Madam Speaker, I thank all the members who have commented today and at other times. I especially thank the member for Halifax for her insightful and eloquent words.
Members' consideration is very important, given the urgent climate crisis that our country and the world faces. I was dismayed to hear the speech from the Conservative side, which had a number of non sequiturs, but I will pick just three. One was the idea that somehow carbon capture and storage has the potential to obviate the need for Bill C-311. I do not get that.
If the Conservatives truly believe that carbon capture and storage will be effective, then they should not be worried about the bill. It would be the way the bill was implemented. The bill says nothing about how we are going to do it. It sets targets, timetables and processes in place to set those targets and if carbon capture and storage can help do it, more power to us all.
The second one was when he talked about all the wonderful things that various departments are doing that eliminate the need for the bill. He specifically mentioned eco-energy. Unfortunately, we had expert testimony from the departments that actually put eco-energy into place. They made it very clear that they would be continuing the eco-energy program because it was a real winner, except that the government decided to remove and eliminate the funding. The Conservatives killed the program they are talking about. If they are really proud of it, they should reinstitute that funding.
The thing that bothers me the most is when I hear, again and again, the Conservatives say that they will just rubber stamp, although they do not use those words, but it amounts to rubber stamping U.S. policy. I find that particularly ironic given that the first prime minister of Canada, who was a Conservative, fought to keep other weaker-kneed politicians from allowing the Americans to build the Trans-Canada railroad and build the Canada that we have today. John A. Macdonald fought hard every time other parties and other people tried to say, “Just let the Americans do it, it will be easier”. It has been a while since we have had a prime minister with the courage to stand up to the Americans. I hope we get one soon.
As I mentioned in the House when I introduced this bill over a year ago, we need to have a clear destination if we want to get anywhere. The destination that Bill C-311 gives us is a temperature rise of 2°C or less. That is what the science tells us we need in order to avoid the truly disastrous effects of climate change.
We need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in a prompt and orderly fashion if we hope to keep to that 2° limit. The bill legislates achievable targets and keeps the government accountable to them.
Canadians do not want more delay. They know they will not reach the needed reductions if we do not start soon. The bill requires immediate action. Interim targets will need to be in place within six months of the bill being adopted after it passes.
I was pleased to hear in the House and over the many months that the bill was in committee that just about all members spoke about the need, even members on the Conservative side, for real action to tackle climate change. I, personally, have taken a constructive approach with this private member's bill, open to working with all parties on possible amendments and ways forward. After all, climate changes poses such a huge threat that we cannot afford to slow or sacrifice the only climate change bill before Parliament to mere partisan politics. This issue is just too important to the future health and prosperity of all Canadians.
As I mentioned earlier, we can never be 100% scientifically sure of anything, certainly not something as complex as climate science, but what we can do is make an ethical choice using the abundant evidence we already have and err on the side of caution. We can weigh the costs and benefits of the thing we do to control, which is our response. Do we act or not act?
We need to transform our economy to one that is more efficient, more productive, more competitive and less carbon-intensive. Investments that will see our economy grow almost as much as if we continue with business as usual. I think most of us know what will happen--