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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 021

CONTENTS

Thursday, May 11, 2006





CANADA

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 141 
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NUMBER 021 
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1st SESSION 
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39th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2006

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

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-China Legislative Association respecting its visit to China from March 22 to April 1, 2006.
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the delegation of the OSCE Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the international election observation mission of the March 26, 2006 parliamentary elections in Ukraine.

  (1005)  

Committees of the House

Scrutiny of Regulations 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in this report later this day.

Excise Tax Act

     She said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to reintroduce this bill, which seeks to eliminate the goods and services tax on feminine hygiene products.
    The GST on tampons and sanitary napkins amounts, in my view, to a gender based taxation, and the taxing of essential and necessary products used exclusively by women is unfair and discriminatory. It unfairly disadvantages women financially solely because of their reproductive role.
    The bill would benefit all Canadian women at some point in their lives and would be of particular value to lower income women.
    I urge all members to support this initiative. I am confident that members of the Conservative government will do so, based on their announcement of support last October when they pledged to deal with the tampon tax.

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

Excise Tax Act

     She said: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure and an honour to again introduce this bill, which seeks to eliminate the goods and services tax on materials used in literacy development.
    In our knowledge based economy, the bar is being constantly raised higher on the basic skills needed to access decent jobs, to function in daily tasks and to participate in social and political life. Despite our technical sophistication, nearly 50% of Canadians still have difficulty working with words and numbers.
    This bill complements existing literacy measures and reduces the financial barriers keeping individuals from pursuing greater literacy.
    I hope all members will give the bill their serious consideration.

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

[Translation]

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That at the conclusion of today's debate on the opposition motion in the name of the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, all questions necessary to dispose of this motion be deemed put, a recorded division deemed requested and deferred to the end of government orders on Tuesday, May 16, 2006.
    Does the hon. member for Drummond have the unanimous consent of the House to move this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

    Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of this House, the period of time corresponding to the time taken for Royal Assent today shall be added to the time provided for government business, and the ordinary time of daily adjournment shall be delayed accordingly.
    Does the hon. member for Drummond have the unanimous consent of the House to move this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

  (1010)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I move that the first report of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations presented to the House earlier today be concurred in.
    The Speaker: Does the hon. member for Mississauga South have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

Petitions

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition to the House on behalf of number of constituents in Edmonton. The petitioners call upon Parliament to welcome the “stranger in need” and significantly increase the number of refugees that Canada accepts annually and to take a number of measures to welcome and integrate newcomers into Canadian society.

Labelling of Alcoholic Beverages  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present yet another petition signed by hundreds of Canadians regarding the issue of fetal alcohol syndrome and the need for alcohol warning labels on all beer, wine and liquor bottles. This matter was dealt with by Parliament a number of years ago. A motion that I presented received unanimous consent, yet the previous government and this government have continued to refuse to address this simple matter of requiring warning labels on all alcohol beverage containers saying that there should be some notice to women that drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects.
    These petitioners want this government to finally act on the wishes of Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think you will find unanimous consent to revert to motions for the proposal to move a report from a standing committee.
    The Deputy Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to revert to motions?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Committees of the House

Scrutiny of Regulations  

    Mr. Speaker, I move that the first report of the Standing Joint Committee for Scrutiny of Regulations presented to the House earlier today be concurred in.

    (Motion agreed to)

[Translation]

Questions on the Order Paper

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

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Kyoto Protocol  

    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) take the necessary measures to ensure that Canada meets its objective for greenhouse gas reduction established under the Kyoto Protocol, in an equitable manner while respecting the constitutional jurisdictions and responsibilities of Quebec and the provinces; and (b) publish, by October 15, 2006, an effective and equitable plan for complying with the Kyoto Protocol that includes a system of emission objectives for large emitters along with an exchange of emission rights accompanied by a bilateral agreement with Quebec and the provinces that want it, which could be based on a territorial approach.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to begin the Bloc Québécois' opposition day on the subject of the Kyoto protocol.
    I would like to take a few moments of the House's time to read the wording of the motion:
    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) take the necessary measures to ensure that Canada meets its objective for greenhouse gas reduction established under the Kyoto Protocol, in an equitable manner while respecting the constitutional jurisdictions and responsibilities of Quebec and the provinces; and (b) publish, by October 15, 2006, an effective and equitable plan for complying with the Kyoto Protocol that includes a system of emission objectives for large emitters along with an exchange of emission rights accompanied by a bilateral agreement with Quebec and the provinces that want it, which could be based on a territorial approach.
    It is important to point out that fighting climate change is more pressing now than ever before. When I was elected in 1997, I remember listening to some members of this House—especially the opposition members who now make up the government—debate the phenomenon of climate change. In 1997-98, some of us in this House believed that it was simply a natural phenomenon, and that human actions had little or no impact on the beginning of this phenomenon several hundred years ago.
     But the real situation is quite different. Since 1750, greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2, have risen by over 31%. The snow and ice cover has been reduced by 10%. Since 1950, the surface area of sea ice has diminished by 10% to 15%. Over the 20th century, the average sea level rose by 10 to 20 cm. Extreme events have increased in number, and the warming has speeded up.
     In 1988, some scientists organized to form the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That same year, those scientists sent out alarming signals which were the subject of a UN report in 2001 which gave an increasingly clear demonstration that the phenomenon of climate change is very definitely linked to the way that we humans behave. Incidentally, a report by this panel is going to be released in a few weeks. That report will show that climate change is associated with natural phenomena barely five percent of the time. In other words, the very great majority of climate change is associated with human phenomena.
     Climate change will of course have major environmental consequences, but also substantial economic and social consequences.
     For Quebec, of course, those consequences will be real. One need only think of global warming and the impacts it could have or is now having on the forestry industry in certain parts of Canada. Consider the increase in the number of forest fires and forest zone diseases.
     One need only think of the impacts climate change will have on the level and flow of our St. Lawrence River, which are expected to decline by 10% to 20%. That will have repercussions on the shipping industry in Quebec and Canada.
     People’s health is going to be affected by this.

  (1015)  

     So the economic effects, like the social consequences, will be substantial.
     This was the context in which the Kyoto protocol was signed in 1997. That is an important date. I was in Kyoto in 1997, when the countries signed that important agreement. It provides for a commitment by them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions: for Canada, to 6% below the 1990 level between 2008 and 2012; for Europe, to 8% below 1988, for the same years.
     One could see at the time of the signing of Kyoto in 1997 that Canada was poorly prepared to attain the targets it had set itself. Whereas 15 sovereign European nations first of all agreed as partners on reduction targets that would take account of principles of fairness and of capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Canada came to Kyoto without the benefit of any agreement with its partners. Then, in 1998, the Bloc Québécois formed a coalition, initially a Quebec and then a Canadian coalition, composed of civil society partners, especially young people—I am thinking of organizations such as ENvironnement JEUnesse—who put that coalition in place, demanding that the federal government ratify the Kyoto protocol as soon as possible.
     It is thanks in part to the actions of the Bloc Québécois that we have been able, since December 2002, after a vote in this House, to proudly say that we contributed to the ratification of the Kyoto protocol. We could be proud of the Bloc’s work with other partners in Quebec’s and Canada’s civil society.
     This protocol came into effect on February 16, 2005, thanks to Russia’s support. Today, however, when we take a look at history and all the work that has been done, we get the impression that we are back to square one. When we hear the statements made by the Prime Minister, his Minister of the Environment, his Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and his Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, we get the impression that we have returned to 1997, to the time when the government had to be forced to ratify the Kyoto protocol and implement it.
     Today, as in the weeks following the election, the Prime Minister has clearly indicated to the population of Quebec and Canada that he was hoping for a new climate change protocol. A new protocol, when there already is one called the Kyoto protocol. This protocol which members on this side of the House want to see respected. This is the primary meaning of this proposal and today's motion.
     We expect the government to be true to its word and to undertake to respect and meet the reduction objectives laid down in the Kyoto protocol.
     This government must say so in this House today. It must say so internationally in the coming weeks. This commitment must be reflected in a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which we hope to see tabled by October 15, 2006.
     This way we can truly keep our commitments and act in such a way that the international community can look at Canada and see that our country intends to respect its commitments. The reality, however, is quite different. The Prime Minister and his Minister of the Environment have committed to presenting a new climate change plan, but it would not necessarily integrate the greenhouse gas reduction objectives.

  (1020)  

     This a major setback both internationally and domesticly. We have to do something to force this government to respect this commitment.
     We hope and wish that, by October 15, 2006, the government will table a plan integrating the greenhouse gas reduction objectives. Furthermore, this should integrate principles of equity, that is, equity towards the industrial sectors which have made efforts in the past, which have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions, equity towards the provinces that dared, from the early 1990s, to put action plans in place to fight climate change, and equity towards those who are prepared to contribute to the international effort.
     We are hoping to see an equitable plan; we are also hoping to see an effective plan. The federal government has invested more than $3.7 billion since 1977 in combating climate change, and yet greenhouse gas emissions have risen 24% since 1990. This means that in order to comply with the Kyoto protocol, Canada will have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30%. First, we had a government that presented a plan but at the same time backed off from its reduction objective. Now, we have a government that refuses to apply the Kyoto protocol and that believes that by backing off from it we will be able to meet our international objectives. This is nonsense.
     Ottawa has methods available to it for combating climate change effectively that are within its jurisdiction. For example, Ottawa can impose stricter, more severe standards for the manufacture of off-road or other vehicles. That is one of the methods available to the federal government for improving the situation and making an effective contribution to combating climate change.
     The government also has methods and tools in the tax system to encourage businesses and individuals who want to make a contribution to combating climate change, whether by eliminating the GST on vehicles that consume less gas, for example, or removing the tax benefits the oil industry is given in Canada. What could be more shameful than saying that we want to combat climate change and at the same time giving tax benefits to companies whose greenhouse gas emissions have risen significantly?
     So the principles of fairness, effectiveness and respect for provincial areas of jurisdiction must be observed. Ottawa is sticking its nose into the business of the provinces, and of Quebec, where our performance is quite acceptable, both per capita and in absolute numbers.
     We must have an effective and equitable plan. We must also have a plan that ensures that we apply the polluter-pays principle, and not the polluter-paid principle. That is also one of the purposes of the motion introduced today, which forces the government to implement rigorous, clear objectives for large industrial emitters.

  (1025)  

     By 2010, large industrial emitters will account for 50% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. We have to attack this problem at its roots. If we want to meet our greenhouse gas emissions commitments, we have to be sure that we are taking effective, rigorous and strict measures to deal with large industrial emitters.
     The previous government chose to take the voluntary approach, and we have to admit in this House that it was not successful. The voluntary approach did not produce any improvement in our greenhouse gas emissions record.
     When the Minister of the Environment attends the Bonn conference in a few days, we have to ensure that what we consider to be the large industrial emitters, and I stress that I am talking about the “real” large industrial emitters, will be required to contributed to the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It must be done, and I stress: the “real” large industrial emitters. To date, the federal government’s approach has been to penalize industries, particularly in Quebec. We have the example of our manufacturing industry, which has succeeded in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 7%. We have the pulp and paper industry, which succeeded in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 18% between 1990 and 2005.
    To date, Ottawa has applied a principle putting industrial sectors, such as the manufacturing sector, despite its reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, on the same footing as the oil and gas sector.
    It must be understood that imposing the same reductions—say 15%—on the industrial and the oil and gas sectors and on the manufacturing sector, which underlies the Quebec economy, has the effect of increasing the marginal effort required by our industrial sectors in Quebec and thus increasing our marginal costs. An additional one tonne reduction costs more and is harder to achieve for the manufacturing sector in Quebec than for the oil and gas sector, where emissions have skyrocketed.
    We want to see these principles of equity expressed in the regulations we want for the large industrial emitters, since between 1970 and 1999, subsidies and direct aid to the oil and gas industry increased by $66 billion compared to the meagre $329 million that went to the fossil fuel industry.
    In 2003, we adopted Bill C-48 in this House, which gave $55 million in tax benefits to the oil and gas industry in 2003-04, $100 million in tax benefits in 2004-05 and $260 million in tax benefits in 2007-08.

  (1030)  

    In the minute I have remaining, I want to say that we hope Canada will honour the Kyoto protocol, that it will affirm it here in this House, that it will reaffirm it internationally on May 15 at the start of the Bonn conference. Canada must undertake to introduce a plan to fight climate change by October 15. The plan must be fair and equitable and respect the areas of jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. We want especially to have the federal government sit down with the Government of Quebec to sign a bilateral agreement, which will be incorporated into the plan the government will introduce by October 15.
    That is what our party wants. We are looking today for the support of all political parties, especially the one in government.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    Without a doubt, he is very sincere about his environmental goal. The same is true of all members of this House when it comes to their commitment to the environment.

[English]

    However, I have a problem with some of the math for Kyoto. If we take Canada's targets, which was a political agreement, if we assume that we can become fully compliant, and if we were to look at the percentage of the impact that would have on the computer based predictions of global warming and run that against the total world contribution, we would find that if we do meet our Kyoto commitments we would change the temperature of the earth by two one-thousandths of one degree in the next 100 years.
     Life is about risk and reward. That is not a large reward for the risk that we are posing to Canadian industry and the economy. It does not mean we should do nothing. We should. We should do whatever we can to be part of that process.
     I would suggest to my hon. colleague that we could do more by not crippling Canadian industry or running the risk of that and by not shipping billions of dollars in the simple transfer of wealth to other countries that will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gases.
     Would my hon. colleague consider the value of spending more of our money developing and exporting our world leading technology to help those countries with their technology to make cleaner gas industries that will help the situation a lot more in the long run?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member said exactly the same thing as George W. Bush's American government.
    The Americans say that the Kyoto approach should not be followed and they advocate a new approach called the Asia-Pacific partnership on clean development and climate. This new approach contains no time frames and no objectives, in terms of the technology.
    Why is it not possible to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reach our Kyoto target today? Take Europe, for example, which managed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 1.4% between 1990 and 2003. Why? Because, beginning in 1997, Europe decided to really commit itself to the fight against climate change. First, agreements were reached with its partners, sovereign countries, and then action plans were implemented. If it was possible in Europe, why could it not be done here in Canada?
    If we give ourselves the means, we can successfully reach our objective. The hon. member would prefer to take the Asia-Pacific partnership route. We hope that this government will not promote it in Bonn in a few days. We see were this government is headed: in Bonn, our Minister of the Environment will promote the Asia-Pacific partnership—as the hon. member just indicated—rather than promoting Kyoto. The environment minister's responsibility in Bonn is to promote Kyoto, not destroy it.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I fully agree with the mover's sentiments. The government is obviously not committed to Kyoto either in appearance or in fact.
    One of the illusions in the budget that was tabled in the House was the monthly transit pass tax credit. The member will probably know that about 95% of those moneys will go to existing transit riders and the initiative suggests that this will increase ridership by 5% to 7%. However, all of those who are involved in those files will know that there is not that kind of capacity in the existing system which means that there will have to be very significant investment in transit right across the country.
     Having said that, if all these are subsidized public transit systems in any event, that likely means the cost of transit will go up to eat up any of the value of the credit. The bottom line is that none of this has anything to do with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions because most, if not all, of the benefit will go to existing transit riders.
    Would the member like to comment on the government's illusion with regard to its efforts regarding greenhouse gas reductions?

  (1040)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why our motion calls for an effective plan. The only measure in the budget—the transit pass tax credit—will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions in any significant way. Once again, this is a very expensive measure. According to Department of Finance estimates, the cost per tonne of reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be roughly $2,000.
    I have the feeling that the initial measures in the plan and the steps taken by the new government to fight climate change are very much along the same lines as the previous government's strategy, which consisted in investing more than $3.7 billion in combatting climate change while allowing greenhouse gas emissions to increase.
    We need effective measures that will get the most out of every dollar spent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I will try to ask my question in French, even though it contains a lot of technical terms and this is very difficult for me.
    I realized that the current situation in Canada is a disaster in terms of respecting the Kyoto protocol. The Liberals were in power for 13 years, and we are seeing the numbers now. It is a disaster. Now we have a government that wants to go to Europe to hold discussions with our friend that does not believe in the Kyoto protocol.
    My question is this: I know that the member strongly believes in the Kyoto protocol and in preventing climate change. At the same time, he supported a budget that is a disaster when it comes to respect for the environment. Many people in Quebec and the rest of Canada saw that the budget eliminated some environmental programs and will eliminate others. We have lost another year.
    In return for its support for such a budget, did the Bloc negotiate with the Conservatives and extract a promise that they would improve the part of the budget that pertains to the Kyoto protocol and the environment?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I wish to clearly state that we are not in favour of this government eliminating or cancelling programs to fight climate change. Every day, we learn that some other such program has been cancelled. What we are saying is that we wish to have an immediate moratorium on the cancellation of programs to fight climate change, while we wait to see the real direction that this new government intends to take on the issue, and before it goes ahead with cuts. My colleague knows full well that, at the last parliamentary committee, I requested that the deputy minister and member of Treasury Board appear in order to explain what evaluation had been conducted last fall of the programs to fight climate change. That would provide the best possible idea of the measures to be taken.
    With regard to the budget, I invite my colleague to read page 12 of the budget speech, where the government has undertaken to set aside $2 billion dollars for a future climate change program. That certainly worries us because we do not know how Ottawa will spend that money under the program.
    I believe that we must ensure that this government does not make wholesale cuts to climate change programs, since organizations are currently losing funding and we do not really know where the government is going in terms of a climate change plan. What we want today is a commitment that the government will present a plan to fight climate change that will incorporate the Kyoto protocol objectives. I am convinced that the member will support our efforts today.

  (1045)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today and am pleased to give my first speech sitting on this side of the House. It is quite exciting to have the honour not only to represent the people of Saanich—Gulf Islands but also to serve in the cabinet of the government, something for which I am grateful.
    I am pleased to talk about the Bloc motion and the importance of the issue that it has brought before the House. I want to talk about where we are going, the importance of the environment to this country and energy efficiency. The Government of Canada is committed to bringing forward solutions to these problems in the coming months and years ahead. That is exactly why, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, $2 billion was committed in the government's first budget to these issues. I want to ensure everybody is aware of that. We want to ensure that taxpayers get the very best value for the $2 billion.
    The motion on the floor by my hon. friend from the Bloc calls for us to specifically achieve the Kyoto targets. The problem is that these targets, as everybody is becoming increasingly aware, are unwieldy. After 13 years of government action we must be realistic. That is what we are saying. Everybody here wants to turn the curve down, so we can have a far better record.
    However the truth is, and I believe even my friend from Bloc who I have great respect for and have known for many years would agree, that greenhouse gases under the previous government have gone up each and every single year that the Liberals were in office. Nobody will dispute that. They signed on to a climate change program and set a target of minus 6%, but today Canada is 35% above the Liberal set targets. That is the Liberal record, make no mistake about it.
    We want to do something about that. We want to see meaningful progress in this area. Has it been a priority of this government in its first 100 days in office? Absolutely, yes. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister of Environment had discussions on how we can achieve it. We must work together. We must be like gears that are going to mesh if we are going to achieve results and that is what we are committed to doing.
    It is not surprising, given the ad hoc approach by the previous government, that some of these programs have been in the headlines. One has to ask what the purpose was of the previous government's programs that it introduced. What was its intention? Let us call a spade a spade. The truth is that lot of those programs were designed to garner headlines. Let us be honest about that.
    I go back to what was said by the hon. member. If some of the programs were doing everything they were supposed to, would greenhouse gases be at 35% above the targets? Is that where we would be today?
    I can tell the House that in my department there were 115 or 116 programs when the Conservatives took office and 97 of them are intact and working. Yes, there were some programs that we looked at and felt were not in the taxpayers' interests. I will get into those a little more specifically. Were they achieving their goals? No.
    Former Liberal aid Tom Axworthy himself said that a press release is not a policy. I would respectfully submit that is what taxpayers saw a lot of in the previous Liberal government. It is no secret that it was preoccupied with creating billion dollar programs, be it the gun registry or HRDC. We saw it over and over again. I would submit that it did not have respect for taxpayers' dollars. Taxpayers have spoken very clearly on this. We have a fiduciary obligation to ensure that taxpayers' dollars are spent wisely and they get value for their money. That is exactly what we are going to do.

  (1050)  

    Some people out there are trying to defend some of these programs and I admit there were parts of them that were probably on the positive side of the scale. I fully acknowledge that, but it is a little late. After 13 years in office, on their death bed, in their last year in office the Liberals said, “Well, we better get serious about this. Maybe this is a mainstream issue”. I accept that the environment is a mainstream issue. It is for me. It is for my colleagues and we are going to do something about it. We are focused on bringing results.
    The previous government, in the last four or five years, spent $4 billion on some of its so-called programs. I ask my hon. friend, where are the results? It is not a record of which I would be proud. These are numbers that are indisputable. We will not hear the members opposite stand and discount that the GHGs are 35% above their own targets today. These are numbers set by professionals in the industry, people in departments, not by the people in the Conservative Party. These are absolute raw facts and we absolutely have to do better.
    The other part that I struggle with, and I know my hon. colleague will be speaking later, is the spending of billions and billions of dollars to buy credits offshore. In many cases these countries that wanted to buy these credits did not have to do anything because places like Russia, that may have had a collapse in its economy, actually have excess to sell. It is important to note that not one iota of difference was made in the environment. Not one ounce of greenhouse gases would be reduced. We would give billions and billions of dollars to foreign countries. Is that what the taxpayers want us to do? I do not think so.
    That is why we are working on biofuels. I know there are discussions right on the front end, a commitment by this Prime Minister that we can make a difference in this area. We want to see results. That is exactly why the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of the Environment are saying, “Let us make sure this works. Make sure we get it right”.
    We have meetings coming up with the industries, stakeholders and provincial representatives. We want to hear from everybody and we want to move on it. We want to get our fundamentals right and we want to make a difference.
    Moving forward, what is the vision? Where are we going? We are not going to shy away from the problem, but we are not going to play politics with it either. We are not going to worry about headlines. We are not going to play politics with environmental program spending. We want to spend tax dollars on programs that are going to increase energy efficiency.
    I acknowledge that there are some people upset about EnerGuide, and yes, we will follow through on those commitments, but let us be honest. Let us be absolutely and painfully clear. This is a program where 50¢ of every dollar went to inspections, administration and overhead. Not a penny of that 50¢ did anything to clean up the environment. I do not think that is very efficient for an energy-efficient program.
    Are there parts of that program that we could use? I am a builder. I am a journeyman carpenter. I just built a new home. I put in an energy-efficient heating system. I put in a heat exchanger because there is good value. I understand there are people doing that with some of this money. We will look at things like that where we can see a difference, but we have a fiduciary obligation, as I said earlier, to ensure that taxpayers are getting value and that we maximize the benefits.
    The Prime Minister takes this very seriously. He has instructed every single person in his cabinet on how seriously he takes this. That is why we have to make these decisions and that is exactly what we are doing.

  (1055)  

    I talked about the record. Let us talk about the 2005 record. Do members know where Canada ranked out of the industrialized nations in environmental integrity? Canada was 28 out of 30. These are absolute facts.
    The Liberal environmental critic ran for one party and now for another party. I am not sure where he is going. His record is the same on the environment. He is for Kyoto. He is against Kyoto. He voted against Kyoto. Now he is its champion. I remind all Canadians to look at the numbers and to look at the facts. They cannot be fooled. The record is very clear.
    How can the government do better? How can we make a difference? Let us talk about the Asia-Pacific partnership. There are six countries there: the United States, Japan, Korea, India, China and Australia. Those six countries represent 50% of greenhouse gases globally. Where can the government get the greatest investment? Is it by sending billions of dollars off to places such as Russia where it will not make any difference? Or do we invest that money in technology? Should Canada develop things such as clean coal technology? Industry is on the cusp of developing technologies to provide very clean and efficient energy. Then, does Canada give that technology to places such as China and India, which would have an enormous impact on global greenhouse gases?
    I submit that is a far better investment in dollars. We can become the leader in innovation and technology right here in Canada. That is what Canada needs to do.
    I have said earlier that the government is committed to renewable fuels. One of the first things we will see pertains to biofuels. The government wants to set targets and then enforce those targets. The government will ensure that those targets are met. The government is working with the people in the industry and they tell us they can meet the targets. The government will work with the industries and it will happen. We will deliver.
    The government will promote the technology side. Canada has the ability and the technologies developing that can capture from some of the large final emitters 100% of CO2 gases and then pump the gas back down into the ground where it came from. At the present time there is a project where they take back the CO2 gas that is trucked from the United States to a test facility in Saskatchewan and it is pumped back into the ground. This is working.
     I have had discussions with industry. I am pushing industry and saying that we want to invest in this, but it must also. The government is pushing the industry hard, but industry must put a lot more money into the research and technology. If Canada is to win at this game, it will require the federal government, the provincial governments, and the industry to come together. It will require the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Natural Resources to get together and say, “How can we work together? How can we make this happen?”
    This is not about us. It is not about them. It is about what is good for Canada. More importantly, if Canada succeeds it can share that with our global partners. I think everyone will win.
    Canada wants to ensure that it cleans up the environment. Canada wants to clean up the air and the water. In this budget, on the environment, the government committed $500 million to clean up the nuclear waste liability at Chalk River. This is something that should have been done a long time ago. Did the previous government have the commitment to make that investment? No. Was it in the first budget of the new Conservative government? Absolutely. Why? It was there because it is the right thing to do and it had to be done.
    The government must also change how Canadians think. I firmly believe that. The government needs to have an ongoing discussion on what is the best way to change how Canadians think. There is no question that Canadians are moving in the direction of a cleaner environment. SUV sales are falling and hybrid sales are increasing significantly. Hybrid sales rose 68% this month over the previous month. SUV sales have fallen dramatically over the past year. Why? It is because Canadians also want to do their part.

  (1100)  

    Do they have to be paid with their own money? I do not think so. Do we want to work with them? Do we want to encourage them to do that? Absolutely. Canadians cannot be fooled. They also want to ensure that we will succeed.
    The tax deduction on transit passes announced in the budget is an enormous step forward in this regard. We should not minimize it. We are encouraging people to move forward, to get out of their cars in some of the most polluted air basins.
     What about the previous government's record? We have seen the increase in smog days. We have heard about them in Toronto, Vancouver and some of the most polluted air basins. A huge part of that pollution comes from automobiles. Can we get people out of their cars? Are we moving in that direction? Absolutely.
    We want to achieve results. I look forward to working with my hon. friend and with members of all parties. I know my hon. friend from the Bloc is very genuine. He wants to see us move forward.
    It should be no surprise to my hon. friend who put the motion forward that every single program the Liberals created is not working. The Liberals are aware that they were the masters of creating billion dollar programs, whether they funnelled money into their own party as we have seen in the past or whether they put a billion dollars into the gun registry. We saw lots of that. We have seen the Auditor General's reports.
    Mr. Speaker, you were probably in this chamber before I was born.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Gary Lunn: Well, maybe not that long, Mr. Speaker. I mean this with the highest respect, Mr. Speaker, but as the dean of this chamber, there are not many people who have that honour, and you have been here a long time.
    Members need to work together. If we are going to win on this file, we have to remove the partisan hats. We have to work together. We have to find solutions. We are committed to doing that. Yes, where there are inefficiencies, where there are programs that are not working, although there might have been a great sales job done on them, we are not going to be afraid to make tough decisions.
    I will be frank. Officials have said to me that this is a pretty popular program. But 50¢ on the dollar is not doing anything for the environment. Is that efficient? I do not think so.
    I have highlighted a few examples. We are coming forward with deliverables. Canadians will see that in the weeks and months ahead as we move forward. We are meeting with stakeholders daily. The Minister of the Environment and I talk on a daily basis on how important it is to integrate. Her officials from the Department of the Environment and staff from the Department of Natural Resources have travelled across the country already in our first three months in office to talk to the stakeholders, to find areas in which we can improve, to do the blue sky thinking, to brainstorm and think outside of the box. How can we deliver programs, how can we create programs that are actually going to make a difference to the bottom line?
    My hon. friend has brought the motion forward with the greatest intent, which is genuine but I ask him to look at the record of the old Liberal government on this file.It is abysmal to say the least, without question. We have inherited an absolute mess.
    I heard the Liberals grandstand in the House yesterday about the Minister of the Environment and the challenges in front of her. There is probably not a minister who has a more difficult task in trying to untangle the mess that she inherited. Those are the facts. Members across the aisle are scoffing at me.
     Greenhouse gases are 35% above the Liberals' own targets, the ones they set. They have gone up each and every single year since they took office. They did not even begin to think about getting serious until the last year they were in office, and I would suggest they were not serious then because they knew they were on their way out and they thought, holy jumping, they had better do something.

