I would like to call this meeting to order.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to meeting 25 of the special Legislative Committee on Bill . We're getting close to the end here, and I appreciate your good work up to this point. Let's keep the same spirit going with this one.
I will have to ask the media to take their leave, if they don't mind.
To kick off, I'll just remind members that we are now at the stood clauses. The committee agreed earlier to stand a number of clauses, many of them substantive. So I would suggest that in taking up the stood clauses we consider the substantive clauses first, and once they're decided, then return to clause 2, the preamble, and clause 3, the interpretation clause.
Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
We are opposed to this clause because it would allow the minister to establish a national advisory committee to study greenhouse gases and CAC regulations. It's also not needed--and I think the officials can support this--because the minister can regulate greenhouse gases and CACs as toxics using the existing advisory committee provisions linked to subsection 93.(1).
Since the committee has already decided, I believe, to delete the government's proposal for parallel greenhouse gases and air pollutant systems in clause 18, with the passage of amendment L-21.1, this amendment is frankly no longer relevant and no longer needed. I think it would make Bill incoherent if it were to go through.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Chair, perhaps I could just start at the beginning and explain the initial rationale for the amendment to in clause 5. It is indeed as all three members who have spoken have emphasized.
To make explicit the desire that the test for equivalency be an effects-based test, CEPA, since 1988, has had an equivalency agreement authority in it. Since 1988, the federal government has only entered into one equivalency agreement with provinces and territories. We believe the rationale for that is at least twofold.
One reason is that, quite frankly, there has not been a lot of overlap and duplication, and therefore not a lot of need for equivalency yet. However, once we enter into the realm of air regulation and greenhouse gas regulation, we are certain to be into a world of potential overlap and duplication. So we see that dynamic changing.
The second reason we have not had a lot of interest in equivalency agreements—and this is told to us by the provinces—is that they perceive, or at least some of them perceive, the test that is in CEPA now to be a form-based test. In other words, they read the test to mean that they need a regulation where we have a regulation. Of course, in the world of air pollution, most provinces don't regulate air pollution by means of regulation. They have statutory authority to issue permits, licences, certificates of approval, into which they impose conditions on air emissions. So if you don't have a regulation and the test says you need a regulation, then no matter how stringent your rules are, you can't qualify. It's our view that the existing test doesn't actually require provincial regulations. Nonetheless, that's the perception. So what we tried to do in is clarify that we're looking for equivalent outcomes or equivalent effects. That's what Bill C-30 does.
I read the government's amendment, as Mr. McGuinty and Mr. Cullen are also reading it, as an attempt to clarify what we mean by “effects” and an attempt to clarify that we're looking for equal or better for the environment or human health. So I think we're all on the same page in terms of the objective.
Mr. McGuinty asked about some of the wording here. In the wording in in proposed section 10, the test is that “the Ministers and the government agree” that there are provisions, “the effects of which are equivalent”. So whereas this says “the effects of which will demonstrably provide”, “demonstrably provide” is a legal term of art that establishes a much higher test than “the Ministers...agree”. As Mr. McGuinty has suggested, that would make any decision to enter into an equivalency agreement much more open to judicial review, and once being judicially reviewed, a judge would have more rights to dig into the rationale for the agreement. If the legal test is one of essentially ministerial discretion, the courts tend to pay a good deal of respect and give the minister a good deal of leeway.
Once you start establishing a test like “demonstrably provide”, and “quantifiable effects”, then you're inviting a court to dig into the rationale for the agreement. So yes, I think it's our view that this would open an agreement to more judicial review. It's clearly up to you to decide whether that's what you want or not.
You also asked, Mr. McGuinty, about the test of “quantifiable effects”. I think there's a little vagueness here, because it's not clear on what—the quantifiable effects of the regulation on what? Is it on the regulatee, or on the ultimate objective, the environment or health? So that is something that is vague at the moment.
Frankly, I'm not sure what the final clause means. On what we're getting at here, when we have policies on how we will look at equivalency, we want to know the likelihood that a rule will be complied with, not just that you have it on the books.
The example I've given many people is that some time ago--as anybody knows who has driven in the United States--the U.S. passed a law that the speed limit would be 55 miles an hour on all highways. Some of the northwestern states are major thoroughfares for truckers, and at least one of them said, “Fine, you're telling me I need to have 55 miles an hour on my highway. I'll do that, but the fine will be $10.” So they meet the test, they have the law, but they're not going to enforce it.
We would want to know that the province not only has a law on the books, but will enforce it. I'm not sure this test puts that criterion into law effectively. At any rate, in the department to date we've chosen to leave that as something we will look at as a matter of policy, rather than trying to codify it.
I believe that's the intention here--to get at that issue of likelihood of compliance. If it is, there may be a way to clarify that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It is good of Mr. Moffet that he give us a little bit of the history of equivalency, because that is at the very heart of the debate today. The reality is that the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, as they are presently drafted, have not convinced the majority of provinces to sign equivalency agreements. Perhaps I am mistaken — you did not mention this —, but to date, Alberta is the only one to have signed an equivalency agreement with the federal government. What is fundamental in this, is that you must take into account systems that are sometimes, and even very often, different in the provinces. Without being a brake, this is a reality that prevents the enforcement of the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act that provide for regulatory equivalency. These differences between systems make it difficult to establish equivalency agreements.
When we read the changes with regard to equivalency outlined in Bill , at the outset we wondered if we were on the right track. This allows, precisely, for not enforcing rules that would be directly imposed and copied in a province. This will not necessarily deliver the results you might expect under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. At the same time, we are aware of the fact that environmental groups want to see results and there was perhaps some fuzziness with regard to these simple effects related to equivalency. This is why we believe that even more benchmarks should be established. This was not our original position, but we wound up rallying to the idea that it is indeed necessary to better define this equivalency based upon the effects, taking into account the results, and that these results should also be quantifiable. In our view, tying the equivalency of effects to the fact that they must be quantifiable is a step in the right direction and gives us more flexibility. It is also a way of ensuring that equivalency will not apply without some guarantee of concrete results on the part of the provinces. I believe that this is the spirit of the amendment brought forward by the government and, it is to my mind a good compromise between the two schools of thought.
When we look at what exists right now on the books in CEPA, as Mr. Bigras has pointed out, subsection 10(3) says: “subject to subsections (4), (5) and (6), where the Minister and a government agree in writing that there are in force by or under the laws applicable”. The language that exists right now on equivalency in CEPA, as has been said, is not that strong.
On Mr. McGuinty's question about quantifiable effect, when we're talking about greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, we think that can pass a pretty clear test--the quantifiable effect of the government trying to lower greenhouse gas emissions across an industrial sector. A province can understand the quantifiable effect of so many tonnes of greenhouse gas emission reductions, quantify that back, and try to meet an equivalent law or regulation at the provincial level.
