This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.

Topics

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, if I heard the member correctly, he talked about what a great thing it was that people were making their homes more energy efficient and if we all did just a little bit, life would be so much better in Canada.

I used to work with low income Nova Scotians who lived on $6 a day on welfare. That is the cost of a CFL light bulb. People are being forced to decide between heating or eating, keeping the lights on or paying for their medications. I spoke to a woman who actually stayed with an abusive partner because he could afford to pay the power bills.

Would the member speak to the realization that the government needs to act? The government needs to help us with programs so that we can make the good choices toward energy efficiency.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Madam Speaker, this government has done more for low income Canadians than any government in the last many years that I can count. We have reduced taxes. We have taken low income people off the tax rolls. We have provided incentives for them to be able to afford to improve their homes and their lives. We will continue to do that.

I see it day to day. A lot of people in my riding appreciate the steps we have taken. Could we do more? Obviously we could and we will continue to do more.

I would ask the member why she and her party continue to vote against benefits and improvements for low income Canadians.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today to the motion presented by my colleague from Vancouver East. The motion seeks to divide Bill C-311, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change.

A little context is needed to explain why we are looking at Bill C-311 today. I was in Kyoto in 1997. When I was elected 12 years ago to this House, that was one of the first parliamentary missions I went on in 1997 and it allowed me to better understand climate change and its impact not only on the environment, but also on future economic systems.

I remember the debates we had in the House. We had the Liberal Party on the other side of the House and on this side, the official opposition's side, we had members from the Canadian Alliance, not the Conservative Party but the Canadian Alliance, which later became the Reform Party and then the Progressive Conservative Party. It ended up dropping the word “progressive” and simply became the Conservative Party. Nonetheless, throughout all these name changes, which are just superficial changes, the fundamental political philosophy of that party's members stayed the same. In other words, the members, who are now the government, do not believe or have a hard time believing in the very existence of climate change.

I remember in 1997 the debates we had here in this House when the members of the Canadian Alliance denied the existence of climate change. They thought climate change was a natural phenomenon, that mankind was not responsible for the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and that human activity was not responsible for the chaos that was to come a few years later.

Twelve years later, the impact of climate change is omnipresent. Extreme weather events take place constantly and spontaneously and are recurrent in certain areas, Asia and Indonesia for example. Consequently, on the basis of the scientific reports of the International Panel for Climate Change, it is with confidence that we can officially state today in this House, 12 years later, that the Canadian Alliance, the Reform Party and the current government were wrong and that in 99% of cases, global warming is caused by human activity.

I am returning to that moment in time because it is the very basis for this government's political position on the fight against climate change. Today, what we are first asking this government to do is to recognize that in the next few years we must prevent temperatures from rising more than 2 oC above pre-industrial era temperatures.

According to the models and figures presented by the International Panel for Climate Change, temperatures could increase by 3 to 4%. Scientists are telling us that if temperatures rise by more than 2o C, our climate could run amok. That is at the very core of the bill being introduced. Bill C-311 clearly states in the preamble that Canadian targets, plans, policies and programs to combat climate change must be based on scientific facts and evidence. That is the first thing. There is proof that the government does not acknowledge these scientific facts. I have probably attended 10 international climate change conferences and Canada has tried to trivialize the reports of the International Panel for Climate Change. The government wants these reports to be a mere addendum; it wants to hide them. Why?

Quite simply because the government does not want to follow the scientists' second recommendation, which says that to limit the rise in global temperature to 2 oC above that of the pre-industrial period, industrialized nations must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% to 40% relative to 1990 levels by 2020. That is the commitment Canada should make today. Instead of trying to set aside Bill C-311 on the pretext that it makes no sense, the government should first recognize the scientific evidence, then make a commitment to reduce emissions, as the scientists suggest.

But what is the government proposing to do? First, it is proposing to use 2005 or 2006 as the base year, instead of 1990. Moreover, instead of setting absolute greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, it is proposing to set targets per unit of production. But the problem with this approach is that, although we may reduce our emissions per unit of production, if production goes up, emissions will as well. It does not take a degree in math and econometrics to understand this model.

Why does the government want to use 2005 or 2006 as the base year? Why is it refusing to set absolute targets, preferring intensity targets instead? The answer is simple: it wants to protect certain political, electoral and economic interests, primarily in western Canada. The government's measures are designed to protect the oil sands industry, which creates so much pollution that Canada ranks as one of the worst polluters on the planet in the national reports submitted to the conference of the parties on climate change.

