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House of Commons Hansard #188 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was asbestos.

Topics

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to say that the member does make a good point about the collaboration between the provinces and the federal government. We are doing that on a daily basis.

It is a very exciting time right now on committee. We hear the administrators of hospitals, the doctors and the nurses come in and talk about their innovative programs, which are provincially structured but by the same token under the umbrella of the federal transfer payments that went to their provinces. This collaboration is very good because it is not only collaboration between the provincial and federal governments, it is also collaboration between the doctors, the nurses and the patients. We are hearing more and more that patients have to be an integral part of their healing and about healthy living. We are also hearing about end of life issues in an aging demographic, where people are healthier if they stay at home. They are more restful if those kinds of health provisions can be provided for them in their own homes.

It is very important that this collaboration continue. I am very proud of what is happening right now.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is an enormous report that filters a lot of information. It combines two studies done by the Standing Committee on Health: the study on chronic diseases related to aging and the study on health promotion and disease prevention.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the committee’s analysts, who did an incredible job of synthesizing everything the witnesses said and the content of the various briefs we received. I counted them: we heard from 76 groups and organizations to produce this report, and a lot of information was gathered.

And yet we see that the committee’s report contains only six short recommendations, when the witnesses had so much to tell us and propose to us in the course of the study. Those six recommendations alone cannot respond to the needs expressed and the scope of the problem we are facing. Making only six short recommendations to effectively prepare Canada for demographic change and for rising demand for long-term care is ridiculous.

That is why the NDP made a number of other recommendations in its minority report. I would also like to say something to my Liberal colleagues: they have nothing to teach us on this subject. It was under the Liberals that the biggest cuts in this field took place, so they have no credibility in this regard.

We know that chronic diseases are becoming increasingly common and that managing those diseases presents enormous challenges. The Public Health Agency of Canada told the committee that the chronic diseases that affect the aging population, as well as the general population, cost Canada $190 billion.

Unfortunately, we then find that everything we did in committee and everything we studied is summed up in six short recommendations. It is important that the government take a leadership role when it comes to the health care system. Various surveys clearly show that Canadians want the government to show some leadership in relation to the health care system. I hope we will see some in 2015.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

(Motion agreed to)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

November 29th, 2012 / 7:15 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, on September 21, I asked a very clear question: why is the government not taking action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions? Unfortunately, once again, I did not get an answer to my question. The situation is urgent. There is a growing number of alarming studies about the warming of the Arctic. There are serious consequences for Canada.

This week, the World Meteorological Organization published a report indicating that the layer of ice in the Arctic has never been so thin. Between March and September, the Earth lost approximately 12 million square kilometres of ice sheets, which is more than the total land mass of the United States. According to the Forum for Leadership on Water, the melting glaciers and global warming have already started to have disastrous consequences in terms of the quality of fresh water in Canada. The spreading of cyanobacteria, the acidity of lakes, and the drop in the water level of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, are very real.

What is the government doing? It is cutting the number of scientists and researchers, abandoning the Experimental Lakes Region, axing programs to evaluate the toxicity of the St. Lawrence, including the program at the Institut Maurice-Lamontagne in Quebec, and doing away with the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, whose principal mandate is to find solutions to climate change. Why? To make it easier for the big polluters to destroy out air, our water and our environment, without us being able to notice. Honestly!

While heads of state are currently gathered in Doha to hammer out an agreement to follow the Kyoto Protocol, what is the federal government doing? It is announcing that it will no longer contribute to the climate fund for developing nations. It is saying that Canada will make no commitments unless other countries act first. What a lack of leadership. Canada, with its abundant natural resources, should be a role model when it comes to the environment and be paving the way for an international agreement to counter global warming. But no, the Conservative government prefers to play the role of saboteur of the negotiations.

The United Nations Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diver, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, has said that Ottawa was making a mistake withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol. He said that:

It is worrisome, because we are all in the same boat. Either all countries work together to address the problem of climate change, or else we shall all fail.

Can we permit ourselves to fail? The future of the planet is at stake. Moreover, this is not a moral obligation, but a question of economic common sense. A low carbon economy is the way of the future. The Blue Green Alliance, a civil society initiative, recently published a study demonstrating that transitioning towards renewable energy may create over 18,000 jobs in Canada. Were the government to stop giving handouts to polluters, like big oil, in the form of tax credits, and invest this money, $1.3 billion, in green technologies, it would create real wealth and long-term jobs for all Canadians.

Moreover, former Conservative Prime Minister, Kim Campbell, backs this idea. According to her, Canada is at a crossroads and must go down the path of an economy based on sustainable development. There needs to be investment in solar, wind and electric energy. Because of its inaction, Canada risks losing jobs and its competitive edge.

While the emerging economies are investing in green technologies, the Canadian federal government is doing nothing. The Round Table on the Environment and the Economy estimates that it will cost $87 billion over the next 30 years if we do not act. So, what does the government intend to do? What is its strategy?

