Skip to main content

House Publications

The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

41st PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 060

CONTENTS

Monday, December 5, 2011




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 146 
l
NUMBER 060 
l
1st SESSION 
l
41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayers



PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

Canada Labour Code

    (Bill C-307. On the Order: Private Members' Business:)

    October 3, 2011—Second reading of Bill C-307, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (pregnant or nursing employees)—The member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

  (1105)  

[Translation]

Suspension of Sitting 

    The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie is not present to move the order as announced in today's notice paper. Accordingly, the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.
    The House is suspended until 12 p.m.

    (The sitting of the House was suspended at 11:07 a.m.)

Sitting Resumed  

    (The House resumed at 12 p.m.)


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

  (1200)  

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion--Climate Change  

    That this House urge the government to: (a) play a leadership role in tackling global climate change and ensuring Canadian jobs aren’t lost as the rest of the world moves towards a new sustainable energy economy; (b) work in a leadership role at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Durban towards a binding climate change treaty with the goal of limiting average global temperature increases to 2°C; (c) recognize the real, science-based threat of global climate change, as well as respect and adhere to its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and the Copenhagen Accord; and (d) take immediate action to lower net carbon emissions in Canada and increase Canadian trade with our major partners in a new sustainable energy economy.
    Since today is the final allotted day for the supply period ending December 10, 2011, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the supply bill.
    In view of recent practices, do hon. members agree that the bill be distributed now?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to share my time with the member for Terrebonne—Blainville.
    I am very honoured to stand here today and debate this NDP motion on climate change and what is happening in Durban. I am proud to be here with my colleagues in the House who are clear supporters of internationally binding agreements when it comes to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and actually taking action on climate.
    In question period afew weeks ago, the Minister of Natural Resources stood and responded to one of my questions. He said:
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP members keep talking about the environment.
    I would like to thank the minister for that observation. He is absolutely correct. We do stand up for the environment. I am proud to be here today once again standing up and talking about the environment in the House with an NDP opposition day motion that encourages the Canadian government to take a leadership role in tackling global climate change and ensuring that Canadian jobs are not lost as the rest of the world moves on toward a sustainable energy economy.
    The minister pointed out that the NDP is always standing up for the environment because in his mind that cannot be done while we are also standing up for the Canadian economy. However, I believe that the environment and the economy absolutely go hand in hand, and we can work on both together.
    I think the Conservative government lacks the creativity and vision to create an economic strategy that goes beyond the fossil fuel industry. This lack of creative vision and this attitude cuts short Canada's future economic possibilities and has led to a government that actually advocates and celebrates ecological destruction. We have heard its members applaud it here in the House.
    We in the NDP think that our economic future is also our ecological future. We want to think about the economy for the next 20 or 30 years and recognize that there is more potential for innovation and job creation in a transition to a green economy. That is the end goal.
    Before I was elected, I had the opportunity to work with a group of stakeholders on designing ratepayer-funded energy efficiency plans for the province. We were in a situation where the Nova Scotia power utility realized that it was cheaper to invest aggressively in energy efficiency than it was to continue on our path of increased energy use. This was a move that was good for the environment, but it was also really good for the utility's bottom line.
    When we were designing these programs, we realized we needed a line item in the budget for training, because we knew that jobs would be created as a result of these programs and we knew that there was not the capacity in the community to actually fill these roles. Therefore, there was a specific line for training to create new jobs in energy efficiency, whether in auditing or doing home retrofits.
    These are good-paying jobs that we cannot ship offshore. They are jobs that are not located in one city or one region. They are jobs that are in every community across Canada, and we are missing out on that with our failure to take action on climate change. We can see how the economy and the environment do go hand in hand if we just think strategically and creatively.
    The Minister of the Environment has said that Canada will not agree to any international climate commitments unless big emitters such as India and China also follow suit. On the face of it, this sounds like a compelling argument. Of course we all want China and India to come on board, absolutely, and other rapidly industrializing countries should all be included in this international effort. However, I believe that the Conservatives only use this line to confuse and to create more deadlock and delay.
    It is noteworthy that this minister calls China to task for not committing to a climate plan, but at the same time threatens the United States with the idea that we will sell our bitumen to China if the U.S. will not expand Keystone. What he is saying is China is a bad country for being a major emitter, but it is a good enough country for us to sell our raw products to. I think we cannot have it both ways.
    The government's intentions here are transparent. It is trying to throw a monkey wrench into the good faith negotiations of other countries that want to take action on climate. We all know that if we really want these countries to come on board, the best way to do that is to lead, show good faith and take action domestically.

  (1205)  

    What the Conservatives are not telling Canadians about China is interesting. China is already aggressively investing in clean energy technology in a way that our own country is not. By failing to invest here in Canada, we are missing out on these economic opportunities. We see the government actively attempting to deadlock negotiations in the international community.
    Canada is being left behind because of our failure to take action on the environment. The European commission has recommended a carbon penalty on our oil. The U.S. has ordered an environmental review of Keystone that takes into account climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. These are some of our strongest trading partners.
    Canada is being punished because while other countries are moving ahead on climate, we are doing nothing. We have no plan on how to develop the oil sands. The oil sands are a precious natural resource, a resource we can use to leverage a larger transition to a green economy.
    We need to go beyond thinking about the short-term and having that colony mentality, looking for the empire that will save us when we export our raw natural resources. We need to look to the next 20 to 30 years and think about our long-term energy future.
    The Conservatives have absolutely no plan to make oil sands development consistent with the GHG or greenhouse gas reductions that we need to make through either technological investments or a diversification of strategy for our energy economy and for the economy of Alberta.
    We need to diversify our energy economy. We need to invest equally in wind, solar and tidal energies. We need to think about how Canadian natural resources can benefit Canadians first. We need to invest aggressively in energy efficiency. We need an environment minister who understands that he is the Minister of the Environment and we need a Minister of Natural Resources who understands that he needs to advocate for all of our natural resources, not just one.
    We have some mixed media reports coming out of Durban today, just an hour or so ago. Some reports say the minister has announced that Canada will formally withdraw from Kyoto and other reports say that is not in fact what he said, that what he said was that we are not going to recommit to Kyoto 2 or Kyoto plus, the next stage.
    I just came from a meeting with the South African high commissioner where she laid out so eloquently what is happening on the world stage around Kyoto and Canada's involvement, Canada's active sabotaging of these international agreements.
     It was eloquent and moving, and it made me quite sad to hear her first-hand account of what it is that Canada is doing and how we are failing on the national stage. She said that the worse thing that could happen in Durban is that Kyoto fails to exist, and with Canada passively sitting by and not doing anything, and with reports that Canada is actually pulling out, it just makes things worse.
    She talked about how it would have been better for members and parties to the Kyoto protocol to drag their feet and maybe not even quite live up to the expectations than to have people pulling out altogether.
     She talked about the equity involved internationally and how this is not something we can leave to developing countries or countries in the global south. They are not historic emitters. Countries like Canada are, so we need fair and equal but differentiated targets when it comes to countries around the world entering into these agreements if we are to have any success at all.
    I am proud to have brought this motion forward today. I am saddened to see Canada's international reputation on this issue, but I am hopeful that the Conservatives are listening to this today and that they will take heed because there is always time to do the right thing.

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague mentioned one thing that is key to this entire debate, and that is real action on climate change and Canada's actual leadership, being a leader in climate change mitigation and climate change strategy.
    As someone who has worked with clean energy technologies for numerous years, I find it deeply disappointing that my colleague is not recognizing Canada's role in being a leader in developing clean energy technologies which are shared around the world.
    When we talk about action, we should be talking about things like the billions and billions of dollars that our country has invested both industrially and through governments to support clean energy technologies. We are a leader in this areas.
    It is very disappointing that the hon. member denigrates our country's reputation by listening to things that are not action focused and only rhetoric.
    My question to her is this. After our government has spent billions of dollars on clean energy tech, after we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions, after we are known internationally as a leader, three-quarters of our electricity production is produced by forces that do not produce greenhouse gas emissions. What is real action in her mind that will not damage our economy?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for her question, but I would like to correct her. We have not reduced our greenhouse gas emissions. They have, in fact, gone up.
    I do not think that the Minister of the Environment needs any more help denigrating Canada's good name from me. There is a full page ad in The Globe and Mail from South African leaders stating that, in the past, Canada was a leader that came to South Africa and dealt with apartheid. However, in 2011, Canada comes to South Africa and actually tries to disrupt the negotiations that are happening on climate change. I hope the Conservatives are not taking something like that lightly. It was an incredible move for them to point out to us what we are doing.
    When it comes to the investments that the Conservatives say they are putting into green technologies, it is a shell game. We are not meeting our greenhouse gas emission reductions. The Commissioner of the Environment has said as much. It is all smoke and mirrors with the them.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that while the government allocated $9.2 billion in funds, it actually reduced its greenhouse gas emission targets by 90%.
    I want to point out what is at stake.
    Climate change means more extreme weather and impacts on people. It was a year of extremes in the United States as well as in southern Canada with 14 separate weather events which caused losses of $1 billion or more each. Extreme drought affected parts of the southern United States. The drought region made an exceptional summer for Texas, with a mean temperature 3°C above the long-term average and the highest temperature recorded for any state. This had impacts on agriculture, water, wildfires and dust storms. In a marked contrast, January to October was the wettest period in the northeast of the U.S. and the province of Quebec.
    Climate change means more extreme events and more impacts on people.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague pointed out some important information that I was not able to cover in my speech. Also, she is right to point out that we have reduced our greenhouse gas emission goals by 90%, but we are not going to meet them.
    The member also talked about extreme weather. I have a friend, Sheila Zurbrigg, who is a professor at the medical school in Dalhousie University. She does the history of famine, which is a very interesting topic. She started to look at projections of what climate change would do to our planet when it comes to famine. When she talks about it, one can see in her eyes how urgent it is. She talks about an entirely new paradigm for this planet when it comes to famine because of the extreme weather. She knows how urgent it is. If they could hear the passion in her voice, the Conservatives would start to understand as well.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in this House to represent young Canadians, who seem to have been forgotten by this government. I am proud to talk about issues that are close to my heart and to the hearts of my constituents. These issues are already affecting our communities and are threatening our future.
    For over 30 years, hundreds of publications have been highlighting the various consequences of our ancestors' choices. For over 30 years, an international movement has been organized around the idea of improving our living conditions to give future generations the gift of a balanced and healthy environment. A number of national and international initiatives have been presented, approved and ratified by previous governments, which has enabled Canada to build a reputation as an international environmental leader.
    Our reputation has really been tested since this Conservative government was elected. The government has repeatedly denied and refused to listen to the facts, studies and truths about climate change. I am appalled that a self-proclaimed responsible government is endangering its own children's future by denying well-documented scientific facts.
    Many international experts agree on a number of facts that are evident when we look at the effects that have been directly experienced by Canadians. In Canada, temperatures have already increased by 1.3oC over the past 60 years. This has led to increased flooding in Quebec, for example, and the costs associated with these tragedies keep increasing as well. Something else that can affect the whole country is the transformation of seasonal landscapes. Heavy equipment operators, who transport large loads and equipment to support the economy in Canada's north, have noted that they are able to use ice roads for much shorter periods. Thousands of Canadians depend on these roads to receive essential commodities. A young Inuit man even went to Durban to talk about the consequences of climate change. These effects are threatening Canadians' lives. This many effects cannot be a lie.
    The many disasters that have been happening outside Canada also attest to the consequences of climate change: the devastating fires in Russia, major floods in Thailand, increasingly extreme droughts in Africa, increasingly violent hurricanes in coastal regions, and the melting glaciers in Greenland, which will speed up the rise in global temperatures and the rise of sea levels. Concrete examples from around the globe support what scientists are saying. When we do not see these things with our own eyes, it is easy to ignore the facts or try to explain them all individually, without connecting the dots between them.
    More and more Canadians need to use their cars, because the absence of a national transit strategy or green alternatives that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions is only making matters worse.
    These data are not being invented by political lobby groups. More and more independent experts have condemned this government's failure to act and its laissez-faire attitude. Not only did the Conservatives fire Environment Canada experts who could have produced excellent scientific data specific to our needs, but they also like to ignore all science when it does not serve their purposes. That is what happened with Bill C-10, which is completely irresponsible. To young people, climate change is clearly not just a political theory, but rather a reality they need to face immediately in order to reduce the negative impact it will have on their future.
    The Conservatives have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have failed when it comes to environmental vision and leadership. What is surprising, however, is that they are not taking advantage of this opportunity for Canada to become a global leader in green power production, given that climate change affects everyone. This economic vision would guarantee a future for our businesses and for Canadians, since we would be able to meet the rising global demand while creating thousands of well-paid jobs.
    Unfortunately, with the end of government subsidies for programs like eco-energy after just one year, the small and medium businesses are the ones taking a direct hit. Many of my constituents will not have the opportunity to benefit from those subsidies. However, the biggest failure is that Canada has been alienating itself from its economic allies for the past few years. The hope for international co-operation, in which Canada would lead by example, is fading after the many fossil awards we have been winning these past few years.
    My constituents have sent me hundreds of reply cards from my householders indicating how important the environment and international leadership are to them. They deplore Canada's new reputation, which does not reflect their many efforts and numerous accomplishments. They simply do not understand why individuals can be prepared to take action but the government is not willing to support them. The people of Terrebonne, Blainville and Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines are worried about the state of our environment.

  (1220)  

    In each of those towns that I proudly represent, we can easily find agencies, businesses and citizens' groups that struggle daily to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but more than anything, we find people who have taken their future into their own hands in order to ensure a better future for their children.
    I would like to highlight the work of Compost Ste-Anne, a not-for-profit organization that helps the Town of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines reduce its waste while creating jobs. That organization is celebrating its 10th anniversary today.
    Young people are also showing leadership by becoming more informed and understanding the impact of their actions. Students from the Collège Saint-Sacrement are contributing to the environmental initiative in my region by setting up a sorting centre at their school. This summer, the young people from Terrebonne formed an environmental patrol that went door to door to inform families about how to protect their environment, how to recycle and how to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
    Even businesses in my region understand that a healthy environment is essential to a vibrant economy. That is why Tricentris obtained LEED certification.
    The environment is such an important issue in my riding that people from one neighbourhood in Blainville fought to stop trees from being cut down in a wetland because they understand that our ecosystem needs those trees.
    I have mentioned just a few of my constituents' initiatives. These people are committed to saving our planet because they realize there is a significant problem. The young patrollers and the Saint-Sacrement environmental committee know that we must take action now or our generation will inherit a massive problem. None of these people understand why their government is not on board with these initiatives. On the contrary, the government has decided to ignore the problems and to work against initiatives taken by the people.
    Young people are increasingly cynical about politics, but I am proud to see that those in my riding realize that they can take their future into their own hands. I believe that it is my duty to support them during my term of office.
    That is why I am pleased to represent the NDP, which has the courage to put forward bold environmental solutions to secure our economic future and offer Canadians an even more promising path: a path that recognizes the responsibility of the people's representatives towards youth and future generations; a path that recognizes the need to act now in order to lessen the economic and environmental burden that will be placed on my generation and those to come; a path that ensures that industry and the private sector work together to ensure a transition towards a clean environment and a green economy that is not dependent on fossil fuels.
    In short, the Conservatives' lack of vision and responsibility is punitive for our children. The government is acting like an absent parent who does not take his or her responsibilities seriously. It is time to restore hope to future generations.
    We need practical, science-based, fair, ambitious and binding legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will not reach our targets with good faith and promises about taking action in the future, which is what this government is doing. It is time to revive the climate change accountability bill.
    We need carbon emission regulations that will provide economic motivation for reductions to ensure that we can reach the targets to which we have made committed international commitments.
    We need money to make this transition to a greener economy. It can be done if we make major emitters pay higher taxes and stop subsidizing the oil sector, the richest sector in Canada.
    We must remain ahead of the game in order to take advantage of the considerable economic benefits resulting from the inevitable transition to a green economy. In the next 50 years, the oil sands resources will be depleted. We must build sustainable industries that will create more and more jobs across Canada. We must make long-term investments in programs such as the eco-energy initiative in order to motivate Canadians to decrease their energy consumption.
    We must take action that reaches beyond policies and laws—not like the Liberals, who gave us the Kyoto protocol but, in the long term, failed to honour the commitments they made in that regard.
    Finally, we must work together. We must recognize that we have an international responsibility since our choices influence other nations. We are all in this fight together. Young Canadians are growing up in a country that is currently seen by the world as a pariah because of the Liberals' broken promises and this government's complete lack of action.
    It is time to act courageously. It is time to help Canadians regain their pride in their country. It is time this government recognized that science is right, that excellent solutions exist and that action will drive the economy and provide more sustainable jobs for future generations.

  (1225)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, once again, let us talk about action.
    My colleague opposite spoke about a legacy for our children. This weekend, in the NDP leadership debates, the candidates spoke about a carbon tax. Once again, the NDP has brought forth an economic policy that was not costed and not thought through with regard to long-term economic legitimacy or a legacy for our children.
    One of my colleagues opposite also spoke earlier about clean energy tech investments being a shell game. Let us look at the tangible actions that have come out of our investments in clean energy tech. I would like my colleague opposite to answer the question, how is this a shell game? How are investments in R and D that reduced by 39% the per barrel GHG emissions for oil produced in our oil sands between 1990 and 2008 a shell game? How is R and D in geothermal heat, which is a lower-emission alternative to natural gas, a shell game? How is water treatment with respect to fresh water and enhancement of water recycling systems a shell game?
    At the end of the day, our country is a leader in clean energy tech and in environmental stewardship. Please explain this.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question. This government insists that we must choose between the economy and the environment. However, it does not have to be a choice. We can combine the two things. We can invest in green energy. We are not currently doing so. We do not necessarily have to choose one or the other. We do not have to decide whether to invest in the economy or in the environment. In my opinion, the two go hand in hand.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the legacy the government will leave is potentially a $21 billion to $43 billion adaptation debt by 2050, annually.
    Severe drought developed in parts of east Africa in late 2010 and continued through most of 2011. The most severely affected area encompassed parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The humanitarian impacts of the drought were severe, especially in Somalia. They included significant famine and large-scale displacement of population.
    The UN estimated that 13 million people required humanitarian aid. A camp in Kenya had 400,000 people, most of whom were from Somalia. Our office helped bring a true hero, Dr. Hawa Abdi, to Canada to tell her story about the hospital she built on the land and the over 100,000 refugees she cares for daily.
    In Africa, climate change means the difference between life and death.
     The government has an opportunity to help prevent drought by taking action on climate change.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her comments. Climate change is having significant and devastating effects on other countries. We cannot think that our actions do not influence other countries. As I said in my speech, what we do not only influences our neighbours but also has a direct impact on them. Similarly, greenhouse gases produced by other countries affect us. Everyone in the international community must implement these measures. That is why these negotiations are so important and why we are proposing this motion today.

  (1230)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague and my colleague from Halifax, for leading the charge in this debate.
    I think the government has completely dropped the ball on this and is disappointing Canadians. The government is choosing to speak for a small segment of the oil industry rather than for Canadians at large.
    According to the International Energy Commission, CO2 emissions in Canada went up 20% between 1990 and 2009. I would like my colleague to comment on how the NDP's plan for a cap and trade, something that we have all committed to and have campaigned on for a long time, might help reduce these really gross levels of CO2 emissions.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The NDP's plan is very important. At some point, we need to tell the big polluters that we have had enough. We need to give them ways to reduce pollution. We must be demanding and not encourage a laissez-faire attitude where everyone does as they see fit. We must take real action and tell businesses and big polluters that enough is enough. We have a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on a very important issue. I am going to start by talking about Canada's role in this.
    It has been deeply disappointing to me as a young Canadian to hear the opposition parties denigrate our country and our reputation in this area. It is false to say that, because we are taking tangible action at home, we are not leaders. We have made billions of dollars in investments and we have seen great improvement in our technology. This commitment is not just from our government, but also from all industry sectors. Our government has taken a strong action-focused approach to produce reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We have already started to see those results at home. More importantly, we are going to be doing this in such a way that our economy will not suffer.
    The opposition talks about the need to balance the economy with the environment, yet I notice that it has no plans to do so. When opposition members talk about economic instruments to do this, they never talk about the cost or the long-term effects on our children. We can manage our environment. We can have environmental stewardship while having economic sustainability. That is where real action-focused results come into play and that is what our government is doing.
    I would like to take the opportunity to present, once again, the Government of Canada's sector-by-sector strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. It is a national plan with a strong corresponding international component. We believe the best way to achieve results on climate change management is to better integrate our environmental objectives into Canada's economic structure. It is one way to maximize our competitiveness in a rapidly evolving global field.
    There is no question our domestic businesses can be more productive and more efficient than ever while meeting our greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. We have aligned this target with that of the United States. Given the degree of integration within the North American economy, we will align our approaches to reducing emissions in a manner appropriate to the Canadian context.
    One of the key pieces to our sector-by-sector approach is the new emissions regulations for cars and trucks. This is tangible action. Canada has already completed standards for regulating GHGs from new passenger cars and light trucks for the 2011 through 2016 model years, aligning with the U.S. on a common North American approach.
     We have also issued a notice of intent to continue to develop more stringent standards for new cars in model year 2017 and beyond, working closely with the United States. Again, we are making sure that our industrial partners, stakeholders within the economy and international trading partners are included in the dialogue so that we can achieve real action while ensuring economic sustainability.
    We are taking action in the area of electricity generated from coal-fired plants. In August, our government published new draft electricity regulations in the Canada Gazette, the result of extensive discussion with industry, provinces and stakeholders.
    Our renewable fuel standards have mandated a 5% ethanol content for gasoline used by cars and trucks and a 2% average renewable fuel content in diesel fuel and heating oil. These regulations are one element of our broader renewable fuels strategy. They will bring significant environmental benefits to our country.
    Clean and renewable energy has been a central focus in the government's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The various eco-energy initiatives of this government are helping to develop clean and efficient energy. My colleagues opposite spoke about this earlier today; however, they have consistently voted against these measures in our budget.
    The eco-energy initiatives facilitate research and development in clean energy and renewables. The eco-energy efficiency initiative will make the housing, building and transportation industries more energy efficient and increase energy performance. The eco-energy retrofit homes program is helping Canadians to make energy-efficient home renovations.
    In addition, we have invested another $40 million in Sustainable Development Technology Canada for the commercialization of clean technologies. This fund is becoming self-sustainable thanks to industry commercialized technologies that make tangible benefits to our environment in Canada. We are exporting this technology and seeing the growth of clean energy tech industry here at home.

  (1235)  

    As of 2010, the energy efficiency regulations' minimum energy performance standards have resulted in an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 26 megatons.
    Through the eco-energy for renewable power program, we will see $1.5 billion in investments over the next 10 years to support our renewable energy industry. The eco-energy for biofuels program will provide production incentives to producers of cleaner renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel.
    Our investments through the clean energy fund, eco-energy technology initiative and carbon capture and storage projects are helping to position Canada as a producer of clean, reliable electricity for decades to come, again, measures that the opposition continues to vote against in our budgets.
    Last month, our government also announced that we will spend over $148 million over the next five years to help our country adapt to climate change. This funding will help us frame credible, science based responses to the impacts of climate change here at home. This funding builds on the $85 million that we have already spent over the past four years to help provinces, territories, municipalities and others develop important strategies for domestic adaptation to climate change.
    The government made another important announcement for the environment last month. In recognition of the important work being carried out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality since 2006 through the clean air regulatory agenda, we announced that over the next five years our government will invest a further $600 million in the clean air regulatory agenda. This investment in the clean air agenda will help us to identify emerging air quality issues, measure and monitor the status of existing ones and evaluate action focused solutions that ensure that our economy is stable. It ensures that Canadians will literally breathe easier.
    At the same time as we are focused on the long term, we are not neglecting the shorter term opportunities to address climate change here at home. For example, we are looking at ways to reduce soot, or black carbon, methane and ozone, which are short-lived climate forcers. Reductions of these climate forcers produce near-term benefits for the climate, particularly in the Arctic. We are also doing this work collaboratively with our partners in the United States, Mexico and elsewhere.
    Our approach, along with the work done by the provinces, has brought us 25% of the way to reaching our 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, action-focused results.
    It is work that complements a variety of existing regulatory and international efforts and holds the promise of some significant results.
     It is also important that the reality of climate change be well understood and proactively managed. Our government firmly believes that, on the international front, only an agreement that includes all major emitters can deliver the greatest impact in addressing climate change. Canada is engaged at the international negotiations in South Africa in developing a strategic response to climate change. It is a question of enlightened self-interest. If we want Canada to meet the environmental challenges ahead, we need to help others do the same.
    That is why Canada has stepped up with its fair share of climate change funding for developing countries, something that we pledge to deliver under the Copenhagen accord. We have already provided $400 million in fast-start financing in 2010-11 to help the world's poorest and most vulnerable nations develop clean energy options, address the problems caused by deforestation and boost sustainable agriculture. In turn, this funding reinforces our $100 million contribution in the 2008-09 World Bank pilot program on climate resilience.
     In other words, we have implemented a proactive climate change action plan on domestic and international fronts, one that is tailored to our country's specific needs but based on our commitments at recent UN climate change summits in Copenhagen and in Cancun.
     Canada's position is very simple: We will only support climate change agreements that are signed and ratified by all major emitters because the reality is that we are an integrated global economy and we need to be cognizant of that fact for our children. It is a straightforward, practical approach.
    We have already declared that, however acute the international pressure, we will not agree to a second commitment period under the Kyoto protocol. The Kyoto protocol does not meet our simple criteria. It does not include targets for all of the world's greenhouse gas emitters. It ultimately covers less than 30% of global emissions. This is not what we need to do to achieve a global international binding commitment. We can do better than this. This is the way forward that has been discussed in the Copenhagen accord and in the Cancun agreements, which we are committed to continuing.

