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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was kyoto.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Red Deer (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 76% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Interparliamentary delegations November 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association to the meeting of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region for the Seventh Convention Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region in Kiruna, Sweden, August 2 to 4.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act September 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, having listened to that from a Liberal is really quite amazing considering the 13 years that I have been here listening to the promises.

Climate change was identified in 1992. Nothing was done.

In 1997, we signed on to Kyoto. Nothing was done.

In 2002, in Johannesburg, again we identified the problem. Nothing was done.

Here we are in 2006 and that member has the nerve to stand and lecture about what the Liberals have done, when in fact we are 35% above 1990 levels and Canada had agreed to be 6% below 1990 levels. What he cannot possibly imagine is how we could ever achieve that. If he looked at reality, he would see that this is 195 megatonnes of carbon that we would have to remove from the environment. It is not achievable. What does he not understand? We had to start in 1993 and we had to have an aggressive plan to deal with this climate change problem. The previous government did nothing.

Fortunately, at least there are countries that are trying to come up with solutions. I have attended the COP meetings, the meetings of the Conference of the Parties to Kyoto. Those meetings consist of 190 countries. Each of those countries has its own problems, its own social problems, climate problems, et cetera, and we are supposed to come to some sort of agreement on how to solve climate change. It is not happening. It is a dream. It is just a dream.

Fortunately, the G-8 plus five, consisting of the G-8 members plus India, China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, are coming up with solutions. Fortunately, the Asia-Pacific partnership is looking at solutions. At least, hopefully, someone is going to deal with climate change, but certainly 190 countries are not going to come up with consensus in time and they are not going to achieve their targets.

Why do we have to oppose this bill? We have a number of reasons.

Obviously, this bill would place a huge drain on the administrative part of the government without allowing the government to focus on the actual reductions that are necessary. This bill would oblige the Minister of the Environment to establish an annual climate change plan and to make regulations and would also oblige the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to review the plan and the proposed regulations and submit a report to Parliament.

Obviously the previous government did not do any of those things. There were no reports. There was no record. Nothing ever happened. There was just a lot of talk.

While this bill would be totally cumbersome and would obviously take a huge amount of resources of the government, we should spend the money on an actual plan, on actually doing things, not dreaming about buying credits from some foreign country and sending them off. No one has been able to explain to me how buying credits from a foreign country is in fact going to help the global environment.

What they do not seem to understand is that air is shared by everyone and that the 556 coal-fired power plants being built in China using soft coal are a huge environmental problem. Let us help them with the technology so they can change. That would make a difference. That would really have some impact. Let us develop that gasification technology here in Canada and then transfer that technology to the developing countries where we could really make a difference. That is positive. That is the sort of positive thing we can do.

We have a bill in front of us that wants us to have more regulations, more government reports and more government planning. I do not have that much faith in government. I have a lot more faith in working with the provinces, in working with industry and in looking to the future and having a long term vision for where we want to go and how we want to deal with the climate change problem. I think that is obviously what Canadians expect us to do.

We need to reduce by 195 megatonnes to get to our target. Most people do not understand what a megatonne is, but basically, as the minister has said in the House, it would mean shutting down transportation, shutting off the lights and stopping everything if we were to achieve that target. It is not possible. Canadians do not want that.

Canadians want a plan from us. They want a plan that will deal with pollution and climate change and with the soil, the water, the land and everything that we do. That is the direction in which we need to go.

We hear from the other side of the House that we need to go after the oil and gas industry but that is not true. We need to rely on the capture and sequestering of CO2. We need to get into the gasification of everything from garbage to coal, and it is already happening. In some countries they have been doing that for a long time. Norway has been sequestering CO2 in the caverns underneath the North Sea for 10 years. This is not new technology. It does not need to be developed further. We just need to do it.

The former government did not do it when it was in power. It did not listen to advisers. It finally got down to the desperation $10 billion, which probably could have been $80 billion, and said that it would buy foreign carbon credits. Maybe that made the previous government feel better but it is like talking to the city council which says that it recycles plastic, which is wonderful, but where does the plastic go? It gets bundled, sent by ships through the Panama Canal and ends up going to a landfill in China. How does that make everyone feel? That is not really recycling. That is phony and it is not telling Canadians the truth. Let us get on with telling Canadians truthfully how we can deal with this.

