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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was spam.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Private Members' Business--Bill C-280Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, on February 25 you made a statement with respect to the management of private members' business. In particular, you raised concerns about five bills that, in your view, appeared to impinge on the financial prerogative of the Crown. One of the bills you mentioned was Bill C-280.

I am, therefore, rising on a point of order regarding Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (qualification for and entitlement to benefits).

Without commenting on the merits of the bill, I submit that Bill C-280 contains provisions that would change the purposes of the Employment Insurance Act, which would require new spending and, therefore, would require a royal recommendation.

Bill C-280 would lower the threshold for becoming eligible for employment insurance benefits. The bill would introduce a new benefit rate calculation method of the best 12 weeks in the past 12 months, reduce the qualifying period before receiving benefits and remove the distinctions made in the qualifying period on the basis of the regional unemployment rate.

The Department of Human Resources and Skills Development estimates that the measures contained in Bill C-280 would cost a minimum of $2.3 billion per year.

Precedents demonstrate that the proposed changes in Bill C-280 would require new spending for employment insurance benefits not currently authorized under the Employment Insurance Act.

On March 23, 2007, the Speaker ruled, in the case of Bill C-265, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (qualification for and entitlement to benefits), which is identical to Bill C-280:

...the changes...envisioned by this bill include lowering the threshold for becoming a major attachment claimant to 360 hours, setting benefits payable to 55% of the average weekly insurable earnings during the highest paid 12 weeks of the 12 month period preceding the interruption of earnings, and removing the distinctions made to the qualifying period on the basis of the regional unemployment rate. ...would have the effect of authorizing increased expenditures...in a manner and for purposes not currently authorized.

In the same ruling, the Speaker concluded:

...those provisions of the bill which relate to increasing employment insurance benefits and easing the qualifications required to obtain them would require a royal recommendation.

Bill C-280 is identical to Bill C-265 from the 39th Parliament, which was found to require a royal recommendation. Therefore, I submit that Bill C-280 must also be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

Private Members' Business--Bill C-280Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two points I would like to make. First, as you are more aware than I am, your pattern of ruling on these motions by the government with regard to the royal recommendation is to wait and see the outcome of the bill or motion as it passes through second reading here. I would argue that you should pursue that same practice in the case of Bill C-280.

In addition, with regard to the issue itself, there is a very strong argument to be made that a royal recommendation is not necessary here because the funds that we are talking about are not government funds. They belong to the employers and the workers of this country and they are not revenue from the government in its traditional manner of looking at revenue.

Mr. Speaker, for that reason, there is no need for the royal recommendation and I would urge you to make that ruling if you are so inclined.

Private Members' Business--Bill C-280Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. members for their submissions on this point. I will review the matter with care and come back to the House in due course with a ruling on the matter.

Private Members' Business--Bill C-280Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would seek permission to revert to petitions for a moment if there is unanimous consent.

Private Members' Business--Bill C-280Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent to revert to presentation of petitions?

Private Members' Business--Bill C-280Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Peace in the WorldPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a petition from several thousand members of the United Church advocating for peace in the world. They are promoting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestinian peace, Filipino peace and a resolution to the conflict in Colombia. This is from the constituents in my riding, as well as residents from other ridings.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to table a petition on animal welfare and support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare today.

The House resumed from May 6, 2009 consideration of the motion that Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Energy Efficiency Act, be read the third time and passed.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The last time this bill was debated in the House, the hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi had the floor and he has 13 minutes left for his remarks.

The hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the first part of my remarks, I commented that the government has laboured mightily and given birth to a mouse in the form of this energy efficiency bill, Bill S-3. Even though we are in agreement with the bill and will be voting in favour of that mouse, we would have much preferred to vote for something far larger like an elephant. Yesterday I listed everything that this little bill contained and today I would like to speak about what it does not contain.

This bill contains nothing about buildings, yet Canadian buildings consume 45% of all of the energy used in this country. I will come back to that later. It contains nothing to do with transport, trucking in particular, a sector that has been long neglected but is now reawakening thanks to the introduction of hybrid and economical diesel trucks. Yet there is nothing in the bill about this. Nor any mention of the EcoLogo symbol. There should be a program to replace these vehicles with fuel efficient trucks, but we do not get the impression that the government intends to do that.

