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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

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Langley has five minutes left to conclude his remarks.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was speaking to the NDP's disingenuous motion on a very important topic, the environment, and what we do to provide a clean environment for this generation and the generations to follow. I was sharing with the House what we are doing in the way of funding in Canada and internationally.

Internationally, Canada was one of the first countries to step up with its fair share of climate change adaptation funding for developing countries, something we pledged to do under the Copenhagen accord. The opposition opposed those dollars going to developing countries, countries that are in need.

We heard from a number of opposition members. They get that the climate is changing. A changing climate it is having a very serious effect on a number of people in Canada and globally, yet when it comes to approving the funds for adaptation, opposition members vote against it. I am having a difficult time, and I think Canadians are having a difficult time, connecting the dots. The opposition members say they care about a changing climate and call on the government to take leadership--and we now have a government that is taking leadership, getting things done and providing funding--yet they vote against that funding. Canadians have great difficulty with that, as do I.

Internationally, we are contributing $45 million this fiscal year to help developing countries adapt to climate change as part of fast-start financing under the Copenhagen accord. Opposition members voted against that. Over four years, we have also contributed over $238 million to the Global Environmental Facility. Some of that came from our fast-track financing envelope, and the rest came from our international assistance envelope. Of course, being consistent, they voted against that. In turn, this funding reinforces our $100 million contribution in 2008-09 to the World Bank's pilot project in climate change resilience. Of course, they voted against that.

Helping Canadians and our international partners around the world adapt to the challenges posed by climate change is an important part of our overall approach to climate change. Making adjustments in our decisions, activities and thinking because of observed or expected changes in climate is essential if we want to manage the risks associated with a changing climate.

If we were to ask the average Canadian if they would support an international agreement that included 27% or 85% of emitters globally, we would find Canadians support 85%. They disregard the 27%. That is the Kyoto protocol; the Copenhagen accord is the 85%. The 27% includes no major emitters; the 85% under the Copenhagen accord includes all the major emitters. Not only do all Canadians support that, all scientists support it. If we take the issue of climate change seriously and really believe it, we have to have all the major emitters participating or it will not be possible to address the issue globally.

About a month ago we had a delegation from the EU. That was exactly their message: that we have to have all the major emitters included.

This is what Nature magazine had to say about a month ago:

One of the goals of Kyoto was to make a relatively small dent in emissions, with the prospect of significantly bigger dents to come. Without the world's two largest polluters--the United States and China--on board that now seems impossible.

There is no need to kill it. The treaty is already weakened and will prove hard to revive. The Durban meeting should be where the Kyoto Protocol, as we know it, goes to die.

A well-known Liberal made this comment in speaking about the former Liberal government. He said:

Instead, the government's plan in terms of the Kyoto agreement was basically written on the back of an airplane napkin on the way to Kyoto... There was no real negotiation with the provinces or with industry sectors. In fact--

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I have to interrupt the hon. member as his time has expired. We will move on to questions and comments with the hon. member for Etobicoke North.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the government is abdicating leadership in meeting international targets and in setting science-based targets. In meeting these targets, it has reduced its own targets by 90%.

The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development recently examined 35 federal climate change programs. Some had performance measures, but some did not. No one was responsible for the “disjointed, confused and non-transparent patchwork”. No one was tracking the results of the demonstration projects and clean technology incentives, industrial subsidies and tax credits that the government had announced. The environment commissioner told parliamentarians that he could find no link between the government spending $9.2 billion and progress on climate change.

Could the hon. member tell us what progress on climate change Canadians are getting for their $9.2 billion?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, if the member remembers her history, it was her leader in the last Parliament who said, “We didn't get it done”, referring to the previous Liberal government. It was a reference to 13 dark years when the Liberals had a chance to sign on to Kyoto, ratify it and get something done, but they got absolutely nothing done. He asked why we did not get it done.

We hear the echoes in this chamber of the former Liberal environment minister saying, “Do you think it is easy to make priorities?”

We listen to the echoes of history and it was the environment commissioner who said that the Liberals were really good at making announcements, but before the confetti hit the ground they forgot those promises.

That all changed in 2006 when the Conservative government came into power with a strong mandate. We have been tirelessly working for a cleaner environment. Canadians know that. Internationally, we are well respected. We have said that we need a new international agreement with all the major emitters and that is the way the world is heading.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the motion could perhaps help this government, because we want the government to take action. The government must think about the future, about the long term and about future generations. It must think about the future economy. A green economy is coming. Countries like Germany and even China are already investing in this economy.

