Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to speak about the Kyoto protocol which I was fortunate to see at its inception in Kyoto in 1997. The debate has come a long way. It has taken five years of consultation which according to the opposition has been fruitless with the provinces.
It is time for Canadians to stand behind our leader, the Prime Minister. He has taken this opportunity to point us in the right direction. This is a global matter and an issue for us to address on the state of how much energy we are selfishly using when compared to a global perspective.
In terms of the science that has been presented before us, such as climate change, the United Nations has worked on it. The scientific debate took place for many decades before it came to fruition in 1997. Scientists did not all of a sudden flick on the light in 1997 and say here is the situation in the world. Scientists, over numerous decades, have been pointing out to us that we are selfishly using energies that are limited on the planet.
My riding is in the wilderness and I want to speak from that perspective. In my region we have huge opportunities for resource development. I am talking about northern Saskatchewan which is a relatively untouched region of Canada. My region straddles the border with Alberta and the tar sands. I am sure there is an equal amount of opportunity and resources in my region as in the province of Alberta. We must raise the issue of sharing resources which was done in the Canadian debate at Kyoto. When I addressed the issue at the provincial level I always viewed Canada as being able to deal with climate change and the Kyoto protocol, and to be put in a bubble. The European Union addressed and symbolically put its emissions in a bubble so it could look at its calculations, emissions and commitments within the European bubble.
This is the way I view Canada as well, in a bubble, from the east coast and the west coast, right up to the northern coast. We have huge responsibilities but also huge benefits. It is not only the burdens of Kyoto that fall upon our shoulders. We also have an ample amount of benefits.
We can look at the carbon sinks as part of the Kyoto protocol. Carbon sinks are now being recognized and counted as part of our Kyoto emissions and the sequestering of carbon.
In terms of looking at the opportunities for the forest industry and the people that occupy and live in the forest, here is an opportunity to start measuring what kind of carbon sinks and sequestration takes place in our regions. We know when new growth happens with saplings, trees, grass or grains or any kind of agricultural practices that take place there is a sequestration of carbon.
There are huge tracts of bog and muskeg in northern Canada that is an important life source for our planet. We must be careful on how we deal with and use these important regions of our country. The boreal forest that stretches from Labrador all the way across the northern half of all the provinces and into Yukon is a vital part of the equation.
The other part I wish to speak about is the present day resource extraction and the benefits that would take place within those regions, and how the regions are not sharing those benefits. We know the debate in Alberta has been quite selfish. However, I would like to see some national vision of what the impacts would be for our energy and the proper sharing of our resources within those regions.
I come from a region that has huge deposits of uranium. Uranium has been used for the generation of power in many parts of the world.
We must also be conscious. The word conscious is an incredible word because science is a part of the word conscious. When I was in Kyoto I had an opportunity to attend a gathering of all the scientists who declared climate change as an opportunity for humans to correct their mistakes. They said that before the industrial age was off and running the scientists were connected to the spiritual community of the world.
When the industrial age came about, the scientists and the moral, spiritual community split. Ever since then scientists have been on their own without necessarily the consciousness, the moral questions of their discoveries, and the repercussions of the science they are working on. The scientist who addressed the Kyoto convention said that it was time that the planet began bringing consciousness back to science. That is what I am talking about.
Today we talk about investments. We are concerned about investments that would not come our way. I am sure that in the whole global picture of investments there are people who have a consciousness of their money and where it goes. In the whole global picture of science, there are scientists who have consciousness. This is what I am saying. It is time for Canadians, and with great recognition to our leader the Prime Minister, to recognize that there is consciousness in this country. We are aware that we are disrupting the climate of future generations. This climate that we call sacred, that we call life, is a life preserver for us. The atmosphere holds all our oxygen and life space. If we are not cognizant that we are damaging this life space, we must make corrections.