  (1105)  

    That is the truth. Those are the facts and they cannot dispute them.
    Let me conclude by saying that we are going to follow a new path that is effective, transparent and achievable. My hon. colleague will be speaking later. On this side of the House we look forward to working with every single MP. The door is open. We want to hear the ideas of members. We want to work with members. If we succeed on this file, Canada succeeds and we can help the world succeed.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have two comments to make before I ask my question.
    First, it is a shame to see the Minister of Natural Resources rise as the government's lead spokesperson in this debate instead of the Minister of the Environment. That is significant. This says a lot about how this government feels about managing the future plan to fight climate change.
    Second, by trying to kill efforts made since 1997 to fight climate change, the minister must realize that he will be partly to blame for Canada's poor record at Bonn. It is a bit sad to see the minister use the failed Liberal approach as an excuse to abandon the Kyoto protocol.
    When he talks about the supposed failure of the EnerGuide program he is proving that this government does not have a clue about how to fight climate change. We have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the source.
    The denunciation and abolition of the EnerGuide program show that to him energy efficiency must not be taken into consideration in a future plan to fight climate change.
    We on this side of the House feel that reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the source and energy efficiency have to be two important chapters in a future plan to fight climate change. Claiming that EnerGuide did not clean up the environment proves he knows nothing about the principles of energy efficiency.
    I have another concern—and I can hear the minister sharing his comments. I am disappointed that he is speaking today as the promoter of the Asia-Pacific partnership when he should be promoting the Kyoto protocol. This does not bode well for the future.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member said it was unfortunate the Minister of the Environment was not the first speaker. The Minister of the Environment is sitting right beside me and was in the House for the very first speech. This demonstrates her support for the integrated approach. We are working together, and I will be here when she speaks. It is about working together, not about who goes first or who goes second. We have to get over that.
    If we are going to succeed, we absolutely need to be a unified team and move forward. That is what is happening on this side. I invite the hon. member to participate in that team, to bring forward solutions.
    As for the results of the previous government and presenting the disastrous news, I agree, it is disastrous news that we inherited from the previous Liberal government. We are working to change that. I look forward to the hon. member's support in doing that.
    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the minister on his first speech. I hope he will not have an opportunity to do too many as a minister, but we will see how that goes.
     I want to talk about Kyoto and my position on Kyoto. The fact is I have always believed in the science behind greenhouse gas emissions. The fact is I was opposed to ratification before the government implemented or had a plan. That is why once the Liberal government implemented a plan, a plan that made sense in budget 2004, a budget that was in fact referred to by the Sierra Club as the greenest budget in the history of Canada, I supported that plan, and I am now opposed to a government that is systematically tearing apart that plan.
    It is important to realize that while the Conservatives are critical of the Liberal record on climate change, there was a 13 year period of growth during which the economy grew by 43%. Exports of energy to the United States grew by 52%. It is extremely difficult to have economic growth particularly driven by fossil fuel energy without having a commensurate increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
    I find it ironic that the Conservatives who take credit for the economic success of these times actually blame the Liberals for putting the natural gas and oil under the ground when it comes to the environment. The fact is that budget 2004 and our environmental plan had the capacity to work, and in fact were working.
    The minister mentioned that the Minister of the Environment has the most difficult task in the Conservative government. I would agree with that. It must be tremendously difficult to be the Minister of the Environment in a government that does not care about the environment.
    As to his comments on why he spoke first, it would seem that for the government, ministers of the environment are better seen and not heard. I would argue that the environment should be taking a front seat in this debate, not natural resources.
    Beyond that, if the minister is so interested in the efficacy of environmental programs, why did he cut the EnerGuide program which was 100 times more efficient based on Environment Canada's own facts? Environment Canada said that the EnerGuide program was 100 times more efficient than the transit pass program. Why would he cut that program?

  (1110)  

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague and I go back a long way. I agree with him that the old Liberal Party did not have a plan. That hon. member voted against Kyoto, as did I, because there was no plan.
    We are working on bringing forward solutions that will clean the air, that will clean up the environment, that will have a meaningful impact and where the taxpayers will get the greatest value for those investments. That is exactly what we are focused on.
    For the Liberals to say, and the environment critic just said it, that they developed a plan in 2004, what were they doing for the 10 years before that? Is that not a little late? The Liberals signed the Kyoto protocol in 1995, if I am correct.
    An hon. member: It was 1997.
    Hon. Gary Lunn: It was 1997. I know some discussions were going on before that, so I knew it was in that timeframe.
    Nevertheless, what were the Liberals doing? It is not okay to wait until they are on their deathbed, until they are on their way out of office before doing something.
    The government is doing something now. It is doing something today and people will see deliverable results. I look for every member to come forward with solutions and to work with this government so that all of Canada will be better off and all of Canada will win.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister was right on one thing. The Liberals were in power for 13 years and the environmental mess left behind was even greater than when they started. There is no question about that.
    I would like to give a bit of a history lesson here. When those members were in opposition for all those years, how many proactive questions did they ask on the environment? They probably asked less questions than the number of fingers on one hand.
    That party said, “global warming is a myth”. It said that it was not true. For years the Conservatives did not support supply management for farmers. Now they say they support it. Now they say global warming is a problem.
    If my colleague truly believes in cooperation among parliamentarians, does he not believe that Canada cannot address environmental issues independently of itself, that it needs to work in a global atmosphere with all countries in the world, not just China and the U.S.? Kyoto is not perfect. We in the NDP and others would like to see even stronger elements within Kyoto to make real targets and to meet them. When 100 countries can agree on at least something, that in itself is a good basis for a start. Would he not at least agree with that?
    One of the first acts of the minister was to say, very clearly, that the Conservatives had a plan when they were in opposition. However, the budget comes out and they allocate all this money for the environment without a plan. How can they say that when they were in opposition, they had a plan, then budget funds without plan? The member says they are working on it, but that is not good enough.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, after our 13th year in government, I am sure that party will be very proud of our results, unlike the previous government.
    I want to talk about cooperation. The Minister of the Environment is genuinely committed to this issue. The member and I were both elected in 1997. We sat on the fisheries committee together. The two of us worked together on many files for the betterment of the fishery. We wrote reports together. We had meetings in the evening. This is not about New Democrats, or Conservatives or Liberals. The chair of the committee, the Hon. George Baker, worked with us as well. That was a most cohesive committee.
    That is my track record on being sincere, genuine and looking for solutions. I am sure if the hon. member had a chance to respond, he would confirm that. That is my commitment to him today. I ask him to bring forward the ideas of the NDP because we do want to hear them.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Yukon.
     It is notable that the five priorities of the government do not include the environment, which is clearly a top priority for Canadians. The government is driven by ideologies. It is driven by a neo-Conservative ideological perspective not only against Kyoto, but against the science behind Kyoto.
    The Prime Minister said this about greenhouse gas emissions, “It is a scientific hypothesis and a controversial one. This may be a lot of fun for a few scientific and environmental elites in Ottawa”. The Prime Minister does not even believe in the science behind greenhouse gas emissions. It is very difficult for a minster of the environment to serve with a government whose leader does not even believe in the science behind greenhouse gas emissions.
    It is important to note that the government is off base on a number of priorities.
    When Canada needs early learning and child care centres, the government wants to build prisons. When global competition is becoming fiercer every day, the Conservative government's tax cuts are focused on buying votes, not on building prosperity. When global warming is not just a threat but a reality, the Conservative government is the only government in the world to cut environmental investment.
    As a signatory to the Kyoto protocol, Canada pledged to work to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberal government understood the critical importance of a healthy environment and a healthy economy. This is a priority for Canadians from sea to sea to sea. It is a priority for Canadians living in coastal communities, as I do, whose very land mass and economic activity and lives are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It is a priority for Canadians living in the north whose livelihoods are dependent on Arctic ecosystems which are being dramatically altered by a shorter freeze of the arctic waters. It is a priority for Canadians living in our prairie provinces whose agriculture yields have been adversely affected by catastrophic droughts, floods and volatile temperature changes.

  (1120)  

[Translation]

    Canadians in all parts of our beautiful country have become far too familiar with smog alerts, due not only to poor air quality in urban centres, but also to the effects of greenhouse gases which trap heat and toxins in the atmosphere.
    In Montreal as in many cities, on smoggy days, our most vulnerable citizens, namely seniors and children, are forced to stay indoors.

[English]

    Despite the obvious realities, the government's approach to climate change is about as enlightened as those who still believe that the earth is flat. Environmental experts everywhere support urgent action on global climate change. The government refuses to listen.
    The Liberal government had put in place programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in industrial, residential and transport settings, important programs that had enlisted the energy, talent and passion of Canadians in the private sector in meeting this challenge head on. The new government is now systematically killing these programs.
    The Sierra Club has said this about the Conservative government's recent actions on climate change:
Whereas the rest of the world is striving to reduce emissions and assisting those who are most vulnerable to high energy prices, this government seems set to do the opposite.
    The David Suzuki Foundation said:
It’s hypocritical to chair a process that you don’t want to be part of...We’re asking [the Minister of the Environment] to step down because the international climate change process needs—and deserves—someone who will champion the Kyoto Protocol.
    Clearly the environment is not one of the Conservatives' top five priorities. It is probably not in its top 100 priorities. However, it is a priority for Canadians. The health, economic and social well-being of Canadians are at stake and they have entrusted us to protect and promote their interests.

[Translation]

    This government maintains that there is no point continuing, since Canada will not be meeting its Kyoto targets. It fails to mention, however, that over the past 13 years, our energy exports increased by 52% while the economy grew by 43%, largely in the energy sector, which is the main cause of the increase in our emissions.
    It is possible to have economic growth while at the same time having responsible environmental policies. This entails providing incentives for investment and for consumers as well.

[English]

    Governments everywhere in the world are doing that. They are investing in the environment. They are putting in place incentives for consumers and for businesses to do that. That is what the Liberal government did. That is why the 2004 budget was referred to by the Sierra Club as one of the greenest budgets in the history of Canada.
    What has the Conservative government done? It has said goodbye to the one tonne challenge, a program that encouraged Canadians to change their lifestyles to respect the environment. It is goodbye to the EnerGuide retrofit program, designed to help low income Canadians to save money on energy and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a program that was documented by Environment Canada officials as being one hundred times more efficient than the government's bus transit pass program.
    That is why the international environmental community is asking for the Minister of the Environment to resign her presidency of the UN climate change conference in Bonn. It is the international environmental community that is now ready to say goodbye to that minister.
    John Bennett, chair of the Climate Action Network has this to say about the Conservative Party, “This party that's in power now campaigned about the dishonesty of other parties and on this issue of Kyoto, they couldn't be more dishonest than they're behaving right now....An honourable minister doesn't continue to participate in something they disagree with”.
     Why does the government not apply some determination to meeting the challenge of climate change and engaging Canadians in that? Climate change is a long term commitment and it does not end with the first reporting period of Kyoto in 2012. In fact, it is just the beginning.

  (1125)  

[Translation]

    Environmental policies have to be used to create favourable conditions and promote economic growth.

[English]

    The growth of clean energy technology in Canada not only improves the environmental performance of Canadian companies, but it has attracted investment in cleaner and more energy efficient technologies, which have strengthened the competitiveness of Canadian firms.
    Equally important is the environmental leadership of Canadian companies in the global marketplace. Canadian companies have identified the nexus between the environmental stewardship and competitive performance, developing export markets for clean technologies and processes in countries like China, India and Brazil. It is important to recognize that we gain Kyoto credits when we help countries like China, India and Brazil get the clean energy technologies they need.
    I can only lament the myopic lens which impairs the government's ability to see the enormous opportunity for Canadian technologies in these developing markets.
     Project Green, announced by the Liberal government in April 2005, was a bold and deliberate approach to ecological fiscal reform as a fundamental means of achieving our Kyoto commitments. Our plan included important measures, measures that had been successfully demonstrated in other progressive jurisdictions. We cannot expect a plan on something as long term as reducing greenhouse gas emissions to have an overnight effect. It takes time. The fact is the plan was there, it was working and it would have worked, but the Conservatives are killing that plan based on a narrow ideological perspective and a lack of believe in the basic science behind greenhouse gas emissions.
    We put in place incentives for emissions reductions for large final emitters. We put in place a greenhouse gas technology investment fund, which was designed to fund development of technologies for companies that were unable to meet negotiated targets. The climate fund was established to purchase GHG credits from firms which environmental stewardship resulted in their achieving the GHG credits. We engaged the private sector actively in what is an international imperative of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our government made a priority of working with Canadians and engaging consumers, the private sector and other levels of government in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was a priority for us because it is a priority for Canadians.
    It is not a priority for the Conservative government. I would urge the government to reverse the cuts of environmental program spending, programs that were working and could have worked and had the capacity to not only build a more vigorous 21st century economy, but also a cleaner, greener planet.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague and naturally assume that he supports the first part of the Bloc motion in particular. This motion wants the government to take the necessary measures to comply with the Kyoto protocol. He also seems to think that it is imperative for the government to table a new plan by October 15, 2006.
     I know that my hon. colleague is a candidate in the race for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Does he intend to be similarly open to the second part of the Bloc motion, which is to say that the government’s plan should include a bilateral agreement with Quebec, which could be based on a territorial approach?
     Is he prepared to indicate from his seat that this plan that the government will introduce should include the bilateral agreement based on a territorial approach and recognize—I emphasize this point—the efforts Quebec has made since 1990 to fight greenhouse gas emissions? Actually, Quebec has one of the best records in Canada when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
     Is he open to signing a bilateral agreement with Quebec that takes its efforts into account?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague’s question.
     First, national approaches are needed to deal with environmental questions. To do this, we will also have to work together with all the provincial governments.
     I too have a question. If the Bloc member is against the Conservative government’s decision to eliminate the programs to reduce greenhouse gases, why did the Bloc support the Conservative budget, which does exactly that?
     I have a hard time understanding why the Bloc supports this Conservative budget, which cuts back and eliminates many environmental programs. Why does he support a Conservative government, which is the only government in the world that is reducing environmental programs?
     I have absolutely no doubt that the member is very sincere about his environmental concerns, but I have a hard time understanding his actions and his support for the Conservatives and their budget.

  (1130)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what a historic debate this is as we watch the Liberal Party make its attempts at spinning what was an environmental disaster over the last 13 years. The numbers do not lie; they counter the spin, the announcements and all the confetti. Compared to many of our competitors, who actually did something after the 1997 signing of Kyoto to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, emissions went through the roof under the Liberals' watch.
    I know the hon. member clearly believes in the issues of environmentalism and has had a conversion around the whole concept of Kyoto, first disagreeing with it and now agreeing, but I have a question for him. In his speech, he talked about how the productivity of the economy had gone up so much and how, as a consequence, clearly emissions must have soared as well. Do he and his party connect economic prosperity with environmental degradation?
     If not, why did the former minister of the environment stand in this place and say that the only reason greenhouse gas emissions had gone up was that our economy had succeeded? Is that a fundamental belief within the Liberal Party of Canada or is it just the mild cynicism that has been shown by the various members when debating this issue?
    Mr. Speaker, there is one thing about it, if in fact there were a direct relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation, then an NDP government would not have to worry about environmental degradation because there sure as heck would not be any economic growth.
    The fact is that when there is a 43% growth in the economy resulting directly from a disproportionate growth in energy exports, and in fact a 52% increase in energy exports to the U.S., those are from the worst emitters. It does impose an extra burden on greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and it did.
    During a transitional economy, it is important now that we invest in the kinds of innovative technologies that enable economic growth to coexist with environmental stewardship. In fact, it can. Companies and governments can--
    Order, please. I see the member getting wound up for a speech and I cannot tell him that his time has expired if he never looks at the Chair.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Yukon.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is any secret, and all scientists agree, that under the Liberal government Canada has cut thousands and thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases. During those years, as we know, Canada also had, under many parameters, the best economy in the world. Of course, this paid great dividends to Canadians. It allowed us huge increases for students, for the biggest environmental budget in Canadian history and for seniors, health care, equalization and transfer payments, foreign aid, research and development, and the disabled.
    Of course, when the economy is so good, it also leads to huge increases in greenhouses gases--and there is also the oil sands development--although I do not know what the figure is, perhaps 150% to 200%. Having the most successful and expanding economy, which led to those increases in greenhouse gases, also gave us the largest challenge of any nation in the world in trying to reach our Kyoto targets. That is why the Liberal government developed a very aggressive plan.
    For today's speech, I will break that plan down into a series of plans. In spite of this increase of 150% or 200% or whatever it is in greenhouse gases because of the economy doing so well, we have still kept it down to roughly 135% so far, but the major and very complex programs that took so long to carefully put in place and negotiate are on the verge of reducing greenhouse gases substantially more toward our targets.
    I will outline these plans quickly so I can get them all into my speech. Basically they are two-pronged. First, we have been dramatically cutting emissions in reducing the use of energy. There are numbers of programs for that. Second, the other is to support renewable technology, new technologies that do not emit any or as much greenhouse gases.
    Plan one was a $1 billion green fund, which would support green projects to reduce greenhouse gases. It is also a catalyst for new technologies. What do the Conservatives have in this area? Nothing. There is no plan.
    Plan two provided up to $2 billion for partnerships. This would lever even more than the $4 billion in total because it would get provinces, territories and all of Canada involved. We need to lever this funding and have everyone involved when it is such a critical challenge for Canadians. What have the Conservatives announced in this area? Nothing.
    Plan three provided $200 million for quadrupling the wind power incentive in Canada. That is enough for one million homes. What have the Conservatives announced in that area? Nothing. There is no plan.
    Plan four provided $97 million for renewable power production. Some examples are support for small hydro, biomass and landfill gases. What have the Conservatives announced in that area? There are no plans. There is nothing.
    Plan five was incentives for biomass. In that area, there were a number of incentives. As members know, we have supported a number of new ethanol plants. Not only do they cut greenhouse gases, but they also offer big support for farmers. This gives them another area in which to sell their products. Once again, we have heard no details of any plan in that area.
    Plan six was the quadrupling of the EnerGuide. Another $225 million was provided to improve the energy efficiency of houses. It allowed all Canadians to participate. Government itself cannot deal with this huge challenge. Why would it have been recommended that the program be quadrupled if the program was not working? There were 500,000 homes in Canada in the program. Some parliamentarians actually spoke about not hearing of Canadians cutting greenhouse gases, but 500,000 Canadians are aware of it. In fact, I think the Conservative government has actually cut some or all of that program. Of course there were expenses in that program for house inspectors, but that is what part of the program is designed for.
    Plan seven provided $200 million for a sustainable energy, science and technology strategy. When R and D is slashed for things such as this in this country, like last budget did, it is obviously going to be very critical for the future of our children. New technologies for transportation are the key to cutting greenhouse gases and we were moving in that direction.

  (1135)  

    Plan eight, the green municipal fund, is a great success story, as everyone knows. For over a decade, the leader of the NDP was very complimentary in praising this program. The former prime minister, the member for LaSalle—Émard, was of course a real champion in funding this program for municipalities across the country. In the tight times, when there were large deficits and we had to cut expenditures, I remember how excited I was all those years ago because he increased that funding when he was finance minister. Over the years, over a billion dollars has been invested in green infrastructure projects in municipalities, with this made in Canada plan cutting tonnes and tonnes of greenhouse gases.
    Plan nine funds were for brownfields. It is very important to municipalities to clean them up.
    Plan 10, made in Canada, was to cut greenhouse gases with clean power generation. This has been inspired through tax cuts. I am sure the Conservative government would at least agree with tax cuts. We put the capital cost allowance for these green power generations up from 30% to 50%.
    Plan 11 is clean coal. Once we scrub out the NOx and the SOx, carbon dioxide can be one of the cleanest fuels in the world. As members know, we are leading in new technologies in that area. It is very exciting.
    In plan 12, biomass, if we manage forests and farms and once again in a special way make them more efficient, we can cut greenhouse gases. Canada has some of the leading scientists in this, and not having a plan for this would be a insult to the public service of Canada. Some of them are in our departments, in NRCan and the environment department, and they are leading the world in the reduction of greenhouse gases by these methods. I have been to their conferences and have spoken there, and I have seen their scientific papers and the tremendous work they are doing.
    Plan 13, made in Canada, is carbon sequestration. Once again this is another area in which Canada leads the world and where we are reducing huge amounts of greenhouse gases. There is enough potential there, by some estimates, to take all of Canada's greenhouse gases.
    For plan 14, the last speaker mentioned this technology, which is that we are helping China with technologies. I cannot imagine that any parliamentarian thinks that all the greenhouse gases harming us come from Canada.
    Plan 15, made in Canada, is landfill waste, for which Alberta has some great projects.
    Plan 16 is the east-west grid. When we can share electricity that does not produce greenhouse gases, it is obviously a benefit.
    Plan 17 is the EnerGuide for low income people. What more noble initiative can there be for the Government of Canada?
    For all these plans, of course, we have heard nothing new announced by the Conservative government.
    Plan 18, made in Canada, is about the mandatory plan for large final emitters, which is huge, with 700 companies and the potential for three megatonnes or even more in cutting greenhouse gases. This is legislated. I could tell members much more about this, but I do not have enough time left.
    Plan 19, made in Canada, is that once again we are leading the world, this time with an auto emissions reduction plan, which means another potential five megatonnes. It is argued by many that through fuel savings and hybrid power trains these would be the best auto emissions in the world. It is even better because it is voluntary, not mandatory, which means we get much more buy-in and much more effectiveness.
    Plan 20 is the one tonne challenge which, as everyone knows, has cut thousands and thousands of tonnes.
    Plan 21 is for BIOCAP. I have not heard anything about the government supporting this.
    Plan 22, made in Canada, has to do with solar power.
    There we have it, 22 made in Canada plans that have reduced thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases in Canada. What did we hear when the government took power? We heard that something like 15 programs have been cut right off the bat. They were just allowed to expire. The government did not even have to cut them.
    This great opportunity for Canada has been lost. We were on the cusp of these new technologies with all these programs. We could have sold them to the world. Now we are going to be forced to buy them from other countries. Canada is going to have to pay other countries for these technologies that we were developing and that have now been cut.

  (1140)  

    I would like members to think of a scenario. Imagine a hospital in Calgary during a snowstorm and all the patients have been put out on the street because someone has said, “We are going to do it better. We are going to have a better hospital. We are going to have a better plan, but for now there is no plan. We are going to cut the money in half. There will be a better plan, but until we do that, sit on the street”.
    We should not eliminate a whole host of somewhat effective plans, some more effective than others, and then have nothing to replace them with when Canada is in such a crisis. The Conservative government certainly must be held to account for that.
    Mr. Speaker, I have spoken often with the member on this file. His region of the world in the far north is one of those regions most affected by government inaction when it comes to climate change. It affects those folks who depend on subsistence lifestyles. The very nature and makeup of our north has fundamentally shifted.
    The debate is essentially over with respect to the impacts of climate change. In the Auditor General's report on his previous government's action with respect to climate change, $3.7 billion had been announced, yet when the auditors took a look at the books after that money was meant to have been spent, a little under $1.1 billion, less than a third of the money promised, had actually been rolled out and spent.
    There are communities across the region that I represent in the northwest of British Columbia that have projects on the table, designed with architects to reduce their emissions. Many of the programs the member mentioned had restrictions in them that were impossible to meet and none of the programs were funded. I know he has municipalities that face the same challenge.
    Again, the question goes to his party's argument that we exported a lot of gas to the United States, we subsidized the oil and gas sector in the amount of $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion a year to create those incentives so that they could do those exports and raise our greenhouse gas, and therefore, it was impossible for us to make any of these reductions. All the while from 1997 to 2005 there was no plan in place at all.
    The auditor herself said the government was gone before the confetti hit the floor. Could the member address some of those concerns?

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted my colleague brought up some points that I did not have time to get across in my speech. Of course, I have to remind him that my riding just north of his is much more beautiful. We always have that argument.
    The member is absolutely right that it is far more critical in the Yukon and the territories where there is the greatest amount of global warming than anywhere else in the world. It is tied with Siberia. He is right. Our economy is being affected drastically.
    Species are being affected. I could make a whole speech about it. The effects are already there. If anyone thinks it is not happening, it is already too late. That is why it is so devastating that the government has cut the adaptation part. We need adaptation as much as cutting because it is already there and we have to deal with crises.
     I was delighted the member mentioned that of our $4 billion plan we had already implemented $1.7 billion in expenditures. I will be delighted to see how long it takes the present government to come up with that many expenditures to cut greenhouse gases. As I mentioned, there are 22 very significant programs. Canada is being praised by other countries and leading scientists around the world for some of those programs.
    There are 500,000 Canadians involved. It certainly is a great spread. Some people may have been rejected, some of the programs may have been fully subscribed; I cannot get into the details, but certainly there are some success stories. It would be better to replace programs with something than to do nothing.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, 90% of Quebeckers support the Kyoto protocol, and this support is very present in my riding of Verchères—Les Patriotes. Wherever I go, I always find individuals and groups who share with me their concerns about the degradation of our planet. They ask me to keep putting pressure on the government so it stops dithering when it comes to protecting our environment.
    Young people are also concerned about this major issue, and rightly so. On April 29 of this year, at the Varennes youth festival, Mr. Gaétan Savoie, chairman of the event, recognized the exceptional work of Antoine Fillion, a 12-year-old environmentalist who collected signatures from 250 of his classmates, calling for concrete measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and who continues his daily battle to save our environment.
    I would like to have my colleague's advice on what I should tell Antoine and his friends and all those who ask me what long-term solutions have been put forward by the Conservative government to fight climate change. For the time being, all we know is that it is eliminating programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve energy efficiency, and it is turning its back on Kyoto with nothing but empty words. However, it is too late for empty words alone, and this is very troubling.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with the member. It is devastating that the government has cut these programs. Quebeckers, especially the young people in Quebec, are so supportive of improving the environment and cutting greenhouse gases.
    I hate to pick on a new member, but it is astonishing that the Bloc Québécois voted last June against $900 million in new programs for transit to cut greenhouse gas emissions to improve the environment. How could the Bloc Québécois go against Quebeckers' feelings on this? This gives me a chance to talk about the millions we also put into transit.
    If Quebeckers are so supportive of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, how could the Bloc vote for a budget that totally emasculates $4 billion in greenhouse gas reduction programs?

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Victoria.
    What a remarkable turn of events. Come election time or in watching the House proceedings, Canadians often find themselves trying to distinguish between the various parties and their positions on key issues. Sometimes voters will lament that there is very little distinction these days, that political parties merely clamour for attention, that they are all in the middle and there is no difference between them.
    Today we have the opportunity to speak about climate change, and I am very glad the member from the Bloc was able to bring the issue forward. I know the government of the day would not like to speak about it and the official opposition would prefer not to do so based upon its record. The government has various other reasons, but mostly because it does not have a plan.
    We have the chance for the entire opposition day to discuss what most in the industry and most within environmental groups cite as the single greatest challenge and threat faced by us, our communities and our economy. We must speak primarily of the international commitments that Canada has made.
    The government has talked vaguely but somewhat pointedly about the need to continue on and honour the commitments made by previous governments. The government has obviously thrown that away with respect to Kyoto and also now with respect to Kelowna, which is sad. Over many decades and sometimes not deservedly, Canada has earned itself a reputation as a country that engages the international community in a positive way, whether it was through former prime minister Pearson's work in the UN or eventually through such treaties as Kyoto.
    The Liberal Party of Canada as early as 1993 made commitments, Liberal promises, if you will, to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but once in power, the Liberals quickly went about doing the absolute opposite. For many who do not watch the Liberal Party closely, it might come as a surprise that someone could campaign year in and year out in election after election to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and then do the opposite. Anyone who works in the child care industry will know that is just endemic of a party only looking to seek power. Emissions rose 25 % to 30%.
    It is important to recognize that investment is the critical issue when it comes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is like someone starting to save for retirement at age 60. I know the Speaker is a much wiser man than that and would never recommend that to any of his constituents or friends. It is an extremely expensive way to go about making the investment that is needed for those retirement years.
    Successive Liberal governments have not made the investments to improve the productivity and efficiency of the Canadian economy and to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that it promised to do. There was a deathbed conversion as the Liberals were starting to sink in the polls and a plan finally came forward.
     I can remember day after day the then minister of the environment saying that they had a plan, that it was coming, to just hang on and have a little patience. It took years, from the signing of it in 1997 to 2005, and what did we end up with? A discussion paper about climate change. There were no targets, no timelines and no strategy whatsoever. It was a vague and wandering report on the need to do something eventually and then the burden of making most of the reductions was put on the consumers rather than the large final emitters who made enough of a stink in the lobbies of this place to push them back. It was voluntary, nothing restrictive.
    When the federal government along with Ontario was handing over some $400 million to General Motors, we said that the investment should be contingent on the automaker actually making more efficient cars. Here was an opportunity for public investment for the public good. The deal was signed, but there was nothing in it.
    There was another moment when the previous government was faced with the opportunity to simply follow in the wake of California, New York and other progressive states in the United States to demand mandatory fuel efficiency and emissions requirements in cars. Instead, we got something voluntary, toothless and ineffective, a continuation of that pattern.