We think the language goes a long way toward actually tightening up what's available for provinces and the federal government to agree upon, which is the thing we're trying to get done. We've seen provinces go ahead with their own so-called Kyoto or climate change plans, and the question is how they dovetail into what the federal government might be trying to do. It's an important question, because we do not need to be duplicating efforts. We don't have enough effort as it is. We definitely don't need to be running over top of each other.
We're comfortable with the language. It may not yet be perfect, but it's definitely an evolution from what we have right now. We think it deserves support and we should call the vote.
Sure. I have a question for Mr. Moffet.
The challenge is to be able to measure these effects in a way we can all agree about. If we simply refer to the idea that in the opinion of the ministers it's equivalent or superior, how the heck do you prove that? In other words, it seems like a fairly open door to any kind of negotiation at all.
We need to have some test or quantifiable way of seeing how these effects really are equivalent, and that we're not just trying to buy peace in the valley by signing some deal with folks.
Is there a way we can reduce that apparent element of subjectivity by the ministers so there's some kind of reassurance that what we're trying to get at here, this quantifiable business...? Is there alternative wording that takes us to that place but doesn't leave it entirely to the ministers--something that overcomes your own objections, so to speak?
I want to try to be careful. I'm not posing objections. I'm trying to identify implications of the language that may be positive or negative, depending on your view. I'm not taking a position on this.
I commented on three phrases. One is “demonstrably provide”. That is a different legal test. So there's that issue.
The second issue is “quantifiable effects of the regulation”. The main challenge there, in my view, is that it doesn't say on what, whereas the clause starts out saying the effects would provide an equal or superior level of protection in the environment and human health. I think if that's the objective, then you would want to say “the quantifiable effects on the environment and human health of the regulation”. Do you see what I mean? You could interpret it, and you could have a big debate about what the effects are on.
Again, presumably we want to focus on the outcome, as opposed to procedures, reports, or whatever. If you're looking for suggested language to clarify while staying within the intent, I think that would give my colleagues and me some comfort in terms of our ability to interpret this.
The third concern I had was the final clause. I'm not sure I can give you a suggestion there. However, I would like to close with two other points.
First, I think that government has a second amendment. I'm not sure if they're going to move it, but G-6 would say that the agreement shall establish a manner of determining whether the terms and conditions are being fully met. In other words, this would require that each agreement have written into it a customized way of determining, of doing that very measurement. At the moment there is no such obligation on the drafters of the agreement.
In fact, the current agreement does have this, but there's no obligation for us to have that. This would recognize the fact that each agreement is going to be customized and one is going to address pulp and paper effluent, and another is going to address GHG regulations. The way we measure and the kinds of outcomes we're looking at are completely different. This would require that you have that test in the agreement itself.
The second point is that there is an amendment, a further provision--
From what I understand, an equivalency agreement has been signed with Alberta, but it does not at the moment contain any mechanism for compliance verification. My understanding was that you wanted such a mechanism to be included in equivalency agreements, so as to ensure that the commitments on the part of the provinces, as well as on the part of the federal government be respected. Is that the case?
Furthermore, I would like to know what means the federal government has as its disposal to end an equivalency agreement and based upon what criteria it can do so. In the context of our BQ-6 amendment, we suggested several days ago that the written equivalency notice provided for in subsection (1) be revoked with three months' written notice by an independent organization. This was the organization we wanted to establish.
In the end, it would be the Green Investment Bank of Canada, by virtue of what was passed in the context of the Liberal amendments, which would now be responsible for determining if the agreement is consistent or not, or perhaps even if it should end. Did we not decide to charge this independent organization that we have created with carrying out this evaluation? These conformity mechanisms now come under it, do they not?
I'm happy to respond to both of those questions.
First of all, I do not want you to walk away thinking there is no basis for measuring equivalency under the current agreement. The point is that there is. The current agreement covers four regulations: pulp and paper effluent regulations, pulp and paper defoamer and wood chip regulations, secondary lead smelter regulations, and vinyl chloride release.
There's an annual report prepared jointly by the federal government and Alberta looking at the performance under the Alberta regulations, and this is being addressed.
The point I was trying to make is that the law, the statute, does not require it. To date you've left it to the good judgment of the officials. This would require us to do the right thing. We have done so, but this would require us to do it if you adopt the amendment. That's the first point.
Your second question was about the basis for terminating the agreement. On the amendments in , not new amendments but the Bill C-30 provision, clause 5 that amends section 10 of CEPA includes subsection 10(8), which states that
||An agreement made under subsection (3) terminates at the time that is specified in the agreement or by either party giving the other at least three months’ notice.
If the federal government decides that the province is no longer enforcing its rules or has changed its rules, the federal government could terminate the agreement. In addition, the federal government in an urgent situation could always issue an interim order under CEPA to address an urgent issue.
Finally, under amendment G-5, the agreement would have to establish the manner of determining whether or not the agreement is being met, and it could include the establishment of a dispute resolution mechanism. I again think amendment G-5 would address a number of the concerns committee members have raised this morning.
I want to thank Mr. Moffet for his explanation. Just to recap, I understood that in the existing equivalency agreement with Alberta, for example, there was discretion vested in the officials to make sure there was compliance, that there was some method of evaluating whether or not the equivalency agreement actually had the effect it was intended to have. Is that right, Mr. Moffet?
But now what we're talking about is trying to close, in a sense, a small loophole, which is to take away the discretion of the officials to decide how they would evaluate, yes or no, whether the same effect is occurring. We want to build into the agreement itself a method of determining whether or not the terms and conditions of the overall agreement are being fully met. Do I understand that correctly?
We've all had a chance to discuss this, and I'd like to put a friendly amendment forward. It would be important for Mr. Moffet to hear this, and staff as well.
I am working on amendment G-4: “That Bill C-30, in clause 5, be amended by replacing lines 4 to 5 on page 4 with the following...”. Does everyone have that?
Going to the third line, which begins with “amongst other factors, the quantifiable effects of the regulation”, we would insert, after “regulation”, “on the environment and human health”.
I'll repeat that. At the third line down, it would read: “amongst other factors, the quantifiable effects of the regulation on the environment and human health” and would continue with “and the effective enforcement”.
Right now, under CEPA, the section under termination—this is about timelines—it says right now, “ An agreement made under subsection (3) terminates five years after the date on which it comes into force or may be terminated earlier by either party...”. And this is giving the notice that we've already been through in discussion.
The new part of Bill C-30, which we wish to delete, gives it this open-ended timeline, that it could be never terminated, and we think the way CEPA is originally crafted is stronger because it puts this timeline.
Of course, parties can agree to extend if it's working to mutual benefit, but it just doesn't make sense to us to have an indefinite period of time for termination. CEPA is much stronger the way it was.
