House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regulations.


Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System for North AmericaPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.


Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise here today to take part in this debate.

Basically, this debate about climate change is one that is vital to everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone.

For the members of the NDP, it is incredible that we are now having a debate on a greenhouse gas emissions trading system, while the rest of the world continues to make major investments and create a market that works.

The motion moved by my colleague from Beauharnois—Salaberry is an excellent motion, because, even though it is very short, it contains the basic principles needed to establish an absolute limit that respects targets and to finally have a goal for the country. It establishes a concrete goal and concrete targets with respect to climate change.

Under this Conservative government and the previous Liberal government, it has been a disaster. To this day it remains a political disaster for this country. A carbon exchange is crucial. First it should be integrated with the United States and eventually, with the rest of the world. Otherwise, it will be practically impossible for Canada to fight climate change on its own.

The motion fits well with what the NDP has proposed in a bill that now sits before the Standing Committee on the Environment, which says a target must be finally put into law.

The reason we have suggested this in law is because we have seen successive governments present targets and plans, after plans, after plans, that do not come to fruition. I do not essentially blame only the Conservatives because they have learned well from previous Liberal governments who presented so many plans we began to lose count. Nevertheless, greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise at an unprecedented level, faster than our neighbours to the south, and faster than virtually any other country on the planet.

There was this connection. I remember the former Liberal leader saying it and then repeated by the next Liberal leader that it was impossible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while having an economy grow so we had to choose one or the other. I have heard the current environment minister and the current Prime Minister misrepresent the issue time and again that these things are intertwined, that if greenhouse gas emissions rise, then our economy must rise.

This is the most false concept that has been presented in the debate around climate change to this point. It must be brought out into the light to show that a carbon market, for example, is an enabler for new technologies and new growth industries that Canadians have been wanting.

This morning I had some heads of corporations in my office describing and listing off the number of Canadian companies that have either been bought by American firms and moved south, or have simply picked up shop and moved south. These are significant companies from Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec that have simply said that without a price on carbon, it is impossible for them to imagine a future in this country in order to develop their products. We are talking about wind, solar, and hydrogen economy. These companies have picked up and left, and are continuing to leave not because they want to but because they feel they must because they have seen where the action is and it is not here in Canada.

As a good example, in the last two federal budgets, both American and Canadian, when the support for renewable energies is pulled out, for example, and we look at what each of our countries is doing on a per capita basis, that is per person, for every $1 we are spending the Americans are spending $14. That is coming from the general accounting office in the United States. It is coming from the World Bank. It is establishing all the countries in the world and how much they are actually supporting, not through words, but through dollars.

A 14:1 ratio for Canada is an embarrassment. There is no doubt and it is with good conviction that these companies are leaving Canada because when they look south of the border and see the support levels for wind, solar, tidal, energies that do not pollute, they realize that the cap and trade system that the administration there is developing will be a concrete one.

We brought forward Bill C-311 that finally puts into law these targets because these governments will not be held to account themselves. They need it inscribed in law. It has to be put there firmly with an ability to adjust targets and plans as we go along. That will establish a firm market.

At the natural resource committee we heard from industrial groups, from all sectors, including those in the fossil fuel sector that have said we must have a price on carbon, we must be able to trade in that market, because without that we cannot compete. We have argued this with the present government and the one before that, that their inaction on climate change would eventually lead to a crippling of the Canadian economy and the energy economy, including projects like the tar sands because we knew a world market was coming.

The concept of putting a price on pollution, of having the polluter pay, is one that Canadians agree with. It is one that Canadians overwhelmingly support and over a number of years industry has quietly been saying “yes, in fact we need some certainty because we cannot do these large investments, these large projects, without knowing that one of our major cost line items which was, eventually and now must be, a price on carbon”. We have even moved the Conservatives to admit to that notion.

I am amazed by the parliamentary secretary's views on this and by extension the Conservatives' views. The notion that negotiating with the White House and that talking about a carbon market, mutually shared across our borders, would be an anathema to the government is spitting in the eye of the very industries that are going to need to trade on this market. These are the very industries that the Conservative government purports to support, such as the tar sands in Alberta and the electricity sector across the country. They will need access to a continent-wide market because the price, as has been mentioned before, of just a domestic-only Canadian market would be discouraging, difficult and harder than it needs to be for Canadian firms.