  (1155)  

    The Conservatives are very interesting. It appears they have finally come to what most of the world has known for many years, that climate change caused by humans is in fact happening and it is in fact a threat to both our society and economy. For more than a year the Conservatives have stood in this place saying that they have a plan and not to worry. The reason the Conservatives would not release it, as the NDP did for discussion and debate in this place, as we were meant to do, is because, and I quote: “the other parties would steal our good ideas”. How noble.
    The Conservatives have now arrived in government. Here is the great moment and the most effective tool that any government has is the release of the budget. It is the direction of the use of the tax system to direct Canada's economy, the use of the $180 billion plus every year that is collected on behalf of Canadians. It is the time for the government to do well for Canadians.
    It is a perfect opportunity to enact this plan that is somewhere out there, but never been seen or heard from other than in this place. However, there is nothing. There is less than nothing. It is a stepping backwards in time, as if climate change was not a growing problem for Canadians, as if it was not a pressing problem for the entire world. Canadians have received nothing.
    For a government that likes to speak of its business interests I say this to the government. Last year, when the committee studied Kyoto and the impacts of climate change on our economy, business group after business group came before the committee and said that making the efficiency requirements across the board will make Canada a more productive and competitive economy, particularly when looking to our partner south of the border. We look at Washington and President Bush in power, who has more interest in Texas than in trees, and there were so few moves on climate change.
    There are groups such as the Mining Association of Canada, one of the large final emitters that the previous government would do nothing with and the present government will do less with, which came to us and said, “lo and behold, we thought Canada was serious when it signed on to this agreement in 1997. We thought the government was serious, so we went about making some of those reductions that we thought would eventually be enacted in law and nothing happened”. Well and good, it took the entire burden on and, lo and behold, it became more productive, more efficient and more profitable.
    Certainly, to invest in our economy, to make it a more intelligent, efficient and greener economy, and to create the jobs that the NDP talked about in its plan released more than a year ago seemed to be the wise environmental and economic choice. Now we have members in the House suggesting that to make environmental decisions is to threaten and hurt our economy.
    What do we have? We have a Conservative Party that says it is always wrong to associate money without actually having a spending plan in place. The government's answer in the budget to climate change and the growing and pressing need from Canadians is to assign $2 billion with no plan in place. This is bad fiscal management. It allows the industry and Canadians no certainty as to what they can invest in.
    There is no greater example for now. We know there are other cuts coming and the government has to make a number of them for all their little populous tax plans. The EnerGuide program has been cut. We have provinces and homeowners wondering what the plans will be. What should homeowners do about the retrofit that they wanted to do to lower the cost and the burden for their household with the dramatically increasing cost of energy? What should they do? Should they press ahead? Homeowners say that they cannot afford it. There are seniors on fixed incomes and they simply cannot afford it. The government was playing a small role. The NDP suggested that the government play a larger role. Instead, the government ripped the whole program out and left people high and dry.
    The NDP is calling upon the government, and within the context of this debate we hope to be joined by all members in the House, that this small incentive that had been put in place to encourage wind power in this country which has been receiving some strong accolades from both Ontario and Quebec and other places needs to be set. Wind power was not mentioned in the budget and it needs to be there.
    The NDP fully costed its plan. We looked through all the costs, the facts and figures. The party brought in economists and spent the money and time to ensure that it added up. The government was unwilling to do so. We wanted sound investments with good return on the public dollar.
    I have great sympathy and empathy for the current environment minister because she now has to go to Bonn, Germany and meet with our international partners, and defend the one government in the world that is making reductions when it comes to environmental spending.

  (1200)  

    She has to defend this approach, somehow chairing the process that is meant to accelerate and push. We know Kyoto and climate change plans are not enough right now. We have a government in power in Canada, however temporarily, that does not fundamentally believe in making those investments. It has said as much by not producing a plan when it promised it for more than a year by misleading Canadians, and presenting a budget that from all walks of the environmental circle was an absolute disaster.
    The NDP will continue to push for progressive and intelligent use of our tax dollars, and the fiscal framework that we have to finally achieve the economy that so many Canadians are demanding: a greener and more sustainable one.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my NDP colleague and congratulate him on his speech regarding the Bloc Québécois' motion.
    My colleague has made a very good point about a fundamental aspect of this issue. While the Minister of the Environment prepares to go to Bonn, our own Minister of Natural Resources, just a few minutes ago, trumpeted the Asia-Pacific Partnership's role in fighting climate change.
    First, I would like my colleague to tell the House what this really says about the government's true intentions with respect to supporting the Kyoto protocol.
    Second, I would like him to comment on this morning's speech by the Minister of Natural Resources, who told us that it made sense to abolish the EnerGuide program because it was not efficient. However, fighting climate change is important. Climate change 101 teaches us that we have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at their source, but that we also have to focus on energy efficiency.
    I would like to hear his comments on these two subjects.
    Mr. Speaker, I will reply in English because I have several points to make on this subject.

[English]

    It is incredible that a program as efficient as EnerGuide would be cut. We have report after report from internal government audits that this program was efficient and intelligent government spending. It was helping, in particular, those Canadians who could least afford to make the changes in their homes that would help reduce their monthly costs. It was helping Canadians on fixed incomes, Canadians with low incomes or on social assistance, who simply did not have $10,000 or $20,000 or $5,000, regardless, lying around in order to make those improvements.
    This government willy-nilly went and cut the program and then later, retroactively, tried to justify it, even though we have testimonials from Canadians, from the provinces and from the Treasury Board itself which has gone through analyses of the efficacy of this program.
    Yet, this is no surprise. The Minister of Natural Resources, who has become a deathbed converter to the environment file, immediately after his election and appointment to cabinet on the west coast of British Columbia said that one of the most important things to do was to start drilling for oil and gas off the west coast of British Columbia. What a stunning environmental method and technique to improving our greenhouse gas emissions. Let us go start drilling somewhere where people actually do not want the drilling to take place.
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to hear the member describe one of our programs as efficient, intelligent government spending and give a lot of credit to another one of our programs.
    The member did mention large final emitters. I did want to mention it because I did not have time in my speech to compliment the tremendous amount of work done by the officials at Industry Canada, NRCan and Environment Canada on mandatory laws that would affect over 700 companies and would have produced maybe over 30 megatonnes of cuts. It was a tremendous amount of tedious work that took years, thousands and thousands of hours, because each industry is different and there are different process emissions.
    It took a tremendous amount of work to come up with these plans. There are no simple solutions. One has to be very careful in those negotiations. I compliment the industry associations across Canada and the government employees. I certainly hope the NDP will support that initiative that was working toward so many cuts.
    The throne speech actually mentioned that the Conservatives were going to cut greenhouse gases. Normally I believe they are usually pretty up front in what they believe in. In the last Parliament they railed that this was not an issue, that greenhouse gases were just natural climate change. Why does the member think they actually put that in the throne speech?

  (1205)  

    To be frank, Mr. Speaker, I do not have a clue. When we look at the enactment of that throne speech, which is manifested through the budget and then consequentially through bills that the government will introduce, there is no timeline whatsoever that the government has talked about when it comes to the climate change file, and in terms of releasing a plan.
    At some point Canadians will realize that the reasonable requests from New Democrats, when it comes to climate change, are to simply put forward a plan that we can talk about, debate, discuss and make better, so that we can actually do something about it. Canadians are scratching their heads, and our European counterparts increasingly so, because there is a river of opportunity going by in terms of intelligent and wise investments, especially on the energy file. Governments after governments in this country have said they would like to do something about it, but when it comes time to put the proof in the pudding, they absolutely do nothing.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleagues in the NDP and I strongly support the motion by the Bloc Québécois calling on the government to take action to achieve our greenhouse gas reduction objectives as they are set out in the Kyoto protocol.
     Personally, I think that there should be more immediate and far-reaching action than the motion suggests.
     Everyone knew from the outset that the Kyoto protocol was only a first step, and a somewhat timid one at that, and that we would have to double our efforts to slow climate change and its harmful effects.
     In my province, British Columbia, the effects are already being felt. Temperatures on the coast have risen a degree. The warmer and drier air in the Fraser Valley is causing more respiratory disease and problems associated with air pollution are already serious in that region.
     Scientists are also predicting greater risks of flood, drought, forest fires and storms, and all the devastating effects we are familiar with. The costs associated with the ravages caused by the mountain pine beetle are in excess of $2 billion a year.
     It is estimated that half of the glaciers will disappear by the end of this century. That means less water for agriculture, for energy generation and for communities.
     It is not reasonable for the government to cancel the only plan we have that offers a glimmer of hope for the future without proposing an alternative. That is like driving with a puncture and having no spare tire. We have no shortage of concrete, innovative ideas or of blueprints for action. What we have is a shortage of is leadership from this government and the previous government, and that is why we are so far behind.
     I found what the Minister of the Environment said yesterday in the House disturbing, disquieting and shocking. We were hearing an echo from the White House, it seems to me. After explaining that greenhouse gas emissions had risen by 35% in Canada, she said, and I quote:

[English]

    To put that into perspective, that would mean that today we would have to take every train, plane and automobile off the streets in Canada.
    She further said, “that would be equal to four times the amount of greenhouse gases for every individual Canadian household that we would have to shut down”. I am very worried about the minister's sense of perspective.
     Looking at our climate change allies, the U.K. for example has already surpassed its Kyoto target of 12.5% reduction and is on track to reduce by 23% to 25% by 2010, all the while maintaining a 1.7% growth rate in GDP in 2005. Germany has reduced its emissions by 18.5%. I have not travelled to Europe lately, but I believe people's homes there still function properly. They still drive cars and ride trains. Heathrow Airport in Britain has not shut down and they have not switched to horse-drawn carriages on the autobahn. Therefore, I believe the minister is exaggerating her point considerably.
    The minister raises the spectre of developing nations, like India and China. Their rising emissions are very troubling indeed. However, when we point our finger at someone else, we still have three fingers pointing back at us. One Canadian still emits the same greenhouse gas emissions as ten Indians, and the current emissions overload is a result of our own excessive emissions over the past century, not India's or China's.
    What the minister should be doing instead of using India and China as an excuse for inaction, is investing in making Canada a world leader in green energy at home and for export.

[Translation]

     Nonetheless, I agree with the minister that the Liberals talked a lot about the Kyoto protocol, but they did not do much. During the election campaign, one of the candidates even offered me the excuse that the increases could be attributed to economic growth. That is like saying that if we are to be productive, we cannot be efficient, or we must be inefficient, according to the Liberals.
     But now we have the Conservatives saying virtually the same thing. They are giving up without even trying.

  (1210)  

[English]

    The Minister of the Environment sounds more like the minister of oil and gas. Why does her government continue to subsidize the oil and gas industry at a time of record profit? The minister suggests the sky will fall, that Canadians will have to live in mud huts. The problem is, the government sees conservation as the antithesis to economic growth.
    Rather than talk about taking every plane, train and automobile off the streets in Canada, why does her government not stop wasting taxpayer dollars on the oil and gas sector and start regulating large emitters and shift those subsidies to conservation measures, green energy investments and transition strategies for communities and workers? Why does the government not follow the advice of its own experts on understanding climate change, who stated last year, “Action must be taken now to limit atmospheric change...Action is essential and by no means premature. Indeed, it may already be overdue”.

[Translation]

     The minister sees only obstacles when what we have to do is look beyond the obstacles. This is obviously not a crisis that we can solve in six months. We cannot do everything at once, but we have to have a vision, a long-term strategy, to make the transition to a sustainable economy. Canada has everything we need in terms of technology and resources to be a world leader and to maintain our competitive position.

[English]

    I will go back to the minister's own department which argues:
    Major reductions in the emission of carbon dioxide are also achievable and need to be pursued simultaneously through the improvement of energy efficiency and through the development of alternatives to fossil fuels.
     It is not necessary to go back to zero. There are recommendations from a significant number of credible groups, as well as the NDP's plan which was fully costed, that propose a national energy efficiency strategy, starting with homes, energy efficient buildings and retrofit programs, establishing a made in Canada green car industry and investing in green energy and sustainable municipal infrastructure for a start.
    We need a greater urgency than the government is demonstrating. We can achieve our objectives, but it will need political will, something that seems to be absent at this moment.
    I heartily recommend, on behalf of our children, that the government review its plans and act in a more urgent manner to this problem. There is no problem that will have a greater impact on our children, on the next generation, than climate change.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, I fully agree with the hon. member.
     I applied for and participated in the EnerGuide retrofit program. If one is going to get government subsidy for making one's home more efficient, there has to be an audit. Therefore, the program required an audit by a firm that was authorized by the Government of Canada.
    The audit cost $300, but the government was going to subsidize the cost of that audit $150. As a consequence of this audit, which laid out the areas in which I could improve the energy efficiency of my home, it indicated windows, insulation and some caulking were needed. I spent the money on the windows. I also installed the additional insulation and did the other work myself. My energy bill will go down by 30%, and I have already seen the impacts of that.
    The government has now cancelled that program because the $150 subsidy for the energy audit is paid directly to the energy audit firm as opposed to being paid to me so I can pay them for it. If that is the logic of why the Conservatives cancelled the program, that 50% of the funding is going to these engineering companies to do the audit, then it appears to me that the so-called transit pass tax credit plan also must be cancelled immediately because 95% of the moneys going into that program are going to existing transit pass users. There is absolutely no measurable impact on climate change.
    Would the member agree?
    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member opposite for his work on his own home.
    In my city of Victoria a community energy plan is being implemented that will allow the city to meet the targets that have been set according to this protocol. I regret the cancellation of this program. When we begin to sensitize people and mobilize the population, this kind of program is needed. I thought it was a useful program. I and many other people took advantage of it and made some significant changes to our homes. We need this kind of program.
    The Liberals had this one good program, but at the same time they failed to regulate large emitters, which are a major source of the increase in our emissions. The program would have made a dent in the increase. In addition, the Liberals refused to implement more than a voluntary agreement on car efficiency, another area that would have been very useful in reducing—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Joliette.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member on her very eloquent speech.
    The Conservative government's position is similar to that of the American government, that of President Bush. This was made very clear in the speech given by the Minister of Natural Resources. I would like to ask the hon. member if this position is not actually a submission to the oil lobby.
    As the hon. member must know, we export 60% of our oil to the United States. Last year, the export of energy products--largely oil and gas--increased by 27.2%. Oil companies are therefore collecting enormous profits at present.
    Lastly, is this government not simply a conduit between the major oil companies and the Americans' gigantic appetite for oil? We know that they consume one-quarter of all oil production every day.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would agree that what we heard yesterday and apparently this morning--from what I have read--were in fact echos from the White House.
    It is really time to stop scaring Canadians by saying that any changes, any new programs, will lead to catastrophic results. This is not at all true. This has been proven in many countries, as my colleague before me just emphasized. Numerous examples clearly demonstrate that it is possible to continue to make progress in this area while maintaining a competitive position in the world.
    Mr. Speaker, I must inform you that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from the neighbouring riding of Berthier—Maskinongé.
    Before I begin my remarks, I would like to congratulate the member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie on a speech that was not only informative but also very passionate regarding a global issue that we just cannot ignore, as does the Conservative government.
    I also want to congratulate my colleague on all the work he has done these last few years as environment critic for the Bloc Québécois. It is largely thanks to him that Canada signed the Kyoto protocol through legislation passed by this House in December 2002.
    Lastly, I also want to congratulate him for putting forward this motion which, from what I see, has the support of the other opposition parties. It will show the Conservative government that it stands alone on this issue not only in the House, but also in the eyes of Canadians and Quebeckers.
    I will read the motion again because it is extremely clear and complete in itself, then I will have the opportunity to elaborate on its various aspects.
    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) take the necessary measures to ensure that Canada meets its objective for greenhouse gas reduction established under the Kyoto Protocol, in an equitable manner while respecting the constitutional jurisdictions and responsibilities of Quebec and the provinces; and (b) publish, by October 15, 2006, an effective and equitable plan for complying with the Kyoto Protocol that includes a system of emission objectives for large emitters along with an exchange of emission rights accompanied by a bilateral agreement with Quebec and the provinces that want it, which could be based on a territorial approach.
    As I was saying at the beginning, the motion before us today deals with a very important issue, that of greenhouse gases and global warming. Several other members mentioned it in their remarks. It is a fact that has now been scientifically proven. If we do not deal with it, not only will the consequences on the environment and even on the future of mankind be extremely serious, but they could even be catastrophic.
     Therefore we cannot close our eyes, as the government is doing, and take an approach that recognizes that there are in fact greenhouse gases and we will try to keep their future increase down as much as possible. No, what we have to do is really stop the growth of these greenhouse gases. To do that, what we need is a watershed. And as we speak, that watershed is not to be found in the books of the Conservative government or the Minister of the Environment, much less in those of the Minister of Natural Resources, according to the speech I heard from him earlier.
     It is unfortunate, but every minute that we do not make a firm and resolute decision to apply the Kyoto protocol makes the problem that much more difficult to overcome. That reminds me of a parallel I want to make.
     In the softwood lumber dispute, as our companies went on paying illegal duties to the American authorities, the problem born of the dispute itself became ever greater, for the $5 billion that was at stake became something to be recovered, for the American companies.
     It is somewhat the same thing with greenhouse gases. As long as we take no action and do not put a plan in place, those who are against the Kyoto protocol will argue that it is too much to swallow, that we cannot honour our Kyoto commitments.
     The Liberals, for example, kept to the voluntary approach. They in effect abdicated their responsibilities. The result has been a 23% increase in greenhouse gases, instead of a 6% reduction from the 1990 emissions level, as prescribed in the Kyoto protocol. Of course, those who are opposed to the Kyoto protocol will tell us that the targets are even higher now, because it is not just the 6% below 1990, now it is 6% plus 23%, for a total target reduction of 29%.
     The more we drag our feet, the more we will be told that the Kyoto objectives are unattainable and unrealistic. Therefore I believe it is necessary to alert public opinion. There is an urgent and immediate need for an effective and equitable plan, as demanded in the motion.

  (1225)  

     Otherwise, not only will the opponents of Kyoto try to find arguments in their own turpitude, but the achievement of the Kyoto targets will also do much more harm to the Canadian and Quebec economy.
     We have already fallen too far behind. The government must not wait: it must put in place an action plan for achieving the objectives of the Kyoto protocol. In the motion, we have set October 15 as the deadline for tabling that action plan. The minister has been telling us for weeks that she has a plan, people are working on a plan, it is being prepared. So I think she will have no difficulty complying with the motion when it is adopted. On October 15, then, we will begin working with objectives, with means of action and with a schedule for complying with the Kyoto protocol.
    Hon. members know that this protocol is the fruit of a global effort by the international community. Canada ratified it in December 2002 by a vote in this House. In that context, the Conservative government cannot shirk its responsibilities. It must respect Canada's signature on a treaty that resulted in the Kyoto protocol. If not, Canada's credibility, as well as this government's, will be on the line. In fact, it is already quite poor, according to the papers. We will end up in a situation where it will not be very easy to explain this position to our parliamentary colleagues from the other signatories of the protocol.
    This motion sends a clear message on the eve of the Bonn Convention on Climate Change. Canada must make a commitment to respect its signature. It must state it loud and clear. When the motion is passed, it will be clear that Canadian and Quebec parliamentarians deem respecting Canada's signature as imperative. If the government does not want to take its responsibilities, it will pay the price during the next election campaign, which will not be long from now, as hon. members know.
    As I mentioned at the start, not only was the Kyoto protocol the fruit of the international community's labour, it received support from a vast majority of the Canadian public. In Quebec, 90% think we should comply with the Kyoto protocol objectives. I want to remind hon. members that these objectives are merely the first step towards a true resolution of the greenhouse gas problem.
    The principles proposed in this motion are quite simple. They include respecting international commitments—which I already talked about—and fairness. The efforts made by the provinces have not been equal. Quebec in the early 1970s chose clean and renewable energy—hydroelectricity—which has contributed to preventing the increase in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada from being worse than it already is. As I was saying earlier, the increase since 1990 was 23%.
    Energy options have to be taken into account. We will recall—and I hope to have enough time to come back to this—that the federal government chose oil. If memory serves, over the past 30 years, more than $66 billion was provided, in one form or the other, to directly or indirectly subsidize the oil industry, while only a few hundred millions were invested in clean, renewable energy sources. We have to go back on that choice, both resolutely and actively, by turning to clean energy for instance.
    To conclude, any effective and equitable plan for complying with the Kyoto objectives that is put in place should include stringent motor vehicle manufacturing standards to improve the energy efficiency of motor vehicles. Tax measures and rebates are also necessary as incentives for buying such vehicles. For instance, we suggested that there simply be no GST on environmentally-friendly vehicles.
    In addition, financial assistance should be provided for the development of renewable energy such as wind power. Hydro-Quebec has announced its intention to make significant progress in that direction. We believe that the federal government has a responsibility because, so far, Quebeckers have paid alone for their energy option, while all Canadians benefited from it.
    I would have liked to talk about the very favourable tax system for oil companies.

  (1230)  

    In closing, we must continue subsidizing those organizations which help us toward our Kyoto objectives, and not back out, as this government did, of this unavoidable global fight.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments.

[Translation]

     I have two questions for him.

[English]

    First, does the member agree with community based programming? The government cut about 15 programs, just let them expire. It was devastating to some people in my riding. I met with some of them last night at the Embassy of Norway. They are working with Norway on greenhouse gases. They had great initiatives because they know the local area in the Yukon. They were working on those things and it is devastating that these knowledge programs have been cut.
    My second question relates to joining the electrical grid. The provinces are often responsible for the utilities. In our partnership program with the provinces and territories we were going to enhance joining electricity, which is so important to Quebec, so that if the provinces wanted some help they might be able to sell this electricity, a very clean energy source, farther than they are able to on their own.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his questions. In regard to his second question, the motion talks about a territorial approach. This is extremely important for us. As I said, Quebec and the Quebec manufacturing industry have already made choices in the direction of the commitments made under the Kyoto protocol. My colleague for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie said, I think, that the initial efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are the easiest. As we try to reduce them further, it becomes increasingly difficult. Our manufacturing industry in Quebec is in that phase now.
     The objectives must be established, therefore, on the basis of both the province and the sector. For technical reasons, some sectors unfortunately emit greenhouse gases. Take the example of cement works. In this case, overall, both the territory and the sectors will have to contribute to meeting the Kyoto objectives, with assistance from the federal government.
     Insofar as the first question is concerned, as I said, we absolutely must keep programs to provide financial assistance to groups that have expertise out in the field so that we can all promote the Kyoto protocol in what we do every day.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, did the member support our plans to legislate large final emitters? As I explained in detail earlier, government employees in many federal departments had worked for years with industry associations. I complimented the industry associations and the government employees for coming up with plans to cut over 30 megatonnes. We were in the process of putting that into legislation.
    My second comment is in regard to the voluntary agreement with the auto workers. The auto industry in Canada has followed all the other voluntary agreements with the Government of Canada. As members know, if people do things voluntarily, there is even more of a buy-in than when they are mandatory. We were being congratulated on this world-leading agreement in cutting vehicle emissions, which are a big part of greenhouse gases.
    Is the member supportive of the auto industry cutting emissions and mandatory legislation for large final emitters, both of which we were working on?

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, following up on what the hon. member said, I think that the federal government must really assume its responsibilities, especially in the automobile manufacturing sector.
     I was speaking about the oil lobby a little while ago, but this lobby and the North American automobile manufacturers’ lobby are very close. Some things seem unachievable to us. But as my colleague for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie was saying, in Europe these things have been done, not just in regard to vehicle manufacturing but in everyday life.
     I will provide an example, although unfortunately it does not have anything to do with greenhouse gases. In Canada and the United States, the little pieces used to align wheels are made of lead. We know that lead is extremely harmful from an ecological standpoint. In Europe, beginning this year, lead will no longer be allowed. Our Canadian and Quebec manufacturers who export to Europe are going to adapt to this new reality. In North America, though, they will continue using lead to make these little pieces used for aligning wheels, as if it were impossible to find some other alloy.
     It is the same thing in regard to energy. Substitutes do exist. There are technical solutions. What is missing is the political will. I think that by passing this motion, all the members of Parliament here will be sending a clear message to the Conservative government that we want compliance with the Kyoto protocol agreements that Canada signed and a real action plan by October 15.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, obviously I take very great pleasure today in speaking about this very important issue for the future of our society, namely the Kyoto protocol.
     Allow me to very sincerely congratulate my Bloc Québécois colleagues who have spoken today in this debate, that is, the member for Joliette and more particularly the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for all his work on matters concerning the environment.
     Again we have evidence that the Bloc Québécois is the party that best defends the interests of Quebeckers.
     The motion that we have put forward today calls on the Conservative government to take the necessary measures to ensure that Canada meets its objectives for greenhouse gas reduction established under the Kyoto protocol, and that it publish, by October 15, 2006, an effective and equitable plan, accompanied by a bilateral agreement with Quebec and the provinces that want it, which could be based on a territorial approach.
     As many of my colleagues have already pointed out, this motion is actually a warning to the minority Conservative government about its intentions concerning the Kyoto protocol.
     There is in fact cause for concern about the true intentions of this government concerning the Kyoto protocol. Like many groups associated with the world of the environment, we have all noticed that this government’s approach is incompatible with the commitments made by Canada concerning the Kyoto protocol.
     Our concerns are also confirmed by some new information. This information tells us of major cutbacks in various programs that were actually aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, and show that no alternative option has been proposed, nor does any negotiation seem to be taking place with Quebec to reach an agreement.
     Furthermore, in the riding I have the honour to represent, a municipality presented, in collaboration with the Régie de gestion des matières résiduelles de la Mauricie, a project to recover biogas to heat greenhouses. In addition to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this project could create some 100 jobs in this region. Treasury Board agreed to fund the project and Environment Canada approved it. All that is missing is the agreement of the Minister of the Environment, which is now harder to get in view of her position on the Kyoto protocol.
     This example shows that not only is the government not respecting the commitments contained in the protocol, but also that it is not respecting certain programs established by the former government. This government tells us that it is going to take care of the greenhouse gas problem, but it does not present us with anything concrete, while the problem is getting worse, and drastic and appropriate decisions are now becoming urgent.
     It is important to remind this House that the Kyoto protocol is a greenhouse gas reduction agreement accepted by the countries, including Canada, that gathered in Kyoto, in Japan, in 1997. Under this agreement, the signatory countries must attain a greenhouse gas emission rate for the period 2008-12 of 6% less than that of 1990. Canada, however, is emitting 24% more greenhouse gases than in 1990 and they are still on the rise.
     To achieve the reduction target from 1990 levels, Canada will therefore now have to reduce annual emissions by 32%. That is why the motion before us today is so important, to ensure that the federal government confirms its intention of honouring the protocol, that is, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels, and that it publish the necessary and equitable measures that it intends to take so that Canada meets its objective for greenhouse gas reduction in compliance with the commitments it made when it ratified the Kyoto protocol.
     That protocol, which has been in effect for over a year, was supported by 163 states that are responsible for 62% of greenhouse gas emissions.
     When I say “equitable”, I do not mean equitable only to Quebec, which has already reduced the greenhouse gases produced within Quebec. As a result of all the efforts it has made since 1990, Quebec’s contribution to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is minimal. Emissions there have risen by 8.6%, as compared to 34% in Alberta and 45% in Saskatchewan for the same period. In 2003, Quebec’s greenhouse gas emissions record was the best in Canada, consisting of 12 tonnes per capita.

  (1240)  

     That is well below the Canadian average, which is 23 tonnes per capita. Without Quebec, the Canadian annual average would be 27 tonnes per capita.
     Quebec’s performance cannot be explained simply by the fact that it chooses to use hydroelectricity. From 1990 to 2003, the pulp and paper industry and sawmills, for example, succeeded in reducing their emissions by 33%, while the aluminum industry, which operates primarily in Quebec, reduced its emissions by 15%.
     For the same period, emissions in the thermal power industry rose 41%, and emissions in the oil and gas industry climbed by nearly 50%.
     In 2003 alone, 35% of total emissions were attributable to the oil and gas industries and thermal power industry alone.
     It is the collective choices made by Quebeckers, their industries and the National Assembly that have made it possible for Quebec to achieve such encouraging results.
     Given that Quebec, and more specifically industries in Quebec, have been able to reduce their emissions, the upcoming federal plan must not penalize them. To be equitable, the federal plan must take into account the efforts made by industries in Quebec and must also call on the large gas emitters—and especially the oil companies—to make a contribution proportional to their emissions.
    This is why the Bloc is calling for the federal plan to include a system of emission objectives for large emitters. This plan should provide for the exchange of emission rights, given that these industries, especially the oil companies, will be responsible for nearly 50% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010.
    The Bloc is making another suggestion concerning the rich oil companies: in order to treat all taxpayers more fairly and equitably, the new Conservative government must no longer act like the Liberals; it has to put an end to subsidies and tax giveaways to oil companies whose profits that could be described as excessive.
    It is important to add that, while calling on the government to commit to honouring Canada's Kyoto commitment and to publish, by October 15, 2006, an effective and equitable plan, we are also favouring a territorial approach, as part of a bilateral agreement with Quebec, as requested by the Government of Quebec incidentally. We believe that this approach is the fairest and most equitable to Quebec, as well as the most effective, because the Quebec government would then be able to use better tools to achieve the objectives set out in the Kyoto protocol more quickly.
    I will conclude by saying that, as the Bonn conference on climate change nears, it is important that the federal government reiterates its commitment to Kyoto objectives. Addressing climate change is far too important to the future of our planet not to follow through. We will be facing catastrophic consequences if we do not take strong, immediate action. The lack of political will and the attitude of this government, which throws into question its international obligations and the Kyoto protocol, is unacceptable.
    Yesterday, a Greenpeace representative suggested that, by stating that it will not honour Kyoto, the Conservative government was actually taking an approach similar to that of the Bush administration. There is cause for concern when the Minister of the Environment describes the objectives set out in the Kyoto protocol as unachievable and unrealistic. That is what prompted us to put forward this motion, which is important to Quebec, Canada, all children and people all over the world.

  (1245)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Bloc for putting the word “territory” in the motion. Quite often people forget the territories. I am delighted to see that in the motion.
    We had a small disagreement with the Bloc. We agree on a lot of things. I think we are in agreement on climate change and on various programs. One disagreement we had was on the starting point.
    There were some suggestions, earlier at least, maybe the Bloc has changed its opinion, that different provinces or different countries should actually start with a credit, which means they would have to reduce less than others. It would be inconceivable to administer. How could the province of Quebec tell each city that because some of them were farther ahead than others, they did not have to cut as much, or different factories?
    Our particular plan, which we outlined in great detail, had everyone starting with so much emissions to cut, although various industries were negotiated separately. I wonder if the Bloc still has a position on that particular point.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.
    Statistics show that Quebec produces 12.2 tonnes of greenhouse gas per capita. According to the latest statistics, Alberta produced 70.9 tonnes of greenhouse gases per capita in 2003. These statistics are accurate and are the result of research.
    Why should Quebec pay for the greenhouse gases produced by Alberta's oil industry? The Bloc believes that, with a territorial approach, Quebec, which has shown its ability to reduce greenhouse gases through the development of hydroelectricity, would be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    Quebec should not have to pay for—
    I am sorry to interrupt the member. I must give the floor to the hon. member for Yukon.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the translation is not working and I wonder if, once it is fixed, the member could repeat his answer to my question.
    Can we verify that the translation services are actually working right now?

