” program provides cumulative savings from merchant discounts to more than cover the cost of purchasing a passport or NEXUS card. This program pushes border residents to GoBorder and get home faster.

Mary CousinsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I inform this House of the passing of Mary Cousins, daughter of the late Special Constable Lazaroosie Kyak and his wife, Letia, from Pond Inlet, Nunavut.

Mary was an extraordinary Inuk. She travelled with Henry Larsen in the St. Roch across the Northwest Passage when she was only six. As a young woman, Mary worked as an interpreter on the C.D. Howe medical ship. I remember seeing her picture as a young girl travelling in Africa and was amazed.

Mary was a pioneer in advocating Inuit rights and was one of the original seven who created Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, which represents Inuit at a national level. Mary wrote, edited and illustrated Inuktitut Magazine and taught Inuktitut to generations of Inuit.

Mary Cousins Panigusiq, author, artist, mother and advocate, will be missed. My sincere sympathies go to her family on behalf of myself and everyone in my riding.

Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches RegionStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches information and referral centre is working to make a 2-1-1 line available in the region. This would enable people to quickly access information on community organizations that provide services directly to the public. Similar lines exist elsewhere in North America. Unfortunately, the project has been delayed, primarily for want of a financial commitment from the federal government.

For over a year now, the project organizers have been trying unsuccessfully to present the project to Conservative members from the Quebec region with a view to receiving federal funding like that provided to 2-1-1 services in Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary.

Their inertia and unwillingness to help are deplorable and harmful to the region's interests. I therefore invite them to acknowledge their responsibilities, to meet with their constituents and to move projects like this one forward, projects that contribute to the development of the Quebec region.

Concession Street Business Improvement AssociationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my riding there is an eclectic group of 120 shops and services located on the top of the Niagara Escarpment above the centre of Hamilton. Together, they are the Concession Street Business Improvement Association, the oldest business community on the Mountain.

At its physical centre are the Henderson Hospital and the Juravinski Cancer Centre, whose amazing health care professionals, staff and volunteers make a profound contribution to the quality of life in our city.

However, at the heart of the street are the small business owners and their employees who have created a strong commercial district with a very special touch that gives it a small town feel and makes it a place where neighbours meet.

One cannot live on the Mountain and not know about Streetfest and Cornfest. This year marks Concession Street's 100th anniversary and, thanks to the BIA and the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, the centennial was marked with a historically based theatrical production by Ronald MacDonald.

I had the privilege of seeing the play and loved it. Based on a book by Robert Williamson, we took a trip down memory lane that connected our past to the present and reconfirmed our commitment to build Concession Street for generations yet to come.

I thank the board, members of the BIA and all the family and friends of the Concession Street community for creating this memorable centenary celebration. Everyone knows that small businesses are the engine of our economy but on the Mountain they define our very sense of community.

Tiananmen SquareStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, June 4, marks the 18th anniversary of the tragedy that took place on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.

On this sad anniversary, we would like to renew our sympathies for the families of those who lost their lives fighting for openness, accountability and freedom in Tiananmen Square.

While there has been some improvement in the human rights situation in China since that time, Canada remains seriously concerned about continued restrictions on civil and political rights, including freedom of expression, association and spiritual belief. The treatment of ethnic minorities, poor respect for the rule of law, the lack of transparency of legal proceedings in China and the continued detention of prisoners based on their political beliefs remain a concern for this government.

Working to achieve human rights improvements in China is among Canada's central foreign policy goals. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of International Trade both recently raised Canada's human rights concerns with their Chinese counterparts. The Canadian government will continue to call on the Chinese government to ensure that international standards of human rights are available to all Chinese citizens.

On behalf of my constituents, let it be known that Canadians from coast to coast remember the bravery and the courage of those Chinese students who stood up for the most powerful idea known to humankind: freedom.

New Brunswick Provincial Judo ChampionshipStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, New Brunswick's provincial judo championship took place in Clair on June 2 and 3.