We should be pretty excited about the green plan that is coming and that we will be able to implement. In some of the research Mark Jaccard has done, he says that it could cost Canadians up to $80 billion to start right now to try to achieve those targets. That is not feasible. It cannot be done so let us get on with the green plan. We do not need to be lectured about what should have happened because, again, we have sat here and watched but nothing has happened.

I was embarrassed at COP 10 in Argentina when the former minister of the environment stood and reported for this country and said that we had the one tonne challenge and that we would hit our targets. The one tonne challenge was designed to take care of 20 megatonnes if it worked. That was all we had to brag about. It was embarrassing when we were listening to other countries say that they were developing wind technology, alternate energies of different kinds, looking at wave technology and so on. We are not leaders in those areas and we should be. The jobs that are related, what we can do for our environment and for the global environment, it is pretty phenomenal.

As a Canadian and a member of Parliament in 2006, the legacy I want to leave is that we took action and we did something about the air, the water and the land. We can do it. Whether it is sequestering or whatever we want to do, we can be leaders and that is what we should aim for.

What we will be getting in the House is a real plan and we will carry it out. It will happen and Canadians will understand that, rather than buying carbon credits from some foreign country, we will be doing things here in Canada that will make a difference and will be transferable to other parts of the world.

We cannot support the bill. We do not think that more regulation and more planning is necessary. We need to take action and that is what we plan to do.

Waste Management June 22nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, today roughly 416 truckloads of garbage will rumble down the highway from Toronto, dripping leachate on their way to massive landfill in Michigan. Consider that.

We are living in a day and age where we can put satellites in orbit, operate on humans with lasers, and build computers that fly airplanes, but we still find it acceptable to bury garbage in the ground and leave that problem for another generation to figure out. We have thousands of ticking time bombs across the country.

There exists technology that can forever relegate landfills to history. Indeed, many European countries have been doing this for decades. It is simple. We take household garbage and gasify it at 8,000°C. We can create energy from waste and clean up the environment in the process. This is not incineration.

Landfilling is wrong-headed and destructive. Gasifying garbage is the way of the future. It is time governments at all levels realized this.

Interparliamentary Delegations June 15th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, two reports of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group.

The first report is “The Emergence of Cross-Border Regions Between Canada and the United States”, Ottawa Round Table, hosted by the policy research initiative, Privy Council Office and the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group, held in Ottawa on March 6 and 7.

The second report is on the participation of Senator Jerry Grafstein, co-chair of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group, at Great Lakes Day, held in the United States Congress, Washington, D.C. on March 16.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, it is rather interesting that the member talks about vision, the 21st century and where we are going.

As she knows, my interest is in the environment. She should also know that we are 28th out of 29th in the OECD ratings. The fact is that we had 13 years of inactivity in the area of climate change and the environment. It is rather strange that within the year we will show some real vision and 21st century thinking.

It is rather amazing to hear her talk about the government, of which she was a recent member, and its great vision and so on. I wonder if she could tell me just one bit of environmental vision that she might have seen in the Liberal government of the past?

International Bridges and Tunnels Act May 1st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the point the member has missed is the fact that we need to cooperate. When we have that many bridges and tunnels, they are not all being equally managed as well as they might be.

The one the member is speaking of might be managed perfectly, but there is no guarantee for Canadians that this is happening with all 24 of them. Therefore, the bill would allow the federal government to work with the provinces, the municipalities and the U.S. to ensure that they are managed properly and to a safety and security standard, which is the best thing for all Canadians, not just for one municipality or one area.

Therefore, this is not a big stick. This is a willingness to cooperate and ensure that there are equal standards for everyone.

International Bridges and Tunnels Act May 1st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, it is as if I had given the hon. member the question to ask me. I gave my first speech on garbage in 1972. It is a 48 page document that I would be glad to provide for the member. I have been working on not allowing landfills to be built anywhere in this country.

I have visited garbage facilities around the world. I spent some of the summer last year in Denmark looking at facilities there. I plan to go to Barcelona this summer to look at its newest plant, which gasifies garbage. There is no stack. It is an internal process at 8,000° Celsius. It turns everything into basic carbon molecules and recomposes it into safe by-products of electricity, heat and a glass-like material. That is the future.

Toronto is hauling 416 truckloads of garbage a day to Michigan. This is a huge problem that should not be going on. The fact that we are bringing contaminated waste from the U.S. into Canada in exchange should not be going on, not unless we build the technology, the gasification plant. I would be glad to give the hon. member however many hundreds of pages he wants of information on that subject.