[Translation]

    Do Francophone members hear the translation?
    Some hon. members: Yes.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Andrew Scheer): Is the English translation now available? It seems that it is.
    Could the hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé repeat his answer to the hon. member for Yukon?
    Certainly, Mr. Speaker. I will summarize it.
    A territorial approach would respect Quebec's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Through hydroelectricity, we have shown that Quebec's greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced, unlike other provinces that are more focussed on the oil industry and that produce more greenhouse gas emissions.
    The Bloc believes that the “polluter pay” principle should be applied. These industries should pay more. And a province like Quebec, which has made considerable efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, should not have to pay the same amount to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan, where emissions are much higher.

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé on his excellent speech.
    However, I would have liked to know more and I am wondering about something. My colleague certainly has a copy of Canada's Greenhouse Gas Inventory with him, which gives the number of tonnes per capita, since he indicated in his speech that Quebec produces only 12.2 tonnes of greenhouse gases per capita.
    If he has that document, I would like him to give us the number of tonnes produced by the other provinces and by Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    I do have certain statistics here. I mentioned earlier that Alberta produces 70.9 tonnes of greenhouse gases. In Saskatchewan, it is 65.6 tonnes. These high numbers stem from the heavy presence of the oil industry in those two provinces.
    The document shows 15.3 tonnes for B.C., 16.8 tonnes for Ontario, 18.8 tonnes for Manitoba, 21 tonnes for Newfoundland, 21.1 tonnes for P.E.I. and 22.6 tonnes for Nova Scotia.
    As I indicated earlier, it is 26.8 tonnes for Canada, without Quebec.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
    I am proud to rise in the House today to speak on such an important issue as the Canadian environment. I am proud to be a member of a government that is facing our challenges on the environment head on by finding solutions that deliver tangible results and put Canadians first.
    Earlier today the Government of Canada submitted two sets of documents to the United Nations framework convention on climate change. The first set is Canada's 2004 greenhouse gas inventory. The second set includes two submissions that are part of Canada's new input into the global dialogue on future international cooperation on climate change.

[Translation]

    What does the 2004 Canada's Greenhouse Gas Inventory say? It says that Canadian emissions were up by almost 35% above the Kyoto target negotiated by the Liberals. That is equivalent to the emissions from all our transport vehicles, that is, all cars, trucks, airplanes and trains in Canada.

[English]

    What does our 2004 greenhouse gas inventory say? It says that Canadian emissions were up by almost 35% above the Kyoto target negotiated by the Liberals.
     The numbers speak for themselves. We have inherited a situation that makes the Kyoto target the Liberals negotiated unachievable. Why is it unachievable? Let me spell it out.
    In 2004 our emissions were 195 megatonnes above the Liberal Kyoto target. How much is 195 megatonnes? It is the equivalent of more than all of our transportation emissions, the emissions from every car, truck, plane and train in Canada.
     We would have to pull every truck and car off the street, shut down every train and ground every plane to reach the Kyoto target that the Liberals negotiated for Canada. Or we could shut off all the lights in Canada tomorrow, but that still would not be enough. To reach the Kyoto target the Liberals negotiated, we would have to shut off all the lights and shut down the entire agriculture industry tomorrow. Or instead, we could shut down every individual Canadian household, not once, not twice, not three times, but four times over, in order to meet the Kyoto target the Liberals negotiated for Canada.
    Or we could do what the Liberals thought was the answer when faced with the realization that the targets they negotiated meant shutting down Canada's economy. We could spend billions of dollars overseas buying international credits. The Liberals had set aside up to $600 per Canadian household to be sent overseas in order to help reach the Kyoto target they negotiated for Canada.
    Let us be clear. Many Canadians predicted at the time that the targets the Liberals negotiated were unrealistic and voiced concerns that a proper implementation plan had not been reached. But politics got ahead of good policy and the Liberals negotiated a target without a plan to meet it.
    So we cannot meet the targets that the Liberals negotiated, but that does not mean that we give up the fight. We are committed to real progress on cleaning up Canada's environment and on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and we are committed to face the challenge before us in an open and transparent way and develop realistic and reachable goals to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases.
    We are turning a new leaf on the environment with a commitment to Canadians that all the money for the environment will be spent on the Canadian environment. We will not send taxpayers' money overseas to buy credits. These are billions of dollars that can be invested in Canada to help reduce pollution right here at home, to build greener infrastructure, to develop new technologies and to make Canada more efficient and economically competitive.
    The principle that guides us is that in our initiatives Canadians will always come first. To that effect, our government is focused on made in Canada solutions that are inclusive and results oriented. We will respect the particular needs and circumstances of each of our country's provinces and territories, but we will always insist that our initiatives have direct benefits to Canadians and the Canadian environment. We want to see tangible benefits where it matters most to us, which is in Canadian communities.
    Our first focus is on domestic action to ensure that Canadians can enjoy clean air, clean water, clean land, clean and secure energy and healthy communities.
     We have already begun, with an investment in made in Canada solutions that deliver real environmental and health benefits to Canadians, by investing in new, greener, cleaner transportation and incentives to get Canadians out of their cars and into public transit. This is important because transportation is one of the highest contributors to pollution and greenhouse gases. In fact, in Quebec, transportation is the highest cause of greenhouse gases.
    Very shortly we will be sitting down with the provinces and territories to launch our way forward to a national renewable fuel strategy that will see real, tangible benefits to the environment and economic benefits to the agriculture sector.
     We are launching a long overdue review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Canada's most important piece of environmental legislation. The Liberals put off the review, but we committed in our Speech from the Throne that it will receive the comprehensive review it deserves for the sake of the Canadian environment.
     We have begun a review of the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which has not had a serious review since 1987.
    Soon, the health minister and I will lay out a vision and direction on the important need to deal with transboundary air pollution and will work with the health authorities across Canada and the provinces to develop the Canadian clean air act. Today Canada falls behind the U.S.A. in every industry sector on pollution control. We do not just want to catch up, we want to compete and we want to lead.

  (1255)  

    The impacts of pollution on health are well known. They are deadly, and the cost to our health care system is in the billions. Last year Ontario had 53 smog advisory days and Quebec had 34. For the first time ever in Canadian history, we saw 10 winter smog advisory days. On those days, Canadian children with asthma and elderly people with respiratory diseases cannot leave their homes. Our government knows and feels that this is unacceptable.
    The answer, though, is not to blame the U.S.A. and other countries for the pollution that crosses our borders. We have to set an example and clean up our own backyard first.
    We are beginning discussions with the provinces on a national water strategy to share information about water quality and water quantity, to ensure Canadians have access to safe and clean drinking water, and to identify the quantity and resource related issues that are emerging throughout Canada today.
     We will be working toward a system for large emitters to deal with greenhouse gases and ensure that we take the right steps to facilitate Canada's ability to contribute in what I think is our strongest capacity to this international challenge--through the development and deployment of clean technology.
    These are just a few of the things that we are working on. All of them are made in Canada solutions with real benefits and tangible results for Canadians and the Canadian environment.
     We will ensure that our domestic policy aligns with our international policy. This will also ensure that Canada will continue to exercise a leadership role within international consultation and cooperation by advancing realistic and inclusive international options within the United Nations, and we will explore other mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ways that accurately reflect our national circumstances and effectively protect our country's interests.

  (1300)  

[Translation]

    I see that several hon. members want to ask questions.

[English]

    If we can keep both the questions and the comments to a minute, we can accommodate more speakers.
    The hon. member for York South—Weston.
    Mr. Speaker, it was recently announced that the government was supporting the initiative to join the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. As I pointed out in a recent statement in the House, I indicated that at a recent meeting of the parliamentarians associated with the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum it was unanimously agreed that climate change could be best addressed through support of the international treaty, Kyoto.
    Would the minister please outline what she thinks is the definitive difference in terms of the objectives of being part of the Asia-Pacific partnership and how the government's strategy is in effect, through that organization, going to address climate change?
    Mr. Speaker, many of our international counterparts are looking at multi-track ways to address pollution, energy security and greenhouse gas reductions. The Kyoto protocol is one track. The Asia-Pacific partnership is another. The G-8 plus 5 is another. As we know, a lot of our international counterparts are engaged in regional partnerships and continental partnerships. It is an approach that Canada is looking at.
     We do not want to put all our eggs in one basket. Right now, a number of different initiatives in the international dialogue facilitate an opportunity for Canada not only to help reduce global emissions but also to take advantage of the ability for our industry to deploy to and develop clean technology for a lot of the countries that necessitate it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the minister's statements about combatting climate change are as empty as the Conservative Party's recent election platform.
    I would like to know this: given that Canada signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol, does the minister not think that she and Canada have an obligation to introduce a plan that incorporates that protocol's targets in this House by October 15, 2006? I would also like to know what she will answer next week in Bonn when countries ask the president of the conference why Canada has decided to reject the Kyoto protocol targets.
    What will the president of the conference, who today is the Minister of the Environment, answer?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be discussing with my international counterparts in Bonn next week the same challenges that I have discussed with them ever since I was appointed Minister of the Environment and president of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They are well aware of the challenges that Canada is facing with an unrealistic target that was negotiated by the Liberals in a very political manner. They understand our desire to cooperate with our international partners to find better, more realistic and more tangible ways to reduce greenhouse gases. Many of our international counterparts are facing the same challenges.
    I look forward to the discussions in Bonn. In fact, I have had discussions in Edmonton with my international counterparts. I invited the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change group to an adaptation conference that I hosted just a week and a half ago in my hometown of Edmonton, to talk about adaptation measures that we need to face. I will be discussing the same things in Bonn that I have been discussing with them for the last three months.
    Mr. Speaker, what I would like to ask the hon. minister is whether she can confirm today that she actually believes the science provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, composed of approximately 1,600 scientists from around the world? Would she actually confirm that she believes this today?

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think the debate on this issue is long gone. It has passed. I find that a strange question to be asking when Canada is engaged in a number of different international organizations, which the government is participating in, to talk about the issue of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So I would say yes, absolutely. I find it a very strange question. We are working very closely with our international counterparts to find ways for Canada to contribute.
    Frankly, as Canada makes up 2% of the global emissions, I believe the best way for Canada to participate in the global environment is by developing and then deploying clean technologies to those countries that actually are the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, that is, the United States, China and India. One of the things we want to do is make sure that we participate in ways and in partnerships so that we can do this. We can develop clean technology and deploy it to the countries that need it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have the opportunity today to speak on an extremely important subject, namely climate change. I am pleased to address the motion of the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
     In speaking of climate change, one of the elements we have to consider is the transportation sector and the contribution made by public transit to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The transportation sector offers great potential for improving air quality and reducing the effects of climate change in Canada.
     However public transit is not the only solution. We must help Canadians who do not have access to public transit, or those still unable to use it, to reduce their dependence on traditional fossil fuels. We must also look at how the freight transportation sector can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

[English]

    This government realizes that climate change is an important issue for the country.
    Just last year, as the minister indicated before and it is worth repeating, there were 53 smog days in Ontario, 24 in Quebec and three in Atlantic Canada. For the first time ever, 10 winter smog advisories in Quebec and five in Ontario were issued. This is simply not acceptable.
     I can assure members that this government is committed to ensuring that public transit is an attractive option for Canadians. Good public transit systems make a real contribution to urban planning and to the successful functioning of our communities. Good public transit systems make it easier for people to get to work and to the other activities that are key for their quality of life.
    I say this as both Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and also as past president of la Société de transport de l'Outaouais. I was also fortunate to be president of the Quebec Association of Urban Transit . As such, I have hands-on experience in this issue dealing with urban transit. I recognize the need for investing heavily in public transit and providing people with alternatives that encourage them to leave their cars at home. We must take and are taking action.
    Budget 2006 proposes a tax credit for transit passes and a $1.3 billion investment in a public transit capital infrastructure trust. As well, the budget maintains the gas tax funding commitment under the new deal for cities and communities. In 2009-10, this initiative will provide the equivalent of up to 5¢ per litre of gasoline excise tax, or $2 billion, for municipalities. I would point out that some of our biggest cities, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, have already indicated that they will use all of their gas tax funds to support public transit.
    While these actions are significant, they are not all that we are doing. Allow me to expand on the government's commitment to public transit.
    I am proud to tell members that the budget that was just adopted proposes a 15.5% tax credit for the users of public transit, which takes effect in just over one month. This is real and immediate action.

  (1310)  

[Translation]

     That means that a person who buys an $80 pass each month will save $150 a year. That is money in the pockets of Canadians who do their part by leaving their car at home. This is important now, and will be even more important for the future. We have to create a culture of public transit in Canada.
     And as the government, we will not stop there. One of the biggest obstacles to increasing the clientele of public transit is its relative cost and its practicality. So we have to upgrade and increase the public transit infrastructure.
     The government is determined to provide stable, reliable funding to the provinces, territories, cities and communities so that they can meet their infrastructure needs. This investment in public transit infrastructure will make it possible to reduce highway congestion and the associated harmful emissions.

[English]

    In budget 2006 we are providing $900 million in a public transit capital trust. This trust will help provinces provide funding for capital investment in public transit infrastructure, including rapid transit, transit buses, intelligent transportation systems and other investments, including high occupancy vehicles and bicycle lanes.
    A further $400 million in funding for public transit has been provided through agreements with provinces and territories. Nine of those agreements have been finalized and those jurisdictions already have the funds.
    The Canada strategic infrastructure fund has been renewed in the budget with an additional $2 billion. This fund is already supporting public transit initiatives, such as the Toronto Transit Commission, the Canada Line in Vancouver and the light rail transit right here in Ottawa. These measures represent real and tangible investment in public transit.

[Translation]

     Since coming to power, the government has done more than any other government to encourage the use of public transit.
     But not all Canadians have access to public transit. What is more, some people have to use a vehicle to get to work. Therefore we have to consider the matter of the fuels we use for our cars, trucks and other motor vehicles.
     Renewable energy sources offer great potential for innovation, job creation and regional diversification. We are setting ourselves the objective of 5% renewable content in Canadian engine fuels by 2010. We intend to move ahead with this commitment, collaborating fully with the provinces and territories. Here is why.
     Increasing the renewable energy content of fuels can help us achieve numerous objectives. From the standpoint of environmental conservation, 5% renewable content in engine fuels will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Biodiesel can also contribute to improving air quality.

[English]

    Economic development is important in everything we do, and there are big upsides in moving on this front. This brings a whole new business opportunity to our farmers and to the forestry industry, and strengthens the local economic bases of our rural communities. If we are smart about how we move this forward, we can help advance next generation technology development and lay a significant stepping stone to future biorefineries and related renewable industrial and consumer based products.
    As well, on May 5 I announced more than half a million dollars for projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the freight transportation sector. This funding is provided under the Transport Canada freight sustainability demonstration program.

[Translation]

     In French, this is the PDTU.

[English]

    Transport Canada is also supporting the introduction and use of safe, environmentally friendly vehicles through its advanced technology vehicle programs.
    This government fully recognizes the critical role the transportation sector plays in our economy as an open and trading based nation. This sector needs to be a focus of our attention and to make progress on both the economic and environmental fronts.
    We have taken action. We are going to continue taking action.

  (1315)  

[Translation]

    There are still a lot of members who want to take part in this debate.

[English]

    If we could keep the questions and comments and the responses to a minute, we could accommodate more speakers.
    The hon. member for Mississauga--Erindale.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the minister but first, I would like to make a comment on what I see in the environmental plan of the government.
    It gives me great concern to see the government take the initiative of downloading its responsibility for the environment on to businesses and organizations instead of taking a leading role in prevention and putting together a plan. Not only is the government risking our fiscal and financial longevity, but it is also risking the future of our environment in this country.
    While I do hear what the government and the hon. minister are saying, my question is, does the government have any targeted plans? Do the Conservatives actually have a plan and targeted goals that they expect to achieve within their mandate?
    Mr. Speaker, I will give my hon. colleague a very direct example of the plan.
    When we spoke about a tax credit that is going to be coming into play very shortly, as the former president of Société de transport de l'Outaouais on the other side of the river, for the people who live in Buckingham and who have decided to take the bus on a daily basis, their inter-regional pass costs $102.50 per month. That represents that 15% tax credit, plus another 10% that the transit corporation itself will add on to that in order to keep its clientele. That is a 25% reduction, $253 on a yearly basis, which is equivalent to a little more than two months of free bus passes.
    That is a very tangible example of what we are doing in terms of diminishing greenhouse gases.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a direct question to all government members and all members of this Parliament: what personal effort have they made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
    I can give you my own report card, and I hope that the report card of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities will be similar to mine.
    The day after our vote on the signing of the Kyoto protocol, in 2002, I bought a hybrid vehicle. I also convinced our environment critic, the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, to do the same, which he did a few months later. I also convinced the member for Brome—Missisquoi to get a hybrid vehicle. That is the effort I made.
    After that, I convinced the city of Saint-Eustache to get hybrid vehicles, and the city of Deux-Montagnes, and the city of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, and the city of Boisbriand.
    What has the minister done?
    His recommendations on transport are strictly financial and will not contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is—

[English]

    Sorry to the member, but we must allow more time for other members.
    The hon. Minister of Transport.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    My colleague is asking me what we have done. I can tell him about my personal experience as a citizen who is concerned about the environment.
    I was talking earlier about my experience at the Société de transport de l'Outaouais. Each day, 365 days a year, residents of the Outaouais region use the bridges to go to work in Ottawa. By implementing reserved traffic lanes, we have eliminated the equivalent of over 20,000 cars a year.
    These are concrete measures. Unfortunately, the previous government did not support concrete measures. I see the member nodding in agreement. However, if our credits and incentives succeed in convincing people to use public transit to go to work, I think it will be good for everybody.
    I congratulate the member on the work he has done. I believe it is important and we must continue.

  (1320)  

[English]

    I would remind the Minister of Transport to address his comments through the Chair.
    One more brief question, the hon. member for Trinity—Spadina.
    Mr. Speaker, Toronto had 63 smog days last year. Under the former Liberal government greenhouse gas emissions went up by 24% to 25%.
    Canada is the only country where we do not fund the operating budget of public transit systems. That is not acceptable. The roads are in poor shape. I am a cyclist. I ride my bike every day, but in Ottawa it is very difficult because the roads are in very poor shape.
    I was reminded that the tax credit was started in 1999. Nelson Riis, a former NDP member of Parliament, pushed for it. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is saying that we need the tax credit but the tax credit does not produce. We can buy the buses but there is not enough money to operate them.
    My question for the minister is would we be able to get a 5¢ gas tax credit now for public transit so that--
    Sorry, but we have to keep moving on.
    The hon. Minister of Transport.
    Mr. Speaker, I know the work that has been done by our hon. colleague and her husband, and all the work that was done when he was president of the federation. I was also there as one of the cheerleaders as a town councillor to push for this, so it is not just one member of the House who pushed for it. It is many people in a lot of communities in a lot of town halls and in places across this country who want to support initiatives that give results.
    Initiatives that give results are the ones that we spoke about before, initiatives for instance, whereby the government of Ontario, the municipal-regional organization in Toronto, all support public transit. We should be continuing, collectively speaking, to push for initiatives such as those so that we can not only better the health of Canadians but increase their quality of life. Those are the things that count.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to explain before my colleagues, the hon. members of the House of Commons, some of the reasons why I support the motion introduced by my colleague in the Bloc Québécois, the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, demanding compliance with the objectives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions established under the Kyoto protocol.
     I would like to say, first of all, that my personal health status has a lot to do with the extreme importance I attach to this issue. Like thousands of our compatriots and millions of people around the world, I have asthma.
     Members may have already heard me coughing here in the House, and although these untimely noises are beyond my control, I would like to offer my apologies to this kind assembly.
     I do not want to base my presentation solely on my personal situation, which is not of much concern, ultimately, in comparison with the health problems that some of our fellow citizens face.
     I should just say that I forgot to mention I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi.
     It seems to me though, and people will certainly agree, that not enough attention is paid in the current debate to the effects that greenhouse gases have on our health and how urgent it is, therefore, to take action.
     Sometimes I wonder what air those who put so much energy into polluting the atmosphere breathe or what world oil producers and other large generators of greenhouse gases live in. Do they not see the effects of all this pollution on their children, on themselves, and on the entire planet? Do they want a tomorrow for future generations?
     We should all be implementing, and should have for a long time now, lasting solutions to a problem for which we are entirely responsible as human beings.
     On the international level, we should be following the example of the European Union, which reduced greenhouse gas emissions by minus 1.4% in 2003, while Canada increased its emissions by 24.2%.
     We could even draw inspiration from Quebec, which had the best record in Canada for greenhouse gas emissions in 2003 at 12 tonnes per person. That is clearly below the Canadian average of 23 tonnes per person.
    Rather than building on all these positive models that are based on fundamental principles such as those presented by the Bloc Québécois—namely, honouring international commitments, fairness, and respect for Quebec's jurisdictions—the Minister of the Environment is considering joining the United States in the Asia-Pacific partnership.
    On April 25, after a meeting with her American counterparts, the Minister of the Environment announced that her government would be taking a page from American successes in the areas of the environment and curbing air pollution.
    Contrary to the claims of the Conservatives these days, the American approach to fighting climate change is not a model to be adopted. In fact, whereas greenhouse gas emissions totalled 23.4 tonnes per Canadian in 2003, they amounted to 23.7 tonnes per American.
    What is it that the Conservatives really want to do? Reduce or increase greenhouse gas emissions? The question bears asking.
    The Conservative government has indicated that it does not intend to attempt to honour the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels, as it deems this to be an unrealistic and unachievable target. The tragedy is that the Conservative government has shown no intention of meeting the Kyoto target.
    Not meeting the Kyoto target is tantamount to abandoning Kyoto.
    The Conservatives must realize that their position has serious consequences for Canada's credibility on the international stage.

  (1325)  

    They have to realize that their position could call the whole issue of the viability and relevance of the negotiations and the signing of multilateral agreements into question.
    The Conservatives have to realize that they must not limit themselves to spending taxpayers' money on building prisons. They must invest in measures that will ensure our safety, our health and our prosperity for years to come.
    Climate and extreme weather conditions, while they cannot be changed, are the result to a large extent of human action. We must react now and stop putting the lives of future generations in peril.
    Returning to health matters, I appeal to the conscience of the Conservatives in the hope they will follow the example of the European Union, according to which:
    Air quality is one of the prime environmental concerns of European citizens and, accordingly, of the European legislature, in so far as it affects not only the environment but also public health. The latest research has shown that air quality is one of the main causes of the increase in respiratory disorders.
    For this reason and for all the others cited here today, the Conservatives must honour the objectives of the Kyoto protocol, as the Bloc Québécois is demanding in the name of the 90% of Quebeckers who have given it their support.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, members talked about buying hybrid vehicles but studies have shown that the environmental impact is perhaps not as important as expected.
    Apart from environmentally friendly cars, we can still spend considerable amounts of money. I would like to ask my colleague opposite what the Bloc Québécois is suggesting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    There is talk about investing money, but where does the Bloc think we should put this money?
    I would really appreciate a suggestion that would not be limited to hybrid vehicles.
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to tell the member that we could start by talking about where this money must not be invested. I talked about jails. I can also talk about huge subsidies given to the extremely polluting oil industry.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for her speech on the opposition motion on the Kyoto protocol.
    I really liked the health aspects that she talked about in her speech. Indeed, often in this House both Conservatives and Liberals tell us about the economic costs of implementing the Kyoto protocol.
    However, does she not think also that we should have a cost-benefit analysis of this implementation?
    Indeed, investing in the Kyoto protocol is trying to improve people's health, trying to improve our environment, something which produces social benefits.
    Does my colleague think that this analysis must go beyond the economic aspects? Can we also consider the beneficial effect implementing the Kyoto protocol has on the health of Quebeckers and Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for that remark.
     Obviously this concept is implicit in the question, which I dealt with from another point of view. When we talk about health, in the long term we are avoiding much higher costs, and also avoiding a great deal of suffering for the population, which is entitled to breathe clean and healthy air.
    Mr. Speaker, I have listened carefully to my colleague’s speech and the comments which followed.
     She has indeed shared with us a problem that arises from the deterioration of the quality of our environment in Canada and Quebec. She feels the effects personally, particularly asthma. It has also been mentioned today in the House how much smog aggravates this situation.
     However, in her statement, there were some errors with regard to the Kyoto protocol and our government’s commitment.
     Of course, our government is in favour of pursuing efforts with a view to reducing the effects of climate change. I would like to remind my colleague that we are all hoping for the success and achievement of the Kyoto objectives. Even the most prominent environmental experts, however, acknowledge that achievement of these objectives is doubtful. Several analysts within the environmental community also doubt it.
     I would invite my colleague to make sure that, before pushing the government to make commitments, some realistic commitments are being proposed.
     She made another error in her speech, concerning the fact that the government is committed to the Kyoto protocol but it is also trying other approaches. Our government finds that the reduction of greenhouse gases is so important that not only must we pursue the Kyoto protocol, but also we must do so with the other countries who are not signatories.
     Does my colleague also recognize that, in addition to pursuing our efforts with our partners concerning Kyoto, we must continue our efforts with the other, non-signatory countries? Indeed, the reduction of greenhouse gases is too important for it to be left in such a process—

  (1335)  

    I am sorry to interrupt, but the member must be allowed time to answer the question.
     The hon. member for Papineau.
    Mr. Speaker, I reply to my colleague that obviously we must pursue efforts in all areas.
     However, we note on the part of the Conservatives a glaring failure to act. In my opinion, the best way to pursue objectives is to begin immediately. What we are being presented with is really a wait-and-see approach. This is a situation in which we will never be able to make the decision required.
     Whatever reduction we achieve with the proposals currently on the table will still be a step in the right direction as far as the future is concerned.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion by the member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie. I would also like to thank the hon. member for Papineau for splitting her time with me, so that I have a chance to speak.
     The Bloc Québécois believes that combatting climate change will be one of the most important global issues in the decades to come.
     For weeks, the Harper government has been trying to make the question of climate change and of saving the planet go away. Canada, after years of foot-dragging and a lack of political will, is already lagging behind, supposedly because the previous government fell down on the job, the targets would cost too much and the Kyoto protocol was not a made-in-Canada solution.
     The present government is using all of this in its effort to have us believe that climate change is not important and that not all climate change is Canadian, when the old saying tells us to clean up our own backyard first before looking to see whether the neighbour’s yard needs cleaning.
     The Kyoto protocol is the result of many years of work and cooperation in the international community. I myself was a Canadian delegate to the Rio Conference, for solar energy. That was when greenhouse gases first started to get talked about, under Mr. Mulroney, in fact.
     The targets and objectives are in fact modest if we are going to effectively solve the climate problems created by man. The government must commit itself to honouring the Kyoto protocol.
     How does the minister think that she is going to persuade people to reduce their GHG emissions if she gives the very clear impression that she does not know what she is going to do?
     At present, 90% of Quebecers support the Kyoto protocol. People are finding it hard to believe that Kyoto is so bad that the targets have to be thrown out with the implementation plan, because the plan was not adequate for the task. That amounts to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
     The fundamental principles on which the Bloc Québécois position on the question of climate change is based are that we honour international commitments, that we be fair, and that Quebec’s areas of jurisdiction be respected.
     The Bloc Québécois is asking that the Harper government put forward a plan for implementing the Kyoto protocol that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions--
    I apologize for interrupting, but this is the second time that the member has used the Prime Minister’s surname.

[English]

    I would ask the member to refer to him by title or riding.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I was talking about a series of measures that would respect provincial jurisdictions.
    I will respond to the member for Louis-Hébert who was asking earlier about some of the concrete measures that we would like to see. We want to see the elimination of tax breaks for oil companies. We want to see grants to organizations that contribute to the effort towards our Kyoto targets. We want stricter standards for all vehicles to make them more energy efficient. We want rebates for those who buy environmentally-friendly vehicles. We want financial support for the development of renewable sources of energy such as wind energy, which has made enormous progress over the last 15 years, but there is still a lot of work to be done in that area. We are at the point where researchers are looking to produce wind energy strictly electronically, without friction. It would be extraordinary, and we must support these kinds of initiatives.
    With regard to solar energy, we know how to produce passive solar energy, but that technology has not been applied. Therefore we need to develop it further so it can be applied universally in Canada and in Quebec.
    Photovoltaic systems which provide solar energy are about fifteen years behind compared to wind generators. So there is a lot of development work to be done in that area. We could even sell that product abroad.
    Those are concrete measures that I am suggesting in response to the member for Louis-Hébert. I am thinking about geothermy in particular. Canada's underground energy potential is enormous. I was talking with the deputy minister and we were saying that our country is extraordinary for that. It is one of the countries most capable of harnessing geothermal energy and also of putting the cold back into the ground. Geothermy used to be very expensive and worked almost exclusively with prototypes. Its price has just dropped by 50%. We need to develop that potential. There is as much energy in geothermy as there is in all the other sources of energy currently used in Canada.
    The Bloc Québécois is asking the Harper government to make public, by October 15—

  (1340)  

    Order, please. The hon. member has again used the surname of the Prime Minister.

[English]

    I would ask him to make a great effort to use the name of the riding or title of members of the House.