The government is very fond of talking about the costs of doing this for the environment or the costs of doing that. It has also been noted time and time again by Mr. Stern, formally from the World Bank, and others that the cost of inaction is extraordinary. In the very week that we see more of the Antarctic ice shelves peeling off, in the week that we see a further report by the IPCC, which has been monitoring the greenhouse gas emissions around the world and the intensity of greenhouse gas on the environment, we still see, in form if not in word, denial from the Government of Canada. It is offline with Canadians.

The enabling of the green economy can only happen if we establish a price on carbon. This needs to be noted time and time again for the government to see that it is not one or the other and to stop making the false posit for Canadians that they must choose between a clean environment and stable atmosphere or their jobs.

We have seen now the taking over of Chrysler. It sounds like Canada is going to have a member on that board. One of the key points in the restructuring of that part of the auto industry is to make more efficient cars, to make cars that pollute less. We have argued with previous Liberal administrations and the current Conservative administration that when we were handing money out to the big three automakers, which we have been doing for years for research and development, for technology and to support particular plants, to tie a little string to that. Ask them, as they are receiving public funds for this private enterprise, to include plans for more efficient cars and make more efficient cars.

New Democrats have been arguing this since 2000, saying that this only makes sense because that is where the puck is going to be. Do not pass it where it was, pass it where it will be.

In fact, here we are today with the big three in near meltdown status, all of them scrambling to keep themselves alive. Part of their revival plan is to actually do what New Democrats suggested back in 2000 and presented to the then Liberal government, a coalition among the unions, the environment and the auto sector itself saying, “We can come together on this. We can find ways that we can make the economy and the environment work together”.

Bill C-311 would allow Canada to finally get on track, stop the games with the intensity, and all the mess that the Conservatives have made of this file. Their plan has been supported by no one. Not in industry, not in the environment, not anywhere around the world is there a viable plan. We will have one in Bill C-311.

These motions put forward and put on the table again are about the need for a carbon market, to finally realize and understand the full potential of this country's green economy, a more sustainable economy, an economy that provides jobs that we feel more secure with and that are for the sustainable, long-term viability of our economy and environment.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System for North AmericaPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to address Motion No. 287, moved by the hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry. I thank her for her motion, which seems simple.

This motion deals with three fundamental elements that will trigger huge economic, social and environmental issues in the years to come, for Quebec and the whole planet. In the next 10 minutes, I will try to present some of these issues.

First, through this motion, the Bloc Québécois is asking the government to agree with what we have been saying in this House for years, namely that absolute greenhouse gas reduction targets must be set.

For years, the federal government has been stubbornly trying to favour one segment of the industry, to ensure that the increase in emissions in a given industrial sector is taken into account—I am thinking, among others, of the tar sands—and to adopt intensity targets. The government should agree with us. It should respect Canada's international commitments and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms. The way to do this is to set a cap on emissions and to base greenhouse gas reductions on absolute targets, and not on intensity targets, as the government is preparing to do.

Indeed, we must set absolute targets. Why? Because we must put a price on carbon. We have two instruments at our disposal to achieve that objective and to decarbonize our economy, namely to impose a tax on carbon or to establish a carbon exchange.

Today, when I hear Liberal members tell us that they support the establishment of a cap-and-trade market, of a cap on emissions, or of a carbon exchange, I cannot help but think that this is not what they proposed in the last election campaign. They did not talk about a carbon exchange but, rather, about a carbon tax. I have not heard the Liberal Party, and we have not yet read their election platform. Nothing says that they would not want to impose a carbon tax, instead of promoting a carbon exchange, as proposed by, among others, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP.

Why a carbon exchange? Because we have to look back in time and remember that the Toronto and Montreal stock exchanges—and I invite the minister to pay close attention, because I think he is from the Toronto region—signed, in 1999, an agreement to ensure that Toronto—

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System for North AmericaPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System for North AmericaPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, could I ask you to restore order?

