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

House of Commons Hansard #60 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was organs.

Topics

(Bill C-307. On the Order: Private Members' Business:)

October 3, 2011—Second reading of Bill C-307, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (pregnant or nursing employees)—The member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

Suspension of SittingCanada Labour CodePrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie is not present to move the order as announced in today's notice paper. Accordingly, the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

The House is suspended until 12 p.m.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 11:07 a.m.)

(The House resumed at 12 p.m.)

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

moved:

That this House urge the government to: (a) play a leadership role in tackling global climate change and ensuring Canadian jobs aren’t lost as the rest of the world moves towards a new sustainable energy economy; (b) work in a leadership role at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Durban towards a binding climate change treaty with the goal of limiting average global temperature increases to 2°C; (c) recognize the real, science-based threat of global climate change, as well as respect and adhere to its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and the Copenhagen Accord; and (d) take immediate action to lower net carbon emissions in Canada and increase Canadian trade with our major partners in a new sustainable energy economy.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Since today is the final allotted day for the supply period ending December 10, 2011, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the supply bill.

In view of recent practices, do hon. members agree that the bill be distributed now?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to share my time with the member for Terrebonne—Blainville.

I am very honoured to stand here today and debate this NDP motion on climate change and what is happening in Durban. I am proud to be here with my colleagues in the House who are clear supporters of internationally binding agreements when it comes to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and actually taking action on climate.

In question period afew weeks ago, the Minister of Natural Resources stood and responded to one of my questions. He said:

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members keep talking about the environment.

I would like to thank the minister for that observation. He is absolutely correct. We do stand up for the environment. I am proud to be here today once again standing up and talking about the environment in the House with an NDP opposition day motion that encourages the Canadian government to take a leadership role in tackling global climate change and ensuring that Canadian jobs are not lost as the rest of the world moves on toward a sustainable energy economy.

The minister pointed out that the NDP is always standing up for the environment because in his mind that cannot be done while we are also standing up for the Canadian economy. However, I believe that the environment and the economy absolutely go hand in hand, and we can work on both together.

I think the Conservative government lacks the creativity and vision to create an economic strategy that goes beyond the fossil fuel industry. This lack of creative vision and this attitude cuts short Canada's future economic possibilities and has led to a government that actually advocates and celebrates ecological destruction. We have heard its members applaud it here in the House.

We in the NDP think that our economic future is also our ecological future. We want to think about the economy for the next 20 or 30 years and recognize that there is more potential for innovation and job creation in a transition to a green economy. That is the end goal.

Before I was elected, I had the opportunity to work with a group of stakeholders on designing ratepayer-funded energy efficiency plans for the province. We were in a situation where the Nova Scotia power utility realized that it was cheaper to invest aggressively in energy efficiency than it was to continue on our path of increased energy use. This was a move that was good for the environment, but it was also really good for the utility's bottom line.

When we were designing these programs, we realized we needed a line item in the budget for training, because we knew that jobs would be created as a result of these programs and we knew that there was not the capacity in the community to actually fill these roles. Therefore, there was a specific line for training to create new jobs in energy efficiency, whether in auditing or doing home retrofits.

These are good-paying jobs that we cannot ship offshore. They are jobs that are not located in one city or one region. They are jobs that are in every community across Canada, and we are missing out on that with our failure to take action on climate change. We can see how the economy and the environment do go hand in hand if we just think strategically and creatively.

The Minister of the Environment has said that Canada will not agree to any international climate commitments unless big emitters such as India and China also follow suit. On the face of it, this sounds like a compelling argument. Of course we all want China and India to come on board, absolutely, and other rapidly industrializing countries should all be included in this international effort. However, I believe that the Conservatives only use this line to confuse and to create more deadlock and delay.

It is noteworthy that this minister calls China to task for not committing to a climate plan, but at the same time threatens the United States with the idea that we will sell our bitumen to China if the U.S. will not expand Keystone. What he is saying is China is a bad country for being a major emitter, but it is a good enough country for us to sell our raw products to. I think we cannot have it both ways.