[Translation]

    I take due note of it, Mr. Speaker.
     This Kyoto protocol contains measures in fields of jurisdiction that are truly effective in combating climate change, such as: strict regulations on manufacturing standards for all vehicles, with stiff penalties in cases of non-compliance that will be enforceable in the short term; elimination of the GST on the purchase of new cars that consume less than 6 litres of gasoline every 100 km, and incentives for efficient trucks; research and development grants for organizations working to combat climate change, such as the Centre d'expérimentation des véhicules électriques du Québec in Saint-Jérôme; creation of a tax deduction for public transit passes; and mandatory energy-efficiency labelling on all new and used vehicles sold in Canada.
     The target for Quebec industries has to take into account the efforts they have made in the past. To determine the targets assigned to each industrial sector, the federal government must use 1990 as the reference year. Quebec’s industries have already managed to reduce their emissions by almost 10% since 1990. The latest efforts being asked of them are the most difficult to realize and the most expensive. The next federal plan must not penalize Quebec’s industries, which have been responsible and forward-looking.
     The federal government claims that to achieve the Kyoto objectives we would have to stifle the Canadian economy and send billions of dollars abroad. This is false. Just take the example of the companies that have made their investments in greenhouse gas reduction cost-effective precisely by becoming more energy efficient. I will only cite three types of plants that have adopted this principle to achieve greater cost-effectiveness: the flat glass plants throughout the world, concrete makers, and aluminum smelters.
     We prefer the territorial approach, in the context of a bilateral agreement with Quebec, as Quebec has requested. This approach is the most equitable toward Quebec and will permit it to acquire a better instrument for quickly attaining the objectives of the Kyoto protocol.
     On the eve of the Bonn conference on climate change, the Bloc Québécois feels that the federal government must encourage developed countries to renew their commitment to reducing greenhouse gases after 2012, and must persuade developing countries—and this responds to the question of the hon. member on the other side of the House—that presently benefit from a reduction leave to make quantified, binding commitments for the sequel to Kyoto 1.
     Will the only task of the Minister of the Environment be to cut the ribbon at the Kyoto 2 conference in Bonn?

  (1345)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the province of Quebec is in the fortunate position of having a generous supply of hydro power, which probably explains why Quebeckers are doing a better job. They are blessed with that asset whereas the rest of us are not so fortunate.
     I would like to refer to the member's ancestral forefathers. I recently read articles that said France had met its Kyoto standards. One explanation for it reaching its standards is the fact that almost all of its electrical power comes from nuclear power. The second explanation is the fact that the price of petroleum in France is two or three times higher than it is in Canada. Therefore, it has modified behaviour as far as reliance on motor vehicles. These are probably the two driving forces in France that explain why it has met Kyoto standards.
    This is a global problem, not just a Quebec problem. As far as the plan for Canada, would he be advancing dramatic increases in the price of petroleum and the use of nuclear power?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.
     Quebec has made choices, that is plain. It is no accident that almost all our energy, a majority of our energy, and the heritage pool we have, come from hydro power. Those are choices that were made a long time ago. We also chose not to go with nuclear. France chose to do that, but Quebec did not. Quebec resisted, because of the nuclear waste, the lifespan of which we do not know.
     The Bloc is proposing that the rest of Canada look to renewable energy. It has to be done. Renewable energy, particularly geothermal energy, is available everywhere in Canada. There may be less of it in Vancouver, but it is available in the rest of Canada. Cold climates and very hot climates provide extraordinary opportunities for geothermal energy.
     Another possibility is to look to passive and active solar energy. There is also the possibility of using photovoltaic systems. There are many, many other types of energy that the rest of Canada can use to reduce the quantity of greenhouse gases, as Quebec has done.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, sometimes this debate seems academic. I hope people realize how serious this is.
    I know the members for Yellowhead and Nunavut would agree with me that there are dramatic changes in the north. The ice roads are melting and species are becoming extinct. Polar bears, which people depend on for their livelihoods, are moving. The mountain pine beetle and Spruce beetle are coming to Yukon. People are losing their livelihoods, which enable them to feed their children. This is a very serious debate.
    I was delighted the member mentioned renewable energies. The Liberals were supporting biodiesel, cellulose ethanol, grain ethanol, deepwater cooling, solar, water, wind, photovoltaic, geothermal, landfill, gas, hydro and biomass. Does he agree that it was good for the Liberal government to support those types of renewable energies and does his party support them?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would not want to make this a partisan issue. It is already painful enough to see the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party constantly arguing back and forth. Let us be progressive, and move forward, toward the future, toward renewable energy. That is the only real way to save the planet.
     It is also important to keep the Kyoto protocol targets. If we abandon those targets, we will never be able to move on to a second Kyoto, which would be much more important than the first. The Kyoto protocol is the only way to save the North.
     What would be dangerous is for the present government to keep the targets but decide to spread them over 25 years. That would amount to saying that we will not be aiming for those targets.

  (1350)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, those of us who are very committed to the Kyoto protocol and who wish we could have convinced the Conservatives to embrace the protocol lost our opportunity at the very moment the Bloc said it would support the Conservative budget. We lost our bargaining strength.
    We could have convinced the Conservative Party to embrace and comply with Kyoto if we had the bargaining leverage. Why did the Bloc give in so easily? Why did it trade its bargaining chips and get nothing in return?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP member is in no position to be lecturing us. Last year, what the NDP got was money on paper. The NDP never had the money it traded for getting an agreement.
     In my opinion, it is important that the $2 billion was kept in so that it can eventually be invested in renewable energy, if that is what the government wants to do, just as it is important to keep the $800 million for social housing in. Those are not words; that is real. That is why we voted for the budget.
     We also really have to tackle the fiscal imbalance. For the first time in this House a government has admitted that it exists.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on the motion presented by the Bloc Québécois, which I must say is one of the more convoluted and complicated motions that I have ever seen in the House. If we read through the entrails of it, it basically says that, yes, we need to meet the Kyoto targets, but do not look to Quebec if we are to do that.
    While I would agree that we need to acknowledge and recognize early movers, and there are some in Quebec, we need to recognize that across Canada. We all have to take some collective responsibility for dealing with greenhouse gases. My colleague from Yukon has pointed out, as we all recognize, that after years of the Conservative Party saying that the science was not clear, hopefully everyone in this chamber now understands that climate change and greenhouse gases are a problem.
    We had a bit of the buck passing yesterday when the Minister of the Environment suggested that to meet the Kyoto targets we would have to take every train, plane and automobile off the streets of Canada. That is interesting.
    We do know that the transportation sector contributes substantially to our greenhouse gas emissions. What was noticeably absent was the question of large emitters. Where was that in her remarks? Large emitters are oil and gas producers and large manufacturing plants. That is why we in Ontario, for example, must take some responsibility for the greenhouse gases that are produced by the manufacturing sector. Indeed, we must do that across Canada, but how can we leave out oil and gas producers?
    Greenhouse gas emissions are something that we have to start taking some collective responsibility for. In 1997 the Canadian government signed the Kyoto protocol. The opposition has said it was for photo opportunities. That is a scandalous claim to make. We know that the Prime Minister at the time received some pressure and lobbying from environmental groups, quite rightly, that had a grave concern about greenhouse gases and their effect on climate change.
    The Prime Minister knew that the Kyoto accord was in jeopardy unless Canada signed on to the accord. The Prime Minister signed on to the Kyoto accord. What are the advantages of such an accord? The accord sets certain parameters. It sets certain stretch objectives and it puts in a framework for consequences if the targets are not met. By doing that, the Prime Minister saved the Kyoto protocol.
    It could be argued, as some of us did at the time, that the goals would be very difficult to achieve and that we had to have a concrete plan. I think the government at the time was right to sign on to the Kyoto protocol. It was not too long ago, in fact in 2005, when the previous environment minister for the government brought out Project Green, which laid out a plan to move forward on climate change and achieve our Kyoto objectives.
    Is it true that meeting our Kyoto objectives will be a stretch target? Absolutely. If we sit around in this chamber and debate and pass the buck, and throw it to the next generations, then we will have failed in our responsibility as members of Parliament. The government will have failed if it does not deal with it. We must deal with it.
    Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the member for Halifax West.
    We have heard a lot about this made in Canada solution. We do not know what that is. In fairness, the government has been in power for a short period of time, but it implies that the ozone layer knows a country's borders and that there is a recognition of that. We all know, on the Liberal side, that if Canada is to reduce greenhouse gas production, all citizens will have to play a part. That is why the previous government brought in programs such as the one tonne challenge and EnerGuide for housing which the present government is now gutting.
    This morning at committee we found out from the departmental people that what the Minister of Natural Resources was talking about in terms of a 50¢ return to the people that were achieving energy reductions, 50¢ for the department and 50¢ for citizens, was actually a bit of a stretch in terms of the facts of the case. The facts are that there is about a 12¢ administrative charge that the department has to bear, but the other part is to do the pre and the post-audit.
    Was the Minister of Natural Resources about to argue that we would not have any audit of the energy efficiencies that were planned to be undertaken? Would the experts have to go in and say, “yes, there is this kind of energy efficiency required that will be achieved”? Of course not. There is the question, was this getting the bang for the buck? However, the 50¢ dollar argument just does not cut it and we will be pursuing that one more.

  (1355)  

    There are many opportunities where the Conservative government talks about picking up the low lying fruit. We certainly have opportunities in the transportation sector. There is public transit. What our government decided to do was to invest in public transit infrastructure and in fact, if we talk to the public transit experts they say that is what is required.
    The program that the government is proposing, a tax credit for public transit users, we all know in the House that it will only get about a 10% to 20% maximum lift in terms of new users of public transit. What it does is reward existing users. That is nice. It is nice to reward existing users, but is that the best use of taxpayers' dollars? We want to get more people on public transit.
    There are a number of other opportunities in terms of biofuels, but in Canada unfortunately, we have a mixed grid with different provincial regulations and targets with respect to ethanol. We keep talking about corn, but we know that in the United States the Americans are talking about grass and corn stalks. We need to start to get a little more creative.
    I would like to talk about the oil sands because I know that it is a politically sensitive area. We know on this side that the national energy program was not the way to proceed. If anyone on this side does not understand that now, we need to examine ourselves.
    Certainly, I will not support moving away from world prices on oil and gas. If we were to put our head in the sand, no pun intended, about what the oil sands is doing in terms of our greenhouse gas emissions, then we would be missing the point. We know that areas like Fort McMurray are going nuts. There seems to be unbridled growth. We know that the oil sands production is going to double by 2012 and triple by 2020. There is about a 40% input of energy to get out a unit of energy from the oil sands. Its impact on the water resources is huge. To produce one barrel of oil from the oil sands it takes 2 to 4.5 barrels of water. The Athabasca River basin is under huge stress.
    We need to deal with these issues quickly. Is clean coal an oxymoron? I do not think so. Some would argue that it is, but we need to deal with that. We need to deal with a host of other issues in a constructive and positive way. I am hoping that is what the government will do.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I do not think the member intended it, but I think he should apologize for referring to the people of Fort McMurray as being nuts, if I heard the member correctly. That is a sentiment that exists with too many members making reference to Albertans and this just reinforces the stereotype that we have to get rid of in this country.
    It sounded more like a matter of debate, but I will check the blues.
    Statements by members.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Oshawa

    Mr. Speaker, on January 23 the people of Oshawa reaffirmed their faith in me as their voice in Ottawa. I would like to sincerely thank the City of Oshawa. I will work hard for a strong and innovative auto industry and, at last, a clean harbour.
    I invite all parliamentarians to Oshawa on June 4 for the Students Against Violence Everywhere, or SAVE, walk to stop the violence. This six kilometre walk supports efforts to stop youth crime.
    The SAVE Foundation is a proactive community group dedicated to driving positive change and to promoting a safe and violent-free community through the funding of educational initiatives, community programs, services and activities with a focus on youth.
    Let us, as parliamentarians, take a stand against all violence in our communities.

Ashley Brear

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great sorrow that I rise in this House today to convey my deepest condolences to the family of Ashley Brear, a young lady who, at the age of 22, passed away, surrounded by her friends and family, after a three-year inspirational battle with cancer.
    Ashley was the recipient of the prestigious 2005 YWCA Young Women of Distinction Award for her outstanding leadership in fundraising for the battle against cancer. Her “Keep on Swimming” fundraiser raised over $40,000 and will continue. It was my honour to have attended a fundraising event for Ashley last summer.
    Last Friday, I and hundreds of others attended a celebration of life ceremony for Ashley in Vancouver. She will be sorely missed in our community.

[Translation]

International Compost Awareness Week

    Mr. Speaker, since this is International Compost Awareness Week, I want to remind hon. members that composting is a transformation process suitable for all biodegradable residue, whether food, agricultural, industrial or sewage. All these products cannot be easily recycled any other way. These organic materials should not end up in landfill sites because they can cause pollution in the groundwater and also produce methane, which is difficult to control in small landfill sites.
    Methane produced this way is 22 times more harmful to the ozone layer than CO2. Therefore it is best to compost on a large scale in composters that fully control greenhouse gases.
    In 2002, there were only 35 centralized organic waste composting facilities in Canada. These facilities treat only 10% of all these materials.
    If we want to reduce our dependence on landfills, then we must support composting on a very broad scale.

[English]

Mirae Lee

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure and pride, as the member of Parliament for Acadie--Bathurst, that I take this opportunity to talk about the achievement of one of my young constituents.
    I would like to congratulate Mirae Lee, age 14, of Superior Middle School in Bathurst, New Brunswick. She is the winner and the finalist for New Brunswick for the Canada Day Poster Challenge 2006. She has designed a poster whose theme is “Images of Canada”.
    Mirae Lee will be in Ottawa, on Parliament Hill, to celebrate Canada's 139th birthday. If she wins at the national level, her poster will become the official poster of Celebrate Canada activities across the country. Furthermore, from June to September, the Canadian Children's Museum at the Canadian Museum of Civilization will exhibit her artwork.
    I would like to salute Mirae's classmates and the staff of Superior Middle School. They should be aware that they are in the presence of a young emerging artist. Once again, my most sincere congratulations to Mirae.

Figure Skating

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today and acknowledge two of Canada's premier figure skaters from my riding of Lambton--Kent--Middlesex.
    Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, from the Ilderton Skating Club, have brought incredible pride to our community and to Canada. This skating duo started when they were five and four years old, respectively, and are now 17 and 16.
    In December 2005 they won the Junior Ice Dance title in the Czech Republic. This March, they won the Junior Ice Dance Championship in Slovenia. This win made them the first team ever to win the Junior World Dance title for Canada. It has been 27 years since Canada won a gold medal at these world championships.
    I ask all members to join with me today to congratulate Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue on their extraordinary accomplishments and to wish them continued success in skating for Canada.

  (1405)  

Hockey

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to talk about a very important issue to all Canadians: hockey.
    First, there is a fever spreading through Meadow Lake, Hockeyville fever. On April 19, 500 hockey fans shook the roof at Carpenter High School when it was announced that their community qualified for the top 25 CBC Kraft Hockeyville competition.
    Meadow Lake has proclaimed this week, May 7-13, as Hockeyville Week. Congratulations to the people of Meadow Lake. Meadow Lake is indeed Hockeyville.
    I also congratulate two other great achievements. I congratulate the young men of Team Saskatchewan for winning the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships with a 4-2 win over Ontario on May 6.
    I also congratulate Jonathan Cheechoo, pride of Moose Factory, Ontario, the first aboriginal to win the NHL's Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy for top goal scorer.
    These events show hockey in its best light. Hockey unites communities and provides great role models and inspiration. I ask everyone to join me in congratulating these achievements.

Hypertension

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that Saturday, May 13 is World Hypertension Day.
    The purpose of World Hypertension Day is to communicate to the public the importance of hypertension and its serious medical complications and to provide information on prevention, detection and treatment.
    Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
    Approximately one in five adult Canadians has hypertension. However, many people are undiagnosed and are unaware that they are at risk. This is why high blood pressure is sometimes referred to as the silent killer.
    Health care professionals, volunteer organizations, the private sector and government are working together to improve awareness of hypertension in Canada.
    Our government is committed to making progress on heart disease and hypertension.
    I am pleased to join in the spreading of the simple message to encourage Canadians to have their blood pressure checked and to make sure that they take time to learn more about the condition. I invite members of the House to do the same.

[Translation]

Quebecor Prizes

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday Quebecor awarded two prizes to Québec artists in recognition of their life's work. The Quebecor Prize went to playwright Marcel Dubé and the Quebecor Prize for Song to singer Monique Leyrac.
    These two artists are giants who have had extraordinary careers, brilliantly representing and enhancing Quebec's culture and identity.
    Marcel Dubé, who has written over 300 works including Zone, Au retour des oies blanches or The White Geese and Les Beaux Dimanches or O Day of Rest and Gladness!, skilfully depicts Quebec during the Quiet Revolution in his poignant plays.
    Monique Leyrac, whose voice can only be compared to Gréco or Piaf, is one of the greatest interpreters of Vigneault, Leclerc and Plamondon. She was one of the first to sing about Quebec as a nation.
    The Bloc Québécois congratulates these two artists for carrying the flame and passing on Quebec's culture. They are symbols of its prolific, prolix and pertinent identity, so fragile and yet such a survivor.

[English]

Human Trafficking

    Mr. Speaker, the trafficking of women and children from other countries into Canada is a horrific crime. It is a crime that has gone unchecked for far too long.
    Women forced into sex slavery in Canada need our help. They are often victims of organized crime.
    Today the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced new measures to help victims of human trafficking.
    First, victims of human trafficking will receive temporary residence permits for up to 120 days so that they can recover from their ordeal and decide if they want to help in the prosecution of their traffickers. Second, the government will give these victims medical support and access to counselling services to help them begin to recover.
    I am proud to be a part of this new Conservative government that cares for victims and gets tough on criminals. Canada will no longer be a haven for the trafficking of women and children.

  (1410)  

Human Rights

    Mr. Speaker, on this day in 1949 the state of Israel joined the United Nations, where it has been singled out for criticism ever since.
    The UN Commission on Human Rights, whose members included human rights violators like Libya and China, has lost all credibility for the way it chastised Israel.
    Canada pushed to replace the commission with a human rights council comprised of responsible nations, but on March 15 the Conservative government abandoned this policy when it welcomed the council without stringent membership criteria.
    On that day the foreign affairs minister promised, “The Council will have improved membership...and a mechanism for removing UN member states that commit serious human rights violations”.
    Two days ago members were elected to the new council. Canada was indeed elected, but so were Saudi Arabia and China.
    I wonder how the minister will reconcile this sad reality to his pledge and how he will ensure that this human rights body does not abuse Israel, as its precursor did.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, last night this House passed the Conservative government's first budget.
    There was tax relief in every area of federal taxation, and the GST was cut from 7% to 6%. All Canadians will benefit from this initiative, including the one-third of Canadians who pay no income tax. They will receive relief almost every time they visit a cash register. That is why it was amazing to see the NDP vote against the GST cut and the Conservative budget.
     I thought the NDP would be in favour of tax relief for low income Canadians. In fact, in 1997 the NDP campaigned on fighting the GST. The NDP leader, the member for Toronto--Danforth, and 12 other current NDP members who ran in the 1997 election seem to have had a change of heart. What is it about tax relief for all Canadians, especially low income Canadians, that the NDP opposes?
    The Conservative Party is proud to have tabled a balanced budget that delivers unprecedented tax relief to all Canadians regardless of what they earn. Why is it that the NDP has now decided to join the save the GST club?

Jack Harris

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to bring to the attention of the House of Commons one of Newfoundland and Labrador's greatest citizens, Mr. Jack Harris.
    Mr. Jack Harris will be retiring as leader of the NDP of Newfoundland and Labrador at the end of this month. Mr. Harris has put in 16 years as a member of the House of Assembly in Newfoundland and Labrador. For every single one of those years he has stood up for fishermen, for farmers, for foresters, for loggers, for shipbuilders and for anybody else. If people were in trouble, they would go to Jack Harris and his staff for the assistance that they required.
     At this time, on behalf of the federal NDP, we thank his wife of many years, Ann Martin, and their three children, Amelia, Sarah and John, and the people of Signal Hill--Quidi Vidi for the proper way they voted for so many years and for giving us the opportunity to have a former member of Parliament of this House, a long term member of the House of Assembly, a great Canadian and a fantastic Newfoundland and Labradorian. We congratulate Jack and wish him all the best.

Halifax Boys' Honour Choir

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to welcome the Halifax Boys' Honour Choir to Ottawa and congratulate them on a marvellous performance they gave in the rotunda earlier today. At noon I had the pleasure of joining a number of my colleagues to enjoy the wonderful sounds of these 41 students from elementary and junior high schools in Halifax.
    These proud Nova Scotians, along with their director, Pamela Burton, and accompanist, Faith Daley, have performed in all four Atlantic provinces, Quebec and now Ontario. In 2004 they sang our national anthem and the U.S. national anthem at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. Last year they performed with such Nova Scotia music icons as the Men of the Deeps and the Rankin Sisters. They have won numerous top honours at music festivals throughout eastern Canada.
     I hope all members will join me to offer our congratulations to the Halifax Boys' Honour Choir on all their achievements, including today's wonderful performance.

[Translation]

Quebec Cystic Fibrosis Association

    Mr. Speaker, on May 13, 2006, the Quebec Cystic Fibrosis Association will host “a breath of life for William”, an event to raise awareness and funds for their organization. This event will be held simultaneously at six McDonald's restaurants in the Lanaudière region: in Berthier, Lavaltrie and Rawdon, and at the three restaurants in Joliette. I am delighted to serve as the honourary president of the fundraising event, whose spokesperson is Mr. Jacques Demers.
    All of the money raised that day will be given to the Quebec Cystic Fibrosis Association for medical research in order to help young people like William who have this fatal, genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.
    I encourage everyone from the entire Lanaudière region to come out in force and participate. I thank Mr. Martin Harvey, the owner of the McDonald's restaurants in the Lanaudière region, for his generosity.

  (1415)  

[English]

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents of Don Valley East, I would like to express my disappointment with the Conservatives' first federal budget.
    Budget 2006 is full of phony tax gimmicks so that Conservatives can find new ways to put their hands into the back pockets of hard-working Canadians.
    Take a look at the supposedly new employment tax credit. In the 1988 federal budget, former Conservative finance minister Michael Wilson eliminated the employment tax credit simply because it was a dumb tax measure. The former finance minister, who recently received a plum patronage appointment from the Prime Minister without any consultation with Parliament, finally realized that self-employed Canadians work as hard as employed people and deserve equitable treatment. Lo and behold, in budget 2006 we see the current finance minister has resurrected this phony tax gimmick once again.
     Budget 2006 is nothing more than a lame attempt to keep the hands of the Conservative government firmly in the back pockets of hard-working Canadians.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the Minister of Finance on an excellent budget, a budget which is good for Atlantic Canada and for Newfoundland and Labrador in particular.
    The budget honours our commitment to reduce the GST and to provide a truly universal child care benefit of $1,200 for each child under the age of six. It keeps our commitment to seniors by doubling the pension income deduction to $2,000 and will ultimately raise the basic personal exemption to $10,000.
    In my province the budget's tax relief measures will put an extra $124 million in the pockets of our people. The new child care benefit will put an extra $34 million in the hands of families in our province. It will provide up to $16 million for university infrastructure and nearly $10 million in gas tax revenues for our municipalities.
    Yes, it is a good budget that provides real tax relief and it puts real money in the pockets of our people.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Darfur

    Mr. Speaker, in the human tragedy in Darfur Canada has maintained close contact with members of the African Union and provides financial and technical support for peace and security initiatives.
    Through the Commission for Africa, I had the opportunity to meet with Nigerian President Obasanjo and then the chairman of the African Union. I heard first-hand how important this Canadian engagement was.
    Will the Prime Minister tell the House what specific contact he has had with President Obasanjo and the African Union, when was the last communication and are there any outstanding requests for assistance?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member will know, there has recently been a peace settlement in Darfur. We are optimistic that this will move the peace process forward in a genuine way.
    Canada, under the previous government, had already committed some assistance to international efforts, which are going on through the African Union. I know there have been discussions between officials in our government and those in the African Union and the international community, and those are ongoing.
    Mr. Speaker, there was some inconsistency yesterday between the Prime Minister and his defence minister about Canada's capacity to become further engaged in Darfur beyond the advisory role that we currently play. The Minister of National Defence said a flat no, but the Prime Minister essentially said maybe.
    This is too important a question to allow any ambiguity. Either we have the physical capacity to send more troops, if required, or we do not. Will the Prime Minister simply resolve any doubt about this matter? Do we or do we not have the necessary capacity?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday in the House and in previous days, Canada is looking at all options in terms of its future participation. They include military assistance, as well as humanitarian assistance, technical support and support on governance issues.
    At the present time, we do not anticipate any escalation of our military presence in Darfur. It is not apparent that there is a desire to have western troops. It is also the case that Canada's ability to contribute in a substantial way is limited, given our other commitments around the world. We are examining all options.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are very anxious to know the government's specific plans with respect to Darfur, what is going to happen and when. The genocide is excruciating and getting worse every day.
    Could this be another tragic case of all the world watching, waiting, talking and debating, but not actually doing anything while hundreds of thousands die?
    Could the Prime Minister share with us his plans for how Canada will make a decision in this matter, what are the essential elements that will go into that decision and when will some international action actually begin to take shape?
    Mr. Speaker, the member from Regina indicates the difficulty in his questions. For some time, we all have been seriously concerned about the tragedy and the killing that is going on in the Darfur area and in the Sudan situation. At the same time, we all know that Canada acting alone cannot effect change.
     I have had conversations on this with Kofi Annan as well as with President Bush. I know our government has been in discussions with the international community. The cabinet is examining its options, and we would anticipate having a plan to put forward in the very near future.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I hope that we have all learned a lot from the tragedy in Rwanda and about the danger of maintaining an ambiguous position on such serious issues. I think that the Government of Canada must, at all costs, be absolutely clear on this issue.
    Does the Prime Minister plan to send Canadian troops as part of a UN mission to stop the genocide in Darfur, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the international community's defence efforts are being led by the African Union. This organization is obviously not looking for Canada's participation because our country is not a member of the African Union. The government is assessing other possibilities and other options. We will make a decision once we know all the facts and all plans are in place.
    Mr. Speaker, the African Union has said that it wants help, including military help, from the UN. Why has Canada adopted a wait-and-see position rather than taking the lead and asking the UN to intervene before it is too late?
    Mr. Speaker, I have been clear about this many times in this House. This government will deploy a stronger international effort in this situation. However, as a member of the previous government, the hon. member knows that Canada is not in a position to undertake any action on its own. That is why we are working with our allies in the international community to develop a plan.

Softwood Lumber

    Mr. Speaker, the preliminary version of the agreement in principle between the government and the softwood lumber industry provides that the American government repay Canadian companies $4 billion with interest. In the current version, the words “with interest” have mysteriously disappeared, which could mean about $500 million less for the industry.
    How does the Prime Minister explain that the current version of the agreement in principle makes no mention of the repayment of interest on the $4 billion that the American government owes the Canadian softwood lumber industry?
    Mr. Speaker, the current version refers to $1 billion that will remain in the United States in binational activities. The fact is that under the final agreement, Canada will now receive more than $4 billion US.
    Mr. Speaker, my question was why the initial version referred to interest but the Department of International Trade website no longer mentions interest now.
    In addition, the agreement in principle provides that Ottawa impose an export tax. This will require that Parliament enact legislation, which the government hopes to do quickly. Yet the final agreement between Canada and the United States still has not been reached.
    Will the Prime Minister admit that it would be unacceptable to introduce legislation to establish an export tax before the final agreement has been reached and approved by the industry?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, as the Bloc leader knows, we will be introducing a bill in this House once we have the final legal wording, which the parties are working on. I expect a resolution in the near future.
    The Bloc leader knows that there is more than $5 billion in Americans' pockets. With this agreement, we will have more than $4 billion in our pockets. The agreement is good for Quebec and for Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, the agreement in principle on softwood lumber provides for the repayment of $4 billion to Canadian companies. Despite the Prime Minister's optimism, we know that it will take several months to finalize the agreement. By then it may be too late for a number of the companies that are in serious financial difficulty. In addition, several banks are refusing to provide loans secured by these future repayments until the final agreement with the Americans is signed.
    Will the government finally come to the assistance of these companies by providing loan guarantees to tide them over these months?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has stated, we are in the process of drafting the final text. We will be bringing this agreement to the House, and we look forward to that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, people in the industry expect that this will take several months; it may take until December. The Bloc Québécois has checked with the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. Loan guarantees provided by the Canadian government that are secured by the $4 billion that the Americans have agreed to repay to lumber companies do not cost the Canadian government anything and do not need to be recorded as expenses in the financial statements of the Government of Canada.
    Given these facts, why is the government refusing to provide these loan guarantees to companies that need them? Are they waiting until there are bankruptcies in the forest industry?
    Mr. Speaker, this government has reached a historic agreement with the Americans. What we are offering workers in the forest industry is more than loan guarantees, it is a guarantee of repayment. It is the guarantee of having free access, without tariffs or quotas, to the American market. It is a guarantee of a more prosperous future for workers in the forest industry. That is what the new government stands for.