Two comments. First, I think I explained two of the reasons why the provinces, we understand, have been reluctant to enter into negotiations for equivalency agreements--namely, the lack of significant overlap and concern about the test. Another issue that has arisen is the mandatory five-year timeline in the act. As Mr. Cullen has indicated, some agreements....
The appropriate length of time for an agreement, I think we've concluded, would vary. In some cases, one might want them to be open-ended. In other cases, one might want them to be tied to existing federal-provincial arrangements, such as the Canada-wide standards regime established in 2000.
With a mandatory five-year limit in the statute, there's no way of matching some other regime that has a different time limit. There's also an obligation to renew agreements. One always runs the risk that an agreement might not be renewed, for whatever reason, at the appropriate time. Then there might be legal...I can't think of the right term; there might be an actual absence of regulations if the agreement isn't renewed at the appropriate time.
So the intention in Bill was absolutely to have a clear timeframe for an agreement, but to recognize also that the timeframe may differ from agreement to agreement, and that therefore the statute shouldn't stipulate the timeframe. That's the rationale for Bill C-30 the way it is now, for removing the five years.
I would also point out, respectfully, a technical problem with the amendment that's put forward. It would remove proposed subsection 10(8) in Bill , but it actually would not reintroduce the mandatory five-year termination. So now, with this amendment, you would have a statute that says absolutely nothing about the termination of agreements.
In the bill as written, if you go back to the beginning of clause 5, you're replacing subsections 10(1) to (9) of the act, including subsection 10(8), which is the five-year termination. So then you wouldn't have anything; the result would be nothing about termination of agreements.
So if you want this, you need to change your amendment.
I've provided you with the rationale for the Bill C-30 provision. I'd be happy to answer any other questions on it.
There are many reasons why provinces haven't established equivalency agreements with the feds. The fear of this five-year termination point.... Agreements get renegotiated all the time, extensions, if you will. I think what we're trying to establish here is that in the bad cases, when circumstances have changed, you want a trigger at the end that gives the federal government an easy way to say that conditions, technology, international agreements have changed, and we are entering into a new agreement. If the agreement is perfect and fine, and both parties are happy with it, an extension of that agreement for another five years is completely in order.
But I think it might mischaracterize the situation a little bit to say that the reason that there's only one equivalency agreement on this, between Alberta and the feds, and there have been no others, is because the provinces are worried about this five-year window that comes when the agreement might be terminated. If they seek to extend, and parties are happy, they'll extend a perfectly good agreement. I want us to be careful. The original drafters of CEPA, brought in in 1998, envisioned this as a positive step, not as a detriment to people entering into equivalency agreements.
Again, on the issues we're talking about, things change, and it seems foolhardy to have built into our act here something open-ended in terms of the time specified in the agreement, potentially forever. That just doesn't make sense in the world we live in.
I support the proposed original amendment for a couple of reasons.
First, in the light of what we've just done to tighten up the equivalency agreements, we've just said we're going to have the quantifiable effects of regulation on human health and the environment; so we've already said that we're going to be measuring that, that they're quite high standards. It seems to me you've also got the safety valve that with three months' notice, at any point, if it's not going well, you can end the agreement. If something is working well, why would you not have an open-ended agreement, given those constraints, the ones we've just put in plus the fact that you can get out if it's not working for you? It seems to me a kind of artificial exercise to say every five years we've got to end this thing. Why fix it if it ain't broke would be my view.
I think we would support the original proposal under Bill
Yes, this is about the principle of substitution. This is obviously a clause we stood earlier, because there were some language concerns around the table.
The principle of substitution, if committee members will recall, is in a sense a higher order of effort on behalf of policy-makers and government. What it does is call upon the government to do a substitution analysis of some of the pollution we're talking about.
The reason I refer to this as a higher order is because the second order is that you start to talk about limits or caps or mitigation--mitigation being the last one--once the pollution is made and once people are sick or once the climate has heated up, depending on which topic you're talking about.
What substitution calls on the government to do is ensure that there is some substitution considered for the pollutant in the first place: are there other industrial applications that can be used?
We've seen the successful use in some U.S. jurisdictions. It is being brought in as one of the principles in Europe under the REACH regulation that you always, as the first order, assess if there is something else that can be used in the industrial application. Therefore the pollution is not made, therefore you don't have to limit it, and therefore there is no mitigation concept. It's the ounce of prevention versus pound of cure concept.
We stood this clause earlier. We allowed some language to be worked on, but we soundly believe in the principle. This is the most cost-effective way to go about doing things, both in the public and private sectors, because you just don't make the pollution in the first place. You don't cause the negative effects, you don't limit production, and you don't have to deal with the health or environmental consequences of pollution being emitted, because you just don't emit it.
It's something--and as a small part, I have a private member's bill, and there are other ones in the House right now--we probably haven't led the field on as a country, and we need to.
I seek perhaps a friendly amendment around the table that could clarify some of the language concerns, and we can move on.
I do have a friendly amendment that I'd like to present to the mover, Mr. Cullen.
I think you've expressed the concern about the relevance of the amendment, so I believe what's being proposed here as a friendly amendment will narrow that scope and make the amendment relevant to the bill.
That friendly amendment is to remove proposed paragraph 68.1(1)(a); (b) would stay, and immediately after (b) it would read, “which have not been identified for the assessment under section 74”. Proposed paragraph (c) would read as follows: “substances of concern identified”, and then everything after “identified” would be removed and replaced by adding “by the Minister”. So proposed paragraph 68.1(1)(c) would read, “substances of concern identified by the Minister”. Is that clear?
So (a) would be removed, (b) would stay, and we would be inserting what I just read--“which have not been identified for the assessment under section 74”. Then (c) would be modified. Is that clear?
It absolutely does create a new list of substances or a new class of substances. It gives the minister authority over a number of substances that have not been identified, have not been categorized as a result of the section 73 categorization, will not be subject to a section 74 screening assessment, and are not on the list of toxic substances, schedule 1 of CEPA. This does identify a number of new substances, and I can explain how.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has a number of lists. Taken in totality, there are about 414 substances on their list. For most of those substances, the pathway by which they work is not through the air, so most of them are not air pollutants. That's one issue in terms of the relevance to air pollution.
There is a second way in which they create a new list. I need to give you a bit of context on how the categorization process worked.
The categorization process looked at the 23,000 or so substances that were in commercial use in Canada, including most of the substances on the IARC list. In addition, in any event, the Department of Health also looked at the entire IARC list, took the results and identified about 4,000 substances for screening assessments under section 74.