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System for North AmericaPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Yes, indeed.

I would ask the hon. members on both sides of the House to be more respectful of the member who is speaking.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System for North AmericaPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, in 1999, the Toronto and Montreal stock exchanges signed an agreement to divide their functions. The Toronto exchange committed to take over the cash market and the Montreal exchange decided to develop a new sector, derivative products. In 1999, a number of people in English Canada were of the opinion that Quebec would run into problems and that Toronto had kept the right part of the market, the larger part. On the contrary, Quebec business leaders mobilized and decided to develop the derivative products, carbon products in particular. Today the Montreal Stock Exchange has launched the Montreal climate exchange, has signed an agreement with the Chicago Stock Exchange, and is in the process of signing an exchange of greenhouse gas emissions quotas with the United States.

Many people in Toronto felt that the Montreal business community was going to run into problems by planning to specialize in derivative products. On the contrary, that market expanded, not only within North America, but also in Europe and the rest of the world. Perhaps then we will see the establishment of this North American carbon exchange, and it could be based in Montreal if the Conservatives do not insist on adopting intensity targets, which constitutes an obvious hindrance to the creation and viability of a carbon exchange.

Absolute targets will not only allow a carbon exchange to be created, but will also allow Quebec businesses that have reduced their emissions to sell their credits on external markets, in Europe for instance. If the federal government insists, however, on establishing a regulatory program based on intensity targets, this will have negative effects on Quebec businesses, which will unfortunately then not be able to sell greenhouse gas emission reductions on foreign markets.

That brings to mind an industrial sector in Quebec, the aluminum sector, which has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to 15% below 1990 levels. Smelters would like a regulatory system that does not necessarily give them an advantage over other industries, but is fair. Canada signed the international convention on climate change and the Kyoto protocol in 1997, and businesses in a province like Quebec that decided to implement plans to fight climate change should not be penalized. Quebec should not be penalized. The federal government is just trying to play to its economic base in the west.

Secondly, the motion refers to scientific knowledge. With just a few months to go before the climate change conference in Copenhagen, we need an accord that limits the rise in global temperature to 2oC above that of the pre-industrial period. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that is the only way to avoid disaster. How can we reach those targets? By setting absolute greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for Canada so that Canadian companies are forced to reduce their emissions to 20% to 25% below 1990 levels, as the motion states, not 2005 levels, as the government would have it. A 20% reduction below 1990 levels in 2020 is the only way to avert disaster.

But the government is not listening. This morning, I was reading an article that said that if we want to avoid the worst-case scenario in the coming years, corporations will have to limit consumption of petroleum and fossil fuels to just one quarter of global reserves.

What do the message and the study published in the scientific journal Nature mean? They mean that the policy proposed by the Bloc Québécois—in the economic plan it put forward this morning to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels—is the best policy put forward to date.

Finally, rather than help Canada's petroleum and natural gas industries, the government should support this motion by adopting absolute reduction targets based on scientific knowledge, using 1990 as the base year.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System for North AmericaPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Madam Speaker, the Government of Canada stands by its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to fight climate change. We have made a commitment to reduce Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and by 60% to 70% by 2050, compared to 2006 levels.

Allow me to explain the important principles underlying the government's approach on the national, North American and international levels.

First, we speak to balance, environmental progress and economic prosperity.

Second, we recognize that this is a long-term challenge. The science tells us that this is what we have to do and we have to start immediately.

Third, building on the second principle, we will recognize the importance of technology. Canada will continue to be focused on supporting and providing incentives for technological development that needs to be undertaken to renovate our capital stock in an orderly, efficient way, moving us toward carbon capture and storage and newer and cleaner electricity generation.

The Government of Canada is moving forward on a clean energy dialogue with the United States. As hon. members know, Canada and the United States agreed to establish a clean energy dialogue to collaborate on the development of clean energy science and technologies that will reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change. Therefore, the foundations of the clean energy dialogue have been established and concrete steps toward its implementation are being taken. Working groups are scheduled to meet over the next few months and will be ready to report back on their progress to our leaders by August 2009.