  (1240)  

    The agreements reached in Cancun a year ago established a workable template for continuous improvement in the future. Establishing a program to implement agreements is a major focus of the negotiations that are taking place right now in Durban, South Africa. Canada, led by our Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, is playing an active and constructive role in these negotiations.
    Order, please. I would like to remind the member not to refer to any member of this chamber by their given name.
    The reality is that Canada emits only 2% of the world's total emissions. That is why we need to work hard to get the 98% covered by a new agreement. Kyoto does not do that, never did that and cannot do that in the future. We need a new agreement that is fair, effective and applies to all major emitters to see real change.
    This is not an easy task. However, we do not shy away from difficult tasks and we are not swayed by pressure and criticism from those who want to retain the status quo. The status quo was not good enough domestically, which is why we have established a strong regulatory approach to addressing climate change.
    The status quo of Kyoto is not good enough on the international front. That is why Canada is showing brave leadership to address the reality of international climate change actions. If they are to be effective, they must include all major emitters, including the United States and China.
    Currently, the 37 countries, plus the European community, that have commitments under the Kyoto protocol represent less than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Two of the world's most significant GHG emitters, China and the U.S., are currently responsible for close to 40% of global emissions and yet China and the United States are not parties to the Kyoto protocol and have no international legally binding emissions reductions commitments.
    What is more, it is expected that China and other emerging economies will be responsible for almost all future growth in emissions and are expected to be responsible for about two-thirds of global emissions by 2020. As such, it will be essential for ensuring sustainable global development that major emerging economies take effective action now and in the future to mitigate emissions growth, as their economies grow.
    The fact that the New Democrats and the Liberals have stubbornly adopted a nothing-but-Kyoto approach just shows that neither party is willing to face reality. When they signed on to Kyoto, the Liberals privately knew that they could not meet Kyoto's emissions targets.
     Eddie Goldenberg, one of prime minister Jean Chrétien's former aides, revealed that the Liberals went ahead to the Kyoto protocol on climate change even though they knew there was a good chance Canada would not be able to meet its goals for pollution reduction. In a speech prepared for the Canadian Club of London, Ontario, and reported by the Toronto Star in 2007, Mr. Goldenberg said:
    Nor was the government itself even ready at the time with what had to be done. The Kyoto targets were extremely ambitious and it was very possible that short-term deadlines would at the end of the day have to be extended.
    Mr. Chrétien's ego wrote cheques that his party could not cash.
    Then there is the NDP. Never having been in government, the NDP has often been the party asking questions and rarely the party answering them. That is convenient for the NDP. It does not need to answer the tough questions on its nothing-but-Kyoto policy, questions like these: how many thousands of Canadian jobs would be lost as Canada hopelessly tries to meet unachievable Kyoto targets? If Canada signs on to a second Kyoto commitment period, how many billions of dollars in penalties will Canada have to pay for not meeting our unrealistic targets? Those countries producing over two-thirds of the world's greenhouse gas emissions have no obligations under Kyoto. How many megatons of greenhouse gases will be emitted by non-Kyoto parties? How much will these rise before the NDP realizes that Kyoto is not working?
    This government is willing to ask the serious questions and deal with realistic achievable plans that involve all of our stakeholder groups across this country and internationally. Unlike the Liberals, we will not enter into agreements that we have no intention of keeping, and unlike the NDP, we base our plans on science and on reality.
    As we continue this debate today, I want to ensure that what we talk about here is action-focused, that we talk about the realities that Canada has at home and about the economic sustainability factors that we need to look at for our children. When we are talking about the debate on how we will manage our country, our greenhouses, et cetera, for our children, we also need to ask how we can do this sustainably and how we can do this in such a way that we can achieve real action.
    I am proud to say that our government's plan can do this, it will do this and we will continue moving forward as an international leader.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, in light of the fact that clean air agenda the parliamentary secretary talkedabout does not really deal with climate, in light of the fact that South African leaders said,
    “Canada, you were once considered a leader on global issues like human rights and environmental protection. Today you're home to polluting tar sands oil, speeding the dangerous effects of climate change”, in light of the fact that today China said that it was willing to enter into legally binding agreements, in light of the fact that the Conservative Senate killed the NDP climate change accountability act, in light of the fact that the government continues to give billions in tax breaks to fossil fuel companies, in light of the fact that the government has failed to renew the successful eco-energy renewable power program and in light of the fact that Canada is being outspent per capita 18:1 on renewable investments by the U.S., does the member actually believe any of the talking points that she has been sent here to deliver?
    Mr. Speaker, as someone who has worked with clean energy technology and as someone who works in a province and in a country where our energy sector provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of funding for social programs, I cannot accept my colleague's criticism of our country as not being an international leader in environmental stewardship. Our country operates in one of the most stringent environmental regulatory frameworks in the world. That is a fact. That is not a talking point. We are a leader in this. We also are one of the most socially responsible producers of energy. We are one of the freest countries in the world.
    The fact that we are being criticized and the opposition is accepting this criticism against our country is shameful. When we look at what our government has done since 2006 as opposed to previous Liberal governments, previous governments that did not do anything, we see actual action occurring. We are seeing a reduction in almost every sector. We are seeing reductions in our transportation sector where we put in regulations this year. We are seeing reductions in our electricity production sector.
    These are not talking points. This is reality. When will the opposition wake up to that?
    Mr. Speaker, I must admit that I agree with almost nothing the parliamentary secretary said.
    After a decade of effective work with the provinces, the public and industry, the Liberal government made huge progress and emissions actually went down in 2005 during an economic boom. The reform party tried to block those moves every step of the way. Unfortunately, I am hearing the very same propaganda from the parliamentary secretary that we heard from the reform party over the years.
    In terms of setting goals, I would hope the member has set goals for herself that it might be possible that she would not meet. However, by aiming high, we achieve more than if we do not set goals.
    In this much lauded funding that the government is announcing, shamefully, because it was announced before, there is nothing new. Half of it is loans and the other half is a redirection of important international aid from other funding that the government had already committed to.
    Could the parliamentary secretary please tell us of any new dollars going into the climate fund?

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question allows me to speak to the profoundly shameful history of the Liberal government's management of both our economy and our energy sector.
    I will talk about the national energy plan that cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and a generational impact on western Canadians. I will talk about the Kyoto protocol that the Liberal government signed on to with no financial planning. I will talk about the dollars. There was absolutely no discussion on the cost of the Kyoto protocol to our economy or to implementing it. I will talk about the green shift, a carbon tax that would be a tax on everything with no cognizance of our economy's sustainable future.
    I am so proud to stand here today and say that our country is a leader in environmental stewardship. We are a leader in putting regulations in place that will ensure the sustainability of our environment and, not only that, to monitor them and enforce them to ensure that funding is provided for clean energy technology to see the commercialization of new technologies, which will see a green economy develop in our country in the future.
    Those are the things that our government stands for, is proud of and on which we are taking real action.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP wants us to believe that we can grow the economy by Canada assuming the full cost of decarbonizing its own economy while assuming the additional costs of decarbonizing other global economies and simultaneously boosting taxes on Canadian companies and consumers. I do not know about other members, but to me, not growing the economy sounds like a recipe for disaster. That is why the United States never signed on to Kyoto. It is why the EU is backing away from further action under Kyoto. They recognize that everyone in the global economy has to be involved. That is why this country put its leadership behind the Copenhagen process, the only global process that has a real prospect of being able to grow our economies while improving global climate.
    Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment like to answer the question about Canada's global leadership under Copenhagen?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question gives me an opportunity to highlight, once again, the fact that our country is a leader in environmental sustainability and in dealing with climate change in a way that we are going to see real results.
    Our government's approach, which includes a sector-by-sector regulatory approach, is designed to ensure our economic sustainability and, as he mentioned, see tangible results with regard to greenhouse gas emissions. The first sector we looked at was the transportation sector. We did that because we know it is a sector that creates a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions. We went forward with these regulations through a consultative process to find out how we could actually implement this while ensuring that our economy is not competitively disadvantaged. We are doing the same thing right now with our electricity sector. We are doing this sector by sector because we want to make sure that we are achieving those tangible results.
    With regard to the question about economic sustainability, this is something that cannot be lost. It is easy to gloss over. We have heard it in the opposition rhetoric today. When we are looking at binding commitments and agreements in the future, we need to ensure that our approaches are similar to those being taken in the Copenhagen accord. Those approaches ensure that all emitters are on board and working toward the same goal and that our economy is sustained.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what spectacular stickhandling. Congratulations. Honestly, I have never heard anything quite like that.
    I have a question. Last week, I saw, with my own eyes, members on the other side applaud when it was announced that Canada had once again received a fossil award.
    What does my colleague think about that?

  (1255)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I cannot support bringing into the House any sort of award that is designed to denigrate this country. This country is a leader in the world, period. The real award that we should be talking about is the fact that our country in a global recession sits atop of the G7 with regard to economic growth. We have seen over 600,000 net new jobs created. We are doing that at the same time as we are protecting our environment. That is an award we should be proud of. That is an award the opposition should be bringing forward.
    Mr. Speaker, where is the credible plan? Where are the science-based targets? Right now the government can only get us 25% of the way there. How is it going to get the remaining 75%?
    I would like to know if the hon. member truly appreciates what climate change will mean in Canada. There will be more extreme weather events. A rise in sea levels will affect Vancouver and the Hudson Bay lowlands. Lower Great Lakes levels will impact shipping. An increased frequency and severity of heatwaves will impact the health of Canadians. The melting permafrost will have an impact on infrastructure and housing in the north.
    We do not inherit the environment from our parents; we borrow it from our grandchildren.
    Mr. Speaker, I am quite pleased that my colleague opposite brought up the topic of climate change adaptation. This is one area where our government has been more than committed with regard to funding, both measures that are designed to mitigate it, but more importantly, designed to produce the research which develops an understanding of it.
    What is more unfortunate is that the opposition parties continue to vote against our budgetary measures for climate change adaptation.
    Mr. Speaker, I will begin by sharing a story about a young woman who was forced to give up farming in southeast Asia. The rising sea level meant that saline water had stopped crops from growing in her fields. As a result, her husband was forced to leave their village to look for work in the forest where he was killed by a tiger. Her husband's family then sent her back to live with her family. Her family's home was subsequently destroyed by a hurricane. Thankfully, the family stayed alive by living on an embankment for a month. Now the monsoons are changing and new diseases are coming. She understands that these changes are not acts of god, but rather are caused by other countries with big factories and smoke.
    When parliamentarians from the Commonwealth gathered for five days in London in 2009, she asked all of us big important people to please do justice for them; there was no water to drink and people were leaving their villages. She said, “Climate change is deep down in my heart painful”.
    I spent the last 20 years of my life studying climate change, particularly the impact of climate change on human health. I had the privilege of serving as lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for two reports and consulting to Environment Canada's climate adaptation and impacts research group for many years. However, it is that young woman's words that haunt me every day.
    It is for these reasons that I spent four months building the first ever all-party climate change caucus on Parliament Hill. I hope all parliamentarians, as well people who are watching this debate, are encouraged by this news as we are enormously excited about the prospects. This morning the climate change caucus had the privilege of listening to the South African high commissioner. We thank her for her time and effort.
    Climate change is our most pressing environmental issue, perhaps the defining issue of our generation. It will profoundly affect our economy, health, lifestyles and social well-being. It requires moral responsibility and intergenerational responsibility. How we respond will define the world our children and their descendants grow up in.
    Canadians know about climate change. We have had our climate change wake-up calls: the 1998 ice storm, which cost $5.4 billion; the 1996 Saguenay flood, which cost $1.7 billion; the 1991 Calgary hail storm, which cost $884 million; and the 1997 Red River flood, which cost $817 million. Those are just a few extreme weather events.
    Today in the Canadian Arctic, permafrost is warming. The annual thaw layer is deepening and damaging infrastructure. In British Columbia, glaciers are retreating at rates not seen in the last 8,000 years. On the Prairies, lake and river levels are lowering in summer and fall and are impacting agriculture. In Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, sea level rise and increased storminess are accelerating coastal and dune erosion.
    As a result of climate change around the world, we see dwindling fish stocks in the Atlantic and other oceans, encroaching deserts in northern Nigeria, flooding lowlands in Bangladesh, shrinking rain forests in Asia and the Pacific, and rising sea levels around the Maldives which lie only 1.5 metres above sea level.
    In the Maldives, weather patterns are shifting. Fishing is poor and people are starting to relocate. There, sustainable development means climate-proof development. After the 2004 tsunami, 16 sewer systems were built, but there was no money for maintenance and 16 islands were bankrupted. As a result, the Maldives will be carbon neutral in 10 years and will invest in tomorrow's technology, not yesterday's diesel. Even these actions will not guarantee its future as its tomorrow will in part depend on international climate negotiations today.
    Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it is also a human rights issue: the right to live. Climate change is also an international security issue and a justice issue; that is, the ones who are suffering most had the least responsibility for it.
    We must listen to leaders of small island states who remind us that climate change threatens their very existence. Recently, the island nation of Kiribati became the first country to declare that climate change is rendering its territory uninhabitable and asked for help to evacuate its population.

  (1300)  

    In any struggle, it is important to listen to the front lines. In the case of climate change, they are aboriginal peoples, those living in low-lying states and those living in the Canadian Arctic. If people are being meaningfully impacted by climate change, they should be meaningfully involved in negotiations. Governments must be accountable to those who are impacted. Tragically, Kiribati and the Maldives are the canaries in the coal mine. If the international community cannot save the front line first, it will not be able to save itself down the line.
    Globally, this year's floods that devastated Colombia, Pakistan and Venezuela, and the wildfires that gripped Russia are more climate change wake-up calls. There will be more extreme events, worse impacts, and no country will be exempt.
    Yet, despite this year's weather warnings, the government failed to even mention climate change in the throne speech. Sadly, at the UN climate talks, my beloved Canada, which once had a reputation as a green country, wins fossil awards for being a follower instead of a leader on the world stage. Canada has won fossil awards three of the first four days at COP 17 in Durban for signalling pullout of Kyoto and actually influencing other countries to do the same. The failure to win a fourth award was the result of no award being offered on Thursday.
    Canadians should be highly critical of the government's abdication of leadership on issues related to climate change, specifically: its performance in meeting international climate commitments; setting science-based emissions targets; developing incentives for low-carbon technologies; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; pricing carbon; and putting in place adaptation measures necessary to respond to the risks of climate change.
    Comprehensive climate actions include developing a cap and trade system, eliminating subsidies for dirty energy, and providing incentives for low-carbon technologies and infrastructure investments.
    Before I discuss what is needed in Durban, let me address Liberal action on climate change.
    The Liberal government was up against the Conservative-Reform alliance that did not even believe in the science of climate change and threw up every conceivable roadblock. For example, Liberals attempted to hold a debate in the House of Commons to discuss the merits of the Kyoto protocol, but the party of the members opposite, many of whom are now ministers, filibustered and slowed down progress considerably.
    While Kyoto was signed in 1997, it was not ratified until 2002. In 2005, the Liberal government introduced project green, a comprehensive plan developed with stakeholders across the country to put Canada on the right track to meet commitments. The Conservatives killed the plan when they became government. Conservatives are trying to rewrite history by calling the Kyoto protocol a blunder. The only purpose is to mask their own inaction.
    Incidentally, although I was not granted an emergency debate on climate change last Monday, I am still hopeful the government will consent to a take note debate on Earth's most pressing environmental issue.
     Today we are halfway through COP 17, the United Nations climate change conference in Durban, South Africa. This year's theme is “Working Together. Saving Tomorrow Today”. There is an absolute urgency, first, as Kyoto comes to an end, and second, as the world tries to hold the average climate warming to just 2°C, the threshold associated with dangerous climate change.
     Parties must strive to find solutions for scientifically defensible targets in Durban and build on the work undertaken in Cancun, Mexico at COP 16.
    Fortunately, climate change is not a closed case. We can rise to the challenge as in the past when major powers rose to the challenge. They built countrywide railways. They fought in World War I and World War II. The government should take a lesson from history. It should negotiate for our children and our grandchildren who are yet to be born.
    In 1987, Canada was one of the original parties to the Montreal protocol, largely recognized as the most successful response to the global environmental challenge to date. Canada took a leadership role in examining the science underlying ozone depletion and acting to eliminate its causes.

  (1305)  

    Parties must first come to the negotiating table in good faith, and the expectation is that they must work toward an outcome that is balanced, credible and fair. Unfortunately, instead of the government engaging Parliament, its environmental critics, its human rights experts, it has shamefully signalled its abandonment of Kyoto and has, as we learned, been secretly urging other countries to pull out of the agreement as well.
    As a result, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other South African leaders from government, labour and non-government organizations recently placed a full page ad to remind Canadians of the leadership our country once showed.
    We parliamentarians therefore have a pivotal role to play in setting the necessary regulatory frameworks here at home and in building political resolve toward strong multilateral action, and our action must be swift and it must be collective.
    At home, the government must absolutely make progress on its 2020 emission reduction target, but its own plan shows that federal and provincial government actions, announced or already under way, are projected to reduce emissions by only one-quarter of what is needed to meet the 2020 target. Canadians are waiting to hear how the government plans to address the remaining three-quarters.
    In seeking an effective and just agreement from Durban, I see several key challenges and opportunities. The challenges are: first, to build trust and strengthen good faith; second, to push for strong action despite difficult economic times; and third, to make any agreement an inclusive deal that leaves no country or group behind, deepening world poverty and threatening international security.
    Let me therefore talk about financing climate mitigation and adaptation, which has always been a key challenge. The government will rightly ask, why take on more debt? The answer is simple. The benefits of strong, early action on climate change dramatically outweigh the cost. For example, it has been estimated that to stabilize emissions at manageable levels would cost about 1% of global GDP, but that not to act would cost at least 5%, now and forever.
    While the numbers can be debated, the essential fact cannot be. In fact, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy predicts that climate change will annually cost Canadians $21 billion to $43 billion by 2050.
     We must therefore adapt. While adaptation is not cost-free, it is the cost-effective way to alleviate some climate impacts. I must then ask why the government is cutting climate impact and adaptation research at Environment Canada. The research group was started 17 years ago. It performs groundbreaking research by examining how climate change affects agriculture, human health and water quality in Canada. Some of its scientists shared part of the 2007 Nobel Peace Price on Climate Change.
    Let me come back to the fact that those who have the most to lose from climate change are the ones who have contributed least to the problem and who are the least equipped to deal with it. Many of the least developed countries and small states are already struggling to achieve the millennium development goals, particularly since they lack the necessary financial and technical resources. On top of these challenges, many face severe physical impacts from climate change and have economies that are particularly sensitive to climate variations, such as agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
    Thankfully, we also have opportunities at Durban to reflect the increase in concern of Canadian business, citizens and municipal and provincial governments regarding climate change and to use the economic and environmental crisis to green our economy.
    Many Canadian businesses, governments and citizens are already doing their part, improving energy efficiency, reducing energy use, reducing waste, using forest-friendly practices, using green power, et cetera. Now they are looking to us to be their voice on the national stage and to demand a decisive response to climate change in Canada and internationally.

  (1310)  

    Groups from wide walks of life, such as Canada's faith communities, the Climate Action Network, Citizens Climate Lobby, Citizens for Public Justice, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and the Pembina Institute want their political representatives to show vision and a long-term commitment on climate change.
     Let us therefore be inspired by two examples of parliamentary action. First, the Maldives government has pledged to become the world's first carbon-neutral nation. Second, the United Kingdom parliament passed its climate change bill, the world's first long-term legally-binding framework to tackle climate change.
    One of Canada's reforms must be a shift to the green economy. Governments worldwide are concerned with making the shift to stimulate growth, create new jobs, eradicate poverty and limit humanity's ecological footprint. It is no longer a choice between saving our economy and saving our environment. It is a choice between being a producer and a consumer in the old economy and being a leader in the new economy. It is a choice between decline and prosperity.
     Therefore, we should be critical of the government's efforts to green our economy. For example, in 2009 the government missed a real opportunity for a triple win, a renewable stimulus with positive impacts on the economy, jobs and the atmosphere. While the government invested $3 billion in green stimulus spending, Germany invested $14 billion, the United States $112 billion and China $221 billion in green infrastructure and, in the process, created thousands of new green jobs.
    Going forward the government should develop a green economy strategy to create a more environmentally sustainable economy. Specific measures might include green agriculture, energy supply, forestry, industry, the building sector, transportation and waste. This will require meaningful engagement of all stakeholders, progress in investment in renewable energy and tough questions about the government's management of the oil sands. Where is the long-term plan? What action has been taken to regulate the pace and scope of development? What progress has been made to protect air quality, boreal forest ecosystems and water resources. What assessments are being undertaken to investigate the potential human health impacts of development as well as the environmental impacts? What solutions is the government considering?
    More stringent actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cannot be postponed much longer, otherwise the opportunity to keep the average global temperature rise below 2ºC is in danger. Serious impacts are associated with this limit, including an increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, shifts in growing season and sea level rise.
    My grave concern is that the government wants as little as possible to do with climate change. It can get us 25% of the way there. Where is the other 75%? It has allocated $9.2 billion in funds and has reduced our targets by 90%. It wants to pass the buck to the provinces and the municipalities and wants to walk away from its international obligations.
    The government must realize our home, the planet Earth, is finite. When we compromise the air, water, soil and the variety of life, we steal from the endless future to serve the fleeting present. Therefore, when we parliamentarians contemplate environmental policy and legislation, we must ask if it is something of which our children and grandchildren would be proud.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to praise the member for Etobicoke North for yet another great speech on climate change. She has been a supporter of our bills on climate change accountability for a long time and is really smart and well-spoken.
    However, I take issue with one statement she made. I think she is being a little too kind to the Conservatives. She seems to feel that they are being lax. I would go further. This is not ineptitude, nor is it inaction. Is it not really just bowing down to the altAr of U.S. policy and doing what the oil companies want?
    Would the member care to comment?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague who is a strong supporter of climate change and of taking moral and intergenerational responsibility. I want to be very clear. The record of the government is appalling on climate change. This is the biggest environmental issue facing the planet.
    I want to begin with the science and what is at stake. We want to limit the increase in average global temperature to 2°C above the pre-industrial level, as this level is thought to be the threshold for dangerous climate change. Unfortunately the actions and targets that have been pledged to date fall very short of this goal. Current pledges would lead to warming of 3°C and possibly even more than 3.5°C. For a northern nation, for Canada's Arctic that could be a warming of 8°C to 10°C.
    The reality is we need urgent global action to halt and begin to reverse in the growth of emissions within this decade. There are two key issues at Durban: the future of Kyoto and climate financing to support climate action in developing countries. The Kyoto protocol's first commitment will end next year and unless it is extended or replaced by a second commitment period, there will be an era without legally binding international climate commitments.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague. No one will ever doubt her sincerity and I applaud her for that.
    She made a couple of points in her remarks about the oil sands and alluded to some things, which I hope she does not think are actually happening, such as the devastation of the boreal forest. Less than 1% of the boreal forest is being used and it is all being remediated back to where it started.
    The member talked about water. I hope she would give credit to the oil companies that have invested billions of dollars in tailings pond technology to take a process from what used to take months and years down to a process that takes two or three weeks. I hope she was not referring to supposed damage downstream in places like Fort Chip, where the doctor who proposed that has been shown to be a fraud and has been disciplined by the relevant authorities.
    Are these the kinds of things about which the member is talking? The overriding question is if we do not get countries like China on board, what hope do we have?

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, when I discussed the oil sands, I raised key questions that the government needed to answer, such as where the long-term plan was? Are Conservatives making progress on environment health assessments?
    I want to bring home the impacts of climate extremes with a Canadian example. The great ice storm, which slammed into Ontario, Quebec and parts of the Maritimes, was the most destructive and disruptive storm in Canadian history. It downed 1,000 power transmission towers and 30,000 utility poles. It left 1.4 million people in Quebec and 230,000 in Ontario without power for at least one week. One month after the storm, 700,000 were still without power. It also had a huge impact on health and medical services. Just one hospital reported over 300 injuries directly related to the ice storm. Multiply that by the area that was covered.
    This is food for thought. Climate change means more extreme weather events and in the future we may expect to see an increase in ice storms. Milder winter temperatures may cause an increase in freezing rain if daily temperatures fluctuate around the freezing point.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her speech. My question has to do with the Liberals' record. In 1993, the Liberals promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2005. Instead, they allowed emissions to increase by 30%. In 2005, the UN reported that pollution had increased more in Canada than in any of the other Kyoto signatories. I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about that.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I realize I did not address something that was said by my colleague across the way. I want to point out it was Liberal colleagues who pushed for water monitoring in the oil sands and it was Liberal action, as I had laid out, that introduced project green in 2005, which the Conservatives killed when they came to government. Again, to point out what is at stake, in a warmer world heat waves are expected to become more frequent and severe, and this may lead to an increase in illness and death.
    Members will remember back in 1995 over 700 people died in Chicago from the heat. I have a lasting memory of that event, where there were ice trucks in the streets used as morgues. More recently, 35,000 people succumbed in Europe to the heat. These extreme weather events are increasing. In 1998, China experienced its worst flooding in 50 years, affecting 180 million people; 7 million homes were destroyed; and 4,000 people lost their lives. A cyclone in India affected 10 million to 15 million people; it killed 10,000. Hurricane Katrina destroyed 300,000 homes, displaced 770,000 residents, and cost $200 billion.
     Climate change is real, it is happening now, and it means more extreme events and impacts on people.
    Mr. Speaker, what my colleague from Etobicoke North did not tell members, in her modesty, is that she is a member of a Nobel prize winning team that has studied climate change. I would consider her an authority.
    While Conservatives spew deceitful, rehearsed lines and talking points, which concerns and alarms the people from Guelph that they are doing absolutely nothing about the environment, we have on the other hand the government's own round table on the environment and the economy, and the Conference Board saying that not only have their targets been set too low but the Conservatives are not passing regulations or developing programs that will even meet those modest targets.
    However, I am encouraged by my friend's comments about the ability to join the environment and the economy, to help the environment and create jobs at the same time. I wonder if she could talk to us a bit more about the need to join the environment and the economy.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his work in this area. He does a tremendous amount of work regarding the environment.
    The environment and the economy are two sides of the same coin. Business understands that when it is good to the environment, it pays off on its bottom line. When businesses reduce their inputs and their waste, they save on the bottom line. Business is pushing for action on the environment. In fact, the premier of Alberta is pushing for a national energy strategy. When is the government going to call a first ministers meeting to bring the ministers together to discuss energy and climate change?
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Vancouver East.
    I am happy to speak today on the NDP's official opposition day motion that is, indeed, very timely. As I speak, the eyes of the world are on Durban, South Africa, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Canadians are watching, too.
    We have good reason to be concerned about Canada's role there with talk from the Minister of the Environment in moving countries away from their obligations to be good citizens of the planet and good stewards of the environment. This motion is timely because in Canada there are important pipeline projects from the oil sands being reviewed and debated: Keystone, northern gateway and others. This motion is timely because we know the economy is moving slowly through a deep, damaging recession as we try to figure out a way forward for Canada and other countries.
    Our motion today addresses all of these issues. It makes it clear that Conservatives and their spin masters across the aisle have it dead wrong to frame our debate and choices as one between the economy and the environment. It is not jobs or the planet, it is jobs and the environment. We and others know it can and must be both.
    There is a way forward to creating good paying jobs for Canadians at the same time as making sure the development of the oil sands is done in a coherent, thoughtful way that pays attention to both the economy and the environment. That was the message the NDP environment critic and I brought to Washington. While some across the aisle were hysterically screaming treason and treachery, we were actually talking about a rational energy strategy good for Canada, good for the planet, and good for Canadian jobs. There are good jobs in sustainable clean energy and renewable energy. That is possible with a coherent Canadian energy strategy that, to date, the Conservative government has shown little interest in.
    I know something of the importance of good paying jobs in the community and also the need to pay attention to our environment. For 34 years I worked in the mines of Sudbury. I value a company coming to town, offering stable, permanent, good paying jobs. I value the importance of unions that fight for workers, their pay and benefits, pensions and safety concerns. I saw the need for companies to also pay attention to environment regulations, to do something about pollution, and damage to the air and neighbouring waters.
    We must act now. The evidence is irrefutable. The Arctic is heating up. Just last week an Arctic report card was released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate program office. This agency tracks the Arctic's atmosphere, sea, ice, biology, greenhouse gases, ozone and UV radiation. What it reports is not pretty: the Arctic is shifting to a new permanent stage, warmer, greener, less summer ice, a change in ocean chemistry, and more.
    What is worrisome is not the year-to-year change only, but especially the rates of change. The rates of change are speeding to greater risks. With a greener Arctic, there will be even more projects involving northern resources. We need to be smart about this production and our motion offers a way forward.
    The natural resources committee is studying the development of northern resources. Back in October, it heard a witness, Dr. Steve MacLean, president of the Canadian Space Agency. He was in space twice as an astronaut, both times in the month of October, once in 1992 and again in 2006. When I asked him to compare the two missions, 14 years apart, and tell us if things had gotten worse, this is what he said:
    Yes, I did.
    I was fortunate to fly in the same month, October, in 1992 and then again in 2006. As you know, seasonal changes are still larger than the yearly climatic changes that we're seeing, and so having the privilege of flying in the same month allowed me to see the climatic changes and not just the seasonal changes.