When we speak of transport, we also need to speak about reducing the number of truckers who are not using their full capacity. The federal government did a study. In a city like Montreal, trucks are on the road with only 20% of their potential load, and this represents an incredible waste of energy. There needs to be rationalization of energy efficiency in this area.

The same goes for trains. Hybrid locomotives and lighter cars are now available and there could be a replacement program, or at least an examination of energy efficiency, which would demonstrate just how far behind rail service is in the way it uses its cars on the same rails. Our archaic laws require passenger cars to be as heavy as freight cars. The situation in Europe, China and Japan is totally different. Their attitude is different. This all shows the lack of concern for energy efficiency.

The same goes for agriculture. This bill ought to encourage the change from synthetic fertilizers to traditional ones. But once again, nothing on that. Energy efficiency also means having digesters on farms to produce electricity. Nothing in the bill on that. Nothing about mandatory labelling. All motor vehicles should have ecoEnergy labels, but no; in fact, no mention of anything of consequence.

The manufacturing sector has also been left out entirely. There is no incentive for the sector to improve energy efficiency or avoid wasting energy. There are very few efficient assembly lines, and they use a lot of energy.

Street lighting would also have been a good thing to tackle in this bill. In Canada, we use some three times more electricity for night-time lighting than in Europe, and we use about twice as much as the United States, our neighbours to the south. Our systems are utterly inefficient, which means that we waste a lot of electricity. Anyone taking a walk at night will see high-intensity stadium and park lights on all night. These lights are poorly designed and light up the sky more than they do the area that needs to be lit. For example, the Mont-Mégantic Observatory, which is struggling with government funding shortfalls just now, has shown just how much electricity and energy could be saved by using more efficient lighting that directs the light downward rather than toward the sky.

So much energy could be saved by using better street lights, but the legislation does not even touch that. I do not believe that the government actually wants to change anything.

If the legislation had touched on all of these sectors, we could have made huge energy efficiency gains.

What can the government achieve by reviewing American and Mexican standards regularly? Not much. We know that energy efficiency standards in those two countries are not exactly cutting-edge.

Why not choose Europe, Germany, Sweden or Japan instead? No, the government wants to compare us to our next-door neighbours, even though almost nothing is going on there on the energy efficiency front, especially not in Mexico. The government chose the easiest targets, and the Office of Energy Efficiency will be comparing us to them every three months or every three years, as it sees fit, but that is as far as it will go.

The government will also periodically review the outcomes of the Energy Efficiency Act. Under this bill, nobody will be reviewing energy efficiency progress in Canada; rather, the government will simply check on any progress brought about by the legislation. If this bill is a mouse, well, every now and then, the government will make sure it is still alive. That is all.

All the other aspects of energy efficiency that are not affected by this bill will never be checked. We will never see whether any progress has been made in these areas or whether we have lost ground.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions depends on energy efficiency. The government says it is going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% between 2006 and 2020. In fact, as far back as 1990, the harmful effects of greenhouse gases were known and real efforts were made to reduce them. Yet if we look at the figures since 1990, we can see that greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 3% by 2020. The government talks about reducing emissions, but we will not even manage to reduce our emissions to 1990 levels. We will not even get back to those levels.

The current government clearly has no intention to save the planet, which is grappling with climate change. That is not the government's goal. Yet American presidents like Reagan who were not inclined to take steps to improve energy efficiency still managed to reduce fuel consumption in the United States by 15%. Fifteen per cent of what all cars and trucks used is a lot, and the government accomplished that simply by reducing the speed limit.

This bill could have imposed a mandatory speed control device, as this comes under federal jurisdiction. I know that the speed limit on highways comes under provincial jurisdiction, but the federal government could have required that all cars sold in Canada be equipped with a speed control device.

These devices were developed for trucks, and they work quite well. It would even have been possible to reduce the number of police officers required to watch for speeders. People would have been forced to comply with speed limits.