Today, I would like to highlight the performance of the athletes and coaches who participated in the championship. I was very pleased to be in Clair for the medal ceremony.

I would also like to highlight the athletes' sportsmanship and the hard work they had to put in to get to the provincial judo championship. Sport is often synonymous with competition, but we must remember that, for today's athletes and those of tomorrow, friendship, cooperation and compassion are valued even beyond competition.

Lastly, I would like to thank the organizing committee and all of the volunteers who helped make this event happen. Without these people, the championship would not have been the success it was.

On behalf of the people of Madawaska—Restigouche, I would like to thank them sincerely and to congratulate the athletes, the coaches and the organizing committee.

Festivals and Special EventsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government promised $60 million over two years for festivals and special events.

Last week, however, we learned that the minister was rejecting the unanimous request from Quebec's National Assembly to transfer the funding earmarked for Quebec. The minister also informed us that festivals would not be receiving any money before they were held this summer. This is yet more proof that, to the Conservatives, the nation of Quebec is a nice idea on paper, but should not mean more money or power.

Is the minister aware that her stubbornness could threaten events this summer in Quebec? In my riding, the third Festival international de théâtre de Mont-Laurier is in danger.

After neglecting our forest industry, now the Conservative government is attacking our cultural and tourist events. What a fine mess, minister.

Canadian Forces DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, the nation saluted our brave military men and women on Canadian Forces Day.

Every day, Canadian Forces members carry out their duties with valour and bravery, often in the face of great adversity. We should be particularly proud of our mission in Afghanistan where our soldiers are putting their lives at risk to help rebuild a country that has been devastated by decades of war and terror.

This year the theme for Canadian Forces Day was “The Canadian Forces Family--Celebrating those supporting us”. Canada's military families provide vital support to our sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen, sustaining them while they carry out their important duties. Military families are also making many personal sacrifices so that their forces member can serve other Canadians.

On behalf of all Canadians, I want to thank our forces and their families for their commitment, their sacrifices and their defence of our freedoms.

TuberculosisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, reports of an airline passenger with a case of extremely drug resistant TB have blanketed the media this past week.

XDR TB, as it is known, is a health emergency that demands attention.

Instead of singling out this one case, it is important that we remember the most meaningful way to curb drug resistant TB is to stop TB before it reaches this more dangerous form.

There are 1.6 million people who die every year from basic TB, a third of those in Africa. TB is the leading killer of people with HIV.

I was able to witness the extent of this tragedy firsthand during my visit to Kenya in January with RESULTS Canada and other parliamentarians. I met TB patients in overcrowded hospitals lying head to toe, two to a bed.

It does not need to be this way. TB, in its basic form, can be treated for about $20 Canadian. There is no need for the world's poorest to die of a disease like TB that can be managed and treated.

Canada must continue the fight against TB. The senseless deaths must be stopped.

National Cancer Survivors DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that June 3 marked the 20th anniversary of National Cancer Survivors Day. This day is set aside for Canadians to recognize the lives that have been touched by cancer. Cancer is predicted to be Canada's number one killer.

Due to research, better screening and prevention, more and more people are surviving cancer. Effective cancer control is complex and requires the collaborative effort of the entire cancer community across the country.

That is why Canada's new government recently committed $260 million over five years to coordinate Canada's fight against cancer. The Prime Minister also announced the creation of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, an arm's length, not for profit organization that will implement the Canadian strategy for cancer control. The partnership brings together patient survivors, cancer experts and government representatives from across the country.

Canada's new government's approach to cancer is proactive and will help revolutionize the way our society deals with chronic and deadly diseases.

HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, health and addiction professionals across Canada are bracing themselves for the worst, when the Conservative government reveals its so-called new drug strategy that will sacrifice the success of harm reduction and a balanced approach to drug use for a heavy-handed U.S. style enforcement regime.

Time and again, empirical evidence has proven that harm reduction works. Programs like needle exchanges and Vancouver's safe injection site, Insite, are reducing the transmission of HIV-AIDS and hepatitis C and increasing the number of people accessing treatment.