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way for her interest in this important issue. I want to assure her that our government takes the challenge of climate change very seriously.

Under the Copenhagen accord, Canada committed to a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2005 levels by the year 2020. This target matches that set by the United States. The North American economy is integrated to the point where alignment of certain climate change policies is necessary in order to maintain competitiveness for Canadian industries.

To reach our target, we are implementing a regulatory approach that will systematically address all major sources of emissions. Performance standards are being developed to drive investments in new clean energy technologies and industries, while at the same time generating reductions in emissions.

In August our government released Canada's Emissions Trends 2012. In this document the government has been very clear about what we are doing to address climate change and the expected impact of our actions. This report presents projections of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada to 2020 and explains how current federal and provincial government actions are having a significant impact on emissions reductions.

This report shows that taken together the measures of Canada's federal and provincial governments, combined with the efforts of consumers and businesses, are projected to reduce emissions by about half of the reductions needed to achieve the 2020 target.

Our commitment to addressing climate change is demonstrated by the fact that we have already taken action on two of Canada's largest sources of emissions: transportation and electricity.

This week the Government of Canada took further action to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from passenger automobiles and light trucks, issuing proposed regulations that build on existing regulations for the 2011 to 2016 model years. These new regulations will address the 2017 and later model years.

As a result of the government's light-duty vehicle regulations, vehicles in 2025 will emit about half as many greenhouse gases as 2008 models. Not only will this help us in addressing climate change, but will result in up to $900 per year, per car in fuel cost savings for Canadians.

In August our government announced the final regulations for Canada's coal-fired electricity sector. These regulations will impose stringent GHG performance standards on new coal-fired electricity generation units and on units that have reached the end of their economic life. The regulations will encourage Canada's transition toward lower or non-emitting types of generation, making our world-leading clean electricity supply even cleaner.

Having begun with transportation and electricity, we are now moving to address emissions in other major emitting sectors of the economy, including oil and gas.

This government has a comprehensive climate change plan that is designed to reduce emissions, while maintaining economic growth and job creation, and it is working.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the sector by sector plan is not credible at all.

Since coming into power, the Conservative government has regulated only two sectors that it itself singled out: the transportation and electricity sectors. When it comes to the sector with the most greenhouse gas emissions, the oil sector, we are still waiting.

When the government says that it would be too expensive to comply with the Kyoto protocol, its analysis is based on hot air. We have never seen the details of this analysis. Moreover, the government will not say how much its sector by sector plan will cost. The hidden costs of its regulatory approach will far surpass any expenses related to the Kyoto protocol. According to several economists, who made themselves known this week, the cost of regulating carbon is estimated at $16 billion, and the cost of regulating the auto sector is estimated to be $32 billion. The total cost is, in fact, $52 billion.

I will ask my question again, despite the fact that I have asked it about four times. How much will the government's plan to combat greenhouse gas emissions cost? What is the total bill that will be passed on to consumers?

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, the data shows in the report that was released in 2012 that Canada is making progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions despite a growing population and economy. The report shows that Canada's overall greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 decreased by 6.5% from 2005 levels, while our economy grew by 6.2% over the same period. These results show that we are effectively decoupling economic growth from emissions growth.

Canadians can be proud of the fact that per capita emissions in 2010 were at their lowest level since tracking began in 1990.

Fisheries and OceansAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-François Fortin Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 27, I spoke in the House during question period to ask the government about the planned closing of the library at the Maurice Lamontagne marine research institute, which is located in my riding, in the Lower St. Lawrence.

This reference library is the only Fisheries and Oceans Canada documentation centre in Quebec, and the only one to provide service in French. According to information obtained from the Commissioner of Official Languages, the two libraries that will remain, one in the Maritimes and the other in British Columbia, will have only unilingual English-speaking employees. It is therefore unrealistic for the time being for the government to say, as it has been doing, that service in French will be available to users. I have moreover filed a formal complaint under the Official Languages Act.

The Maurice Lamontagne Institute library houses 61,000 reference works. The government is saying that most of these works will be digitized and made accessible. However, the Copyright Act prohibits digitization of most of the works in the collection. It is therefore impossible to do so, from both a practical and a technical standpoint. Not only that, but the government cut funds available for digitization in its last budget. To give but one example, over 50% of digitization funds are being cut at Library and Archives Canada.

Government representatives are also saying that the documents that cannot be digitized will be moved to the remaining libraries. In practical terms, in view of the cuts that have been announced and the budget restrictions at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, adding thousands of new documents to the collections at the surviving libraries will take years. In the meantime, the scientific works will be unavailable and packed away in boxes, along with the information they contain.

Science is quite literally being shelved. Following the incident of the Quebec artifacts last spring, when the government tried to put our heritage in storage, it now wants to put our knowledge in storage. Are we entering a new dark age? I am very much afraid that this may be the case.

