During Ottawa's hot, muggy summers it is much the same. The limousines are running with the air conditioning on full blast.
The government, and in particular the Minister of Natural Resources, says it is all about choices. The Minister of Natural Resources is telling Canadians to make better choices to reduce greenhouse gases. I ask the minister, is it his choice to keep his limousine idling outside the House just so he can have a warm seat when he leaves?
The government plan states:
If every Canadian motorist avoided idling their vehicles for just five minutes a day, all year, more than 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, along with other toxic substances, would not enter the air.
Ministerial limousines are running for hours at a time, for hours, not minutes, as the government is asking Canadians to do. Each Tuesday the cabinet usually meets for three hours. On a typical Tuesday, that would amount to a total of more than 90 hours of idling time each week just for cabinet members. Interestingly enough, the plan states:
Every litre of gasoline you use in your car produces almost 2.5 kilograms of CO2 as well as other pollutants.
One can only imagine how many kilograms of CO
are being emitted by those idling limousines sitting mere metres from where I am standing right now.
It gets better. A major campaign put on by the Department of Natural Resources is entitled “The Idle-Free Zone”. The premise of this campaign is to help Canadians stop unnecessary engine idling. I wonder if the minister even knows about his own department's initiative. One can only wonder how the members of the cabinet are able to sleep at night knowing the absurd levels of hypocrisy they are emitting each day.
Why does the government expect Canadians to do their part when the federal cabinet is not prepared to follow suit?
The department says that there is never a good time to waste fuel and generate greenhouse gas emissions by idling our vehicles. How is it possible for the natural resources minister to say one thing, yet completely do the opposite? Canadians will have a great deal of difficulty accepting this line of reasoning.
What has become standard practice over the last 10 years from this administration is to ram one set of rules and regulations down the throats of Canadians only to live by a completely different set of rules. The choices being made by this cabinet today completely contradict the choices expected from Canadians.
Canadians expect and they demand leadership by example. Perhaps the Minister of National Resources should follow the words of Paul Graham, the Sudbury municipal project adviser whose words, ironically, are posted on the department's website:
Get your own house in order. You can't do anything with the public without getting your own house in order. The municipality must take the lead on issues like idling.
Leadership starts at home. Hopefully, the Minister of Natural Resources has heard this.
There is no need for the Ministers of the Environment and Natural Resources to travel across this country looking for ways to reduce greenhouse gases. What they need to do is look at themselves and look at their colleagues around the cabinet table. The government is telling Canadians that if they really care about the environment, then they will need to exercise restraint, to become more energy efficient.
The natural resources minister is part of another departmental campaign entitled, “Idling gets you nowhere”. In the literature it says “unnecessary idling is expensive and causes environmental damage”. It also says “Don't count on public support if you idle unnecessarily”.
The Canadian Alliance position is solid. Kyoto will not change a thing. The Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Natural Resources should come clean and admit this to Canadians. They are telling Canadians to conserve and reduce. Why should Canadians be expected to change their habits when the cabinet can simply ignore any responsibility? This is not responsible government.
The Canadian Alliance is speaking for millions of Canadians who are concerned with Kyoto. Perrin Beatty, who represents Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, is one of those. The membership of his organization accounts for 75% of Canada's industrial output and 90% of its exports. When the government claims that Kyoto will not harm Canada's competitiveness, obviously it did not consult with the primary stakeholders.
I want to read into the record what the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters had to say when the government released its plan:
The document acknowledges some of the concerns that have been raised by industry and by the provinces, but provides little more detail than the framework released previously. Canadians deserve a detailed plan that spells out the costs and necessary actions on the part of industry and individual citizens for Canada to achieve its target. There is still no clear indication of how Ottawa will address the remaining 60 megatonne shortfall. Nor is there a detailed outline of how much the incentives and programs will cost and where the funds will come from.The document says the plan 'must be a made-in-Canada approach that is based on collaboration, partnerships and respect for jurisdiction.' The acid test of whether the government means what it says is whether it will set aside its rush to ratify and give Canadians a chance to be heard first. It is far more important to get the plan right than to rush it through before Christmas.
When an organization that represents a majority of Canada's manufacturers expresses caution, asking for the government to get the plan right instead of rushing it through, why will the government not listen? What benefit is it to government to ignore the interests of those who create jobs? Obviously Canadian manufacturers want and need more information. They need to know concrete statistics on the impact of Kyoto.
I suggest that the Kyoto plan is simply an exercise by the Liberals for appearance purposes only. It is about saying one thing and doing another. It is about speaking out of both sides of the mouth. The government wants individual Canadians to do their part in achieving climate change objectives. The minister uses phrases such as “we expect, we hope and we intend”. These are not words of confidence. These are the words of a minister making up policy on the fly.
It is unacceptable to the Canadian Alliance. It is unacceptable to ordinary Canadians. The sheer hypocrisy of the Minister of Natural Resources alone will convince Canadians that the Kyoto plan is a scam. Leadership is living by example.