I have not yet talked about a very important area, and that is air conditioning in Canada. In the afternoon, we freeze in this House. The thermostat is at 15oC. Yesterday, I checked, and the temperature at my desk was 69oF. We use air conditioning too much, in a country that has very little need for it. In Canada, buildings using hybrid ventilation have won awards. A hybrid system uses air conditioning only during heat waves, when it is extremely hot. This is familiar technology.

The rest of the time, air ventilation either comes from a cooler area, or the air is simply circulated using fans. With fans, we can go up to 89oF. I apologize for giving the temperature in Fahrenheit, but the engineers here always use Fahrenheit. We are right next to the United States, so there is still a tendency to use it.

Comfort is very important and we can find a way to be very comfortable.

In short, this bill aims to update the Office of Energy Efficiency regulations and standards. It is not an energy efficiency act. There is a difference between the two. The standards have been updated, but new legislation has not been created—even though it is being called the energy efficiency act—which would have made more significant changes.

Thousands of scientific articles have been written on energy efficiency and possible ways of reducing overall energy consumption. I would like to read just a few lines from an article that appeared in the Université de Sherbrooke's VECTEUR environnement. It states:

There are numerous strategies that contribute—not “would contribute”—to reducing a building's energy consumption—thereby reducing greenhouse gases—for instance, the use of energy-efficient lighting products, geothermal power, high-performance boilers, centralized control systems, improving the building envelope by insulating the walls and the roof and by installing energy-efficient windows (argon gas filled, low-E coating, low conductivity spacers), etc.

It says “etc.” So as we can see, it is not a question of not knowing how; rather it is a lack of will on the part of the government.

Energy efficiency has a significant environmental impact on climate change by reducing greenhouse gases. We are a long way from reaching our goals in order to meet the commitments we made in 1998. Action is urgently needed in terms of reviewing our building codes and reassessing how we do things in terms of energy efficiency.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Brome—Missisquoi on his very informative speech. We know that, not so long ago, he was an architect specializing in the environment and energy conservation. Thus, we are pleased in this House to benefit from his experience.

Bill S-3 definitely has very little impact on energy efficiency. I would like to ask the member a question. Does he believe that the Conservative government really wants to improve energy efficiency or is Bill S-3 just a means of silencing those, such as the member, who are truly concerned about energy efficiency, in order to someday conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières for her excellent question.

The government did have the knowledge base. It had the Office of Energy Efficiency behind it. In each province there is a wealth of information about the potential for energy efficiency. Every province has employees working on this and they would even be able to assist federal public servants.

Thus, there was a real opportunity to take action and also to create a decentralized, green economy in Canada, which would have led to the creation of employment even in rural regions. During an economic crisis that is very important. The government simply put that aside to protect the big energy producers, to avoid scaring them and to remain on friendly terms with them.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am fascinated by my hon. colleague's dissertation because I think the real question is, where do we go as a nation? There is no other country on the planet that has the resources this country has and there is probably no other country, except perhaps the United States, that has wasted natural resources, whether it is water, wood or energy.

When we talk about an energy strategy, we see a government that is throwing billions of dollars into the tar sands, turning us into an international pariah for environmental credibility. When we look at the money that could be spent on saving the energy that is being wasted in homes, buildings and public institutions, there seems to be no willingness or plan from the Conservatives to address energy efficiency. Rather, the government is looking at the massive expansion of the tar sands.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague this question. Why does he think it is that in the 21st century we have a government that has no interest in a green decentralized economy that could help every single community, household and business in this country and would rather throw money into the tar sands?

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. NDP colleague for his question.

He is quite right. At this time, we have an enormous amount of energy in Canada and we are wasting it. Yet we have no reason to waste it. We should be conserving it for future generations. There is no urgent need to take everything we can easily extract from the tar sands. We could leave it there and use it later. We will always need oil. It will continue to be an important resource, especially for aviation.

How is it that we are not doing more to look to the future and practice sustainable development? The magic words are “sustainable development”, but the government does not seem to know what that means, which I find unbelievable. People do not care about future generations. People are using natural gas as much and as quickly as they can, because it brings in a lot of revenue. However, they are forgetting about future generations. They are forgetting that Canadians will still be around 10 years from now. What will we do then?

