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Monday, December 4, 2006


House of Commons Debates



Monday, December 4, 2006

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 11 a.m.



[Private Members' Business]



Income Tax Act

    The House resumed from October 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-305, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (exemption from taxation of 50% of United States social security payments to Canadian residents), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a worthy initiative on the part of the hon. member opposite. I commend him for his diligence. As I recollect, he raised this issue in the last Parliament as well. Having moved private members' bills through this House, I appreciate that sometimes it is very difficult and can be frustrating as well.
    Members opposite talk frequently about tax fairness. It is a little bit a concept in the eye of the beholder, but at least in terms of the abstract, the members opposite embrace that concept. Indeed, I do not know of any member in the House who does not embrace the concept of tax fairness.
    Having said that, I have yet to see from the government any concept of actual enshrinement in legislation of tax fairness, and as we talk about this bill in this chamber, we might keep that concept in mind, because this is a bill that gives preference to a particular category of taxpayer over another very similar category of taxpayer. It is very difficult to see where the tax fairness is for those who are not receiving the particular tax break that the bill contemplates.
    Before I continue my remarks on the bill, I want to recount a complicated history with respect to tax treaties between Canada and the U.S. In 1984, in a tax treaty with the United States, Canadians who received social security payments were only required to pay 50% of their social security payments as taxable income in Canada. If they received $100 in the United States, they only had to declare $50 of it for tax purposes. In 1996 the treaty changed, allowing the country of payment, in this case the United States, rather than the country of residence, to tax social security payments that were sent north of the border. A 25.5% withholding tax was instituted at the time.
    This was good news for pensioners with high incomes, as the 25.5% withholding tax by the United States was higher than their marginal tax rate in Canada. They therefore saved money. For low income Canadians, however, the rate would have been higher than their marginal tax rate. They would have been worse off.
    The treaty changed again in 1997 when the U.S. stopped the 25.5% withholding tax from social security recipients and taxation power once again returned to the country of residence, namely, in this case, Canada. The Government of Canada agreed at the time to make taxable only 85% of the social security income in the hands of pensioners living here. In other words, there is an arrangement between Canada and the U.S. that the $100 I spoke of would come north, but only $85 of it would be taxed. This bill contemplates that the already preferential $85 in fact be reduced to $50, or in other words, it contemplates a return to the original arrangement of 1984.
    That is a quick summary of the legislative toing and froing with with respect to this bill and how pensioners are treated with respect to receipt of $100 from U.S. social security.
    I would like to return to the idea of tax fairness by using the example of two neighbours who live side by side. The hon. member is from the Windsor area, where a number of these folks live who already receive the $85 benefit and are now wishing to restore it to the $50 benefit, so there we can see neighbours living side by side. One neighbour would receive a Canadian pension, CPP or QPP as the case may be, and that entire $100 would be included in his or her income. As the present situation exists, the neighbour who is a recipient of U.S. moneys and who is beside the Canadian neighbour would declare only $85 on a similar amount of money.
    As it exists, the entire $100 Canadian pension is taxable, but only $85 is taxable for the neighbour receiving the U.S. pension. This bill does not contemplate moving it up to $100, which would be taxable, but rather moving it down to $50, taxable. We can see that this is a huge advantage for the person who is receiving U.S. social security versus the person who is receiving a Canadian pension.
    Let us look at neighbour A who receives social security payments. In the 2006 return taxable by country of residence, the Government of Canada allows that person to exempt 15% of those moneys. In other words, neighbour A in effect receives only $85, which would then be taxable. Let us consider the neighbour who receives the Canadian pension. In that case, it is $100 that is entirely taxable. If we are talking about tax fairness, it is pretty difficult to see how those two neighbours with a similar amount of pensionable income should be in any position other than that of paying a similar amount of tax on their government pension plans.
    What this bill proposes, however, is to lower that from $85 to $50. In other words, not only would it recognize the current inequity that exists, but it would exaggerate the inequity. That individual would be paying tax on $50 rather than paying tax on $85, unlike like the person receiving entirely Canadian pension money who would be paying tax entirely on the $100.
    Where exactly does this 50% exclusion rate come from? Was this just pulled out of the air? Or is it only an attempt to return to the 1980s, when only 50% of the social security payment was counted as taxable income? It would appear that this bill is striving to ensure tax parity between Americans who receive the Canada pension plan and Canadians who receive U.S. social security. It does not seem to have tax fairness between Canadian taxpayers at its heart. What the bill should strive to do is ensure that Canadians in similar circumstances pay similar amounts of tax on their pensions, whether they are on social security or the Canadian pension plan.
    That being said, I do not have the figures in front of me and would be interested to know if in fact social security recipients are worse off than their CPP counterparts. As a result, I will be voting for this bill and in fact urging our colleagues to do that, not that we are particularly embracing the principle that the bill enunciates, and having given our concerns about the issue of tax fairness, but with a view to getting these numbers during the committee's examination of the bill.
    The Department of Finance should be able to provide the committee and, through it, this House with an accurate picture of the difference in tax burdens borne by social security recipients and CPP recipients. If there is an unfairness here and social security recipients are indeed being taxed more, then I would agree that it should be rectified, but it should be rectified by a number that has not been arbitrarily pulled out of the air, such as a 50% exclusion rate. The United States does not even use the system any more, so I am at a loss to understand why it is this particular figure, which appears to have some relevance to the 1984 figure.
    I would like to again congratulate the hon. member on his persistence in bringing this bill forward. It does have a measure of an attempt to redress an inequity, but as I said earlier, it is very hard to see how there is tax fairness built into this bill. As members of Parliament, we must strive to deliver tax fairness to all Canadians.
    In conclusion, I believe that this bill is in fact worth looking at. I look forward to the hon. member's presentation at the finance committee.



    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to speak today about this bill, which seeks to recognize the work done by thousands, if not millions, of Quebeckers and Canadians who have worked in the United States. They have crossed the border to earn a living in another country.
    I was first elected in my riding in 1993. In 1994-95, we had to wage a tremendous battle to correct a mistake made by the Liberal government. Those were the years when the government was trying to raise as much money as possible to fight the deficit. The government could find no better solution than to tighten the employment insurance criteria and turn the system into the federal government's cash cow. In addition, in a trade with the Americans, the government introduced a system that made no sense.
    Early in its first mandate, the Chrétien government decided that, instead of receiving their pensions from the Americans and having them taxed at 50% here in Canada, Canadian citizens would be taxed directly by the Americans. The absurd result was that people never saw their money again. We had to wage an ongoing battle to rectify this situation.
    I was able to see just how many people in the riding I represented at the time, especially people in Témiscouata, needed that income to make ends meet. I remember meetings of 350 to 400 people in Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Cabano and other towns. People wanted the situation to be corrected. I made representations at the time, as did François Langlois, who was the Bloc member for the neighbouring riding of Bellechasse—Etchemins— Montmagny—L'Islet. We succeeded in making a change, not alone, but in collaboration with many members of this House, who represented ridings where people were also living along the border and dealing with the sad new reality approved by the Chrétien government.
    I remember that Herb Gray, a member of the government at the time, took action and said, “Listen, our decision makes no sense. We have to change things”. When the situation was rectified, part of the reality was forgotten. As I mentioned, the government at the time wanted to raise as much money as possible to fight the deficit, so it agreed to tax at 85% the money received by Canadian citizens who had worked in the United States.
    As of that time, people receiving American pensions were taxed on 85% of the amount they received, despite being Canadian citizens who paid into those pensions while working in the United States. Those people did not have the option of putting some of that money in a tax shelter, such as an RRSP. The Canadian government collects tax on 85% of every cheque those people get. The bill before us today aims to correct that situation.
    It was a Liberal mistake. The member for Essex has introduced the bill before us now. At least it will restore the system we had before the Liberal blunder. It will restore a 50% tax rate, thus creating greater equality between American workers who make contributions to pension plans and Canadian and Quebec workers who work in the United States and make contributions to the same thing. The bill will ensure greater equality in that respect and greater equality for the problem that remains to be corrected. Currently, when people receive their American pension cheques, they are taxed on 85% of the amount, but a fair system would reduce that to 50%, as was the case before the Liberals' big mistake.
    These sound like very theoretical arguments, but they are not that at all. There are a lot of elderly people who receive the American old age pension, and that is what enables them to make ends meet and to support several regional economies along the border. This is the result of people's very hard work, work that, in my riding, was mainly in the forest industry.
    There are still a lot of people in my riding today, especially in the Montmagny—L'Islet part, but also in Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, who are in this situation. I am thinking of the people in Saint-Pamphile, the people in all of the towns along the border and the people of Saint-Just-de-Bretenières.