  (1330)  

    The amount of ice in the mountains all over the world is substantially reduced...The tongues of the Columbia Icefields, for example, are reduced by two to three kilometres depending on where you are. Pollution indexes were visible to the naked eye.
    Back in 1992, China was dirty at the centre of Beijing, for example. The air was dirty. Now the entire region is dirty. I just came back from China, and it's a major problem for them over there...That local pollution problem is causing a pretty substantive problem in our north...the ice, for example, used to be open in M'Clintock Channel four weeks of the year. Now it's open six weeks of the year. In the time we've been measuring it, that is a substantial difference. The average temperature in the north is several degrees higher. There are parameters that indicate that change is taking place.
     He said there were definitely changes taking place in the north, and if we do not react to them, we can consider them a disaster or an opportunity. If we consider them an opportunity, then we need to react to them and mitigate them.
    We also spoke with the astronaut on the massive Arctic ozone hole two million square kilometres, twice the size of Ontario, opening up. Scientists say this means higher degrees of harmful ultraviolet radiation hitting northern Canada and our northern hemisphere.
    How does the government react? Just as with crime, just as with the census, it stops funding the groups reporting the problem. Canada has been a leader in Arctic ozone observation, but the Conservative government is now cutting Environment Canada's ozone monitoring.
    What is happening in space, what is happening in the north, is also occurring in all of our communities.
    Last week I met in Ottawa with the Sudbury citizens climate lobby from northern Ontario. It is part of an international movement of citizens wanting action. They want to ensure that clean energy becomes competitive within a 10 year time frame. Among many environmental issues, they asked for an end to our fossil fuel subsidies, including the tax credits, and to invest the money in the development of alternative energies. My party is committed to doing just that.
    This too is captured in our official opposition motion today as we call for immediate action to lower the net carbon emissions in Canada and increase Canadian trade with our major partners in a new sustainable energy economy.
    Canadians want us to act. Over 150,000 Canadians and 150 organizations signed the Kyoto plus petition calling for an emission reduction plan to reduce emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, the target necessary to avoid catastrophic climate changes.
    New Democrats have an action plan to address climate change. We will put a price on carbon and establish hard emission caps for large industrial emitters. We will enact our climate change accountability act, which will put in legislation a framework for achieving the national target of 80% below 1990 emission levels by 2050. We want to establish a permanent federal energy efficient retrofit program to reduce residential energy use, cut GHG emissions, create jobs, and save Canadians money.
    At the natural resources committee recently we heard departmental officials say how wildly popular the eco-energy program has been, how much it is helping the planet. Over 250,000 Canadians have participated in it. This program is set to end at the end of March 2012. The Conservative government needs to make this program permanent.
    New Democrats are committed to fulfilling our international climate obligations. We will cut over $2 billion in annual subsidies to fossil fuel industries. We will restart federal investment in renewable energy. We will create a green jobs fund to support the employment transition to the new economy.
    It is clear Canadians want their government to lead. The world needs Canada's leadership. Climate change does not respect international borders. Here at home, the government must not shirk its responsibilities in finding a way to develop the oil sands in a way that is a win-win for the economy and the environment. There are good jobs there for Canadians if we do so.
    We can move forward here in Parliament by all parties supporting this motion.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to hear my hon. colleague speaking about jobs.
    I want to give an example of a case in my riding of jobs being created. A few years ago the local community college, St. Lawrence College, created a program called the energy systems engineering technology program. It trained students to do things such as energy audits for houses, studying insulation in walls, learning how to mount solar panels and testing systems to make sure they are working properly.
    In the first year of the course, a number of students enrolled, and every single one of them got a job. It means there is a lot of demand out there for jobs related to making our energy systems more efficient, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving money.
    Could the hon. member give some more examples in his own riding of the demand for these kinds of jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, through the eco-energy program we can create jobs from sea to sea.
    Many Canadians are accessing this eco-energy program to retrofit their homes, which creates employment for carpenters, plumbers, people who sell furnaces and people who shingle roofs. It creates all kinds of employment. With the Canada fund program, eco-energy was one of the biggest job creators in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I find this debate very alarming, and not just today.
    I am very proud of the motion that we put forward, but I find the tone of the debate on the other side of the House very alarming. The Conservatives have no plan for the environment, they are trying their best to wreck international agreements, they are cutting funding for our own environmental monitoring here in Canada and they are punishing our scientists for telling the truth about climate change.
    I would like to ask my hon. colleague if the Conservatives are taking this approach of undermining our efforts to save the environment, both here in Canada and worldwide, just to please Chinese and U.S. oil companies, or are they doing it just because they are in denial about climate change?
    Mr. Speaker, what the Conservative government is doing is affecting not only Canada but the world.
    I tend to agree with my colleague that the Conservative government is in denial. It is refusing to accept the fact that the climate is changing. It is only interested in the oil sands and in creating jobs that will pollute. Instead of refining our oil sands in Canada, it wants to ship to the United States, across environmentally sensitive regions.
    The government is really not interested in creating good-paying Canadian jobs. It is more interested in creating jobs in the United States.
    Mr. Speaker, we hear a lot of talk about the Keystone pipeline and how it would go over all these sensitive areas that everybody is suddenly concerned about.
    Would my hon. colleague like to address the fact that well over 25,000 miles of pipeline already exist in those same areas, and that this is all about the 2012 presidential election and nothing else?

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise my colleague that we did not just suddenly become concerned about the pipeline. As far as the U.S. presidential election goes, I have nothing to do with that and I have no concerns about the presidential election.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to the official opposition motion on climate change. I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Nickel Belt, for his very personal and graphic description of the changes that have taken place that he has seen from the air when he is flying over his community in the north. It is a very good example of how serious this issue of climate change is here in Canada, and of how much we are missing the boat on what needs to be done.
    As the Durban conference gets under way, it is very timely that the NDP has put forward this motion today calling on the federal government to show leadership on climate change. This is nothing new for the NDP; it has been doing it almost every single day. Certainly our environment critic, the member for Halifax, has been very front and centre, and very forthright in calling on the federal government for leadership and action.
    This motion today is an opportunity for us to debate this important issue and to show where NDP members stand. We hope that the federal Conservative government will move and change its position.
    For New Democrats, some of the key priorities for the next international climate change protocol include ensuring that there is a fair, ambitious and binding agreement. We want to ensure that there is adequate financing for the green climate fund from 2013, and we want to close the gigatonne gap between promised emission cuts and actual action. This is critical, because saying one is going to do something is one thing, but actually not following through and doing it is very serious. This is why Canadians in the environmental movement generally feel so hugely disappointed in the government's lack of performance.
    We also want to make sure there is no gap in legally binding commitments.
    What has the NDP been calling for? It has had an astounding track record on this issue. When our former leader, Jack Layton, came into the House, the first thing he did was ensure that we tabled a bill on climate change. That bill passed through Parliament by a majority vote. Then we had an election. We reintroduced the same bill after that election, and for a second time the bill passed through Parliament. However, as we know, it was killed in the Senate. In terms of climate change, that was a very bad day for Canada; we had a fantastic bill that was doing everything that needed to be done, and it was killed by the unelected Senate.
    New Democrats have a very good track record on this issue. We have always said that we would put a price on carbon and establish hard emission caps for large industrial emitters. We have said that we want to enact a climate change accountability act. This will now be the third time. It would put into legislation a framework for achieving the national target of 80% below 1990 emission levels by 2050.
    We have said that we would establish a permanent federal energy efficiency retrofit program for residential energy use, cut GHG emissions, create jobs and save Canadians money.
    We have said that we would establish an effective program to help communities deal with the impacts of climate change. One very important element of that is the transition fund for jobs. The issue of jobs is very important in this debate. They are linked. As we move to a greener environment and a greener economy, we have to make sure that people are not put out of work. We have to make sure there is a transition to new jobs, new training, and good-paying jobs.
    We would also fulfill our international climate change obligations and cut the over $2 billion in annual subsidies to fossil fuel industries.
    Let us contrast that plan with what the federal government is not doing. It is a fact that Canadian greenhouse gas emissions were 24% above the 1990 level in 2008, setting Canada up to exceed its Kyoto commitment by almost 30% in 2012. A recent study from the International Institute for Sustainable Development makes it clear that Canada's plan is inadequate and that the current and planned measures by the provinces and the federal government combined will only achieve an emissions reduction of 46% of the government's own, and very weak, GHG emissions target by 2020.
    What kind of record is that? It deserves an 'F' as a failure.

  (1345)  

    We know that the government has weakened its climate change targets by 90% since 2007. To make matters worse, on the 2010 annual climate change performance index, Canada finished 54th out of the 57 countries evaluated. There will be a new index published tomorrow, and we fear that it will not be any better for this year's index. Of course, to add insult to injury, Canada won three Fossil of the Day awards during the first two days at Durban. Unfortunately, we are a repeat winner.
    This is a terrible record, and it is all the more reason we need to have this motion debated today.
    I want to contrast that performance with what one city in Canada is doing. It is my own city, Vancouver. The City of Vancouver launched a program called Imagine 2020, which aims to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world in just nine years. The program's goals include green buildings, green transportation, growing local food and becoming a centre for green enterprise.
    This is what is quite incredible: emissions have already been reduced to 1990 levels, and Vancouver is on track to meeting the Kyoto target, which is 6% below 1990 levels by 2012, at the same time that its population has grown by 27% and its jobs by 18%. As a result, Vancouver has the lowest per capita emissions of any major city in North America, at 4.6% tonnes per person.
    I offer this because to me it is a brilliant example of how, when there is a political will--in this case, from the Vancouver City Council under the leadership of Mayor Gregor Robertson--the targets can be met and can be exceeded. We have seen this with the City of Vancouver.
    Vancouver tops the chart of Canadian cities leading the fight against climate change, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The city ranks the highest on the organization's list, released in March of this year, based on indicators such as cutting greenhouse gas emissions, using renewable energy and encouraging green building and transportation. It can be done.
    In fact David Cadman, who is an outgoing city councillor in Vancouver and well known in his role as president of Local Governments for Sustainability, was in Durban. I would like to quote something that he said. I quote:
    Fundamentally unlike the nations of the world we are committed to action and a future for humankind. While the nations of the world like Nero fiddle while the planet burns, cities and millions of their citizens are doing the right thing and urging the nations of the world to come off this precipice that big oil gas and coal have taken us on to.
    That is an initiative of a local municipal government. Here we have a federal government that claims it is interested in responding to climate change, yet every indicator, every report, every record that we have shows us that we are falling further and further behind, and now Canada is an embarrassment in the international community.
    In British Columbia we have some very special and key concerns about climate change. One of them is the Enbridge pipeline. We know this massive proposal would carry over 500,000 barrels of tar sands crude each day over very sensitive and precious mountains, farm land, the Fraser and Skeena Rivers, and straight through the Great Bear rainforest to the Pacific coast, where it would be picked up by supertankers that would try to navigate some very difficult waters. I am very proud of the fact that Rob Fleming, the NDP environment critic in B.C., along with our B.C. NDP members of Parliament, have been very outspoken on this issue.
    This motion today is absolutely critical if we are to see the federal government change course and move to action. That is what we need: a move to action to say that climate change is a priority, that we are not going to divide people or pit jobs against the environment, that we are going to recognize that we have to deal with the problems of fossil fuels and energy resources in Canada and that we have to move to a new green economy.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member said that the purpose of the motion today was to call the government to action. In fact, this government has been acting ever since it was elected in 2006. It has been acting aggressively to ensure that something, finally, is happening on the environment. We all know that for 13 long years the former Liberal government did absolutely nothing. However, that ended in 2006. We have received a strong mandate and we have been acting rigorously and have been providing the leadership that the world needs to take action on climate change. We recommended internationally that the world move toward an international agreement that included all the major emitters, and that is exactly the direction the world is heading.
    Why would the member want to move back to the Kyoto accord that did not work? It only covered 27% of greenhouse emissions. We are now moving toward 85% when we include all the major emitters. Why would she want to choose 27% instead of 85%? Why would she want to go back to something that does not work? The world has moved on. Why would the member want to go back to the past to a program that does not work?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the member is the former parliamentary secretary to the Minister of the Environment and probably has a special interest in this, but the fact is that the government's record here is terrible. The Conservatives are the only ones who actually do not agree with that because, obviously, they do not like to admit it. However, any other independent assessment of our government's record on greenhouse gases and meeting our international obligations is just appalling. There is no two ways around it.
    The only thing I would agree with him on is that, yes, there were a lot years when we had a Liberal government where it made very little progress. The Conservative government did not exactly inherit a great record. However, the Conservative government had an opportunity to move forward on this file and it has not, which is why Canada is now a laughing stock in the international community. That is why, at this particular upcoming international conference, we need to ensure we meet our international obligations. Do they mean nothing? Do we just throw them out the window?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the Liberals did take action. It was project green, which the Conservatives killed when they came to power.
    Our party focuses on maternal and child health from the millennium development goals. I think it is important for people to understand that malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds and remains one of the most important threats to the health of pregnant women and their newborn. An estimated 20% of the world's population is at risk of contracting malaria. The disease causes more than 300 million cases each year and kills one million people. Malaria is the disease most sensitive to weather and climate.
    Our government has an opportunity help prevent malaria and save lives through taking action on climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member has put forward information about malaria and how controllable and easy it is to deal with and yet it is still a disease that is affecting millions of people and is exacerbating because of climate change. She has a very valid point to raise that. It shows us how, when we do not deal with the fundamental issues of the environment, of climate change, of income inequality, of poverty and of the growing gap between the north and the south, we can see that it comes right down to something called a mosquito that actually kills people. If we cannot solve those kinds of problems in our sophisticated world, then I think we have all failed.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    The motion today talks about leadership. It is this government that has provided the leadership through the international negotiations to deal with a changing climate. I am very proud of the accomplishments of the government. In fact, we are already seeing greenhouse gas emissions going down in Canada because of the breadth of actions of the government.
    The previous member for Vancouver East mentioned that she thought Canada was a laughing stock. That is not true. The fact is that Canada has great respect internationally. The only people who were laughing at these international conferences were some of the opposition members. They go on these junkets at taxpayers' expense and laugh at Canada disgracefully. That should never happen.
    I appreciate the opportunity to highlight the government's recent announcements to help Canadians adapt to a changing climate, and changing it is. The government recognizes the need to address adaptation to climate change in Canada. The reality is that the climate will continue to change, regardless of the effectiveness of greenhouse gas reduction measures. Our commitment to this important area of climate change is part of our national plan with a strong, corresponding international component.
    Unfortunately, the members across the way have consistently voted against these strong, concrete actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At a time when economic recovery, jobs and prosperity are the primary focus at home and abroad, it is more important than ever to ensure that we remain committed to providing a clean, improving environment. That means, even though we are currently in a period of real fiscal restraint, something this government takes very seriously, it is the right time to make investments that will protect the environment and position Canada's economy for the future. It is important that the reality of climate change be well understood and proactively managed.
    In 2007, our government announced funding for six climate change impacts and adaptation programs totalling over $85 million. These programs have laid the foundations for future work by strengthening the climate science knowledge base and addressing urgent risks in the north, infrastructure and human health. One would ask why opposition members would vote against that. It is actually shameful that they would vote against climate change and the environment.
    Northern communities are of particular concern as they often are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As a result, we are actively consulting with aboriginal and northern groups on climate change adaptation issues.
    Our government recently announced $148 million of new adaptation programs to enable the government to continue to provide Canadians with information that supports their efforts to better understand and plan for climate change impacts. Building on the work already under way, these programs focus on four priority areas of action to ensure the safety and prosperity of Canadians for the future. Did the members opposite vote for that? Tragically, no.
    This important funding, which extends and expands 10 programs across 9 government departments, will help us frame a credible science-based response to the impact that climate change has and will have on our economy. It is science-based, not rhetoric-based. This will ultimately serve to improve our health, our security and, in particular, our northern and aboriginal communities. There has never been a government in Canada that has cared more about our northern and aboriginal communities.
    Our adaptation efforts do not just stay within our borders, though. Internationally, the government is also engaged in adaptation efforts. We believe that if we want Canada to meet the environmental challenges ahead, we need to help others do the very same thing.
     That is why Canada, which I am so proud of, was one of the first countries to step up with its fair share of climate change adaptation funding for developing countries, something we pledged to deliver under the Copenhagen accord and we are delivering. The one thing this government is known for is getting it done and taking action on the environment.

  (1400)  

    Order, please. I must interrupt the hon. member at this point. He will have five minutes remaining when the House returns to this matter.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Operation Red Nose

    Mr. Speaker, as we enter the Christmas season and enjoy time with our friends and family, it is important to remember to be safe and not to drink and drive.
    Operation Red Nose is a nationwide initiative committed to preventing drinking and driving. Since 1984, this volunteer-run organization has been offering free, confidential driving services during the holidays to drivers who are not fit to drive.
    Although this operation is offered across Canada, I am pleased to say that Brampton was the first GTA city to implement it three years ago. By calling 905-459-2440, Bramptonians who feel they are unable to drive can get home safely.
    I commend all of the organizers and volunteers for continuing to offer this service in my riding. Without them, it would not be possible.
    I encourage my constituents and all Canadians to support this service to help ensure the holidays are, indeed, happy ones.

[Translation]

Food Banks

    Mr. Speaker, according to the latest Hunger Count, 18 regional food banks in Quebec—which supply some 1,064 food assistance organizations—have reported a dramatic increase in the number of people using the service. Requests for food assistance have jumped by 22% since the 2008 recession.
    Unfortunately, while food banks can barely keep up with the demand, a growing number of households are being forced to rely on this service on a more permanent basis. Moisson Laurentides provides assistance to 15,000 people a month, including 5,000 children. That is the harsh reality of the economic crisis.
    Last Saturday, the mayor of Saint-Colomban and I took part in the traditional food drive. Despite the best efforts of all the volunteers, the fact remains that all the food drives in the world will never replace a real plan to fight poverty. This government spent billions of dollars to rescue the investment banks from the crisis. Let us now address the crisis facing our food banks.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, last November, the Minister of Foreign Affairs issued a statement concerning Asia Bibi's incarceration in Pakistan under its blasphemy law.
    At the time, the Government of Canada registered its concerns with Pakistan at the highest levels. We have also called on the Government of Pakistan to repeal laws criminalizing blasphemy, which restrict religious freedom and expression and target religious minorities.
    We remember the brave stance taken by Governor Taseer and Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, both of whom have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their promotion of the rights of religious minorities, tolerance and legal reforms.
    Promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada's foreign policy. Canada continues to stand up for human rights and takes principled positions on important issues to promote freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
    I call on Pakistan to release Ms. Bibi and to ensure equal rights and equal protection for all members of minority communities.

National Cultural Tourism Award

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today with pride to extend my congratulations to Celtic Colours International Music Festival for winning the National Cultural Tourism Award at the Canadian Tourism Awards last week here in Ottawa.
    The festival was recognized for its commitment to the development and promotion of authentic and innovative cultural tourism visitor experience.
    Celtic Colours, which just marked its 15th anniversary, extends the tourism season in Cape Breton to the end of October, attracting thousands of visitors from every corner of the globe and generating millions for the local economy. It touches communities from Louisdale to Louisbourg, from Mabou to Marion Bridge.
    Hundreds of artists from the Celtic world join our celebrated Cape Breton musicians for nine days of concerts, workshops, demonstrations and lectures.
    This festival would not be possible without the legions of volunteers who give their time to drive artists around the island, cook meals and perform many other tasks.
    I congratulate everyone involved in the Celtic Colours Festival on receiving this very prestigious national honour.

Brantford's Farmers' Market

    Mr. Speaker, throughout the 19th century, the fertile land of the Grand River watershed attracted settlers from around the world, spurring farms and settlements across Brant County.
    To this day, places like Paris, Glen Morris and St. George are among Ontario's most beautiful and inviting rural communities.
    Brantford established a farmers' market in 1848, and it is no surprise that it remains our community's largest weekly social gathering. The market is a place where people can learn about and purchase great local products that reflect the agricultural diversity and ethnic mosaic of our community.
    Thanks to an investment from our government and the Brant County Federation of Agriculture's Bountiful Brant campaign, which encourages people to buy fresh, locally produced products, market vendors are reporting that business is up and more customers are visiting.
    If people want to find Ontario's most delicious fresh food grown from farms with decades of hard-won experience, they need look no further than Brantford's farmers' market.

  (1405)  

Volunteerism

    Mr. Speaker, CUSO International and Volunteer Canada have partnered to launch the first State of the World's Volunteerism Report, launched today at the UN General Assembly and in 70 other countries, coinciding with International Volunteer Day. The report calls for making volunteer action an integral part of sustainable human development, highlighting the need to measure volunteerism and its inclusion among the greatest assets of nations. It recognizes volunteerism and its underlying values, demonstrating its relevance for the millennium development goals.
     The generosity of Canadian volunteers has made a significant contribution to the well-being of our communities. Volunteerism embodies the drive to help at home and abroad. It fosters inclusion and helps people make a concrete positive impact in our world.
    The federal government has an important role to play in the volunteer sector in supporting the work of Canada's volunteers and revamping volunteerism in Canada. Positive change requires both financial and human investment.
    I thank volunteers in our communities, across Canada and around the world.

Canada Cup of Curling

    Mr. Speaker, over the past week the city of Cranbrook in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia has been host to the 2011 Canada Cup of Curling. Some of the best curlers from across Canada were competing to win this tournament, which would give them a direct bye into the qualifying tournament for the 2014 Olympic Games to be held in Russia.
     The RecPlex in Cranbrook was full for all matches, culminating in the final matches yesterday, with Jennifer Jones defeating Chelsea Carey 9-4, winning the women's event, and Kevin Martin defeating Glenn Howard 7-4, winning the men's event.
    This event, like so many others that Cranbrook has hosted over the years, would not have been possible without the efforts of the organizers and volunteers who put in so much time to ensure both fans and competitors would have a great time. Thanks to the city of Cranbrook, organizers and volunteers for showing their hospitality to this event and showing the spirit of the Kootenays.

Volunteerism

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate International Volunteer Day. Millions of volunteers, almost half our population, donate their time to help others, without accepting anything in return. If we could count the number of hours of service they put in, it would be equal to over one million full-time jobs or about $14 billion a year. Why do they do it? Because they want to make a difference.
    To celebrate these local heroes, our government created the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards last January, and I had the privilege of nominating almost a dozen of my constituents, including Dr. Cynthia Post of the Procyon Wildlife Centre, Laureen Little of the Alliston Horticultural Society, and George Christie of the Simcoe—Grey Trails committee.
    These awards highlight the exceptional contributions made by individuals and volunteer organizations working for the well-being of our families and our communities.
     I would like to take this opportunity today to say how proud I am of their continued dedication as Canadian volunteers. We are all richer as a result of their selfless efforts. I invite all members of the House to rise and thank the millions of—
    Order please. The hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, ever since this government announced its intention to go ahead with the F-35 procurement, nothing has been going right. There have been problems with cost overruns, effectiveness, durability, communications, safety and landing. The list gets longer every week, but the government is determined to hide the truth from us.
    Recently, representatives from Norway said they expect to spend $10 billion to procure 52 planes and $40 billion over 30 years to maintain them. That is $1 billion a plane. The Minister of National Defence openly admitted in committee that he was not up to speed. This government is making things up as it goes along and is engulfed in a mess of its own making.
    On behalf of Canadian taxpayers, I am calling on this government to stop hiding the truth. I am calling on this government to release the real figures, to hold a real debate on replacing the CF-18s and to launch an open and transparent tendering process.

  (1410)  

[English]

Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland

    Mr. Speaker, today at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, a true Canadian icon will be decorated with the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. This award is given to those who have rendered great service to the Polish nation.
     It is therefore fitting that today this award is being given to my friend Dr. Frank Dimant. Dr. Dimant is an executive vice-president of B'nai Brith Canada and CEO of the Institute for International Affairs and the League for Human Rights. He is also the publisher of the Jewish Tribune. In addition to being decorated with the officer's cross, Dr. Dimant has been inducted as honorary chief of First Nations Keewatin Tribal Council.
     A true human rights advocate, for decades Dr. Dimant has been on the forefront of fighting against racism and fighting for integration. On behalf of the Conservative caucus, I wish to congratulate Dr. Dimant on this latest recognition.

[Translation]

The Belle-Baie TV Series

    Mr. Speaker, on November 8, the member for Repentigny and I had the opportunity to attend the filming of an episode of the fifth season of the Belle-Baie TV series, which airs on Radio-Canada. The filming took place in the magnificent region of Caraquet and the surrounding area. This production gave people in the area the opportunity to be cast as extras in the series and showcased the beauty of the region.
    Belle-Baie was created by Renée Blanchar and it is inspired by real-life events that occurred in Belledune, where a developer wanted to install a toxic waste incinerator but had to put a stop to the project as a result of public protest. The series is produced by Phare-Est and Cirrus Communications. In June 2011, it won the 2011 Prix Acadie-Québec, which is awarded by the Commission permanente de concertation entre l'Acadie et le Québec.
    Unfortunately, Belle-Baie will not be back for a sixth season. I would like to thank Renée Blanchar, the producers, the actors and Radio-Canada for coming to visit my riding.

[English]

Violence against Women

    Mr. Speaker, in the run-up to Human Rights Day on December 10, Canada and the world are marking 16 days of activism against gender violence because it affects us all.
    Our government is committed to addressing the problem of violence against women and girls. That is why the Government of Canada led the initiative for the creation of an international day of the girl. Our resolution, co-sponsored by 104 countries, will soon be before the UN General Assembly for adoption.

[Translation]

    An international day of the girl would encourage people to put girls on an equal footing with boys. This would include equality before the law, the right to a life free from violence, as well as equal access to nutrition, health care, education and training.
    I hope that these 16 days of activism will remind us that we can all take action today and all year long to eliminate violence against women and girls.

[English]

Graham Dennis

    Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia lost a leader, a champion and a dear friend last Thursday with the passing of Graham Dennis, publisher of The Chronicle Herald in Halifax.
    Mr. Dennis was a true icon. He had a profound impact on Canada's ocean playground and was happiest travelling the highways and byways of our province.
    Mr. Dennis was a man of great integrity and humility, and he possessed a profound, genuine devotion to the people of Nova Scotia. His lasting legacy would be the more than five decades he spent as publisher of Atlantic Canada's largest newspaper, maintaining one of the few remaining independent major dailies in our country.
    I am sure all members will join me in offering our sincere condolences to his wife Gay and daughters Heather and Sarah.

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, today our Minister of Foreign Affairs was in Bonn, Germany, to discuss the future of Afghanistan. During this conference, the minister took part in a round-table discussion with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the European Union's foreign representative Catherine Ashton, and members of the Afghan Women's Network.
    Efforts to bring lasting and durable peace to Afghanistan should involve dialogue with all parts of Afghan society, including women and religious minorities. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has brought this message throughout his travels to Libya and the Middle East. The role of women is an essential component to progress on human rights and democratic development.
     We will continue to speak out on the world stage and we stand with the women of all emerging democracies that seek to make a difference.