So the government must take action now to reap the benefits later. We are proposing that the cost of pollution be included in the price we pay now. If we do not pay for pollution now, future generations will end up doing so. The government is not preparing for the future. We are proposing a system such as cap and trade. That is why we want to put a price on carbon.

Could the member opposite confirm that the Conservatives will ensure that future generations do not end up paying for this government's inaction?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Europe addressed the issue of the price of carbon continentally. We have said that we will deal with the issue of a cap and trade agreement continentally, if the United States does the same thing continentally.

The United States has a target of a 20% reduction of 2005 levels by 2020. We have exactly the same target. We are doing it continentally.

When we brush the facade off the question, it is: Do we support a carbon tax?

Absolutely not. We heard from the member for Vancouver East just moments ago saying that Bill C-469 was a wonderful bill and it passed through the House. That was because of the coalition that had come together to support a carbon tax.

Canadians said no to a carbon tax. That is one of the big reasons why the Conservative Party is the Government of Canada.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am speaking on the issue of climate change today, the opposition supply day motion. This is an incredibly important topic for discussion in the House. The science is overwhelmingly clear on the matter of climate change. Anthropomorphic-caused climate change is happening. We as a society, as Canadians and as citizens of this planet need to act to reduce emissions.

I was reading a report published in September 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, in which it surveyed all of the scientific research on climate change. It found 98% confidence among 1,372 climate change researchers that climate change is caused by human activity, largely by the emission of greenhouse gases. This is overwhelming evidence. The conclusion was clear.

It surveyed some 1,372 researchers who had produced many publications. The paper was written by professors Anderegg, Prall, Harold and Schneider, from leading universities like Stanford University in Stanford, California, the department of engineering at the University of Toronto, the Hewlett Foundation in California and the Woods Institute at Stanford University. These are leading researchers at respected academic institutions. They produced a peer-reviewed paper and the evidence is clear and overwhelming. Climate change is happening. It is caused by human activity, and it will have serious effects on our climate and ecosystems unless we act.

The science is clear. Most people who have read the research understand that the evidence continues to build and there is need for action on the part of governments. In fact, the Prime Minister, in addressing the Australian parliament some years ago, made the same point. Climate change is a serious challenge for humanity. We need demonstrated international action in order to combat this challenge.

Many of us in the House understand that climate change is a challenge that the federal government needs to address. The big question then becomes what exactly we are going to do about it. This is where the debate really starts to take hold.

The government has argued, and I support the government's position, that the solution is not for an extension of the Kyoto protocol. In fact, there are a number of third parties who have made this case. Recently, in Nature, the well-respected scientific journal, both an editorial and a separate commentary article suggested that clinging to the hope of an extension or phase two of Kyoto was not constructive. This would do more harm than good in achieving meaningful dialogue on how to fight climate change.

The editorial and the article both made the point that there is no chance that the world's two largest emitters, the United States and China, would agree to binding commitments within the Kyoto protocol. Leaving out those two major emitters would not be a good approach. In their words, it would do more harm than good to seek an extension to the Kyoto protocol. The article underlined that a binding all-or-nothing mentality has held sway ever since and the result has been nothing. The government also understands this. This is why the Minister of the Environment today in Durban announced that the government would not be agreeing to an extension of the Kyoto protocol.

Other third parties have made similar points. In fact, the United Kingdom's former chief scientist, Sir David King, has suggested that we abandon any approach that would see an extension to the Kyoto protocol. Instead he advocates a bottom-up approach, or what he terms “muscular bilateralism”. Countries would make commitments on carbon reductions without the overarching framework of an international treaty.

Other respected third party research institutes, like the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a respected American think tank, agree. Just last month, the Pew Center made the case that Kyoto needs to be let go and a new framework needs to be negotiated. That was in a paper by Elliot Diringer in Nature.

A number of respected third parties, people who do not deny the science of climate change, who do want to see meaningful reductions in emissions, have all made the case that the Kyoto protocol is not the way to go. Instead, they suggest that, as called for in the Copenhagen and Cancun agreements, we should work toward a brand new global treaty that would do two critical things. The first is that it would include all major emitters around the world, whether developing or developed economies. The second is that it would ensure there is a mechanism by which member states can be held accountable.

