Mr. Speaker, sustainable development refers to the government's obligation to think about the impact on future generations every time a decision is made. One of the basic principles of sustainable development is the precautionary principle, which involves looking at the long-term effects of what we are doing and not making a decision that could have a negative impact in the future.
Shale gas exploration and development is a concrete example of why the precautionary principle is necessary. Although natural resources fall under provincial jurisdiction, aspects of their development, such as the effect on navigable and floatable waters, must be examined by the federal government.
We need only look at what the Environmental Protection Agency recently did in the United States, when it warned the people of Wyoming to stop using their well water to do laundry because of a risk of explosion. The agency issued this warning in August 2010. Future generations will never forgive us if we do not take care of them.