    Some towns are located along the U.S. border. Often the people in those towns earn their living in the United States and they are currently victims of the unfairness we still find in this legislation, which should be corrected. We hope this will happen as soon as possible.
    That is why the Bloc Québécois hopes this bill will pass and be referred to a committee to be considered in greater detail. This is a private member's bill. It should perhaps be tidied up to bring its rules in line with Canada's Income Tax Act.
    Nonetheless, as far as the principle of the bill is concerned, we feel it is important, justified and more equitable to pass this measure. In my opinion, this is the type of gesture that deserves to be supported since our constituents have dedicated their lives to supporting their family by being willing to leave for the United States to work in logging camps and in the tourism industry.
    One of the places my constituents often go to work is Maine because they are considered to be good workers and are received with open arms by the Americans, who hope these people can continue to work there. However, current inequity in the legislation discourages them from doing so.
    People do not realize the contribution rates they are paying when they are 25, 30 or 35. They just think there are always a lot of deductions on their paycheque. They really begin to notice when they start getting their pension because the pension cheque is important to people whose sole family income is often only a basic pension. It is this cheque that allows them to stay at home longer. Rather than leaving their home at age 70, 72 or 75, this cheque gives them the means to stay at home and hire someone to help with the housekeeping. This cheque at the end of the month allows them to continue to have a decent life, because it provides the necessary amount of money to cover such expenses.
    In this context, the Bloc Québécois believes that the gender equality initiative is worthy of our support so that we can correct the mistakes made by the Liberals at the time of the 1995 convention. At that time, it was decided that the Americans would withhold taxes at source. Thus, Quebeckers and Canadians had their taxes withheld by the Americans, with no means of recovering that money. That mistake was partially corrected as a result of the efforts of some of the members of this House, especially some Bloc Québécois members at that time. However, a second part of the reform was not implemented and it is essential that it be addressed by the bill before us here today.
    We are seeking recognition for our seniors, for the work they did, and we hope to see them get everything they deserve. As we must all be aware, in the last 25 years, the income of Canadian seniors has improved. However, certain groups in our society—some people living in Canada—are not receiving fair treatment, especially women who become widowed and are living alone. These women must go through a drastic change in their life, in how they manage their budget. Furthermore, a correction would also lead to greater tax equity and give our seniors an income that would allow them to make ends meet.
    This Parliament has an opportunity to give recognition where recognition is due, by ensuring that these Canadians are entitled to tax rates that are as equitable as possible, given that they dedicated their lives to supporting their families and even agreed to work outside Canada. For this reason, the Bloc Québécois will support this motion.



    Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak to this private member's bill, Bill C-305, a proposal relating to the tax treatment of a very particular kind of income, the social security benefits that some residents in Canada receive from the government of the United States.
    I understand that the principles, which have motivated the hon. member to craft this bill, are ones that my constituents and I support. Those principles include tax fairness for all Canadians and special consideration for our seniors who have given this country so much and deserve our full support.
    Canadians who want to know what Canada's seniors have contributed only need to look around them. The entire fabric of Canadian life was built on foundations that were laid for us by those who are now in their retirement years. An obvious example is the freedom we enjoy, freedom that people in many other parts of the world would dearly love to have. We are free to speak our minds, free to worship as we choose or not at all and free to hold and enjoy property and to participate in institutions that govern us, all because of sacrifices of a generation of Canadians who are now in retirement.
    We owe a debt to the senior members of our communities. Indeed, the government does a great deal for seniors right now. Old age security benefits and the guaranteed income supplement ensure that seniors are able to enjoy a basic minimum standard of living. In this fiscal year, these programs will provide over $31.5 billion to over 4.2 million, many of them low income seniors.
    Seniors also benefit from a number of tax expenditures and programs that are targeted to their needs and particular circumstances. These range from a newly increased pension income tax credit, which reduces income tax paid by seniors, to the new horizons seniors program which provides financial support to community based projects for seniors. These targeted programs are in addition to the strong retirement income support that is in place: the OAS, the GIS and the financially secure Canada pension plan.
    The results speak for themselves. The number of low income seniors currently is at an all time low. Bill C-305 proposes to extend the exemption from the tax credit to U.S. social security benefits from 15% to 50%. I know this measure would help many seniors in this country who worked in the United States or whose spouses worked in the United States and now qualify for these benefits. However, I also know that the taxation of these benefits has a long and complex history involving lengthy negotiations between the Department of Finance and the U.S. treasury department.
    Let me explain by providing some background on the taxation of social security benefits as set out in the Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty and why it is that Canada agreed to the 15% exemption. As I have mentioned, this history has been complex and the current state of affairs represents a delicate balance between competing interests.
    The Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty has included rules for the taxation of social security benefits paid by one country to residents of the other country since 1984. The evolution of these rules has progressed in three distinct phases.
    First, between 1984 and 1996 the treaty contained a residence based taxation rule; that is, only the country of residence was allowed to tax social security benefits. During this time, a resident of Canada receiving U.S. social security benefits would only pay tax to Canada. There was, however, a 50% deduction in computing taxable income in respect of these benefits because at that time the U.S. only taxed a maximum of 50% of the U.S. social security payments. This represented a tax advantage over Canadian benefits which were fully subject to tax. In addition, U.S. residents receiving Canadian benefits were not subject to Canadian tax and benefited from the 50% maximum inclusion rate in the United States.


    One consequence of this was that high income U.S. taxpayers were not subject to the clawback of old age security benefits which applies to Canadian taxpayers with incomes above a certain amount. This residence based rule was seen to be unfair.
    At the time, the public called for the rules to be changed so that all participants of Canadian benefits were taxed in the same way, regardless of residence, and the rules were changed. In 1995, Canada and the United States agreed to replace the residence based rule with a source based rule. In other words, the new rule would allow only the country from which the payment arose to tax that payment. The result was that a Canadian resident receiving U.S. social security benefits was taxed only by the United States.
    In addition, the maximum inclusion rate under U.S. law had risen over time from 50% to 85%. A U.S. citizen in receipt of a U.S. benefit would be subject to ordinary U.S. rates only on a maximum of 85% of that income. If the recipients were Canadian residents, they would either pay U.S. rates if they were a U.S. citizen or they would be subject to a final withholding tax of 25.5%. This rate was computed at 85% of the standard U.S. withholding rate of 30%. This was a final tax and was non-refundable.
    For high income Canadians, this tax was usually acceptable since, if they had to pay tax in Canada on this income, their marginal rate of taxation would likely have been higher than 25.5%. However, for low income taxpayers who otherwise rely on the progressive nature of the Canadian tax system to fairly distribute the tax burden, the 25.5% withholding tax constituted excessive taxation and caused, in many cases, severe hardship.
    These taxpayers, had they been subject to tax in Canada on this income, would have paid little or no tax. Because they were subject to U.S. taxation, a quarter of their income was lost. Conversely, a U.S. resident receiving Canadian benefits under this rule could choose between a 25% withholding tax or, if they filed a tax return in Canada, a graduated income tax at ordinary rates. For low income U.S. taxpayers, this meant they paid little or no tax. At that time there was a great discrepancy in the taxation of these benefits to the detriment of many low income Canadian seniors.
    Canada and the United States recognized this unfair treatment and we came together again to change the rules. To relieve hardship on low income Canadians, we agreed to restore residence only taxation. The current rule provides that social security payments are taxed as if they were payments from the home country's benefit plan.
    A Canadian recipient of U.S. social security is treated as if the payment were from CPP, QPP or OAS. U.S. recipients of CPP, QPP or OAS are treated as if they were receiving U.S. society security benefits. This meant that Canadians receiving U.S. benefits could avail themselves of the graduated rate of our taxation system and were no longer subject to the flat 25.5% withholding tax.
    As I mentioned, the maximum inclusion rate in the United States had changed from 50% to 85%. That is the history of the taxation of social security benefits between Canada and the United States. As this history reveals, it is a complicated issue that is related to the negotiations of our most important tax treaty.
    I thank the hon. member for tackling such a complex issue and for working hard to represent the seniors and retired people, not only in his constituency but also in mine, as I have many residents who live in the riding of Burlington who receive both a Canadian pension and a U.S. pension.
     I appreciate all the support I have heard so far this morning on this item. I look forward to having it go to committee so we can debate this further and get the proper representation from those who are truly affected on a daily basis by this measure.