The government believes that science-based targets would come at a disastrous economic cost, as it stated again recently. But the government does not understand one thing: the economy and the environment are connected, and any dramatic change in our ecosystems, especially fragile ones, as a result of higher temperatures will have a direct impact on our economic life.

Developing countries are often food producers; they produce many agricultural products. This morning I was again reading a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute, which estimates that climate change will have a direct impact on what we eat. The price of wheat is expected to increase by 194%, and that of rice by 121%. Yields of these two crops will decrease by 30% and 15% respectively.

So imposing strict rules to fight climate change is not what will cause an economic catastrophe, but rather inaction. Indeed, it will jeopardize our ecosystems. We risk seeing a considerable increase in the price of food. Who will pay for this price increase? It certainly will not be the oil industry; it will be the citizens of Rosemont and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. They will be the ones to pay, because their government did not act responsibly. There are costs associated with inaction, and the government, which for years has been boasting about its economic ideas, has failed to see the models that have been presented.

What are we asking of the government today? We are asking the government to pull itself together, be a world leader, and look at what is happening to the south. The government wants to take a continental approach to fighting climate change; so be it.

Consider, for example, the plan proposed last week by Senator Kerry and Senator Boxer to fight climate change. They are proposing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 7% below 1990 levels, while this government is proposing reductions of 3%.

Look at the Obama and Harper plans proposed so far.

Madam Speaker, I am talking about the plan, not about the Prime Minister. I called the plan—

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:35 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. Would the member please note that mentioning the name of a member of Parliament is forbidden.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Okay then, Madam Speaker, let us compare the two plans: the Obama plan and the Prime Minister's plan. How do the two stack up against each other?

The Obama plan is to invest six times more money per person in the fight against climate change, in renewable energy and in energy efficiency than the plan put forward by the Prime Minister and his Minister of Finance. The government will probably say that it is proposing a continental plan and harmonization. On the contrary, for the past few decades, the government has decided to provide lots of support to the oil industry at the expense of value-added renewable energies that would create green jobs and make a historic contribution to the global fight against climate change.

But the government decided to keep supporting the oil industry. It decided to support the industry while our neighbours to the south give significant tax breaks to the renewable energy sector. Recently, just last week in fact, I met with representatives of wind energy companies who told me they were about to leave Canada and set up shop in Michigan because the United States understands that renewable energy is a value-added proposition.

What should we do about this? We have to turn things upside down and quit giving tax breaks to the oil industry, which pockets huge profits year after year at the expense of our citizens and pollutes our planet. We have to stop giving tax breaks to the oil industry and transfer those incentives to wind energy, geothermal energy, solar power and energy efficiency.

Home renovation is a wonderful thing, but not if all it means is new and bigger decks and patios. We would like to see home renovations improve home energy efficiency. We would like to see a proper building code, and we would like to put people to work on the ground to improve the environment and contribute to economic development.

The United States gets it, and so does China. Even though China is one of the biggest polluters on the planet, they get it, and they have put forward a recovery plan that focuses on investing in renewable energy.

How is it that these countries understand the need to invest in the future while we are still bound to a stone-age economy, a “Flintstone” economy. What we have here is a “Flintstone” economy based on old technology with no added value and no real job creation.

Consequently, the government has to get its act together. The government must show leadership and adopt a model with the means to achieve Canada's international targets. As I said earlier, I went to Kyoto in 1997 and I saw the 15 member nations of the European Union at the time arrive in Kyoto prepared. The EU members had agreed on a common target, but they had also agreed on a differentiated target. Such flexibility is key to this territorial approach, whereby Canada negotiates a greenhouse gas reduction target. But if a target that is both common and differentiated is good for Canada on the international scene, it should be just as good here at home.

This differentiated target should help companies that, since 1990, have decided to change their industrial processes and invest in sustainable development plans and that have succeeded in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 15%. I am thinking of the manufacturing industry in Quebec, the forestry industry and the aluminum industry.

Today, these industries would be told that they are on an equal footing with the oil industry and that they must make the same efforts. The government's model is not based on the polluter pays principle, but the polluter paid principle. In summary, we must support this bill and base our model and our approach on the scientific evidence.

Second, Canada must find ways to meet the deadline set for us by the scientific community, which requires that Canada reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% relative to 1990 levels by 2020. Third, Canada must adopt a territorial approach comparable to the one adopted in Europe, whose record will be much better than Canada's.

Lastly, developing countries must be given the means to adapt better to climate change. It is the least that industrialized countries like ours can do, given that we are responsible for the climate change occurring now. We need to make technology transfers and use the mechanisms in the Kyoto protocol so that these emerging economies can contribute to the global effort. At the same time, we need to make sure that these countries are economically sustainable in the future.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:45 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Madam Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague from the Bloc and I have a question for him.