The government's intentions here are transparent. It is trying to throw a monkey wrench into the good faith negotiations of other countries that want to take action on climate. We all know that if we really want these countries to come on board, the best way to do that is to lead, show good faith and take action domestically.

What the Conservatives are not telling Canadians about China is interesting. China is already aggressively investing in clean energy technology in a way that our own country is not. By failing to invest here in Canada, we are missing out on these economic opportunities. We see the government actively attempting to deadlock negotiations in the international community.

Canada is being left behind because of our failure to take action on the environment. The European commission has recommended a carbon penalty on our oil. The U.S. has ordered an environmental review of Keystone that takes into account climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. These are some of our strongest trading partners.

Canada is being punished because while other countries are moving ahead on climate, we are doing nothing. We have no plan on how to develop the oil sands. The oil sands are a precious natural resource, a resource we can use to leverage a larger transition to a green economy.

We need to go beyond thinking about the short-term and having that colony mentality, looking for the empire that will save us when we export our raw natural resources. We need to look to the next 20 to 30 years and think about our long-term energy future.

The Conservatives have absolutely no plan to make oil sands development consistent with the GHG or greenhouse gas reductions that we need to make through either technological investments or a diversification of strategy for our energy economy and for the economy of Alberta.

We need to diversify our energy economy. We need to invest equally in wind, solar and tidal energies. We need to think about how Canadian natural resources can benefit Canadians first. We need to invest aggressively in energy efficiency. We need an environment minister who understands that he is the Minister of the Environment and we need a Minister of Natural Resources who understands that he needs to advocate for all of our natural resources, not just one.

We have some mixed media reports coming out of Durban today, just an hour or so ago. Some reports say the minister has announced that Canada will formally withdraw from Kyoto and other reports say that is not in fact what he said, that what he said was that we are not going to recommit to Kyoto 2 or Kyoto plus, the next stage.

I just came from a meeting with the South African high commissioner where she laid out so eloquently what is happening on the world stage around Kyoto and Canada's involvement, Canada's active sabotaging of these international agreements.

It was eloquent and moving, and it made me quite sad to hear her first-hand account of what it is that Canada is doing and how we are failing on the national stage. She said that the worse thing that could happen in Durban is that Kyoto fails to exist, and with Canada passively sitting by and not doing anything, and with reports that Canada is actually pulling out, it just makes things worse.

She talked about how it would have been better for members and parties to the Kyoto protocol to drag their feet and maybe not even quite live up to the expectations than to have people pulling out altogether.

She talked about the equity involved internationally and how this is not something we can leave to developing countries or countries in the global south. They are not historic emitters. Countries like Canada are, so we need fair and equal but differentiated targets when it comes to countries around the world entering into these agreements if we are to have any success at all.

I am proud to have brought this motion forward today. I am saddened to see Canada's international reputation on this issue, but I am hopeful that the Conservatives are listening to this today and that they will take heed because there is always time to do the right thing.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague mentioned one thing that is key to this entire debate, and that is real action on climate change and Canada's actual leadership, being a leader in climate change mitigation and climate change strategy.

As someone who has worked with clean energy technologies for numerous years, I find it deeply disappointing that my colleague is not recognizing Canada's role in being a leader in developing clean energy technologies which are shared around the world.

When we talk about action, we should be talking about things like the billions and billions of dollars that our country has invested both industrially and through governments to support clean energy technologies. We are a leader in this areas.

It is very disappointing that the hon. member denigrates our country's reputation by listening to things that are not action focused and only rhetoric.

My question to her is this. After our government has spent billions of dollars on clean energy tech, after we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions, after we are known internationally as a leader, three-quarters of our electricity production is produced by forces that do not produce greenhouse gas emissions. What is real action in her mind that will not damage our economy?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for her question, but I would like to correct her. We have not reduced our greenhouse gas emissions. They have, in fact, gone up.

I do not think that the Minister of the Environment needs any more help denigrating Canada's good name from me. There is a full page ad in The Globe and Mail from South African leaders stating that, in the past, Canada was a leader that came to South Africa and dealt with apartheid. However, in 2011, Canada comes to South Africa and actually tries to disrupt the negotiations that are happening on climate change. I hope the Conservatives are not taking something like that lightly. It was an incredible move for them to point out to us what we are doing.