    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been consultations among all parties in the House and I believe you will find there is unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That Bill C-305 be sent to the Standing Committee on Finance after the second hour of second reading, on division.


    Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleague to repeat the name of the bill because I did not have the same information as he did. I am sorry, but could he just repeat the name of the bill so that we will know whether or not we agree to the motion?


    Mr. Speaker, I apologize if the member did not hear me correctly. It is Bill C-305.
    I appreciate the point of order. I wonder if it is timely since the debate on this bill is not yet complete.


    Mr. Speaker, we are putting forward this proposal now after consultation with all parties in the House. We recognize that it might be in order now due to the general concurrence of all parties in the House.


    Mr. Speaker, am I to understand that the motion will be voted on at the end of the time allowed for debate so that anyone who wishes to speak may do so within the time provided?


    Mr. Speaker, it would apply after the second hour of debate.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to move his motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Galipeau): The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to congratulate the hon. member on his private member's bill. As my colleague from Scarborough—Guildwood pointed out, we in the Liberal Party are certainly very happy that this bill go to committee, as I think we have already agreed. We think that tax fairness is a matter of primary importance. We think that this bill may be appropriate in terms of enhancing tax fairness, but we are not quite sure. We need to have further information which we think the finance department will be able to provide when this bill goes to committee.
    Just to reiterate the general point about tax fairness that was made by my colleague, I will not repeat the summary of the bill because that has already been done by a number of speakers, but let me spend a few minutes focusing on the fairness issue.
    We take the example where there are two neighbours. Neighbour A receives social security payments in 2006 which are taxable by his country of residence, which is Canada. The Government of Canada allows him to exempt 15% of those payments from his taxable income. If neighbour A were to receive a $100 U.S. social security cheque, he would only have to pay tax on $85 of that money. That is fairly clear. Now we can consider his neighbour who is a Canada pension plan recipient with a similar total income. When neighbour B receives his $100 CPP cheque, he has to pay tax on the entire $100.
    If we are talking about tax fairness, it would seem that the two neighbours with a similar amount of income should pay a similar amount of tax on their government pension plans. It is a matter of very simple fairness that two neighbours with like incomes should be treated in a like manner by the tax system. What this bill proposes to do is to lower the amount that neighbour A would count as taxable income from $85 to $50 for every $100 of social security that he receives.
    Where does this 50% exclusion rate come from? This is the nub of the matter and the essence of the bill. Was it just pulled out of the air or is there some analytical foundation to it? Is it an attempt to return to the 1980s when only 50% of social security payments were counted as taxable income?
    It would seem that this bill is striving to ensure tax parity between Americans who receive a CPP pension and Canadians who receive social security. It does not seem to have tax fairness between Canadian taxpayers at its heart. It would seem to me at least on the surface that what the bill should try to do is ensure that Canadians in like circumstances pay similar amounts of tax on their pensions whether they be social security or the Canada pension plan.
    That being said, that is a simple example and a general point of principle, but I do not have the figures in front of me to give a proper answer to the question. I would certainly be interested to know if in fact social security recipients are worse off than their CPP counterparts.
    For this reason, I will be voting for this bill at second reading, with the view of getting these numbers during the committee's examination of the bill. The Department of Finance has a lot of expertise and should be able to provide the committee and through it this House with an accurate picture of the difference in the tax burden borne by the social security recipients versus the Canada pension plan recipients.


    If there is an unfairness here and social security recipients are indeed being taxed more, then I agree and I am sure my colleagues would agree, that it should be rectified, but it should be rectified by a real number and not a number that appears to be arbitrary. Since it is a round number, 50%, it somewhat raises the suspicion that perhaps this number has been pulled out of the air. Perhaps it does not, but that is why we want to send it to committee, to try to get facts from the Department of Finance. The U.S. does not use that system based on 50% any more. That raises another question about why the number of 50% has been used.
    Once again I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Essex on his bill. Tax fairness is something we must always strive to deliver for Canadians. It was on the basis of tax fairness that we preferred our income tax cut rather than the government's GST cut. That is another example of tax fairness because the Liberals' income tax cut was only at the lowest income level. The maximum benefit that any Canadian, no matter how rich, could get was in the order of $300, whereas the GST cut, if a person is very rich and buys a yacht or an expensive car, they would receive more than a $300 benefit with that single purchase.
    That is another example of tax fairness. We on this side of the House argued very strenuously, and ultimately we did not have the votes, but we certainly argued strenuously on the grounds of tax fairness for an income tax cut to the lowest level rate rather than a GST cut.
    We are all in favour of tax fairness. I am sure the hon. member is in favour of tax fairness in principle too. It is difficult to oppose it in principle.
    When Bill C-305 goes to committee and we find that the member's bill does indeed move in the direction of greater fairness in the tax system, then we on this side of the House would most likely support the bill, but we do not have those facts yet. That is why we are voting to send the bill to committee where it will have greater scrutiny and we will have greater access to the facts of the matter.


    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my remarks by congratulating the member for Essex for his hard work on this file. It has been one that he has pursued in opposition and now in government, and we have yet to have the results that we want.
    The bill has had a number of different opportunities to move forward and has not made it yet. However, the member for Essex has always been pursuing this very important issue not only in terms of fairer taxation as described in Bill C-305 but also as a social justice issue. We have citizens across the country who are being unfairly taxed because laws have changed and have had an impact on their daily income and livelihood. It has created a considerable amount of grief, angst and a number of their plans have changed which has been rather unfortunate.
    It is important to recognize that in the Windsor-Essex County we have many seniors who had previously been paying social security taxes to the United States and work over there on a regular basis even to this day. We have thousands of nurses for example going to the United States from Canada every day.
    Ten years ago when this change was enacted in the tax treaty law, it basically usurped the traditional taxation that they had expected to receive when they got their social security upon retirement. It is not just Windsor-Essex County. This affected individuals in British Columbia, the Atlantic provinces and individuals who have worked in the United States from across Canada. It is not just our area, although we do have a significant number there but it is important to all Canadians.
    It is important to note that it seems that this bill will go forward with the unanimous consent of the House to the finance committee where any questions about the bill will be resolved. I hope it will be passed quickly by the finance committee and sent back to this Chamber, and finally to the Senate to be ratified.
    When Canadians are looking at Parliament, they look for opportunities for all parties to work together on issues. We have demonstrated that there is common support for this legislation. The previous administration had problems acting on this which led to some of the current delays that we have today. However, if we can put that behind us and move the bill forward and pass it quickly, Canadians will be rather pleased to see something come from this Chamber that is supported by all and is going to benefit all Canadians.
    This is a bill that will cost Canadians some money, but we need to put the bill in perspective. It may cost perhaps $25 million, but it will go back to seniors who should not have lost that money to begin with and this is a government that had over $13.5 billion to put on the debt unilaterally. There is the financial capability to rectify this injustice.
    The Chamber passed a seniors charter of rights, which was an NDP motion. It called for fairness, equity and respect for seniors when bills come through the Chamber that relate to them. This bill fits that mould. Therefore, I think there is a greater onus on the Chamber to move the bill quickly through the system.
    I have had a number of opportunities to talk to constituents and it is important to put a face to the effects of what has happened. They have watched their savings and earnings disappear because of this change and what has been sad is that some of these people have passed away. The original tax treaty that was changed when this problem emerged goes back to 1996 and it has been 10 long painful years for individuals who had expectations eroded and eliminated as the amount of income they would have coming back to them has been affected.
    We have heard from different constituents who have had to change their lifestyles. Some have had to sell their homes or go to a different lifestyle option that they did not want to do or have not been able to support their grandchildren the way that they wanted to because they are literally losing hundreds of dollars per month. This was part of their calculated income which they expected to receive.