Some natural resources, including certain minerals like tin and zinc, will disappear within the next five to seven years. There will be none left, simply because we did not think about the future and use those resources only when necessary. We are doing the same thing with our energy resources. We are wasting them, instead of using them only when absolutely necessary.

I think this government behaves as it does because it is so backward thinking. Its archaic way of thinking dates back to a time when we did not need to think about the future.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we sit here day after day listening to people in that corner of the House demonstrate their wilful cluelessness about what is actually going on in the oil sands in Alberta, the wilful cluelessness about the progress that has been made by the oil companies, the government and people who take the environment responsibly.

I have a number of questions for my hon. colleague across the way. Does he have any idea how many jobs are created by the oil sands and the resource sector in the province of Quebec, that have been created in the past, and will be created in the future?

Does he have any idea how much money goes into pension funds in Canada, the Canada pension plan, the Quebec pension plan, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan?

Does he have any idea of the amount of taxes that pay social programs in the province of Quebec and the rest of the provinces that come out of the oil patch in Alberta? Does he have any clue about the benefits?

I wish he would stop being clueless about what is actually going on.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I did not say that we should stop exploiting the oil sands. That is not what I said. I would like to ask my colleague if he knows how many jobs could be created with a green economy. Does he have any clue how many people in Quebec could be employed making energy-saving appliances and making buildings healthier in a green economy? Does he have a clue? We could create far more jobs than with the oil sands.

The members on the other side of the House do not understand what we are facing. They see the future through a rear-view mirror.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Brome—Missisquoi on his excellent speech. Along the same lines, we have to look at the opportunities and at what the government can do to usher in a more sustainable economy and create jobs in that sector.

Recently, the government has made a lot of major purchases, such as conventional gas-guzzling military trucks and buses. All of the trucks here on the Hill are conventional. The government has shown no sign of working toward a more sustainable economy that includes hybrid vehicles. I would like the member to comment on how this government might use its influence to change things.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the excellent question.

It is true that, at present, the government is not setting an example. He rightly mentioned the trucks on the Hill. Another example right nearby is the Confederation Building, which only has single-pane windows. That is right, single-pane windows. In 1920, that was the only type of window available. However, windows with at least two panes of glass have been available for 50 years. We now have specialty glass and some are even filled with argon gas. But, in that building, there are only single-pane windows. The government does not even set an example for the general population by looking after its own property. We could have just hybrids. It could ensure that engines are shut off while waiting in a vehicle in winter. Drivers could come inside to stay warm and turn off their cars. But that is not the case. The engines are always running. Not even the trucks are turned off. That is unbelievable.

Why not require the installation of a small device on trucks and cars that would automatically turn off the engine after idling for 10 seconds. It is inexpensive, costing only a few dollars. The truck would not idle indefinitely and the government would also save money. I believe the government should set the example.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois about Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Energy Efficiency Act.

My colleague from Brome—Missisquoi gave a very fine speech, and the Bloc Québécois will support this bill. However, even though the government presents it as a fight for better energy efficiency, this bill has only eight clauses and three pages, not including the cover pages. The government, especially the Conservative government, tends to exaggerate this fight against climate change.

My colleague compared this bill to a mouse. I would say it is a lead balloon. Obviously, it provides us with an opportunity to initiate a real debate on energy efficiency. My colleague from Brome—Missisquoi tried to show that the government could wage a real battle and set an example by increasing its own energy efficiency if it wanted to, but it has not done so. I will therefore read my text, which describes the scope of the debate.

It seems at first glance that the proposed changes to the Energy Efficiency Act are an improvement because they target unregulated products and toughen the standards for other products.

It is impossible to know, though, whether this is real progress or just the updating of standards already regularly done by the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique.

That is the problem: the government has overstated the impact of this bill to amend the Energy Efficiency Act. All it is doing is updating energy efficiency standards for companies and suppliers that had already begun updating their standards in other countries. It is important that we have a clear understanding of the government's role.

The reaction by industry representatives is understandable:

Industry greeted the proposed regulations with a shrug. A spokeswoman from Sony Canada said they would have little bearing on the company’s line of consumer electronics. “All Sony televisions consume less than one watt of power in standby mode, and Sony is continually developing innovative technologies that improve the energy efficiency of our products,” Candice Hayman said in an e-mail.

