Mr. Speaker, I want to spend some time on this particular issue. I have been in the House some period of time and have had the opportunity to look at the Ross Perot Liberals, their charts and graphs and their ability to talk a good talk but not walk a good walk.
I had the opportunity to see some budgets from this Conservative Prime Minister and some real tangible results, things like the Northwest Transmission Line in British Columbia that will take many diesel operators off the grid, and the Mayo B investment of some $71 million, by this federal government, through which five communities were taken off diesel. Tonnes and tonnes of greenhouse gases were taken out of the environment.
There are some real tangible investments that this government is making from coast to coast to combat climate change. That is why I asked the member opposite in particular what the Liberal government did in 13 years, and all he did was talk and point to graphs. Really, it did nothing tangible. That was what I witnessed and I think most Canadians recognize that this government and this Prime Minister are taking real steps toward combating climate change.
We have made a strong commitment; we have taken continued action and we have a plan for what we are going to do. We are taking steps. We are taking this aggressive action on combating climate change in three ways. We are doing it domestically, continentally in North America, and internationally.
Indeed, this government takes this issue very seriously and there has been a great deal of progress recently, especially in the most recent three and a half or four years that we have been in government, including regulatory action to address greenhouse gas emissions and working with the United States on a harmonized approach. Obviously we are one continent, and it is important that we harmonize with the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.
Canada is also committed to being an active and constructive participant in Copenhagen and working toward a post-2012 agreement on global emissions reduction. This government has established a national target of an absolute 20%—that's right, an absolute 20%—reduction in greenhouse gases relative to 2006 levels. This we plan to do by 2020.
Over the longer term, it has set a target to reduce Canada's emissions 60% to 70% below 2006 levels by 2050. That is right, it is one of the most aggressive targets in the world, 60% to 70% below 2006 levels.
Canada already has one of the cleanest electricity sectors in the world and, as I mentioned at the beginning, we are moving forward even more aggressively to make sure clean energy in the electrical sector is even more rampant in Canada.
We have committed to further progress as well and have set a goal that by 2020, 90% of our electricity needs will come from non-emitting sources. For the first time, Canadians should be proud that there is a federal government, a Prime Minister and a Minister of the Environment who are moving forward with real tangible results that Canadians understand, results to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to combat climate change.
We have established targets that are consistent with scientific consensus and with the contributions Canada can and should make to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
By contrast, this bill, Bill C-311, would impose a 2020 emissions reduction target that goes far deeper, and we agree that it goes far deeper, than what is being contemplated by our closest ally and trading partner, and that, quite frankly, is not realistic. It is a target that would put our economic recovery from the recent global downturn, as well as our economy and Canadian jobs, at serious risk.
Indeed, it is hard to fathom how and why proponents of this legislation, the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP, can continue to support it while conceding that they have never done any analysis of its potential impact on the Canadian economy, no analysis at all of how many jobs would be devastated by this proposal.
In the November 2008 Speech from the Throne, the government committed to working with the provincial governments and all of our partners to develop and implement a North America-wide cap and trade system for greenhouse gases and an effective international protocol for the post-2012 period. This is very important and we have committed to doing this.
The government is moving forward on these commitments, and we will bring forward a cap and trade system that will lead to significant greenhouse gas emission reductions. That is along with the other things we are doing.
The cap and trade system will cover all industrial sectors and will require mandatory emissions reductions. It will promote the development and the deployment of key technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, that will be a very great key to reducing emissions.
As a first step, we have recently set out guidelines for a carbon offset market that will establish tradeable credits within the proposed cap and trade system. We are taking steps in a very short period of time. After 13 dark years of Liberal rule in this country, in which nothing was accomplished, this government, in a short period of time, has taken real steps, tangible steps that Canadians understand are exactly in accordance with Canadians' priorities to protect their jobs and at the same time save our environment.
We will set up a cap and trade system that reflects Canadian priorities and realities but that will also promote harmonization with the United States. We will phase in our approach over time ensuring the ability to adjust and adapt as the United States finalizes its approach.
We will continue to work closely with stakeholders and provincial and territorial governments on this issue. In fact, the Minister of the Environment recently completed a cross-country tour to meet provincial and territorial premiers and ministers to consult with them, to talk with them, and to understand their priorities on the development of the cap and trade system.