    These are law-abiding citizens who crossed the border for years and worked in the United States and brought those earnings back to Canada. They were very good citizens to the country, have retired here, and are contributing in many different ways. To have this happen has been very frustrating to watch. They have heard a lot of rhetoric over time about this being fixed and their expectations of Parliament are warranted to have this bill move quickly through the process.
    I am going to read a letter which encapsulates the debate we have had here today and it is important that Craig Ridsdale does get noted. He has been an outspoken voice on this issue and he wrote a letter called “unfair tax laws burden seniors”:
    Many Canadian seniors across Canada have been sitting on their hands since 1997 waiting for the Liberal government to move forward on a pledge made to them to rectify a system of taxation that threatens to leave many of them, particularly low income seniors, in a very difficult financial situation.
     In 1984, the Canada-U.S. Tax Convention Act was implemented, primarily to protect the citizens of both countries from being taxed twice on their pensions, be they social security in the States or the Canada (and Quebec) Pension Plan here in Canada. However, differences in our taxation systems (Canadians pay taxes when collecting benefits while Americans pay the taxes on their contributions) has meant that Canadians receiving social security benefits were being taxed twice.
     A series of protocols to amend this bill have made matters even worse for many retirees. Specifically, the third protocol, implemented in 1995 and applicable for the 1996 fiscal year allowed the United States government to charge what amounted to a more than 25% withholding tax on Canadians' pensions. Previously, the second protocol to this treaty allowed only the country of residence to tax social security benefits. For many retired Canadians who paid into the American system over the span of their working lives what this meant was that over one quarter of their income essentially disappeared overnight.
    The fourth protocol, implemented after the disastrous third protocol, allows the Canadian government to tax 85 % of social security, and increase from the 50% agreed upon in the 1984 act. It also provided the government with the latitude to reduce the 85% limit which it has refused to do.
     Since 2001, Canadians Asking for Social Security Equity (CASSE) have been lobbying the federal government to either restore the second protocol or at the least grandfather its provisions to include all seniors who were negatively affected by the third protocol. To this date nothing has been done.
    Nothing has been done, aside from a number of bills that have made it to the finance committee in different machinations.
     In conclusion, I want to note that this is very important. The expectation of Canadians is that when we do have bills which are generally supported in this chamber by all parties, they should move forward rather quickly. It is important that this work is done. It is about fairness and justice for senior citizens who had expectations and the country changed those things. That unfair inequity must be rectified. The New Democratic Party is committed to seeing this bill move forward, not only through the finance committee but as quickly as possible to final ratification, so our seniors are treated with the equity and fairness that they so justly deserve.
    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank the member for Essex for moving this private member's bill. It certainly speaks to the heart of what we need to do for seniors in his community and my community. The member for Burlington spoke so eloquently about the relationship we have with the United States, in terms of tax treaties, and what we need to do to help our seniors here in our country. So, it is much appreciated.
    I welcome the opportunity to speak to the bill put forward by the member for Essex, in that the bill would exempt from taxation 50% of the U.S. social security benefits received by taxpayers here in Canada. Currently, the exemption is only 15%.
    Bill C-305 would amend subsection 81(1) of the Income Tax Act. This part of the act provides that certain items shall not be included in calculating the income of a senior or a taxpayer for a taxation year. The amendment would add to this category a couple of items and, thus, exempt from income tax 35% of the aggregate of all benefits paid by the United States government as a benefit under U.S. social security legislation. The amendment also makes clear that this 35% exemption would be in addition to the 15% exemption provided by paragraph 5(a) of article XVIII of the treaty.
    It is estimated that approximately 90,000 Canadians receive U.S. social security benefits, of whom approximately 53,000 earn sufficient income to be liable for tax. The bill would affect the taxation of certain pension payments and would grant an additional 35% exemption in the case of U.S. social security benefits.
    The bill is really about the taxation of retirees in Canada and this is an important subject. This is such an important subject because we owe it to Canadian seniors to provide a coherent and comprehensive approach to how their income is treated. I commend the hon. member for Essex for bringing this bill forward. I know that the member shares the same strong commitment to Canadian seniors as I do. This commitment to seniors in his riding and throughout our country is certainly to be commended. We owe our seniors a great deal and when we have the opportunity to extend something as simple as tax relief, we have to do that.
    We are fortunate to have a new government that is committed to tax relief. We are committed to tax relief for all Canadians, but especially for seniors and retired Canadians who currently receive a pension.
    The relief would benefit nearly 2.7 million taxpayers who receive eligible pension income, providing up to $155 per pensioner. I am speaking about Canada's new government's promise to double the pension income amount to $2,000. We would also take about 85,000 of those same pensioners off the tax rolls.
    Many of our seniors who would benefit from Bill C-305 live near our borders, so they, and Canadians, want safer streets. We want to protect Canadian families and communities, to secure our borders, and to increase our preparedness to address public health threats.
    It is as important for seniors to feel safe and secure in their homes and their communities as much as it is for them to feel tax relief. Canada's new government has introduced a number of measures in this House to tackle crime, including mandatory sentencing and house arrest to name a few.
    One very important feature of making our streets safer is the commitment made in budget 2006. The budget earmarks funds giving the RCMP the tools and people it needs to strengthen its federal policing role. Budget 2006 includes $26 million to give victims a more effective voice in the federal corrections and justice system, and to give victims greater access to services. In every riding in our country, seniors have been victims in criminal acts. This funding would help ensure that they have a voice in our justice system.
    There is an organization called Grand-PARENTING AGAIN Canada which was formed for grandparents across the country who, for one reason or another, become caregivers to their grandchildren. It happens across the country, not always for great reasons but it happens.


