Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise this afternoon.
It is a privilege for me to be here today to participate in this very important debate on a Bloc Québécois motion that addresses an issue of critical importance to Canada's future. This is critical because it deals with not only our ecological integrity, but also our economic prosperity.
I want to begin by saying that Canadians continue to be disappointed by their government's lack of initiative and ashamed of its failure to take action at the international level. The government's record is 4-3-0: four ministers, three ministers and zero plan for the environment or climate change since the Conservatives came to power. They have nothing to show and only themselves to blame.
Liberals believe the scientific evidence for global warming. They want Canada to show the rest of the world the way, and they want absolute reduction targets to ensure that global temperatures do not rise by more than 2oC.
The Reform-Conservative government has shown no initiative at all with respect to Copenhagen. On the contrary, as I hope to show this afternoon, it has constantly impeded international progress on climate change issues.
The Prime Minister's irresponsible approach to climate change has become one of the greatest obstacles to Canada's economic growth.
Let us then turn to the facts and the history of four years of Reform-Conservative government. That is, in fact, what the government is: the coming together of the Reform-Alliance movement of the West and the common sense revolutionaries here in Ontario. Defeated in Ontario years ago, having set their own province on fire, they have now come to the federal scene to continue their works, tactics, tone and character.
Four years after we were promised, in an election campaign, a “made in Canada climate change plan”, we have seen it go from made in Canada, to delayed in Canada, to made in the U.S.A. Now, the Minister of the Environment, blessed by the Prime Minister, says that we will take no action unless there is an international agreement first. That is more than preposterous. That is incompetent, irresponsible and very dangerous to our future and our well-being, environmentally and economically.
Here is why. Canada's Export Development Corporation now tells us about the global marketplace for environmental and clean energy technologies and the opportunities around the world on an annual basis. These are opportunities for Canada to go and seize our entrepreneurs, investors, risk-takers and companies while working with government. The Export Development Corporation tells us that market is worth $1 trillion a year. That is $1 trillion for Canada to participate in.
Just a year and a half ago, one of Canada's top accounting firms, Ernst & Young, revealed that Canada is badly slipping behind other countries in our ability to attract investment. We are not getting the share that we should be getting in the international marketplace or the opportunities that are out there for things like water and waste water technologies, clean energy technologies, new scrubber systems for electricity generation, light rail or transit, and the list goes on and on.
Not only are we compromising our ability to compete in that race, but Ernst & Young is telling us that we are falling way behind other countries in our ability to attract capital into Canada, capital to invest precisely in the clean energy technologies of the future. We are now behind Germany, the United States, Italy, France and Spain. We are now even further behind India and China. That is important to raise in the context of the Prime Minister's trips right now, first to India and now to China.
I want to pause for a moment and speak specifically to those trips in the context of Copenhagen. I have a few remarks. First of all, the Prime Minister's approach to China for the past four years has been to use circumscribed language that is immature at best. He has compromised two decades of careful relationship building with the Chinese people and Chinese authorities in an understanding that Canada has a special relationship with China.
China would be an emerging economic superpower expected to displace the United States by 2020 as the world's largest economy. China is going to need an awful lot of Canadian know-how, solutions and technology. The Prime Minister begins by compromising our relationship with China.
More recently, just three weeks ago, when China announced that it was going to take some tenuous steps to enter the climate change tent and the international community with a willingness to talk about targets for the Chinese people, the Minister of the Environment launched an all-out attack on China in the media while he was in New York City participating in United Nations meetings.
The situation now is we are falling behind India and China. The Prime Minister was just in India, and I read the communiqué issued by both governments. Seven words out of some eight hundred and some twenty five words in the statement referred to climate change. It was a passing reference, barely addressed. What is rich about it is the Prime Minister keeps telling the Canadian people and the world that we will not do anything in Canada until, first, as I said earlier, the Americans do something. Then it is until the Indians and Chinese do something. Now it has evolved into a until there is an international treaty, not of our making.
Let me get this straight. The Prime Minister is in India and China representing us and he does not raise, in a very serious, straightforward way, the climate change crisis with Indian and Chinese authorities. It is ironic, it is rich and it is beyond belief. What it really shows is that it is incoherent, and it has been for four years. We have asked repeatedly of three successive ministers of the environment for a plan. Where is the made in Canada plan?
Recently I was asked by a national media outlet what the Minister of the Environment should be doing in Copenhagen. My response was he should come home because he had nothing to negotiate from. We do not enter into international negotiations with a blank sheet of paper. Anybody who understands international negotiations knows that. We simply do not waltz into a room and tell people to go ahead, that we will observe, that we will watch from on top and afar and when they come up with a deal, we will consider it. Then we will bring the deal back home and consider whether it fits into an ultimate Canadian domestic plan, a plan for Canada.
What do we have? We do not have a plan. We have no regulations for climate change. We have no emissions trading system for climate change. We have no price on carbon emissions to deal with climate change. We have no analysis to tell us what the role of conservation will be in sequestering carbon for a climate change plan. We have nothing.