Those substances include a number of IARC substances, and they would be excluded from this as a result of the friendly amendment. But they don't include all IARC substances. The reason for that is that we excluded those IARC substances for which we believe there is no potential for exposure in Canada. Health Canada has done the preliminary exposure analysis, and if there's no potential for exposure, we've determined not to do further assessment on those. We have limited assessment resources, so we're going to focus on those that are used and exposed in Canada. This would require the minister to take some action with respect to that broader list, notwithstanding the fact that we've narrowed it somewhat.
There is much evidence to show that the concept of substitution is one of the highest orders of pollution prevention you can do. The number of substances we're talking about with the government's current friendly amendment is to remove schedule 1 substances, is to look at IRARC, which has, as Mr. Moffet said, 415 on the list, only some of which are airborne, and then it's up to the discretion of the minister as to which other ones come beyond that. We're not talking about going through a substitution analysis of some 23,000 chemicals.
If it's a resource question, we've identified through the literature and our understanding that substitution is one of the better ways to go to prevent pollution in the first place, and my goodness, the excuse of resources simply cannot be applied in this case. We don't have the money to do it, but what we're going to do is go out and spend more money on health care, on fixing people's asthma and respiratory illnesses caused by pollution, which we could have prevented by substituting in the first place. That's the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard.
So let's be clear. We have severely limited the scope of this initial amendment to allow Canada to start to do this in an intelligent way. Clearly the logic bears out that this is a good expenditure of moneys and this is not an extensive list and does not create any new bureaucratic mess for the government. It's the courage of our conviction, folks. Let's just get on with this.
On that last comment on government willingness and resources, we've just gone through this act and fundamentally reassessed some of the priorities that we believe government should be enacting--the equivalency agreements, the hot zone designation within Canada, retrofit programs, hard caps on emitters.
My goodness, if we believe this is a good thing, and government is saying they believe it's a good thing, then clearly in the opposition ranks we can also see it as a good thing, and not for the want of some potentially less than 400 chemicals and the assessment of looking for substitutions that would be better and that industry could actually apply and not make the pollution in the first place. It just seems incredible that the argument is being posed.
I again encourage committee members to seek some courage on this, to know that substitution is one of the highest orders of pollution prevention we have available to us and that we haven't been doing it to this point. Let's get on with it.
When we changed certain parts of the Clean Air Act as it was, we eliminated some sections that we found problematic. There is one section, though, that we felt could be brought back, because what it did was it allowed the minister to report on the monitoring of substances. This is the connection between health and the environment that many people have spoken about, but this is a practical application. So you'll see in NDP-16.1--this was deleted out of clause 18--that we are, in a sense, reintroducing the one aspect that we thought was positive out of this.
I believe committee members all have NDP-16.1, but I'll read it.
||(3) Subsection 93(1) of the Act is amended by striking out the word “and” at the end of paragraph (x) and by adding the following after paragraph (x):
||(x.1) the monitoring of the substance and the reporting to either Minister of the effects on the environment and human health from releases into the air of the substances; and
This is the reporting back to Canadians by the minister of substances that are being released that are known to have effects on human health. This was something that the government suggested in their original act. We thought that one part was actually quite progressive. It got deleted just because of the way the committee went through the process, but we want to introduce it back. This will go into section 93.(1) of CEPA, which is a section of CEPA that has a whole lot of powers that are given to the minister, so it makes sense in the way that it fits.
We look for support from other committee members.
I appreciate all the members' support for this. This actually goes in the regulatory authority. So it's not authority for the minister to report; it's authority for the minister to require people, subject to regulations, to report. We believe it's very important.
I would request that the members consider one small suggestion, and that is, that this text is taken straight from part 5.1, which was exclusively focused on air and GHGs, and therefore the last words say “releases into the air of the substances”. Now that this is in part 5, which are toxic substances more generally, I wonder if members would consider changing it to “into the environment and air”, or maybe just “into the environment”, because we would like to be able to use this authority more broadly than just for air emissions.
Let me just get the appropriate wording, Mr. Chair.
There is a small revision to the numbering, to make sure that it is consistent with changes that have been made. The slight difference should read as follows, in the numbers below, after the word “following:”, “subsection 93(1), 103.05(2)”, and here we would change “103.07(6)” to “103.07(2)(b)”.
Would you like to see text on that, Mr. Jean?
My understanding of the two additional clauses that have been added are that proposed subsection 103.05(2), which is the authority regarding the setting of sectoral carbon budgets for LIEs, and proposed paragraph 103.07(2)(b), which is about the air emissions standards.... Both of these additions make sense to me, given that this authority is intended to be as generally applicable as possible to allow for some forms of administrative discrimination.
I would note, however, that there are at least three other regulatory authorities that have been created by the amendments passed in the last couple of days to which this authority could also be extended, should the members choose. Those include proposed section 94.1, which was the emissions trading regulatory authority in amendment L-20; proposed subsection 103.02(4), which was the authority to set national, sectoral and individual carbon budgets introduced under amendment L-21.1; and proposed subsection 103.02(5), which again was in amendment L-21.1, in regard to regulating the setting of individual carbon deficits.
Should the members choose, this authority could be extended to those, in my view.
There are two parts to this, new proposed subsection 330(3.1) and new proposed subsection 330(3.2). The first part, (3.1), reverts word for word to what's in CEPA now in terms of the authority to establish regulations that set different standards within different geographic parts of Canada, based on health and environmental considerations.
The rationale is that, as discussed in previous committees, in order to achieve consistent environmental or health quality across Canada, it may be appropriate to set different emissions standards or other regulations.
As an example, air quality in the Toronto-Windsor corridor is worse than air quality in the Yukon. So it may be appropriate--this doesn't require anything, but it may be appropriate--that an emitter in the Toronto-Windsor corridor be subject to a more stringent emission regulation than the same emitter in the Yukon in order to achieve the same outcome of environmental or health quality.
This amendment wouldn't change that at all; same wording, as I read it.
New proposed subsection 330(3.2) is a slight modification to the provisions in , going beyond the current authority to establish geographically differentiated regulations and allowing the government to differentiate among regulatees on other grounds, including, for example, the age of a facility.
As an example, it may be appropriate--again, not necessary, but may be appropriate--to say in a regulation that a new electricity generating plant shall be subject to standard A, whereas an existing electricity generating plant should be subject to a slightly less rigid standard, and be given x number of years to come up to the more stringent standard. That would simply be recognizing the economic reality that some of the investments required to improve air quality may be significant.
Again, there's no requirement to have that type of differentiation; it simply would authorize that type of differentiation. And CEPA does not currently authorize that type of regulation. That didn't cause us a problem when we were regulating, over the past 15 years, emissions of toxic substances. Now that we're entering the world of regulating criteria air contaminants in greenhouse gases, which in many cases involves regulating basic combustion processes, we're talking about affecting major pieces of capital equipment. Again, it may be appropriate to have some differentiation based on things like age or technology.