    The proposed bill, along with the universal child care supplement, will help grandparents who face the tough issue of bringing up their grandchildren. With over 23,500 seniors in my riding, any time I have the opportunity to stand and promote a bill that has their interests at heart, I will not hesitate to do so.
    The issue dealt with in the bill is an important one, as are all issues that relate to the taxation of retirees. Once again, I commend the hon. member for his commitment to seniors and retired Canadians and certainly wish him every success with the bill.
    I want to add one final note. If everyone recalls the movie that starred Tom Cruise called Jerry McGuire, at one point actress Renée Zellweger, responded to a long speech by Tom Cruise, said, “You had me at hello”. The member for Markham—Unionville had me at hello, except that he went on to speak against all the tax advantages that were given to seniors with respect to GST and tax credits in the budget, which disappointed me. I am glad he is supporting it, but he only needed to speak about half as long as he did. I think we all would have been happier on this side of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a very good day for seniors today. I want to start by thanking hon. members in the chamber for their unanimous support in getting the bill to committee.
    I want to point out a few honourable mentions. Of course my colleague, the hon. member for Chatham-Kent—Essex, is the seconder of the bill. I want to commend the hard work especially by the New Democrat members for Windsor—Tecumseh and Windsor West. Before I came to the House, they took up this battle from the member for Calgary Southeast, who was one of the original sponsors of the bill in a couple of forms before that. The official opposition today has seen fit to ensure that this at least gets to committee for some study.
    In light of that, I want to move this debate away from the issue of tax fairness, of which we have heard an awful lot, to what this issue really is about, and that is tax justice. In committee we have an opportunity to finally move the debate to this issue. It needs to be started by first acknowledging that an injustice was committed January 1, 1996, when the tax rules changed for a number of Canadian seniors who collected the U.S. social security pension after retirement. That changed their entire retirement assumptions, the money they had available for living out their years.
     Many wound up extremely bitter. To this day, those who survive, fewer in number and many stricken with ailments, are still very bitter about this. They long for the day when all parties acknowledge in the House that an injustice was committed with respect to taxation. Those who retired after the rule changed have not experienced the same injustice.
    I know the bill asks for an across the board lowering of the inclusion rate. I hope the committee will come up with a real solution which would achieve a grandfathering for seniors who were originally affected after retirement. The bill hopes to address that. Perhaps the committee could hear testimony and attain the desired wording for the change to achieve that. This will send a clear signal if we can achieve a result like this in committee and beyond, and that being the fact that the House is concerned with tax justice for seniors.
    I will conclude with a very humble thanks to all hon. members in the House for their support for the bill. This is indeed, as I stated in my opening comments, a great day for Canadian seniors. It will be a better day when the change is finally passed, whether as a budget item, or by this bill or by whatever means, to address the tax injustice. That will indeed be the greatest day for seniors in Canada.



    Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Galipeau): Pursuant to order made earlier today, the motion is deemed carried on division.


    Accordingly the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

    (Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, after consultation with the other parties in the House, I present the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of this House, after no more than one speaker per party and provided that the members may be permitted to split their time by so indicating to the Chair, for the second reading stage of Bill S-5, An Act to implement conventions and protocols concluded between Canada and Finland, Mexico and Korea for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes and income, Bill S-5 shall be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read a third time and passed; and
after no more than one speaker per party and provided that the members may be permitted to split their time by so indicating to the Chair, for the second reading stage of Bill C-34, An Act to provide for jurisdiction over education on first nations lands in British Columbia, Bill C-34 shall be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.


    Does the hon. member have the consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Galipeau): Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Government Orders

[Government Orders]


Canada's Clean Air Act

    (Bill C-30. On the Order: Government Orders)

    October 19, 2006—The Minister of the Environment—Second reading and reference to a legislative committee of Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act (Canada's Clean Air Act).
    That Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act (Canada's Clean Air Act), be referred forthwith to a legislative committee.
     She said: Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise today in my capacity as Canada's Minister of the Environment to speak to Bill C-30, Canada's clean air act, which marks a bold new era of environmental protection as this country's first comprehensive and integrated legislation to reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases.
    I welcome all who are present today to discuss Canada's clean air act, understanding that our commitment to a better future for all Canadians is unwavering.
    The environment is a sacred trust, bestowed on us by our ancestors to embrace and preserve for our country's future. Canada's new government intends to uphold this responsibility, which is why it is important that consideration of Bill C-30, Canada's clean air act, begin as soon as possible.
    The environment is a concern to all of us. Greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants transcend borders and affect the health, environment and well-being of all Canadians.
    Since taking office, our government has undertaken a number of important environmental initiatives. These include: action to reduce the release of mercury into our surroundings; reductions to the release of toxic substances from base metal smelters; new tax incentives for the banking of environmentally sensitive lands; funding for the development of renewable fuels; and the introduction of new infrastructure funding dedicated to public transit, as well as tax credits for the people who use public transportation.
    The opposition has criticized Canada's clean air act, but have yet to identify one single clause in the act with which they disagree. Instead, the opposition has introduced two private members' bills that ignore the issue of targeting air pollution.
    Not surprisingly, after decades of neglecting air pollution, the state of the environment this government has inherited from the newly elected Leader of the Opposition jeopardizes the health of every Canadian, but especially the most vulnerable in our society, our children and seniors, who suffer disproportionately from smog, poor air quality and environmental hazards.
    Our government shares the concerns of Canadians about the environment and the quality of the air that we breathe.
    Addressing only greenhouse gases is not enough. We must also address air pollution. Poor air quality is not a minor irritant to be endured, but a serious health issue that poses an increasing risk to the well-being of Canadians.
    Again, Canada's clean air act is the first legislation to address both air pollution and greenhouse gases in an integrated fashion. Greenhouse gas emissions degrade Canada's natural landscape and pose an imminent threat to our economic prosperity.
    Canada's clean air act represents real, concrete action to achieve results through mandatory, strict regulations.
    We are sharply focusing our efforts on addressing the greatest threats to the health and well-being of Canadians. We need tough pollution regulations that measurably reduce asthma, chronic bronchitis and lung cancer by improving both indoor and outdoor air quality. This is why our government will take unprecedented action to regulate indoor air pollution, the second highest cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
    Canada's clean air act is the first legislation to recognize that most sources of air pollutants are also sources of greenhouse gases and they must be addressed together. Canada's clean air act proposes a comprehensive set of amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, to the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Consumption Standards Act.
    Canada's clean air act contains crucial new provisions that will expand the powers of the federal government to address the existing inefficient voluntary standards and move to strict enforceable regulations.
    By strengthening and bringing more accountability to our existing laws, Canada's clean air act requires the Ministers of the Environment and Health to: establish, monitor and report on new national air quality objectives tied to the health of Canadians; report to Parliament on the effectiveness and the progress of our programs; and move from voluntary to mandatory, enforceable regulations.
    Canada's clean air act is needed to ensure that renewable fuel requirements can be implemented in an efficient and effective manner to provide cleaner fuels for our cars. A biofuels industry will lead to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution and unprecedented economic opportunities for Canada's agricultural industry.


    The government is also consulting on options surrounding an emissions trading regime.
     That is why the government, through Canada's clean air act, is consulting on options that allow trading and that align our compliance regimes to support the implementation of a trading system that results in the lowest cost opportunities for emissions reductions for industry.
    We have been clear that any trading system must be market driven, not subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Unlike previous governments, our government will not purchase credits or create an artificial trading market subsidized by taxpayer dollars.
    The second key difference in our approach on clean air lies in our focus on mandatory, strict regulations. Past governments relied on voluntary measures, satisfied that industry could set its own standards.
    The environment commissioner confirmed that this is not acceptable or workable and condemned the former environment minister, the newly elected Leader of the Opposition, by stating that the measures were “not up to the task of meeting the Kyoto obligations”. She went on to say that the Leader of the Opposition's efforts were inadequate, lacked accountability, and would have never reduced greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 targets.
    Canadians will be glad to know that those days are over. From now on, all industry sectors, including the auto sector, will have mandatory requirements, and we will enforce those requirements. Our plan puts the health of Canadians and the health of our environment first.
     Any polluters that go over their air pollution targets will be fined and all money will go toward an environmental damages fund.
    We also have an ambitious long term target aimed at absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, up to 65% by 2050, as recommended by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.
    The previous government signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol without an implementation plan to achieve results. That inaction and those empty promises have left Canadians with a 35% increase in greenhouse gas emissions above the targets set by the Liberals.
    We must move beyond the arbitrary and unattainable targets set by the Liberals and work together at setting achievable targets. We must lead the world by example and show them that through government cooperation with industry we can make vast improvements for the health of Canadians and the health of the planet while still maintaining one of the most robust economies in the world.
    By spring 2007, the government will announce short term targets for air pollution and greenhouse gases, and industry will have to meet these regulations within four years.
    Our approach also encourages technological change. Technology plays an essential role in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and provides us with huge economic opportunities.
     We will also introduce mechanisms to encourage and facilitate investment in new technology, but we will not use a carbon tax, because the only people who end up paying are Canadian taxpayers and we think that they have paid enough through their health. Under a Conservative government, it will only be the polluter that will pay.
     Any industry that goes over its greenhouse gas limits will have the option of paying into a Canadian technology fund to comply with the regulation. The money paid into the fund will be reinvested in technology to reduce greenhouse gases.
    The third key difference in our approach on clean air is that we are taking action right here in Canada. Canadians will be able to hold our government and industry accountable for achieving results.
     We will be accountable to Canadians by reporting on our progress in a public annual air quality report and we will be held accountable through measurable outcomes linked to the health of Canadians. We will also be accountable to Parliament by mandatory annual reporting to Parliament on our actions and their effectiveness to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases.
    Rest assured that Canada will continue to be a constructive player in global efforts to address climate change, but we need to clean up our own backyard and set an example for the rest of the world. We will set an example by leading here at home and we do not plan to do this by purchasing international climate change credits to meet unachievable targets as a substitute for a concrete regulatory agenda to reduce Canada's own emissions.
    This government has charted a fundamentally new course on the environment. Canada's clean air act and Canada's clean air regulatory agenda will set strict, enforceable regulations that will result in concrete, realistic action to protect the health of Canadians and the environment for generations to come.