  (1415)  

Asbestos

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives sit on their hands as their Prime Minister exports cancer to the developing world. Apparently it is not enough that the government dumps hundreds of thousands of tonnes of cancer-causing asbestos onto developing countries every year; now a trade official confirms that Canada wants India to drop its 10% duty on Canadian asbestos exports.
    While other countries are banning or restricting the deadly material, the Prime Minister is actively seeking ways to profit even further from it.
    Canadians do not want us exporting cancer. Scientists and doctors say it is wrong. Even Conservative MPs know it is unconscionable. However, instead of exercising their free speech, they sit on their hands, too afraid to speak up. Those MPs came here to change Ottawa. Instead, Ottawa has changed them. As they sit and allow cancer exports to other countries, it is clear they have become everything they used to oppose.

New Democratic Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday NDP candidates met for what one journalist called a “festival of economic illiteracy” during their first leadership debate. The topic was supposed to be the economy, but few positive ideas for improving the economy were heard. Instead, the candidates offered lavish spending schemes that would push Canada completely off track.
    The candidates proposed high taxes on job creators, on consumers, on investors, on families and on banks, and even proposed a carbon tax that would drive up the price of gasoline, energy and everything that Canadians buy. No candidate was prepared to challenge the NDP's determined opposition to all free trade agreements, and some leadership candidates even called for the halt of the development of the oil sands, an action that would kill billions of dollars of investment and hundreds of thousands of good Canadian high-paying jobs.
     This is just another worrying example that demonstrates that the NDP is simply not fit to govern.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, there is every indication that Canada is prepared to abandon its international commitments and withdraw from Kyoto. That is a real shame. If the Conservatives are not interested in fighting climate change with the rest of the world, why are they going to Durban? Is it because they just told their representatives to sabotage the talks?
    Mr. Speaker, as we have been saying from the beginning, the Kyoto protocol is an agreement that is not in the best interests of the climate or of Canada. It will hurt Canada's economy. What Canadians expect from Canada and our government is an approach that balances the interests of our environment with those of our economy. The Kyoto protocol is an agreement that does not work for Canada, for the environment or for our economy. That is the direction we will continue to take.
    Mr. Speaker, 191 countries have signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol. Canada is the only country that is abandoning its commitments and going back on its word, the only country that is going to pull out of Kyoto. We should be ashamed of this situation and the government's position. The Conservatives will turn Canada into an international pariah. What kind of leadership is that? Is Canada part of the Kyoto protocol, yes or no?

[English]

    As I said, Mr. Speaker, the Kyoto protocol simply does not work. It only contains 27% of the world's emitters of greenhouse gases. What Canadians have asked for and what our government has led on is a true global effort to fight what is a true global problem. That is why the Prime Minister has been engaged and shown leadership with the Copenhagen accord and we continue to show leadership on the international scene.
    What the NDP is asking this government to do is to follow through and increase taxes on consumers with a carbon tax, as was discussed last night with the nine brightest lights of the NDP running for leadership, and is asking us to punish Canadian consumers to go forward with an accord that simply does not work and that will not have the intended results that people want. We have the right way.
    Mr. Speaker, by opting out of Kyoto, Canada does not show any leadership.
    Canada will have no say in any future agreement. We will not be at the table. The Conservatives want to play alone in their oil sand box. That is not the way to show leadership. Canada committed to the Kyoto protocol, so respect Canada's word, respect Canada's commitment. Why destroy Canada's reputation?
    Mr. Speaker, what hurts Canada's reputation is what the previous Liberal government did, which is what we will not do. What we will do is pursue a true global approach that works and that is why we have gone forward with the Copenhagen accord.
    What the Liberals did, which seems like the NDP is applauding, was sign the Kyoto accord, have no plan, say they that were in favour of it, did nothing, and at the last minute, when Michael Ignatieff said they that did not get the job done, they tried to prove that they were getting the job done by imposing a massive tax on Canadians in the form of a carbon tax. Fail, fail and fail again, and that is why they are over there and that is why we are showing leadership in a new direction.

  (1420)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are pulling us out of the Kyoto protocol, claiming that the big polluters must participate. But China has shown that it is open. The government has no excuse. Withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol is a reckless decision. The health of Canadians is at stake here, and Canadian jobs are on the line. Will this government realize that we must develop an economy that is based on sustainable energy?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, imagine a place where 75% of our electricity is generated by sources that do not emit greenhouse gases, or where a government invests billions of dollars in clean energy technology, or where there is one of the most stringent regulatory frameworks in the world. Wait a second; that is Canada.
    When will the opposition get on board?
    Mr. Speaker, by withdrawing from Kyoto the minister is withdrawing Canada from the energy economy of the future. It sends a clear message to the employers of the future not to invest here. What timing, because China is now open to strict standards but the Conservatives instead are focused on environmental sabotage.
    Canadians want to see investments in the world--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The member for Halifax has the floor and she should be allowed to put the question. The hon. member for Halifax.
     Canadians want to see investments in the world that we will leave our children, Mr. Speaker. They want Canada to be a leader in building a sustainable economy.
    Why does the government only listen to big polluters? When will it start listening to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as opposed to the opposition that would have us continue with an international accord that only contains less than one-third of global emissions, we are taking strong action here at home.
    With regard to a clean energy economy, I would ask my colleague opposite what she would call an economy that has billions of dollars of research into clean technology, that exports across the globe intellectual property dealing with clean energy technology?
    We are a leader internationally. The opposition should recognize that.

[Translation]

Telephone Calls to Mount Royal Constituents

    Mr. Speaker, will the government change the Canada Elections Act to ensure that the dishonest and misleading tactic used by the Prime Minister's government against the member for Mount Royal will no longer be tolerated?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that the member for Mount Royal is still here in the House. Members of the government accept that and do not dispute that.

Search and Rescue

    Mr. Speaker, I do not think I received an answer to the question, but it will not go away.
    On another subject involving truth and fiction, the Minister of National Defence has stated in the House that there was a previously planned search and rescue mission which was the reason for his being picked up by a government helicopter.
    I would like to ask the government if it could answer this simple question. If it was a previously planned mission, why did Lieutenant Colonel Chris Bulls say on July 7, 2010, that the mission will be under the guise of fighter group as search and rescue training? If it was a previously planned mission, why would you need a guise?
    I would remind the hon. member to direct his questions through the Chair.
    The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage.
    Mr. Speaker, we have been clear that the Minister of National Defence returned from a private trip in order to go back to work. Government aircraft are used for government work.
    If my hon. colleague wants to compare the difference between this government and the way the Liberals operated, this government uses government aircraft 80% less than the Liberals did. We are saving taxpayers millions of dollars. We are acting responsibly.
    The Minister of National Defence has been clear on this file.
    Mr. Speaker, in front of us very clearly is this. It is about the minister telling the truth to the House of Commons. Everybody has to understand that.
    The minister said, “We have now confirmed that the military has said publicly that I took part in a previously planned search and rescue demonstration”. A review of the email traffic within the Department of National Defence makes it very clear that those comments by the Minister of National Defence are simply not true.
    Will the minister now stand in his place, apologize, and indicate that he misled the House of Commons?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is pretty straightforward and it is very clear. The Minister of National Defence left a private trip to go back to work. We use government aircraft for government business.
    As a matter of fact, and as I have pointed out and am pleased to say again--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage has the floor.
    That leaves me just enough time, Mr. Speaker, to point out to Canadian taxpayers that this government is saving them millions of dollars by reducing the use of government jets by 80% since we came into government. That is exactly what taxpayers expect. It is how we are going to act. It is how we are going to continue to behave.
    The Liberals can catcall all they like, but we will continue to do what is in the best interests of taxpayers.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, temperatures have again dropped below -20 in Attawapiskat, and the people are suffering through another lost week of inaction.
    The Red Cross teams are on the ground, but the federal government is still nowhere to be seen in this community. Other than deposing the band leadership, Attawapiskat has been left to fend for itself in this humanitarian crisis.
    Now that the minister is taking control of this community, what plan does he have to ensure that the people living in the tents, cabins and trailer are going to be moved into safe, reasonable, permanent housing?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is responding to the situation. The third party manager is in the community and is working to address the urgent health and safety needs of residents.
    We are continuing to work with Emergency Management Ontario and the first nation. Supplies are being sent into the community, and materials for renovating homes have been ordered by the chief and council.
    I strongly urge the chief and council to work with the third party manager in the interests of the people.
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately a lot of that was bunk.
    The community is on its own. It has moved in a third party manager, and the community is defending itself with no help from the federal government. Even Chuck Strahl said that this was a train wreck coming for years.
    There is a lot of blame that can go around, but only the minister can fix this situation. He has to tell us why he thinks that putting people in an unheated hockey arena is a solution. Where is his plan to guarantee that these people will be moved into safe, proper housing with a long-term plan? Where is that plan?
    Mr. Speaker, the chief and council are using the resources that we provided to order materials for housing. The third party manager and emergency management professionals are in the community.
    I encourage the chief and council to work with the third party manager on behalf of the people of Attawapiskat.

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the latest OECD report is damning. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing bigger more quickly here than in other developed countries. The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. Average families are having more and more difficulty making ends meet. The OECD has clearly stated that Canadians need good jobs. They also need a tax system that is progressive and fair. However, all this government does is give gifts to companies with money to burn.
    When will the government finally come up with a job creation plan? When will this country return to a fair tax system?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite refers to the OECD report. He does not mention that the OECD stated that employment is the most promising way of tackling inequality, and that the biggest challenge is to create more jobs.
    This government is focused precisely on the goal of economic growth and the creation of jobs in Canada. There are nearly 600,000 net new jobs, the best job creation record in the G7. The OECD and the IMF say that Canada's economic growth and job creation will be the best going forward.
    That is how we address inequity. That is what the OECD—
    The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.
    Mr. Speaker, sadly the results are in on the Conservatives' so-called plan. They lost 19,000 jobs in the month of November. They lost 72,000 full-time jobs in the month of October. Because of their policies, the gap between rich and other Canadians is growing.
    The OECD says that it is getting worse and worse. That is not surprising because at every turn the Conservatives put the well connected first. Bank profits are at a record high, and so are food bank lineups in this country.
    Why do the Conservatives not care about middle-class and poor Canadian families and the income gap? When will the Conservatives start putting everyday families first? When will they stop the hemorrhaging of good jobs in this country?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite covered a lot of ground there. He is mad at the banks. He is mad at profits. He thinks we do not reduce taxes. Where do we start?
    Well, we have reduced taxes on average by $3,000 for every Canadian family since we took office. How did the NDP members help with that? They voted against every tax reduction. They say they care about Canadians, but they are happy to keep taxing. I heard it in the debate yesterday. The only question was, how much more should we tax Canadians? That is what we hear from the NDP.
    Do they care that we have bank profits? I care. It gives us a sound banking system, and they paid $8.3 billion—
    The hon. member for Windsor West.

Canada-U.S. Relations

    Mr. Speaker, today we learned the government's secret border deal with the Americans will cost Canadians a whopping $1 billion, and we still do not even know what the Conservatives are quietly negotiating away. We do not even know if Canadians' privacy will be protected in the secret deal. Every time we ask the government for assurances, we get nothing but silence. Canadians deserve answers, not secrecy, not stonewalling.
    When will the government come clean with what it is giving over to the Americans on this secret border deal? Canadians deserve to know this now.
    Mr. Speaker, we are working with President Obama and his administration to deliver on the shared vision for perimeter security and economic competitiveness.
    We are strengthening our collaboration to streamline and secure our border and enhance the legendary co-operation to ensure that people and goods can flow freely and safely between our two countries. What is wrong with that picture?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, once again, we get a response from a government that is controlling critical information and keeping it from Canadians. This week, Canada and the United States are going to sign a border security agreement. We know that it is going to cost Canadian families at least $1 billion, but that is all we know because the government did not want to table the agreement in Parliament before signing it. Citizens' groups and the Information Commissioner are concerned about the possible infringement of privacy rights.
    Will the government finally reassure Canadians and tell them what this agreement says?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the privacy of Canadians is very important to us. The United States will not end up with more information than is already accessible. Exit controls are reasonable. This plan is about jobs and the economy.

Search and Rescue

    Mr. Speaker, the defence minister took one of only three search and rescue helicopters out of service and he covered up his real intentions. As we have known since Watergate, it is the cover-up that buries one.
    Even the National Post said, “the so-called inspection was what everyone has known all along -- a convenient excuse to catch a ride on a helicopter”, and it called on the minister to apologize.
    Will the minister bring this to an end today by doing the honourable thing and apologizing?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, I was called back to work from personal time. Any suggestion that there was a re-tasking or a diversion of search and rescue aircraft from its actual tasking is simply untrue.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to mislead the House. He keeps pretending that there was a planned exercise. We all know there was no planned exercise. If the minister has documentation to the contrary, he should table it this afternoon. In the absence of that documentation, he should stand in his place and do the honourable thing, the right thing, and apologize to Canadians and their Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for his calm, reasonable question. I was called back from personal time to go back to work, as I have said many times. That is what happened.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, the Minister of National Defence tried to claim that his trip was “a search and rescue exercise that we had been trying to arrange for some time”. However, the documents show that the opposite is true. The minister used the so-called search and rescue exercise as a pretext to cover up his inappropriate use of our country's emergency resources.
    Why does he continue to hide the truth? When will he finally apologize to Canadians?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, my answer remains the same. I was called back from my vacation to go back to work.

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment is embarrassing Canada by announcing in Durban that we will not commit to the next phase of the international climate change agreement. Even a major country like China is putting forward a constructive proposal for the reduction of greenhouse gases and criticizing Canada's position.
    We have a duty to our children and grandchildren not to destroy their planet.
    Why is Canada totally abdicating its leadership responsibilities on the world stage?
    Mr. Speaker, what we will not do is take the Liberals' approach to managing our energy sector and our environment. The national energy program cost hundreds of thousands of jobs in western Canada. The Kyoto protocol did not have an implementation plan. The green shift would put a carbon tax on everything--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.
    --which would devastate our economy.
    We are going to sign on to international agreement that takes into consideration all major emitters to see real change.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, former minister Chuck Strahl said that the housing crisis in Attawapiskat has been “a slow-moving train wreck for a long time”. Yet, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs claimed to have known nothing and when asked about the crisis in two neighbouring communities, the minister said it was news to him.
    Would the minister now admit that, at the current funding levels, the people of Attawapiskat will be properly housed in 54 years?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is working with willing partners to improve the quality of life for aboriginal people across the country. We have made significant targeted investments in first nations priorities like education and housing. We are working in collaboration at the community, regional and national levels. We will continue to invest in practical and innovative solutions to get results for aboriginal people across Canada.

[Translation]

Suicide Prevention

    Mr. Speaker, we cannot remain indifferent to teenage suicide, which has taken the lives of young people like Jaimie Hubley and Marjorie Raymond, two victims of bullying.
    The Government of Canada has a role to play in the fight against this scourge among our youth and in suicide prevention. Our children are the true assets of our society.
    My question is for the Prime Minister, not only as a politician, but also as a father.
    What real steps does he plan to take to ensure peace of mind for young people like Noémie, Joey and Nelka, who appeared on the Quebec program Tout le monde en parle yesterday, so that they and thousands of teens like them can thrive in our society?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, bullying is something that none of us in the House would tolerate for our children. It is not something that should ever be tolerated for anyone who is attending school and trying to get an education.
    At the federal level there are some programs that we are funding, in Ontario specifically, but we encourage programs that do deal specifically with bullying to talk to us. We would like to continue to help with that.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the EU has imposed new sanctions on Syria targeting the state-owned General Petroleum Corporation, Suncor's business partner in Syria. Last week the minister admitted he had no idea how much money the Assad regime makes off Suncor's work, yet the Conservatives are happy to exempt Suncor's partner from Canadian sanctions.
    Why is the government letting a Canadian company help provide large profits to the Assad regime?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, the sanctions against Syria are targeted specifically against the Assad regime. They are not targeting the people of Syria.
    Suncor production in Syria is keeping the lights on in Syrian homes. This has a significant impact on the public and allows them to continue their efforts to fight for freedom and democracy.
    While I am on the subject, I would advise all Canadians to leave Syria as soon as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, the partnership also provides loads of funds to the Syrian regime.

[Translation]

    The United Nations has confirmed that over 4,000 people have been killed since March and over 14,000 are being detained, according to estimates. It is time this government took serious action and increased pressure on the Assad regime.
    Will the government follow the European Union's lead and increase sanctions against Syria, including the state-owned oil company?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me make it very clear, Canada stands with the Syrian people in their efforts to secure freedom and democracy. We have targeted sanctions against the regime of President Assad. We will continue to do that. We have sent a very strong message to the government of President Assad that his reign of terror is unacceptable to Canadians.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

    Mr. Speaker, the growing number of allegations of sexual harassment in the RCMP is very disturbing. This weekend yet another constable came forward with allegations of near daily lewd comments and discrimination. Her case was so bad she had to quit the force.
    The very integrity of the RCMP is at stake. Yet, the government is sitting on its hands. Why will it not stand up to protect these women? How does it plan on getting the harassment out of the RCMP?
    Mr. Speaker, I am extremely concerned about these types of reports. That is why, in consultation with Commissioner Paulson, the new RCMP commissioner, I have asked the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to investigate allegations of systemic failures to deal appropriately with sexual harassment on the force.
    It is imperative that all members of the RCMP be free to face the daily and expected challenges of a day's work without harassment and without fear of mistreatment by co-workers and superiors.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we really hope this produces results, because this is not the first time we have heard that.
    We are now hearing from another RCMP officer who is complaining about suffering sexual harassment almost daily. She says she was the victim of obscene remarks and discrimination that have no place in the RCMP. The growing list of similar allegations is another blow to the RCMP's reputation.
    Does this government plan to turn a blind eye to these women's reports of systematic harassment on the part of high-ranking RCMP officials? Will it stand up to defend these women and do more than just call an inquiry? The facts exist; it is time to act.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, again, I thank the member for bringing this matter to my attention. Of course, this is something that had been raised with us previously and that is why we took the exceptional step, in consultation with the new commissioner, to ask the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to investigate allegations of systemic failures to deal appropriately with sexual harassment on the force.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are concerned about crime, which is one reason why they gave our government a strong mandate to keep our streets and communities safe.
    Canadians lose confidence in the justice system when offenders who commit sexual crimes against children receive sentences which do not reflect the severity of the crime. This is also true of drug dealers who sell drugs to children or who bring dangerous drugs like heroin, cocaine or crystal meth into Canada. We hear from front line experts, like police and victims, that we need tougher sentences for people who are engaged in this kind of activity.
    Could the Minister of Justice please inform the House about the latest steps he has taken to help keep our streets and communities safe?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the hon. member for all the hard work he does on justice issues.
    I am pleased to inform the House that all members will have the opportunity this evening to support the safe streets and communities act when it comes up for a vote. This important legislation cracks down on pedophiles, drug dealers, drug producers, arsonists, and the most serious violent and repeat young offenders.
    I was speaking earlier today with Dale McFee from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. He told me that this bill is fully supported by his organization and by police across Canada. It should be supported by everybody in the House as well.

  (1445)  

Aviation Safety

    Mr. Speaker, 16 years ago the Transportation Safety Board of Canada recommended that all planes, large and small, install the terrain warning system. This system provides the pilots of planes that are about to crash with early warning so that they have time to react.
     In 13 years, the Liberals did nothing. For six years, three Conservative ministers did nothing. Why does the minister take so long to act on this warning system when lives are at stake?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is strongly committed to strengthening aviation safety for Canadians. The new proposed regulations will significantly reduce the risk of airplane crashes on land and water.
    Mr. Speaker, studies show that the terrain warning system prevents close to 100% of accidents. The U.S. and EU required all planes to have this warning system years ago. Since 1997, 35 planes were flown into the ground, leading to the death of 100 people and 46 serious injuries. Many of these lives could have been saved.
    These warning system regulations were on the minister's desk since August. What will happen in the next five years before these regulations are enforced?
    Mr. Speaker, like I said before, our government is strongly committed to strengthening aviation safety for Canadians. The Transportation Safety Board recommends the use and carrying of terrain awareness equipment, and we agree. That is why we will continue in this way, and it will save lives. We will always continue to do what is necessary to improve aviation safety.

Agriculture

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is trying to remove important safeguards that keep genetically modified crops separate from non-GMO crops. If the government has its way, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will no longer test food and seeds that contain low-level concentrations of GMOs, but even small traces of GMOs can compromise our trade with Europe and Asia.
    Why will the government not tell Canadians the truth about their food, and why is it willing to put our trade with our partners at risk?
    From that question, Mr. Speaker, I can only understand the member for Welland has this completely backwards. We are trying to protect our food and make sure that there are no trade actions taken when there is a low-level presence, less than 1%. That is the right thing to do to enhance our trade and keep product moving.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there is always the same lack of transparency whether we are dealing with Attawapiskat, the Kyoto protocol or GMOs. Judging by these answers, Canadians' health is obviously not a priority for this government.
    Allowing goods that contain even a low-level presence of GMOs into the country without the authorization of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency could destroy organic farming, which is booming and creating jobs, but this government is so eager to please the agri-food giants that it is eliminating all controls without listening to expert advice or considering the consequences.
    Why does this government continue to act in secret, in the interests of its big business friends, rather than protecting the health of consumers?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there is nothing secret about doing consultations with industry. We are continuing to discuss with industry the best way to move forward on low-level presence. Of course, globally, everyone was at zero. With the efficacy of scientific testing, it has gone beyond that now. Zero is no longer zero.
    There is a global movement to move toward 1%, which of course will not hurt organics. It is actually there to protect organics to make sure we all ship in the same containers and we all ship on the same ocean-going freight. It is a matter of making sure that organics are protected when there is a crossover like that.
    We are doing the right thing. We are consulting with everybody who is involved and we will gazette the answers in due course.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government prides itself on promoting democracy around the world. Since 19--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I have asked several times now that members hold off on their applause until after the question has been put.
    The hon. member for Scarborough—Agincourt.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, since 1999 Canada's efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo have included peacekeepers and millions of dollars in aid for rehabilitation and health care, yet, when it came to the recent election in the DRC, Canada sent six international observers, despite requests from the community to send more.
    Why did the government abandon Canada's investment in the people of Congo during their recent election?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is very proud to always be involved in election observation where required and when asked to participate. In fact, we sent the maximum number of Canadians allowed by the EU commission. The election observers joined 46 long-term and 72 other observers as part of the EU mission. We are proud of Canada's participation.

Canada-U.S. Relations

    Mr. Speaker, the government has negotiated the perimeter security deal with the United States under a dark cloak of secrecy, and the Privacy Commissioner has expressed concerns, especially given the fact that both countries have very different privacy regimes. For example, in the United States, there is no independent body mandated to investigate privacy concerns with respect to the government handling of data.
    Why did the government not consult Canadians on a deal that compromises their privacy? If the government is redefining our continental union, should Canadians not have had the opportunity to comment?
    Mr. Speaker, we consulted Canadians extensively as we worked with the U.S.A. to develop this action plan. When we have more to announce we will do that, but I assure the member that the privacy of Canadians is very important to all of us. The United States will not end up with more information than there is already accessible.

[Translation]

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, Saturday was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. One Canadian in seven lives with a functional limitation. However, instead of presenting a real action plan to help these people integrate into the job market, the government has simply stopped tracking them. This is a dishonest practice that does not help the situation.
    Instead of doing more for people with disabilities, why is this government refusing to adopt a tangible action plan?
    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we are doing. In fact, we have created the disability savings plan. More than 46,000 plans have been set up. We have provided accessibility funds to make more than 600 buildings throughout Canada, such as community centres, more accessible. We have also improved the accessibility of federal offices and buildings. Unfortunately, the NDP voted against our efforts.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are in danger of leading a generation of disabled Canadians behind. Most disability programs are linked to employment and the government is ignoring the jobs crisis in Canada. How are disabled Canadians supposed to access programs that depend on employment, like long-term disability, when they are having trouble finding a good job in the first place?
    Where is the government's job plan? Why is it waiting to act?
    Mr. Speaker, we want to ensure that everyone has full inclusivity in all aspects of society, including the disabled. We have agreements with the provinces for labour market agreements with persons with disabilities so that on the ground, where the needs are best known, the provinces can help deliver the help that the disabled need to get the skills to get the jobs.
    We have also made it possible and easier for them to finance and access post-secondary education and to make the payments of loans easier. We have even made over 600 community buildings across Canada more accessible. Unfortunately, the NDP voted against that.

  (1455)  

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, for weeks now, a shadow of uncertainty has been cast over the health of B.C. salmon due to the spread of premature and unsubstantiated claims. Infectious salmon anemia poses no risk to people and Pacific salmon appear to be resistant to the disease. However, at the forefront of the fear-mongering are members of the NDP who never seem to miss an opportunity to attack Canadian industry and undermine consumer confidence in our products.
    Could the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans please update the House on the outcomes of intensified scientific scrutiny of this issue?
    Mr. Speaker, results from the extensive testing carried out over the last weeks have revealed that there are, in fact, no confirmed cases of ISA in B.C. waters. We continue the regular testing of all species of salmon in B.C., as we have for at least a decade.
    The bottom line is that B.C. salmon is healthy and safe. As the member noted, the NDP's premature conclusions on serious matters such as these is completely irresponsible and, furthermore, is damaging to the Canadian industry.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, another week, another problem. Now we learn that the F-35s are developing a disturbing number of cracks in the fuselage. We have a government committed to a plane that cannot land in the north, cannot communicate in the north, cannot refuel anywhere and is full of cracks. The only thing about this plane that can take off are the costs.
    In May 2010, the minister said that, in Canada, we will have “an open, competitive, transparent process”. Where is it?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians elected our government to equip our Canadian Forces with the best aircraft, the best benefits for workers at the best price for taxpayers, and that is what we are doing.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. associate minister has the floor.
    The development phase ensures areas of improvement are identified and addressed before Canada delivers its aircraft to our people.
    That is the very same party that sent our men and women into Afghanistan wearing green uniforms, black boots and without proper equipment.
    We are doing our job.

[Translation]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board was forced to change the mandate of the panel studying the Old Harry project because it could not perform its duties in the other provinces. That is a worrisome decision by the Conservative government and it creates confusion. It could have been avoided if the minister had set up a federal review panel from the very start, which he refused to do.
    Will the minister admit that he failed to fulfill his responsibilities?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the decision made was to increase the authority of the commissioner so that he could have the power to opine on the entire project and not just be confined to the area that was within provincial jurisdiction.
    The member opposite should have been happy with this result. We have an independent regulatory body that is doing its job in the interests of this country.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians value the work that our front-line police officers do every day to keep our streets and communities safe, and this often comes at no small price to their own personal safety.
    Yesterday, near the town of Breton next to my riding, there was a serious incident involving the shooting of an individual who had barricaded himself in his home and exchanged gunfire with the RCMP.
    Could the Minister of Public Safety please update the House on the status of this incident?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his unwavering support of our front line police officers. I am happy to report that yesterday the RCMP, in co-operation with the Edmonton Police Service, safely secured a very dangerous situation and successfully arrested their suspect.
    I would specifically thank the two RCMP officers who sustained gunshot wounds while securing the premises. On behalf of the government, we wish them a very speedy recovery.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, seniors have paid their dues to our country, but the government demonstrates over and over again that seniors just are not a priority.
    Fortunately, the NDP is listening to seniors. We held a round table discussion this morning to hear first-hand about the challenges seniors face. That is in contrast to the government's attitude of ignoring seniors' needs for affordable housing, pension security and pharmacare.
    Why does the government refuse to allow our seniors to age with dignity?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave us a strong mandate to continue doing more for seniors than any other government. It was our government that introduced pension income splitting, lower taxes for seniors, increased funding for elder abuse awareness and provided the largest GIS increase in a quarter century. What did the opposition members do? They voted against all of these measures.