Government representatives have been saying that this is all part of a modernization process and that digitizing documents is a good thing. If the government is that keen on this modernization process, I would suggest that it retain the Maurice Lamontagne Institute library staff and that it give the library a broader mandate and the funds needed to gradually digitize the documents that are free of copyright restrictions, thereby meeting its stated objective while allowing full access throughout the process to documents that are useful to the scientific community, and thus preserving the department’s only French-language library.

I still find it impossible to understand why the government decided to keep only two of the libraries, neither of which operates in French. It is insulting, and the government should put things right. Not only that, but why send documents concerning regional issues to another province, when they are primarily useful to researchers working in Quebec?

When the government representative said in her reply to my November 27 question that the government is eliminating waste and duplication in its activities, did she mean that maintaining access to knowledge and making 61,000 scientific documents available is wasteful?

I would now like to add that the Quebec minister responsible for Canadian intergovernmental affairs, Alexandre Cloutier is joining me today in condemning the closure of the Maurice Lamontagne Institute library and officially requesting that the government go back on its decision. His action is part of a collective movement that is growing in Quebec and which will, I hope, make it possible to reverse the decision.

I will therefore repeat my question. Will the government abandon its plan to close the only francophone library at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, or is it going to deprive Quebec scientists of high-quality resources?

Fisheries and OceansAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the member opposite on the issue of the closure of the library of the Maurice-Lamontagne Institute in Mont Joli, Quebec.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada provides library services to its staff in support of the department's mandate. The department's libraries contain one of the world's most comprehensive collections of information on fisheries, aquatic sciences and nautical sciences. These very specialized collections also support researchers in other segments of the Canadian economy.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada recognizes that library service is evolving as more and more Canadians are turning to electronic sources and the Internet to search for resources and information. This willingness to look online, coupled with an increasing presence of information online, including electronic scientific journals, has enabled the department to consider consolidating its library resources.

The power of the Internet in facilitating access to library resources is already evident at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. For example, in just one year, over 96% of client requests were addressed virtually. Accessing the service from their own desks, clients downloaded over 137,000 articles. They used the WAVES catalogue over 7,500 times and contacted library staff via phone or email almost 8,000 times.

Complementing this shift is the fact that 95% of the annual library acquisition budget is spent on access to online journals and other digital research tools. The department's library modernization initiative takes advantage of increasingly sophisticated technologies as a preferred means for the availability of library resources.

While the hon. member feels our government is doing away with knowledge, this is not the case. The Fisheries and Oceans Canada entire library collection will remain available throughout two principle locations: Sidney, British Columbia and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. There will also be two specialized libraries to support the Canadian Coast Guard located in Sydney, Nova Scotia and here in the National Capital Region in Ottawa.

In addition, all material in the library collection for which the crown owns copyright can be digitized for a client by staff located in the aforementioned locations. Materials are often available freely in digital form on the Internet provided by international bodies, all levels of government both within Canada and internationally, and research institutes.

On request, portions of publications will be scanned and emailed where allowed by intellectual property rights and copyright law or, failing that, shipped to requesters. In addition, the department will ship entire publications to clients on loan as necessary. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is aware of intellectual property rights, including copyright, of information owners in its delivery of library services to clients and will continue to respect these rights.

In addition, Fisheries and Oceans Canada library services will continue to be offered in English and French. The department's library modernization initiative has been designed to respect this requirement. The French language reference documents to which the hon. member refers will continue to be available on request and there will be permanent, full-time, bilingual staff at the locations in Sidney, B.C. and Dartmouth to meet the demands of Francophone clients.

In conclusion, all currently available library resources will continue to remain available to Fisheries and Oceans Canada clients both in Quebec and across Canada. The only change is the process to search for and acquire them.

Fisheries and OceansAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-François Fortin Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. parliamentary secretary's answer. He provided some interesting details that were not made available before, but there are also some facts to be faced.

I am neither an expert in documentation nor a scientist, but this week, more than 40 professionals from the literary community, librarians and library technicians, were up in arms over the decision. I trust these people who took the trouble to say that the time had come to take a stand.

Being able to consult articles online is a good thing and we have nothing against modernization or information technology. However, consulting articles online is one thing, but consulting monographs and more than 61,000 works is quite another. There is a problem. That is why I sent a letter directly to the Prime Minister this week. That letter is from the librarians asking him to intervene directly because it is clear that Fisheries and Oceans is out of control.

Fisheries and OceansAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that Canadians are increasingly using electronic sources and the Internet to search for information. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is modernizing its libraries to take advantage of the extensive availability of information and resources in digital form. Even today, most requests are received and delivered electronically, and modernizing our libraries allows for easier and cost-efficient search and access for all clients no matter where their location.

The department's library collection will remain available to its clients both in Quebec and across Canada and services will continue to be offered in French and English. Materials will be scanned and emailed or shipped to requesters while respecting intellectual property rights. The only change, as I said, is the process to search for and acquire them.

Fisheries and OceansAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The motion to adjourn the House is deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:38 p.m.)