I am alarmed, despite this evidence, that the government is accelerating the criminalization of drug users.

The 2007 budget quietly removed harm reduction from Canada's drug strategy. It now reads like a carbon copy of George Bush's war on drugs, which has seen drug use rise along with skyrocketing social and economic costs of incarceration.

In 2006 the Conservatives refused to renew the exemption that would allow Insite to keep its doors open until pressure from the community forced them to grant a temporary extension.

We know the health minister and the RCMP are now resorting to propaganda tactics to try to close Insite. Attacking Insite and adopting U.S. drug—

HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Welland.

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

June 4th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the issue of gas prices is affecting all Canadians, whether it is fuel for vehicles or home heating. The public is asking that governments take action to alleviate the wild fluctuations in prices forced on consumers without reasonable justification or transparency.

The previous Liberal government attempted to combat this problem by providing a direct monetary benefit to low income families and seniors, providing more funding for long term home heating conservation measures, investing more resources in the Competition Bureau to help investigate possible collusion among the oil companies and speeding up funding for money for public transit. Despite the cries of all the citizens of the country, this program has had its entire budget cut, all $500 million.

I call upon the Conservative government to reverse its decision to cut funding that helps both the poor and the environment, to commence an inquiry on these inflated prices and to rigorously prosecute violations of the Competition Act.

Summit of Francophone and Acadian CommunitiesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, the first Summit of Francophone and Acadian Communities was held, bringing together more than 700 representatives of 33 organizations to discuss the future of these communities.

Unfortunately, the Conservative government pays very little attention to francophone and Acadian communities, as demonstrated by the fact that the Prime Minister did not attend this event. As well, even though the Standing Committee on Official Languages held consultations in the fall of 2006 and in May released a report containing 39 serious recommendations about official languages and linguistic duality, the government has announced that the Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages will hold a consultation on this same subject in the fall, which proves how little it listens to these communities.

To help francophone and Acadian communities, this government needs to stop reinventing the wheel and immediately restore the court challenges program, which it abolished, as well as taking the necessary steps to comply with the Official Languages Act.

Summit of Francophone and Acadian CommunitiesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, on June 1 to 3, the francophone and Acadian communities of this country gathered at the University of Ottawa.

First of all, I would like to congratulate the organizers of the summit, particularly Lise Routhier-Boudreau, chair of the steering committee, for their excellent work.

More than 750 participants in the Summit of Francophone and Acadian Communities developed and adopted a collective vision for five key issues to be focussed on over the next ten years.

All governments must do more than just consult these communities; they must work together toward their development.

The Leader of the Opposition has promised to renew and improve the action plan for official languages. He has also promised to fully reinstate the court challenges program and to double its funding.

The summit's theme, “a million points of view; one vision”, reflects the determination and vision of its participants. As Antonine Maillet would say, it was attended by a great number of wonderful people and not many who were pessimistic about the francophonie. The future is very promising!

Yvon FradetteStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the riding of Louis-Hébert there lives a man who has exercised the noble trade of shoe shiner for over 25 years in Place Laurier. I am referring to the legendary Fred le cireur, Yvon Fradette, the only shoe shiner in North America who has worked for so long in the same place.

Countless distinguished individuals have sat in his chair. Mr. Fradette told me that one of them, former prime minister Brian Mulroney, started talking to him about politics while his shoes were being polished. Mr. Fradette interrupted him to say that women and automobiles were the only topics of discussion in his chair, which elicited a burst of laughter.

Mr. Fradette has been at his chair six days out of seven for 25 years. We wish to acknowledge the perseverance he has demonstrated for all these years in the riding of Louis-Hébert.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week, the world's most industrialized nations will take up the challenge of climate change or choose complacency and abandonment. Canada should be ensuring that failure is not an option, but the Prime Minister is working to make sure failure is the only option.

The science is clear. Action is urgently needed. Why is this government choosing abandonment rather than leadership?