This bill also upgrades the standards, to try to achieve a balance that is consistent with the requirements that are increasingly gaining global recognition. This is important. There are Conservative members, as we have just seen, who rise in this House to defend the oil sands, job creation, their contribution to pension plans, and so on. But it has to be said that the Conservative Party supports non-renewable energy and oil. We understand that this creates a lot of jobs in Alberta, but we must never forget that Quebec is the only province of Canada that could have achieved the objectives in the Kyoto protocol. It would have participated in a carbon exchange that is already operating.

Together with the leader of the Bloc Québécois, I attended a meeting with the mayor of Rivière-du-Loup, which could have sold credits on the international market by capturing gas on its landfill site after it closed. He went to the effort of calling the European and American exchanges to tell them he would have credits to sell by capturing carbon and reducing his greenhouse gas emissions. He was told that Canada was not a signatory and was not in compliance with the Kyoto protocol. And so no Canadian company can participate in the European and American carbon exchanges.

This is very difficult to understand. We must never forget that Quebec’s hydroelectric development was carried out without any money from the federal government. Those are the facts. Quebec’s hydroelectric development was paid for entirely by Quebeckers. The federal government contributed nothing, not a penny, to Quebec. And yet it has contributed billions of dollars for oil development in Canada; we need only think of Hibernia or the oil sands. Even though Quebec developed its own hydroelectric network with no federal contribution, Quebec paid 25% of the bill for the oil developments.

Today, we are told that Quebec does not understand the situation. On the contrary; it understands the situation all too well. If Quebec were a country, it could sell credits on the international carbon exchange, and that would benefit its businesses, particularly paper and aluminum mills. Those industries have significantly reduced their greenhouse gas emissions as compared to 1990, the Kyoto protocol base year.

Quebeckers, and especially the Bloc Québécois, which represents Quebec’s interests every week and every day and stands up for the interests of Quebeckers in this House, cannot be blamed for this. Quebec is a society that wants to be a green society. It is open to any green innovation anywhere in the world. Canada, on the other hand, is still bogged down in the oil sands. The oil sands project is currently the biggest polluter in the world. I understand that they want to work on it, they are trying to make efforts and the federal government is offering financial assistance to oil companies in the oil sands to try to make them reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. That is fine. The problem is that during all this time, Quebec is paying 25% of the bill.

Quebec is developing its hydroelectric network and its wind network at its own expense. The wind network gets a contribution of about 5% to 10% from the federal government. But when it comes to hydroelectricity, the costs are paid entirely by the people of Quebec, through their taxes, their income taxes and the electricity charges they pay every month. Those are the facts.

There are two concepts in Canada. First, there is Quebec's concept, which is one of clean, green energy. Quebec is prepared to meet the Kyoto standard and the post-Kyoto standard. Then there is the rest of Canada's, which is not prepared and relies a lot on non-renewable energy. That is the reality. People can try, as the Conservative Party is doing, to introduce and support bills likeS-3. The government can try to tell us they are fighting hard for energy efficiency. They say they want to be more and more energy efficient, but in reality they are just serving up ideas developed in other countries. Canada is always trailing along behind other countries.

According to what the new American government says, even the United States wants to go green. Canada will be the only delinquent left in the world. That is the reality. Canada leads the list of polluting countries thanks to its tar sands, which are the most polluting industry in the world.

Instead of stridently defending this industry, they should be encouraging Quebec and investing as much as possible there. At least Quebec is close to achieving all the targets. They should invest as much money as necessary to make Quebec an example to the world. What they are doing instead is making the tar sands an example to the world. Nobody is fooled by that. There are big stories in international magazines showing that the tar sands are clearly the dirtiest industry in the world.

The Conservatives would do well to listen to the Bloc rather than stridently opposing it. We agree with Bill S-3 but have a much broader view of the situation. If they want to fight for energy efficiency, they have to start be setting an example. My colleague from Brome—Missisquoi just gave some examples and my colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles also had some fine things to say. He eloquently defended the rights of workers in the automobile sector.