    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the minister, but I must say that she raised more questions than she gave answers.
    Amongst the questions, one of the challenges with this particular bill is of course its deliberate confusion between issues concerning air pollution and issues concerning greenhouse gases. The minister used the phrase that “the greatest threat to the health of Canadians is asthma”.
     I submit that the greatest threat to the health of Canadians is in fact the destruction of the planet by global warming, so my first question to the minister is this: which is the greater threat to the future of humanity, pollution or greenhouse gases global warming?
    Second, why is there no reference to Kyoto in either the bill or the notice of intent to regulate? Why is that?
    Third, the minister has returned from Nairobi but insists that we will not purchase international credits or be involved in any kind of international mechanisms, and yet she was present for discussions on such things as the international emissions trading system and the clean development mechanism as well. Why is there no recognition of the process she was involved in?
    Fourth, why is it that we have to deal with where the short term targets for greenhouse gas emissions are? By that I mean, what does she hope to have achieved by 2012?
    Fifth, if she will not have a carbon tax, will she at least accept a cap and trade system which will create that domestic and international market that will allow polluters of all sorts to improve?
    Finally, is it accurate for the minister to say that there were no regulated measures when the large final emitters were going to be forced by regulation to reduce by 2008?
    Mr. Speaker, all of the hon. member's questions raise exactly the point as to why we should get this bill to a legislative committee as quickly as possible to address these issues.
    I would submit to him that we should not have to choose between regulating air pollution and regulating greenhouse gases. What we have learned from other jurisdictions and from the measures put in place by the last government is that it is not enough. We did not go far enough. We definitely did not go far enough when it comes to air pollution.
     We know now that taking an integrated approach to addressing both of these issues is key to the health of Canadians and key to the health of our environment, because one technology to reduce greenhouse gases may in fact result in increased air pollution, and vice versa, depending on fuel choices and many other related issues.
    On the issue of Kyoto, Bill C-30 is a piece of domestic legislation so that Canada can finally make emissions reductions here at home. Obviously the discussion at the committee will involve whether or not this legislation is going to contribute to our overall Kyoto compliance and how, but what I will say is that we can finally say something positive to the international community, and we did deliver this positive message in Nairobi, which is that because Canada is finally moving toward mandatory, regulated emissions reductions, we will be able to make a contribution to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases. We also delivered the message to the international community that we will also be reducing air pollution, which is obviously a priority for all of the member countries as well.
    Again, in Nairobi, Canada was one of over 162 countries that led us to a consensus, and the consensus was that the Kyoto protocol needs to undergo a review. Canada supports a review of the Kyoto protocol to make sure that as we move forward to the next compliance period we make sure that we do not make the mistakes that were made previously.
    We also introduced strong accountability frameworks around some of the international programs that the member raises. Again, the member needs to make a distinction between taxpayer funded programs and programs that are market driven. The Kyoto protocol has some mechanisms that are supposed to be used by the market, but the previous government was using taxpayers' dollars to invest in those projects. We believe that if it is industry led, that is fine.
    The bottom line is that under the Liberal plan the taxpayer was paying and under the Conservative plan the polluter will pay. That is the substantial difference.
    On short term targets, I welcome input from all parties leading up to January and through our legislative committee to help us set short term targets that are achievable and that will not ruin our economy but will instead encourage our economy to make a transformation into a green economy. I would thank the member for whatever he would like to add to the committee.



    Mr. Speaker, first I would like to congratulate the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville on his victory in Montreal on the weekend. He won because of his passion and credibility on the issues of the environment and sustainable development. He made the environment the main pillar of his program and rightly so in light of climate change. It is in the spirit of this victory for the environment that we will be studying Bill C-30 starting today.
    What is our approach? The role of the official opposition is to be responsible and take action based on principles. Our role is to identify—together with the other opposition parties, the government and the environmental NGOs— practical solutions that will improve this bill.
    We are not insisting on the fact that this bill is a Liberal initiative so that we can take all the credit. That is not how we do things. What we will insist on is that this bill be the best possible bill for the environment, for Canadians, especially with regard to the fight against global warming.


    What is at stake here in this bill is nothing less than the greatest challenge facing humanity today, the first order of business: dealing with global warming.
    Our position since the government first introduced the bill has taken the following lines. First, that this bill is not necessary and that the Canadian Environmental Protection Act contained all the necessary power to combat climate change and, indeed, air pollution.
    Second, which I think was demonstrated by the minister's speech, with all respect, that to bring the two elements together is deliberately confusing. Air pollution and climate change are not the same thing. They can be linked and they can be related but they frequently and most often require different strategies and different solutions.
    Climate change is primary, a precondition for every other policy that any government would want to bring forward. If we do not deal with it first and foremost, we will not get around to the rest of it, whether it is air pollution or anything else that the government might bring forward.
    Our third criticism is that this bill is not Kyoto compliant nor is it even Kyoto relevant. There is no reference in the bill or the notice of intent to regulate to Kyoto standards. It is important to consider the bill and the notice of intent to regulate as a package.
    Fourth, there are no short term goals for greenhouse gas reductions. We are not talking intensity. We are talking reductions. There is no reference to Kyoto's first implementation period of 2008 to 2012. There are no regulations for greenhouse gases coming into force before 2010, unlike project green which saw regulations, not voluntary measures, coming into place for large final emitters by 2008.
    The fifth point is that goals for greenhouse gas reductions in the medium and long term are not ambitious enough.
    The sixth point is that the bill, as written, actually weakens the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by creating unnecessary and ambiguous alternate lists for greenhouse gases and air pollutants.
    The final point is that the provincial equivalency agreements are not as strong in the proposed bill as they are currently under CEPA.
    Our original intent was to vote against the bill at second reading since we could not accept its fundamental principles or the accompanying notice of intent to regulate. Our current intention, now that the bill is at first reading and can be amended, is to produce amendments which meet our original criticisms, as I have outlined, and work with the government, opposition parties and environmental groups to produce a serious piece of legislation.
    I will not today speak to the air pollution sections because we can work to improve those sections. However, air pollution is not where the problems lie.
    I will begin by simply suggesting the key deletions that need to be made to this bill. First, the changes that weaken the provincial equivalency provisions of CEPA and, second, the creation of unnecessary new categories of greenhouse gases and air pollutants and the parallel regulatory authorities created along with those categories that put the federal power to regulate these substances at risk.
    As to the targets and purposes of this legislation, for Kyoto, Bill C-30 must be amended to make explicit reference to Canada's obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto protocol. This should include a reference to Canada's 2008 to 2012 target from article 3, paragraph 1 of the Kyoto protocol of a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below Canada's 1990 level.
    For medium and long term targets, Bill C-30 must be amended to include a long term target for Canada of at least an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2050. For the periods 2015 to 2050, interim targets should be established at five year intervals, with a 2020 interim target set at a level of at least 25% below the 1990 level.
    Through Bill C-30, the following principles should be added to the preamble of CEPA. Canada's climate policy must be guided by the ultimate objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is to prevent dangerous anthropogenic climate change. This means keeping global average temperature increases under two degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels.


