Mr. Speaker, last December 7 I asked the government why it was failing our country and the world by abdicating global leadership on the world's most pressing environmental issue, climate change.
The first response received was an attack on the Liberal Party for signing on to Kyoto. However, the Minister of the Environment told the Huffington Post that Kyoto was a good idea for its time. How can it be a good idea and also considered a blunder? Obviously, it cannot. Kyoto was indeed a good idea in its time, and the rest of the world thinks it remains a good idea. Only the government thinks otherwise.
Then there was a second attack for not supporting a sector-by-sector approach to climate change. While the parliamentary secretary continues, in her words, to implore me to get on board with her government's sector-by-sector approach, let me be very clear: there is no climate change plan, just final stages of writing new regulations for coal-fired electricity and mere beginning consultations with the oil sands, cement, gas and steel industries.
I will not be party to the government's negligence on climate change, nor to a delay tactic. Moreover, I will not ignore the plight of the countries most vulnerable to climate change: Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sudan, et cetera.
I have recently returned from speaking at an international climate conference in Bangladesh for parliamentarians from over 20 countries. I have since been asked to be on the steering committee for a new international network, Parliamentarians for Climate Justice. Just last week, the United Nations Development Programme asked if I would attend the first meeting for the advisory group of parliamentarians for disaster risk reduction.
In Bangladesh rising sea levels threaten farmland and water supply, despite the fact that its population of 160 million emits less greenhouse gas than Manhattan. In the future, a one-metre sea level rise will submerge one-fifth of the land mass and displace 20 million people. Most distressingly, children on the streets of Bangladesh talk about the taste of climate change. It is salty, they explain, because salt water is already inundating water supplies.
Perhaps the parliamentary secretary might share whether she has ever visited Bangladesh or any other of the countries most vulnerable to climate change to see first-hand what they are experiencing—for example, threatened energy, food, health, livelihoods, water and total human security.
At our last late show the parliamentary secretary made the accusation that while I often talk of supporting scientists and the need for climate adaptation, the Liberal Party voted against the government's budget. The Liberal Party did vote against the past budget because it had major flaws, as does this budget.
To be clear, I take every opportunity in this House to defend science and scientists. We need scientific excellence. We need to ensure that Environment Canada's programs and scientists are fully funded, to develop a scientific integrity policy, to protect the department's scientific findings from being altered, distorted or suppressed. In fact, my Motion No. 321 asked for all these items. Will the parliamentary secretary support it?
When it comes to climate adaptation, I had the privilege of consulting to the adaptation and impacts research group, AIRG, at Environment Canada on the human health impacts of climate change and adaptation. I also served on the intergovernmental panel on climate change for two reports. AIRG undertook internationally renowned research, and many of its scientists shared in the 2007 Nobel Prize on climate change.
It is the government that is slashing the budget of Environment Canada and shutting down adaptation and impacts research.