Madam Speaker, I would like to return to a question that I raised on February 17, 2012, about the government's record on climate change.
As chance would have it, since I asked my question, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development has issued a report on the Conservative government’s performance with respect to the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act passed by Parliament in 2007 to ensure that Canada meets its commitments and obligations.
The Conservatives boast that they are champions of law and order. They may preach observance of the law, but they themselves flout it.
In 2007, Parliament passed an act requiring the government to publish annual climate change plans and to explain how it intends to achieve the emission targets set by the Kyoto protocol.
The Commissioner of the Environment is responsible for verifying whether the government is fulfilling its obligations — hence his most recent report. As one might imagine, the results are pathetic.
The commissioner’s judgment is terse: the Conservatives have not managed to reach the Kyoto protocol targets. To meet the 6%, Canada would have had to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 805 million tonnes more by 2012.
However, here is what irritates me most. I quote the Commissioner:
If all the measures in the annual climate change plan had been implemented and the total expected reductions in the plan had been achieved, it would still not have been sufficient to meet the government’s Kyoto Protocol target. To meet the target, GHG emissions would have to be reduced by an additional 805 million tonnes by 2012.
More clearly stated, this means that the Conservative government did not even try to meet the Kyoto targets. Not trying is worse than failing.
The government recently confirmed that it would rescind the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. To avoid having to face the public, the amendments were included on page 401 of the Budget Implementation bill. Thus the Standing Committee on Finance will have to study the elimination of Canada's international obligations with respect to the Kyoto protocol at the same time as examines amendments to 60 other acts. It is ridiculous.
We in the NDP would have liked to have the budget implementation bill split to allow the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to be responsible for studying amendments concerning environmental statutes. Would that not be logical? Apparently not for the government, which hopes to keep out of the public eye.
We will not let the government do that. We are going to give Quebeckers and Canadians the opportunity to be heard. The NDP will be organizing five large meetings across Canada so that ordinary people can provide their opinions on the budget implementation bill. One meeting will be held in Montreal, near my riding, on Wednesday, May 23, in the Saint-Pierre centre on Panet Street. There is still time to change things. We need an open debate for the health of our democracy.
I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment a few questions. Will the Government of Canada finally be honest with Canadians about the costs related to climate change? Will it be honest with Canadians about the sectors that will be affected by the cuts made at Environment Canada? Will the minister stop muzzling scientists and admit that an open debate is necessary to the well-being of our democracy? Will it listen to Canadians who want to leave their children a better, more sustainable, greener and more prosperous country, or will it continue to govern with blinders on?
The government is attacking not only our environment, but also our democracy by preventing an open debate. This very morning, three Government of Canada ministers appeared at a parliamentary committee without notice and gave testimony for an hour. After having regurgitated the talking points from the Prime Minister's Office, they did not leave the members much time for questions.
I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary if she will allow an open and honest debate.