When it comes to the investments that the Conservatives say they are putting into green technologies, it is a shell game. We are not meeting our greenhouse gas emission reductions. The Commissioner of the Environment has said as much. It is all smoke and mirrors with the them.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that while the government allocated $9.2 billion in funds, it actually reduced its greenhouse gas emission targets by 90%.

I want to point out what is at stake.

Climate change means more extreme weather and impacts on people. It was a year of extremes in the United States as well as in southern Canada with 14 separate weather events which caused losses of $1 billion or more each. Extreme drought affected parts of the southern United States. The drought region made an exceptional summer for Texas, with a mean temperature 3°C above the long-term average and the highest temperature recorded for any state. This had impacts on agriculture, water, wildfires and dust storms. In a marked contrast, January to October was the wettest period in the northeast of the U.S. and the province of Quebec.

Climate change means more extreme events and more impacts on people.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my colleague pointed out some important information that I was not able to cover in my speech. Also, she is right to point out that we have reduced our greenhouse gas emission goals by 90%, but we are not going to meet them.

The member also talked about extreme weather. I have a friend, Sheila Zurbrigg, who is a professor at the medical school in Dalhousie University. She does the history of famine, which is a very interesting topic. She started to look at projections of what climate change would do to our planet when it comes to famine. When she talks about it, one can see in her eyes how urgent it is. She talks about an entirely new paradigm for this planet when it comes to famine because of the extreme weather. She knows how urgent it is. If they could hear the passion in her voice, the Conservatives would start to understand as well.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in this House to represent young Canadians, who seem to have been forgotten by this government. I am proud to talk about issues that are close to my heart and to the hearts of my constituents. These issues are already affecting our communities and are threatening our future.

For over 30 years, hundreds of publications have been highlighting the various consequences of our ancestors' choices. For over 30 years, an international movement has been organized around the idea of improving our living conditions to give future generations the gift of a balanced and healthy environment. A number of national and international initiatives have been presented, approved and ratified by previous governments, which has enabled Canada to build a reputation as an international environmental leader.

Our reputation has really been tested since this Conservative government was elected. The government has repeatedly denied and refused to listen to the facts, studies and truths about climate change. I am appalled that a self-proclaimed responsible government is endangering its own children's future by denying well-documented scientific facts.

Many international experts agree on a number of facts that are evident when we look at the effects that have been directly experienced by Canadians. In Canada, temperatures have already increased by 1.3oC over the past 60 years. This has led to increased flooding in Quebec, for example, and the costs associated with these tragedies keep increasing as well. Something else that can affect the whole country is the transformation of seasonal landscapes. Heavy equipment operators, who transport large loads and equipment to support the economy in Canada's north, have noted that they are able to use ice roads for much shorter periods. Thousands of Canadians depend on these roads to receive essential commodities. A young Inuit man even went to Durban to talk about the consequences of climate change. These effects are threatening Canadians' lives. This many effects cannot be a lie.

The many disasters that have been happening outside Canada also attest to the consequences of climate change: the devastating fires in Russia, major floods in Thailand, increasingly extreme droughts in Africa, increasingly violent hurricanes in coastal regions, and the melting glaciers in Greenland, which will speed up the rise in global temperatures and the rise of sea levels. Concrete examples from around the globe support what scientists are saying. When we do not see these things with our own eyes, it is easy to ignore the facts or try to explain them all individually, without connecting the dots between them.

More and more Canadians need to use their cars, because the absence of a national transit strategy or green alternatives that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions is only making matters worse.

These data are not being invented by political lobby groups. More and more independent experts have condemned this government's failure to act and its laissez-faire attitude. Not only did the Conservatives fire Environment Canada experts who could have produced excellent scientific data specific to our needs, but they also like to ignore all science when it does not serve their purposes. That is what happened with Bill C-10, which is completely irresponsible. To young people, climate change is clearly not just a political theory, but rather a reality they need to face immediately in order to reduce the negative impact it will have on their future.

