House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was national.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Don Valley West (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 53% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada's Clean Air Act December 4th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would agree that what is important in the fight against climate change is to figure out where we get the most return for our dollar in terms of reductions. I would also agree that there are probably more effective ways of spending money and getting reductions of the sort that are proposed than necessarily pegging it all to the renewable fuel option, the benefits of which are marginal.

Canada's Clean Air Act December 4th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, there are three parts to this issue. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act covers toxic substances, some of which are air pollutants, and which now include greenhouse gases.

The toxic substances management policy the member mentioned is a system that recognizes science and that tries to prioritize toxic substances and to reduce levels of the worst ones.

I believe this must not be confused with the current bill because that would be like mixing up three elements.

Canada's Clean Air Act December 4th, 2006

I will make two points, Mr. Speaker. The first is on smog. The effects of smog are greatly enhanced by global warming. The hotter the climate because of global warming the worst the impact of smog. There is a connection but that connection is being driven by heating.

The second point is about the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. First, to suggest that it just sat on the shelf is inaccurate. From the work on toxins, 23,000 substances have been classified. Under CEPA, these substances are being eliminated. We can make that a better act for toxins.

The whole point is that we are using this act by adding in greenhouse gases to the list of toxins, which the previous government did. We now have the capacity, in an unambiguous fashion, to regulate both. I thank the member for his somewhat inaccurate observations.

Canada's Clean Air Act December 4th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to congratulate the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville on his victory in Montreal on the weekend. He won because of his passion and credibility on the issues of the environment and sustainable development. He made the environment the main pillar of his program and rightly so in light of climate change. It is in the spirit of this victory for the environment that we will be studying Bill C-30 starting today.

What is our approach? The role of the official opposition is to be responsible and take action based on principles. Our role is to identify—together with the other opposition parties, the government and the environmental NGOs— practical solutions that will improve this bill.

We are not insisting on the fact that this bill is a Liberal initiative so that we can take all the credit. That is not how we do things. What we will insist on is that this bill be the best possible bill for the environment, for Canadians, especially with regard to the fight against global warming.

What is at stake here in this bill is nothing less than the greatest challenge facing humanity today, the first order of business: dealing with global warming.

Our position since the government first introduced the bill has taken the following lines. First, that this bill is not necessary and that the Canadian Environmental Protection Act contained all the necessary power to combat climate change and, indeed, air pollution.

Second, which I think was demonstrated by the minister's speech, with all respect, that to bring the two elements together is deliberately confusing. Air pollution and climate change are not the same thing. They can be linked and they can be related but they frequently and most often require different strategies and different solutions.

Climate change is primary, a precondition for every other policy that any government would want to bring forward. If we do not deal with it first and foremost, we will not get around to the rest of it, whether it is air pollution or anything else that the government might bring forward.

Our third criticism is that this bill is not Kyoto compliant nor is it even Kyoto relevant. There is no reference in the bill or the notice of intent to regulate to Kyoto standards. It is important to consider the bill and the notice of intent to regulate as a package.

Fourth, there are no short term goals for greenhouse gas reductions. We are not talking intensity. We are talking reductions. There is no reference to Kyoto's first implementation period of 2008 to 2012. There are no regulations for greenhouse gases coming into force before 2010, unlike project green which saw regulations, not voluntary measures, coming into place for large final emitters by 2008.

The fifth point is that goals for greenhouse gas reductions in the medium and long term are not ambitious enough.

The sixth point is that the bill, as written, actually weakens the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by creating unnecessary and ambiguous alternate lists for greenhouse gases and air pollutants.

The final point is that the provincial equivalency agreements are not as strong in the proposed bill as they are currently under CEPA.

Our original intent was to vote against the bill at second reading since we could not accept its fundamental principles or the accompanying notice of intent to regulate. Our current intention, now that the bill is at first reading and can be amended, is to produce amendments which meet our original criticisms, as I have outlined, and work with the government, opposition parties and environmental groups to produce a serious piece of legislation.

I will not today speak to the air pollution sections because we can work to improve those sections. However, air pollution is not where the problems lie.

I will begin by simply suggesting the key deletions that need to be made to this bill. First, the changes that weaken the provincial equivalency provisions of CEPA and, second, the creation of unnecessary new categories of greenhouse gases and air pollutants and the parallel regulatory authorities created along with those categories that put the federal power to regulate these substances at risk.

As to the targets and purposes of this legislation, for Kyoto, Bill C-30 must be amended to make explicit reference to Canada's obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto protocol. This should include a reference to Canada's 2008 to 2012 target from article 3, paragraph 1 of the Kyoto protocol of a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below Canada's 1990 level.

For medium and long term targets, Bill C-30 must be amended to include a long term target for Canada of at least an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2050. For the periods 2015 to 2050, interim targets should be established at five year intervals, with a 2020 interim target set at a level of at least 25% below the 1990 level.

Through Bill C-30, the following principles should be added to the preamble of CEPA. Canada's climate policy must be guided by the ultimate objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is to prevent dangerous anthropogenic climate change. This means keeping global average temperature increases under two degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels.

