Madam Speaker, I can see that everyone in the House agrees that labelling is an important issue. However, we will not be supporting the motion either, unfortunately.
This motion seems well intentioned. We agree that Canadians and Quebeckers are aware of the threat of climate change and want to change their consumption habits. We agree that consumers have the right to know the environmental impact of products. I also think it is increasingly clear that industries have much to gain by adapting.
The pandemic revealed a growing desire to buy local. That desire is motivated by safety concerns, of course, but also by a growing interest in protecting the environment. People are more aware of the impact of transporting food, and they want to source their food closer to home. We think that is a good thing.
The problem with the motion is its recommendation, which seems to be preordaining the outcome of the study it wants the committee to do. We have no choice but to oppose that, as always. The motion also calls for uniform labelling on all products, including imports, which seems unrealistic to us.
A coherent and constructive approach would be to focus on sector-specific labelling of products. As an extreme example, it would be very difficult to compare the environmental impact of a fish and that of a two-by-four. If we think carefully, we can see that having the same labelling for both will not work. What we need is a system that will let us identify the difference in the environmental impact of one car versus another, for example. Incentives can be introduced at that point, and I will speak more about that later.
The other problem with the motion is that it asks the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to hold 12 meetings on this issue. I do not know if members realize it, but 12 meetings on this issue will tie up the committee for a very long time, and we believe that it has more urgent issues to deal with.
The motion seeks to establish a uniform labelling regime, and we do not think that it is a good idea. Instead, we should study what is already being done, given that the current market provides a vast array of environmental labels. We recognize that this may be confusing to the average person who wants to purchase products with the lowest environmental impact. A more pragmatic approach would be to examine how we could foster the development of sector-specific practices and identify models with growth potential. It would also be a good idea to study how to regulate labelling rather than dictating a solution.
Moreover, the motion fails to take into account the jurisdiction of the provinces and Quebec in this matter. We in the Bloc Québécois are always on the lookout for things like that and we are rasing a red flag.
We know that there are different types of eco-labels. According to Environnement Québec, type I labels meet a program's pre-established requirements, usually with regard to a product's full life cycle, and ensure that the product's performance is verified by a licensed and independent organization. That is the kind of certification that should be given preference.
The full life cycle of a product takes into account the environmental impact from manufacturing to disposal, its recycling potential, etc. I am referring to what the previous speaker said about reusable products.
There are other types of certifications. Type II eco-label certifications apply to self-declarations made by anyone who promotes a product. Obviously, this poses a greater risk of abuse because declarations are based on data that is verifiable but not necessarily verified. It is less accurate.
Type III eco-label certifications present quantitative data on the environmental impact of a product, and this data is collected using techniques that are in accordance with ISO 14040 and ISO 14044.
We believe that a study like this needs to be highly focused. It should be up to the members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to decide how to approach this issue. It should not be handed a motion that dictates everything in advance and that ties up the committee for 12 of its meetings, which is a very long time. The committee is tasked with studying and adopting concrete and pressing measures. We are worried that it would become paralyzed.
Honestly, that seems to be the purpose of the motion. The Bloc Québécois obviously cares about labelling, but it needs to be done right and done effectively. We need to be aware of all of the problems the process entails.
I could also mention greenwashing. Some companies are dishonest and do not label things properly. Consumers do not always realize this. The government has a duty to oversee these certifications coming from the private sector. The member who spoke before me talked about self-regulation in the private sector. The Bloc Québécois falls somewhere in the middle. We should set some guidelines that allow for a little flexibility, but there need to be some limits.
The various certification processes should be evaluated to determine which one could be improved and used. This needs to be strictly regulated. I mentioned this earlier, but it is worth repeating that each product category needs to be dealt with separately, because it is too hard to assess a tomato versus an item of clothing. There should be a standard. Consumers need to be able to compare products. At the end of the day, we want to encourage consumers to buy the tomato that was grown in Quebec rather than the one grown in Mexico. It would be useful to have a label indicating the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
I said earlier that one of the problems is that they want to apply a single label on every products. It is impossible to control foreign production methods. I know I am a broken record always taking examples from agriculture, but take for example American milk that we are allowing to enter under the new treaties. There are hormones in that milk that we do not use in Canada. It would be nice for people to know that, for it to be written in bold letters that this milk is from somewhere else.
When we buy frozen chicken pot pie from a big company and the chicken does not come from Canada or Quebec, that should be indicated in bold letters. This is the type of thing we need to look at. We would be much more efficient and quicker and we could avoid paralysing a committee for 12 long meetings, which would give us the opportunity to talk about a green recovery.
Obviously, I will take this opportunity to talk about the Bloc Québécois's recovery plan. I know that I am tiresome about that too, but I invite people to have a look at our recovery plan. We are proposing a green recovery based on research, innovation, and an energy transition. We urgently need to start thinking about what we are going to do with the money that is left from Trans Mountain. People in western Canada do not need to worry, we want to put that money in Alberta. I think we need to invest it in a smart transition.
We will work together to ensure we are going in the right direction, with a focus on electric transportation, research and innovation. That is how we will truly be able to better protect the environment.