[Translation]

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, in a report that has just been released, the OECD confirms in black and white what people already know: the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider all the time. Worse yet, Canada is one of the worst, among other things because of the increasingly harsh restrictions on employment insurance. As a result, despite repeated calls in favour of an overhaul, almost 60% of the unemployed are unable to qualify for this program.
    Since this government is insensitive to the fate of the unemployed, does it agree that the solution is to allow Quebec to manage the employment insurance program, as the Conseil national des chômeurs et chômeuses is calling for?
    Mr. Speaker, we believe the best way to help the unemployed is to provide them with training so that they can find jobs. Employment is the thing that will improve the situation and the OECD agrees. That is why, with our economic action plan, we provided training to more than 1.2 million Canadians in order to help them.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, treaties entitled, “Agreement Between Canada and the Republic of Costa Rica for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters”, done at San José on August 11, 2011; “Agreement Between Canada and the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Respect of Aruba for the Exchange of Information with Respect to Tax Matters”, done at Ottawa on October 20, 2011; and amendments to the Agreement Establishing the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, adopted by the Board of Governors on September 30, 2011.
    An explanatory memorandum is included with each treaty.

Committees of the House

Canadian Heritage  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in relation to the supplementary estimates (B).

Foreign Affairs and International Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. I am pleased to report that the committee has considered the supplementary estimates under Foreign Affairs and International Trade for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, and reports the same.

[Translation]

Canada Labour Code

    She said: Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to introduce this bill today. My colleague, France Bonsant, the former member of Parliament for Compton—Stanstead, introduced this bill once before. It is a huge honour for me to do so again on her behalf and on behalf of the Bloc Québécois.
    This bill amends the Canada Labour Code to allow employees to take unpaid leave from work for the following family-related reasons: a) the inability of their minor child to carry on regular activities because the child suffered a serious physical injury during the commission or as the direct result of a criminal offence; b) the disappearance of their minor child; c) the suicide of their spouse, common-law partner or child; or d) the death of their spouse, common-law partner or child during the commission or as the direct result of a criminal offence.
    This bill would also amend the Employment Insurance Act to allow these employees and self-employed persons to receive benefits while on leave.
    I urge all members in this House to support this bill, in the name of all of the families who are suffering.

    (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

  (1505)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I had my earpiece off for a few moments and I did not hear you ask for tabling of reports. With the permission of the House, I would like to table a report.
    Is there consent to revert to presenting reports from committees?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Committees of the House

Agriculture and Agri-Food  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food entitled, “Supplementary Estimates, 2011-12”. We dealt with five motions, votes 1b, 10b, 20b and 25b. I am happy to table it.

Income Tax Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to introduce a bill that would amend the Income Tax Act for labour organizations.
    Labour organizations play a valuable role in society, representing and defending the rights of workers to health and safety on the job and ensuring that they have proper compensation for the work they do. As a result of the valuable role that they play, our government has provided substantial benefits through the Income Tax Act to support the work of labour organizations.
     This bill would amend the Income Tax Act to require the public disclosure of labour organization finances. Public disclosure will help the public better understand how the benefits that are provided are being utilized. This is in line with the increased transparency we have introduced for government departments, agencies and native reserves. It is also in line with the public disclosure required of charities and political parties, which also receive substantial public benefits through the tax system.
    I want to note that public disclosure is strongly supported by the Canadian public and by union workers themselves.

     (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the House

Veterans Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I offer the following travel motion for consideration. I move:
    That, in relation to its study on the review of the delivery of front-line health and well-being services for Canadian veterans, seven members of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs be authorized to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia, and to Edmonton and Cold Lake, Alberta, in December 2011, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.

    (Motion agreed to)

  (1510)  

Petitions

Asbestos  

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present a petition signed by literally thousands of Canadians from all across the country.
    The petitioners call upon the House of Commons and Parliament assembled to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known. They point out that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial causes combined, yet Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world. They also complain that Canada spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry and blocking international efforts to curb its use.
    The petitioners call upon the government to ban asbestos in all of its forms and institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities they live in; they call upon the government to end all government subsidies of asbestos, both in Canada and abroad; and, finally, they call upon the government to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam Convention.

Human Smuggling  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present two petitions today. The first deals with Bill C-4.
    The petitioners draw to the attention of the Government of Canada that Bill C-4, the preventing human smugglers from abusing Canada's immigration system act, violates sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and furthermore that Bill C-4 violates Canada's international obligations as set forth in articles 28, 31 and 33 of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, violates several articles in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
    The petitioners point out that smuggling is already punishable by life imprisonment or a fine of up to $1 million in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
    For that reason, these petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to withdraw Bill C-4.

Health  

    Mr. Speaker, it is also my pleasure to present a second petition calling for a royal commission on the environment and health.
    I quote: “We the undersigned residents of Canada draw the attention of the Government to the following: that during the past 70 years tens of thousands of chemicals, many of which are cancer-causing, have been used in industrial processes and the production of consumer goods; that some of these chemicals now contaminate our air, water and food; that over the last 10-15 years, new technologies, such as those that create genetically modified organisms and nanoparticles, have developed rapidly and are being used in the production of consumer goods; that there have been few independent peer review studies and no transparent, inclusive, in-depth discussion of possible environmental and health impacts of these substances and technologies; that protection of human health and the environment requires rigorous application of the precautionary principle;”
    “Therefore, your petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to appoint a royal commission on the environment and health with a mandate to examine and make a certain number of recommendations”.
    I would remind members not to read the actual petition, but just to provide a succinct summary.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Safe Streets and Communities Act  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition that has been signed by Canadians across the country from small towns and big cities. It is regarding Bill C-10, which we are going to be voting on later today.
     The petitioners wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that this bill currently bundles together too many pieces of unrelated legislation, some of which make sense and some of which do not. They also wish to draw the attention of this House to the fact that there is a big problem with implementation, because Ontario and Quebec may refuse to pay the costs of some of the measures that would be downloaded to them.
    Therefore, the petitioners call on Parliament to separate Bill C-10 into its pieces and allow members to vote on each part separately.

[Translation]

Employment Insurance  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today signed by over 1,300 people who want to see the Employment Insurance Act amended. We want to increase the number of weeks of compassionate care benefits for parents who must care for a loved one or child from 6 to 50.
    I would like to pay tribute to the courage and determination of Anne-Marie Gravel, who initiated this petition. She is a constituent of mine whose son recently passed away from cancer.
    The government must pay more attention to caregivers. We are talking about their quality of life. This is a matter of respect.

  (1515)  

[English]

Multiple Sclerosis  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition regarding CCSVI. International data suggest that one-third of MS patients significantly improve following the procedure, one-third moderately improve and one-third show no to little improvement. Regardless, no drugs have ever reversed the symptoms of devastating MS.
    Studies from Argentina, Britain, Bulgaria, India, Poland and the United States show a significant improvement in quality of life. Moreover, we have peer-reviewed literature, presentations from eight international conferences, reports from returning Canadian MS patients treated outside Canada as well as recommendations by such groups as the American Society of Interventional Radiology and the Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery.
    The petitioners are calling on the Minister of Health to consult experts actively engaged in diagnosis and treatment of CCSVI to undertake phase III clinical trials on an urgent basis in multiple centres across Canada and to require follow-up care.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following question will be answered today: No. 187.

[Text]

Question No. 187--
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay:
     With regard to Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue (SAR) Centres: (a) does the government plan on using the closure of the St. John’s SAR Centre as a template for the future closure of the Quebec City SAR Centre and, if so, when will the Quebec City SAR Centre close; (b) what will the total transition costs associated with these closures be; (c) how many part-time, full-time and contract employees will lose jobs due to these closures; (d) will employees who lose jobs due to the closures be offered any type of severance pay and, if so, how much will be offered, (i) what will the total costs associated with any severance be; (e) what was the total operating cost for Halifax, Trenton, St. John’s and Quebec City SAR Centres for 2010; (f) what were the 2010 operating costs for the individual centres, (i) Halifax, (ii) Trenton, (iii) St. John’s, (iv) Quebec City; (g) what are the government's projected annual operating costs for the two remaining centres, (i) combined and individually, (ii) Halifax, (iii) Trenton; (h) what are the costs associated with needed infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the proposed changes in (i) Halifax, (ii) Trenton; (i) will all the employees at the remaining centres in Halifax and Trenton be fully bilingual at the highest capacity; and (j) will the government have to spend money and resources on improving French language abilities by SAR employees following the closure of the Quebec City SAR Centre and what will the total costs associated with this be?
Hon. Keith Ashfield (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), work is under way to consolidate both the St. John's and Quebec Marine Rescue Sub-Centres, MRSC, into Halifax and Trenton Joint Rescue Coordination Centres, with completion scheduled in spring 2012. Due to the complexity of the project, full implementation will not occur until the Canadian Coast Guard, CCG, is comfortable that the present level of safety and service can be maintained in both official languages. The Coast Guard has completed initial operational reviews on both St. John's and Quebec Sub-centres and a national implementation team, jointly participated by the CCG and the Department of National Defence, will apply the best practices from both MRSC consolidations to ensure that the transition will be seamless and public safety will be assured.
    With regard to (b), the total cost to consolidate both centres will include expenses such as hiring, relocation and training costs for employees and changes to existing centres and communications systems. The total cost is unknown at this time, as expenses will continue to be incurred over the next several months.
    With regard to (c), a total of 23 indeterminate, i.e., full-time, employees are in an "Affected" status in accordance with the work force adjustment policies in their union/management collective agreement, as their positions are being eliminated. These include 12 in St. John's MRSC, six in Quebec MRSC, and five at the Halifax Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, JRCC. Twelve new positions will be created, six in Halifax, six in Trenton, and all affected employees at the St. John’s and Quebec MRSCs were offered relocation as part of the consolidation implementation. Each employee is being assisted in order to meet their needs in a timely manner. There are also three term employees on contract whose term will not be extended, as the position is being eliminated.
    With regard to (d), the 23 full-time employees are being offered assistance in accordance with the work force adjustment policies of their collective agreement. As each employee has a unique plan to address their situation, individual or total costs are not available at this time
     With regard to (e), the total Coast Guard operating costs for salaries, operations and management for these four centres in 2010-11 were $5.6 million.
    With regard to (f), the total Coast Guard operating costs for salaries, operations and management for 2010-11 were as follows: Halifax, $1.9 million; Trenton, $1 million; St John's, $1.7 million; and Quebec, $930,000.
    With regard to (g), the projected total operating costs for salaries, operations and management for both JRCC Trenton and JRCC Halifax are approximately $4.5 million, while the breakdown between the tow JRCCs is still being finalized.
    With regard to (h), no incremental accommodation costs are being incurred at the JRCC Halifax, due to a pre-existing renovation plan already being put in place. Concerning JRCC Trenton, this is being determined at this time, so no estimate is yet available.
    With regard to (i), language requirements at the MRSCs are currently set at BBB by the Coast Guard and deemed satisfactory by previous reviews conducted by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. Following consolidation, both Trenton and Halifax Joint Rescue Coordination Centres will have the capacity to provide services in both official languages and bilingual capacity at the CBC level, an increase above the levels that are in place now at both Halifax and Trenton. The level of bilingual service is regularly reviewed by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
    With regard to (j), as is the case throughout the Canadian Coast Guard, resources will be dedicated to maintaining and/or improving the French language abilities of the Coast Guard's search and rescue coordinators. However, total costs will be determined following the staffing of these positions.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 179, 183 and 184 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 179--
Ms. Denise Savoie:
    With regard to Transport Canada, and the government’s role in the management and operation of the Victoria Harbour Airport (VHA) and the Victoria Harbour: (a) what is the process by which Transport Canada or its agents have evaluated, are evaluating, and plan to evaluate the impact on quality of life, noise and air pollution and the frequency of air traffic (including takeoffs, landings, taxiing, and other related activities) associated with operations at the VHA; (b) to date, what analysis has the government conducted with respect to the effects on the communities surrounding the airport and their residents of the impact on quality of life, noise, air pollutants and the frequency of air traffic (including takeoffs, landings, taxiing, and other related activities) associated with operations at the VHA; (c) what further analysis does the government plan to conduct with respect to the effects on the communities surrounding the airport and their residents of the impact on quality of life, noise, air pollutants and the frequency of air traffic (including takeoffs, landings, taxiing, and other related activities) associated with operations at the VHA; (d) what are the parameters of all past and planned analysis with respect to the effects on the communities surrounding the airport and their residents of the impact on quality of life, noise, air pollutants and the frequency of air traffic (including takeoffs, landings, taxiing, and other related activities) associated with operations at the VHA; (e) what steps has the government taken, and will the government take, to address problems associated with the impact on quality of life noise, air pollutants and air traffic frequency (including takeoffs, landings, taxiing, and other related activities) associated with operations at the VHA; (f) what is the timeline for completion of this process, including but not limited to (i) any evaluations, (ii) any decision to regulate or impose rules with respect to noise and air pollution and the frequency of air traffic; (g) with respect to the past and planned resident’s committees and any public consultation relating to the VHA, what will be the composition of the resident’s committee; (h) what action has the government taken on the basis of past results, information, and recommendations arising out of public consultation thus far, including the past resident’s committee; (i) what are the terms of reference for the new resident’s committee, including but not limited to scope, powers, membership, evaluation criteria; (j) how will Transport Canada and the VHA evaluate and act upon the results, information, concerns and recommendations of the residents committee; (k) what policies, practices and procedures do Transport Canada and the VHA have in place to mitigate all real or perceived conflicts of interest between Transport’s Canada’s role as both operator of the VHA and as the government body having jurisdiction over aeronautics; (l) what are the current government policy, practices and procedures relating to its federal responsibilities with respect to noise and traffic pollution; (m) what are the details of all current draft regulations pertaining to the VHA and its operations; (n) when does the government or its agents plan to publish permanent air safety or other regulations pertaining to the VHA and its operations; (o) does the VHA have a complete Safety Management System (SMS); (p) what are the details of the process by which Transport Canada is assessing the application to build a mega yacht marina in Victoria Harbour (Marina); (q) what policies, practices and procedures do Transport Canada and the VHA have in place to mitigate all real or perceived conflicts of interest between Transport’s Canada’s role as both operator of the VHA and as the government body having jurisdiction to approve or deny the construction of the Marina under the Navigable Waters Protection Act; (r) what are the details of current timeline for the approval or rejection of the Marina application; (s) what are the details of the timeline for the completion of the VHA’s assessment of the Marina under its SMS; (t) who is bearing the cost of the VHA’s assessment of the Marina and Transport Canada’s; (u) what is the estimated cost of all activities related to Transport Canada and the VHA’s assessments of the Marina; (v) what are the details of the impact, including but not limited to safety, would the Marina have on marine and air traffic in Victoria harbour; and (w) how is Transport Canada including the impact of the Marina on non-motorized vessels such as kayaks and canoes in its review of the Marina proposal?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 183--
Mr. Sean Casey:
     With respect to Conditional Sentencing in Canada: (a) what is the number of conditional sentences issued since 2002 to present and for what offences under the criminal code; (b) what is the expected financial impact of the increased prison population, and longer prison terms expected as a result of the passage of Bill C-10 (An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts) and what financial impact will this have on the provinces; (c) what assessment, if any, has been conducted on the impact, including financial, of eliminating conditional sentences as provided in Bill C-10, on the administration of criminal justice by the provinces; (d) has the government received correspondence from stakeholder groups advocating for elimination of conditional sentencing, and if so, what are the details of this correspondence; (e) what, if any, advice was provided or sought from Corrections Canada and its unions with respect to eliminating conditional sentencing, and (f) what advice, briefing notes, and or assessments have been provided to the Minister and senior officials by non Canadian jurisdictions with respect to conditional sentencing and other crime related initiatives?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 184--
Mr. Dany Morin:
     What is the total amount of government funding since fiscal year 2004-2005, up to and including the current fiscal year, allocated within the constituency of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, identifying each department or agency, initiative and amount?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion--Climate Change  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    The hon. member for Langley has five minutes left to conclude his remarks.
    Mr. Speaker, I was speaking to the NDP's disingenuous motion on a very important topic, the environment, and what we do to provide a clean environment for this generation and the generations to follow. I was sharing with the House what we are doing in the way of funding in Canada and internationally.
    Internationally, Canada was one of the first countries to step up with its fair share of climate change adaptation funding for developing countries, something we pledged to do under the Copenhagen accord. The opposition opposed those dollars going to developing countries, countries that are in need.
    We heard from a number of opposition members. They get that the climate is changing. A changing climate it is having a very serious effect on a number of people in Canada and globally, yet when it comes to approving the funds for adaptation, opposition members vote against it. I am having a difficult time, and I think Canadians are having a difficult time, connecting the dots. The opposition members say they care about a changing climate and call on the government to take leadership--and we now have a government that is taking leadership, getting things done and providing funding--yet they vote against that funding. Canadians have great difficulty with that, as do I.
    Internationally, we are contributing $45 million this fiscal year to help developing countries adapt to climate change as part of fast-start financing under the Copenhagen accord. Opposition members voted against that. Over four years, we have also contributed over $238 million to the Global Environmental Facility. Some of that came from our fast-track financing envelope, and the rest came from our international assistance envelope. Of course, being consistent, they voted against that. In turn, this funding reinforces our $100 million contribution in 2008-09 to the World Bank's pilot project in climate change resilience. Of course, they voted against that.
    Helping Canadians and our international partners around the world adapt to the challenges posed by climate change is an important part of our overall approach to climate change. Making adjustments in our decisions, activities and thinking because of observed or expected changes in climate is essential if we want to manage the risks associated with a changing climate.
    If we were to ask the average Canadian if they would support an international agreement that included 27% or 85% of emitters globally, we would find Canadians support 85%. They disregard the 27%. That is the Kyoto protocol; the Copenhagen accord is the 85%. The 27% includes no major emitters; the 85% under the Copenhagen accord includes all the major emitters. Not only do all Canadians support that, all scientists support it. If we take the issue of climate change seriously and really believe it, we have to have all the major emitters participating or it will not be possible to address the issue globally.
    About a month ago we had a delegation from the EU. That was exactly their message: that we have to have all the major emitters included.
    This is what Nature magazine had to say about a month ago:
    One of the goals of Kyoto was to make a relatively small dent in emissions, with the prospect of significantly bigger dents to come. Without the world's two largest polluters--the United States and China--on board that now seems impossible.
    There is no need to kill it. The treaty is already weakened and will prove hard to revive. The Durban meeting should be where the Kyoto Protocol, as we know it, goes to die.

  (1520)  

    A well-known Liberal made this comment in speaking about the former Liberal government. He said:
    Instead, the government's plan in terms of the Kyoto agreement was basically written on the back of an airplane napkin on the way to Kyoto... There was no real negotiation with the provinces or with industry sectors. In fact--
    Order, please. I have to interrupt the hon. member as his time has expired. We will move on to questions and comments with the hon. member for Etobicoke North.
    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the government is abdicating leadership in meeting international targets and in setting science-based targets. In meeting these targets, it has reduced its own targets by 90%.
    The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development recently examined 35 federal climate change programs. Some had performance measures, but some did not. No one was responsible for the “disjointed, confused and non-transparent patchwork”. No one was tracking the results of the demonstration projects and clean technology incentives, industrial subsidies and tax credits that the government had announced. The environment commissioner told parliamentarians that he could find no link between the government spending $9.2 billion and progress on climate change.
    Could the hon. member tell us what progress on climate change Canadians are getting for their $9.2 billion?
    Mr. Speaker, if the member remembers her history, it was her leader in the last Parliament who said, “We didn't get it done”, referring to the previous Liberal government. It was a reference to 13 dark years when the Liberals had a chance to sign on to Kyoto, ratify it and get something done, but they got absolutely nothing done. He asked why we did not get it done.
    We hear the echoes in this chamber of the former Liberal environment minister saying, “Do you think it is easy to make priorities?”
    We listen to the echoes of history and it was the environment commissioner who said that the Liberals were really good at making announcements, but before the confetti hit the ground they forgot those promises.
    That all changed in 2006 when the Conservative government came into power with a strong mandate. We have been tirelessly working for a cleaner environment. Canadians know that. Internationally, we are well respected. We have said that we need a new international agreement with all the major emitters and that is the way the world is heading.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the motion could perhaps help this government, because we want the government to take action. The government must think about the future, about the long term and about future generations. It must think about the future economy. A green economy is coming. Countries like Germany and even China are already investing in this economy.
    So the government must take action now to reap the benefits later. We are proposing that the cost of pollution be included in the price we pay now. If we do not pay for pollution now, future generations will end up doing so. The government is not preparing for the future. We are proposing a system such as cap and trade. That is why we want to put a price on carbon.
    Could the member opposite confirm that the Conservatives will ensure that future generations do not end up paying for this government's inaction?

  (1525)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Europe addressed the issue of the price of carbon continentally. We have said that we will deal with the issue of a cap and trade agreement continentally, if the United States does the same thing continentally.
    The United States has a target of a 20% reduction of 2005 levels by 2020. We have exactly the same target. We are doing it continentally.
    When we brush the facade off the question, it is: Do we support a carbon tax?
    Absolutely not. We heard from the member for Vancouver East just moments ago saying that Bill C-469 was a wonderful bill and it passed through the House. That was because of the coalition that had come together to support a carbon tax.
    Canadians said no to a carbon tax. That is one of the big reasons why the Conservative Party is the Government of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I am speaking on the issue of climate change today, the opposition supply day motion. This is an incredibly important topic for discussion in the House. The science is overwhelmingly clear on the matter of climate change. Anthropomorphic-caused climate change is happening. We as a society, as Canadians and as citizens of this planet need to act to reduce emissions.
    I was reading a report published in September 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, in which it surveyed all of the scientific research on climate change. It found 98% confidence among 1,372 climate change researchers that climate change is caused by human activity, largely by the emission of greenhouse gases. This is overwhelming evidence. The conclusion was clear.
    It surveyed some 1,372 researchers who had produced many publications. The paper was written by professors Anderegg, Prall, Harold and Schneider, from leading universities like Stanford University in Stanford, California, the department of engineering at the University of Toronto, the Hewlett Foundation in California and the Woods Institute at Stanford University. These are leading researchers at respected academic institutions. They produced a peer-reviewed paper and the evidence is clear and overwhelming. Climate change is happening. It is caused by human activity, and it will have serious effects on our climate and ecosystems unless we act.
    The science is clear. Most people who have read the research understand that the evidence continues to build and there is need for action on the part of governments. In fact, the Prime Minister, in addressing the Australian parliament some years ago, made the same point. Climate change is a serious challenge for humanity. We need demonstrated international action in order to combat this challenge.
    Many of us in the House understand that climate change is a challenge that the federal government needs to address. The big question then becomes what exactly we are going to do about it. This is where the debate really starts to take hold.
    The government has argued, and I support the government's position, that the solution is not for an extension of the Kyoto protocol. In fact, there are a number of third parties who have made this case. Recently, in Nature, the well-respected scientific journal, both an editorial and a separate commentary article suggested that clinging to the hope of an extension or phase two of Kyoto was not constructive. This would do more harm than good in achieving meaningful dialogue on how to fight climate change.
    The editorial and the article both made the point that there is no chance that the world's two largest emitters, the United States and China, would agree to binding commitments within the Kyoto protocol. Leaving out those two major emitters would not be a good approach. In their words, it would do more harm than good to seek an extension to the Kyoto protocol. The article underlined that a binding all-or-nothing mentality has held sway ever since and the result has been nothing. The government also understands this. This is why the Minister of the Environment today in Durban announced that the government would not be agreeing to an extension of the Kyoto protocol.

  (1530)  

    Other third parties have made similar points. In fact, the United Kingdom's former chief scientist, Sir David King, has suggested that we abandon any approach that would see an extension to the Kyoto protocol. Instead he advocates a bottom-up approach, or what he terms “muscular bilateralism”. Countries would make commitments on carbon reductions without the overarching framework of an international treaty.
    Other respected third party research institutes, like the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a respected American think tank, agree. Just last month, the Pew Center made the case that Kyoto needs to be let go and a new framework needs to be negotiated. That was in a paper by Elliot Diringer in Nature.
    A number of respected third parties, people who do not deny the science of climate change, who do want to see meaningful reductions in emissions, have all made the case that the Kyoto protocol is not the way to go. Instead, they suggest that, as called for in the Copenhagen and Cancun agreements, we should work toward a brand new global treaty that would do two critical things. The first is that it would include all major emitters around the world, whether developing or developed economies. The second is that it would ensure there is a mechanism by which member states can be held accountable.
    This is exactly what the Government of Canada has been arguing we need to do in Durban as we undertake these negotiations under the UN framework.
    It is clear that the government has a plan and a clear target. It has yet to be fully rolled out, but the government is committed to its plan. If there is anything that I know about this government and the Prime Minister, it is that when the government makes a commitment, it will do everything it can to achieve that commitment.
    On many public policy files, the government has demonstrated that, time after time, when it makes a public commitment and reiterates that commitment, it is serious. It will ensure that public policies are put in place to achieve that commitment.
    Our commitment is to reduce greenhouse gases by 17% below 2005 levels. In fact, since we took office in 2006, greenhouse gas emissions are down substantially. We are not there yet, but we are moving in the right direction.
    Do not just take it from me. It can be taken from a report that was recently published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, an OECD-affiliated research organization. It analyzed federal and provincial greenhouse gas reduction plans throughout Canada. It concluded that, with all the measures that have already been announced, the government is 47% of the way to achieving its 17% reduction by 2020.
    We have been in office now for five years. We have put in place measures that will achieve a 47% meeting of our 17% target. We have yet another eight years to go to achieve the other 53%.
    I commend the Minister of the Environment for recently gazetting the draft regulations for the electrical and coal sectors. Other sectors, like the oil sands sector, will also be dealt with at some future date. Other major industrial emitters in the heartland of Ontario and Quebec will also be brought into the plan.
    I am cautiously optimistic that our government will achieve its target of 17% reduction. Ensuring that we agree to an international framework that is consistent with these domestic targets is not only rational but also bargaining in good faith, rather than making commitments that we cannot meet.
    These targets that we have in place domestically are aggressive. They will achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases by 2020 that we have not been able to achieve in the period from 1990 to 2005.
    I strongly support the government's position at Durban. I strongly support our approach to greenhouse gas reductions.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very encouraged to hear the hon. member state that climate change is real, that it is clearly anthropogenic and that he recognizes the science. That is a rare opinion on that side of the House. I laud him for his courage in standing and saying that he believes in science and climate change science.
    I was less impressed, though, with his feeling that the very weak targets and lack of commitment by the Conservatives was adequate and appropriate.
    When moving past weak targets, will the hon. member move to real science-based targets, a real plan, a real strategy and a real accountability, as was found in the climate change accountability act introduced, first, by Jack Layton, then in the last House by myself and will be introduced again this time? I hope he will support that.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the comment of my colleague from the NDP that our target is not aggressive. It is actually quite aggressive. If we look at the period between 1990 and 2005 in Canada, greenhouse gases rose some 25%. What we have said is that for the period from 2005 to 2020, the second 15 year period of that 30 year period, we will reduce submissions by 17%. Not only are we stopping the growth in emissions under our plan, we are actually going to reduce them by 17%.
    He is indeed right. The new target of the government that we announced after we took office in 2006 is not as aggressive as the Kyoto protocol that the former government signed on to and that was later ratified in early 2005. Nevertheless, we felt we were not able to achieve a 30% reduction, but we could achieve the 17% reduction. Therefore, I think that these are very aggressive targets. The plan has yet to be fully rolled out, but when it is, Canadians will see true action on climate change in the second 15 year period of which we are in the middle.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his commitment to climate change. However, I want to point out the government's targets are anything but aggressive. It has reduced its targets by 90%.
    The Prime Minister and several members of his cabinet and his caucus previously have questioned the scientific evidence linking human activity to climate change, describing the Kyoto protocol as a socialist scheme.
    The current Minister of the Environment has described Canada's position as a constructive approach. He has said there is an urgency to this. He has also said we do not need a binding convention. What we need is action and a mandate to work on an eventual binding convention. Is this contradiction government policy?
    Although the minister insists Canada is making great strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the government's own plan shows it can get us only 25% of the way there.
    I would like to know this from the hon. member. Where is the government's credible plan to address the remaining 75%?