     Canada needs to commit to doing its fair share to combat this global problem. We need the use of hard caps on greenhouse gas emissions that increase in stringency if the science shows that further efforts are needed. There should be no trade-offs between cleaner air and greenhouse gas reductions.
    For more detail, we need some sectoral amendments. For heavy industry, we need an amendment requiring the governor in council to limit greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry through regulations that take effect no later than January 1, 2008 for the period 2008 to 2012. The amendment must include a hard cap on emissions that impose a Kyoto target on heavy industry. This means working toward a reduction to 6% below industry's 1990 emission levels for all final emitters. We need an auction of permits with the option of revenue recycling for economic efficiency.
     We also need a linkage to other Kyoto compliant emissions trading systems. For vehicles, we need an amendment that would require the governor in council to impose regulated vehicle emission standards set to match or exceed the California vehicle standards, with those regulations coming into force for the 2009 model year.
    On energy efficiency, a preamble should be added to the Energy Efficiency Act that supports setting continuous economy-wide improvement targets in energy efficiency in Canada, with two new sections to be added to the Energy Efficiency Act. First: the governor in council would be required to prescribe energy efficiency standards for all energy using products that are responsible for significant or growing energy consumption in Canada. Second, the governor in council would be required to review all energy efficiency standards within three years after they were introduced or amended and every third year thereafter. Through this review, every energy efficiency standard must be made to meet or exceed the most stringent levels found in North America.
    On the issue of governance, we need a budgetary policy that would require the Minister of Finance to table an analysis of the projected greenhouse gas impacts of the Government of Canada's budgetary policy, disaggregated by measure, at the same time that the minister tables the annual budget.
    Finally, we need the creation of an emissions reduction agency that would draw on the model of the California air resources board and create an arm's length agency responsible for climate research, regulation and the development of science based, interim, greenhouse gas targets for Canada.
    With this package of amendments, we would turn Bill C-30 into a real bill for climate change and a real bill for air pollution reduction. However, we must remember that the first order of business must be global warming and climate change without which no other government activity will matter if we cannot start by saving the planet.


    I would like to make a comment and it is that in the last period of questions and comments we only got in one question. In this period I would like to fairly get all parties represented.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Peterborough.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with tremendous interest to the speech just given by the hon. member from Toronto and I noticed that he did not recognize the smog problem in the area where he comes from. We know it is a problem in Peterborough.
    Be that as it may, he also mentioned the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It is funny that he referred to it. Since it was rewritten in 1999, it sat in the Liberal library collecting dust. The Liberals never used it or enforced it. They never did anything with it. From the moment they signed Kyoto, they never did anything. Their record on the environment is a record of failure.
    This government has set out a vision, a vision for action that Canadians want. Whether the Liberals support it or not, Canadians do support action on the environment. I would like to know why the Liberals do not.
    I will make two points, Mr. Speaker. The first is on smog. The effects of smog are greatly enhanced by global warming. The hotter the climate because of global warming the worst the impact of smog. There is a connection but that connection is being driven by heating.
    The second point is about the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. First, to suggest that it just sat on the shelf is inaccurate. From the work on toxins, 23,000 substances have been classified. Under CEPA, these substances are being eliminated. We can make that a better act for toxins.
    The whole point is that we are using this act by adding in greenhouse gases to the list of toxins, which the previous government did. We now have the capacity, in an unambiguous fashion, to regulate both. I thank the member for his somewhat inaccurate observations.


    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to what our Liberal Party colleague just said.
    I am trying to find a solution for people whose lives were turned upside down because of products that have been known to be toxic since 1989. We have known since 1989, when the Liberal Party was in power, that these products are toxic.
    We have just been talking about improving air quality, so why has nothing been done to protect these people's lives?
    Mr. Speaker, there are three parts to this issue. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act covers toxic substances, some of which are air pollutants, and which now include greenhouse gases.
    The toxic substances management policy the member mentioned is a system that recognizes science and that tries to prioritize toxic substances and to reduce levels of the worst ones.
    I believe this must not be confused with the current bill because that would be like mixing up three elements.


    Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize the new Leader of the Opposition who will bring passion and credibility to this issue. However, I hope his passion and credibility are greater than it was during the years he was a minister in the previous government.
    On the renewable fuel option that the minister talked about, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development said that a 5% change in the fuel mixture in Canada would amount to about a 2% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from that same fuel.
    Would my hon. colleague not agree that even a one kilometre per litre improvement in fuel efficiency in vehicles would amount to so much more than this renewable fuels option?


    Mr. Speaker, I would agree that what is important in the fight against climate change is to figure out where we get the most return for our dollar in terms of reductions. I would also agree that there are probably more effective ways of spending money and getting reductions of the sort that are proposed than necessarily pegging it all to the renewable fuel option, the benefits of which are marginal.


    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in the debate on Bill C-30, Canada's clean air act, as the government is calling it. This bill amends three existing acts: the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act.
    We have been waiting a long time for the Conservative government to tell us what it plans to do to fight climate change and smog. We waited a long time because up to now, the policies of the Conservative Party, a political party on the verge of taking power more than a year ago, had nothing to offer in terms of measures or an effective plan to respect Canada's commitments under the Kyoto protocol signed in that Japanese city in 1997.
    The bill before us here today is a far cry from what we were expecting. First of all, we were expecting a plan and a bill that would integrate the targets for greenhouse gas reductions set out by the Kyoto protocol, especially during the first phase of reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. Similar to Bill C-288, which is currently in committee, we were expecting this bill to include a 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2012, compared to 1990 rates.
    Not only does this nearly 36-page bill never mention Kyoto, it also never refers to this target for reducing greenhouse gases during the first phase of targeted reductions. I would remind the House that this target was endorsed by Canada.
    The bill also contains nothing about the second phase of reductions or the government's intentions. The only target the government is proposing here today to fight climate change is a target somewhere between 45% and 65% in greenhouse gas reductions by 2050, as though we can continue to produce greenhouse gases without worrying about short-, medium- and long-term targets for reductions. This is no different than presenting a business plan to a board of directors of a private company—and I wonder what the government would do—with no short- or medium-term goals, but only one objective for 2050.
    Personally, I think that board of directors would send its managers back to do their homework, so that they could present a realistic plan that respects the international commitments signed by Canada.
    Not only does the bill set a target for 2050, but the reference level for this 45% to 65% reduction in emissions is 2003, rather than 1990 as set out by Kyoto.
    What does that mean in reality? It means that we will start calculating the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2003, as if nothing happened in the provinces or certain industrial sectors before 2003. Yet the Province of Quebec—sadly, we are just a province, even though we are now a nation—is one of the first provinces to have tabled a plan to fight climate change.
    Quebec is prepared to comply with greenhouse gas reduction targets that use 1990 as the reference year. But the government is proposing 2003 as the reference year, as if it were possible to emit more greenhouse gas before 2003. In addition, this bill does not provide for offsetting credits for industrial sectors that have reduced their emissions in relation to 1990 levels.