He has listened to the same testimony that I have been listening to at committee. We have heard that Bill C-377, now Bill C-311, is no longer relevant. It actually is a bad bill that opposition members are trying to divide and make into two bad bills. It sets targets that were before the global economic recession, targets that would be harmful to the Canadian economy. That is why the NDP leader said that it should be costed. It has not been costed yet and yet we have the Bloc members supporting these random targets that are no longer relevant.

We have also heard from testimony today from science the importance of having a harmonized, continental approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is not possible to do it in isolation. He should well know that because climate change is not a Canada issue. it is a global issue.

Why would the member want to do something in isolation from what the rest of the world is doing? Why does he have a history of not supporting good environmental programs? Why has he voted against carbon capture and storage in this House? Why has he voted against renewable fuels?

Why do those members just talk the talk but never walk the walk?

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, the member is mistaken. This side of the House is on the same page as the international community. The federal government is the one showing a serious lack of leadership and deciding to disagree with the international community.

As proof of that, last week Canada received the Fossil of the Day award, which is saying something. This is not a green award, it is a Fossil of the Day award for how the government negotiates on the world stage, more specifically for wanting to avoid using 1990 as the reference year in future international agreements.

I am calling on the member to rise and tell the House that his government and his department are the ones seriously lacking leadership. It is not this side of the House. On the contrary, we want the bill to be passed and for the targets to be based on scientific evidence.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I must acknowledge that my Bloc colleague has a lot of experience and expertise on the issue of climate change. He has a long history in the House on this issue.

It is very clear that the government has been taking a long time—four years, in fact—to propose greenhouse gas emission regulations. It is hiding behind the excuse that it must wait for the American government, the Obama government, to act first.

But if I am not mistaken, two bills have already been introduced in the United States, one in the House of Representatives, and one in the Senate. These bills set targets. Furthermore, President Obama has said that if the House of Representatives and the Senate could not agree on these bills or on an approach, that he, as President, would impose targets using his regulatory power.

At least we have an idea of where the Americans are going with this. What is the government waiting for? We could set some targets and develop an approach, since we have an idea of the scope of the Americans' forthcoming plans.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, that is exactly right.

As my hon. colleague indicated, any number of excuses can be used to justify inaction. As the member said earlier, the targets were good before the economic crisis, but apparently that is no longer the case. Why? That is the question.

The government should have listened to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, who said that, on the contrary, the economic crisis was a perfect opportunity to change our economies, create a new green agreement, and reposition our economies, sector by sector, towards sustainable development. It is not enough to invest only in concrete; we must also invest in green energy sources.

This government needs to understand that, by jumping on the American bandwagon, it has wasted a lot of time. In fact, when President Obama came into power, the government said it was scrapping its plan to fight climate change. We on this side of the House were very pleased, because that plan was going nowhere.

The government now knows very well where the Americans are headed. Since leadership is needed, we are calling on the government to introduce a bill on climate change as soon as possible, and not to wait, because as we know with this government, the longer they wait, the less likely they are to act.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend the member for his very thoughtful and very informed speech on Bill C-311. He is to be commended for the hard work he has done on the issue of climate change for the entire time he has been in office in this House, and I thank him.

I would like to ask the member if he could elaborate on the issue that the Conservatives keep raising, that we should be moving in sync on policy with our trading partners. If that is the case, then why are we not following the moves of our trading partner Japan, which we are inviting to our country for the G20, and our trading partner Britain, which we are inviting to our country as part of the G20?

The United Kingdom has announced a target of 26% by 2020. Japan has announced a target of 25% by 2020. Yes, indeed, it is true, the targets that were issued originally by the inter-party panel are being questioned. The inter-party panel in this year's report is saying that those targets are not strict enough. They are not deep enough. We are going to have to do more.

The International Energy Agency has said the way out of the economic recession around the world, the way to address climate change simultaneously is to shift investment towards a new green economy. What is the prime trigger? It is regulation. Where is the legislation that this House has tabled? Where are the regulations that this minister has tabled? Even Shell Canada asked yesterday, “Where are the regulations?”

I would appreciate the member's response.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, there are no regulations and there is no legislation. We are only at the regulatory framework stage. The problem with the government's approach is that it might end up penalizing companies and Quebec that have made efforts in the past.