Canada will continue to work with the U.S. to develop a coordinated approach that will advance our respective environmental energy objectives and renew the North American economy at the same time.

We will continue to work on these tracks domestically, North America wide and internationally.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System for North AmericaPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.


The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

6:30 p.m.


Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, I am rising with regard to a question that I asked on March 3. It was about proposed changes the Conservatives were considering with regard to accountability measures as well as governance. In the question, I was focusing on the process around consultation.

We know from speaking with first nations that they are more than willing to look at current governance within first nations communities. They are more than willing to look at accountability measures. However, they want to be included in the process.

I want to refer to a newspaper article which appeared in the Globe and Mail on March 3. The headline reads, “Sweeping documents reveal sweeping new rules for natives”. An access to information request revealed that the government was looking at this process. The article states:

The federal government is secretly planning an overhaul of the rules governing Canada's reserves that is far more sweeping than what Ottawa is telling Canada's chiefs and native leaders.

Further on the article states:

--the government is aiming for the changes to take effect on April 1, 2010. Because the changes will be brought in as new policy rather than a new law, that they can be implemented without triggering a debate in Parliament over legislation.

There are a couple of concerns about this. First, the government is not doing the kind of consultation that first nations communities have called for consistently. Second, it is attempting to circumvent parliamentary oversight.

Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states:

Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.

We know, of course, that Canada has failed to sign on to the UN declaration, but many other countries in the world have. This clearly outlines the fact that first nations must have involvement in decision making that directly impacts on their lives and their communities.

I was speaking to the chief and council in Kitigan Zibi today. They were talking about the fact that they certainly have not been consulted when it comes to changes in first nations governance or accountability measures. They would welcome those conversations. They have all kinds of accountability measures in place. They said today they have open books.

On another matter regarding consultation, the government hired some consultants to take a look at matrimonial real property. In their report the consultants outlined some specific elements that should be included in consultation. Recommendation 18 stated:

The Department should develop, as soon as possible, specific policies and procedures relating to consultation in order to ensure that future consultation activities can identify and discharge any legal duty to consult while also fulfilling objectives of good governance and public policy...

A number of items follow, and I would like to touch on a couple of them. One is to ensure that first nations have relevant information to the issues for decision in a timely manner.

Time and time again the government claims it is doing consultation by telling people the day before that there is a meeting the following day. We saw this in the drinking water guidelines that are being reviewed. The government claims there was a consultation process, but first nations simply did not have the opportunity to show up and provide adequate documentation.

6:30 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario


Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Madam Speaker, I certainly appreciate the opportunity to speak to the question of the hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Our government continues to work with a variety of first nations organizations in developing capacity within first nations to improve processes used to maintain effective and very accountable governments.

Let me be clear: The renewal of programs is part of the regular business cycle of our government. It requires periodic reviews of all grants and contributions to every single one of those programs, not just programs at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

We believe this is an excellent opportunity to modernize these programs, which help first nations leaders exercise the important core functions of government.

We think the timing could not be better, because the authority for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs to fund the current program actually expires on March 31, 2010, roughly a year away.

Program evaluations have taken place over the last number of years, and stakeholders recommended changes that will improve program efficiencies and operations. The renewal in 2010 provides an opportunity to address these findings.

The programs to be renewed are as follows: band support funding, band employee benefits, professional and institutional development, band advisory services and tribal council funding. The engagement is focused on these programs, no more, no less.

The review of these support programs is important because it presents an excellent opportunity to modernize and simplify programs that were developed almost 25 years ago.

This spring, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada employees travelled across our country presenting and discussing with various audiences our government's approach. They attended three meetings in Alberta with representatives of the first nations organizations and first nations administrators. Presentations also took place in the Yukon, Quebec and Nova Scotia, and the department is looking to schedule a presentation in the Northwest Territories with first nations there.

Clearly our government is working to ensure that all stakeholders in these programs have an opportunity to express their views and suggest their improvements. We have assembled an expert panel to assist with this initiative.

It is very simple, really. We wish to hear from those who would be affected by changes to these programs. Discussions are taking place with a variety of organizations and groups, including the Assembly of First Nations. This represents an inclusive and very transparent approach in reviewing programs. That is something our government wishes for all governments and leaders in this country.