So that's the rationale for the provision. The Liberal provision is simply a corrective to make sure that this new authority lines up with the new regulatory provisions that have been created as a result of the amendments passed in the previous couple of days.
That's my explanation of what's going on.
I would beg your indulgence, Mr. Chair, and point out three technical problems, simply drafting problems.
First, I believe the reference to subsection “94(1)” should be “94.1(1)”.
Second, halfway down the page, you refer to “in the opinion of the Governor in Council”. Some of the regulatory authority that has been established would be ministerial regulatory authority. Thus, it should say “in the opinion of the Governor in Council or ministers, as the case may be”.
Finally, to be consistent with the first line, which says “A regulation or instrument”, the fifth-last line should say “For the making of a regulation or instrument”.
Those corrections are just for consistency. They wouldn't substantively change anything.
As much as the last clause that obviously mirrors this and that passed a couple of days ago when the Liberals put it forward, this again troubles me very much. I would like more certainty.
As most people know here, when courts interpret this later on--which I'm certain, based upon the amendments I've seen come forward from the Liberals and the NDP, they will--they will have many challenges. I would like what they mean by “persons” to be on the record for judges who interpret this in the future. Does it mean a person, depending on whether they're a Liberal or 63 years old or 22 years old, can have a different requirement? What is “works”? What is an “undertaking” or “activities”? I understand generally what you're trying to do, but I would like to have more certainty as to what you are suggesting would come forward on this. It just says, “may distinguish”.
I can't tell you what will happen or would happen. We've never used this authority. Whether we ever will, I have no idea. That will be determined by the government of the day.
This provides the authority to make that discrimination, provided we meet the test of ensuring consistent and common environmental and health outcomes. We can't use it willy-nilly. We would have to use it only if justified for the purpose of achieving a common outcome.
Again, the air quality, the Toronto-Windsor corridor--we're trying to achieve the same quality of air everywhere. If the air quality is worse in one place, it may make sense to have different emissions standards for the people in that area, with the objective of ensuring that the people in that area have the same air quality as the people in the Yukon and northern Saskatchewan. The outcome has to be the same.
Mr. Chair, the reason we always delay on the presentation of preamble is to reflect accurately, in describing what we're doing here, the changes that have been made. That's why we're now reverting to the preamble: to try to capture what we've been doing here. What L-3.1 does is pick up on points that the various parties have made, and it attempts to consolidate that in a coherent preamble.
The first item that is added reflects the Liberal proposal on having a national carbon budget.
The second paragraph actually uses the language of the government itself in the original preamble to , recognizing “that air pollutants and greenhouse gases constitute a risk to the environment and its biological diversity and to human health...”.
The third paragraph is a direct reference to concerns of the Bloc:
|| Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that air pollution and greenhouse gases are matters within the jurisdiction of both the Government of Canada and governments of the provinces;
The fourth, fifth, and sixth paragraphs reflect the united concern of the three opposition parties—actually, I would say the united concern of all parties—both with the phenomenon of climate change and its risk to humanity and to Canada, while recognizing as well the duty of a country like Canada to take responsibility, given that it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and that we are experiencing severe effects of climate change already in the Arctic. I think all of us would agree to that.
The sixth paragraph is a specific reference that brings together at least the three opposition parties in their commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; the Kyoto Protocol, which was ratified by Parliament in a majority vote; and the recognition that when Canada undertakes international obligations, it must do its best to meet them, with reference specifically to the 2008-2012 first Kyoto period and a reiteration of the commitment we made to getting to 6% below 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels.
Then, under subclause (2), the eighth paragraph, which is a particular reference to a concern of the NDP, as reflected earlier in our conversations, it's the principle of substitution, which they have made a particular cause of theirs, I think.
So what you have here, Chair, is an amalgam of various points of view raised around the table. We think it accurately reflects the changes we have actually finished making.
Very briefly, first of all, we need to recognize the importance of a preamble and that it's only guidance for governments looking at the act and for Canadians reading it.
This basically says air pollution and greenhouse gases are a risk, Canada recognizes the jurisdictions of provinces and the federal government, and climate change constitutes a serious threat. I'm reading the things we all agreed to, all four parties.
There's a responsibility to act, again with the agreement of all four parties. We are in the UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and we are signatories to Kyoto, still with agreement around the table. Lastly, the concept of substitution and the highest order of pollution prevention are in this, which we again agreed to unanimously.
We will be supporting this preamble, and we encourage other members to do so with haste.
As we debated yesterday, on the preamble for the motor vehicle fuel consumption standards, a preamble needs to be balanced. It needs to describe an ambitious undertaking, and it needs to be possible and realistic. It is to provide clear guidance on what the government should be doing.
I'd like to go through this.
The first whereas is “Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to having a national carbon budget”. Mr. Chair, what's being proposed is a major change in focus from what the original Clean Air Act was proposing, focusing on clean air quality, cleaning up pollution, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the health of Canada and the health of the planet.
What's being proposed in this preamble is a carbon tax. The carbon tax gives a very clear direction that there's a national carbon budget, which would require billions of dollars from new taxes on Canadians. We heard a few weeks ago that the Liberal government was....
I hear snoring over there, Mr. Chair.
Chair, this government has made it very clear that we have two choices, two directions in which we can head to clean up the environment, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—that is, to slow down the economy; or through technology created right here in Canada, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, through technologies like carbon capture and storage.
What was being proposed previously by the Liberal Party was carbon taxing, and as I started to say, there was praise from the Liberals to provide a new $100-billion carbon tax on Canadians and industry. Also, their proposal was to have billions of dollars leave Canada to buy carbon credits, hot air credits.
To build the technology, as I said previously, we either slow down the economy, which we're opposed to.... We need to have a healthy balance, a healthy economy and a healthy environment.
What they're proposing is this billions of dollars of tax, and having then, in turn, billions of dollars leaving Canada to buy these hot air credits. In a preamble sharing where the government needs to go in a clear, balanced approach, that does not achieve that. That's not what Canadians want. Having billions of dollars of investment leaving Canada definitely will not help the environment in Canada and it will not help build that technology that's needed. It will not help, ultimately, the issue of climate change.
The second “whereas”:
||Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that air pollutants and greenhouse gases constitute a risk to the environment and its biological diversity and to human health, and are matters of national and international concern which cannot be contained within geographic boundaries;
I wouldn't have difficulty with that, but what we've seen over this week particularly, the hours and hours that have been spent in removing the issue of how to clean up air pollution to improve air quality, both indoor and outdoor, what we've seen with the changes, the amendments that have come from the Liberal Party, is basically to gut out any mention of air pollution and indoor and outdoor air quality.