My colleagues are probably sick and tired of hearing me talk about the environment and about gasification, but members can get the picture. Environment will be an important part of our portfolio. We know that it is not one of the first five, but I ask members to just wait for the fall and they will see.

International Bridges and Tunnels Act May 1st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, we have been here for 13 and a half years and we have heard about a lot of projects. We have heard a lot about lobbyists and a lot about infrastructure. As we travel the country we see a lot of that infrastructure and I think there is a major concern. Probably the reason I got into this and that I am still here is that concern. In fact, we have not done anything for 13 years. We have talked a lot and there have been hundreds of bills, but we really have not done anything.

We have talked about our Trans-Canada highway, about it being improved and about how it is not up to standard compared to south of the border or other parts of the world. We have talked and talked about it and we have not done anything. It is like the environment. We have 140 programs. Let us say most of those have $100 million, but $60 million is spent on establishing the program in Ottawa, so we have the bureaucracy established here and then we just do not have enough money to actually carry out very much.

With the streamlining that will go on and the priorities we have in dealing with cities and infrastructure, I am very confident that the government will not in fact rob those projects, and that through cooperation, municipalities and provinces will actually accomplish much more, certainly, than has been done in the last number of years.

International Bridges and Tunnels Act May 1st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, as this is my first opportunity to speak in the 39th Parliament, I want to thank all of my constituents who have sent me here for five terms.

I also want to reiterate the fact that the best part of this job is probably back in the riding when we get to meet all of the volunteers and get back with family and so on. Mr. Speaker, you I am sure well know what I am talking about.

This past weekend was a good example of what it is like. I got off the plane on Friday and helped a group raise over $96,000 for Kids for Cancer. That evening I attended a Striving for Excellence banquet at which 178 public school system kids received awards for excellence. We heard a speech from a 13 year old girl who has been blind for the last nine years. She told us how she strives for excellence and hopes to get to the Paralympics in horse riding and in a number of other sports. It makes one feel pretty good coming back here knowing what the great volunteers in the area are doing.

On Saturday night I attended a homebuilders banquet. I would like on the record the fact that my constituency is booming. A fly-by-night operator came into our town and built 11 homes that had faulty foundations and no kitchen doors. All of the builders in our community banded together and announced at the banquet that they would be repairing the homes of those 11 people who were unfortunate enough to have been taken for a ride by a bad contractor.

That is my constituency and those are the kinds of volunteers we have. I thank my family and my constituents for sending me here.

I come from central Alberta and we are a long way from any international bridge or tunnel. I could suggest the number of bridges and tunnels, which might help us out, but I do not think we could quite get to the U.S. border. It is important that we talk about how vital bridges and tunnels and the flow of traffic from north to south really is. We have to remember that 80% of our jobs and well over $1.5 billion cross the border and whatever we can do to make that border safe and secure and function better is important to all of us. My riding has seven world scale petrochemical plants and a great deal of their material goes across the border. Many of the jobs and much of the activity that is going on is because of the effective way we handle this.

I also want to bring to the House's attention the fact that when we talk to truckers and various other groups that have come to Ottawa they tell us that one of the most serious issues is infrastructure, how it is deteriorating and how its management is sometimes in question. We have heard about this in some of the other speeches today. I remember one trucker saying that they were driving over bridges that have the year 1938 or 1955 stamped on the concrete. Little has been done since then to make sure that vital means of transportation is upgraded.

We have a lot to do. For 13 years we have heard a lot of talk but seen little action. Two bills have come before this bill but none got through and none of them actually cleared up the problem. We now have a bill that I believe will do that. Our plan is to institute this, get it done and get on with the job. We do not need to have 100 priorities. We have these priorities and let us get them through.

It is my pleasure to talk about Bill C-3, the international bridges and tunnels act. As many of my colleagues have mentioned in the past, many of these bridges and tunnels came into existence with the creation of special acts of Parliament. These acts served to create the company that would ultimately own the bridge or tunnel and be responsible for its construction, set out the company's share capital and other corporate information, and would establish the company's various powers, including borrowing powers and the right to charge tolls.

More important, these special acts set terms and conditions for the construction of the bridge or tunnel, such as the location, the approval of plans and specifications, the time period within which the bridge or tunnel was to be constructed, and finally, how the company could deal with the bridge or tunnel once it was constructed. Federal government approval was therefore given via these special acts.

Government approval for construction of new international bridges or tunnels is therefore not a new concept. The approval process proposed by the new bill will, however, relieve the need to enact a special act of Parliament each time a new bridge or tunnel is constructed.

