Mr. Speaker, today I have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-38. Unfortunately, not everyone in the House will have that opportunity because, once again, the Conservatives have moved a time allocation motion. This is the 18th closure motion we have had this year. It is truly scandalous and shameful of the Conservatives to prevent us from exercising our democratic right.
The incredibly massive Bill C-38 will completely change Canada's environmental laws, among others. The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, of which I am a member, studied the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act quickly, without bothering to properly assess all the necessary situations or hear from the witnesses it needed to hear from in order to do this report justice. The report was rushed and clumsily written. Yet the changes in the bill are based on this report. These changes, as we see very clearly, will hinder development. My hon. colleague says it is common sense, but I beg to differ. It is dangerous. Putting all our efforts into oil, gas, industries and pipelines will not protect the environment. That makes no sense.
In his speech, my hon. colleague said that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act will benefit industry. I am sorry, but an environmental assessment act is there to protect the environment, not to invest in industry. What he said earlier is far from common sense.
This bill is truly worrisome. The cornerstone of federal environmental protection will be totally shattered. It will break. This is all happening quickly without any opportunity for study.
In the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, we pleaded for the chance to study this bill that will truly change things and turn Canada on its head when it comes to environmental protection. Do you know what we were told? That this would be debated and reviewed in the Standing Committee on Finance. That is not where this work should be done. This bill should be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
I know that the report on the Environmental Assessment Act has been read. The NDP presented a dissenting report. I must point out that, when the report was studied, we did not hear witnesses from the National Energy Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development or Parks Canada. Parks Canada was not even invited. We have learned that many jobs at Parks Canada are being eliminated. Does anyone realize that the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development is currently studying a national conservation plan? We want to protect biodiversity. Canada is the country that is doing the least to protect biodiversity.
Furthermore, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy will be shut down by this budget. We are going to abandon a forum that brought the economy and the environment together. Is that common sense? The round table will be eliminated even though the report clearly shows that marine biodiversity is endangered. We have to do something. We have signed an international agreement that says we must protect 10% of marine habitats. How many of our marine habitats are protected at present? Only 1%. We want to develop a great national conservation plan but cuts are being made to Parks Canada. That is truly shameful.
I could provide many more examples. I urge my colleagues to read the NDP's dissenting report on the Environmental Assessment Act. It clearly shows all the work that was not done and makes it clear that this bill is an attempt to hide the problem.
I really want to talk about the fact that they are also going to get rid of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. Right now, are my colleagues in this House aware of the position we are taking and what work is being done on addressing climate change and greenhouse gas emissions?
In terms of the fight against climate change, in 2009, Canada ranked eighth and last among G8 countries and 59th out of 60 major countries in the world, just ahead of Saudi Arabia. That is really bad.
Recently, Inuit representatives appeared before the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. They told us that some people want development in the north and want to build pipelines, even though the north is suffering the effects of climate change and polar bears have become a threat to northern residents because the ice is melting and they do not have any place to fish.
Do people know that, right now, the permafrost is almost all gone and all the infrastructure in the north is going to have to be rebuilt? Climate change is not just something that is going to happen in 10 or 15 years; it is something that is happening right now. We absolutely must fight climate change. But this budget contains no concrete measures or efforts to do that.
In fact, the Conservative government has eliminated a great program that worked really well, the eco-energy home retrofit program, which allowed all Canadians to do their part. It was the only program that made sense; the only program that existed to fight climate change.
And what is being done in this budget to fight climate change? More industries are being created and more oil is being produced from the oil sands. They want to increase our production of oil from the oil sands, not to meet our needs here in Canada, but to meet the needs of China and Asia. Is that what Canada's natural resources plan involves? Is that our plan for a diversified economy?
The minister wrote in the budget that this is a long-term budget. No, it is not. It is a short-term budget that aims solely at making money in the short term with the oil from the oil sands, and then they will take the money and run. I am sorry, but they will not be able to go anywhere else, because the issue of global warming is a priority for the whole planet, right now.
We have a target to meet: not more than 2% of global warming over the next few years, or else we are headed for disaster.
The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, which our dear friends the Conservatives are unfortunately going to abolish in this budget, has stated that the longer we wait to invest in the fight against climate change, the more it will cost Canadians.
The Conservatives think that sitting back and doing nothing will bring down taxes. That is not true. The Conservatives have told us many times that it is the NDP that wants to increase taxes, but the only program that is really going to increase taxes is the budget. It will lead to higher taxes for Canadians. That is what is going to happen.
If we do not start fighting climate change immediately, it will cost us more in the long run. And this is in the reports of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Unfortunately, they are going to get rid of the round table, which was fair and which brought together business people, people from industry, environmentalists and the first nations; all these groups were invited to sit at the same table to draft completely impartial reports.
How can we fight climate change and improve the environment when we are cutting back on science? That is serious now. We do not think that science is the be-all and end-all, but science makes it possible to make the right decisions.
In conclusion, I would like to urge the Conservatives to make an effort and allow the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development and the other appropriate committees to examine the laws that are being amended.
I have not talked about the Fisheries Act, even though dangerous changes can be foreseen in fish habitat. This is very serious and it absolutely must be studied by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.