This is exactly what the Government of Canada has been arguing we need to do in Durban as we undertake these negotiations under the UN framework.

It is clear that the government has a plan and a clear target. It has yet to be fully rolled out, but the government is committed to its plan. If there is anything that I know about this government and the Prime Minister, it is that when the government makes a commitment, it will do everything it can to achieve that commitment.

On many public policy files, the government has demonstrated that, time after time, when it makes a public commitment and reiterates that commitment, it is serious. It will ensure that public policies are put in place to achieve that commitment.

Our commitment is to reduce greenhouse gases by 17% below 2005 levels. In fact, since we took office in 2006, greenhouse gas emissions are down substantially. We are not there yet, but we are moving in the right direction.

Do not just take it from me. It can be taken from a report that was recently published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, an OECD-affiliated research organization. It analyzed federal and provincial greenhouse gas reduction plans throughout Canada. It concluded that, with all the measures that have already been announced, the government is 47% of the way to achieving its 17% reduction by 2020.

We have been in office now for five years. We have put in place measures that will achieve a 47% meeting of our 17% target. We have yet another eight years to go to achieve the other 53%.

I commend the Minister of the Environment for recently gazetting the draft regulations for the electrical and coal sectors. Other sectors, like the oil sands sector, will also be dealt with at some future date. Other major industrial emitters in the heartland of Ontario and Quebec will also be brought into the plan.

I am cautiously optimistic that our government will achieve its target of 17% reduction. Ensuring that we agree to an international framework that is consistent with these domestic targets is not only rational but also bargaining in good faith, rather than making commitments that we cannot meet.

These targets that we have in place domestically are aggressive. They will achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases by 2020 that we have not been able to achieve in the period from 1990 to 2005.

I strongly support the government's position at Durban. I strongly support our approach to greenhouse gas reductions.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very encouraged to hear the hon. member state that climate change is real, that it is clearly anthropogenic and that he recognizes the science. That is a rare opinion on that side of the House. I laud him for his courage in standing and saying that he believes in science and climate change science.

I was less impressed, though, with his feeling that the very weak targets and lack of commitment by the Conservatives was adequate and appropriate.

When moving past weak targets, will the hon. member move to real science-based targets, a real plan, a real strategy and a real accountability, as was found in the climate change accountability act introduced, first, by Jack Layton, then in the last House by myself and will be introduced again this time? I hope he will support that.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the comment of my colleague from the NDP that our target is not aggressive. It is actually quite aggressive. If we look at the period between 1990 and 2005 in Canada, greenhouse gases rose some 25%. What we have said is that for the period from 2005 to 2020, the second 15 year period of that 30 year period, we will reduce submissions by 17%. Not only are we stopping the growth in emissions under our plan, we are actually going to reduce them by 17%.

He is indeed right. The new target of the government that we announced after we took office in 2006 is not as aggressive as the Kyoto protocol that the former government signed on to and that was later ratified in early 2005. Nevertheless, we felt we were not able to achieve a 30% reduction, but we could achieve the 17% reduction. Therefore, I think that these are very aggressive targets. The plan has yet to be fully rolled out, but when it is, Canadians will see true action on climate change in the second 15 year period of which we are in the middle.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his commitment to climate change. However, I want to point out the government's targets are anything but aggressive. It has reduced its targets by 90%.

The Prime Minister and several members of his cabinet and his caucus previously have questioned the scientific evidence linking human activity to climate change, describing the Kyoto protocol as a socialist scheme.

The current Minister of the Environment has described Canada's position as a constructive approach. He has said there is an urgency to this. He has also said we do not need a binding convention. What we need is action and a mandate to work on an eventual binding convention. Is this contradiction government policy?

Although the minister insists Canada is making great strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the government's own plan shows it can get us only 25% of the way there.

I would like to know this from the hon. member. Where is the government's credible plan to address the remaining 75%?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, the rest of the plan will be rolled out in the very near future. In fact, last year we brought out the regulations for passenger cars and light trucks. A number of months ago, the government gazetted the regulations for industries that utilize coal. Regulations for heavy trucks will be announced shortly at some near future date. The oil sands and other major industrial emitters that lie in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor will also be brought under the umbrella of the government's plan.

The fact is that in five short years in office, we will achieve 47% of the 17% target we have committed to based on the actions already completed to date. That is after five short years in office. We have another eight years to go before we hit our target date of 2020. The government is going to be rolling out these regulations and these plans and it is going to achieve, for the first time since 1990, meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases. That was not the case under the previous government for the period of 1990 to 2005.