The preamble needs to represent what is being proposed in the bill. That is a good preamble, a good part of the preamble, but to have, now, the bill gutted and have the tools to deal with air quality, indoor and outdoor, taken out of it doesn't seem to be logical. It should be in there, and unfortunately it was taken out.
||Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that climate change constitutes one of the most serious threats to humanity and to Canada, and poses major risks not only to the environment and the economy, but above all to the health and safety of all people;
I don't have problems with that. Climate change is an issue that, as the Government of Canada, we need to recognize and we need to work hard to achieve reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
I'd like to skip to the last “whereas” under subclause 2(1):
||Whereas the Government of Canada signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which entered into force in 1994, and Parliament ratified in 2002 by majority vote in the House of Commons and the Senate the Kyoto Protocol which entered into force in 2005 and under which Canada must honour its obligation to reduce its average annual greenhouse gas emissions during the period from 2008 to 2012 to six percent below their level in 1990;
Mr. Chair, it's ironic that this L-3.1 comes from the Liberals. In 1994, when this came into force, Canada had a Liberal government. When they had an opportunity to do something to clean up the air they didn't. Greenhouse gas emissions under their leadership increased 35% above those Kyoto targets. So this “whereas” is insinuating that we're starting in a healthy position. Again, a preamble has to be realistic. It has to take us in an ambitious direction but also a realistic direction.
At 35% above target, the Liberals, after failing miserably on cleaning up the environment, are now saying we want the Government of Canada to clean up the mess that we left. We are already working hard.
I mean no disrespect to the parliamentary secretary. We have a fixed timeline, I believe, of returning this bill. I can see by the government's actions now that they are choosing to filibuster this process and delay. Specifically, the point of order I raise is that the parliamentary secretary has chosen to go back and rehash debates that this committee has already had, and talk about votes that have already been passed and accepted into this bill. The preamble's purpose is to reflect what's gone on in the bill. The parliamentary secretary would like to debate the veracity of our climate change agreements internationally, the various aspects of this legislation that we've already passed as a committee, some of which was with the government's support as well.
I respectfully submit that we are on the point of a preamble that is to reflect the aspects of the bill, not to continue a debate that has already been finished and voted on. It is not in order to go back and rehash old debates. If the government is choosing to filibuster its own bill, delay it, I would suggest to them that this bill by its own timeline is to be delivered back to the House of Commons today, or tomorrow morning, to finish our committee work. We either finish this committee work now as we go through and you just accept defeat on the things you've lost, and accept the fact that there are things in this bill that you voted for.... That's how this Parliament works when it's in a minority situation. And we should get on with it, finish the preamble, name the bill, and with confidence and pride return it back to the House as a working document from this committee, which has worked hard. The returning back over old debates is unproductive, unnecessary, and in everyone's estimation represents the process of filibustering. It's beyond me why the government would choose to do so.
Thank you, Chair, I appreciate that.
As Mr. Cullen knows, I have not spent a lot of time talking. I've listened carefully.
I thank you, Mr. Jean, for very clearly finding some errors to this point.
We've tried to create a bill that will deal with the issues of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution levels in Canada. Members have seen fit to dramatically change Bill as it was originally presented. But we still have continued in a spirt of being willing to work with all members of this committee, with the ultimate goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in Canada.
Chair, speaking to the preamble in Bill , the preamble reads as follows:
|| Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that air pollutants and greenhouse gases constitute a risk to the environment and its biological diversity and to human health, and are matters of national and international concern which cannot be contained within geographic boundaries;
Mr. Chair, that's a good preamble. It shares the direction in which Canada needs to go. We need to have a preamble that's realistic, balanced, and clearly takes us in a direction.
We clearly need to have a preamble that's realistic. As I said originally, the national carbon budget takes us in the direction of tax, tax, tax, and sending billions of dollars out of Canada. That's not what Canadians want. They want action here, and that's what they're getting from this government.
They also want realistic targets based on a healthy environment and a healthy economy. The last “whereas” is.... From the science we've heard around this table, what's being proposed is not realistic. It would not be good for the economy. We need to have a balance of both.
Those are my comments. I do not support what's being proposed by the Liberals.
First let me start for a moment by reminding Mr. Cullen that debate is our privilege as MPs. If perhaps some day he finds himself on the short end of a majority government, he'll be fighting very fiercely for his privilege to debate as much as he would like to or as much as his constituents would like him to be able to debate. I think it's an important point for everyone around the table to understand.
Mr. Chair, the preamble's important, of course, because it establishes what the Government of Canada is committed to or what the Government of Canada does.
I think it's important to be reminded that, as a point of law, the members opposite are the opposition, not the Government of Canada. Our debate on the specifics of each of these preamble statements is in fact very important. They are attempts to put words in the mouth of the Government of Canada.
The Government of Canada, as far as I can tell, is not committed to a national carbon budget. We don't want a carbon tax. The largest tax on corporations is not the proper direction in which to go.
Mr. Chair, I want to start with something else, before I get into the specifics of this.
We've reached a stage here, as we talk about Canada honouring its obligation to meet the Kyoto target and the timeline. When the Liberals were the government, they had the time to act, they had the dollars to act, and they say they had the tools to act. It's clear that they lacked the will to act.
The opposition and the other parties that are not the Government of Canada now want to commit the Government of Canada to what many witnesses before this committee testified is a reckless course of action.
In fact, Buzz Hargrove from the CAW said it would be suicidal to our economy to try to meet the Kyoto target and timeline. I don't think most people would consider Mr. Hargrove to be a card-carrying Conservative member. I think his statement should certainly be reflected on and taken into account on this one.
It's easy to make a commitment from the opposition when you don't have to actually fulfill the commitment. It's what happened with Mr. Dion as Minister of the Environment. He didn't keep the commitment when he was in government, and he says he can't keep it beyond this government. Then the only time he says he can meet it is in fact when we are the Government of Canada. It is weak leadership. It is not leadership.
I'm opposed to opposition attempts to not only foist the carbon tax on us, but to kick the auto industry when it's struggling right now with an extreme auto emissions standard. They've put politics into rather than practicality.
Real people's lives hang in the balance. The idea of a just transition fund implies the exact opposite. The transition in the near term is in fact unjust, otherwise they wouldn't call it a “just transition fund”. They know real people are going to be hurt.
The Government of Canada respects the balance that needs to be achieved between environmental action and responsible environmental action. It's ambitious, yet realistic, taking into account the need to balance environmental achievement with real economic realities.
When auto jobs go under in the near term, it's tax dollars that support not only public health care in this country but many things. They support underwriting payment for the same environmental programs that we hope to clean up the environment with.
I oppose the opposition's efforts in this to kick the auto industry when it's struggling. Let it be noted that the NDP and the Liberals have turned their backs on the auto industry in Canada. That's the reality.
I oppose opposition efforts to ignore swaths of witness testimony from the CAW, industry, and academics about the dangers of reckless compliance in honouring the Kyoto obligation. They've put politics ahead of witness testimony. They do so at their own peril.