6:35 p.m.


Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for outlining the government's perspective on consultation, but I noticed that one of the words the parliamentary secretary used was the word “presentation”. By any stretch of the imagination, presentation does not constitute consultation.

The government has committed to developing a full consultation policy that would circumvent the kinds of discussions that we are continuing to have in the House, whether it is about these kinds of programs, or whether it is water or matrimonial real property.

Fundamentally, the question then becomes, when will the government involve first nations in developing a meaningful consultation policy that respects things like article 18 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that respects other court decisions that have come forward and talked about the need for appropriate consultation, that takes a look at the Auditor General's recommendations around the need for a consultation policy?

Really, it comes down to the fundamental question: When will the government come forward with that consultation policy that it has developed with first nations?

6:35 p.m.


Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, we have been very clear. Since our 2006 budget, four budgets ago, we have shown clearly our intention and our efforts in terms of working with the aboriginal communities across our country, not just in making presentations, albeit presentations are extremely important, because certainly from an understanding perspective one wants to make those.

However, ours is about consultation. I can think of, as a member of the finance committee, spending time in Whitehorse doing exactly that, doing those consultations, listening to the direction that we needed to take, and in fact, doing that in 2006, 2007, 2008, and again in 2009, on the budgets that we have presented to the House.

In aboriginal communities throughout Canada, this is paying off and it is producing results. There is no question about that.

Even in our action plan of this budget, our government continues this commitment, with $1.4 billion for priority initiatives aimed at improving the well-being and the prosperity of aboriginal people here in Canada.

6:35 p.m.


Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I requested this adjournment debate because I am disappointed at the semblance of an answer the Minister of Industry gave to a very simple question I asked on March 13.

According to the January economic statement, which I read with a great deal of interest, the government is increasing funding for Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council scholarships, which is highly commendable. The problem is that this increase is to be used to fund only economic research.

The whole scientific community is complaining about this increase, and for good reason. This false increase by the government shows that the Conservatives are driven by ideology, although with a Minister of State for Science and Technology who questions Darwin's theory of evolution, I should not be too surprised.

I would like to share the fears that have been repeatedly expressed by the entire scientific and academic community. And I stress the word “entire”, because we are not talking about just a few groups, but the whole scientific and academic community. Researchers are afraid, and for good reason, that targeting economic research with scholarships will force them to focus on priorities they do not share.

This tells me—and not just me, but the entire university community in Quebec and Canada—that for the Conservative government, other areas of research in the social sciences, such as literature and philosophy to name a couple, are second class disciplines. For the Conservatives, everything goes to the economy and there is nothing left for anything else.

I find the Conservatives' attitude deplorable. These people defend free market ideas. Must I explain to them how the law of the free market works? I think so. The free market means allowing an invisible hand to manage supply and demand without government intervention.

However, the Conservatives' actions when it comes to research go against their own way of thinking. Scholarships in the social sciences were granted based on the demand in each discipline. The control they want to exert over the granting of scholarships leaves no room for the law of the free market, which is how it worked before their intervention.

I have seen the Conservatives renege on their promises many times, and the research scholarships issue is just one more example. They should be ashamed of themselves for acting with such cynicism and renouncing their own ideals.

And this major research on the economy will be completed when—in three, four or five years? It will be too late for this research to foster economic recovery. That is one less argument for the minister, one less argument in favour of the government taking control of research. In the meantime, the other social sciences are pushed aside by this government.

My question for the minister was straightforward. Who was consulted? I said that I was not the only one with concerns. Allow me to quote a few key players in research and the university world in Canada who have the same concerns: Gary Corbett, vice-president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada; Louise Dandurand, Chair of CREPUQ; Martin Lefebvre, Concordia University Research Chair in Film Studies; the FEUQ as well as the Canadian Federation of Students; the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université; and the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

I would like to repeat my question and caution the minister of state. First, I will not accept excuses or an evasive answer claiming that Canadians were consulted. Second, key stakeholders in the university world are watching the minister of state. I will repeat my question. Who was consulted?