The European Union ambassador to Canada testified yesterday in committee. He told us that there were over 1,000 pages of analysis and planning on the Internet sites of the European Union and all its 27 countries, detailing a very well thought out and well balanced plan. In contrast Canada has nothing. It is important for Canadians to know that as we come to the important moment of Copenhagen.
Made in Canada was the first announcement. Then it was to be delayed in Canada. Then it was to be made in the United States. Now it will be made elsewhere. It is not responsible because nobody will design a climate change plan for Canada for our benefit, for the planet's benefit, yes, but for our benefit as well. The only strategy the Reform-Conservatives seem to have with respect to Copenhagen is a public relations strategy.
Let me recap. We have no plan, no emissions trading system, no price on carbon emissions and no North American target.
Let us stop to speak about that for a moment. The government now has evolved its messaging in another way. It now claims that Canada is part of a North American agreement on climate change. Let us just look at that for a moment.
My sources in Washington tell me that nobody on Capitol Hill in Washington is talking about a North American plan. The folks I spoke to in Mexico City, who are seized with climate change in Copenhagen negotiations, asked me if I had misunderstood something when I spoke to them. Officials there said that they had no idea what I was talking about when I talked about a North American plan, nor a North American target, nor a North American trading system. That is not to say we should not have been working feverishly toward a tripartite approach on a continental basis.
However, to put in the window now and say that we have no plan at home, but there is dialogue with the United States should be explored.
In 2002 the former Liberal government announced a North American working group for energy dialogue. It was going strong, gangbusters, productive for Canada, making headway until 2006 when the Conservatives were elected. At the same moment they cut $5.6 billion in programming money for climate change, they also immediately cancelled a four-year-old successful North American energy working group and dialogue on energy. It evaporated.
Some two years later, when a democratic centrist administration was elected in Washington, the government, with nothing to announce on the environment, nothing to announce on the Great Lakes, nothing to announce on species at risk, nothing to announce on oceans, nothing to announce on anything, including climate change, resurrected the idea of a North American energy dialogue. It re-gifted it, tied it up with a nice, bright red bow and presented it to the people, saying that it now had a dialogue with the Obama administration. It is all smoke and mirrors all the time and it is really unfortunate because there is so much on the line.
Recently the United Nations issued a report, a very powerful one. It says that in the future countries that have more nature, more water, more species, more conservation will be the wealthiest. In other words, those countries that are best able to get more ecological integrity and better environmental protection will have a stronger, more competitive and more successful economy.
That is what eludes the Reform-Conservatives, and I do not understand why. Normally Conservative ideology and thinking would tend toward economic opportunities, enhancing those opportunities and creating the right conditions in government allowing our free market, entrepreneurs and capital to flourish. Not in this case.
Instead we have a regime that would rather play shell games and put things in the window one week after another instead coming up with a coherent national plan where everyone wins, where it can do good with respect to environmental improvement and it can do well financially. It is a race that the rest of the world is now participating in and Canada is not even at the starting line. We are not even close to being there. We are being outspent 13 times on a per capita, per person, basis by the United States on clean technology, research and development and other investments.
The Germans have already created 260,000 to 280,000 jobs today. This is not about tomorrow or 10 years from now. The future is now on this issue. The Germans have already created jobs in the clean technology sector. Why would they be doing that? What do they know that we do not know? Nothing. Why did the Chinese authorities just create a $250 billion environmental clean technologies investment fund? What do they know that we do not know? Nothing.
What we know is we are going into the powerful race of the future, where we become more efficient with the energy we use. We become cleaner with the energy that we produce. We reduce our waste. We use our resources more efficiently.
This is all good and all positive. It is a race in which humanity will compete. It is a race that Canada ought to be competing in and it is one that we can win. We have all the know-how in the world right here in our country.
Quebec has lots of experience with hydroelectricity, with dozens of engineering consulting firms that have dominated markets around the world.
Alberta has sequestration technologies and abilities to reduce our emissions, even in the exploitation of oil sands. In British Columbia, Vancouver is going to become the cleanest city in the world by 2020. Halifax is the most efficient waste management city in the country, reducing household wastes.
What does California know that we do not know? Nothing. Why else would California now define waste in all its laws? In all its laws, it does not talk about waste any more. It talks about unrecaptured profit. It sees waste as potential profit. In other words, if people generate waste, find ways not to generate it and they will make more money. They will create jobs today.
That is why Ontario's clean energy act is such a progressive step into the future. It is expected that the legislation, that initiative, will help to create over 60,000 jobs, not in a decade but today, because the future is now.
As we hurdle toward the Copenhagen meeting, it is important to remind the government that it has an obligation to Canadians, and the world, and it is failing. A whole litany of obstructionism has gone on now for four years. It barely is worth repeating, but it is important to have this debate today. It is important that the Bloc Québécois has brought the motion forward and that we debate it. It is about our future success. It is about whether we will win the race, which the Liberal Party believes we can win. It is about creating the right conditions inside Canada to participate fulsomely in the world and lead in the world.
For a change from the last four years, maybe we should start leading in the world. Canadians deserve no less.