Mr. Chair, while there are measures in the preamble that the government agrees with, there are some very provocative ones that we simply cannot abide by.
I will be opposing this, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
It is a pleasure to take the floor in this committee as it considers Bill . I am replacing one of my colleagues who was unable to be here today.
I must say that with all those changes, I no longer recognize the bill that was introduced by my colleagues at the beginning of your study, and this concerns me greatly. We had a very good bill that aimed at improving air quality and the health of Canadians.
Just thinking that Liberals again want to implement a carbon tax... This would not be very helpful. It would be just one more tax imposed on Canadians. A tax has never improved our environment and even less the air we breathe. What can improve our environment are the combined efforts of all members of this committee and of all Canadians in order to consume less energy, less fuel.
We can reduce our fuel consumption by using more fuel- efficient cars and using public transit as much as possible. When I travel between my riding and Ottawa, I see 90 percent of people riding alone in their cars and all going into the same direction. We could promote car pooling. These are all actions that will bring about changes.
Our first task is to improve air quality and this should be our major concern. We should make use of new sources of energy, especially renewable energy. In Quebec, we have hydro power but we must also develop wind energy and biofuels. Every time we replace 1 percent of the fossil energy we consume by a less polluting renewable energy, we will improve our quality of life and our environment. We will have to get there 1 percent at a time but each step will bring us closer to our goal. I believe all members of this committee have the same goal, that of improving our environment.
This is why, Mr. Chairman, I have a problem with all these amendments. From the beginning, the ultimate goal of Bill has always been to improve the health of Canadians. In order to achieve this, we need cleaner air. I am very concerned and I would like the cooperation of the members opposite in order to pass our Bill C-30.
Thank you very much.
I just want to make a few comments on the preamble of Bill , if I could.
Certainly for a rookie here, it's been quite the experience since we began this process some weeks ago. Our main goal as a committee, I think, was to ensure that Canadians had clean air, and in order to address the concerns we have in Canada--and I believe that Canada wants a clean, healthy environment--in order to achieve that goal, we need a strong economy.
I have some concerns with what has transpired over the past couple of weeks, and certainly in the preamble we're talking about at the present time. We can call it what we like; we've had many adjectives used. We have, without a doubt, put forward a carbon tax on industry in this country, and from my point of view that's a backward step. I think we've created a problem here for the advancement of what we all believed was the purpose of our coming together here--to enshrine in legislation the meeting of Kyoto targets when we have several witnesses who have come before us over the past number of weeks who said that in order to meet the Kyoto targets, we have two options: we spend an enormous amount of taxpayers' dollars overseas to buy credits, or we have a situation where we try to pressure industries into meeting those targets here in Canada.
Several of my colleagues and others have mentioned the fact that we could do major damage to many of the industries, whether it's the auto industry, or the oil sands industry in Alberta, or wherever the case may be, Mr. Chair.
To think that we're going to be able to clean up our environment to create good, clean air for Canadians and do it without the proper funding put in place.... In order to have that type of funding we need to have a very strong economy.
I'll go back to a comment Mr. Cullen made a few moments ago that I found interesting. He looked across the floor to us and said “Take your loss, accept your loss.” My conclusion of what has happened here over the past number of days now is that it is not us who have lost, it's Canadians who have lost, Mr. Chair.
Without continuing on with the plan that was in place and the right objectives to come forward, to be able to do what Canadians wanted us to do here, which was to create clean air, to put all our efforts into creating clean air, there's no doubt in my mind that once again, it's not us who have lost; it's Canadians who have lost this battle.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Yes, very briefly, Mr. Chair.
We've arranged for some refreshments and cake up on the sixth floor, having seen the number of hours we all, the committee and our staff teams, have worked together.
We expected, having started at 9, that 1:30 would have been an appropriate time, but clearly we have more conversations to go on. So with the indulgence of the committee, if folks would like to come up and have five minutes of cake and maybe some refreshments, and then continue on with the speeches, we can finish.
I put that to the committee. We have arranged that. You're most welcome to come and join us and celebrate the work we've all done together on this bill.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be very brief because I would like to speed things up. However, I wanted to say a few words in this debate.
The amendment before us is excellent and summarizes what we expect from this bill, the spirit of the bill, which is a recognition that greenhouse gases and air pollution are a hazard for the environment and for biodiversity. This recognition is important.
I came here in 1997. I remember very well that members of the Conservative Party — then the Canadian Alliance — whenever we held those discussions in 1997-1998 on climate change, refused to recognize the negative impact of greenhouse gases. Today, if the government votes against this preamble, it will be clear that there has been during these 10 years no evolution in the position of the party in power. We have been hearing from this committee week after week the same empty speeches that we have been hearing for 10 years in the House of Commons from the party that is now the government. The government should realize that voting against this amendment and this preamble, which would ensure that we implement our commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, would reflect an unacceptable lack of action and respect for an international commitment made by Canada and that was ratified by the House of Commons in a significant vote that we must respect. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, we will support this amendment which reflects the spirit of what we tried to do in Bill , which is to proceed with a real implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and to respect our international commitments. Thank you very much.
Mr. Chair, I'd like to explain the rationale for the clauses that this amendment would remove or the lines that this amendment would remove.
With the way part 5 of CEPA is currently constructed, the government can regulate products that contain a toxic substance and that then emit a toxic substance. For example, paint contains VOCs and releases VOCs. We cannot, however, regulate products that do not contain a toxic substance but which emit a toxic substance. The example I'll give you is a wood stove, which is a piece of cast iron and doesn't contain a toxic substance. When you put wood in it and you fire it up, it emits particulate matter and all sorts of nasty things that create smog, etc. We can't regulate the design of such products at the moment.
In clause 14, which this committee passed, there are numerous references to the term “product that contains or may release”. That is expanding the authority so that we can now regulate, for example, wood stoves under CEPA.
The provision that amendment would delete is simply an effort to define, for clarity, what is meant by “a product that may release”. We have other provisions and authorities in CEPA to address inadvertent or accidental releases. We're confident that we can do so and that we're not therefore losing any authority. This is to clarify an expanded authority under CEPA.
This is an amendment that seeks to rename the short title of the act. Now that we look at the bill in its new form, we think it's important to build on the work of all parliamentarians of this committee and rename it as “Canada's Carbon Budget, Climate Change Action and Air Quality Act”.
We think it reflects the desire of all parliamentarians at this table to move aggressively on climate change. We have now built an operable plan into Bill C-30. It's workable, implementable, and understandable. It provides for emissions trading internationally. It has capped the total percentage of international credits. It has ruled out hot air purchases, very much as a result of the government's concern and our concern.