The Conservatives have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have failed when it comes to environmental vision and leadership. What is surprising, however, is that they are not taking advantage of this opportunity for Canada to become a global leader in green power production, given that climate change affects everyone. This economic vision would guarantee a future for our businesses and for Canadians, since we would be able to meet the rising global demand while creating thousands of well-paid jobs.

Unfortunately, with the end of government subsidies for programs like eco-energy after just one year, the small and medium businesses are the ones taking a direct hit. Many of my constituents will not have the opportunity to benefit from those subsidies. However, the biggest failure is that Canada has been alienating itself from its economic allies for the past few years. The hope for international co-operation, in which Canada would lead by example, is fading after the many fossil awards we have been winning these past few years.

My constituents have sent me hundreds of reply cards from my householders indicating how important the environment and international leadership are to them. They deplore Canada's new reputation, which does not reflect their many efforts and numerous accomplishments. They simply do not understand why individuals can be prepared to take action but the government is not willing to support them. The people of Terrebonne, Blainville and Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines are worried about the state of our environment.

In each of those towns that I proudly represent, we can easily find agencies, businesses and citizens' groups that struggle daily to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but more than anything, we find people who have taken their future into their own hands in order to ensure a better future for their children.

I would like to highlight the work of Compost Ste-Anne, a not-for-profit organization that helps the Town of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines reduce its waste while creating jobs. That organization is celebrating its 10th anniversary today.

Young people are also showing leadership by becoming more informed and understanding the impact of their actions. Students from the Collège Saint-Sacrement are contributing to the environmental initiative in my region by setting up a sorting centre at their school. This summer, the young people from Terrebonne formed an environmental patrol that went door to door to inform families about how to protect their environment, how to recycle and how to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Even businesses in my region understand that a healthy environment is essential to a vibrant economy. That is why Tricentris obtained LEED certification.

The environment is such an important issue in my riding that people from one neighbourhood in Blainville fought to stop trees from being cut down in a wetland because they understand that our ecosystem needs those trees.

I have mentioned just a few of my constituents' initiatives. These people are committed to saving our planet because they realize there is a significant problem. The young patrollers and the Saint-Sacrement environmental committee know that we must take action now or our generation will inherit a massive problem. None of these people understand why their government is not on board with these initiatives. On the contrary, the government has decided to ignore the problems and to work against initiatives taken by the people.

Young people are increasingly cynical about politics, but I am proud to see that those in my riding realize that they can take their future into their own hands. I believe that it is my duty to support them during my term of office.

That is why I am pleased to represent the NDP, which has the courage to put forward bold environmental solutions to secure our economic future and offer Canadians an even more promising path: a path that recognizes the responsibility of the people's representatives towards youth and future generations; a path that recognizes the need to act now in order to lessen the economic and environmental burden that will be placed on my generation and those to come; a path that ensures that industry and the private sector work together to ensure a transition towards a clean environment and a green economy that is not dependent on fossil fuels.

In short, the Conservatives' lack of vision and responsibility is punitive for our children. The government is acting like an absent parent who does not take his or her responsibilities seriously. It is time to restore hope to future generations.

We need practical, science-based, fair, ambitious and binding legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will not reach our targets with good faith and promises about taking action in the future, which is what this government is doing. It is time to revive the climate change accountability bill.

We need carbon emission regulations that will provide economic motivation for reductions to ensure that we can reach the targets to which we have made committed international commitments.

We need money to make this transition to a greener economy. It can be done if we make major emitters pay higher taxes and stop subsidizing the oil sector, the richest sector in Canada.

We must remain ahead of the game in order to take advantage of the considerable economic benefits resulting from the inevitable transition to a green economy. In the next 50 years, the oil sands resources will be depleted. We must build sustainable industries that will create more and more jobs across Canada. We must make long-term investments in programs such as the eco-energy initiative in order to motivate Canadians to decrease their energy consumption.

We must take action that reaches beyond policies and laws—not like the Liberals, who gave us the Kyoto protocol but, in the long term, failed to honour the commitments they made in that regard.

Finally, we must work together. We must recognize that we have an international responsibility since our choices influence other nations. We are all in this fight together. Young Canadians are growing up in a country that is currently seen by the world as a pariah because of the Liberals' broken promises and this government's complete lack of action.