Scientists have told us that we are making mistakes. We have made mistakes and it is time we made corrections. The Kyoto protocol is a small measure toward addressing climate change. Canada, as a huge emitter, is small compared to the global emissions. If we can start being a role model to people who dream of being citizens of Canada, people from all over the word, the overpopulated regions, the underprivileged regions, and the people who do not have food and basics of water who want to be in our society, let us have the decency as a society to give them a role model that is worthy of generations to come. The generations to come are the children and their children who we will never know. They will be our descendants. Our ancestors before us may have made mistakes, but the consciousness that we carry tell us that we can correct those mistakes.
This is a great opportunity for us. One of the greatest opportunities I had was revisiting how our communities function. I always thought, living in the bush in a northern aboriginal village, that the ideal situation was an urban centre having: a remote control left and right; SUVs and 4X4s parked outside; the biggest outboard engine; and the biggest Ski-Doo engine. That is what we aspired to. However we have hit a caution sign, a stop sign. Let us not dream of these high tech, high powered, and high energy units that we are using.
I became aware that maybe the solution is back where we came from. Just a few years ago there was a village opened in Quebec called Ouje-Bougoumou. The village was designed for low energy use where one stove heated the whole town, the whole community. The cost savings from which they benefited and the savings on emissions by utilizing a district energy system for an entire village brought them to an international exposition in Germany as the village of the future.
I live in northern Canada. I used to think that my village was a village of the past. However now the latest world expo is pointing to our northern villages as being villages of the future. Why is that? Let me use our clotheslines as an example. Why are we abandoning our clotheslines? When I grew up there were clotheslines in everyone's backyard. Today people use heavy duty washers and dryers that have a heating elements that suck power to dry our clothes. Maybe it would be better to use a low tech clothesline in the basement or if allowed in backyards.
Maybe this debate should started five years ago when we came back from Kyoto. Individuals who are now five years old and entering school maybe can realize that we did make a mistake with our industrial age and with our heavy use of energy.
Maybe it is time for the Americans to be given an opportunity to see that there is a better way of living. Canada probably is the worst example of a country taking on climate change. Canada has the harshest climates. Canada has the highest cost of energy than any other area in North America. We have the highest cost of living compared to anywhere else in North America. However we are willing to take on this challenge and that should be a message to our neighbours, the United States.
Maybe we can show that Canada can take the full benefits of Kyoto, that we can take our technologies to and challenge our young people with our innovation agenda. Let us take it to our young people who are now going into universities. Maybe they can find technologies to correct our housing use, our energy use and our manufacturing.
All this is about efficiency and a healthier and productive future for our country. We are looking at the betterment in terms of savings from our mining industry and our oil and gas industry. I do not mean to preach to the converted over there. We do care about what happens in Alberta. Canada with its Kyoto commitments should be viewed like a bubble. This is an opportunity for the whole country to take an issue that is global and show that we can excel and improve our social structure.
If we are willing to share the burden of Kyoto, we must show that we are also willing to share the benefits. We must share the benefits throughout the country. I am speaking as a person who comes from the bush, from the forestry industry, where we do not have high economic opportunities. Maybe Kyoto will afford us these opportunities. Maybe this is an opportune time for us to put research centres along the mid-Canada corridor of the northern half of each province so we can look at what is happening in northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan and see if the same thing is happening in northern Manitoba. We can share opportunities. We can find better ways to build our houses and our villages. Maybe we can find better ways to improve our travel.
I come from a region where we do not have public transportation. There is no bus service available to service the northwest region of my province. We are faced with a very big challenge in terms of development. Speaking as someone from an undeveloped region of Canada, this is an opportunity that will allow us to look at our basic society and challenge ourselves so we can live in a better and healthier environment by improving our carbon dioxide emissions.
All races of the world were in Japan representing many different countries. We listened to the debates that took place there. The United Nations had its fullest representation there. We heard the rhetoric that there was no need for Kyoto and no need to act on it while there.
It was suppressed because then vice president Gore had a strong view on the environment and spoke soundly for the White House and its administration. However we heard the strong rhetoric from the right wing, the Republicans, in protection of oil and gas. That still permeates today.
I ask Canadians to take a serious look at our climate change plan is for Canada. Let us look at what we can do in our own communities. Let us look at what we can do for our homes, for our provinces and for our country. Most of all, let us look at what can we do for our planet because our future generations are at stake.