Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for Drummond.
As I said previously in my question to the Minister of Finance, completely baffling is the decision of the government to retable essentially the same motion that was tabled here last fall, which was passed with the support of our party. What is disappointing is the Liberals have come forward with the exact same motion, sadly, missing the amendments we had recommended, which was that they revise their targets to enable them to deliver on their promise in Paris, to at least hold the climate change to a maximum of 2o, let alone their further promise of 1.5o.
I think there is an understanding now, particularly since the United States has said it will pull out the agreement. As one of the members pointed out, it will take four years for that to happen and many people in the world may hope we have a different administration in the United States by then, an administration that previously committed to delivering on the Paris agreement. It is very disappointing.
We look forward to the speeches by the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Natural Resources. Daily we hear their mantra in here, which is to balance environmental protection with economic development, and that this is the path they will take to address climate change. We are looking forward to hearing the details of how they might be doing that.
Why would we be particularly interested in that? While the government has said that it is determined in every decision it makes on our energy future to balance environmental protection with economic development, it has been very good on one side of that balance by moving expeditiously to approve LNG plants, pipelines, and basically back away from a more intensive review of oil sands operations.
We recently received the report from UNESCO where it investigated the impacts of the oil sands and the Site C dam on a world heritage site in northern Alberta. UNESCO has directed that our nation will lose that world heritage site designation unless the government steps up to the plate and starts doing its job and better regulating the impact of the oil sands on the whole Peace-Athabasca Delta. It has called for a second review assessment of the Site C dam because the federal government, before giving the okay for Site C, did not consider the potential transboundary impacts into Alberta on the world heritage site. Why is that significant? Even during the review of Site C, intervenors came forward and said that building dams on this scale were massively expensive. Also, there did not appear to be the demand for that scale of a project, a demand that was realistically forecast to probably be delivered through geothermal, solar and wind. That was dispensed with.
The government is saying the right things, but we are deeply concerned that it is not necessarily moving in that direction.
Also, the government is still sticking with Stephen Harper's targets. It is a complete mystery not just to those of us in our party, but to all of those who are deeply dedicated to a transition to cleaner energy. The non-governmental organizations, the institutes, the scientists, and the people in the solar, wind, and geothermal sector are troubled. If we are to deliver on those commitments in Paris, then we have to come to the reality that we have to dig even much deeper to reduce.
That means the government has to move on another promise as well, which is to more rapidly get rid of the perverse incentives for the fossil fuel sector. We are not just saying that. The Auditor General has chastised the government for not moving more expeditiously. Now, of course, the previous Conservative government also committed to other nations that it would move expeditiously to remove those perverse incentives. It did not. This government has admitted today, through the finance minister, that it has taken one small measure. The Auditor General is saying it is not good enough.
We like the fact that the government is espousing the policy that it wants to move toward a cleaner energy economy. The Liberals agree with us that we are facing a serious challenge in the planet. We share their concern with the United States saying that it is going to pull out. However, I should not say the United States, but the President of the United States has said that. We are delighted to hear, as I am sure many in the country are, that many of the U.S. states, I think more than 80 mayors of U.S. towns, and many in major industries, including the fossil fuel industry, have said that they will continue down the path of divesting from fossil fuels and moving toward a cleaner economy. However, that means we have to step up our pace.
The government has announced again that it will have a big shindig with China and Europe here in the fall. However, what additional can Canada do to fill that gap? The United States of America, as I understand, contributes 25% of the greenhouse gases on this planet. The Canadian government has only committed to reduce part of the emissions that we emit, not even the emissions that are necessary to meet the Paris target. Therefore, one would think that the finance minister and other ministers of the government would have come forward today and told us what additional, deeper, faster initiatives the Liberals have committed to meet the promise they have made to the planet. It is concerning.
In April of this year, Environment Canada reported that the greenhouse gas emissions in the country were continuing to rise and that the government's 2030 target would not be met. In fact, if we progressed with using the initiatives the government had committed to, we would be almost 200 megatonnes over even that minimal target made by the Harper government. We are glad the government is saying the right things, but what we are disappointed in is where are the hard, concrete initiatives to move in that direction?
We are deeply troubled despite all this talk of the Liberals' deep commitment to assist families to reduce their energy use and to help Canadians get into the cleaner energy economy. Indeed, it is the booming economy in the world these days. I look at at pages 149 and 150 of their budget daily because people ask me questions about this. They want to know exactly what the government is doing to commit to move us forward expeditiously. People are stunned to see that in both columns of initiatives that have been listed by the Liberals, including the support for the pan-Canadian initiative of the provinces and territories, by and large, zero dollars actually have been committed.
As I mentioned previously, the sooner we invest the better, because it will simply become more expensive. Either the carbon tax will have to rise more expeditiously or we will have to invest more money in parallel measures. Therefore, it is deeply troubling that the government says one thing, but it is not releasing the concrete measures to move forward as expeditiously as the Liberals are pretending.
Why in heavens did the government not bring back the eco-energy retrofit program? It is completely baffling. The Liberals go on and on about the carbon tax as the most effective measure to move forward and address the rise in greenhouse gases in Canada. However, review after review, including by people who are very supportive of the direction the government is going, have said that the carbon tax alone will not do it, that the government needs to be expediting parallel measures.
One of those measures is the eco-energy retrofit. If Canadians in their homes and in small businesses are to have a carbon tax imposed on them, particularly in the jurisdictions where the Liberals say they will have to impose a federal tax, then one way to potentially sell that and get buy-in is to say they will help them reduce their energy use. It is baffling. Also, there is the national building code. We need to expedite that. Article after article about this says that we need to be fast-tracking a more modern national building code. How much of the building stock is going to be built again and then go through the process of having to retrofit? It would be welcomed if the government moved forward on these two measures.
We have heard the Minister of Environment recently go on and on about the government looking forward to collaborating with its European neighbours. I would encourage the government to look at the United Kingdom, which has established, by law, binding targets and an independent commission that audits and advises it on how well it is delivering on its targets every five years. This is the kind of measure that we tabled previously, and we would like to see the government adopt it to ensure transparency and accountability.