Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to pursue a question that I put to the Minister of the Environment in November of last year and it has only now come forward for adjournment proceedings. I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue the matter that I raised at the time, although some time has passed.
The matter relates to the composition of government delegations to international conferences, in particular to the 17th conference of the Parties that took place in Durban, South Africa at the close of 2011 under the framework convention on climate change. Members may recall that there was a change in government policy and a decision was made to exclude members of the opposition from the delegation that took part in COP 17 in Durban.
Given the passage of time, I am hoping that I will be able to determine from the parliamentary secretary what the position of the government will be in relation to the composition of the delegation to COP 18 when it occurs in Doha. I am particularly interested to know whether, at this point, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment can confirm whether Canada plans to participate in COP 18 which will also include negotiations relating to the Kyoto protocol.
The reason for this question will be obvious to those who have been attentive to this issue. On return from Durban, the hon. Minister of the Environment announced that Canada had no intention of participating in the second phase of Kyoto and that we also intended to legally withdraw.
There has not been sufficient attention to the fact that when the Minister of the Environment made this announcement he did not legally withdraw Canada from Kyoto. That is not possible In one fell swoop, so he sent a letter to the UN secretariat on climate change. The effect of that letter was to give a one year notice of Canada's intent to withdraw. This creates an interesting dynamic for the Privy Council in that the legal withdrawal from Kyoto will not take place until after the conclusion of COP 18 which is taking place in Qatar in the city of Doha.
I want to explore a couple of future prospects that I am hoping the government has considered. Will we participate in negotiations relating to the second phase of the Kyoto protocol, as we did in Durban, undermining the progress that other nations intend to make in that second commitment period? Will we stay home from Doha? If we attend Doha at COP 18, will we return to the practice of decades, not merely of a previous Liberal government or a previous majority government or a previous minority government, but going back in time, at least as far as the government under former Prime Minister Trudeau, certainly the practice of former Prime Minister Mulroney and so on through the decades, until we find ourselves in a situation where opposition members for the first time were excluded by the current government?
Will Canada be participating in COP 18? Will members of opposition parties be included? If we participate in COP 18, will we have the effrontery to participate in negotiations under the Kyoto protocol when we have already signalled our legal intention to withdraw?