Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise tonight in adjournment proceedings to pursue a question I asked in the House on June 14 of this year. Adjournment proceedings is what we colloquially call within the House of Commons “late show”. The purpose of adjournment proceedings is to pursue an answer we received in question period that did not completely answer the question.
One of the difficulties with this process is that quite often by the time we get a chance to pursue the answer a great deal of time has passed. I asked this question on June 14, and the Prime Minister's answer was not in any way evasive, but it did not fully respond to what I hoped to hear. Of course, that is not uncommon. However, I now address the question many months later and much has changed.
Let me first review the question I asked June 14, which was in relation to the upcoming G20 summit. There were a number of stories, particularly in the German press, that Canada was backing off full commitment to reference to the Paris accord in the communiqué, which was to be hosted by Chancellor Merkel. The speculation in the German press was that Canada was doing this to appease the U.S. administration. I was entirely pleased that the Prime Minister refuted these claims in the German press and that, in fact, the G20 summit communiqué was strongly in favour of commitment to the Paris accord, even though the U.S. made it clear that at least the executive of the U.S. government did not want to abide by the Paris accord, although it has not legally withdrawn and neither has it withdrawn from the United Nations framework convention on climate change.
Much has changed since then. I have just returned from COP23. The 23rd conference of the parties, in Bonn, took place over two weeks and ended in the wee hours this last Saturday at 7 a.m. As ever, climate negotiations are difficult. However, the negotiations in Bonn were hosted by the government of Fiji, an unusual proceeding, but it was the first time a low-lying island state from the Pacific could actually host a climate negotiation. This round of negotiations, despite the novelty of Fiji and the chair and the efforts by the Fijian presidency to raise the issues of the immediate, existential threats to low-lying island states, were fairly described as minimalistic, workmanlike, and achieved the bare minimum of what had to be done.
Right now, Canada is poised on the eve of taking the chairmanship of the G7. This is an amazing opportunity for Canada at this time, and I will set out why. I am particularly pleased that Government of Canada and the Prime Minister have said that three themes will emerge for Canada's presidency of the G7 and that one of them will be climate. This is also encouraging.
What is not encouraging at this point is the lack of progress and leadership since Paris. I am not pointing fingers at any one government, but there is clearly a lack of leadership globally. Chancellor Merkel has been very damaged by the last election in Germany. I know I speak for many who hope she will succeed in putting together a coalition government to avoid holding yet another election so soon in Germany, particularly in light of the frightening rise of the far right and anti-immigration, in fact, pretty close to Nazi party. We are looking at a situation where obviously the U.S. is not in leadership.
The world actually needs Canada to step up and show real leadership, which means not just saying we are leaders. It means updating our nationally determined contribution, pledging to deeper cuts in carbon, and pledging to better financing. This is the challenge we face tonight.