What is being discussed internationally? Other countries are talking about targets and scientific observations, but also something else. Europe is considering imposing a carbon tax, an import tax for countries that do not respect their international climate change commitments. What does that mean for companies in Quebec and for Quebec? That means that because the rest of Canada is delinquent and Canada is a delinquent country when it comes to fighting climate change, companies in Quebec that have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 10% or more, risk having their exports taxed because the oil industry is a polluting and delinquent industry.

We cannot allow Quebec companies to pay for the mess the oil industry has created and continues to create. We will not stand for it in this House.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:50 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

One minute remains for a quick question or comment.

The hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciated the hon. member's speech. It is true what he said about the Conservatives denying climate change when they were the Reform Party. We also saw them deny the economic crisis. I want to know whether the hon. member agrees that we have to move forward with this motion and vote in favour of it in order to take action on climate change.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie has 30 seconds to respond.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, the bill before us is not just about fighting climate change. It will also help our economy shift towards a green and sustainable economy. What we need to understand is that if the Conservatives—or any other party—votes against this bill, not only are they voting against our ecosystems and the environment but they are voting against a prosperous and green economy in future years.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, how much time do I have for debate?

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

There is about five minutes for the hon. member's comments.

Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I will do my best to say what I need to within five minutes then.

I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to the motion with respect to Bill C-311, which alone is a bad bill, and now the motion proposes to split it and make two bad bills from the same one.

I am very concerned for a number of reasons. One is that one of the bills that is proposed would short-circuit fulsome debate on very serious matters by restricting the amount of time available to committee members. That is a very serious thing.

Just today after the hearing opened on Bill C-311, the committee heard from Bob Page, who is the chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. He said some very important things.

Primary among them, he said that industry or manufacturing in Ontario would be particularly hard hit by a bill like Bill C-311. We can see evidence that this is a bad bill and of course that is one of the reasons we need to debate it in a fulsome measure. It is one of the reasons I will be voting against this motion.

That brings up the question, of what Bill C-311 or what these two incarnations of it ultimately mean to the auto industry, which is a very significant question and one in which, I will remind the New Democrats, the taxpayers of this country are sharing in a very critical time, through a difficult restructuring of the industry in the hopes of having a good future for that industry to the tune of $10 billion. That is a very significant investment, one which the taxpayers deserve a return on investment for, instead of another kick to the industry, hoping to take it down, as the NDP is proposing to do.

Since the New Democrat MPs from Windsor West and Windsor—Tecumseh will not stand in their places and stand up for the auto industry by voting against this motion or against Bill C-311, I am going to have to do it.

I should point out for the record I am not surprised that those two NDP members would be voting against the auto industry by supporting this motion. They have a history of voting against the priorities of the Windsor-Essex region. They voted against the historic infrastructure stimulus funding that we have just announced. They have voted against billions of dollars, potentially, for a new border crossing for our region that would be good for the auto industry and its economic competitiveness, and of course they voted against the automotive aid itself.

Why do we need to consider this? We heard Mr. Page today in committee very clearly say that harmonization is the important way to go with respect to our targets and actions. He said harmonization was important because the economic competitiveness or the cost of operating will be a serious consideration for industry and where it locates. If we take a position that is clearly isolated from not only the United States but other major industrial countries in the world, that would be horrible for industry and the future of blue collar workers in this country.

What did he say? We also need to consider this in light of the fact that we are in tough economic times. That changes the affordability question for a lot of industries moving forward. Mr. Page said that we have to consider whether appropriate technologies required to reduce emissions can be deployed quickly enough. That is a serious consideration for the auto industry.

I am surprised that the NDP, which has long pretended to stand up for blue collar workers in this country, would turn its back on them with an irresponsible and bad bill like this. It is bad. It puts the future of the auto industry in serious jeopardy in this country. Shame on it. I expect NDP members to stand in their place and vote against this motion.

Mental HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to Mental Illness Awareness Week. This annual public education campaign helps to open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness.

Our government is proud of the work we have done to shed light on this important issue that affects our families, our colleagues, our neighbours and our country. People suffering from mental illness need not be burdened with a negative stigma from the general population or health care professionals. That is why our government has made mental health awareness a priority. By encouraging those affected to seek help, we can reduce the burden of mental illness on sufferers and on our society.

Last night I had the honour of speaking at the seventh annual Champions of Mental Health Awards where individuals, such as our own Minister of National Defence, received well received recognition for their tireless efforts to provide hope and relief to those who suffer from mental illness.

To all the champions of mental health awareness we congratulate them and thank them.

Global Relief OutreachStatements By Members

October 8th, 2009 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, Global Relief Outreach is a Canadian-based NGO operating in Lesotho supporting locally developed and sustainable initiatives. These are local initiatives for projects that already exist but lack the necessary resources for success. There are three major initiatives.