6:40 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario


Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for his exuberance in delivering that question. It is very impressive. We have had a long week in the House of Commons and probably our youngest member is still going strong. I want to compliment him on that.

Perhaps the reason this means so much to him is if he were not in the House of Commons, he might be back in university and might have been able to take advantage of the scholarship programs we have provided for students.

The other part of his statement that I must comment on was he remark that the Conservatives were not interested in English literature or philosophy. I find that very ironic. My degree is in political philosophy. My son will enter university for his first term this fall and he will study English literature. Therefore, there are Conservatives who spend a lot of time dealing with literature and with philosophy. I wanted to ensure he was clear on that.

We need to take a look at some of the facts. If one takes time to examine our record as a government, it becomes very clear that our commitment to students has been firm from the very beginning. It becomes clear because we are committed across all disciplines, not just one or two.

Let us take a look at some facts. In 2007 we launched Canada's science and technology strategy, a strategy which explicitly recognizes that talented, skilled, creative people, people such as our bright young students, are a critical element to the success of our economy.

In line with the strategy's commitment to people, we expanded the Canada scholarship program, bringing our level of support from 4,000 to 5,000 students across all areas of study, with 2,600 of those supported through Social Sciences and Humanitarian Research Council, 1,600 supported through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and 800 supported through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The expansion of the Canada graduate scholarships program announced in budget 2009 simply and in a very matter of fact way builds on our commitment. At a time of great need, and we are in that time, when our global economy is in the most synchronized recession of the post-war period, a time marked by the worst financial market crisis since the 1930s, we are taking clear and decisive action.

We are giving students alternatives to the weakening labour market. At the same time, we are ensuring they are fostering skills that are critical to our cultural fabric of our country and also to our economy's long-term success.

In total, 2,500 additional scholarships will be made available as a result of the temporary expansion of this CGS program. As members of the House are aware, and my colleague across the way should know this, 500 of these will be granted by the Social Sciences and Humanitarian Research Council to students pursuing degrees related to business, which are related very closely to our country's economic success. It is obvious that our commitment is across the entire spectrum.

Some members are choosing to ignore that fact, but through this program, the Social Sciences and Humanitarian Research Council will continue to award Canada graduate scholarships across a full range of social sciences and humanities disciplines.

All told, the council will award an expected 5,700 Canadian graduate scholarships over the next three years. Of these, 5,200 will be available in all areas of the social sciences and humanities. That represents 90%.

This government recognizes the important contributions of all social science and humanities disciplines to our prosperity and to our society.

6:45 p.m.


Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague for the flattering comments at the end of his response. I am not impressed, but I will return the favour. I did not know that he had a son who was entering university. I thought he was as young as I am. He sure did not waste time.

However, I think that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration's answer is really disappointing to the researchers and university people watching us tonight. For weeks, papers across the country have been saying that people connected to universities were never consulted about how to award these scholarships. That is unfortunate, because, as I am sure the parliamentary secretary will agree, the 21st century economy will be a knowledge economy. We have to make major investments.

As I said before, they have invested, but they have put their money in the wrong places, and that could end up being worse than not having invested at all. It is really too bad.

6:45 p.m.


Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, I certainly would not suggest that my son is the same age as the hon. member across. He is a lot younger. I am actually one of the younger guys on this side of the House. The member should be cautious on how old he is going to accuse me of being.

I want to be very clear. We made a four year commitment in every budget. In 2006, it was $1 billion in university and college infrastructure. In 2007, it was $800 million to ensure students would have the opportunity to access higher education. That was a 40% increase over what the previous government had cut way back in the early 1990s. We increased it by 40% and added to it to ensure there was an escalator clause so that we would not need to return to that issue again.

In 2008, we implemented, rejuvenated and enhanced the scholarship program. We set aside the millennium scholarship program and had long term sustainable funding for students, who could not afford it, to have access to university and college educations. In 2009, we again built on the scholarship programs and added more. Not only did we do that, we invested $2 billion--

6:50 p.m.


The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly this House stands adjourned until Monday, May 4 at 11 a.m. pursuant to order made on Monday, January 26 and to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:50 p.m.)