I have not been here for as many years as you have, Mr. Speaker, but obviously if we had to bring about a special act every time we wanted to do something you know how that could get bogged down. We know how the lobbyists work in this place and just how difficult it is to get any action sometimes. This act would end that problem.

Keeping in mind that these are international bridges and tunnels and that our jurisdiction over these bridges and tunnels ends at the Canadian border, it is interesting to note how our American counterparts deal with the approval of the construction of new international bridges or tunnels on their territory. Since 1968, persons in the United States wishing to build a new international bridge that connects with Canada must first seek permission from the president. This permission is given in the form of a presidential permit, which must be applied for to the Department of State.

In this application, applicants must provide the following information, among other matters: information regarding the proposed bridge, including location, design, proposed construction methods, the safety standards to be applied, copies of the engineering drawings, and the construction schedule; details of any similar facilities in the surrounding area; and traffic information, including projections of international traffic volume and the effect the proposed bridge would have on the traffic volumes of other nearby bridges.

During the election campaign, I was in the riding of Essex working with our member there. I went into Windsor as well. I know that the hon. members from Windsor have been talking about this in committees and in this House for a very long time. They have talked about the great difficulties. There are four bridges there, four crossings, a railway tunnel, and obviously the talk has been going on as long as I have been here, and maybe a lot longer, about the difficulties in that Windsor-Detroit corridor, about how things get slowed down and how ineffective it is. We have all seen television pictures of the long traffic jams. It is to be hoped, and obviously as this goes to committee I am sure it would be made clear, that this kind of problem will be dealt with, that we will get on with it instead of talking about how we are going to solve that problem.

How the project is going to be financed also is very important, including what the toll structure will be. Those are the kinds of things that the public has the right to have discussed and openly talked about.

Also, there is how the proposed construction would impact the environment, including copies of environmental assessments or reports. Members know of my interest in environment. I think it is very easy to make this process go a lot faster. The cooperation among municipalities, provinces and the federal government, where one study in fact accomplishes all of the environmental impact studies, just goes so far.

In my over 30 years of being involved in environmental areas, so often I have seen the turf wars among the three levels of government certainly take a project to the point where, if it is not scuttled, it becomes uneconomic, and the players leave and go on to somewhere else. That should not be the way it is. There is one environment. It does not matter what levels of government are involved; they should cooperatively do the environmental assessment and in fact get on with the project. This should not be used as a delaying tactic. They should be using what is best for the environment and for the people of that area.

In the United States, details of other permits and approvals must be obtained from other U.S. agencies. Again, I would add that sometimes, with their turf wars, those agencies can in fact slow things down a lot too. We really have to start working as a House to get more cooperation in this kind of thing. Hopefully this bill will accomplish that.

The applicant in the U.S. also of course has to work closely with the Canadian government and vice versa. I think it is very important that the relationship between the U.S. and Canada, which is now finally moving forward, will make those negotiations much easier and will allow us to get on with the building of these bridges and tunnels. In fact, I think that cooperative approach I mentioned between provinces and municipalities can be extended to our U.S. counterparts. In the process, the state department, after all its consultation and, certainly from our perspective, our consultation, then moves on to get consultants and look at the best routes and locations. All of that, of course, should be in the public domain.

As mentioned, the new bill would allow the government to establish similar Canadian guidelines so that information is provided when the government is seeking approval for the construction of a new international bridge or tunnel. There is no need to keep reinventing the wheel, as we so often do. Obviously a lot can be learned from other projects and proposals in moving this whole thing forward.

Having said all of this, I note that our guidelines will specifically take into account what is in the best interest of Canadians when it comes to international bridges and tunnels. The approval process, including the information that the applicant will have to provide, will be tailored to respond to Canada's national objectives and this government's priorities to secure our border while at the same time encouraging international trade through the efficient flow of goods and traffic via these borders.

I fully support the bill. I think it clarifies a lot. I look forward to it going on to committee and to speeding up the process of the three bridges that are being proposed now, one in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, one in Fort Erie, Ontario, and one in Windsor, Ontario, as mentioned earlier. I think it will be good to have the oversight of the federal government and to get on with the project, in cooperation with the others.

The Environment November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want to repeat that just days before the COP 11 conference in Montreal, we have this new report from the UN. It shows Canada is the worst performer on the planet when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases. We are 25% above 1990 levels and that number is growing.

Canadians want to know how the environment minister will explain this embarrassment in front of the world?