The plan is real, the targets are aggressive and our plan is halfway rolled out. I would suggest for members opposite that when we roll out the rest of our plan, we need their support to sell this plan to Canadians, to industry and to the country as a whole, because these will be tough and aggressive targets.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Berthier—Maskinongé.

I rise today to speak to this issue. Everyone in the House recognizes the importance of climate change and the impact it has on our environment, not just through slight shifts in temperature but the real economic impacts, as well as the fact that climate change has a real effect on species and our culture as well. Despite that, we obviously have very little agreement on how to move forward.

I think all of us can agree that we are very proud of the fact that Canada has always had a stellar reputation in the world as a leader in human rights and on environmental issues. Therefore, it is with a great deal of sadness today that I will read a quote that has damaged our standing in the world community.

Last week we saw some of the media coverage when the ambassador for South Africa spoke up about our role in Durban and how nervous they were that Canada could sabotage the talks going on in Durban, which are so crucial not only for our generation but for all our generations to come.

Over the last week we have been taken to task not by one nation but many nations for the lack of leadership that we have showed.

South African leaders, including Desmond Tutu, along with several African environmental groups, released a letter last week criticizing the government. It stated:

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.

For us in Africa, climate change is a life and death issue. By dramatically increasing Canada’s global warming pollution, tar sands mining and drilling makes the problem worse, and exposes million of Africans to more devastating drought and famine today and in the years to come.

That is a very sad legacy and sad comments for our young people to read. I received an email from a student in my riding who talked about the lack of leadership being taken by Canada at the conference in Durban and expressing concern that we as parliamentarians were not doing enough to protect the world, the planet, for them. We really do need to sit up and start paying attention.

Often we understand economic arguments even when we fail to understand the survival of our planet. For those members who understand economic arguments, I will put forward some facts.

In Quebec, insurance payouts for claims mainly related to flash storms, sewer back-ups and basement flooding in 2005-06 represented a 25% jump in water-related payouts as a percentage of the overall payouts from the 2001 to 2002 levels. These were related to climate change. What we have seen is a one metre sea level rise that could inundate more than 15,000 hectares of industrial and residential land. That is more than 4,600 hectares of farmland and the Vancouver International Airport.

When we look at these arguments, it becomes imperative for us to make commitments now and commitments we can actually live up to.

I have heard this question in the media, as well in the House today. How can we make firm commitments when others do not? We keep using the fact that the U.S., one of the largest polluters, and China have not signed on to Kyoto, so therefore our not living up to Kyoto is not a big deal.

If we were to apply that same kind of logic to everything else we do, then Canada would be frozen into inaction. We would be immobile. We did not wait for everyone in the world to be in agreement before we sent our troops into Libya. We do not wait until every country honours human rights for us to fight for human rights around the world. We are not waiting until every country becomes a democracy to then say now we are going to promote and push for democracy.

Canada is a leader on the world stage. As a leader on the world stage, this is our opportunity, our chance to be a leader and show that we really do care about the environment, the future economy and the future of this planet, not just for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren.

Climate change is not just going to happen in one area of the world. We are already beginning to experience the impacts of climate change. All of us have experienced the erratic weather recently and maybe the lack of snow in some areas and the massive amounts of snow in other areas. All of us know this is a direct result of what we have done to the environment over the years. Climate change does not respect international borders drawn by man.

We cannot say that because some countries have been taking these kinds of actions, therefore climate change is not going to occur in that part of the world. We have to take a leadership role, show that we mean business and that we are still a player on the international stage when it comes to being advocates for the environment.

Historically, the government has killed climate accountability measures before such as the accountability act that was introduced by our past leader, Jack Layton, but it is not too late today to still make those commitments. The costs, both human and economic, of not paying attention today are too high. David Suzuki does a wonderful experiment by which he shows how lack of action, even for a small period, can lead to an acceleration, which is way beyond our imagination, of the damage we are doing to our planet.

Together it is the responsibility of parliamentarians on both sides of the House to work together to prevent financial, social and environmental costs by working with all nations, not by isolating them, and leading by example. We have done that before and we need to do it again. Not only that, but we need to look at our own actions.