Most importantly, it takes Canada into the 21st century because it starts to speak about carbon as a form of budget. The single greatest threshold we have to cross as a nation-state to deal with climate change is to monetize carbon. It is the single greatest market correction that must be made. Hence, we have introduced the notion of carbon budget into this bill, and hopefully into Canadian society.
Not only does it reflect a carbon budget; it also reflects, as my colleague said a moment ago, sectoral carbon budgets. It reflects individual carbon budgets and treats carbon as a monetized asset. It reflects it for what it is: something with value attached. Until we actually monetize carbon we will continue to treat the atmosphere as a free dumping ground and receptacle for greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Science has taught us most of all that it is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with the atmosphere, and Canadians don't want us to do that.
So we'd like to see the short name of this act reflect the carbon budget, because it talks about what we can do and not simply what we can't do. It tells us we can deal with the carbon deficit, for example, the way we dealt with the fiscal deficit in this country in the 1990s as a people, when we wrestled to the ground the fiscal trouble we were in and went on to make great strides.
In closing, on moving this amendment I would quote from a document recently published. Here's the quote:
||Let them say that we never settled for second best. That we had the conviction to make the right choices.
||Let them say we had the courage, the commitment and the confidence to bring Canada to its rightful place on the world stage
We think renaming this act accordingly would be helpful, because—
I'm going to wrap up, Mr. Chair.
I'd suggest that in naming this new bill, we should go back to some of the language that the government itself tabled in its budget last week. We should talk about
||...the courage, the commitment and the confidence to bring Canada to its rightful place on the world stage. ... Let them say that we never settled for second best, that we had the conviction to make the right choices.
I think we've made the right choices in this process. I'm hoping the short title will reflect that. I would plead with all members, and particularly the government members, to remember that it's now time for us to talk most of all about what it is that we can do, and not simply what it is that we can't do.
On that note, Mr. Chair, I am in fact going to withdraw this amendment. I think you'll find there is consensus at parts of the table for another short title.
I won't need to make my comments, as long as Mr. McGuinty's are perhaps as funny as Mr. Jean's. So I'll keep it to the point.
We think the naming of the act is important. It symbolizes the work that was put into the act or the pieces that were taken out. The Clean Air and Climate Change Act, certainly in terms of the New Democrats, is what we intended to bring in to this legislation. It was the intention behind organizing with the other parties to create this legislative committee to find the best ideas, and in fact to have a Clean Air and Climate Change Act. That spirit of cooperation to find the best ideas was the intention from the beginning. We have found committee members from all sides voting for various amendments and proposing various ideas from all sides and all corners of the committee table, and it is something we will be proud to see put back to Parliament, I believe by you, Chair, tomorrow morning.
The naming of the act is fine. It's been in our platform in days past. We're flattered by the lifting of the title, and we will be supporting it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We support the friendly amendment, especially since it reflects word for word our own BQ-18 which we were going to move in a few minutes.
It is a type of change that truly reflects what we expect from this Bill C-30. There are two fundamental issues, air quality and climate change. We have done a tremendous job. I believe that with this title that we are going to give to the bill, we will rise above partisan considerations in order to send a strong message to Quebeckers and Canadians.
We, in the opposition, have decided to work constructively in order to improve the bill that was put before us to deal with these two issues: air quality and climate change. Therefore, we will support amendment L-1 as amended.
Now BQ-18, Monsieur Bigras, I gather, is not going to be moved. C'est correct? Oui.
(Clause 1 as amended agreed to)
The Chair: Moving on to the long title, which is everything just under “Bill ”, shall the title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the bill as amended carry?
Some hon. members:Agreed.
The Chair: Shall I report the bill as amended to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the committee order a reprint of the bill?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: You're going to be really brief, aren't you, Mr. Jean?
I am going to be brief, as I always am, Mr. Chair.
I do want to just say this. During the last hour, I noticed four particular errors in the legislation and I pointed those out against the wishes of other opposition committee members saying I was delaying. But I found four errors. Do you know what? For the next 20 minutes I listened to you pass more motions and I found at least six more errors. This piece of legislation is flawed, not only from a constitutional perspective, but also in the parts within it that refer to other parts. It is not a good bill in substance, nor is it a good bill as far as the act is concerned. I would invite Canadians to read it. I would invite the press to read it and to point out the errors and omissions within this, because this is about politics, not cleaning up for Canadians.
We have invested as a government so far, in the short period of time that we have been the government, $3.5 billion directly into the environment; $1.3 billion into transit.
Mr. Chair, I'm going to be very brief, but I think I have this opportunity and I'd like to take it.
I know it's not fair to point out that after seven years during which they did nothing the Liberals are now trying to force something on somebody else that their leader has said cannot be done. Mr. Chair, this is ridiculous, and they're trying to play politics with Canadians. Clean air is what we want to find for Canadians and reducing greenhouse gases is what we want to find for Canadians. This bill will not do it.
Picking up on both of those, I'd like to thank you, Chair, for your very well-done job. It was a very difficult job, more than traffic-copping, and you've acquitted yourself with great dignity.
I'd like to thank all of the staff, the clerk, the legal researchers, the drafters, the researchers. I'd like to thank all the support staff who have been with us on this journey since the beginning. It has made it a much more pleasant and a much more productive exercise.
All my colleagues, thank you very much for being as gracious as you've been. To the government MPs, in a very difficult situation, thank you for your grace and your civility.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
When we arrived here in this committee, we made a commitment to work constructively both with the government and all opposition parties in order to ensure that Bill indeed deals with climate change as well as air quality.
Ultimately, we had four basic objectives: first, integrate Kyoto targets into Bill ; secondly, create a system for trading emissions credits; thirdly — and I know this has not been easy to accept for some opposition parties — integrate a territorial approach that will allow provinces to implement their own plan while respecting a number of criteria set by the federal government; fourth, ensure that targets the government was about to set would be hard caps and not intensity-based. I believe this mission is accomplished.
I want to thank all of my colleagues for the open mind with which they met our requests. I believe that with this legal framework we now have in hand all the means required to fulfil our international commitments.
I guess the last word goes to me as the chair.
I want to say it's been my first kick at the cat, and it's been a tremendously personal experience. I've appreciated working with the committee members. I appreciate the fact that we were able to keep the high-sticking and the cross-checking to a minimum.
It is an issue of tremendous importance to Canada and to the world. I'm pleased that we can report back to the House on time. I will maintain my impartiality and not pass judgment on what we're reporting back, but I want to thank everybody for the level of civility in a very tough situation.
I especially want to thank the people sitting at the table with me, Chad, Sam, Tim, Joann, and Marc, for making me look a whole lot smarter than I actually am.
We MPs are in the media and in the spotlight, and we get the glory, but it's the support people who make this place work.
With that, thanks. In general, it was a job well done in terms of the process.
The final word is that this meeting is adjourned.