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, the rest of the plan will be rolled out in the very near future. In fact, last year we brought out the regulations for passenger cars and light trucks. A number of months ago, the government gazetted the regulations for industries that utilize coal. Regulations for heavy trucks will be announced shortly at some near future date. The oil sands and other major industrial emitters that lie in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor will also be brought under the umbrella of the government's plan.
    The fact is that in five short years in office, we will achieve 47% of the 17% target we have committed to based on the actions already completed to date. That is after five short years in office. We have another eight years to go before we hit our target date of 2020. The government is going to be rolling out these regulations and these plans and it is going to achieve, for the first time since 1990, meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases. That was not the case under the previous government for the period of 1990 to 2005.
    The plan is real, the targets are aggressive and our plan is halfway rolled out. I would suggest for members opposite that when we roll out the rest of our plan, we need their support to sell this plan to Canadians, to industry and to the country as a whole, because these will be tough and aggressive targets.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Berthier—Maskinongé.
    I rise today to speak to this issue. Everyone in the House recognizes the importance of climate change and the impact it has on our environment, not just through slight shifts in temperature but the real economic impacts, as well as the fact that climate change has a real effect on species and our culture as well. Despite that, we obviously have very little agreement on how to move forward.
    I think all of us can agree that we are very proud of the fact that Canada has always had a stellar reputation in the world as a leader in human rights and on environmental issues. Therefore, it is with a great deal of sadness today that I will read a quote that has damaged our standing in the world community.
    Last week we saw some of the media coverage when the ambassador for South Africa spoke up about our role in Durban and how nervous they were that Canada could sabotage the talks going on in Durban, which are so crucial not only for our generation but for all our generations to come.
    Over the last week we have been taken to task not by one nation but many nations for the lack of leadership that we have showed.
    South African leaders, including Desmond Tutu, along with several African environmental groups, released a letter last week criticizing the government. It stated:
    Canada, you were once considered a leader on global issues like human rights and environmental protection. Today, you’re home to polluting tar sands oil, speeding the dangerous effects of climate change.
    For us in Africa, climate change is a life and death issue. By dramatically increasing Canada’s global warming pollution, tar sands mining and drilling makes the problem worse, and exposes million of Africans to more devastating drought and famine today and in the years to come.
    That is a very sad legacy and sad comments for our young people to read. I received an email from a student in my riding who talked about the lack of leadership being taken by Canada at the conference in Durban and expressing concern that we as parliamentarians were not doing enough to protect the world, the planet, for them. We really do need to sit up and start paying attention.
    Often we understand economic arguments even when we fail to understand the survival of our planet. For those members who understand economic arguments, I will put forward some facts.
    In Quebec, insurance payouts for claims mainly related to flash storms, sewer back-ups and basement flooding in 2005-06 represented a 25% jump in water-related payouts as a percentage of the overall payouts from the 2001 to 2002 levels. These were related to climate change. What we have seen is a one metre sea level rise that could inundate more than 15,000 hectares of industrial and residential land. That is more than 4,600 hectares of farmland and the Vancouver International Airport.
    When we look at these arguments, it becomes imperative for us to make commitments now and commitments we can actually live up to.

  (1545)  

    I have heard this question in the media, as well in the House today. How can we make firm commitments when others do not? We keep using the fact that the U.S., one of the largest polluters, and China have not signed on to Kyoto, so therefore our not living up to Kyoto is not a big deal.
    If we were to apply that same kind of logic to everything else we do, then Canada would be frozen into inaction. We would be immobile. We did not wait for everyone in the world to be in agreement before we sent our troops into Libya. We do not wait until every country honours human rights for us to fight for human rights around the world. We are not waiting until every country becomes a democracy to then say now we are going to promote and push for democracy.
    Canada is a leader on the world stage. As a leader on the world stage, this is our opportunity, our chance to be a leader and show that we really do care about the environment, the future economy and the future of this planet, not just for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren.
    Climate change is not just going to happen in one area of the world. We are already beginning to experience the impacts of climate change. All of us have experienced the erratic weather recently and maybe the lack of snow in some areas and the massive amounts of snow in other areas. All of us know this is a direct result of what we have done to the environment over the years. Climate change does not respect international borders drawn by man.
    We cannot say that because some countries have been taking these kinds of actions, therefore climate change is not going to occur in that part of the world. We have to take a leadership role, show that we mean business and that we are still a player on the international stage when it comes to being advocates for the environment.
    Historically, the government has killed climate accountability measures before such as the accountability act that was introduced by our past leader, Jack Layton, but it is not too late today to still make those commitments. The costs, both human and economic, of not paying attention today are too high. David Suzuki does a wonderful experiment by which he shows how lack of action, even for a small period, can lead to an acceleration, which is way beyond our imagination, of the damage we are doing to our planet.
    Together it is the responsibility of parliamentarians on both sides of the House to work together to prevent financial, social and environmental costs by working with all nations, not by isolating them, and leading by example. We have done that before and we need to do it again. Not only that, but we need to look at our own actions.
    I would like to read into the record a letter written to me by a grade 11 student that I received today. She says, “I'm writing to you as someone concerned about ecological harm the oil sands in Alberta are causing. As a result, I would like to see something done to protect our environment. Oil sands production requires a very large amount of water”. She ends by saying, “However, animals aren't the only ones suffering, as other 30 different first nations groups live in the oil sands region”.
    She is appealing to us. I wish I could read the whole letter into the record to show that this grade 11 student did her research and wrote a very detailed letter as to why we needed to play a critical role and be a world leader, not a fossil once again when it comes to the environment.

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to enter into this debate with a question for the hon. member.
    The hon. member may know that Canada has recommitted $1.2 billion toward a global adaptation fund, something I am very proud of, but there is something else this government has done. It amazes me that the member quoted things that, frankly, take a shot at her own country. I cannot understand that. It takes a shot at Canadians, the Canadian economy and Canadian workers.
    We are moving to regulate, in absolute terms, the emissions of this country for a reduction of 17% by 2020. That is a target that has been matched by the United States. Perhaps she can name another government, other than this one, that has managed an absolute reduction in greenhouse gases. Maybe that is what she should be saying to international partners and asking what they are doing, because Canada is acting, is reducing emissions in absolute terms, and we are going to continue to do that all the way to 2020.
    Does she say that when she speaks with international partners or does she down talk people who work in the energy sector in this country who need those jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for the question that I believe was in there somewhere.
    Every time somebody has a different point of view, the government tries to paint the person as being anti-Canadian. Let me tell the member that Canada is a democracy and in this democracy people are allowed to debate different points of view. We celebrate the fact that we have those different points of view. It is not a surprise to Canadians that through the media they are seeing that in the first two days of the Durban conference Canada received three fossil awards.
    Miners and archeologists celebrate when they find fossils, but when we look at our role in the environmental sector, that is not something to celebrate. Yet, my colleagues across the aisle last week cheered when it was mentioned they had won the fossil award again. That is nothing to be proud of. It does not make me feel proud to be a Canadian. If being a Canadian means having to damage the environment, then I am a Canadian who wants to protect the environment.

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, the government has to understand it cannot solve the world's most pressing environmental issues simply by throwing money at it. It requires leadership at home and internationally.
    I would like to thank the hon. member for pointing out that climate change in Africa is a life and death situation. In terms of malaria, it affects 300 million people. We know with climate change that range will increase. It affects pregnant women and kills an African child every 30 seconds. Pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria infection. It increases their risk of illness, severe anemia and death. Maternal malaria increases the risk of spontaneous abortion, premature deliveries, stillbirth and low birth weight, a leading cause of child mortality.
    Our government focuses on maternal and child health and we have an opportunity to help prevent malaria and save lives through taking action on climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, people are often judged both nationally and internationally by how they behave and by their actions toward the most vulnerable in our society. However, we are talking about something that impacts everybody. Having millions of dollars in the bank is not going to protect people from environmental harm that results from climate change.
    Let me put on the record an excerpt from a report. The 2010 annual climate change performance index indicated that Canada finished in 54th place out of 57 countries that were evaluated, 54th out of 57, with only Australia, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia faring worse than Canada. That is not a record that the government should feel proud of. We have a lot to do, so let us get on with it, protect our environment, make commitments to firm numbers, and invest in green economies not by re-introducing or re-announcing the same money over and over again. Let us see what can be done with new projects.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, climate change represents a very serious global threat to our environment, our economy and our lives. While employment and the environment are important priorities for Canadian families, the Conservative government continues to ignore the wishes of the people and is showing, once again, that it is completely out of touch with reality.
    Climate change is having an impact on Canada. A September 2011 report released by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy estimates that climate change could cost Canada up to $5 billion a year by 2020 and between $21 billion and $43 billion a year by 2050. In addition, the average temperature in Canada has gone up 1.3oC since 1948. A sea level rise of one metre could cause over 15,000 hectares of industrial and residential land to flood, along with over 4,600 hectares of farm land and the Vancouver International Airport.
    Insurance payouts in Quebec for claims related to sudden storms and flooded basements in 2005 and 2006 represented a 25% increase in water-related payouts in Quebec compared to 2001 and 2002. All of these facts cannot be ignored. We must take action on the environment. Every action counts and can make a difference. We must work together.
    The NDP's vision is a Canada that invests in future generations and in clean jobs, and that assumes international leadership in the fight against climate change and the establishment of a new energy economy.
    We must think of future generations—I am thinking of my young son—and it starts today. Our children have the right to hope for an incredible future and quality of life and this will depend on the choices we make on a daily basis about the environment.
    A number of environmental disasters clearly show that the climate is warming and that we must take action now. Instead, the government is trying to sabotage the Kyoto protocol. Climate change has consequences for the health and safety of people, animals, forests, farms and water supplies. That is why it is important to take concrete action to stop it.
    As is the case in other parts of the world, Quebec has entered the era of climate change. Every Quebec region is facing extreme weather events. For example, in spring 2011, there was flooding along the Richelieu River caused by record snowfall in the Lake Champlain basin, and the wet spring in Montérégie was responsible for historic floods in spring 2011. This natural catastrophe affected more than 3,000 households in Montérégie and people are still feeling its effects. For two consecutive years, during the winters of 2010 and 2011, the ice failed to form in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This affected a number of economic and tourism activities.
    These are two examples of the effects of climate change on our immediate environment. But we all know that disasters are occurring at an astounding rate throughout the world. It is now December and it is raining. It is wrong to believe that we cannot make a difference regarding the environment and global warming, and it is even worse to ignore the alarm bells.
    My colleagues and I want to be leaders in the international fight against climate change and in ensuring that Canadian jobs will not disappear.

  (1600)  

    The NDP's main priorities for the next international climate change agreement are: a fair, ambitious and binding agreement; adequate financial resources for the green fund as of 2013; the reduction of the “gigatonne gap” between the promised emission reductions and the measures actually taken; and the elimination of the gap between the legally binding commitments.
    The government's lack of action with regard to climate change is tarnishing Canada's international reputation.
    The NDP supports demands for a new, fair, ambitious and binding agreement on climate change to succeed the Kyoto protocol.
    Developed countries must do their fair share by reducing their emissions in a way that reflects their existing and historic responsibilities with regard to global emissions.
    The current targets that countries have adopted under the Copenhagen accord will not reduce emissions enough to limit the increase in average global temperature to 2°C above the pre-industrial level. Reducing this gap and preventing dangerous climate change will require all countries, including Canada, to implement ambitious measures.
    Canada must make a second round of commitments in the Kyoto protocol's second commitment period or as part of an alternative agreement, should countries decide to abandon the Kyoto protocol.
    A healthy planet is the most valuable gift in the world. It is a gift that we can give future generations.
    I think about my little boy. When I was young, there was a lot of snow everywhere. Now, that does not happen very often, and it worries me a lot. Animals are disappearing. Climate change is damaging the planet. We must work together. We are young. We have new ideas. We must share our ideas and find solutions.
    I am asking the members opposite—who are not listening to me—to work with us. We have solutions.

  (1605)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened intently and I want to thank the member for her comments on this very important issue.
    She said she wants action. Of course, she is seeing action. Does she disagree with the action that the government has taken, specifically in regard to asking all major emitters to sign on to a new international agreement that will truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
    With the NDP bill in the last Parliament, Bill C-469, it did not want to have the major emitters participating in a new international agreement. Has the NDP position changed now or did it want to continue on with only 27% of greenhouse gas emissions--
    An hon. member: Question, question. Order. Question.
    Mr. Mark Warawa: May I continue? Thank you.
    The question is, does the member prefer the 27% of global greenhouse gas emissions or 85%?
    Second question, does she support the carbon tax that her party supports?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we are in favour of a carbon tax, but I personally think we must also work with other countries. We must be at the table and discuss the problems. We must not abandon the Kyoto protocol. We must work together. We are talking about the future of our children and our children's children. It is important to me and to our party to be at the forefront and to take a leadership role. That is what we are doing.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I find it a little bit strange that the member opposite seems to be claiming that Canada is showing leadership in another direction other than Kyoto. I would like to ask my hon. colleague, does she think Canada is really trying to do something significant as an alternative to Kyoto, if it is receiving these fossil awards at the conference in Durban, and would the international community agree with that assessment?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question.
    I find that the three fossil awards Canada has received are proof that we are not at the forefront and that the government's plan is inadequate. We are being ridiculed around the world and in the media. We have to take the lead. We have to assume a leadership role. We have to work together. I hope the Green Party is listening to us.
    Mr. Speaker, in the hon. member's speech, I heard her talk about her son quite a bit. In fact, through her son, she probably has access to the younger generation, to her son's friends and classmates. In her opinion, are young children worried about what is happening right now in terms of climate change? How do they view all this? How does the younger generation see it?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her questions.
    Indeed, young people are really involved. They know that climate change is a big problem and they are getting involved in the issue at their schools. When I make my son's lunch every morning, I put it in small recyclable boxes because we do not want to generate any waste. We have to think about the future. Schools are talking a lot about respect for the environment and the importance of adopting a leadership role on this. Children, the citizens of the future, are really involved. That is why we are here and that is why it is truly important to take a leadership role.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough Centre.
     I very much appreciate the opportunity to speak about the Government of Canada's leadership on clean energy. It is truly a very good news story. Not only do we possess substantial reserves of conventional energy, but Canada is making a big name for itself in the clean energy sector. We have been leaders for some time, producing about 77% of our electricity from non-emitting sources like hydro generation and nuclear power.
    Our government has moved aggressively in recent years with billions of dollars' worth of investments in clean energy, balancing our need for economic growth with our need to protect the environment.
    Since 2006, the government has delivered over $10 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This funding has leveraged an additional $25 billion in private investment, creating over 5,000 new jobs, many in the growing clean tech sector.
    We are fighting emissions through innovation in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy and renewables. We are positioning Canada to lead in the clean tech sector and creating jobs for the future.
    Our overall goal is to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. This is a target that aligns with U.S. plans. Canada has significant opportunities to expand its share of the global market for energy and energy-related products, creating prosperity across this great country.
    Here are just a few of the activities our government has put into play.
    Our newest program, the eco-energy innovation initiative, was just launched in August of this year. It is a two-year $97 million investment to support a wide range of collaboration among industry, colleges, universities and government. These projects will focus on research, development and demonstration in five key areas: energy efficiency in buildings, communities, industry and transportation; clean electricity and renewables; bio-energy; research and development of electric vehicles; and unconventional oil and gas.
    The demonstration component will focus on clean electricity and the integration of renewables into the grid and the built environment. Then there is the $78 million eco-energy efficiency initiative that will improve energy efficiency at home, at work and on the road, saving Canadians money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    The eco-energy efficiency initiative will make the housing, building and transportation industries more energy efficient. Improving energy efficiency is one of the fastest, greenest and most cost-effective ways for Canadians to reduce greenhouse gases and to save energy.
    The next phase of Canada's economic action plan is also advancing the clean energy sector on several fronts by delivering a number of strategic investments. For example, we have renewed the highly popular eco-energy retrofit homes program. This helps Canadians make energy efficient home renovations.
    The renewed retrofit homes program could help up to a quarter of a million homeowners across Canada improve their home's energy efficiency, and also generate up to $4 billion in economic activity.
    We have also delivered another $40 million to Sustainable Development Technology Canada for the commercialization of clean technologies. This is a fantastic organization.
    The 2010 energy efficiency regulations minimum energy performance standards have resulted in an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 26 megatonnes. Once the minimum energy performance standards are fully in place, products that consume 80% of the energy used in Canadian homes, institutions and businesses will become regulated.
    These are significant achievements in our efforts to reduce emissions. What is more, the benefits of these and other eco-energy investments will continue for years and years to come. For example, the eco-energy for renewable power program will deliver $1.5 billion in investments over the next 10 years to support our renewable energy industry.

  (1610)  

    The eco-energy for biofuels program will provide production incentives to producers of cleaner renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel until 2017. Our investments in carbon capture and storage projects will help position Canada as a producer of reliable clean electricity for decades to come.
    For example, one project that is under construction is the fully integrated carbon capture and sequestration, CCS, unit at SaskPower's Boundary Dam coal-fired power generation unit in Estevan, Saskatchewan. Our government delivered $240 million of investment which will leverage $1 billion from the provincial utility and will transform Unit 3 at Boundary Dam Power Station into a reliable long-term producer of 100 megawatts of clean base-load electricity while enhancing oil production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by capturing one million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
    We have many examples of clean energy success stories across Canada.
    Drake Landing Solar Community south of Calgary recently received the prestigious 2011 Energy Globe World Award for Sustainability. Drake Landing comprises 52 homes that are part of North America's very first large-scale seasonal storage solar heating system. This is the first such project in the world to provide nearly 90% of domestic space heating requirements from solar energy.
    B.C. Hydro's smart grid technology project is installing large-scale batteries in two remote communities. These will provide clean power to the entire community during any outage. They will also help manage peak electricity demand periods with a lower environmental footprint.
    We are helping four maritime utilities led by New Brunswick Power Corporation as it integrates smart grid technologies, load management and intermittent renewables. Also on the east coast, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy is working to harness power from the most energy-rich tides in the world.
    Our government's support for the lower Churchill River projects in Newfoundland and Labrador will boost clean energy production in Atlantic Canada. The production potential of the lower Churchill project is enormous. Muskrat Falls alone will have a generating capacity of 824 megawatts. That is enough to produce an estimated 4.9 million megawatt hours per year. That is equivalent to powering almost half a million Canadian homes.
    This clean renewable energy provides an opportunity for Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia to meet their own needs in an environmentally sustainable way. Once completed, Newfoundland and Labrador will obtain up to 98% of its electricity from non-emitting sources, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 4.5 megatonnes.
    As all members can see, the Government of Canada is delivering real emission reductions while still maintaining Canada's economic advantage. In this way, our government is helping the energy sector to become more competitive, create new greener jobs for Canadians, and further protect our environment.
    Canada's energy sector, including clean tech, has an extremely positive impact on our national economy. Energy represents roughly 7% of our gross domestic product. It supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. It is a major contributor to Canada's economic stability and quality of life. The positive impact of our energy sector is found throughout Canada's economy in manufacturing, support services, construction, engineering and the financial sector.
    We need to continue delivering major investments in our infrastructure so that we can diversify Canada's energy markets. We need to continue our progress in developing our vast resources in an environmentally responsible way.

  (1615)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his speech.
    He said that, as all members can see, Canada is making a significant effort, but I do not think that is the case. I do not see it. I listened to him and I heard all kinds of stories about the efforts being made, but the reality is that, around the globe, Canada is being singled out for how it is developing the tar sands. I wonder if my colleague could tell us what action the government plans to take to improve both the perception and the reality of how we are exploiting this resource.

  (1620)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I heard in the translation the term “tar sands”. The scientific and accurate term is oil sands. Is that a mistake--
    I am not aware of the translation, but that is a point of debate rather than a point of order.
    The hon. member for Kitchener Centre.
    Mr. Speaker, I know that the members opposite highly respect CBC and its commentators, so I will respond to the question regarding the oil sands with a quote from Rex Murphy of the CBC. He said:
    One of the first orders of business over there in Durban-land, as it was in Copenhagen, is how bad Canada is...[particularly] the Canadian oil sands. This one project, more perhaps than any other in Canada, has kept us out of the worst of the recession.
    And is it not then bizarre that at Durban whole countries, like China and India, with massive populations and absolutely huge industrial and manufacturing enterprises, developing more and more electricity plants and coal generating stations--are let off the hook by the campaigners. The production of those countries dwarfs into nearly total insignificance whatever the oil sands may represent.
    I endorse what Mr. Murphy had to say about that.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has said, “We will continue to do what we have to do to meet our Kyoto obligations”. However, the Minister of the Environment has now said that formally pulling out of Kyoto is an option for Canada. However, when questioned repeatedly by reporters, he declined to confirm or deny a CTV news report that cabinet decided to withdraw from the agreement right after the Durban conference during the holiday season.
    Will the government formally pull out of Kyoto? If it is the intention of the Government of Canada to renege on a treaty that was ratified by the Parliament of Canada, why would the government not say so now? Why not bring it forward for debate in Parliament? I have asked for an emergency debate. We have asked for a take note debate before the charade of participating in Durban. Why such a double standard?
    Mr. Speaker, I will let the Minister of the Environment speak for himself on that issue.
    I do want to express my own opinion regarding Kyoto. If members opposite cannot see that Kyoto has been a massive failure, not only in terms of what the Liberal government did with it in Canada but what countries around the world are not doing with it, then they are out of touch. I think every Canadian knows that Kyoto has been a massive failure.
    Although I am gratified that the member opposite mentioned CTV, I would like to quote again from CBC commentator, Rex Murphy, who said:
    Kyoto has been for the majority of countries that signed on to it a mere pantomime. Emissions continue to rise, carbon markets floundered or were beset with graft, but everyone kept up the pretence.
    The real charade is not what my colleague across the way is mentioning. The real charade is Kyoto.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to this important issue and our government's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the air quality for all Canadians.
    We are approaching the sixth anniversary of the successful clean air regulatory agenda. Our government developed this program in 2006 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve air quality. We want this good work to continue, so we have announced that over the next five years we will invest $600.8 million to continue the clean air regulatory agenda. This funding will sustain the clean air agenda's considerable momentum, providing the scientific research, monitoring, modelling, regulation and enforcement required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. In short, it will ensure that Canadians will literally breathe much easier.
    We are also taking strong action to address climate change. Our government has committed to reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Given the highly integrated nature of the Canadian and American economies, we have aligned our target with that of the United States of America. We also have stated policy to align our greenhouse gas mitigation approaches with those of the U.S., as appropriate in the Canadian context.
    We are pursuing a sector by sector approach by developing regulated performance standards for the major emitting sectors in Canada in tandem with the United States. We have also put in place a number of measures to reduce emissions from our key greenhouse gas sources. Together with existing provincial measures, we are already about a quarter of the way toward meeting our 2020 target. We started by developing regulations for transportation and coal-fired electricity, two of the largest GHG emitting sectors.
    In the transportation sector, we have been working with the U.S. for some time to put in place harmonized greenhouse gas regulations. As members know, the North American automotive industry is highly integrated. Therefore, a harmonized approach is critical. We have established progressively tighter GHG emission standards for new cars and light trucks over the 2011-16 model years in alignment with U.S. national standards. We are now working with the U.S. on developing harmonized and progressively more stringent targets and standards for 2017 and later model years. In fact, we just released a consultation document on the development of the proposed regulations.
    The government is also developing regulations to establish greenhouse gas emission requirements for new heavy-duty vehicles harmonized with that of the United States.
    In the electricity sector, we published proposed regulations for coal-fired electricity generating units. These proposed regulations would help enhance Canada's position as a world leader in clean electricity generation and would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality for all Canadians. They would promote a transition toward lower or non-emitting types of generation.
    The government's recent announcement for funding for clear air will allow us to continue to implement and enforce these regulations to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions from these key sectors.
     In addition to supporting the government's climate change agenda, the clean air regulatory agenda also supports the government's equally important efforts to improve the air that Canadians breathe. We have been working with the provinces, industry and non-governmental organizations to finalize and implement a new national air quality management system, a system that will include new ambient air quality standards for key pollutants, new emissions requirements for major industrial sectors and equipment groups, and the management of air quality at the local and regional level. The funding that we have just announced will allow us to carry this work forward and to address air quality in a very comprehensive manner.
     Three additional components of air quality management will also be addressed or continued: one, strengthen commitments to reduce transboundary air pollution under the Canada–U.S. Air Quality Agreement given that air pollution does not respect national borders; two, measures to improve indoor air quality, an important component as Canadians spend approximately 90% of their time indoors; and three, nationwide implementation of the air quality health index, known as AQHI, to help Canadians make informed decisions to protect their health.

  (1625)  

    These important efforts to improve air quality will have a very real, everyday impact on Canadians across this country from coast to coast to coast.
    At the same time, we are continuing to develop and implement further measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in other major sectors, including the oil and gas sector, complemented by additional provincial and territorial actions in the respective jurisdictions.
    Canadians expect and deserve real action on climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of air. This government is taking those actions. Together, these measures I have outlined on climate change and air quality will continue to contribute to improving the environment, the air that we breathe and the health of all Canadians.