I would like to read into the record a letter written to me by a grade 11 student that I received today. She says, “I'm writing to you as someone concerned about ecological harm the oil sands in Alberta are causing. As a result, I would like to see something done to protect our environment. Oil sands production requires a very large amount of water”. She ends by saying, “However, animals aren't the only ones suffering, as other 30 different first nations groups live in the oil sands region”.

She is appealing to us. I wish I could read the whole letter into the record to show that this grade 11 student did her research and wrote a very detailed letter as to why we needed to play a critical role and be a world leader, not a fossil once again when it comes to the environment.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to enter into this debate with a question for the hon. member.

The hon. member may know that Canada has recommitted $1.2 billion toward a global adaptation fund, something I am very proud of, but there is something else this government has done. It amazes me that the member quoted things that, frankly, take a shot at her own country. I cannot understand that. It takes a shot at Canadians, the Canadian economy and Canadian workers.

We are moving to regulate, in absolute terms, the emissions of this country for a reduction of 17% by 2020. That is a target that has been matched by the United States. Perhaps she can name another government, other than this one, that has managed an absolute reduction in greenhouse gases. Maybe that is what she should be saying to international partners and asking what they are doing, because Canada is acting, is reducing emissions in absolute terms, and we are going to continue to do that all the way to 2020.

Does she say that when she speaks with international partners or does she down talk people who work in the energy sector in this country who need those jobs?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for the question that I believe was in there somewhere.

Every time somebody has a different point of view, the government tries to paint the person as being anti-Canadian. Let me tell the member that Canada is a democracy and in this democracy people are allowed to debate different points of view. We celebrate the fact that we have those different points of view. It is not a surprise to Canadians that through the media they are seeing that in the first two days of the Durban conference Canada received three fossil awards.

Miners and archeologists celebrate when they find fossils, but when we look at our role in the environmental sector, that is not something to celebrate. Yet, my colleagues across the aisle last week cheered when it was mentioned they had won the fossil award again. That is nothing to be proud of. It does not make me feel proud to be a Canadian. If being a Canadian means having to damage the environment, then I am a Canadian who wants to protect the environment.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has to understand it cannot solve the world's most pressing environmental issues simply by throwing money at it. It requires leadership at home and internationally.

I would like to thank the hon. member for pointing out that climate change in Africa is a life and death situation. In terms of malaria, it affects 300 million people. We know with climate change that range will increase. It affects pregnant women and kills an African child every 30 seconds. Pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria infection. It increases their risk of illness, severe anemia and death. Maternal malaria increases the risk of spontaneous abortion, premature deliveries, stillbirth and low birth weight, a leading cause of child mortality.

Our government focuses on maternal and child health and we have an opportunity to help prevent malaria and save lives through taking action on climate change.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, people are often judged both nationally and internationally by how they behave and by their actions toward the most vulnerable in our society. However, we are talking about something that impacts everybody. Having millions of dollars in the bank is not going to protect people from environmental harm that results from climate change.

Let me put on the record an excerpt from a report. The 2010 annual climate change performance index indicated that Canada finished in 54th place out of 57 countries that were evaluated, 54th out of 57, with only Australia, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia faring worse than Canada. That is not a record that the government should feel proud of. We have a lot to do, so let us get on with it, protect our environment, make commitments to firm numbers, and invest in green economies not by re-introducing or re-announcing the same money over and over again. Let us see what can be done with new projects.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, climate change represents a very serious global threat to our environment, our economy and our lives. While employment and the environment are important priorities for Canadian families, the Conservative government continues to ignore the wishes of the people and is showing, once again, that it is completely out of touch with reality.

Climate change is having an impact on Canada. A September 2011 report released by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy estimates that climate change could cost Canada up to $5 billion a year by 2020 and between $21 billion and $43 billion a year by 2050. In addition, the average temperature in Canada has gone up 1.3oC since 1948. A sea level rise of one metre could cause over 15,000 hectares of industrial and residential land to flood, along with over 4,600 hectares of farm land and the Vancouver International Airport.

Insurance payouts in Quebec for claims related to sudden storms and flooded basements in 2005 and 2006 represented a 25% increase in water-related payouts in Quebec compared to 2001 and 2002. All of these facts cannot be ignored. We must take action on the environment. Every action counts and can make a difference. We must work together.

The NDP's vision is a Canada that invests in future generations and in clean jobs, and that assumes international leadership in the fight against climate change and the establishment of a new energy economy.