[English]

Darfur

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, from Afghanistan, the foreign affairs minister committed Canada to staying in Kandahar indefinitely. The day before, the defence minister said that Canadian Forces were stretched too thin to send a peacekeeping force to Darfur. Now we have the Prime Minister saying that all options are on the table and that Canada would consider sending troops to Darfur.
     The inconsistency of the government is very disturbing and unsettling. Who should we believe, the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Prime Minister?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear. We are keeping all options open in terms of assisting with the ongoing and hopefully progressive peace situation in the region of Darfur. Canada already is providing some military equipment and technical personnel. What we will not do is abandon our military commitments elsewhere in order to go to Darfur.
    Mr. Speaker, no one is asking that be done. In fact, the government has not been clear on what its intentions are.
    While the Prime Minister figures out who is in charge of this file, we know the UN Secretary General has called on Canada to prepare a joint multilateral peacekeeping force in Darfur. We know the Chief of Defence Staff indicated that peacekeepers could be sent there.
    Instead of more delays and confusion, we need to get down to work and the government needs to develop a plan about what Canada's role will be to stop the genocide in Darfur. When will that plan be tabled in the House?
    Mr. Speaker, the peace agreement has just been signed. Canada has been doing what it can to this point. We are working rapidly to develop a plan in concert with our international allies. The NDP, frankly, has asked us to abandon other obligations, as in Afghanistan. The government has no intention of doing that. Whatever we do in Darfur or anywhere else will be on top of the obligations we have already taken on.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

Francophonie

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Canada welcomed an illustrious guest, His Excellency Abdou Diouf, the Secretary General of the Francophonie and former president of the Republic of Senegal. He is in Canada to attend the important ministerial conference of the Francophonie. It was reported that Mr. Diouf was to meet the Prime Minister today in fact. Nothing came of it.
    My question is for the Prime Minister. Why did he not meet him, when he invited him? Is his new approach to respect for francophones in Canada to not welcome with all due consideration the individual who personifies the defence of the French fact in the world?
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with His Excellency, Mr. Diouf. He was delighted to have arrived in Winnipeg. We agreed to meet tomorrow during the ministerial conference of the Francophonie. We both agree that the conference will be productive.
    Mr. Speaker, they even were so offensive as to oblige His Excellency, Secretary General Diouf to submit to a body search at the Toronto airport. That is really scandalous.
    As the member for the riding hosting this important international conference, I ask the Prime Minister what he intends to do to remedy these two diplomatic incidents, which are an affront to our special guest and seriously damage Canada's international reputation.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said a few minutes ago, I had the opportunity to speak with His Excellency Mr. Diouf. Our relations with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie are excellent. I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Diouf when I was in Paris at the end of March, and we agreed to work at the ministerial conference of the Francophonie to be held on the weekend in Saint-Boniface.

Arts and Culture

    Mr. Speaker, last Monday, in a burst of self-satisfaction, the Minister of Canadian Heritage quoted the president of the Canada Council for the Arts. Since the minister likes quotations,here is another one:
We will keep this promise of $306 million for the Canada Council for the Arts, which will double that agency's budget. Because we believe in the importance of the Canada Council for the Canadian arts community.
    Can the minister tell us who spoke those words, on January 12, 2006—in the middle of the election campaign—on the CBC?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud, as I was then, to be part of this government and this party. I want to point out that the government has acted and has given $50 million of new money to the Canada Council. We delivered on that. We have also enabled greater support for the community through the tax measure of allowing charitable donations to be given in shares and property.
     These are actions, not just words. We said what we would do and we have done it.
    Mr. Speaker, for those who are wondering, the author of that quote was the minister herself. Everyone who believed her is rather seriously disappointed.
    Here is another quote. Can she identify who said or wrote, “We would significantly reduce CBC operating subsidy by commercialization of CBC television”? Here is a hint. He sits at the desk next to her and he is her parliamentary secretary.
    The question then becomes, does the minister agree with her parliamentary secretary?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The question was asked of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and she has the floor to answer. Everyone wants to hear the answer.
    The Minister of Canadian Heritage has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, this party has announced that it supports the CBC and Société Radio-Canada. We believe it has to remain relevant because it is supported with public funds. Even the president of the CBC and the chair of the board of the CBC are supportive of the review. They are willing participants.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment claims that in order to achieve the Kyoto protocol objectives, we would have to get rid of all planes, trains and automobiles, which is strangely close to the ill-considered statements made by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration who said on his Web site that implementing the Kyoto protocol would be a return to the stone age.
     Is the Prime Minister not worried, like more and more people are, that his Minister of the Environment has such a twisted understanding of her primary mandate?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my mandate is to have accountability on the environment and show real results and action on the environment for Canadians.
    The Bloc clearly does not have the interests of Quebeckers or the priorities of Quebeckers in mind. The largest cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec is transportation, so the Bloc's solution is to shut down every plane, train and automobile in Quebec to reach the Kyoto targets. That is not a solution that we support for Quebec.
    Instead, we have responded by investing in cleaner, greener transportation and making sure that Quebeckers have incentives to use that transportation.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister's statements are pure lies. The minister is clinging to her role as chair of the Bonn conference despite the fact that she has already lost a great deal of credibility on the international scene.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I did not hear every word, but I believe I did hear one word that is not parliamentary. The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, who is well aware of the procedures of the House, cannot continue to use such language. He no doubt wants to withdraw the word that I believe I heard.
    Mr. Speaker, I withdraw what I said. Nonetheless, the minister is making things up.
    The minister is clinging to her role as chair of the Bonn conference despite the fact that she has already lost a great deal of credibility on the international scene.
    Are we to expect to hear her say in Bonn, in front of the attendees of the conference on the Kyoto protocol, that implementing the accord means that planes, trains and automobiles will have to be scrapped, like she said yesterday during question period?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member needs to be honest with Canadians and Quebeckers about what it means to reach our target that was negotiated for Canada under Kyoto. I will give the hon. member another example of it. Department of Environment officials have informed me that we would have to shut down all electricity generation tomorrow, but that would not be enough, and we would also have to shut down our entire agricultural industry.
    I would like to ask the hon. member if he would like to tell the Quebec people that he wants to shut out the lights on them and oppose farming.

[Translation]

Textile Industry

    Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, Consoltex shut down its textile mill in Montmagny as a result of the ongoing crisis in that industry. Like the Bloc Québécois, the company's president, in a letter to my colleague from Montmagny, is calling on the government to implement a program to facilitate the entry of clothing made abroad from Canadian textiles, thus providing export opportunities for Canadian textiles.
    Will the remarks of this business leader convince the government that action is urgently needed on the textile issue?
    Mr. Speaker, we all know that there is a program in place to help the textile industry. It is called the CANtex program. Through this program, the affected industries and regions can receive non-refundable contributions of up to $100,000, thereby promoting economic diversification in the textile industry.
    Mr. Speaker, the CANtex program does not respond to the needs of these industries. When it was in the opposition, however, the Conservative Party supported the Bloc Québécois on February 8, 2005, when it called for incentives to promote the use of Quebec and Canadian textiles.
    Why is something that was acceptable then no longer acceptable?
    Mr. Speaker, since 2004, assistance was provided to more than 50 textile companies through the CANtex program, for a total of $5.7 million.
    That said, I might add that it is not out of the question that we re-examine what changes could be made in order to help the various regions affected.

  (1440)  

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, next week the Minister of the Environment is flying to Germany to chair the UN climate change conference and she will have to resign--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The hon. member for Kings—Hants has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, nobody wants her there. The David Suzuki Foundation, the Climate Action Network, the Pembina Institute, Greenpeace, the Toxics Watch Society and the World Wildlife Fund are united. They have all asked the minister to resign from her chairmanship, saying that she would be a negative influence.
    Will the environment minister do the planet a favour, stay home and resign her post as chair of COP?
    Mr. Speaker, we gave submissions to the United Nations this morning. One of those submissions is our greenhouse gas inventory, which shows that Canada is 35% higher in emissions than the target that was set by the Liberals and negotiated on behalf of Canada.
    Just to put that into perspective, to reach that today we would have to shut down every individual household in Canada not once, not twice, not three times, but four times, and that is not something we are willing to do. We are going to protect the interests of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, earlier today the Minister of Natural Resources said that the environment minister has the toughest job in the Conservative government. No doubt she does. It must be tough to be an environment minister for a government that does not believe in doing anything for the environment.
    In fact, this is what the Prime Minister said: that “the science is still evolving” with respect to climate change, and “It is a scientific hypothesis and a controversial one” that “may be a lot of fun for a few scientific and environmental elites in Ottawa”.
    When the Prime Minister does not even believe in the science of climate change, why is the environment minister trying to chair a climate change conference?
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment is putting together a real plan to deal with climate change. Let me read for the House a description of the previous government's plan:
    Instead the [previous] 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 long term planning. There was no real negotiation with the provinces or with industry sectors. In fact it was a last minute, hastily drafted agreement.
     Those are the words of the member for Kings—Hants.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The first 15 minutes were going so nicely today. Things have gone downhill and I would suggest that we try to get back up the other side with a question from the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians believe in Kyoto. The Conservatives could care less. There is now the question of the minister resigning as president of the next conference on climate change. That is embarrassing. Things have got to the point where ecology groups are asking Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair to put pressure on the Canadian Prime Minister not to abandon Kyoto.
    Will the Prime Minister be set straight by the entire planet or will he get on with the job and ensure Canada assumes the leadership role it played under the previous government?

  (1445)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have been in contact with all of my international counterparts leading up to next week. A lot of us face these same challenges Canada faces, but unfortunately some of our international counterparts actually negotiated achievable targets and we face a very different challenge in Canada, where the Liberal Kyoto plan and targets would have meant $600 per Canadian family being shipped overseas to be spent on credits for emission targets.
    We will not do that. We will defend the interests of Canadians and invest in the Canadian environment.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what is quite clear is that the Conservatives have abandoned the environment. What we do not know is why? Why have they abandoned the environment? Is it because they do not understand the issues or lack vision, perhaps? Is it because they lack the leadership, the conviction or simply the courage?
    Which of these reasons led to their abandoning the environment? Why did they abandon Canadians?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have made a very important investment in Canada. Canada is very far behind a lot of our international counterparts in investment in clean public transportation. We made it in our last budget. We have also invested very recently in incentives to make sure we get people out of their cars and into public transportation.
    Said one individual who feels that Canadians can make a difference and who is near and dear to everyone on this side of the House:
    The big news is they are proposing a tax break for people who use public transit.... When I heard this I couldn’t really believe it because, well, it makes so much sense.
    That was said by Rick Mercer.

Goods and Services Tax

    Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy of the Liberal members opposite causes me great concern. In 1993, the Liberals campaigned on a platform to abolish the GST. However, yesterday they voted against reducing it.
    The Conservative Party promised to lower the GST and we kept that promise. Could the Minister of Finance tell us the benefits of the GST reduction for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, we are a government that keeps our commitments. The reduction in the GST by one point will benefit above all the one-third of low income Canadians who actually do not pay income tax and who will receive this GST benefit.
    It will provide real benefits to every Canadian who shops. The cut to the GST also will help at the gas pumps to the tune of $220 million in savings for Canadians this year and every year going forward. The budget provides almost $20 billion in tax relief, more tax relief than the last four federal budgets combined, including the fall update.

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration met the standing committee. There he pitched the status quo, particularly on immigration levels.
    We know there is a huge backlog in family reunification. We know labour market growth will come solely from immigration in the next decade. Very soon, all population growth will come from immigration.
    The status quo is not good enough for Canadians or for our economy. The Liberals always missed their target of 1% of population. What is this minister's target for immigration?
    Mr. Speaker, I could not be more proud to be a citizen of a country that was founded on immigration. I can say that under this government we will welcome immigrants. That is why we cut the right of permanent residence fee that the previous government introduced.
    As an Albertan, I understand how important it is to welcome more immigrants to this country to address our labour market needs, and that will happen under this government.
    Mr. Speaker, that is what we heard from the minister in his vision statement yesterday, a list of issues. There was no new plan to address backlogs, no specifics to address international credentials, no plan to deal with Canada's declining refugee commitments and no surprise, just like the Liberals, the minister has no plan to deal with undocumented workers.
    Immigration has been central to nation-building, family-building and economic development in Canada. When will it make the government's priority list?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member has been. In our first budget, we moved immediately to cut the right of permanent residence fee to send the message that we welcomed immigrants in our country. That was very the first thing we did. We then moved to provide $307 million for settlement agencies across the country to help newcomers integrate. Then we moved to provide funding for credentials recognition. We moved also to provide off-campus work permits for students. Today we announced measures to protect the victims of human trafficking.
    What more does the member want?

  (1450)  

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence confirmed yesterday that he acted as a lobbyist on behalf of Stewart & Stevenson until late 2003, one of the main contenders for a $1 billion truck purchase under his authority. The minister was registered to lobby seven different departments, including national defence, to convince the government of the value of Stewart & Stevenson trucks.
    Did the minister meet with the project team responsible for that purchase?
    Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that I followed all the rules in the past, I am following all the rules now and I will follow all the rules in the future.
    While we are on the topic of trucks, the Liberals have an abysmal record. We have 2,500 trucks that are rusting out. It means that in the next few years, we will have to scrap 200 or 300 trucks each year and put them on the scrap pile. That is because of the legacy of neglect by that party. Unlike that party, we are going to take action and replace the trucks.
    Mr. Speaker, I will repeat my question once again.
    Did the minister meet with the project team responsible for that purchase? Who did he meet? How many times did they meet? When did he meet with people in DND, either on the military side or the civilian side?
    Mr. Speaker, I will give him the same answer. I followed the rules in the past, I am following the rules today and I will follow the rules in the future.
    With respect to trucks, because of Liberal mismanagement, at the moment it is costing us $40,000 a year to maintain them. Because of the Liberals, we are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars maintaining old trucks that are rusting.

Grain Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, a Canadian Transportation Agency report--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I am still encouraging this upward slope. We are trying to get a little more order in the House. The hon. member for Newmarket--Aurora now has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, a Canadian Transportation Agency report, commissioned by the previous Liberal government, shows that selling grain hopper cars to the Farmer Rail Car Coalition would save farmers millions of dollars annually and would give them a respected commercial role.
    Why did the Minister of Transport renegade on a deal to transfer the hopper cars to the Farmer Rail Car Coalition, a deal that would give farmers the respect they deserve and a financial break?
    Mr. Speaker, farmers will benefit greatly from the government's decision to keep the cars. If the amendments to Bill C-11 are adopted in the House, we will be able to work on the revenue cap. As we work on the revenue cap, we will be able to bring down maintenance costs. Those maintenance costs will then be forwarded toward the farmers and those who use the hopper cars. That represents a $50 million saving for Canada's farmers.
    Mr. Speaker, the problem is the farmers are not keeping the cars; the railways are keeping the cars. As a result, the farmers will lose a deal, which would mean $30 million. The minister substitutes with an agreement of a pittance of $2 a tonne savings. Worse, the new minister has broken his trust with the farm communities and, by his actions, admits the railways are overcharging.
    When will the government stand up for the farm communities? First, the Minister of Finance provides them with less money. Next, the Minister of Agriculture says that there is no cash for spring. Now the Minister of Transport sells farmers--

  (1455)  

    The hon. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
    Mr. Speaker, all the hysteria from the member for Malpeque aside, farmers waited for a decision on the rail cars for the last eight years. For eight years, they waited for the Liberal government to do something to help the farmers when it came to the transportation of grain. After eight years, this government took a decision that will put $50 million into the pockets of farmers and get the grain delivered on time.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice recently presented two bills indicating this government's penchant for a punitive approach. The bill on conditional sentences aims to send more people to prison, while crime is dropping markedly throughout Canada, especially in Quebec.
    Does the Minister of Justice realize that his bill on conditional sentences is aimed at sentences of two years less a day and that he will send some 5,000 more people to prison annually?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will do no such thing. In fact, these bills address a need for which people in the streets have been asking. In places like Toronto, they are concerned about the gun violence. They are concerned about the drug strategy.
    Whether it is Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver or Ottawa, they want to see action. The government will fulfill the promise that it made to the people of Canada. I hope that the opposition supports us.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, does the minister realize that by denying judges the option of issuing conditional sentences to be served in the community Quebec and the provinces will assume an additional burden by having to imprison more people, when the same money could better be used for rehabilitation and prevention?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals brought in house arrest in 1996, they indicated it would never apply to serious and violent offences. In fact, that was not the case.
    We are simply restricting the application of conditional sentences or house arrest to those crimes for which they were originally intended. That is exactly what we will do.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister made a big deal about a letter from the Commissioner of Official Languages—which was dated last January 25, by the way—and he tried to take credit for it. He forgot to mention that she hoped the Prime Minister's campaign commitments would find their way into the Speech from the Throne. They were conspicuous by their absence. Last Tuesday, the commissioner said that the Prime Minister's actions were not living up to his election platform and that she has become somewhat apprehensive and concerned.
    What will the minister responsible for respect for official languages really do now that she knows this issue is not a priority for her government?
    Mr. Speaker, it was with great interest that I welcomed the Commissioner of Official Languages' latest annual report. We will study all of the recommendations therein very carefully.
    That said, linguistic duality is a core value in Canadian society, and the government is committed to ensuring that both the letter and the spirit of the Official Languages Act are respected.
    I have started a cross-Canada tour that will take me to all four corners of the country to develop closer ties with official language communities.

[English]

Government Accountability

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have avoided accountability at every turn. They funnelled taxpayer money to Liberal campaigns through ad scams. They blew over $1 billion on a useless gun registry. They even lost $1 billion in HRDC. After all that, they then threatened to cut funding to the Auditor General.
    Could the President of the Treasury Board tell us how he plans to ensure accountability in spending taxpayer money?
    Mr. Speaker, we are going to do two things. First, we respect the important work of the Auditor General. She is a national hero in our country for the work she does on behalf of taxpayers. Second, the Prime Minister committed to introduce the federal accountability act as the first piece of legislation of his government. Once again, we have delivered.
    The good news is that this morning the legislative committee voted unanimously to sit this summer if necessary to get this important work done. Congratulations, we will have an accountable government in short order.

  (1500)  

Health

    Mr. Speaker, today we learned that Health Canada officials expressed grave concern over allegations of illegal user fees charged to patients in Quebec. Despite promise after promise from the previous government, the Liberals sat idly by and did nothing to protect Quebec patients, no letter, no fines, no action and no surprise.
    Will the minister commit today to take action against infractions to the Canada Health Act in all jurisdictions in Canada, or will he be just like the Liberals before him?
    Mr. Speaker, I have been called a lot of things in my life, but never a Liberal. I do not think that this is one of my worries.
    I too am mystified by the lack of enforcement by the previous government. I do not know what its strategy was for increasing accessibility to health care in our country. I know on this side of the House, in this government, we do have a strategy. We are working with the provinces and territories to institute the wait times guarantee.
    For the patients, regardless of where they reside, this promise means we will have a plan in place to ensure that they get the medical attention they need, as close to home as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not only illegal user fees at private clinics for which patients are paying more and more. Today we also learned that prescription drugs are costing Canadians a whopping $20 billion annually, increasing at a phenomenal rate of $2 billion a year. We now spend more and more on prescription drugs than we do on doctors.
    Nine years ago, the Liberals promised pharmacare but did nothing. Patients need federal action. The provinces want federal action. Will the government commit to taking action on the high cost of prescription drugs?
    Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, we are in the middle of a process that was started in 2004 with the provinces and territories to undertake a review of a national pharmaceutical strategy. I cannot stand in my place today and jump the gun on that. I am going to wait for that process to continue.
    When it comes to private clinics, as the hon. member mentioned, I welcome her advice on that and particularly from the leader of her party, who seemingly attended a private clinic in Toronto and did not know about it until he was asked about it by the media. Perhaps we have some things to learn from them.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Premier Danny Williams says that the Prime Minister promised during the election campaign and in writing to provide a loan guarantee for the $9 billion Lower Churchill hydro project in my riding. Last month in St. John's, the Prime Minister said that talk of a loan guarantee was premature.
    This week the premier announced that he would go it alone, once he got enough money from Ottawa to go it alone. Premier Williams is confident that his loan guarantee is in the bank.
     I am sure the Prime Minister will want to keep my constituents in Labrador, the owners of this resource, informed as to his government's plan. How big of a loan is his government willing to guarantee for the Lower Churchill development?
    Mr. Speaker, I met with the minister of energy in Newfoundland and Labrador. We had a very positive discussion. This government is committed to working with them on the regulatory reform to ensure there is full cooperation between the federal government and the province and that this project proceeds as smoothly as possible. The government is committed to seeing this project happen.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the United Nations estimates that 700,000 people, mostly women and children, are victims of human traffickers around the world each year. Despite promises to act, the previous Liberal government failed to protect victims of human trafficking. Once again, this government promised action and has delivered.
    Could the immigration minister tell the House of his plans to protect people from human trafficking?
    Mr. Speaker, for years Canada has been roundly criticized for failing to take action to protect the victims of human trafficking. In fact, in March there was another report that came out that was sharply critical of the government.
    We have moved under the leadership of the Prime Minister. He has made it a priority to ensure that we help the victims of human trafficking. We have put in place a number of new measures today, measures that have been applauded by the Canadian Council for Refugees, the RCMP, the Future Group and many other groups. That is the type of action we get from this Prime Minister.

  (1505)  

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, it being Thursday, I wonder if the government House leader could inform us of the work program that he has in mind for the rest of this week and through the period to the Victoria Day weekend.
    I wonder if he could also inform us of the action that he would intend to take around what appears to be the premature discussion in the media of the details of the Auditor General's report, which is not due to be published until next Tuesday but appeared in the press today.
    Mr. Speaker, today we will continue with the Bloc opposition motion.
     Tomorrow we will begin the second reading debate on the budget implementation bill.
    Next week we will continue debate on the budget bill and we hope to begin debate on Bill C-9, conditional sentencing, and Bill C-10, mandatory minimum penalties.
     Tuesday, May 16 will be an allotted day.
    On Thursday, May 18 at 3:00 p.m., pursuant to an order of this House, the Prime Minister of Australia will address both Houses of Parliament here in the House of Commons.
    To accommodate the setup for the joint address, the House will adjourn that day at noon, the sitting day will begin at 9:00 a.m. and statements by members will be at 11:00 a.m., followed by question period at 11:15.
    I am sure that answers all the questions of the hon. gentleman.

Points of Order

Remarks Attributed to Member for Saskatoon--Wanuskewin  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to those documents that I persuaded the member opposite, the member for Labrador, to table in the House just the other day. He had a chance to respond and I want to respond to him.
    I am glad that I was able to lure him out, so to speak, to get those documents in the House and to get the context for it. I think that anybody fair-minded, on the record then would see, as those documents were tabled, that rather than making any disparaging and prejudicial comments one would see in fact the twistedness of those allegations that he made and how he perverted my fairly reasonable comment.
    Also, indirectly, the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River had alleged those same things outside the House.
    The document that was tabled, as you know, Mr. Speaker, my press release, which is on my website, makes it very plain that I was advocating for aboriginal people because it talked in terms of how the Liberals' sentencing provisions violate aboriginal victims and how what they proposed in their sentencing regime was stigmatizing aboriginal Canadians by creating the false impression that they are more likely to commit crimes because of their race.
     I went on to point out the fact that aboriginal victims should have the same right to justice as non-aboriginal victims and that in respect to that particular bill, Bill C-416 by my colleague, the member for Portage—Lisgar, we were appealing for equality under the law, under the Criminal Code and also the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
    In that press release, I made the point that a responsible government would find ways to deal with the disproportionate number of aboriginal offenders in the public system without seriously and negatively impacting upon their aboriginal victims. I referred to the fact that on December 21, 2001 RCMP Constable Dennis Strongquill, an aboriginal, was murdered in cold blood in the line of duty by Robert Sand, who claimed he was aboriginal. The accused's lawyer requested that Robert Sand should receive a more lenient sentence because of that and justice was thereby denied to the six fatherless aboriginal children of an aboriginal man.
    Those children, and his partner as well, were victimized twice by way of that, first in losing their father, and second, by way of the Liberal system, or regime, that discounts the sentence and counts the aboriginal RCMP officer's life as not worth as much. That really to me has shades of South Africa, shades of the deep south in the U.S., shades of slavery around the world where people, because of the colour of their skin, are not counted as much, their lives are not as valuable. The life of that aboriginal man who was killed in cold blood was not deemed to be as valuable by way of the sentencing regime of the Liberal Party.
    In that particular press release as well, I referred to Police Chief Blacksmith of the Cree Mistissini reserve who condemned that policy of the previous government, the Liberal regime, and I urged the Liberals to support the bill by my colleague, the member for Portage—Lisgar, Bill C-416, in 2003, to bring an end to that assault on aboriginal victims through the race based sentencing policy for offenders.
    The record will now show that the member for Labrador was wrong when he alleged that I made disparaging and prejudicial remarks about aboriginals in respect to race based sentencing.
     In fact, the record will show that I was advocating for aboriginal individuals who were abused, who were violated, who were assaulted and then victimized twice over by their lives not counting as much because of the Liberal government's sentencing regime that was in place and which still exists to this day.
    That was my point, Mr. Speaker. I think the record clearly states that that member is more inclined to a racial based kind of scenario that in fact infers racism, because the life of an aboriginal man in that circumstance did somehow not count as valuable because of the Liberal government's sentencing regime.

  (1510)  

    I am sure the hon. members involved in this discourse appreciate the hon. member's comments. I will review them and, if necessary, get back to the House in due course.

Royal Assent

[Royal Assent]

[English]

    Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:
Rideau Hall

Ottawa

May 11, 2006

Mr. Speaker:

    I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will proceed to the Senate chamber today, the 11th day of May, 2006, at 4:30 p.m., for the purpose of giving royal assent to certain bills of law.

    Yours sincerely,

Curtis Barlow,

Deputy Secretary

Policy, Program and Protocol

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion--Kyoto Protocol  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    When the debate was interrupted for statements by members and question period, the hon. member for Etobicoke North had the floor for questions and comments. I therefore invite questions and comments for the hon. member. There are five minutes remaining in the period allotted therefor.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the hon. member's speech. I want to get his perspective because I am quite confused. I spent the whole last session of Parliament listening to the then environment critic for the Conservatives, who was from Alberta, give us his flat earth theories on how greenhouse gas emissions were something that had been cooked up, had never been proven. The Conservatives could not seem to understand where this had come from.
    Now there is a new environment minister who is also from Alberta, by the way. First, we heard she was going to have a made in Canada solution. I have been sitting in the house wondering what this made in Canada solution looks like. It sounds to me like it was a made in a Calgary boardroom solution. I notice that this week I am not hearing anything about a made in Canada solution. What I am hearing is that we have to be honest with Canadians. It seems that a sudden switch has been made from a made in Canada solution a week ago to being honest with Canadians this week.
    The Conservatives talk about being honest with Canadians. Yesterday the environment minister told us that every plane, train and automobile on the entire planet would have to be stopped if the government had to live up to any of its commitments. Today she added that we would have to shut off all the lights in the country on top of that. Then she said, and it struck me because it was so fascinating, that if we gave the people of Toronto a break on their metro passes, the environment would turn around overnight.
    I am quite confused as to exactly where the government is going with this. If I wanted someone to be a puppy dog for industry, I would ask the industry minister. If I wanted big oil to speak, I would talk to big oil. We ask the environment minister of this country, someone whose job it is to stand up and champion the environment, and we get those kinds of drab answers.
    Does the member have any clue as to where the Conservative Party is going in terms of environmental policy?

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, I say to the member for Timmins—James Bay that I am confused as he is. The Minister of the Environment stands up in the House and talks about planes, trains and automobiles. Maybe it is the old John Candy movie that she saw at some time. Then today it was about closing every household down three times. I do not know how she closes down a household three times.
    I am sure what she is trying to do is develop an analogy. The part that I found fascinating was that she left out the example of the large emitters. That deals with oil and gas producers of course and that might be a little touchy in Alberta.
    We must collectively get our heads around this issue and deal with large emitters, deal with the manufacturing sector, the oil and gas producers, and the transportation sector. We must deal with the little things that Canadians can do, including making their homes more energy efficient, including putting investments into public transit rather than these Mickey Mouse programs of a tax rebate for the users of public transit, which we know will reward the current users of public transit, but will not have any effect in terms of increasing the use of public transit.
    That is where the Minister of Natural Resources stands up and talks about 50¢ dollars. If the member wants to look at 50¢ dollars, I will show him a program that gets no impact and that is the public transit passes credit. We know it does not give anything in terms of new public transit users.
    The Minister of Natural Resources' 50¢ dollar theory with respect to the EnerGuide program was totally debunked this morning in committee. The deputy minister said that there was 13¢ in administration and the rest of the 50¢ had to do with the pre and post-audit of these energy efficiency proposals. How could taxpayers and householders be expected to say that they would save $1,000 a year in energy if they patched up their windows and fixed their furnace without any sort of objective review of that? That would be an insult to taxpayers.
    I am glad that the deputy minister of natural resources clarified that this morning. I thank him for that. Certainly, we have not had the same candour or directness from the Minister of Natural Resources or the Minister of the Environment. In fact, I would have to say that the Minister of the Environment is just confused.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to join in this debate on the opposition motion today on the Kyoto protocol.
    I believe that one of the greatest accomplishments of the previous Liberal government was the ratification of the Kyoto protocol and the development of the green plan for climate change.
    Members in the House know, or ought to know, that our party has supported the Kyoto protocol since it was first negotiated in 1997. We did that because it is an international response to what really is an international problem. We hear all this talk about a made in Canada response to this, but I think that fails to understand the problem. It is clearly a global problem.
    We cannot stop the air from moving around the world. The air does not recognize international borders. It is a bit like the fish, as my hon. colleague the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans would know when it comes to the 200-mile limit, for example. When the air goes all around the world, it does not stop at borders. Therefore, we must take measures in concert with other countries to ensure that there is a global effort.
     It is fine to have all this talk about a made in Canada solution, but it is an incomplete solution. It has to be a coherent, integrated solution that works with other countries to effect real change and a real solution to what is a global problem.
    My hon. colleagues across the way clearly do not seem to understand it from the comments and the position they have taken in the House along with the position taken by the government.
    Canada, along with 140 other countries, recognizes that we need to address the problem of global warming. Over the last decade we have been working on a plan to implement the changes needed to reduce Canada's greenhouse emissions. There have been many measures brought forward and I will talk more about those, but in fact, up to this time Canada has been a world leader in the environmental area.
    It gave me great pleasure, in December, to join the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, when he was environment minister, at the COP11 conference in Montreal. It was clear to me, as I went around the conference, that the minister from that riding in the previous government was a well respected, world class leader on the issue of climate change. He was able to bring 180 countries together to agree on an action plan for the future. That is a remarkable accomplishment. It is an action plan that would look beyond the year 2012, the date set to meet our Kyoto targets, so that we can continue to build a cleaner, greener Canada, and together with other countries build a cleaner, greener planet.
    The new government likes to pretend that it was all doom and gloom when our party sat on that side of the House, but the truth is that we did a lot of hard work and a lot of good work. Canadians know that. They know it was a Liberal government that introduced the first integrated program to deal with climate change.
    In the year 2000, before Kyoto was even ratified, Canada invested in research and in clean energy technologies. We created partnerships with the private sector to produce clean energy. We helped to fund research into the impact of global warming in the north. We know that the impact on the north is very real. We did all of this with the objective of bringing our country closer to meeting its Kyoto targets.
    Members over there may rant and rave about the various programs and whether they were perfect or not, but the point is that these were good programs and they were having an impact. However, this government shows no interest in that kind of a forward thinking program. We did all of this with the objective of bringing our country closer to meeting those targets, but that is just the beginning.
    In 2002, just before Canada ratified the Kyoto accord, it was our Liberal government that announced a climate change plan for Canada. This was a comprehensive plan to bring Canada's greenhouse gas emissions all the way down to the amount required to meet our Kyoto targets. We invested in programs like the one tonne challenge, which is essential.
    I hear negative comments about this, on and on. On all these environmental programs, we keep hearing negative comments from across the way. However, the fact is that unless we as Canadians individually take steps to meet the Kyoto protocol challenges, unless we individually take steps to reduce the greenhouse gases we produce, unless we have measures to do research so that we can find new ways to reduce those emissions, and unless we can have our companies in this country working on ways to do those things, we are not going to get there. Those are the kinds of measures we have to have and the one tonne challenge is in fact a valid part of that kind of effort.