There are already areas where we are harmonizing with the new leadership direction of the United States. For example, the government is using its regulatory authorities to transform our auto industry, which is so important for jobs in Ontario and for families in Ontario, to meet the new challenges of the low carbon economy of the future.
About 80% of new vehicles manufactured in Canada by Canadians are exported to the United States, which creates a need for a standard. Regulation of tailpipe emissions, which cause a tremendous amount of the greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks, will be consistent with the fuel efficiency regulations recently announced by President Obama, thereby ensuring a continuing North American standard for vehicles and continuing to ensure that Canadians will be employed.
It is important to remember, even as we move forward on a cap and trade system, that the government has also put in place a suite of ecoAction measures aimed at reducing emissions in the energy and transportation sector, which account for such a large part of emissions.
These investments are increasing the supply of renewable power, improving energy efficiency in homes and workplaces across the country, and reducing emissions from commercial transportation. These are real tangible steps that were never even contemplated by the former Liberal government, and were certainly not put in place.
Through Canada's economic recovery action plan, the government is investing in both Canada's economic and environmental future, including investments of $1 billion each in the clean energy fund and the green infrastructure fund, which I spoke of earlier, real tangible investments that get Canadians employed and at the same time save our environment.
The environmental commitments in this budget alone totalled $4 billion. These investments will play an important role in providing economic stimulus and keeping Canadians employed, as well as in reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. I am proud of these investments. We are doing the job that was not done by previous governments.
The Government of Canada knows that taking action on climate change is a global concern. We must work with our global partners. We will continue to work on a North American approach on climate change as well. We work with our partners and we work with the world at large because we know doing so is necessary.
The Prime Minister's recent visit to Washington marked further progress in harmonizing our efforts with those of the United States and the administration there. As we know, President Obama and the Prime Minister created a U.S.-Canada clean energy dialogue when the President first visited us in February. The dialogue actually covers three themes.
First, we will develop and deploy clean energy technologies, with a focus on carbon capture and storage. Second, we will expand clean energy research and development, which is so important for our future and is certainly part of the solution. Third, we will build a more efficient electricity grid based on clean and renewable energy generation, which is so important for Canada, especially to create jobs and maintain jobs and our great quality of life.
In Washington, a report to leaders was presented that outlined joint progress under the clean energy dialogue action plan. Indeed, under the action plan, both countries have identified the most promising opportunities to work together to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies as we move toward a clean energy future.
We want a clean energy future. However, we do not want to just talk about it; we want to actually do it.
In addition to the report to leaders, a set of projects was announced, which provides concrete examples of the on-the-ground action to deliver results that advance the goals of the clean energy dialogues.
In summary, significant progress is being made under the dialogue, and there will be additional progress to report over the coming years. We, on this side of the House in the Conservative government, are proud of this progress, because we are balancing and, at the same time, getting real tangible results through work.
Our North American partnership is not just limited to the United States. In fact, we are looking beyond the United States. We are working toward a common North American approach that would also include our Mexican neighbours to the south.
The recent North American leaders summit in August, attended by the Prime Minister, President Obama and President Calderón, marked significant progress in this development. At this meeting, agreement was reached to cooperate on a common North American approach to climate change, supported by agreement on a practical and outcome-based work program that actually sees real results and that will provide a strong foundation for these efforts.
Finally, a very important meeting is coming up in Copenhagen in the very near future. We are watching this with anticipation. It is the 15th conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will take place in December.
Throughout the negotiating process, Canada has been engaged in, and a constructive contributor to, the development of a new global post-2012 agreement.
We will continue to act on the basis of clearly established principles, including balancing environmental protection and economic prosperity; maintaining a long-term focus for generations and generations to come, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren; focusing on funding, developing and deploying clean technologies, which we believe are part of the solution; engaging and seeking commitments from both developed and developing countries, which are very important, especially with the rise of China, India and other countries across the globe that are actually causing a large part of the emissions issue; and, finally, playing a constructive role at international and continental tables.
In conclusion, the Government of Canada, this Conservative government, is responding to the challenge presented by climate change and responding to the needs and demands of Canadians. We are implementing a very robust agenda, one like this country has never seen before from any federal government. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen the competitiveness of the Canadian economy. It will protect jobs and it will save our environment.