The family scholarship fund provides academic support to orphaned and vulnerable high school students affected by HIV, creating an environment to encourage young advocates to support each other and their communities.

The Artisans Collective provides start-up capital and supplies, facilitates training of women living with HIV and connects them with business opportunities locally and abroad.

The Grandmothers Support Group sustains a local HIV home care operation run almost exclusively by grandmothers.

G.R.O. was created in 2006 by James White and two counterparts. The volunteer board includes Dr. Megan Landes, Terry Aldebert, James White and a volunteer executive team. I applaud them for their work.

The solution to challenges in countries like Lesotho exist in those countries. Organizations like G.R.O. simply recognize this and partner with them to make a real difference.

I look forward to meeting with them here in two weeks and encourage other MPs to meet with them as well.

AbitibiBowater Workers in Dolbeau-MistassiniStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Madam Speaker, today I would like to reiterate my support for the workers of AbitibiBowater in Dolbeau-Mistassini who are currently experiencing hard times. The company has announced that it will close the paper mill for an indefinite period, raising doubts about whether activities will start up again.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I wish to offer my absolute support to these men and women. I am prepared to fight with them to the end in order to save their jobs.

No matter what the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean has said in the local papers, his government is most definitely not showing forestry workers the same consideration and respect shown auto sector workers. He should give the rhetoric a rest and ensure that measures are put in place to help the forestry industry and that the employment insurance program is overhauled so that workers in this sector can qualify for benefits.

Cowichan SweatersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, Cowichan tribe has a long and proud history of producing its Cowichan sweaters. When Vancouver won the Winter Olympics bid, knitters saw this as a perfect opportunity to showcase their work and made a bid to provide Canada's Olympians with these iconic sweaters.

An experienced knitter like Jenny Martin can finish a sweater in a day. To prove their worth, Emily Sawyer-Smith knit sweaters with the Olympic rings for the IOC president and Premier Campbell.

VANOC says that sustainable purchasing can help generate growth of businesses in aboriginal communities, but that principle was ignored when the Hudson's Bay Company decided to go with a more expensive imitation of the Cowichan sweater made by a corporation.

Once again, a first nation loses an economic development opportunity while corporate Canada makes a profit on winter games that were supposed to bring economic benefits to all aboriginal peoples in Canada. What went wrong?

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, yesterday, the Liberal leader was conspicuously absent when an important confidence vote was held in this House, demonstrating once again that he is not concerned about Canadians.

Today, the Liberal leader is saying he is ready to take the risk of raising our taxes. He wants to raise the GST and impose a tax on carbon, on everything in fact. He is completely out of touch with reality.

For weeks, he has done nothing but talk about a pointless election no one wants. Now, he is threatening us with tax hikes people cannot afford.

When is he going to wake up and realize that the nation is going through an economic crisis? When is he going to wake up and realize that our people are suffering? When is he going to wake up, period?

You do not need to have gone to Harvard to understand what is happening in Canada. People cannot have confidence in a Liberal leader.

Toronto International AirportStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as part of my efforts to give the people of York West a greater voice in the decisions impacting on their community, I recently held a round table in my riding. The focus of the event was the Toronto International Airport and the impact its growth is having on the community.

While residents know the airport is a tool of economic development, tourism and jobs, they have concerns deserving of urgent attention. More flights over homes mean more noise pollution.

It is time for the community to be given a greater role in the future plans of the airport and the recognition of the challenges. The people of York West are calling on the government to make that happen. There must be more community input, more timely and effective communication to residents. We need to see real coordination between neighbourhoods, Nav Canada, Transport Canada and the GTAA.

My constituents know the airport is necessary, but in some cases its growth is causing problems. The people of York West want to help prepare for the future growth of the airport. It is time the government started listening to their concerns.

Community Futures Development CorporationsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the work being done by community futures development corporations. My riding of Perth—Wellington is served by three CFDCs: Perth, Waterloo-Wellington and Saugeen.

Funded by Industry Canada, CFDCs provide business and community economic development services, business and community planning, and access to capital.

Our government recently provided CFDCs across southern Ontario with additional investment funds that can be loaned to entrepreneurs and growing businesses. They have also received funding that will support business planning and research, marketing and export development, training, hiring interns, and community development projects.

I have always been impressed by the knowledgeable and helpful CFDC staff members and their ability to deliver programs in our rural communities and small urban centres. I would like to thank the general managers, staff and board of directors of the Perth, Waterloo-Wellington and Saugeen CFDCs.