What an introduction, Mr. Speaker.
I am very pleased to speak about Bill C-377. We know from the Interpretation Act and case law that a piece of legislation includes its title, which also helps to explain its objective and scope. When we read the title, we immediately know what topic the legislation covers. In this case we have the Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change.
I think that is the best place to begin because I listened to what has been said, as did my Bloc Québécois colleague, whom I would like to warmly thank for his comments on this important bill. I, too, was stunned to hear the litany of foolish remarks that came from the Conservative bench. It proves the extent to which the Conservatives are experts in the art of disinformation, as well as showing that they know absolutely nothing about climate change and its impact on future generations.
I took careful note of the words of the Conservative from Cambridge who spoke a bit earlier. He had the temerity to evoke future impacts of Bill C-377 while failing to realize the paradox of his words. The bill in question seeks to alleviate the consequences of Conservative and Liberal inaction on future generations. Future impact is the subject that we are dealing with.
However, we should never underestimate the extent to which the Conservatives are capable of focusing in on issues and explaining them in a way that will play to their base.
Here are some of the words that he spoke before. This bill would destroy the economy and put at risk the well-being of Canadians. We can hear him explaining to Canadians that they will be shivering in the dark if ever we played the role that we must play on the international stage in matters of climate change. Then they always pull the same rabbit out of their hat. They point, correctly, to the Liberal inaction over 13 years. On that, they will get no quarrel from us.
However, the incompetence of the Liberal Party of Canada does not, in any way, justify the Conservatives sending the bill to future generations for their continued indolence, inaction and mismanagement on the economy, on the environment and now on climate change. The real reason the Conservatives will do nothing on climate change is that they have put all their economic eggs in one basket: the tar sands.
Talk about destabilizing the economy for future generations. The result of that has been a soaring Canadian dollar. In turn, that has made it increasingly difficult, in particular, for our manufacturing and forestry sectors just in Ontario. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost in Quebec since the Conservatives came to power.
Since the Conservatives came to power, 116,000 well-paying jobs have been lost in the manufacturing industry. The very party that boasts of not meddling in the economy, yet is giving the oil sands sector a free ride by not requiring compliance with the Kyoto protocol, which Canada signed, is destabilizing the rest of the balanced economy we have built in Canada since the second world war. The very people who claim they do not want or like the government to play a role in the economy are doing just that.
Unlike other countries—Norway is an excellent example—that set aside a portion of the wealth that comes from a non-renewable resource such as oil, or the oil sands in our case—Norway has set aside over $300 billion for future generations—the imbeciles in the Conservative government are sticking future generations with the bill. Not only are they not setting aside any money for the future, but they are adding insult to injury by standing up in the House today and saying, “Look, there is no point in this. You are going to destroy the economy if you ask us to make good on our international commitments to fight climate change.” That is what is so scandalous about the Conservatives' position.
The Conservatives are great moralizers. Our generation has a moral duty to future generations, but the Conservatives do not care. They are unmoved. To them, what counts is their political base. They are short-sighted. If we look again at countries that are models in this area, such as Germany and Denmark, they have seized the opportunity presented by the need for economic change to build a structure that is creating jobs in the economy of the future, the green economy, which recognizes that we have a duty when it comes to the environment because it is simply not sustainable to go on as we have been doing. But this is not a big deal for the Conservatives. What counts is their own short-term gains. What they are saying is calculated to put people off and scare them at the same time. Here again, they are taking a page from the Americans' book. What better way to prevent people from asking the right questions than to tell them they should be afraid.
The remarks of the member for Cambridge are unworthy of a member who claims to be thinking of future generations. Claiming that respecting the environment, respecting the Kyoto protocol and respecting our international obligations will destroy the economy is pure folly. It shows the extent to which the Conservatives are misleading the public. Our duty is to have a credible, structured, positive dialogue and to hold out hope for the future. Bill C-377 gives that hope.
Building a balanced, mixed economy, which they are destroying, was an enormous challenge for a country of our size, but we managed to do it. Over the course of just a few years, not only have the Conservatives destroyed the environment but they are tearing apart this balanced economy, which has been built with great effort and determination since World War II. They are putting all their eggs in the tar sands basket and wiping out jobs in the manufacturing sector. There is no vision for the future and no willingness or courage to do what remains to be done.
It was an extraordinary revelation listening to the comments by the member for Cambridge because those things are usually just hinted at by Conservatives during partisan rallies. It was extraordinary to hear the member for Cambridge stand before this House earlier today and use scare tactics on the Canadian public when he said that respecting our international obligations was something that would destroy the economy. Word for word he said that it would destroy the Canadian economy, and they have the nerve to talk about future impacts.
The changes that are being operated on the world climate right now, because of the irresponsibility of people like the Conservative Party and their allies before them in the Liberal Party, it is the Conservative Liberal Alliance party, and I will let members work out the acronym, and the dose of climate change and of greenhouse gases that they are inflicting on Canadians and future generations is something that needs to be countered.
Future generations will take us to task. First they will look at the Liberals' inaction, mismanagement and incompetence over 13 years. I know something about that because I was Quebec's environment minister when the current Leader of the Opposition was Minister of the Environment, and their inaction was scandalous.
However, there is no excuse for the Conservatives to continue that inaction. Future generations will hold them accountable, as will the voters in the next federal election.