  (1630)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her speech and I would like to ask her a question.
    Does she believe, as I do, that our current economy can no longer be separated from environmental protection?
    We need to put an end to the disconnect that exists between the economy and the environment. We can no longer separate them. We absolutely must start seeing the economy in relation to the environment. We must make a shift towards renewable energy sources, towards another way of seeing the economy. And we must do so now; it is urgent. We are already losing jobs. The current approach will kill the Canadian economy.
    Would the member agree that it is time to integrate the economy and the environment?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, yes, the member is absolutely correct. The government will always take into consideration both the environment and balancing the economy, unlike the opposition parties. Unlike the NDP, we will never sacrifice jobs, the economy and growth in this country by killing jobs and stalling the economy with taxation on different things for the environment.
    I am very proud of the commitment that our government has taken with regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to air quality improvements. As I mentioned in my speech, along with respective programs in place, we have actually reduced greenhouse gas emissions by almost one-quarter per cent toward our targets of 2020.
    When Canadians expect to see real action on the environment, they can count on the Conservatives to deliver that, while balancing the economy and ensuring that we continue with our low tax plan for jobs and growth.
    Mr. Speaker, the member may not be aware that the government has cut its targets by 90% and can only get us 25% of the way to its 2020 target.
    The Minister of the Environment has said many times in Parliament that Kyoto is the past and that Copenhagen and Cancun are the future. Does this mean that the government will finish the task from Cancun, that it will translate policy into concrete action? Will the government support the launch of the adaptation committee, approving the guidelines for national adaptation plans and progress on approaches to address loss and damage? This seems unlikely as the government is cutting the climate impacts and adaptations research group at Environment Canada which studies the impacts of climate change on agriculture, fisheries, forest, health, water quality, and many of them share part of the 2007 Nobel prize.
    Will the government support the launch of the adaptation committee?
    Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that the member talks about the environment and yet it was her party that signed on to the Kyoto agreement, an agreement that saw less than 20% of the world's emitters participating in that agreement. In fact, some of the largest emitters in the world were excluded from that agreement, including China, India and the United States.
    Canadians want real action on the environment and this government is committed to that real action. That is why I am so very proud that we recently announced $600.8 million in funding to achieve the real target that Conservatives will get to.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will share my time with the member for Edmonton—Strathcona.
    I would like to address my comments to the Prime Minister, who will maybe hear them. I would like to tell the Prime Minister that Durban may be far from Canada, but Alberta is right next door.
    We are big producers of hydrocarbons and energy of all types, and we mistakenly believe that our power is renewable. Today we may be masters of the world—the industrial world, of course—but our power does not go beyond the scope of our resources. We have worked for centuries to develop this country—which is as big as a continent—and there have been successes and failures. We have seen development and underdevelopment.
    We all share this land imbued with the spirit of the Odawa, Assiniboine, Saulteaux, Dene, Cree and Algonquin peoples. I am mentioning all of these peoples of the Alberta plains so that the Prime Minister does not forget we borrow this land for as long as we are here. I have seen this land, the badlands and the plains. I have seen the beauty of the west and the endless forests in the east. Our country did not inherit all of these resources so that we could squander them. We have invented new ways of doing things: “precautionary principle”, “sustainable development”, “biomass” and “ecology” are all words that reflect both our know-how and our concern.
    It is hard to believe that the plains of western Canada will be forever tainted by the waste water discarded by the oil industry working in the oil sands. It is hard to believe that the Prime Minister is rejecting the Kyoto protocol in the name of economic growth and at the expense of the quality of life of Canadians. It is hard to believe that temporary businesses are abusing the sacred land of our ancestors in the name of materialistic greed. I remind members that we are all here temporarily.
    The Kyoto protocol will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yes, the protocol is not perfect. So we have a choice. We can either be part of a new consensus based on the precepts of this protocol, or we can give up and be condemned to paying for the consequences of our actions.
    Although Canada ratified the Kyoto protocol, our greenhouse gas emissions are steadily increasing. We all understand that the global economic crisis requires us to be cautious and that we cannot halt production of hydrocarbons overnight. We do not want to put Canadians out of work. Our economic development and growth are supported in part by the production of raw materials.
    The energy needs of emerging countries are pushing us toward oil production that far exceeds our ability to regulate the industry. How can we balance our environmental regulations, whether they be domestic or international, with our obligation to meet our economic needs and our responsibility to ensure the health of Canadians?
    The debate that is getting under way in Durban is a global one that concerns all members of the House. The decisions that the Prime Minister makes about reducing greenhouse gas emissions cannot be made in a vacuum. Tomorrow, everyone's children will have to live with the consequences of his decisions. I am now hearing comments from people in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and the Maritimes, who are asking questions about energy development over which we no longer have any control.
    The Prime Minister, like all of us, inherited a nation that was built in adversity. We put aside our differences and worked together for the common good of Canada. Perhaps it is the sum of our differences that made us a strong, prosperous and creative nation.

  (1635)  

    Balancing the needs of eastern and western Canada allowed us to develop original policies full of wisdom and compromise. We have had successive political regimes in Ottawa for over a century. At one time or another in our history, the prosperity of every region has benefited the people of this country. Eastern Canada's industries, the Maritimes' fisheries, Quebec's hydro, western Canada's wheat and British Columbia's forests are all resources that have built our democracy.
    But let us remember the mistakes of the past. Let us remember that there was a time when we did not have the scientific knowledge to really understand how to protect our environment.
    An exceptional Canadian died a few months ago. Pierre Dansereau, the father of modern ecology, was a great humanitarian with an inalienable faith in humanity. Today, like Pierre Dansereau, I want to believe in humanity, and I want to say that a prime minister's duty is to be the guardian of the democracy of our institutions.
    The debate in Canada on global warming is bigger than him or me. As the spokesperson for the nation, he must act responsibly and accept that there must be a real debate in this precinct because, unfortunately, part of the population seems to be neglected by his good offices. No one will make me believe that the future of this nation does not concern the Prime Minister. He has an obligation to listen to all those who wish to speak and be heard by him. First and foremost, he is the Prime Minister of all Canadians, of all parties. He does not have the right to squander our common heritage.
    In this regard, I would like to remind him of a few statistics about our thirst for oil, statistics that everyone has gone over. Canada should be increasing its production of oil by almost 70% in the next 15 years. According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, we should surpass 3.4 million barrels per day in 2015 and reach 4.7 million barrels per day in 2025. There is no real agreement about Canada's actual reserves. However, Industry Canada estimates that we have more than 179 billion barrels.
    These statistics speak for themselves and Canada, as a major exporter of CO2, must take part in the international negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our production capacity and collective wealth also require us to act locally in order to balance productivity, prosperity and environmental conscience.

  (1640)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her speech.
    She said earlier that the Kyoto protocol was not perfect. But should we give up and let pollution continue unchecked until we die from it and suffocate from all the pollution that we, our children and grandchildren will have to endure? I would like to hear her comments on that.
    Mr. Speaker, this morning, the South African High Commissioner told us that Canada withdrawing from Kyoto would be tragic for both emerging and industrialized nations alike, and that the latter have a significant responsibility, for they are the ones that produced the pollution that led to the Kyoto protocol. Canada must take that responsibility into account and make every effort to participate and help the global society.
    Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the hon. member. I think she has elevated the level of debate after all the meaningless comments I have heard today—the lies and half-truths uttered by the lackeys and cowards speaking on behalf of developers.
    I have a question for my colleague. We have heard that China might sign on to the second phase of the Kyoto protocol. For some time now, Canada has been using the excuse that other countries have not signed on. In my colleague's opinion, what would it take for the Conservative government to get involved in the negotiations?

  (1645)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada must adopt a positive attitude. We do not want to stop all oil sands development and everything that creates jobs. We do not want to put all Canadians out of work. I want to be very clear about that. That is not what we want to do. However, we also need to take emerging nations into account. If there comes a time when everyone is sick or dead, we will be no further ahead for having created jobs and for having recovered from the economic crisis while ignoring the various environmental protocols.
    Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, I heard dates such as 2017 and 2020 and that we have to align with the United States. It is true that the economies are very interconnected. The United States uses our primary resources and our energy to manufacture vehicles and we drive those vehicles and put fuel in them. The real question has to do with the urgency of the situation: how many years do we have left to react? When we signed the Kyoto protocol, everyone said that it was the last chance for humanity. That was a quite a while ago. How much longer will we be able to continue like this? It is like people leaving their SUVs running in their garages. Eventually, they will get carbon monoxide poisoning. The attitude here is no different. I wonder how much time we have left.
    Mr. Speaker, it is hard to say how much time we have left. I think it is urgent. We have already started to see the effects of climate change. We have to deal with it immediately and accept the Kyoto protocol and improve it, so that our children—we may not be affected so much ourselves—can enjoy a planet that is not a real disaster. I think it is urgent. That is why international conferences are held. We want things to be dealt with as quickly as possible. Concluding agreements with other countries takes time and the emerging countries have to be on board. China is starting to be more open. That is already a big step in the right direction, but we have to go even further.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to speak to the motion but, frankly, I find it really sad that the hon. member for Halifax has to, again, bring this matter before the House because nothing is happening.
    Over the last year, the religious leaders of this country have been meeting on Parliament Hill because they are so frustrated with the lack of action by the government on what they see as a matter that will greatly impact the planet.
    Mardi Tindal, the moderator of Canada's largest Protestant denomination, the United Church, has called on us to consider climate change a crisis of conscience. She has urged Canadians to choose hope and action over despair and paralysis in addressing what she calls one of the most urgent, moral challenges in human history.
    The government has, only at the 11th hour, after being in power for six years, revealed that it intends to pull out of Kyoto. It could have revealed that six years ago and been honest. But instead, it has held this country out for potential penalties because of its complete inaction. It is absolutely reprehensible.
    The government has failed to deliver even on its own commitments to reduce greenhouse gases. It has failed to deliver on the commitments that the Government of Canada made at the conference of the parties in Bali, Copenhagen, and Cancun.
    What have some of those commitments been?
    In Copenhagen, it actually committed to reduce greenhouse gases. What has it done, instead? Nothing. It has allowed our emissions to rise continuously.
    At Cancun, it committed, and I know this because I was in the room when it signed and sealed on this, that it would issue a national low carbon energy strategy. Where is that low carbon energy strategy?
    We have a government that likes to accuse previous governments. It likes to pick on the Liberals, who did not take a lot of action either. It has been in power for six years, it has gone to many international conferences on this important matter, and it has delivered nothing on its commitments.
    Now we are hearing that the government is appearing at the conference and, shamefully, suggesting it may not even provide the funding to lesser developed countries that are already suffering the impacts of climate change.
    The Commissioner for Sustainable Development, who works in the Office of the Auditor General, has done a series of audit reports. The Auditor General issued a report just this year, castigating the government for the absolute failure to deliver on its promised reductions. Instead of requiring a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, it has significant lowered its targets by 90%.
    Apparently, according to the Commissioner for Sustainable Development, who did an audit, between the years 2007 and 2010, Canadian emissions rose by 31% above the 2006 committed targets. He reported there was inconsistent reporting on climate measures and no clear measurable way to measure its programs, despite allocating over $9.2 billion. Where did that $9.2 billion go? We will get to that in a moment.
    The commissioner also said that there was a stop and start pattern, and that it sent an inconsistent message to industry, to other levels of government, and to Canadians. Even the fossil fuel industry, we have noticed over the last year, is fed up. It is expressing concern that there is no legal certainty and that in order to move forward in its sector, it needs clear and legally binding targets.
    The government then accused the Commissioner for Sustainable Development for not being up to date and so, its own department issued a report. That report found even more problems, that it was missing meeting even its own meagre targets.
    The government ran on a platform of openness and transparency. Whatever happened to that party?
    These government members, every one of them, voted against the New Democrat bill which was tabled twice in this House, passed twice in this House, simply calling for accountability on actions on climate change. It was not enough that the Conservatives could not win because the majority of elected officials were in favour of this bill, they called upon the Senate to kill that bill. We now have before us absolutely no real binding measure to control greenhouse gases.

  (1650)  

    To make matters worse, the government has been clear that it will oppose any binding treaty out of the meetings that are going on now in the conference of the parties. Why not just be honest? Why do the Conservatives not just tell us that they will not agree to any binding treaty? They have lobbied against every binding treaty that has been proposed in the last six years of the conference of the parties.
    Where are we at now? What does the International Energy Agency, to which Canada belongs and which consists of the major fossil fuel industries of the world, have to say:
    Every further delay comes with costs. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that any delay in coming to a global agreement will lead to significant “lock-in” of carbon intensive infrastructure...Thus, “every year of delay of introduction of a global framework with the sufficiently powerful economic incentives to direct investment to follow the path of the [2°C scenario] has two consequences: It increases the amount of capital stock that will need to be retired early, mostly in the power and industry sectors; [and] it limits dramatically the amount of more carbon-intensive infrastructure that can be added in the future.” Delaying action to 2015 will increase the costs of action by $4.3 for every $1 saved--
    The Conservatives are the party that supposedly believes in a strong economy. It does not sound like it.
    We need simply look to Alberta. The government intentionally issued regulations for the coal-fired sector which will exempt coal-fired power plants that have not even started being built. The government has taken no action on the single largest source of greenhouse gases being emitted in Canada right now and no regulations at all for the oil sands sector.
    In the meantime, Alberta taxpayers are being called upon to pay the costs of massive transmission lines from our expanding coal-fired sector to the United States. How is that for a good economic plan?
    The majority of Canadian greenhouse gases, as reported by Environment Canada, are in the energy sector, 82%; transport, 28%. In the last decade, fossil fuels have represented 54% of the growth in greenhouse gases and transport 45%.
    The key issue is cost. The national round table that was appointed by the government and reports to the government reported that the imminent costs to Canada for climate warming will be in the order of $20 to $40 billion a year by 2050. That is 5% to 25% of the GDP and this is the government that claims it is fiscally responsible.
    The sad thing is there are a myriad of solutions that will save Canadians money. The technologies already exist. We have heard it in many committees. We have university researchers and technology is being tested in the field, but absent are the regulatory triggers that nobody wants to invest in. We need action, but we are waiting for federal leadership.
    We are waiting for federal leadership on revising the national building code. The government of Alberta has been clear that it will not upgrade its building code until the federal government upgrades its building code to ensure that we have more energy efficient buildings.
    We are waiting for leadership on energy retrofits. After a massive campaign by Canadians, the government finally relented to return the program for one year yet we had a burgeoning energy efficiency sector, including in my riding. Many young people want to get into the sector but they have essentially given up on this area of work.
    Where is the leadership on training? There are incredible opportunities for youth, aboriginal communities, and immigrants, to be trained in the new energy economy. Where is the leadership?
    Where is the leadership on the smart grid? The government lauded the agreement that it signed, the U.S.-Canada energy dialogue. Where is the leadership? Where is the smart grid?
    The government yanked all of the money for renewables. Meanwhile around the world, other countries are profiting and soon we will have to buy their technologies. Where is the level playing field?
    Billions of dollars have been spent to merely test carbon capture sequestration for the coal industry and the oil sands, and mere millions for the renewable sector.
    As my time is running out, I will speak of other matters during questions.

  (1655)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since the hon. member is from Alberta, I imagine her province's economy is very important to her.
    In her opinion, is there a way to develop the oil sands in an ecologically sound manner, without harming the economy in her province?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question and the answer is, absolutely, yes.
    I participated in committee hearings over a two year period and issued my own report. Why was that important? We heard testimony from many parties, including major researchers in this country.
    I also attended an oil sands fair, and I went around to all of these new technologies and asked what the key barrier was to their not selling their technologies. They said that it was the lack of regulation. The government is not requiring anybody to clean up this sector, and therefore nobody is investing in cleaner technologies.
    The technologies are there. We need to get them out of the lab and into the field. What is missing is federal regulation.

  (1700)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to know if the member can acknowledge our investments in the clean energy fund, the eco-energy technology institute, the carbon capture storage projects that are helping Canada position itself as a producer of reliable clean electricity for the decades to come?
    I want to know if the member recognizes the $1.5 billion in investments over the next 10 years? I want to know if the member acknowledges the eco-energy retrofit homes program that is helping Canadians make their homes energy efficient, or the $148.8 million over the next five years to help the country adapt to climate change? I want to know if the member has ever visited the oil sands and actually saw the work that has been done with technology in helping the oil sands through all of its initiatives? Has she visited to see the work that it has done?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not have time to answer that question. I would like to give an elaborate answer.
    Of course, I have been to the oil sands. I have been working for 40 years trying to clean up that sector. I recommend that the hon. member go to my website and read the report that I issued wherein are listed the recommendations by the deputy premier of the Northwest Territories, first nations leaders, scientists, all calling for the government to issue clear regulations and standards so that in fact we control that sector.
    One thing I would point out to the hon. member is the hypocrisy of the government. The government says it will not take any action and will not require major reduction of greenhouse gases in this country because China is not acting. This is the very government that is encouraging the shipping of raw bitumen to China so that it will be upgrading and refining, and increasing its greenhouse gases.
    I do not need to take any lectures from that side of the House about what is needed to actually address greenhouse gases. We need to work together with other countries, but first and foremost we need to act here. I think that if regulations were passed, then the taxpayers of Canada would not have to bear the burden that is going to be placed on them and the next generations.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the hon. member on her very fine speech.
    I quickly want to ask her what she thinks of the idea that we absolutely must not dissociate the environment and the economy, that the two go hand in hand.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that, of course, is the policy that this party stands by. That is the policy that the other side pretends to stand by but puts absolutely no heart in the environment side of that agenda.
    There is no reason why we cannot have a strong Canadian economy and also a clean environment. There have been proposals put forward. The technologies are there. There have been two evaluations, to give some concrete examples, of how we could green electricity. The government promised that it would provide 90% clean electricity, I think it was by 2020, and has done nothing in that direction except go the opposite way.
    Two reports by the Pembina Institute of Ontario and Alberta have shown that by 2020 we could have completely clean electricity without reverting to nuclear. The technologies are there. We just do not have the regulatory drivers because the government does not believe in that.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Wild Rose.
    I am pleased to rise today to speak to the important issue of climate change. Our government supports an approach to climate change that gives real environmental and economic benefits for all Canadians. Given the highly integrated nature of the North American economy, this includes aligning our climate policies with those of the United States.

[Translation]

    That is why, as part of the Cancun agreements, this government agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, an ambitious but very realistic target that is completely aligned with that of the United States. We have made significant progress through many national regulatory initiatives on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  (1705)  

[English]

    In addition, the federal government recognizes the importance of integrating air pollutant regulations with those affecting greenhouse gases.
    We will work to ensure coherence between greenhouse gas measures and air pollutant measures under the proposed national air quality management system.
    Looking at industries, we have started with transportation and electricity, the two largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and we will continue to proceed to address emissions from other major emitting sectors one by one.

[Translation]

    With regard to transportation, Canada worked closely with the United States government to establish a North American common standard to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by vehicles. This approach will help the environment, the industry and consumers.
    In October 2010, we implemented rigorous new regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the automobile sector through the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations.

[English]

    Later that month, we issued a notice of intent to continue working closely with the U.S. toward a development of more stringent standards for model years 2017 and beyond. We continue to work with the U.S. on the development of these regulations.
    In August 2011, we announced further measures on vehicles, indicating that we would develop regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.
    Canada and the United States are taking a common North American approach and Canada intends to implement regulations with a 2014 model year in alignment, once again, with those of the United States, which is an integrated partner when it comes to the automobile and transportation sector.

[Translation]

    Implementing measures in the electricity industry will lead to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and will improve air quality for all Canadians. In August 2011, we also published regulations for the electricity industry, which will apply a stringent performance standard to new power plants using coal and to those that are nearing the end of their useful life.

[English]

    The proposed regulations, in addition to commitments of the provinces and companies that have committed to coal plant closures as well as other measures to reduce emissions, amount to a reduction of 32 megatons below 2005 levels by 2020. That is a reduction of 26% from the electricity generation sector. That is the value of made in Canada, industry by industry regulations.
    New coal-fired electricity units will have to meet stringent performance standards. That performance standard, as proposed, is 375 tonnes per gigawatt hour. It seems like a large number but that is a standard that is based on emissions of high efficiency, natural gas generation, and that represents a reduction of 60% for a unit of electricity produced.
    The final regulations are expected to be published in 2012, working with the sector, and regulations are scheduled to come into effect in July 2015.

[Translation]

    Over the past year, we have also made significant progress by implementing key components of our renewable fuels strategy. Since December 2010, gasoline must contain an average of 5% renewable fuel. Another measure, which took effect in July 2010, was the implementation of a requirement that diesel fuel contain 2% renewable fuel. These federal measures, combined with those implemented by the provinces, have made it possible for us to come a quarter of the way toward meeting our objective for 2020.

[English]

    In fact, a report released in November 2011 by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, or IISD, highlights the significant progress that is being made in Canada on GHG emissions and confirms that the government's regulatory approach is delivering results and contributing to a national effort to reduce emissions toward Canada's 2020 target. It states, “Canada is finally establishing the policy architecture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”. Its analysis supports the core directions of the government's approach and demonstrates that sector by sector regulations are already delivering results, an important part of the national plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  (1710)  

[Translation]

    To bridge the final gaps, the Government of Canada will develop and implement additional measures to reduce greenhouse gases in other important sectors of the national economy. These will be complemented by additional measures implemented by the provinces and territories in areas within their jurisdiction.
    Work is in progress to develop regulatory performance standards in priority industries.

[English]

    We are also looking to focus additional effort on short-lived climate forcers, such as black carbon, which will make our plan to address climate change even more comprehensive. There is increasing awareness that action on this front will yield near-term climate benefits, particularly in the Arctic and other parts of northern Canada.
    I should make a comment on the previous Liberal government's Kyoto plan. It was Eddie Goldenberg, one of former prime minister Jean Chrétien's top aides, who revealed that the Liberals went ahead with the Kyoto protocol on climate change even though they knew there was a good chance that Canada would not meet its goals for pollution reduction. In a speech delivered to the Canadian Club of London, Ontario, he said:
    Nor was the government itself even ready at the time with what had to be done. The Kyoto targets were extremely ambitious and it was very possible that short term deadlines would, at the end of the day, have to be extended.
    That was said in 2007. It is clear that we have put forward some realistic, actionable plans to reduce greenhouse gases, working with the provinces and with various industries, and we are achieving results. The Government of Canada has a plan to reduce emissions further and that plan is working. We will continue reducing emissions sector by sector until we have reached our goal.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the member just spoke about a more comprehensive plan and quite frankly I was wondering if he had said comprehensible. In fact, it is incomprehensible.
    There is something incoherent about giving us this list of the nuts and bolts of the environmental policy. It sounds like a garage sale. They are telling us that they did this and that, but they forget to talk about what is important. Everyone recognizes the economic value of the oil sands. I am using the term “oil sands” to please them because we are obviously talking about a gigantic energy resource that is very profitable.
    When we constantly align ourselves with our neighbours south of the border for good, and not so good, reasons, we ignore the warnings about it being important to clean up the operations to make it a little less disgusting. Unfortunately, they turn a deaf ear and try to ship it to China on a floating pipeline.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.
    Companies working in the oil sands have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 20% over the past 15 years as a result of technological advances. They have also made great strides in reducing the amount of water they use to extract oil from the sands. They are making progress and technology will bring about other advances.
    The member asked a question and said that it was not a comprehensive plan. In fact, by working with the provinces and the affected sectors we will make reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my question is of a general nature in the sense that Conservative member after Conservative member gets up and they have no hesitation in terms of taking shots at the Kelowna accord, which, I believe, had widespread support. We had provincial governments from coast to coast, from what I understand, that were quite supportive of the concept of the Kyoto accord. Then the members take great liberty in trying to explain how they are such strong environmentalists nowadays in the actions they have taken.
    Could the member explain to me why, if the government is doing so well on the international scene in terms of the Durban conferences going on right now, Canada is winning more fossil awards, which is not a good thing, than any other country in the world? Why is that the case if the Conservative government is “apparently” doing so well on the environment.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member mentions the Kelowna accord. I suppose, after signing many accords that they never planned to implement, that is just another one. I think he probably meant the other accord that begins with the letter K, the Kyoto accord.
    That was a pretty sad story for Canada, signing on to an accord that was imposed on us by other countries with no realistic plan to actually implement anything. What we have done instead is come up with a plan that really works with our partners in the provinces as well as the various industries. A lot of that expertise actually resides within the provinces and those industries, as opposed to having a plan foisted upon us by certain economies that actually have nothing to do in terms of reductions. There are no commitments on their behalf to actually reduce any emissions whatsoever, including China, India and the large emitters.
    We have said that, whatever we do, it will be something that makes sense for Canada. As members know, the oil and gas sector is just one example. That is 7% of the overall economy and we want to ensure that we do not destroy that as hat is a source of our wealth and prosperity.

  (1715)  

    Mr. Speaker, would the member remind the House what percentage from the emitters we are responsible for? I believe it is a very low percentage compared to other countries. Could the member elaborate?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's emissions in the overall global greenhouse gas scheme of things is less than 2%. We can make our efforts but we also need to recognize that a lot of other countries are increasing their total amount, including China. They are increasing their greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to everything that Canada produces in a given year. Therefore, whatever reductions we make for Canada, it has to be considered that there needs to be equivalent reductions by the other major emitting nations like China.
    Mr. Speaker, in examining the motion we have before us here today, I have to wonder if the opposition members took the time to consider the implications of what they had proposed. The implications are not only for Canada's economic prosperity, but there are also repercussions for our timetable to make real and measurable progress on lowering emissions in the medium term, which is what the parties across the way claim they want to achieve.
    Under the former Liberal government, which signed the Kyoto accord, the gap between Canada's target for emissions and the actual levels just continued to grow. Canada's greenhouse gas emissions increased by 27% under the Liberals. The Liberals utterly failed on Kyoto. As their party's former leader, Michael Ignatieff, famously admitted to the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, “we didn't get it done”.
    In the NDP, we have an opposition that seems set on having Canada, which produces just 2% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, to shoulder a disproportionate share of the load, while China and the United States, which together represent more than 40% of the world's output of greenhouse gases, are not even on board. Pushing for an arrangement that does not even include the world's largest emitters will accomplish nothing except to disadvantage the Canadian economy in comparison to those countries.
     By contrast, our Conservative government believes in a balanced approach to environmental stewardship, one which weighs jobs and the health of the economy alongside environmental protection.
    On that note, this would be a good opportunity to highlight the important role the energy sector is playing in our country's economic future. Our government's top priority continues to be supporting jobs and growth and sustaining Canada's economy. As hon. members know, Canada is not immune to the uncertainties of the global economy, but Canada has come through the global downturn a lot better than most. Today, Canada is continuing to outperform most other developed nations.
    Despite this, the NDP, instead of working toward a plan for long-term prosperity, is calling for tax hikes on job creators, on consumers, on investors, on families. Some of its leadership candidates are even supporting a carbon tax that would raise the price of gas, energy and almost everything that Canadians buy. They seem oblivious to the fact that Canada is the only country in the G7 to have gained back all the jobs and all of the economic output lost during the recession. In fact we gained it all back and more, over 600,000 jobs.
    Now the IMF is predicting that Canada will be one of the G7's leaders in economic growth both this year and the next. In its annual ranking of global economies Forbes magazine named Canada as the best place in the world to do business.
    A large part of our economic success is due to the strength of our growing energy sector. Canada is blessed not only with abundant natural resources, but also with innovators and risk takers. We have built one of the most advanced energy sectors in the world. We have turned Canada's energy endowment into a pillar of our economy. Energy now accounts for about 7% of our GDP. It is the key driver of our prosperity both now and in the future.
    Around the world Canada is gaining a sterling reputation as an energy superpower. The numbers speak for themselves. Canada is the world's second largest producer of uranium. We are the third largest producer of both natural gas and hydroelectric power. We are the sixth largest producer of crude oil and we have 170 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.
    Our renewable energy sector, wind, solar and biomass, is growing steadily. Energy has always been identified with opportunity in Canada, connecting workers with good paying jobs and products with markets. In 2010 total direct employment by the energy sector was 271,000 jobs. It also supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in other sectors such as construction, manufacturing and financial services to name a few.
    Canada is one of the few countries in the world that is energy rich, has a highly skilled workforce and a strong innovation system. We are also capable of increasing our energy production in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. Simply put, we have enormous energy assets that are generating great economic wealth right across the country. To capture even greater benefits for all Canadians, we must invest in the infrastructure necessary so that our energy resources can supply rapidly growing demands, especially in Asia.
    One of the prime sources of our energy wealth, of course, is the oil sands in my province of Alberta. When most Canadians think of the oil sands, they think of Alberta, but the benefits of this vast resource extend well beyond Alberta's borders and will well into the future.

