Mr. Speaker, in the Kingston Whig-Standard on June 10, 1991, someone made this comment: There is a choice between jobs and the environment. The same person, later in his career, went on to say, “We didn't get it done” with regard to the environment. Who was that person? The former Liberal leader.
So I find it very interesting today that my colleagues from the Liberal Party are talking about environmental protection when clearly their track record speaks to the contrary. They saw greenhouse gas emissions rise significantly under their mandate, while they took no action to combat climate change. They also saw questionable economic policies, which they support to this day.
By contrast, our Conservative government has taken a balanced approach to protecting the environment and promoting economic growth. Since we have taken office, we have seen an enormous expansion of the Canadian economy and we have seen stability through recessionary times, but we have also seen improvement in Canada's environment. We have had stability in funding programs for environmental programs that see real results. For example, earlier this year we announced our inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for 2009-2010 and, even though during that period our economy grew by 3.2%, which is a great thing, our greenhouse gas emissions held steady. Why is this? It is because of balance. It is about working with stakeholder groups, with the public, in a way that we can ensure economic growth while seeing real reductions in emissions.
To contextualize this, I want to talk a bit about our government's investments and track record in the environment, to set some things straight, because we have heard so much rhetoric about cuts to the environment and no action, whereas that is really the case with the former Liberal government. Since 2006, we have invested billions of dollars in cleanup mechanisms, clean-energy technology, clean-energy regulation actions, cleanup for federal contaminated sites; we have developed transportation sector regulations and next-generation clean transportation initiatives, which we support through budgetary measures; and we have invested $27 million to improve Canada's weather services. It goes on and on.
Frequently, my colleagues from the Liberal Party vote against these measures. So I am not sure how they can stand up in the House of Commons and talk about cuts when they do not support programs that work in our country. Furthermore, when we look at the economic action plan 2012, which is a plan to create jobs and economic growth, we also see significant investments in the environment. We have $50 million of increased funding for the protection of Canada's species at risk, we are committing to the creation and funding of a new near-urban national park in Rouge Valley, we are committing to continued support for Canada's lakes including Lake Winnipeg and Lake Simcoe and we are providing expanded tax relief for clean-energy generation equipment. All of these sorts of things are positive, outcome-based measures to protect Canada's environment, yet my colleagues opposite vote against these. They characterize these as cuts.
My colleague has been talking about the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Funding for this agency is stable; it has actually increased this year. She voted against that. I just find it surprising that the members have not taken the time to look at the budget bill and realize that there are some very good things to support Canada's environment in this budget, and there is continued support since 2006 when we took government.
There was some argument in the House earlier today about Ontario's environmental policy. Recently, we have seen some policy in that province increase electricity costs by 41%, where we have actually seen a reduction in jobs because of that policy. Again, it is not about balance. We want to see real outcomes while ensuring economic growth, and our government has a track record of doing so.
I will continue with regard to greenhouse gas emissions and regulations around that, because we have heard a lot about that today. Our sector-by-sector regulatory approach, which we are committed to funding through the budget, will actually see a real reduction. We have committed to 17% from the 2005-level target, which we are close to meeting. The International Institute of Sustainable Development said we are on the right track with that policy and our budgetary measures speak to that and support it.
The other thing I wanted to talk about was budget 2012 providing further funding of $35.7 million over two years to further strengthen our tanker safety regime, including ensuring appropriate legislative and regulatory frameworks related to oil spills and emergency preparedness and response. This means that in certain confined Canadian waterways, tanker operators must take a marine pilot with local knowledge on board before entering a harbour or a busy waterway, and in special circumstances more stringent measures may be taken. This is another concrete example of a budgetary measure where we are protecting Canada's environment but also ensuring we are being wise stewards of taxpayer dollars.
I do not know why we cannot talk about real solutions here. We are not talking about the reality of this budget. It includes very strong measures to support environmental protection. We are seeing positive outcomes with our government's plans, including the air quality management system. We are seeing reductions in particulate matter. We also have our clean water management plan, which is seeing real cleanup in Canada's Great Lakes. We are seeing a reduction of pollution in these areas. I would hope my colleagues opposite would realize that there are measures in here that are designed to work, but they also designed to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
I will close with the responsible resource development component of budget 2012.
Over the next 25 years, the Canadian energy and mining sectors are projected to provide trillions of dollars in economic growth for our country. Therefore, for us as legislators, the question is this. How do we recognize that this is a competitive advantage for our Canadian economy? How do we develop these precious resources sustainably but ensure we have environmental protection? This is a question we take quite seriously.
Certainly, coming from Alberta, a province that is at the forefront of this issue, I hold the issue very close to my heart. I think we are striking the right balance. The responsible resource development section of budget 2012 will ensure economic growth that we can drive to decision points through a rigorous environmental assessment process. Not only is the environment sensitive, but so is our investment sensitivity climate. Therefore, on some of these projects where there are very narrow windows to market, we can actually drive that to a decision in a predictable and timely way. By no means does that mean we will see reduced environmental protection. That is just not the case. We feel we can have that rigour in environmental assessment through an open, transparent and predictable process but also ensure we have a timely decision-making process for industry.
I do not understand why we cannot have that debate in this House. It is always focused on rhetoric on one side or the other. This is about balance in this country and ensuring that Canada's competitive advantage for our economy is secured, but also that our natural heritage continues to be protected for years to come. Therefore, I urge my colleagues opposite to actually take the time to understand the components in the budget, to realize that there is a large amount of investment in Canada's environment and to move forward from there. We have seen over the last six years that we have had a great track record of investing in Canada's environment and seeing real results.
The last point I would make is to ask my colleagues opposite to point to key measures the Liberal Party has taken to actually move Canada's environmental protection regime forward. Again, I think it is important to note the failure of their government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It signed us on to a protocol that now would only see 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions included in it. We have been taking a more robust approach in asking all major emitters around the world to come to the table to have binding targets, to have transparent reporting on their emissions. That was just not the case in the previous Liberal government.
I hope today that, instead of focusing on falsehoods and rhetoric, my colleagues opposite will have a look at what is in the budget, which is millions of dollars for Canadian environmental protection, and support it because it will mean the long-term economic prosperity of our country but also the environmental protection of Canada's great natural heritage.