Canada needs to commit to doing its fair share to combat this global problem. We need the use of hard caps on greenhouse gas emissions that increase in stringency if the science shows that further efforts are needed. There should be no trade-offs between cleaner air and greenhouse gas reductions.

For more detail, we need some sectoral amendments. For heavy industry, we need an amendment requiring the governor in council to limit greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry through regulations that take effect no later than January 1, 2008 for the period 2008 to 2012. The amendment must include a hard cap on emissions that impose a Kyoto target on heavy industry. This means working toward a reduction to 6% below industry's 1990 emission levels for all final emitters. We need an auction of permits with the option of revenue recycling for economic efficiency.

We also need a linkage to other Kyoto compliant emissions trading systems. For vehicles, we need an amendment that would require the governor in council to impose regulated vehicle emission standards set to match or exceed the California vehicle standards, with those regulations coming into force for the 2009 model year.

On energy efficiency, a preamble should be added to the Energy Efficiency Act that supports setting continuous economy-wide improvement targets in energy efficiency in Canada, with two new sections to be added to the Energy Efficiency Act. First: the governor in council would be required to prescribe energy efficiency standards for all energy using products that are responsible for significant or growing energy consumption in Canada. Second, the governor in council would be required to review all energy efficiency standards within three years after they were introduced or amended and every third year thereafter. Through this review, every energy efficiency standard must be made to meet or exceed the most stringent levels found in North America.

On the issue of governance, we need a budgetary policy that would require the Minister of Finance to table an analysis of the projected greenhouse gas impacts of the Government of Canada's budgetary policy, disaggregated by measure, at the same time that the minister tables the annual budget.

Finally, we need the creation of an emissions reduction agency that would draw on the model of the California air resources board and create an arm's length agency responsible for climate research, regulation and the development of science based, interim, greenhouse gas targets for Canada.

With this package of amendments, we would turn Bill C-30 into a real bill for climate change and a real bill for air pollution reduction. However, we must remember that the first order of business must be global warming and climate change without which no other government activity will matter if we cannot start by saving the planet.

Canada's Clean Air Act December 4th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the minister, but I must say that she raised more questions than she gave answers.

Amongst the questions, one of the challenges with this particular bill is of course its deliberate confusion between issues concerning air pollution and issues concerning greenhouse gases. The minister used the phrase that “the greatest threat to the health of Canadians is asthma”.

I submit that the greatest threat to the health of Canadians is in fact the destruction of the planet by global warming, so my first question to the minister is this: which is the greater threat to the future of humanity, pollution or greenhouse gases global warming?

Second, why is there no reference to Kyoto in either the bill or the notice of intent to regulate? Why is that?

Third, the minister has returned from Nairobi but insists that we will not purchase international credits or be involved in any kind of international mechanisms, and yet she was present for discussions on such things as the international emissions trading system and the clean development mechanism as well. Why is there no recognition of the process she was involved in?

Fourth, why is it that we have to deal with where the short term targets for greenhouse gas emissions are? By that I mean, what does she hope to have achieved by 2012?

Fifth, if she will not have a carbon tax, will she at least accept a cap and trade system which will create that domestic and international market that will allow polluters of all sorts to improve?

Finally, is it accurate for the minister to say that there were no regulated measures when the large final emitters were going to be forced by regulation to reduce by 2008?

The Environment November 20th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I heard the minister. The minister was in Nairobi last week pretending to support Kyoto while the Prime Minister was in Hanoi plotting to destroy it. At the environment committee, the minister alleged that billions of euros had been lost on emissions trading and she would never support the international trading system. Now she says she has learned a few things, including the value of trading credits.

Does she intend to educate the Prime Minister? Will she guarantee that Canada will be ready to join the international emissions trading market by January 1?

The Environment November 20th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, when she appeared before the environment committee, the minister denounced the evils of emissions trading. She claimed that it would cost Canadians billions. She also claimed that the European trading market collapsed and that we were wasting money overseas. Six weeks later she has changed her tune. Emissions trading is now all the rage. Now she sees how the clean development mechanisms can help Canada meet its targets.

Will she clarify her position on international emissions trading? Does she support it or not?

Business of the House November 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Canada had a climate change plan that would have met 80% of Canada's Kyoto obligations by 2010. It was called project green. I ask for the consent of the House to table this plan in Canada's two official languages.

The Environment November 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has abandoned the fundamental principles of his clean air act by agreeing to send it to a special committee before second reading and he has abandoned his minister at the same time.

Yesterday, the Minister of the Environment was unable to explain her goals for the Nairobi conference.

Now that the Minister of the Environment has thoroughly been discredited at home, internationally and by the Prime Minister, will she have the courage to withdraw her bill and let the committee draft a real climate change plan?

The Environment November 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, every major environmental group in this country has slammed the Prime Minister, or, as he now describes himself, Canada's new emperor, on his 50 year environmental scheme. Canadians have overwhelmingly rejected the Conservative approach.

In a desperate attempt to salvage credibility, the Prime Minister voted non-confidence in his environment minister and asked the opposition parties to rewrite her legislation.

Given that the minister had her chance and failed, will the government commit now to allowing MPs who actually care about the environment to write Canada's environmental policy?