We must think of future generations—I am thinking of my young son—and it starts today. Our children have the right to hope for an incredible future and quality of life and this will depend on the choices we make on a daily basis about the environment.

A number of environmental disasters clearly show that the climate is warming and that we must take action now. Instead, the government is trying to sabotage the Kyoto protocol. Climate change has consequences for the health and safety of people, animals, forests, farms and water supplies. That is why it is important to take concrete action to stop it.

As is the case in other parts of the world, Quebec has entered the era of climate change. Every Quebec region is facing extreme weather events. For example, in spring 2011, there was flooding along the Richelieu River caused by record snowfall in the Lake Champlain basin, and the wet spring in Montérégie was responsible for historic floods in spring 2011. This natural catastrophe affected more than 3,000 households in Montérégie and people are still feeling its effects. For two consecutive years, during the winters of 2010 and 2011, the ice failed to form in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This affected a number of economic and tourism activities.

These are two examples of the effects of climate change on our immediate environment. But we all know that disasters are occurring at an astounding rate throughout the world. It is now December and it is raining. It is wrong to believe that we cannot make a difference regarding the environment and global warming, and it is even worse to ignore the alarm bells.

My colleagues and I want to be leaders in the international fight against climate change and in ensuring that Canadian jobs will not disappear.

The NDP's main priorities for the next international climate change agreement are: a fair, ambitious and binding agreement; adequate financial resources for the green fund as of 2013; the reduction of the “gigatonne gap” between the promised emission reductions and the measures actually taken; and the elimination of the gap between the legally binding commitments.

The government's lack of action with regard to climate change is tarnishing Canada's international reputation.

The NDP supports demands for a new, fair, ambitious and binding agreement on climate change to succeed the Kyoto protocol.

Developed countries must do their fair share by reducing their emissions in a way that reflects their existing and historic responsibilities with regard to global emissions.

The current targets that countries have adopted under the Copenhagen accord will not reduce emissions enough to limit the increase in average global temperature to 2°C above the pre-industrial level. Reducing this gap and preventing dangerous climate change will require all countries, including Canada, to implement ambitious measures.

Canada must make a second round of commitments in the Kyoto protocol's second commitment period or as part of an alternative agreement, should countries decide to abandon the Kyoto protocol.

A healthy planet is the most valuable gift in the world. It is a gift that we can give future generations.

I think about my little boy. When I was young, there was a lot of snow everywhere. Now, that does not happen very often, and it worries me a lot. Animals are disappearing. Climate change is damaging the planet. We must work together. We are young. We have new ideas. We must share our ideas and find solutions.

I am asking the members opposite—who are not listening to me—to work with us. We have solutions.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

December 5th, 2011 / 4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently and I want to thank the member for her comments on this very important issue.

She said she wants action. Of course, she is seeing action. Does she disagree with the action that the government has taken, specifically in regard to asking all major emitters to sign on to a new international agreement that will truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

With the NDP bill in the last Parliament, Bill C-469, it did not want to have the major emitters participating in a new international agreement. Has the NDP position changed now or did it want to continue on with only 27% of greenhouse gas emissions--

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

An hon. member

Question, question. Order. Question.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

May I continue? Thank you.

The question is, does the member prefer the 27% of global greenhouse gas emissions or 85%?

Second question, does she support the carbon tax that her party supports?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are in favour of a carbon tax, but I personally think we must also work with other countries. We must be at the table and discuss the problems. We must not abandon the Kyoto protocol. We must work together. We are talking about the future of our children and our children's children. It is important to me and to our party to be at the forefront and to take a leadership role. That is what we are doing.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find it a little bit strange that the member opposite seems to be claiming that Canada is showing leadership in another direction other than Kyoto. I would like to ask my hon. colleague, does she think Canada is really trying to do something significant as an alternative to Kyoto, if it is receiving these fossil awards at the conference in Durban, and would the international community agree with that assessment?

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question.

I find that the three fossil awards Canada has received are proof that we are not at the forefront and that the government's plan is inadequate. We are being ridiculed around the world and in the media. We have to take the lead. We have to assume a leadership role. We have to work together. I hope the Green Party is listening to us.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the hon. member's speech, I heard her talk about her son quite a bit. In fact, through her son, she probably has access to the younger generation, to her son's friends and classmates. In her opinion, are young children worried about what is happening right now in terms of climate change? How do they view all this? How does the younger generation see it?