It is time to act courageously. It is time to help Canadians regain their pride in their country. It is time this government recognized that science is right, that excellent solutions exist and that action will drive the economy and provide more sustainable jobs for future generations.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, once again, let us talk about action.

My colleague opposite spoke about a legacy for our children. This weekend, in the NDP leadership debates, the candidates spoke about a carbon tax. Once again, the NDP has brought forth an economic policy that was not costed and not thought through with regard to long-term economic legitimacy or a legacy for our children.

One of my colleagues opposite also spoke earlier about clean energy tech investments being a shell game. Let us look at the tangible actions that have come out of our investments in clean energy tech. I would like my colleague opposite to answer the question, how is this a shell game? How are investments in R and D that reduced by 39% the per barrel GHG emissions for oil produced in our oil sands between 1990 and 2008 a shell game? How is R and D in geothermal heat, which is a lower-emission alternative to natural gas, a shell game? How is water treatment with respect to fresh water and enhancement of water recycling systems a shell game?

At the end of the day, our country is a leader in clean energy tech and in environmental stewardship. Please explain this.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question. This government insists that we must choose between the economy and the environment. However, it does not have to be a choice. We can combine the two things. We can invest in green energy. We are not currently doing so. We do not necessarily have to choose one or the other. We do not have to decide whether to invest in the economy or in the environment. In my opinion, the two go hand in hand.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the legacy the government will leave is potentially a $21 billion to $43 billion adaptation debt by 2050, annually.

Severe drought developed in parts of east Africa in late 2010 and continued through most of 2011. The most severely affected area encompassed parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The humanitarian impacts of the drought were severe, especially in Somalia. They included significant famine and large-scale displacement of population.

The UN estimated that 13 million people required humanitarian aid. A camp in Kenya had 400,000 people, most of whom were from Somalia. Our office helped bring a true hero, Dr. Hawa Abdi, to Canada to tell her story about the hospital she built on the land and the over 100,000 refugees she cares for daily.

In Africa, climate change means the difference between life and death.

The government has an opportunity to help prevent drought by taking action on climate change.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her comments. Climate change is having significant and devastating effects on other countries. We cannot think that our actions do not influence other countries. As I said in my speech, what we do not only influences our neighbours but also has a direct impact on them. Similarly, greenhouse gases produced by other countries affect us. Everyone in the international community must implement these measures. That is why these negotiations are so important and why we are proposing this motion today.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague and my colleague from Halifax, for leading the charge in this debate.

I think the government has completely dropped the ball on this and is disappointing Canadians. The government is choosing to speak for a small segment of the oil industry rather than for Canadians at large.

According to the International Energy Commission, CO2 emissions in Canada went up 20% between 1990 and 2009. I would like my colleague to comment on how the NDP's plan for a cap and trade, something that we have all committed to and have campaigned on for a long time, might help reduce these really gross levels of CO2 emissions.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The NDP's plan is very important. At some point, we need to tell the big polluters that we have had enough. We need to give them ways to reduce pollution. We must be demanding and not encourage a laissez-faire attitude where everyone does as they see fit. We must take real action and tell businesses and big polluters that enough is enough. We have a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on a very important issue. I am going to start by talking about Canada's role in this.

It has been deeply disappointing to me as a young Canadian to hear the opposition parties denigrate our country and our reputation in this area. It is false to say that, because we are taking tangible action at home, we are not leaders. We have made billions of dollars in investments and we have seen great improvement in our technology. This commitment is not just from our government, but also from all industry sectors. Our government has taken a strong action-focused approach to produce reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We have already started to see those results at home. More importantly, we are going to be doing this in such a way that our economy will not suffer.

The opposition talks about the need to balance the economy with the environment, yet I notice that it has no plans to do so. When opposition members talk about economic instruments to do this, they never talk about the cost or the long-term effects on our children. We can manage our environment. We can have environmental stewardship while having economic sustainability. That is where real action-focused results come into play and that is what our government is doing.