Quebec industries like Kenworth and Nova Bus specialize in building hybrid trucks and buses. But when the government signs contracts for army trucks, it chooses foreign companies. Companies from Quebec and Canada do not get these contracts. We have oil, and so they fall back on conventional ideas and vehicles that consume a lot of energy rather than requiring hybrids. They could, however, have used this opportunity to set an example rather than to sell oil and gas to the army to operate its equipment.

They will always be able to sell oil, but this is a non-renewable industry. It always surprises me to see the hon. members from the west rise to defend the tar sands. They do not understand that some day there will be nothing left. This is non-renewable energy. They are trying to tell us today that this industry is keeping Canada alive. I hope they will be broad-minded enough to realize that there will not be any more oil in 35 or 40 years. They will not have this money any more and will have to find something else. Maybe they will be proud to see that Quebec has new ideas that can help them develop their economy. In the meantime, the government is not investing in hydroelectricity and is leaving Quebec to its own devices. We hope that by then Quebec will be a country that can negotiate equal to equal with the rest of Canada over all the outstanding innovations and technologies we have developed.

The reality is that there are two philosophies in Canada, namely the philosophy of Quebec, which is focused on a green environment, and the philosophy of the rest of Canada, which is based on non-renewable energies such as oil and nuclear energy. They would even have us believe that nuclear energy is clean energy, when they cannot even find a dumping ground for nuclear waste and are considering burying it in Quebec. The fact is that Quebec could shut down its only nuclear facility tomorrow morning. Canada is trying to keep it in operation so that the Conservatives can say that part of all the money they spend in the energy sector they are actually investing in Quebec.

There is nothing for hydroelectricity and only crumbs for wind energy. The Conservative government is investing only in oil and nuclear energy. In Quebec, we simply do not need that. We could shut down our only nuclear plant tomorrow morning, and that would not even affect Quebec's energy capacity. Using our money, we were able to develop a new way to meet our energy needs, and that way is the way of the future. The hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi was absolutely right when he said that the Conservatives and the Liberals, including the Liberal leader, are stridently defending tar sands development. They are looking in the rear-view mirror to see what lies ahead. Instead, they should be looking through the windshield, because it is a good way to avoid accidents. This may explain why the Conservatives are having such a hard time these days. They are looking in the rear-view mirror to see what lies ahead, and run into a problem almost every week.

I find it amusing, because even though there are many Conservatives on board, 140 to be exact, not one of them has figured out that they should be looking ahead. Some people in Quebec support the Conservatives. There are certain things in politics that are unfathomable and this is one of them. How can some Quebeckers vote for the Conservative Party? Still, we accept that. In time, they will figure out who is looking through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror, and we will see how many Conservatives are left in Quebec after the next election.

The political choices made by the Conservatives are always bad choices, and this bill is a prime example. They did not really seize the opportunity provided by this legislation. The title is interesting. It is “An Act to amend the Energy Efficiency Act”. People who do not read the three pages of that bill may think that the Conservative government has really decided to move forward on this issue, but that is not the case.

There are examples of what it could have done. While dealing with energy efficiency, the government could have used this opportunity to at least try to make up for the pollution that is occurring in the oil sector, and for greenhouse gas emissions generated by the development of tar sands. However, the government did not even take time to do a thorough job and to come up with innovative measures that would have allowed Canada to distinguish itself by increasing its energy efficiency. No, that is not important for the government. What is important for it is to develop the oil and nuclear sectors. The rest is not worthy of its attention.

That is disappointing because the Bloc Québécois has always been very aware of the problem and has proposed some very good solutions. In both of our economic recovery plans, we allocated specific moneys to targeted interventions. The green economy is all about economics. It creates jobs. That is a fact. Both the Conservative members and the Liberals need to understand that the environment is no longer just an expense. It used to be an expense because it required investment, it was new, and so on, but now the environment is an industry. It creates jobs, and it brings in tax revenues. They have to understand that. But it is clear that the Conservatives and the Liberals just do not get it.

And that is not for lack of trying on the part of the former leader, the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville. He proposed a green shift, but his party members did not get on board. But that is what we need. This goes to show that the Liberals are still bogged down in the old ways. That is disappointing.