  (1520)  

    We invested in the EnerGuide program which my hon. colleague was talking about a minute ago. It is absolutely vital, if one is going to be refitting homes, to make them more efficient and environmentally friendly. We must have people who actually go to the homes who know what they are talking about, are experts in this area, and can tell homeowners what they can do to retrofit their homes, reduce their energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    When we hear this talk about half the cost of the program being for administration, the fact of the matter is that a good portion of that half is for the cost of having people doing the very important work of going to those homes, assessing them, and giving homeowners the advice on what improvements need to be done. That was a good program which the Conservatives are throwing away for no good reason.
    We had to get these programs up and running to encourage individual Canadians to do their part to reduce their emissions. These programs enabled individual Canadians to work together to make a difference, one person at a time, and people did work together.
    Then came project green. Last year federal action to implement the Kyoto accord reached a great milestone, with a truly made in Canada plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in various sectors. This was complemented by funding and initiatives to assist with the costs of achieving these goals.
    Project green set sector by sector targets and a mix of voluntary and regulatory measures, including renewable energy incentives and a landmark deal with Canada's auto sector. I have heard the complaints from my colleagues in the NDP about the deal with the auto sector saying it was a voluntary agreement. When the auto sector reminds us that it had 14 previous voluntary agreements and there is confirmation that it lived up to those agreements, it does not seem to me all that unreasonable to accept the idea of another voluntary agreement considering that it has done so well on the previous 14. Clearly, the government had in its back pocket the ability to bring forward regulatory enforcement, if required.
    The last decade has been spent making very real progress on a monumentally large global scale problem. Canada is recognized globally as a real leader in this area. By comparison, the first thing the neo-conservative government did was to kill Kyoto and to prove it is truly meanspirited by axing the popular EnerGuide program that helped seniors and low income households. This is the same $500 million five year initiative that was extended with all party support last November. Every Conservative MP voted for it, but the flip-flop gang across the way made it the 14th Kyoto climate accord program to be sacrificed. Shame on them.
    Their arrogance and hypocrisy in this regard seems to know no bounds. Their disdain for aboriginals, low income Canadians and the environment has already clearly manifested itself. The Conservative budget has all but gutted every cent the previous Liberal government committed for the protection of Canada's environment. The Conservative budget represents a 93% cut to environmental funding and a complete disaster for future generations.
    It also represents a 100% cut in funding for climate change, ensuring that Canada will be unable to meet its Kyoto commitments. The Conservatives claim that they could not be sure we would meet them. Now we are sure we cannot with the actions they have taken.
    With no money for Great Lakes cleanup, renewable energy, energy retrofits, energy efficiency programs, brownfield cleanup or green innovation, the Conservative government is undoing a decade of progress. The government claimed it will dedicate $2 billion toward the development of a climate change plan, but the budget itself provides no money at all toward environmental initiatives other than a $10 million tax initiative for biofuels and $370 million over two years for a transit tax credit that all leading economists tell us will not work.
    The government claims it will spend $1.3 billion on public transit, but this is not new money. It is kind of like the rest of the budget. I have heard it said that this budget is in some respects good and original, but all that is good is not original and all that is original is not good. It is money, in this case, that was committed by the previous Liberal government. Instead of taking credit for the work of others, Canadians expect the government to be moving forward on this serious issue, but it is not.
    The government fails to explain why the budget allows the expiration of funding for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, the main source of funds for climate research in Canadian universities. It is hard to imagine that a government in this day and age would want to cut funding for climate research. It is hard to imagine. It is hardly a boutique program.

  (1525)  

    It was the Prime Minister himself in fact who called climate change a question of an “emerging science”. How ridiculous. From where will the science be emerging if not through universities?
    No doubt the Conservatives have friends in the private sector who will continue to fund climate change skeptics, who are decidedly in the minority now among bona fide climate experts. We have heard thousands of internationally leading scientists in this area say that this is an important international problem that requires urgent and international efforts to address it.
    However, this meanspirited minority has no business abandoning the growing sense of commitment that Canadians are feeling to making the painful choice necessary for us to do our part in saving the planet.
    Here are just a few comments on its embarrassing environmental commitment, “This budget is a climate change catastrophe. It feels like, looks like, and quacks like a made in U.S. climate change policy by George Bush”.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a couple of comments on the hon. member's speech.
    In Peterborough in 1993 smog was something that we would usually hear about from television stations in California and we certainly never had to witness it. Also, in 1993 emissions in Canada were significantly lower than they are today. We also did not have things like invasive species coming up the Trent-Severn waterway from dumping in our Great Lakes. However, in 1993 we did have a new government come into power and it did not display any leadership on the environment whatsoever.
    The hon. member referred to the Liberal government as being a leader. We are second last or last in virtually every key indicator with respect to emissions.
    Will the hon. member now admit before the House that the Liberal Kyoto plan was nothing more than a marketing plan and had nothing to do with sound environmental stewardship?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a ridiculous assessment. My hon. colleague ought to know by now that the last government had many positive measures in relation to the environment. Let us look at a few of them in relation to climate change: the urban transportation showcase plan; the concrete roads program; electricity reduced trade barriers program; the supply chain management pilot project; and the feasibility assessment for afforestation for carbon sequestration initiative. I could go on and on. There are many more examples of good programs that the previous government introduced.
    I think all members recognize this is a difficult problem. We have a country in which we rely on using automobiles and buses for our economic activity. We use a lot of petroleum. All these things are important parts of our economy. We have chemicals we use in a whole range of ways. Whether it be in agriculture or industry, all these things involve problems involving our environment and they present real challenges to us. These challenges are not necessarily simple. There are no quick and easy solutions, but it is important that we have programs to address them and work to solve them. That is what the last government did.
    With the new government, in relation to the climate change issue, we see an abandonment of anything that we did.
     It is fine to attack other parties and we do a lot of that around here. We are guilty of doing that. However, to say that anything the last government did has to be bad is ridiculous and unreasonable. We are seeing a lot of that from the Conservative government. We seeing the attitude in its decisions in a whole range of areas that if the previous government did it, it cannot be good. That is not reasonable and it is not responsible or accountable to Canadians.

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague from Halifax West, a fellow Nova Scotian, on his speech.
    I want to zone in on one specific part of the discussion, and that is the EnerGuide for houses, especially for lower income families.
    There are two things with this budget. The first is the lack of investment in productivity and the environment. The other is just the sheer meanness of the budget. The EnerGuide for houses, specifically for low income families, was cut. Only a few months ago the then opposition, now government, voted for it.
    I would like to read something that Judy McMullen, the executive director of Clean Nova Scotia, said this week. She said:
    Nova Scotia needs the EnerGuide for Low-Income Houses program. It not only will help the environment by reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, it will ensure the energy security and comfort of the many low-income citizens who need it most.
    I am getting reports today from Nova Scotia that there are further cuts coming to EnerGuide tomorrow in the A-base audits, which is even more concerning.
    My colleague, being from Nova Scotia, perhaps knows the executive director. He certainly knows the situation and the scenario in Nova Scotia. What are his thoughts about the cuts to this very valuable program, EnerGuide, especially for low income families?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has long shown a commitment and interest in the area of environmental issues. He has worked hard on many of these issues and has a great interest in them.
    The EnerGuide program was a very important program. Seniors and people with low incomes are facing increasing heating costs, as all Canadians are these days. They are looking for ways to lower those costs. They want to do their part to help the environment, to reduce global warming and emissions. We all want to do that. However, how does a person with a low income afford that without some help?
    We want to reduce climate change. We want to lower those greenhouse gas emissions. One of the excellent ways to do that is to encourage people to retrofit their homes, to take measures to improve those homes. My hon. colleague is absolutely right in that regard.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to tell you that I am going to split my time with my colleague, the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.
     The planet is showing very obvious signs of distress. It is speaking to us. It is sending us messages that only irresponsible people simply refuse to hear.
     On the eve of the Bonn summit, you, Mr. Speaker, and I and 90% of Quebeckers feel strongly that it is very urgent to take steps to counter the causes of climate change.
     We have reached a turning point in human history and the well-being of future generations depends on what we decide now.
     The Kyoto protocol is the fruit of many years of work and collaboration by the international community. For the time being, it is the most effective and comprehensive tool we have to counter climate change.
     Quebeckers are in agreement that the objectives of the Kyoto protocol must be achieved, at the very least, or even exceeded. What concerns me is that, far from undertaking to keep the agreement, the Conservative government is trying to lull us by promising a made-in-Canada policy that, for the time being, has no form and even less content. Maybe the government should just tell us that it has turned its back on Canada’s responsibilities under this agreement, which was signed by nearly 160 countries.
     Since the election of the Conservative government, the Minister of the Environment has never stopped saying that our objectives under the Kyoto protocol are unrealistic and impossible for Canada to achieve. However, other industrialized countries such as Germany and Britain, have successfully done what is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their countries.
     Does the minister think that Canadians are less responsible, less determined, and less concerned about the fate of the planet than our counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic?
     When they talk like this, the Minister of the Environment’s participation in Bonn at the UN conference on climate change—as its chair—serves only to discredit Canada internationally. In addition, the Conservatives’ election platform had nothing to say about the Kyoto protocol, which was missing as well from the Speech from the Throne.
     In all sincerity, how can one say that there is anything reassuring at all about this preamble? How can we justify abandoning the objectives of the Kyoto protocol when anyone who is concerned about the collective good feels there is an urgent need to implement the measures that are supposed to be taken in the short run to reduce the negative effects of climate change?
     Is it blindness, a desire to copy American policy, or just basic ignorance of the essential needs of the environment that leads the Conservative government to be so thoughtless and so lacking in vision with respect to a matter of such importance to us all?
    Never have we heard this government show any creativity to improve energy efficiency in relevant sectors of the Canadian and Quebec economy.
    Some people will tell me that the Conservative government just came into office. Yes, it just came into office. However, there has been nothing in its recent statements to offer any hope for a clear concern about environmental issues.
    Never have we heard the government talk about promoting forms of sustainable development, whether in agriculture, renewal energy sources or technologies that are environmentally rational and innovative. Never have we heard the government mention, in any way, that it would limit or force the reduction of emissions of methane gas through its recovery and use in the waste management sector as well as in the production, transportation and distribution of energy.
    On December 17, 2002, following a majority vote in the House of Commons, Canada committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 6% during the period 2008-12 compared to its 1990 level.

  (1535)  

    However, Canada's greenhouse gas emission record is far from being brilliant since it was producing 24% more greenhouse gas in 2003 than in 1990. Consequently, to reach the initial target, Canada must now reduce its annual emissions by 32%.
    What we are hearing from the Conservative government is far from being reassuring. Since Canada has been hesitant and even timid in its initiatives, since this hesitation is putting us today in a situation where we are getting behind in reaching our initial targets, there is no reason to think that we will be able to catch up. Instead, I fear that the government will lead us further into an inertia that will cause irreparable damage to our planet in the long term.
    In its recent budget, never have we heard this government mention in the list of its tax reductions or tax incentives that firms that go against the convention objectives, in greenhouse gas emission sectors, would be penalized.
     In fact, the only concrete measure in this budget, in connection with Kyoto, is a tax credit for users of public transit. Grass-roots movements around the country clearly demonstrate more initiative in this area. Here is an example. People in my riding, Sherbrooke, have come together to find ways of making public transit free for the whole population. This idea came about under the leadership of the Université de Sherbrooke, which has offered public transit free of charge to its students for a few years now. Today the results speak for themselves. Twenty per cent of the students have given up their cars and are taking the bus. There are also some infrastructure savings due to the need for fewer parking spaces, in spite of an increase in clientele. That is what it means to have a vision for the future based on sustainable development.
     It is precisely because initiatives in Quebec have shown their effectiveness that the Bloc Québécois is demanding that the federal plan be accompanied by a bilateral agreement with Quebec, based on a territorial approach, which should provide the financial tools to enable Quebec to implement the most effective measures for reducing greenhouse gases on its territory.
     Today, responsible countries make sustainable development not only a slogan but also a reality firmly rooted in their daily management. These responsible countries make every effort to apply the measures provided for in Kyoto in order to reduce negative effects to a minimum, such as those of climate change, repercussions on international trade and the social, environmental and economic consequences for themselves, their neighbours and all the inhabitants of this planet.
     What is the government doing in the meantime? It is pushing back the deadlines. It is hesitating, trying to sell us a single policy to please its chief trading partner, which refused to ratify Kyoto. What is it basing itself on, this government, when it claims that it can do better by going it alone? What kind of message will we be sending the world if we persist in giving up before the greatest collective challenge ever faced by our planet? We will not be fooled, and neither fine words nor fine promises will succeed in pulling the wool over the eyes of the Bloc Québécois, environmental stakeholders and Quebeckers who have chosen to go ahead with reducing greenhouse gases. Actions are what count and citizens are entitled to expect firm commitments from this government.
     With only hours to go before the Bonn climate change conference, we are concerned about the negative impacts that such laxity on the part of the Conservative government cannot help but have in the international community. We are therefore sending a clear message to this government, asking it to make a commitment to respecting the Kyoto protocol, an international agreement to which Canada is legally bound and to which 90% of Quebeckers give their support.
     In closing, some claim that the Conservative government up to now is doing what it promised, what it said it would do. In the case of the Kyoto protocol—Heaven forbid—let us hope for the good of the planet that above all it does not do what it said it would.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from the Bloc Québécois gave some interesting statistics concerning Kyoto. Indeed, since 1990, not only have we not been able to stop the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, but the situation has gotten worse because of the previous program.
    Despite the billions of dollars that were invested and the structure that was put in place, there has not been any progress made. On the contrary, the situation has gotten worse. In fact, we are now being told that we should reduce our greenhouse gas emissions not by 24%, but by 32%.
    The situation that we have perpetuated to this day proves that the path followed was not necessarily the right one.
    I want to ask my colleague the following question. If the path followed was not the right one—hybrid cars were mentioned earlier—what other measure would the Bloc Québécois suggest to improve the situation?
    We cannot be against virtue. However, we want to review the plan and work towards improving the situation with regard to the environment. We did not say that we were not willing to listen to the Bloc. We are willing to work with that party. Funds have already been allocated for that. What is the Bloc proposing?

  (1545)  

    Mr. Speaker, the first suggestion I would make to my Conservative colleague is to avoid being fatalistic and always making references to the past.
    One would have thought that after many years of forced rest — since 1993 to be precise — a new and dynamic government would have shown more initiative. We could not imagine that it would want to work alone in its corner and that it would renege on the commitment to work to reach a common global goal to save our planet that was taken here in the House by the Canadian government.
    There are ways to reach that goal through innovation, research, development and new technologies. However, we should certainly not try to protect someone somewhere. We should not do that.
    We know that 81% of greenhouse gases come from the production and use of energy, at least 50% for oil alone. Right now, funds are available to do something about these greenhouse gas emissions. However, going back on one's promise is a sign of a marked disinclination to go farther and to innovate through development.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Kyoto is certainly one of these international protocols that is so important for our planet and humanity. It is sometimes sad to hear the comments of the government. It talks about wanting a made in Canada solution. For years we have talked about the fact that what we really want is for governments and people around the world to think globally and act locally. Instead, we have a situation where in fact we are thinking just nationally and acting if we can. I think that is very sad for the state of our planet.
    We see so many important programs that are in fact in jeopardy of being starved to death. It seems that the intention of the government is that we will in fact have no Kyoto plan and also no action plan when dealing with climate change, with CO2 emissions and with the other need, the need for the education of the people of this country about the importance of the environment.

[Translation]

    I also want to thank my dear colleague for his speech. But I am a bit worried considering the present situation concerning the Kyoto protocol and the federal government proposal.
    I am sad and very concerned that the Bloc, which has always been in favour of the Kyoto protocol, gave a blank cheque to the government, which is in the process of eliminating several very important environmental programs.
    Maybe I want—
    I am sorry but the member's time is up.
    The hon. member for Sherbrooke has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, I understand what the member is saying. It is in fact disappointing to see that the Conservatives do not have more initiative and more vision. They will pretty soon be held to account. In Quebec, 90% of the population supports the Kyoto protocol.
    Is this protocol really unworkable and unachievable? I do not think that we can hide behind these labels. We have to reach a reduction of 32% to meet our commitments. If we give up, where will we be in five years from now? However, if we go ahead, if we innovate, we can get close to these objectives. We have the people to do it. It is through innovation, initiative and vision that the government has to get involved and it has to do it as soon as possible.

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sherbrooke and I congratulate him for his speech. I also thank him for sharing his time with me.
    It is a pleasure for me to speak to this motion from the Bloc Québécois. Earlier today, I heard Conservative members ask what they could do. The first thing they could do would be to vote for the motion from the Bloc Québécois. I will take the time to read it for my colleagues from the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the NDP, all gathered in the House:
    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) take the necessary measures to ensure that Canada meets its objective for greenhouse gas reduction established under the Kyoto Protocol, in an equitable manner while respecting the constitutional jurisdictions and responsibilities of Quebec and the provinces; and (b) publish, by October 15, 2006, an effective and equitable plan for complying with the Kyoto Protocol that includes a system of emission objectives for large emitters along with an exchange of emission rights accompanied by a bilateral agreement with Quebec and the provinces that want it, which could be based on a territorial approach.
    It cannot be clearer. The Conservatives held a ceremony and talked about an official agreement being signed with the Government of Quebec to reserve a seat for Quebec at the Canadian table at UNESCO. This is an historical agreement giving Quebec a seat at the Canadian table at UNESCO.
    While chairing the United Nations climate change conference, Canada tells those people that it cannot reach the targets. The wording used is harsh. The minister and the Prime Minister said that the targets were unrealistic and unachievable.
    Canada is trying to give rights to provinces and to Quebec at the Canadian table at UNESCO, but it is unable to tell the United Nations that it will honour its signature and its word, according to the vote held in this House. I cannot believe what is happening; the world has turned upside down. But it is indeed in this world that the Conservative government wants to take us, while reneging on the word given through the agreement we signed.
     You think that Quebeckers are going to believe you when you tell them that at UNESCO, after giving Quebec a place at Canada’s table, if Quebec does not agree with Canada, it will still be entitled to speak? Do not even think about it, you yourself are going back on the government’s word, which it gave at the United Nations when the Kyoto protocol was signed. That is what you are now doing.
     Moreover, you are trying to persuade Quebeckers that the Kyoto targets are unrealistic and unattainable. The message I am here to deliver, on behalf of my colleagues, the men and women who speak for the interests of Quebeckers, and on behalf of myself personally, is not just for me, it is for my children and my grandchildren too. I hope that I will have great-grandchildren and that I will be able to see them grow up. The fate of the planet is nothing to laugh about.
     There is also nothing to laugh about when we see Canada’s greenhouse gas emission numbers.
     I would like to list the increases in greenhouse gas emissions, province by province, between 1990 and 2003: Prince Edward Island, 8.4%; Quebec, 8.6%; Nova Scotia, 10%; Manitoba, 12%; Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, 16%; British Columbia, 24%; New Brunswick, 31%; Alberta, 34%; Saskatchewan, 45%.
     I do not want to be a demagogue and I will not talk about where Conservative Party members historically come from. I do not want to do that, because the Conservative Party has been engaging in demagoguery and I do not want to be a party to it. One thing is certain, however: my Conservative colleagues are correct. The fact is that Canada has increased its greenhouse gas emissions, but the fact is also that Quebec, with a 12% difference from 1990 emissions, is one of the provinces that will probably reach the Kyoto targets the quickest.
     All that the Conservative Party is doing today is to prevent Quebec from reaching its targets. Quebeckers paid for the investments in hydroelectricity out of their own pockets. You did not put one cent into Quebec’s hydroelectric development. Let us be clear on this: since 1990, while Quebec was investing a quarter of $66 billion dollars in fossil fuel, you have not given one cent toward the investment that Quebeckers were making in hydroelectricity in Quebec.

  (1555)  

     That is the reality. We are telling you, today, when we talk about a territorial approach, that it may be time for the Government of Canada, when it invests in achieving the Kyoto targets, to turn Quebec’s funds over to Quebec as quickly as possible, to turn over Quebec’s share of the Kyoto investments, so that Quebecers can reach those targets. That is what we are calling for. That is what the motion made by the Bloc Québécois today is calling on you to do.
     So stop getting all worked up and giving--
    Order, please. My apologies for interrupting the hon. member.

[English]

    I just want to remind the hon. member to address all comments through the Chair and not directly to the members opposite. The hon. member still has about four minutes left in his speech.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, before you kindly interrupted my speech, I was explaining Quebec’s position on its greenhouse gas emissions.
     I repeat, this is not for purely electoral reasons. As I said at the outset, it is for the generations who will follow us. That is why today, in this House, we cannot allow ourselves to refrain from speaking about achieving the Kyoto targets. Why? Because some countries are meeting their targets.
     There will be no objection to my mentioning the Conservative Party, as it is a party in this House.
     The Conservative Party too often tends to adopt the image of the United States. Yes, the Americans! When we see the change in greenhouse gas emissions, we can compare ourselves to the Americans. I think that may be the objective, the levelling down that the Conservative government wants to go after. In other words, in tonnage, Canada emits 23.4 tonnes per capita. The Americans emit 23.7 tonnes, while the 15 member states of the European Union emit 11 tonnes per capita.
     So why should we not all adopt the motion of the Bloc Québécois, which would not align us with the Americans, but simply with the European Union, which has industrialized countries, like us, that have been able to make efforts to reach the objectives of the Kyoto protocol or to move toward reaching those objectives.
     I say all this because we were a signatory country, which furthermore has ratified the Kyoto protocol, like 163 states. As I speak, 62% of the greenhouse gas emitting countries have signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol. And Canada is one of them.
     The Conservative government, through its Minister of the Environment, would have us say that meeting the targets is unrealistic and unattainable. That is what the Conservative government is saying to us.
     This worries me, especially since I am going to allow myself to make a little quotation. In 2002, the present Prime Minister, in a speech, said of the Kyoto protocol:

[English]

    As for the Kyoto accord, we will stand alone in the House, not just opposing ratification...we will repeal the accord at the very first opportunity.

[Translation]

     That is clearly what the Conservative government is now doing. And it is terrible.
     They say that the Prime Minister wants to honour his commitments, but it will be difficult for Quebeckers if the Prime Minister decides to honour this commitment he made in 2002.
     I spoke those words he said in 2002 in English. I know there is French translation for my fellow citizens in Quebec. Also, I did not want to distort the words of the Prime Minister, and hence of this government. That is the harsh reality. They simply want to withdraw from what Canada has signed.
     The members of the Bloc Québécois demand, with respect to the Kyoto accord—given that Quebec is prepared to meet its targets—that agreements be ratified, that an attempt be made to respect the agreements, and that agreements be added which may well be incorporated in bilateral agreements with the provinces, so that Quebeckers can leave a better world to their children and grandchildren.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel for his remarks, which I listened to carefully. This is of concern to us.
    I will explain to him why the motion that was tabled today in the House cannot be implemented. It is quite simple. In contrast to the previous government that was in power for 13 years, since it took office, the current government has not gotten into the habit of making commitments that it cannot meet. This is exactly what we are talking about today.
    I agree with my colleagues from the House that there is some sense of urgency with the environment. However, I would like to quote Équiterre, which is far from being a group that can naturally be associated with the government, although I am sure that it will join us when it gets to know our climate change plan. As we all know, this is one of the commitments that we made during the electoral campaign. If we follow through on our plan on climate change as we have done with all the other commitments that we have met up to now, I am sure that we will have the support of the members of this House in this regard.
    In fact, I ask the question directly. We are all aware that the Kyoto protocol is an important step in terms of dealing with climate change. Is the member ready to follow us beyond the Kyoto protocol? We know that this protocol will expire soon and that afterwards, we will have to make other arrangements with other countries that are not signatories now, so that not only Canada, but the largest emitters, reduce their greenhouse gases.
    Mr. Speaker, first, I want to tell my colleague that the Conservative government is in no way in a position to give lessons to other countries. That is the problem and that is a cause for some uneasiness.
    I will tell the hon. member for Lévis—Bellechasse that no matter what he tells us in this House, his leader has already made his choice. I read to the House the text from 2002. We just went through the budget. If the party in power had had the slightest intention of reaching the set objectives it would have included the money in the recent budget. It did not, instead preferring to make other choices.
    The hon. member has a responsibility to show the way to the members of his party. The first thing he could do would be to convince his colleagues to vote in favour of the Bloc Québécois' motion. We are giving him an opportunity. He is from Quebec. All he has to do is to stand up in this House and show that he defends Quebec's interests and that he is not a puppet in the hands of his leader.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is very true. I would like to thank my colleague for his compassionate speech, particularly for the portion where he talked about future generations and what responsibility we all have as deputies within this place to work on behalf of our constituents and particularly for those who have not yet come to be, and what kind of world we leave behind for them.
    The question I have for the hon. member is with respect to the budget which has killed the Kyoto protocol and our commitments in not so many words, but in actions. There is some allocated funding, but no plan even though the current government talked about having a plan for more than a year now.
    During last year's budget debate, one of the things that New Democrats pushed for and were able to achieve was significant spending and funding for the environment. We were able to negotiate close to $1 billion, which had not been set aside into the budget, to help in some small way leave a better world for our children.
    I am looking at this current budget which we can all agree is an absolute disaster when it comes to the environment. There is just nothing of substance. There is no plan to mark it by and there is nothing in the budget for the environment. So I am curious as to the Bloc's support for such a budget knowing that there is so little to nothing, and actually taking us backwards, when it comes to the environment file.

  (1605)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is well aware that when it is time to give speeches about or discuss the budget, we must not forget that it is not one-dimensional. It covers many different issues. Even though the environment is a major priority for members of the Bloc Québécois, our top priority is correcting the fiscal imbalance. This takes priority over all our other priorities. Once again, we have decided to give the government a chance, but we have made it very clear to them that the next budget, in 2007, must show their true colours with respect to the fiscal imbalance, or they will have to deal with the Bloc Québécois.
    My colleague has realized that this is a harsh reality. It is not for nothing that the Bloc Québécois is intervening today to ask the House to give its official approval requiring Canada to meet the Kyoto protocol targets. It is precisely because the budget left behind all of the major advances made by other governments toward reaching these targets.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, today's debate is a very important one. Our environment is a high priority for this government.
    Climate change is one of the most complex issues facing the world today. It is a long term challenge that cannot be addressed without effective international cooperation. Because the situation that each country faces is unique, there are many options, considerations and viewpoints about how the international community should move forward. To be effective, international cooperation on climate change must meet a number of conditions.
    First, it needs to be based on the principles of flexibility, cost effectiveness and national circumstances to recognize a broad range of approaches to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Second, it will need broad participation by developed and developing countries alike with an eye on the long term. Third, addressing climate change in the face of rising global energy demand will require effective development and deployment of technologies within developed and developing countries alike. Finally, global action on climate change must integrate the additional co-benefits provided at the local level, such as improved air quality.
    There is great potential for future international cooperation to meet these objectives, but if the countries of the world are going to coordinate their action on climate change, they need to work together.
    Canada intends to work both inside and outside the UN to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ways that are consistent with Canada's national circumstances. Within the UN, there are two official processes for discussing the future.
    The first one is the Dialogue on Long-term Cooperative Action. It is open to all 189 countries, including the U.S., under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was set up to share experiences and examine new innovative future approaches to address climate change.
    The dialogue is significant because it is not tied only to the Kyoto-style approach of national targets for developed countries and because it can openly examine better ways of engaging all countries in cooperative action on climate change. What is important about this dialogue is that it includes all major emitters. For instance, large emerging countries like China and India currently account for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas emissions but they are not bound by targets. It is important that these countries have agreed to participate in the dialogue so that they can be part of the solution.
    The second UN discussion process is the ad hoc working group on further commitments for developed countries beyond 2012. It is being held under the Kyoto protocol's article 3.9. Its aim is to consider further commitments under the Kyoto protocol. Discussions within this ad hoc group should be broad enough to allow for consideration of alternative approaches to international cooperation and opportunities for those countries that do not have Kyoto targets to participate in the future.
    In the year 2000, the group of countries with Kyoto targets represented only 28% of global emissions. At this point, this process is only a discussion. The UN Secretariat has suggested that this discussion begin with a two year analysis and assessment phase so we can determine what has worked and what has not worked so far.
    Stepping back, within the UN process we have two tracks for considering the nature of future international cooperation on climate change. The first track is a broad discussion with all parties under the convention. The second track is a discussion of future options under the Kyoto protocol. Both tracks represent great opportunities to work toward a future international approach to address climate change, one that is inclusive, innovative and effective. This is the beginning of an important phase in the international effort to address climate change.
    In preparation for the initiation of these discussions, all countries have been invited to share their views on these two processes through written submissions. Canada has taken this opportunity to help shape these conversations by submitting its views to the UN. Two documents summarizing the Government of Canada's views on both of these processes have been submitted to the UN and are now publicly available. Allow me to provide a summary of some of the key messages found in these submissions.