I would like to take the opportunity to present, once again, the Government of Canada's sector-by-sector strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. It is a national plan with a strong corresponding international component. We believe the best way to achieve results on climate change management is to better integrate our environmental objectives into Canada's economic structure. It is one way to maximize our competitiveness in a rapidly evolving global field.

There is no question our domestic businesses can be more productive and more efficient than ever while meeting our greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. We have aligned this target with that of the United States. Given the degree of integration within the North American economy, we will align our approaches to reducing emissions in a manner appropriate to the Canadian context.

One of the key pieces to our sector-by-sector approach is the new emissions regulations for cars and trucks. This is tangible action. Canada has already completed standards for regulating GHGs from new passenger cars and light trucks for the 2011 through 2016 model years, aligning with the U.S. on a common North American approach.

We have also issued a notice of intent to continue to develop more stringent standards for new cars in model year 2017 and beyond, working closely with the United States. Again, we are making sure that our industrial partners, stakeholders within the economy and international trading partners are included in the dialogue so that we can achieve real action while ensuring economic sustainability.

We are taking action in the area of electricity generated from coal-fired plants. In August, our government published new draft electricity regulations in the Canada Gazette, the result of extensive discussion with industry, provinces and stakeholders.

Our renewable fuel standards have mandated a 5% ethanol content for gasoline used by cars and trucks and a 2% average renewable fuel content in diesel fuel and heating oil. These regulations are one element of our broader renewable fuels strategy. They will bring significant environmental benefits to our country.

Clean and renewable energy has been a central focus in the government's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The various eco-energy initiatives of this government are helping to develop clean and efficient energy. My colleagues opposite spoke about this earlier today; however, they have consistently voted against these measures in our budget.

The eco-energy initiatives facilitate research and development in clean energy and renewables. The eco-energy efficiency initiative will make the housing, building and transportation industries more energy efficient and increase energy performance. The eco-energy retrofit homes program is helping Canadians to make energy-efficient home renovations.

In addition, we have invested another $40 million in Sustainable Development Technology Canada for the commercialization of clean technologies. This fund is becoming self-sustainable thanks to industry commercialized technologies that make tangible benefits to our environment in Canada. We are exporting this technology and seeing the growth of clean energy tech industry here at home.

As of 2010, the energy efficiency regulations' minimum energy performance standards have resulted in an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 26 megatons.

Through the eco-energy for renewable power program, we will see $1.5 billion in investments over the next 10 years to support our renewable energy industry. The eco-energy for biofuels program will provide production incentives to producers of cleaner renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel.

Our investments through the clean energy fund, eco-energy technology initiative and carbon capture and storage projects are helping to position Canada as a producer of clean, reliable electricity for decades to come, again, measures that the opposition continues to vote against in our budgets.

Last month, our government also announced that we will spend over $148 million over the next five years to help our country adapt to climate change. This funding will help us frame credible, science based responses to the impacts of climate change here at home. This funding builds on the $85 million that we have already spent over the past four years to help provinces, territories, municipalities and others develop important strategies for domestic adaptation to climate change.

The government made another important announcement for the environment last month. In recognition of the important work being carried out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality since 2006 through the clean air regulatory agenda, we announced that over the next five years our government will invest a further $600 million in the clean air regulatory agenda. This investment in the clean air agenda will help us to identify emerging air quality issues, measure and monitor the status of existing ones and evaluate action focused solutions that ensure that our economy is stable. It ensures that Canadians will literally breathe easier.

At the same time as we are focused on the long term, we are not neglecting the shorter term opportunities to address climate change here at home. For example, we are looking at ways to reduce soot, or black carbon, methane and ozone, which are short-lived climate forcers. Reductions of these climate forcers produce near-term benefits for the climate, particularly in the Arctic. We are also doing this work collaboratively with our partners in the United States, Mexico and elsewhere.

Our approach, along with the work done by the provinces, has brought us 25% of the way to reaching our 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, action-focused results.

It is work that complements a variety of existing regulatory and international efforts and holds the promise of some significant results.