  (1720)  

    Over the next 25 years, the oil sands are expected to support, on average every year, 480,000 jobs. They will pump about $2.3 trillion into Canada's economy, according to the Canadian Energy Resource Institute. That economic activity is creating thousands of jobs and benefiting hundreds of companies all across the country. In Ontario, for example, the oil sands industry is expected to buy about $65 billion worth of goods and services from Ontario companies over the next 25 years.
    There is no doubt that the development of the oil sands is in the best interest of all Canadians. Yet, in their zeal to push for a grand scheme that does not even include major emitters, the NDP members have worked to undermine initiatives that are important to the economic health of our country.
    Several NDP MPs made an anti-trade mission to Washington recently to actively lobby against the oil sands, the Keystone XL Pipeline and thousands of Canadian jobs. There, they criticized Alberta's oil sands as too greenhouse gas intensive, despite the fact that oil sands account for just one-tenth of 1% of the total.
    I could not help but notice that while the NDP were undermining Alberta's oil sands and the Keystone pipeline project during their junket to Washington, they could not find the time to inform our friends about some of our country's many achievements. Rather than building up the achievements Canada has made toward a cleaner environment, the NDP, unfortunately, prefers to tear our country down. We need only remember how the NDP member for Edmonton—Strathcona called for a moratorium on oil sands development, while one of the NDP's leadership candidates, Brian Topp, affirmed his commitment to the same job-killing action.
    It is particularly troubling for me that a fellow Albertan, like the member for Edmonton—Strathcona, would take a position such as that. The strength of Alberta's economy has been the envy of other jurisdictions, both in Canada and around the world. It is centred on two things: our people and our abundant natural resources.
    The people of Alberta are resourceful, hard-working, self-reliant and entrepreneurial. We understand and appreciate the value in our abundant resources. We are careful and responsible stewards of those resources because we know that by caring for them, they will in turn help to take care of us. Yet we have a member of Parliament who suggests her fellow Albertans are being irresponsible in developing the oil sands resource.
    The NDP continues to undermine this resource that will contribute $2.3 trillion to Canada's GDP over the next 25 years. The royalties that the oil sands pays the provinces to explore for resources will total $429 billion in that same period. Some 1.4 million barrels of crude oil are exported every day from Alberta to the United States alone. Our economic prosperity as a nation relies in no small part upon Alberta's oil patch.
    Of course, we must ensure the oil sands are developed in the most environmentally responsible way possible. In my opinion, it is being done. Those companies that are developing the oil sands are also on the cutting edge of research into new technologies to reclaim land, manage water and reduce emissions.
     Alberta accounts for nearly 73% of national oil and gas development and one in every fifteen jobs is related to the sector. However, that wealth is also being shared. The spillover from oil patch investments in Alberta will contribute another $400 billion to GDP in other provinces. That is because investments in our resource create jobs and demand for service industries right across the country.
    Opposition MPs do not really understand the good, responsible environmental work that the oil and gas industry is doing and the enormous economic benefits that result. Their smear campaign against the oil sands is not helping matters.
    Canada has a compelling energy story to tell. Our tremendous energy endowment provides an opportunity to create jobs and stimulate growth. We are maximizing our resources and diversifying our markets. With strategic investments in clean energy, we are positioning Canada to lead through innovation and creating the jobs of the future. We are growing Canada's status as a global energy superpower and doing so in partnership with industry in an environmentally responsible way.

  (1725)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member opposite for his speech. The government continues to talk about adopting a solid regulatory program to fight climate change, and yet it is two years behind its own deadline for regulating the oil and gas sector. It still has not submitted anything to the House. I would like the hon. member to comment on that.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government is working through regulations on a sector-by-sector basis in terms of dealing with emissions. It is important that we remember, unlike our friends on the other side who seem to forget, that there are two parts to the equation. There is the economy and the environment. We have to ensure that we are being good stewards of the environment and we have to do so while ensuring we are cognizant of our economy, the economic strength of the country and how important the oil and gas sector is to the strength of the economy. It is unfortunate they do not understand that, but we certainly do.
    We are working in partnership and collaboration with industry ensuring we develop ways of protecting our environment, while also ensuring we are protecting our economy.
    Mr. Speaker, the economy and the environment are two sides of the same coin. The government claims it supports the economy, but I want to point out it has actually failed to green the economy. With the stimulus package, it invested $3 billion. In stark contrast, the United States invested $112 billion, China $221 billion and therefore created thousands of new green jobs.
    The Minister of the Environment has said that formally pulling out of Kyoto is an option for Canada. However, when questioned repeatedly by reporters, he declined to confirm or deny a CTV news report that the cabinet had decided to withdraw from the agreement right after the Durban conference during the holiday season. It is signalling its withdrawal from international climate obligations. If the minister accepts climate change is real and the government promises accountability and transparency, why is it planning to withdraw after the Durban conference?
    Mr. Speaker, the member was speaking about some of our work toward trying to ensure that we were developing green energy and I would like to address those comments.
    There are all kinds of measures being undertaken both by industry and our government to try to ensure we are doing that. We understand the importance of our oil sands and the oil sector to our economy, but there are also many other parts to our energy future in Canada.
    I look at our natural gas sector and how it has a very strong role to play in our economic future. We are already the world's fourth largest exporter of natural gas and analysts predict that over the next 100 years we will have all kinds of growth potential in natural gas. That is a cleaner form of energy and one that we will have for decades to come in terms of our energy mix. We are looking at other renewables, whether it is biofuels being created through the mandates that we have, biodiesel and gasoline as well. Those are just a few examples. There are so many that I could not list them all. We are certainly doing a lot of great work in terms of greening our energy.

  (1730)  

    Mr. Speaker, today we have heard the opposition talk about the Kyoto protocol, which the previous Liberal government signed on to with no plans to implement. We also heard the NDP leadership candidates over the weekend talk about implementing a carbon tax with no plans to cost it out. I was just on a television program with the NDP environment critic, in which she said that the international community should not listen to Canada, when we are in fact a world leader in our economy.
    What does the member think of the opposition's non-plan to deal with greenhouse gas emissions as opposed to our tangible plan to deal with greenhouse gas emissions and does he thinks it is in the best interests of our country?
    Mr. Speaker, it certainly is disappointing for me to hear those on the other side who do not really seem to get it. They really are being irresponsible. They do not want to look at the implications for our economy. They want to talk about things, but they do not want to take any action. We saw that with the previous Liberal government. It signed on to the Kyoto accord, yet our emissions and greenhouse gases went up 27% under that government. We are a government that is taking action and delivering real measures rather than just talking about a problem.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for York South—Weston. Before I begin, I would like to dedicate this speech to my daughter Ariane and my stepdaughter Oriana.
    I must admit that I have certain prejudices. I have major prejudices against the Conservatives. I thought they were all the same, they really did not care about the environment and they only cared about what they call the economy. But I admit that I was wrong and I apologize. It is not entirely true. I have seen some Conservatives rise in the House in one way or another to defend the environment, even though the Minister of the Environment and the Prime Minister turn a deaf ear. It is reassuring to see that people on all sides of this House care about the environment.
    I hope the Conservatives come to understand that the economy of the future can no longer be separated from the protection of our environment. I hope that many Conservatives will rise here this evening to defend our beautiful planet and vote in favour of our motion on the environment. I hope they will stand up in great numbers and call on their Prime Minister and their Minister of the Environment to show leadership in the fight against climate change, because right now, it is difficult, very difficult. I also hope that in Durban they will commit to supporting the 2oC limit for global warming and to respecting commitments under the Kyoto protocol, and that they will change their minds about wanting to kill the protocol. Quite the reverse, I hope they commit to respecting their Kyoto targets and that they show leadership in the second phase, which is now needed.
    I will demonstrate that the Kyoto protocol definitely needs to be rescued. Not only does the future of our children depend on it, but the Conservatives are also in the process of undermining our Canadian economy and job creation for our families. The Prime Minister and the Minister of the Environment are actually killing the Canadian economy with their policy. Let me explain.
    The Conservatives' plan is a complete failure in the fight against climate change. The proof is that in 2008 greenhouse gas emissions had increased by 24% compared to 1990 levels, thereby exceeding our Kyoto target by 31%.
    I have done my homework and studied this issue very carefully. The report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, which I have right here, points out some problems in the Conservatives' plan. In the report, Mr. Vaughan says:
    Since I began as commissioner three years ago, a recurring theme in my reports has been the significant gaps in the information needed to understand and respond to the changing state of our environment.
    Without the proper information, how can we react appropriately? Further on in the report, Mr. Vaughan says that Canada has spent just over $9 billion in the fight against climate change but that the results of that investment are unknown. We do not know how to do better in our fight against climate change.
    There will be very serious consequences. If the Conservatives and Canada do not act differently, there will be dramatic consequences. For example, the warmer temperatures could negatively affect air quality and result in more smog in urban areas, not to mention the proliferation of pollen, dust and other particles that may trigger or aggravate allergies and asthma. We can also expect that these warmer temperatures will extend the range and increase the number of insects that carry diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and various types of viral encephalitis. Some animals that carry dangerous diseases, such such as rodents and bats, may also extend their range and become more numerous.
    There are thus real dangers associated with climate change. This is not just a story or myth. The government needs to wake up.

  (1735)  

    There is also the danger that the permafrost will melt. The hon. members are perhaps aware of this. I have an article that explains the dangers of this very well. Right now, something called an organic carbon reserve is trapped in the permafrost. If the polar ice cap melts, about four times more carbon than all the carbon emitted by human activity in modern times and twice as much as is present in the atmosphere now will be released into the atmosphere. It is not me who is saying this; it is scientists—American biologists at that. These are prestigious scientists. I can tell you their names: Edward Schuur and Benjamin Abbott. They spoke about this in a comment published Wednesday in the British journal Nature.
    We must shift our current position on climate change. However, all these things I have mentioned pale in comparison to the other effects. The lack of concern demonstrated by the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Environment is also going to hurt our economy and take jobs away from Canadian families. We are currently experiencing economic problems, an economic slowdown. The last thing we want is for the government to kill more jobs.
    In a recent press release, the Leader of the Opposition said that the Conservatives' environmental inaction is tarnishing Canada's reputation and putting Canadian jobs at risk. Our leader of the official opposition said:
    The rest of the world is moving forward with clean energy solutions and, under [the prime minister], Canada is being left behind. That’s bad news for our environment, and it's bad news for Canadian families who will be shut out of high-paying sustainable energy jobs.
    Proof of this can be found in an article written by Louis-Gilles Francoeur that I have here. It was in the weekend edition of Le Devoir under the headline “Canada's climate debt: $19 billion”. It clearly states, “Taxpayers will pay a high price for the failure to comply with the Kyoto protocol.” Who will pay a high price? Taxpayers.
    The Conservatives call themselves the champions of tax cuts, but it will cost taxpayers $19 billion. Someone is going to have to pay this amount at some point. It is not true that if they sit on their hands and wait for climate change to magically stop there will not be a price to pay. This has real costs. It is more profitable to tackle climate change right away and to make revolutionary changes than to wait. The more we wait, the more costly it will be for Canada. Who will pay? Taxpayers. What this means for Conservatives is that, if nothing is done, we can expect tax hikes in future years. It will be their fault because they waited and sat on their hands. Climate change will cost us a fortune if we do nothing.
    In 1997—although that was a while ago, it does not matter because it is still relevant—more than 2,800 eminent North American economists, including 300 Canadians, signed a declaration recognizing that the advantages of measures that reduce harmful emissions far exceed their cost. It is better to tackle the costs than to wait.
    In conclusion, I would like to read a poem inspired by our planet. I wrote it over the weekend and it is called “The most beautiful environmental poetry”.
    

The most beautiful environmental poetry
Is written step by step, and slowly, slowly
Our planet Earth is a gift from above
A gift from above that fills us with love

The most beautiful environmental poetry
Is written step by step, and dances gracefully
It's a planetary dance with rhythm and finesse
Encircling the earth with a silky dress

The most beautiful environmental poetry
Is written step by step, from the depths of the heart
Only dancing hearts will have a part

The most beautiful environmental poetry
Is written step by step, and slowly, slowly
Our planet Earth is a gift from above
A gift from above that fills us with love

  (1740)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, yes, the planet is indeed beautiful.
    I wonder if the member would like to acknowledge that Canada is not responsible for the amount of emissions that are in fact causing a lot of climate change. What about the countries that have the highest percentage of global emissions?
    I would like the member to speak about the countries that are contributing to climate change.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her question. It was a multi-tiered question and I will try to be brief by answering two parts of it.
    I will begin by answering the first question, which she had already asked the hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, about Canada's impact on the rest of the world. In fact, we are one of the 10 worst countries per capita in the world. Earlier, someone said our impact accounted for just 2%, but that is not true. In reality, according to the figures I have here, Canada is one of the world's 10 biggest polluters per capita. Canada needs to stop making excuses and start reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. It is here in black and white on a scientific web site. It is false to say that Canada does not have a major impact on climate change.
    To answer her second question, in which she talks about other countries—and that is an important aspect—we must not forget that we have a debt. For many years, we have been polluting much more than the emerging countries. That is called differentiated responsibility. We have to think about that as well. Those countries are starting to emerge and it is clear that they cannot make the same sacrifices as we do when we have been polluting for decades. We must also respect other countries, emerging countries.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's passion on this subject.
    Science tells us there will be dramatic environmental change owing to climate change with impacts on weather patterns, food production, coastlines, and diseases, among other things.
    Our Arctic is extremely sensitive. We are trying to hold the warming to 2°Celsius; it may be 3° or 3.5°, but in the Arctic the warming will be much greater. This will result in collapsed terrain due to permafrost thaw, which will be ruinous for Arctic infrastructure and human activities. Permafrost thaw is already a reality.
    Could my hon. colleague talk about the impact on our Arctic?

  (1745)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my honourable colleague for her question.
    As I mentioned earlier, we must ensure that the permafrost does not disappear because it contains huge reserves of organic carbon. These are the decayed plants and animals that have accumulated in the soil for millennia. If the permafrost were ever to thaw and disappear, this carbon would be released into our atmosphere. It would represent about four times the amount of current carbon emissions. Therefore, we absolutely must comply with the Kyoto protocol. We made a commitment, we ratified the protocol and we must comply with it. We must be a leader, we must show leadership in the matter of the second phase of the Kyoto protocol.
    The first phase is one thing, but now we must commit to the second phase of the Kyoto protocol. Above all we must not abandon the protocol—just because China is not willing to do its part or because the United States does not want to sign—and go sulk in a corner. Just because one country is shirking its responsibilities does not mean that we have to join the race to the bottom. We must show leadership, prove that we want to be part of the solution and serve as an example. For that reason I ask the Conservatives to vote for our motion this evening.

[English]

Privilege

Telephone Calls to Mount Royal Constituents  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the issue regarding the question of privilege from the member for Mount Royal.
    Last week I explained why the complaint of the hon. member for Mount Royal was not a matter for the House to judge because it falls outside its authority. I will not go through my entire submission again. I believe it speaks for itself. I will briefly summarize.
    First, the resources used here to make these calls were not those of Parliament or the Government of Canada, but those of the Conservative Party. Moreover, the underlying goal of voter ID is an important activity, and those calls were within the bounds of typical political discourse.
    Second, the day-to-day conduct of political parties should not be judged by the House or by its members.
    Third, the hon. member has not explained how he was prevented from doing his job as a member of Parliament, beyond being asked about the issue by constituents and fielding calls on the matter. He has not given examples of how this has prevented his work in this place from being done. I accept that these calls and questions were an irritating and even maddening diversion, but they did not prevent the member from performing his duties, which I think he does well.
    I would nonetheless clarify the content of the voter ID calls and the matter of erroneous information being spread since I spoke last on this issue. The member for Mount Royal said that the Conservative Party of Canada conducted calls into his riding that stated clearly that he had stepped down or was about to. That is false. The reality is that the Conservative Party did not say that the member had stepped down or was about to, only that there were rumours that he might step down.
    The member for Mount Royal has said that he has no problems with a political party conducting voter identification calls. The member also admitted that there had indeed been rumours that he might resign and that there was nothing wrong with saying so.
    In conducting voter identification, the Conservative Party used its traditional voter ID script, with no mention of a byelection. However, when prompted by voters on why they were being solicited or asked for their support, in those instances there was a pre-written response that the callers were to use. I would like to read this prepared response into the record.
    Once the initial voter ID script was read, if a voter asked why the Conservative Party was calling, the caller would say:
    Some people are suggesting that the current MP may retire, so we're calling on behalf of [the Prime Minister] and the Conservative Party of Canada to ask if you would consider supporting the Conservative Party of Canada if there is a byelection.
    It is true that this might raise some questions for the hon. member. However, as he stated, those questions have been floating around for the past 12 years. In no way did the Conservative Party say that he had or would quit, only that he might. The member, however, has stated the Conservative Party went much further. That is the epicentre of this dispute.
    I, for one, would concede that political parties cannot say whatever they want and that there must be some element of truth. Nothing here crossed that line, and although the calls were perhaps tough, they were still acceptable in the day-to-day world of political jockeying.
    I do also want to address a point raised by the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, who compared this matter to one that occurred in 1985. In that instance, a newspaper advertisement suggested that someone other than the sitting member was the member of Parliament. This is not comparable to the dispute before us today, for a simple reason. The newspaper ad caused confusion by stating that the seat in question was held by someone other than the person who held it. On the other hand, the matter before us does not sow confusion by either claiming that there was a different member of Parliament or that the current one had resigned or was about to, only that there were rumours that he might. This is fundamentally different.
    I hope you will find that no prima facie breach of privilege has occurred and agree this language falls within the boundaries of political discourse, or, at the very least, that it is not a matter for the House to adjudicate. I would also add that the hon. member has indicated he will not step down and will serve his whole term. I accept that, as I'm sure his constituents do, which puts the issue to rest.
    The best place for this to be judged is among Canadians, not in the House. Otherwise, I fear you will be called upon to rule on all matters of political activity. Examples are past TV advertisements stating that Conservatives would flood cities with our soldiers or recent billboard ads stating that repealing the long gun registry would result in restricted weapons becoming unrestricted, both of which are false and groundless.
    This is the peril. You are being asked to send the House into territory where it does not belong. I urge you to proceed with caution.

  (1750)  

    The House thanks the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest for his intervention.
    Is the hon. member for Winnipeg North rising on the same point?
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point.
    I find it somewhat surprising that the member from New Brunswick would stand in his place today at ten to six to bring home a point that has been explained at great length. I question it in terms of his motivation for bringing it up.
     The facts do not change. The Prime Minister, who is the leader of the Conservative Party, condoned a polling done in the riding of Mount Royal, thereby giving a clear impression to the constituents in Mount Royal that the member for Mount Royal was going to be resigning.
    Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that it is indeed a privilege. To try to give the impression that it would not interfere with the member's ability to perform his or her duties is just out of this world. I do not understand how you could possibly imagine that it would not affect it. What is hard to believe is that the Prime Minister has not had the courage to stand up and apologize to the member for Mount Royal in recognizing that the behaviour of the Conservative Party was highly irresponsible. If anything, the Prime Minister should be asking Elections Canada to get directly involved and investigate the matter. That is what is necessary.
    I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that you should take the time necessary to protect the rights of each and every member, because if we allow the Prime Minister to get away with this, it could happen to any one of us. I would suggest that you take the time, do the work, and let us rule that whoever it is, whether the Prime Minister or anyone else in this chamber, does not have the right to go into a constituency and say that a member is resigning when we know full well that is—
    Order, please. I do not know that there was anything new there, but we appreciate the intervention. I am sure that we will take these interventions in due course and bring the issue back to the House in good time.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for York South—Weston.

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Climate Change 

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion
    Mr. Speaker, I will bring us back to the matter at hand, which is leadership. What we are talking about here today is leadership, leadership of the Government of Canada in leading not just Canada but the rest of the world in tackling global climate change.
     It used to be called global warming, but people did not like that. It is now called global climate change. I liked global warming, because it gave a real idea of what it meant.
    We are trying to deal with a real phenomenon. It is really happening; it is not a mystery anymore; it is not something that people are imagining, and it is catastrophic. What is about to happen to the planet is something that can be prevented, but for some reason governments all over the world are reluctant to take the leadership role that they need to take to do it.
     Canada has traditionally been a country where leadership on issues of global importance could be counted on. Canada could be counted on to take on the role of being a peacekeeper. In 1939, Canada was counted on before the United States to move into Europe with troops to help defend Britain and the rest of Europe. We did not have to wait for the United States to jump on board before we would do it, but that is what the Conservative government is telling us here today: that we have to wait until the big players jump on board before we do anything about climate change. That is wrong.
    One need only look at where the greenhouse gases come from to understand the enormity of the problem that faces us. Essentially, we could imagine a pie chart divided into fifths. Agriculture is about a fifth of the pie. Industry is about a fifth. Goods transportation is about a fifth. Human transportation is about a fifth. Heating and cooling our dwellings is about a fifth.
    When we look at that pie, we can look at reducing the amount of greenhouse gases each of those sectors contributes or at just shutting one of them down altogether--industry, for example. No, that is not a good idea, because we are an industrial country and we need our industry. What could we shut down, goods transportation? That does not work either. What we would have to do is shrink the amount of greenhouse gas coming out of each of those sectors of our economy.
    The Conservatives have suggested that we are going to do it by reducing by 17% from 2005 levels by 2015, but what really needs to happen, and what world leaders and scientists have agreed on, is that we need to reduce by 80% by 2050.
    Now, looking at that pie, will we shut down four parts of our economy to get to 80%? Are we actually going to close down goods transportation, people transportation, industry and agriculture, leaving only heating and cooling, which is essential to get by? No, of course not.
    However, there needs to be a much bigger response than the one we are getting from the other side of this House to deal with it in such an enormous way. We do not have time to waste while we dither over which country is in or out of this club. That is not what we are about. We are Canadians. We lead the world on issues like this. We do not say, “Well, we are only 2%, so the rest of the world should do this, and we will just continue to put our 2% out.”
    Think of what our kids would say if our attitude was that it was okay to go ahead and litter because what we put on the ground was only 2% of it. That is not what we as adults want to tell our children, and it should not be what we as Canadian leaders tell the rest of the world. Our 2% is actually four or five times greater than it should be, because we are one of the world's largest per capita consumers of fossil fuel energy.
    Why is that? It is not just because we are in a cold country; it is because we do not do anything about our fossil fuel consumption. I will give a real-world example.
    Let us take the transportation sector as one of the four pieces of the pie, and the human transportation sector as one of those four or five pieces of the pie, which I think is low-hanging fruit. It is something we could do something about very easily and quickly. They have done it in Europe.

  (1755)  

    In Switzerland, we discovered, as we were listening to witnesses at our transportation committee, that 80% of the trips taken by the population of Switzerland is in public transit. That is what we should be aiming for. We reduce greenhouse gases by 80% out of one sector of the economy by building a transportation infrastructure system that is convenient, regular and runs like a Swiss watch, which is what happens in Switzerland, so people know they will get from point A to point B in a reasonable period of time and it is competitive to using their own personal vehicle.
    However, we are not doing that. We are building roads. Every province in this country is building roads as fast as they can because cars are the only way people know how to get around.
    As a federal government, we ought to be encouraging the building of public transit. We ought to be using the large arm of the law, as it were, and the large spending capacity that we have as a federal institution to create a public transit infrastructure in this country that would take people out of their cars and into public transit with mechanisms that are electric.
    In a lot of countries, electric generation is done without the use of fossil fuels. It can be replaced quite easily by the use of windmills, photovoltaics and hydro-electric systems that do not consume any hydro carbons and, therefore, do not emit any greenhouse gases.
    Instead, we are encouraging the use of personal vehicles. We are sucking fossil fuels out of the ground as fast as we possibly can. All we can say to a government that is doing that is that, as we expand the sucking of fossil fuels out of the ground, let us do it in a slightly less consumptive way next year. However, that is not the way to solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions on this planet.
    The way to solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions on this planet is to consume dramatically less fossil fuels. It is not a little bit, not 17% over 10 years, but 80% over the next 30 to 40 years. If we were to do that, we could create jobs in the meantime. We can build an industry in Canada, an industrial base that is based on green technologies and the generation of electricity using non-fossil fuel sources. We can build electric vehicles that can transport people in large numbers. Instead, we turn to other countries to build them for us.
    We should be taking leadership. We should be building jobs in this country based on what we know we will need in 40 years. We know we will need more efficient ways of getting the job done. We know we will need more efficient and less consumptive ways of getting around. We know we will need more efficient and less consumptive ways of getting our agriculture done. Since we know all of this, and it is a little way in the future, we should be planning for it. We should be taking steps to create these industries and create an industrial model in Canada that builds jobs around what we know we will need in 40 years.
    Instead, we are told over and over again by the other side of the House that the jobs are in the oil patch. The jobs will be where oil is coming out of the ground. However, if the rest of the world wakes up and realizes that we cannot actually consume that much oil because we would not have a planet to live on anymore, then the jobs will not be in the oil patch. The economies of the world will not demand oil if they decide they are going to create sustainable environments, industries, transportation, agriculture, home heating and cooling, all of which we think we should be working toward consuming fewer fossil fuels.
    We are in a position where we could be leaders in the world. We should not be pointing fingers at other countries in the world telling them that until they lead we will not go here. That is wrong-headed. We should be taking this bull by the horns, creating the jobs, the industry and the technologies that will bring us out of this morass.

  (1800)  

    We should not be investing any more in sucking fuel out of the ground, nor should we be counting on the jobs that would be created to ferry stranded passengers at Vancouver airport when the airport floods. Let us look at the jobs we have, running ferryboats across to Vancouver airport. Those are not the kind of jobs this country needs or wants.

  (1805)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague's remarks with interest, understanding that he is from a Toronto area riding where they may not be quite as familiar with pickup trucks as are my constituents.
     I noted that the member said that about 80% of the trips taken in Switzerland were by public transport. The four Saskatoon area constituencies have a square mileage slightly larger than that of Switzerland, about 10% or 15% larger, with the population of around 300,000.
    Does the hon. member not think that certain comparisons, like the one with Switzerland, is considerably unfair with a country as remote and as rural as Canada that does not have anywhere near the population densities of a country like Switzerland which has seven million people? Does the hon. member not think his analogy was a little inaccurate?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very true that Canada is a much bigger place than Switzerland. However, even the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities appealed to the transportation, infrastructure and communities committee that it needed suburban rural public transit and it does not have it. It relies on private sector bus companies to come by its communities once in a while. The government is not investing in public transit for communities like Saskatoon, for communities in the rural municipalities of Saskatchewan that really could use some investment in public transit and which, I think, understand that public transit is one of the ways we will get out of this mess.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate my hon. colleagues from York South—Weston and Drummond on their excellent speeches in favour of the motion moved by the member for Halifax.
    We have often heard that the municipalities are showing real leadership when it comes to climate change, and the same thing is happening at the provincial level and in small communities.
    Can my colleague explain why it is so important that Canada show real leadership regarding climate change, as our motion states?

[English]