The Conservatives have always been bogged down in the old ways, but the fact that the Liberals are hesitant to get behind new technologies is worrisome. The Liberals have done their best to promote liberalism the world over. I attended their convention, and I saw the huge posters promoting liberalism. Once again, what the party has become has more to do with old-fashioned liberalism than with anything else. The party has reshaped itself in the image of its new leader, a man who compares himself to Mr. Trudeau. That is the past. The Liberals have decided to do things the way they used to be done. That suits us just fine. We can handle another election campaign any day. They want to live in the past. They will soon see that Quebeckers do not. We have decided to move toward the future.

This is a sad situation. We could laugh, but it is really not funny. It is obvious that renewable energy and anything to do with sustainable development have no place in the consciousness of this House. This is of great concern for us, but even more so for our children and grandchildren.

There is one big question still in my mind. Politicking is going on, pressure from political lobbies. I understand the Conservatives and Liberals because often power leads to madness. Not naming any names, I will just say the signs are already there in certain people. It is sad, nevertheless. We are here and we should be thinking of no one except the people who sent us here, and the generations to follow. This is the best legacy we can leave them.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, again I listened with interest to the cluelessness and lack of true knowledge of what is going on, or maybe the member just does not care.

Is my hon. colleague aware that it takes less than half of the water to generate a barrel of oil today than it did about 10 years ago? Is he aware of the billions and billions of dollars the companies themselves are spending to develop new and cleaner technology and better ways of extracting oil out of the ground or does he simply not care? Is he aware that the greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands account for less than 5% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions or does he just not care?

The resources in Canada are an accident of geography. Alberta and Saskatchewan have large oil and gas reserves. That is an accident of geography. All of Canada benefits from that. Quebec has hydroelectric power. That is an accident of geography. All of Canada benefits from that.

One thing I would like to see is oil and gas discovered in Quebec. I wonder how long the attitude of self-righteous pomposity would last if that happened.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find this surprising. First of all, my colleague does not get it, that the entire oil sands industry is the most polluting industry in the entire world. I hope he reads international publications, as we do.

I cannot understand that he does not get the point: if the Government of Canada put as much money into hydro-electric or renewable industry as it does for polluting and non-renewable industry, we would have some hope for the future.

Quebec invests in clean energy, without a single cent from the federal government. The Government of Quebec footed the whole bill for its hydro-electric development, and the federal government has not invested a cent. Imagine what a strong position Quebec would be in if Canada had given it the same amount as it put into non-renewable energy. We would be a force in the world. We would have electric batteries, electric cars, but no, the federal government has always opted for investing in non-renewable energies. That is the harsh reality.

Today we are getting lectures from westerners, but I will never accept that, for the pure and simple reason that we paid for 25% of their development and they are not even capable of giving us a thank you.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel for his excellent speech on the important role of the federal government in developing green energy. Unfortunately, the government is not forward thinking, as my colleague was saying, and it continues to look through the rear-view mirror. Americans have embraced the green shift and this will lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs—the jobs of the future. As my colleague pointed out, oil is a non-renewable energy source and, in the not too distant future, there will be none left. That may be the fate of the Conservatives. They may not be around to see the disaster they have caused.

We did not support their last budget because there were not enough measures in support of sustainable, green energy. I would like to hear what my colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel has to say about developing these energy sources and the jobs that would be created.

Energy Efficiency ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

He just gave a very good example when he posed a question to our colleague from Brome—Missisquoi on trucks. I know my colleague has been working very hard to keep jobs in Quebec. Companies such as Paccar and Nova Bus are going green. Quebec companies have developed hybrid trucks and buses.

My colleague mentioned that when the Conservative government decided to purchase military vehicles, it chose traditional, gas-guzzling vehicles rather than vehicles of the future that use renewable energy sources. We cannot remain indifferent because Quebec picks up 25% of the tab. In Quebec, we have companies that can build the equipment of the future. But they did not go that route. The Conservatives did not think to include it in the specifications and that is unfortunate because it could have led to the creation of jobs in Quebec and Canada and tax revenue. In fact, the vehicles were not even built in Canada.

Once again, I thank my colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles for raising this issue. I appreciate his experience and his disappointment with respect to the government's decisions.