Mr. Speaker, Canada is committed to working together to address climate change in a way that is fair, effective and comprehensive and allows us to continue to create jobs here in Canada. We believe that a new agreement with legally binding commitments for all major emitters represents the path forward. The Durban platform builds on our work at Copenhagen and Cancun.
Our government has taken action since 2006 to make real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberal Party, by contrast, has lost the right to speak about environmental leadership.
The Liberals signed the Kyoto protocol in 1997, but they had no real plan. Eddie Goldenberg, one of former prime minister Jean Chrétien's top aides, later revealed that the Liberals went ahead with the Kyoto protocol on climate change even though they knew there was a good chance Canada would not meet its goals for pollution reduction. The Liberals ratified the Kyoto protocol in 2002, but there was still no plan to implement it. As the member for Kings—Hants pointed out at the time, “there was no long-term planning”.
Nine years of inaction later, the former Liberal leader summed up what his party had accomplished on climate change declaring, “We didn't get it done”. The Liberals certainly did not get it done. During those Liberal years of inaction, greenhouse gas emissions went up, not down.
Under Kyoto, Canada was facing radical and irresponsible choices if we wanted to avoid punishing multi-billion dollar penalties. To meet the targets under Kyoto for 2012, we would have to either remove every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car and vehicle of every kind from Canadian roads, or close down the entire farming and agricultural sector and cut heat to every home, office, hospital, factory and building in Canada.
What would have been the cost of taking this type of radical and irresponsible action? The loss of thousands of jobs or the transfer of $14 billion from Canadian taxpayers to other countries. This figure is the equivalent of $1,600 from every Canadian family with no impact on emissions or any benefit to the environment.
Our Conservative government remains committed to reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, and we are making good progress.