  (1610)  

    It is Canada's view that we should examine how governments and the private sector could work together to stimulate technological innovation and move the world consistently toward a low carbon economy. Countries from around the world should share experiences and discuss what can be done well within the convention process and what may work better outside it. That is a good idea.
    Cost effective, market based approaches will continue to be important. Innovative new approaches should be examined and existing approaches continually improved. The international community should continue to engage with companies, multilateral development banks, export credit agencies, private sector financers and reinsurers to explore how market based opportunities interact with future approaches. That also is a very good idea.
    Important progress has been made in addressing adaptation in the UN process but much more needs to be done. We should build on existing adaptation activities and mechanisms under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. As well, we should remain open to new options within and outside the UN process. We should examine what role multilateral and regional organizations, the private sector and civil society organizations could have in facilitating adaptation, including at the community level. That is also very good.
    Developed and developing countries share common challenges in meeting their economic, social and environmental needs but capacities differ considerably. To be successful, greenhouse gas mitigation coupled with adaptation measures should be integrated into broader sustainable development objectives, such as economic development, energy security, public health, air quality and local environmental protection.
    Finally, it is the Government of Canada's position that there should be transparent information sharing between the processes both within and without the UN. We should build on information from the complementary UN processes. We should also examine relevant non-UN processes as well as important technology initiatives.
    To recap our key messages on future approaches to addressing climate change, they should take the country's specific national circumstances into account and provide the opportunity to choose the best combination of actions that result in real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and we have not seen that over the last 13 years, so I believe we are on the right track. We should also promote further technological innovation and the deployment of existing technologies and stimulate action on climate change that includes other co-benefits.
    In conclusion, international cooperation is essential for effectively addressing the issue of climate change. It is a must. Canada is committed to working with the international community to develop a means of international cooperation on climate change that is effective and inclusive. Canada will be an active and constructive participant in these two new processes under the UN.

  (1615)  

    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Don Valley East, Taxation.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my colleague a question which I asked somebody else earlier in the debate. It involves EnerGuide and specifically EnerGuide for low income housing.
    All Canadians want to do their part to reduce emissions and to reduce pollution. Some simply cannot afford to do so. Because of the rising cost of energy over the last number of years, they have seen the percentage of their income that they spend on energy go sky high. Canadians with the lowest incomes pay the highest price as a percentage of their income.
    Last year the whole House supported Bill C-66, I believe it was, the Energy Cost Assistance Measures Act, which extended EnerGuide to houses of the lowest income Canadians, some $500 million over five years.
    I know EnerGuide works, as most people do. I used to be in that business. When I worked at Nova Scotia Power, we administered EnerGuide for houses in Nova Scotia. It worked tremendously well. It is a very efficient program. It is a very effective way for people to reduce their consumption. An evaluation is done and then work is recommended, whether it is retrofits, fixing windows, doors or whatever, or improving insulation. The problem was that the lowest income Canadians could not afford those renovations. Under Bill C-66 they could.
    It seems particularly mean-spirited to penalize the lowest income Canadians who have started to access this program. We heard at one point in time it was because the administrative costs of the program were 50%. It has been confirmed that is not the case. The figure is something like 13%. The administrative costs that were referred to in fact are the audits themselves, the actual work of the auditor.
    Is it not unconscionable to penalize the lowest income Canadians who are trying to do their part to reduce their energy costs and to reduce pollution in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, the member used the adjectives “mean-spirited” and “unconscionable”.
    The environment is incredibly important to this government and to Canadians. When we went knocking on doors a few months ago, that was one of the top issues. That is why we have an environment minister who is acting. She has been crossing the country. She has been listening to international partners to find a made in Canada approach that works.
    NRC has done an evaluation of which programs worked and which did not. That is ongoing. EnerGuide was deemed to be not effective. Yes, Canadians need to take responsibility to make sure their homes are running as efficiently as possible. We all can take action. There is information out there. Unfortunately, that program was seen to be not particularly effective. We need to have programs that are effective.
    We need to have clean air so that Canadians are healthy. I take allergy shots because of the pollution levels in the air, and I am not the only one. The health of many Canadians is seriously affected because of the quality of our air. We each have a responsibility to make sure that these dollars, and they are not my dollars nor the dollars of other members, are spent wisely. There are only so many dollars.
    At the environment committee yesterday concerns were raised. An NGO asked if we had enough dollars to meet the targets. The answer was yes we do. We need to streamline. We need to focus on what is working. We need to focus on what works and make it work and make Canada healthier and cleaner. It is not dollars. It is efficiency. We need to protect the health of Canadians.

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, my riding of Parkdale—High Park is in downtown Toronto. The citizens I represent are very concerned about climate change. They talk to me about the health concerns they have, the asthma, the premature deaths as a result of climate change.
    The previous government did very little on climate change. It was the budget negotiated by the NDP, our party, that put almost $1 billion into addressing climate change issues.
    The Conservative government, frankly, is doing even less than the previous government wanted to do. While the government is abandoning the climate change protocol supported by over 180 countries that want to take action on climate change, why is it that it is now allying itself with half a dozen countries that want to do nothing on climate change? Will the member answer that for me, please?
    Mr. Speaker, I hope the member was listening to my speech. It was very thorough in that we are committed to the protocol but we are looking for things that are effective. We have had 13 years of a government that did nothing.
     Now we have a government that is going to do something, but it would be foolhardy to make announcements within weeks of becoming government. We need to consult. I have actually consulted with members of that party.
     I also have offered to consult with members of the Bloc. Unfortunately, the Bloc does not want to talk about the issues. That party likes to bring motions such as this to the table, but those members have refused to talk to me in my role as parliamentary secretary. I want to work with the Bloc.
     One of the comments made by one of the Bloc members was that they want us to show initiative. The Bloc wants us to show inclusion and vision. We are attempting to do that. We want to consult with them. We want to consult with every member and we want to consult internationally so that we have a made in Canada program that works for all Canadians and we will actually be world leaders when it comes to the environment.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, with this motion, the Bloc Québécois is conspiring with the other opposition parties to force the Government of Canada to meet the Kyoto protocol targets. They all know that the previous government left us with billions of dollars in Kyoto-related programs but failed to deliver the goods. Quite the opposite. Our greenhouse gas emissions have actually increased by more than 35% over the past 10 years. Not only was the Liberal approach merely a smokescreen, as Tom Axworthy said recently, but it also put Canada in a position that makes it impossible to reach the Kyoto targets without bringing on a major economic upheaval or sending billions of dollars out of the country.
    I feel that the Bloc Québécois motion is both unrealistic and irresponsible because it would force Canada to take steps that Canadians and the Government of Canada do not want. Canada cannot meet the Kyoto protocol targets under these circumstances. Our government has clearly demonstrated that it intends to address the problems of greenhouse gases and pollution in Canada. It made a commitment to this in both the throne speech and the budget. However, in contrast to what the opposition is proposing, we will offer Canadians a realistic plan, a made in Canada plan that will ensure that future generations have clean air, clean water, clean soil and clean energy. This plan will enable us to achieve economic prosperity while controlling greenhouse gases, by investing in Canadian solutions and Canadian communities.
    Reducing greenhouse gases means making fundamental changes in the way energy is produced and consumed. But energy plays a leading role in Canadians' economic and social lives. In this context, the key to success, in my view, lies in scientific research and technologies. Canada is a world leader in clean technologies, which offer the world new, more effective ways to increase energy efficiency, use renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. The Government of Canada and its industry partners are working to respond to the growing world demand for clean energy technologies.
    Canada is already on the right track, particularly in research on energy efficiency, alternative energy sources and carbon capture and storage technologies. These technological advances will help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will enable Canada to capitalize on its huge energy potential for the benefit of all Canadians.
    When I think of Canadian solutions that benefit Canadian communities, the CANMET Energy Technology Centre in Varennes, Quebec, immediately comes to mind. Its mission is to help some sectors of the Canadian economy—pulp and paper, petrochemical, and softwood lumber—reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, make more sustainable use of energy, and increase their capacity for innovation.
    One of the major projects developed by the Varennes researchers is RETScreen International, which is recognized as the leading software in the world for analyzing and assessing the viability of renewable energy projects. RETScreen consists of a series of databases which provide decision-makers with data on the quantity of energy produced by a wind turbine, solar panel, high-efficiency gas burner or a small-capacity generator. It can also specify the cost of these systems. RETScreen recently launched a multilingual version of this model, which is now offered in 21 languages and reaches almost two-thirds of the world's population. It has saved users $240 million in Canada and $600 million worldwide, of particular importance to developing countries. This is a compelling example of Canadian know-how exported around the world.
    CTEC in Devon, Alberta, also comes to mind with its technologies for the oil sector that reduce energy consumption and are more environmentally friendly. This company has helped the Canadian oil industry become a viable player in the energy supply sector and one that is environmentally responsible.

  (1625)  

    The new technologies developed in Devon will be the key to commercial development that is both economically and environmentally viable for energy resources such as the oil sands and heavy oil.
    Thanks to these technologies, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands development by 50%.
    Furthermore, our laboratories here in Ottawa are at the forefront of the research, development and deployment of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies for houses, buildings and communities.
    They focus their activities on energy analysis and simulation tools, technology design criteria, testing, rating and monitoring, standards development, field trials and demonstrations, technology transfer and support in technology feasibility and economics.
    They work in partnership with universities and the private sector to build intelligent buildings and ultra-energy-efficient buildings that can become net energy producers.
    Although we are currently reconsidering the Canadian government's climate change programs, I would remind the House that many other quality programs are being continued, programs that are good examples of sound management of public funds and that reach or even surpass their targeted objectives.
    For example, take the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation, a fruitful partnership between industry and government. To date, the industry's sectors targeted by this program have saved at least $3 billion by reducing their fuel consumption and, compared to 1990, they had reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 30 megatonnes a year in 2004.
    Reducing green house gases is a global challenge and Canada, which produces only 2% of the world's greenhouse gases, could not do it alone.
    Despite our best intentions and the best intentions of the international community, statistics show that global greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing since 1990.
    We have to accept the fact that Canada and the world will continue to depend on fossil fuels for some time to come. We are investing to reduce emissions from oil, natural gas and coal.
    One of our solutions is a project to store carbon dioxide underground. This is a joint project between the Government of Canada, the International Energy Agency and the U.S. department of energy.
    This project accomplishes two things: it eliminates greenhouse gas emissions and improves oil recovery. The initial results are extremely promising.
    Investment in science and technology is most promising. This approach will allow Canada to focus on excellence, lead by example and contribute to finding solutions that will have a lasting and significant impact around the world.
    These are clear, concrete solutions with a vision and well-established plan to achieve our common goal of preserving our environment.

  (1630)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the hon. member's speech. He and other members opposite have talked about consultation and the importance of consulting with stakeholders and other groups as they, at some point, formulate a made in Canada plan. We have heard a lot about this plan over the last several weeks, but no target date whatsoever has been given for when that plan will be announced.
    However, dealing with consultation, as the member will know, fully 20% of the energy efficiency programs have been cut over the last few weeks. I would like to ask the hon. member to tell us exactly who was consulted with respect to the decision to cut fully 20% of the energy efficiency programs.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the question put by the opposition member and my colleague surprises me.
    The previous government had 13 years to establish effective programs and never did. Since we have taken office—only 100 days ago—we have already begun reviewing existing programs in order to establish effective ones. The people of Canada have asked us to.
    Some programs considered ineffective were at times developed in a hurry, unfortunately, by the previous government. We are thoroughly reviewing programs and will keep the effective ones. What is more, we will add effective programs specifically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Natural Resources and MP for Mégantic—L'Érable, a riding that is in the eastern townships. There is no doubt that discussions, intentions and lip service aside no one can oppose virtue. However, we heard pretty much the same speech from the Liberal government for a number of years before it decided to commit seriously to the Kyoto protocol.
    If the parliamentary secretary knows things about the Conservative Party plan, it would be an appropriate time to tell us what it is about and what it is really based on. In terms of research, technology and energy efficiency, I would like to know what the plan is.
    Are capture and storage to have budgets along the lines of those the government is allocating to expanding prisons and creating new prison space instead of fighting crime? In other words, instead of working to reduce greenhouse gases, the government will capture and store them. The main principle is not to go looking for gas, but above all not to produce it.
    I would like to know whether the member is aware of his party's plan, given that he is arguing so much against the Kyoto protocol. Will the minister indicate at the summit her intention to continue to apply the Kyoto protocol while ensuring that the international community meets its objectives? I would like to know what the plan and its objectives are.
    Mr. Speaker, the objectives are clear. No one needs to hide. All of us in this House have the same goal and that is to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
    My colleague is asking me to do the exact same thing as the previous government. We simply have to deliver a program quickly just to please them. We are at the review stage in order to keep the effective programs and eliminate those that are ineffective with a view to achieving these objectives.
    I find it very irresponsible of my colleague to ridicule the carbon dioxide capture program. The Bloc recommends maintaining the Kyoto accord and sending Canadian money abroad. We want to invest here in Canada in effective technologies.

  (1635)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle.
    For the first time in this 39th Parliament I have the honour to speak on behalf of all my electors from the riding of Brossard—La Prairie. I sincerely thank them for placing their confidence in me to defend their interests in Ottawa.
    I also want to congratulate the environment critic, the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, for putting forward this opposition day motion.
    People from my generation and all the hon. members of this House should adapt their vocabulary to that of the young generation. The first word young people ask us to adopt is Kyoto, as in the Kyoto protocol.
    During a visit to Salon Jeunes-PROJET last Sunday at the Antoine-Brossard comprehensive school, I met students between the age of 10 and 12 who had a stand on greenhouse gases. These young 12-year-olds were explaining the complex phenomena of climate change, the Kyoto protocol and the many products that contribute to greenhouse gases. These young people used simple terms chosen with passion and sincerity. They have already realized that we are playing with their future and that today's decisions could compromise their health and viability on this planet.
    The second principle that must be respected, based on the themes selected by these young people, is that of sustainable development. By definition, that is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Young people are entitled to hope to be able to meet their basic needs, such as clean water, clean air, clean land and energy, in the future.
    The third theme selected by the young people concerned soft, renewable energies. Wind power immediately comes to mind. In addition to soft energies, issues such as energy efficiency, geothermics and green building in accordance with the LEED standard have to be discussed, as well as active and passive solar heating, research and development, and new technologies to solve the problems caused by greenhouse gases.
    The fourth theme was environmentally-friendly transportation. An energy scheme to deal with the greenhouse gas issue requires the use of electric cars, hydrogen cars, biodiesel fuel and public transit, electric trains, and subway expansion, as well as the adoption of ethanol. Many producers in my riding, corn producers, came to see me. They have great expectations of this government with respect to the ethanol program.
    The Bloc Québécois is recommending a series of initiatives that come under federal jurisdiction. These include stricter vehicle manufacturing standards to enhance energy efficiency, rebates on environmentally-friendly vehicles, and financial support for all renewable energies.
    The Bloc's position on Kyoto is clear. It wants the international commitments already made to be met. It wants equity for Quebec in the federal plan. It wants Quebec's jurisdictions to be respected.

  (1640)  

     As for the international treaty, Canada’s reputation is on the line if this government refuses to meet the Kyoto objectives.
     Environmental groups, both international and local, could launch a vast campaign to boycott our Canadian products. Canada’s credibility is at stake, and Quebec’s interests will inevitably be dragged into this maelstrom of boycotts. Quebec could also be drawn into this boycott. Failure to comply with a signed agreement will certainly influence Quebeckers in their choice, in their future, in their destiny, in their choice to become a sovereign country.
     Most of Quebec’s energy production is based on hydroelectricity, which is clean, renewable energy that has done little to contribute to the Canada-wide increase in greenhouse gases. Between 1990 and 2003, Quebec’s emissions increased only 8.6%, in comparison with 34% in Alberta and 45% in Saskatchewan. In 2003, greenhouse gas emissions were 12.2 tonnes per capita in Quebec and 23.4 tonnes in Canada. In addition, this 23.4-tonne average increases to 26.8 tonnes per capita if Quebec is excluded from Canada, leaving what is called the ROC or rest of Canada. So it is 12.2 tonnes for Quebec and 26.8 tonnes for the ROC, or a factor of 2.2. That is what we are talking about when we talk about fairness.
     Quebec’s choice of hydroelectric energy has certainly contributed to this enviable performance, but its success can also be attributed to the collective choices made by Quebec citizens, its industry, the National Assembly, and most importantly, the future vision and perceptive decisions made by the managers and planners of Hydro-Québec.
     Quebec’s reduction plan is clear and specific. The transportation sector accounts for 38.5% of emissions, of which 85% comes from road transportation. Marine, rail and air account for a measly 15%. Quebec’s plan should focus first, therefore, on public transit.
     In my riding, some projects are underway, in particular the SLR to relieve congestion on the Champlain bridge. This is a bold $1.2-billion project. We should remember, though, that $1 billion are wasted every year in wages and gasoline expenses as a result of congestion on the roads in my riding.
     Quebec’s plan is simple. The shopping list is well-known and has been published in newspapers. It includes electric trains, subway and transportation line projects connecting the city of Montreal and its suburbs. The plan is clear in regard to the emissions of the trucking industry, and the Bloc is also in favour of intermodal transportation. The great St. Lawrence river will be used for marine transportation to carry many containers. In addition to intermodal transportation, the Bloc proposes more efficient motor vehicles and electric cars.
     In contrast to the Conservatives, who claim these days that the American approach is not the way to go in the fight against climate change, I say that, luckily, some American states and big cities have disregarded the American government’s plan of attack and are working on reducing greenhouse gases. I could point, for instance, to the great city of Seattle, which has had some incredible success in this regard.
     Rather than trying to revise its international obligations by calling Kyoto into question, the Conservative government should introduce its plan together with a fair agreement for Quebec, an agreement that recognizes Quebec’s past efforts.

  (1645)  

     In conclusion, I strongly support the motion of the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when we look to some of the experiences in Quebec, we see some of the things that have been done right. I would like to get the member's take on the government's seemingly lack of investment in alternative energy in the budget and on the vision or lack thereof that it has presented to Canadians. Specifically, looking at the investments in wind energy, we have seen that European countries have taken this on, set targets, met them, exceeded them, and has looked at how to deal with climate change.
    I would also like to hear the member's comments about the fact that we do not seem to see investments, notwithstanding the rhetoric of the government, in R and D. I have not seen any evidence of that. I would like to hear his comments about that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Concerning the development of wind energy, I still think that Quebec is a leader in this sector. Its program for the next years is very aggressive.
    In fact, Quebec has developed its hydroelectricity on its own. It has invested billions of dollars in it. If we must wait for the federal government to act, Quebec will have to go forward with its wind energy program by funding it on its own.
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank my colleague from Brossard—La Prairie for his comments. Incidentally, he is taking part in the work of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Over many years, he has acquired a knowledge of the environment that few members in this House can match. I know that he was part of a task force representing citizens on the International Joint Commission. Consequently, he knows environmental issues well.
    I would like my colleague to establish this important relationship between the issue of climate change and the levels of the different basins, both the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence. We know that climate change will naturally have a direct impact both on the rate of flow of the St. Lawrence and on its level. I would like the member to tell this House about the importance of fighting climate change to allow for the maintenance of an adequate level in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence. This is crucial both for protecting the environment and for ensuring that citizens will be able to continue to use the St. Lawrence. Moreover, this will ensure that the negative impact on maritime traffic, which is directly related to the marine industry, will be minimal.

  (1650)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    Indeed, in the last three years, I sat on a working committee of the International Joint Commission that studied climate changes and the fluctuation of water level in the Great Lakes, specially in Lake Ontario, which feeds the St. Lawrence River. According to the mathematical models produced during the study, the future is rather disturbing. Several questions were asked, for example on the increase in precipitation and the absence of ice on the Great Lakes which could accelerate water evaporation and in the end completely disrupt the traditional water volume entering the St. Lawrence.
    We cannot be sure that the water flow in the St. Lawrence River will remain the same. We could very well see the lowering of the Great Lakes water level and a decrease in the water flow of the St. Lawrence, which would have dire consequences.
    Besides the direct relation between water level in the Great Lakes and water flow in the river, climate changes are creating serious erosion problems further up the St. Lawrence. We noticed that winds, which are now much stronger than they used to be, are pounding the banks along the North Shore and can cause very serious damage to homes built close to the river's edge.
    To summarize, I will say that the expected consequences of climate change on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River are enormous.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Brossard—La Prairie for sharing his time with me.
    I will start by stating my primary reasons for entering politics. First, there is my Quebec culture and my desire to protect it. Another reason was my attachment to the values of respect and openness that I inherited from my parents. Finally, I entered politics because of my respect for this earth and not only for Quebec, but for the whole planet. For all these reasons and values, I one day decided to join the Bloc Quebecois, the only party that, in my opinion, really takes Quebec's interest to heart and that really cares about the priorities of Quebeckers.
    As an elected representative, I sincerely believe that I have a responsibility to speak out on behalf of the public. One of the main concerns of this public is the fight against environmental degradation worldwide.

[English]

    Order, please. The member will resume her remarks a bit later.

Royal Assent

[Royal Assent]
    A message was delivered by the Usher of the Black Rod as follows:
    Mr. Speaker, it is the desire of Her Excellency the Governor General that all hon. members attend her immediately in the Senate chamber.
    Accordingly the Speaker with the House went up to the Senate chamber.

  (1705)  

[Translation]

    And being returned:
    I have the honour to inform the House that when the House went up to the Senate chamber, the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, royal assent to the following bills:
    Bill C-4, an act to amend an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act — Chapter 1.
    Bill C-8, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 — Chapter 2.

[English]

    Pursuant to order made earlier today I wish to inform the House that because of the royal assent government orders will be extended by 12 minutes.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Kyoto Protocol  

     The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, as the elected representative of a people, I have a duty to talk on their behalf. One of their greatest current concerns is the fight against environmental degradation around the world.
     Whether we are from Laurentides—Labelle or any other place on the planet, we are all aware of the need to act. The fight against climate change will be one of the most important planetary issues in the coming years.
     The Kyoto protocol is the product of numerous years of work and collaboration within the international community. To date, it is the most effective and the most comprehensive tool for fighting climate change. The motion tabled by my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie asks that the Conservative government take some effective action to ensure that Canada meets its objective for greenhouse gas reduction, and that it do so right now.
     The Conservative government must act as a responsible government and must undertake to respect the Kyoto protocol, an agreement by which Canada is legally bound. By ratifying the protocol, on December 17, 2002, after a majority vote in the House of Commons, Canada undertook to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to a level of 6% below its 1990 level. Canada’s record concerning greenhouse gas emissions is far from brilliant since, in 2003, Canada emitted 24% more greenhouse gases than in 1990.
     Quebec, where energy production relies chiefly on hydroelectricity, which is renewable and clean, contributed only very slightly to this increase in production of greenhouse gases. Between 1990 and 2003, greenhouse gas emissions increased in Quebec by 8.6%, compared to 34% in Alberta and 45% in Saskatchewan.
     Paradoxically, the oil industry has received $66 billion in subsidies over the past 30 years, as opposed to a meagre $329 million for the renewable energy industry.
     One year after the ratification of the Kyoto protocol by Canada, the former Liberal government adopted Bill C-48, which made Canada a tax haven for oil companies in North America.
    The first budget of the Conservative Party reveals that it intends to continue in the same direction as the Liberal Party of Canada. In my opinion, Liberals or Conservatives, it is all the same. As for the Conservatives, they seem to have found a new passion: Quebec. Since the last election, and even during the election campaign, they have inundated Quebec with promises and commitments. Perhaps they should now focus on the real priorities of Quebeckers. According to a Léger Marketing survey that was made public on February 15, over 90% of Quebeckers support the Kyoto protocol and its objectives. More important, they say they are willing to make concrete efforts to ensure that Quebec reaches the objectives of the Kyoto protocol.
    I am trying to understand the Conservatives and I am still very concerned with the arrogant attitude they have taken since their recent election. It did not take them long to get into the same bad habits as the Liberals. One has to wonder if power does not lead to deafness, blindness and amnesia. The position taken by the Conservatives is weakening not only Canada's credibility, but also Quebec's credibility in the international arena. It could definitely put into question the relevancy of negotiating the signing of multilateral agreements. Experts the world over agree that climate change could have catastrophic consequences for ecosystems, animals and human communities.
    Several groups have been working for many years to raise public awareness of the importance of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

  (1710)  

     In Montreal last February 16, a number of Quebec leaders gathered at the invitation of Équiterre and Greenpeace to celebrate the first anniversary of the coming into force of the Kyoto protocol.
     I would like to quote some of them. Mr. Alban D'Amours of the Mouvement des Caisses Desjardins said:
    The recent United Nations conference on climate change will have served to raise considerable awareness of the urgency of acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and spurred our concern to protect the environment.
     Claudette Carbonneau of the CSN and Henri Massé of the FTQ said:
    Tough measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be put in place quickly in all sectors of society, and workers must be an integral part of the solutions for implementing the Kyoto protocol.
     And finally, Laurent Pellerin of the UPA:
    Global warming is a threat to food security, and may have harmful consequences for the entire planet such as reduction of food crops and potable water resources.
     Governing responsibly means looking beyond a political agenda that lasts a few months. It means implementing the conditions necessary to ensure the security, health and prosperity of citizens for the years to come. The Conservative government is doing the very opposite!
     If the Conservatives really want to contribute to improving the security and health of citizens, let them give up spending taxpayers’ money on building more prisons. Let them invest that money instead in combating the stealthiest threat, which is at our gates and making its presence known by the increase in such extreme weather events as heatwaves, hurricanes and droughts.
     The Conservative government says it does not want to send taxpayers’ money abroad. The Bloc Québécois is in complete agreement. It is rather the rich oil companies that should pay the environmental costs generated by their industry.
     To do otherwise would be to leave the bill with all the taxpayers, who already find themselves the poorer as the price of gas goes up, the taxpayers who on top of that would have to bear the cost of the harmful consequences of climate change. The Conservative government cannot remain deaf to the demands of Quebeckers.
     Quebeckers believe in the necessity of stopping the destruction of our environment and in the need for clean water, air and soil so that our children and grandchildren may in their turn enjoy what nature has lent to us.
     I will close by asking the Minister of the Environment a question, which has to do with her lack of vision for the future.
     When your pockets are full, what will you feed on?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member from the Bloc Québécois on her very fine speech. However, I have a few additional questions for her.
    The member says that Quebec has finally reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 8% thanks to its energy efforts.
    If Quebec is considered on its own, independent or not, in terms of the Kyoto protocol, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is much less. The problem is, air comes into Quebec from Ontario. It sometimes even comes from the United States, from the Atlantic, from the north, or from the south.
    The global solution of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 8% may be mathematically good for Quebec, but it will not substantially improve the quality of the air Quebeckers breathe.
    When we talk about a global solution, we have to look at it globally. Quebec, not as a culture or a people but as a territory, is not large enough to solve the problem. Air comes from everywhere. The same is true of water.
    It was suggested that no financial cuts be made. However, where should this money be invested? It was said earlier that the government should not invest it in prisons. But which program should we invest it in? What programs and solutions does the Bloc Québécois have to suggest? It is true that we are talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are prepared to do so. We all want to do the right thing, but what is the solution? It was mentioned that the money should not be invested in prisons. We agree, and we will not invest it in prisons, but where will we invest it?
    It was suggested that the money be invested in research. Yes, but what sort of research? Research into public transit or something else? I did not get an answer to that question.
    It is true that we are trying to find a solution to environmental problems so that we can have better quality air. Everyone agrees on that. But what concrete proposal does the Bloc Québécois have to successfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

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     Mr. Speaker, that is a very long question which I can answer very easily.
    The Bloc Québécois is asking Ottawa for an implementation plan for the Kyoto protocol that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels.
    A series of measures have been proposed that fall within federal jurisdiction: strict standards for vehicle manufacturing in order to improve fuel efficiency; rebates on the purchase of greener cars; financial support for development of renewable energy including wind energy, which Quebec already has through its hydroelectricity and through the wind turbines already in place without federal subsidies; abolition of tax incentives for oil companies; and grants for organizations that contribute to meeting the Kyoto objectives.
    What more can we say, other than that Quebec has always had a responsible government, has always been proactive in all the measures and programs it has put forward? We realize today, from a pan-Canadian perspective, that what has been done in Quebec could be replicated elsewhere. However, it is always Quebec that is penalized and that does not derive a monetary return from these programs.
    I believe that the Government of Quebec has already done a great deal; it has easily proven itself. If we refer to greenhouse gas emissions chart, we can see that Quebec had the best emissions record in Canada, with 12 tonnes per person. Of all the Canadian provinces, Quebec's rating is the lowest. It is remarkable, and the credit goes to Quebec's many years of efforts.