It is also important that the reality of climate change be well understood and proactively managed. Our government firmly believes that, on the international front, only an agreement that includes all major emitters can deliver the greatest impact in addressing climate change. Canada is engaged at the international negotiations in South Africa in developing a strategic response to climate change. It is a question of enlightened self-interest. If we want Canada to meet the environmental challenges ahead, we need to help others do the same.

That is why Canada has stepped up with its fair share of climate change funding for developing countries, something that we pledge to deliver under the Copenhagen accord. We have already provided $400 million in fast-start financing in 2010-11 to help the world's poorest and most vulnerable nations develop clean energy options, address the problems caused by deforestation and boost sustainable agriculture. In turn, this funding reinforces our $100 million contribution in the 2008-09 World Bank pilot program on climate resilience.

In other words, we have implemented a proactive climate change action plan on domestic and international fronts, one that is tailored to our country's specific needs but based on our commitments at recent UN climate change summits in Copenhagen and in Cancun.

Canada's position is very simple: We will only support climate change agreements that are signed and ratified by all major emitters because the reality is that we are an integrated global economy and we need to be cognizant of that fact for our children. It is a straightforward, practical approach.

We have already declared that, however acute the international pressure, we will not agree to a second commitment period under the Kyoto protocol. The Kyoto protocol does not meet our simple criteria. It does not include targets for all of the world's greenhouse gas emitters. It ultimately covers less than 30% of global emissions. This is not what we need to do to achieve a global international binding commitment. We can do better than this. This is the way forward that has been discussed in the Copenhagen accord and in the Cancun agreements, which we are committed to continuing.

The agreements reached in Cancun a year ago established a workable template for continuous improvement in the future. Establishing a program to implement agreements is a major focus of the negotiations that are taking place right now in Durban, South Africa. Canada, led by our Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, is playing an active and constructive role in these negotiations.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. I would like to remind the member not to refer to any member of this chamber by their given name.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

The reality is that Canada emits only 2% of the world's total emissions. That is why we need to work hard to get the 98% covered by a new agreement. Kyoto does not do that, never did that and cannot do that in the future. We need a new agreement that is fair, effective and applies to all major emitters to see real change.

This is not an easy task. However, we do not shy away from difficult tasks and we are not swayed by pressure and criticism from those who want to retain the status quo. The status quo was not good enough domestically, which is why we have established a strong regulatory approach to addressing climate change.

The status quo of Kyoto is not good enough on the international front. That is why Canada is showing brave leadership to address the reality of international climate change actions. If they are to be effective, they must include all major emitters, including the United States and China.

Currently, the 37 countries, plus the European community, that have commitments under the Kyoto protocol represent less than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Two of the world's most significant GHG emitters, China and the U.S., are currently responsible for close to 40% of global emissions and yet China and the United States are not parties to the Kyoto protocol and have no international legally binding emissions reductions commitments.

What is more, it is expected that China and other emerging economies will be responsible for almost all future growth in emissions and are expected to be responsible for about two-thirds of global emissions by 2020. As such, it will be essential for ensuring sustainable global development that major emerging economies take effective action now and in the future to mitigate emissions growth, as their economies grow.

The fact that the New Democrats and the Liberals have stubbornly adopted a nothing-but-Kyoto approach just shows that neither party is willing to face reality. When they signed on to Kyoto, the Liberals privately knew that they could not meet Kyoto's emissions targets.

Eddie Goldenberg, one of prime minister Jean Chrétien's former aides, revealed that the Liberals went ahead to the Kyoto protocol on climate change even though they knew there was a good chance Canada would not be able to meet its goals for pollution reduction. In a speech prepared for the Canadian Club of London, Ontario, and reported by the Toronto Star in 2007, Mr. Goldenberg said:

Nor was the government itself even ready at the time with what had to be done. The Kyoto targets were extremely ambitious and it was very possible that short-term deadlines would at the end of the day have to be extended.

Mr. Chrétien's ago wrote cheques that his party could not cash.

Then there is the NDP. Never having been in government, the NDP has often been the party asking questions and rarely the party answering them. That is convenient for the NDP. It does not need to answer the tough questions on its nothing-but-Kyoto policy, questions like: How many thousands of Canadian jobs would be lost as Canada hopelessly tries to meet unachievable Kyoto targets? If Canada signs on to a second Kyoto commitment period, how many billions of dollars in penalties will Canada have to pay for not meeting our unrealistic targets? Those countries producing over two-thirds of the world's greenhouse gas emissions have no obligations under Kyoto. How many megatons of greenhouse gases will be emitted by non-Kyoto parties? How much will these rise before the NDP realizes that Kyoto is not working?

This government is willing to ask the serious questions and deal with realistic achievable plans that involve all of our stakeholder groups across this country and internationally. Unlike the Liberals, we will not enter into agreements that we have no intention of keeping, and unlike the NDP, we base our plans on science and on reality.

As we continue this debate today, I want to ensure that what we talk about here is action focus, that we talk about the realities that Canada has at home and about the economic sustainability factors that we need to look at for our children. When we are talking about the debate on how we will manage our country, our greenhouses, et cetera for our children, we also need to ask how we can do this sustainably and how we can do this in such a way that we can achieve real action.

I am proud to say that our government's plan can do this, it will do this and we will continue moving forward as an international leader.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that clean aerogen does not really deal with climate. The fact is that South African leaders said:

Canada, you were once considered a leader on global issues like human rights and environmental protection. Today you're home to polluting tar sands oil, speeding the dangerous effects of climate change.

In light of the fact that today China said that it was willing to enter into legally binding agreements, in light of the fact that the Conservative Senate killed the NDP climate change accountability act, in light of the fact that the government continues to give billions in tax breaks to fossil fuel companies, in light of the fact that the government has failed to renew the successful eco-energy renewable power program and in light of the fact that Canada is being outspent per capita 18:1 on renewable investments by the U.S., does the member actually believe any of the talking points that she has been sent here to deliver?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, as someone who has worked with clean energy technology and as someone who works in a province and in a country where our energy sector provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of funding for social programs, I cannot accept my colleague's criticism of our country as not being an international leader in environmental stewardship. Our country operates in one of the most stringent environmental regulatory frameworks in the world. That is a fact. That is not a talking point. We are a leader in this. We also are one of the most socially responsible producers of energy. We are one of the freest countries in the world.

The fact that we are being criticized and the opposition is accepting this criticism against our country is shameful. When we look at what our government has done since 2006 as opposed to previous Liberal governments, previous governments that did not do anything, we see actual action occurring. We are seeing a reduction in almost every sector. We are seeing reductions in our transportation sector where we put in regulations this year. We are seeing reductions in our electricity production sector.

These are not talking points. This is reality. When will the opposition wake up to that?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I must admit that I agree with almost nothing the parliamentary secretary said.

After a decade of effective work with the provinces, the public and industry, the Liberal government made huge progress and emissions actually went down in 2005 during an economic boom. The reform party tried to block those moves every step of the way. Unfortunately, I am hearing the very same propaganda from the parliamentary secretary that we heard from the reform party over the years.

In terms of setting goals, I would hope the member has set goals for herself that it might be possible that she would not meet. However, by aiming high, we achieve more than if we do not set goals.

In this much lauded funding that the government is announcing, shamefully, because it was announced before, there is nothing new. Half of it is loans and the other half is a redirection of important international aid from other funding that the government had already committed to.

Could the parliamentary secretary please tell us of any new dollars going into the climate fund?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question allows me to speak to the profoundly shameful history of the Liberal government's management of both our economy and our energy sector.

I will talk about the national energy plan that cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and a generational impact on western Canadians. I will talk about the Kyoto protocol that the Liberal government signed on to with no financial planning. I will talk about the dollars. There was absolutely no discussion on the cost of the Kyoto protocol to our economy or to implementing it. I will talk about the green shift, a carbon tax that would be a tax on everything with no cognizance of our economy's sustainable future.

I am so proud to stand here today and say that our country is a leader in environmental stewardship. We are a leader in putting regulations in place that will ensure the sustainability of our environment and, not only that, to monitor them and enforce them to ensure that funding is provided for clean energy technology to see the commercialization of new technologies, which will see a green economy develop in our country in the future.

Those are the things that our government stands for, is proud of and on which we are taking real action.