    This bill therefore does not comply with the international commitments signed by Canada. In introducing Bill C-30, Canada has flip-flopped on its international environmental commitments.
    This government has also decided to set aside something that is vital to Quebec: the principle of equity. Past efforts by the provinces and territories and by industries should be recognized under the government's bill, yet there is nothing in the bill that does this.
    In addition, we are expecting major efforts in transportation, an important sector in Quebec. What is the government proposing? Essentially, it is telling us that the voluntary approach that the government has agreed on with the auto industry can continue on its merry way until 2011. After 2011, the government will consider regulations based not on the most effective criteria and standards in North America—those in California—but on standards comparable to those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
    They have decided, in terms of automobile manufacturing standards, to use lower benchmarks, and thus lower the standards, when Canada should be using its regulations to raise them. Worse yet, we learned just this morning that the government will have two systems for the industrial sectors: one that will be based on the intensity of emissions and another on the absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
    It has been decided in Canada to spare the oil and gas industry at the expense of the industrial sectors that have made some efforts in the past. This is the second unfair factor: after the territorial aspect, or the non-recognition of the efforts made by Quebec since 1990, this is unfair to the industrial sector, in that Canada's oil industry is being spared.
    We are indeed in favour of referring Bill C-30 to committee, but we believe that fundamental improvements need to be made to this bill. Recognition of the Kyoto targets, especially in the first phase, must be seen in the very essence and spirit, the principle and preamble of the bill.
    We need stronger commitments and an immediate plan that will allow us to take action in the second phase of greenhouse gas emissions reduction, a year from now, in Bali, when the international community will begin to reflect on the system that should be applied in this second phase. The only debate we are having in this House is on the reduction objective for 2050.
    Let me say again: if executives were to present this plan to a board of directors, they would be sent back to the drawing board to come up with reduction targets for the short, medium and long terms.
    I will close by addressing a major aspect that we will defend in the parliamentary committee: this principle of acknowledging the territorial approach. We have not, thus far, been able to achieve our greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets because the proposed plans require reduction from coast to coast and Canada's economic structure differs from one province to another, while Quebec's energy policy also differs from those of the other provinces.
    In committee, we will be working on having this territorial approach recognized within Bill C-30.



    Mr. Speaker, greenhouse gases have an even more devastating effect in my area of the country than anywhere else in the world. It is like the canary in the mine shaft. The permafrost is melting. It is breaking up infrastructure. Species are moving. Invasive species, like the spruce beetle, are coming in.
    Does the hon. member think that the fact that the present government cut programs or allowed programs that were cutting greenhouses gases, like EnerGuide and the one tonne challenge, et cetera, to expire, coupled with this bill, will solve the devastating problems in Yukon and in the north of Canada? It does not seem to me to be the solution, but is it the solution for the member?


    Mr. Speaker, I have always believed that climate change must be fought on two fronts.
    To start, there must be a two-pronged approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. First, there is energy efficiency. The Conservative government's decision to abolish the EnerGuide program makes us realize that it does not believe in energy efficiency as a powerful means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Second, any program to fight climate change must include a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the source. In my opinion, those are the two components of a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    Next, we need a policy to help meet the challenge of adapting to climate change. It is not just developing countries that must adapt to climate change. What is happening in northern Quebec and in the Canadian north will require a strict and vigorous policy in the next few years in order to avoid the small catastrophe of today from becoming a more significant catastrophe tomorrow, and to prevent us from having to invest public money in infrastructure. Thus, we must adapt to climate change starting now. This is becoming increasingly vital.


    Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to serve with the member on the environment committee.
    I want to know if the member has actually read the notice of intent that was published after the tabling of Bill C-30, because what he says about transport, equity and large final emitters is plainly wrong. There are not two systems. Where did the member get his information?


    Mr. Speaker, I did read the notice of intent and I have it here. It is on page 14. I invite the member to read page 14, under the section “Transportation”. The government intends to harmonize its standards. It also plans on exploring opportunities for collaboration between Environment Canada and the U.S. EPA in order to facilitate, insofar as possible, the administration of motor vehicle regulations.
    I will say it again, the government will be introducing regulations and harmonizing existing ones not based on the regulations of the state of California but rather based on those of the EPA, which has automobile manufacturing standards that are less stringent than those of the State of California. I invite the member to read page 4 of the notice of intent.


    Mr. Speaker, what we are debating here is very important, not only for Canadians, but for the entire planet.


    As the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute said, climate change is set to become one of the defining issues of the century. I believe that climate change must become the defining issue of this Parliament.
     In fact, we found ourselves at an impasse on taking action on the environment. Our party proposed a strategy to break through that logjam. As a result, we are now debating the creation of a special and new approach to handling issues in Parliament where there are differences of opinion.
    It is an exciting day for this Parliament. It is an opportunity to actually make the House of Commons work for Canadians as its top priority. It is an opportunity to produce results which were frankly not going to be forthcoming. It is an opportunity for us to put forward our best ideas as political parties, to take the knowledge of Canadians, to take the work they have done for years and to bring it forward to the House of Commons into a special place, a special committee, and to work together to craft a way forward on the most fundamental issue of our time. It is vitally important that the House of Commons succeed in this effort and succeed rapidly. It will require a certain new spirit.


    This is not an attitude we are used to seeing here in the House of Commons. We have had all kinds of debates. We are different and we emphasize our differences, but what we must do now is find common ground so that we can reach common goals: a safe and healthy planet, sustainable development and reduction of our currently disastrous impact on the environment.


    Let us think about the consequences of climate change today. We are literally changing the atmosphere of the planet. As a result of that, we are transforming the flow of energy on a planetary basis not only in the atmosphere but when it comes also to the seas and the oceans. Fundamental changes are happening because of the way in which we are walking on the planet or should I say: tromping on the planet.
    It is time we recognized that. The deniers are still there. We still hear them suggesting that indeed there is no problem with greenhouse gas emissions, but I believe that we have achieved, at the level of world science and world public opinion, a level of understanding of this issue which is unprecedented probably for any environmental issue ever to face humankind, maybe for any issue at all, with the possible exception of the devastating consequences of nuclear war.
    The difference here is that we have an opportunity to actually set things right, but we have to move very quickly. We are facing global warming and we are seeing the consequences nowhere more than in Canada's north. We are facing a concept one could call global storming: the increase in devastating, powerful storms around the world. Of course this was predicted. The naysayers said it was just the weather and we should get over it. The fact is that we are transforming the weather of this planet.
    That is why this book called The Weather Makers was the first book, the first piece of writing, that I gave to the Prime Minister at our first meeting after the election. I asked him to read it for our children and our grandchildren, and because it sets out in a very powerful way the transformations that are under way. I would like to quote just one of the many examples Professor Flannery, the author of that book, cited. He said:
    We must remember that if we act now, it lies within our power to save two species for every one that is currently doomed. If we carry on with business as usual, in all likelihood three out of every five species will not be with us at the dawn of the next century.
    These are devastating predictions and they are not the predictions of an individual. They are predictions of the best minds on the planet. The question is: Are we going to listen to them and do something about it? The good news is that even faced with droughts and flooding that are already affecting working families and the record fires that are burning across our country, there is still time to change the course that we are following now, a course that is actually beginning to affect ordinary families today.
    Think about those who are facing the loss of their jobs as a result of forest fires and the impact of new diseases and pests on the forests. Think of those in the far north whose very livelihood, whose way of life, whose fundamentals as a culture and as a society are being undermined by climate change. These are ordinary families. Think of those suffering pollution, having to rely on puffers evermore in our polluted cities. All of our citizens are beginning to experience the impact of climate change and that is why we need to take action and take it now. This Parliament needs to move quickly.



    We find that our discussions of many issues are interminable. We have been talking about this for 13 years, yet hardly any significant, necessary measures have been taken.


    We have of course seen broken promises. We have seen hot air. We have seen just about every kind of inaction imaginable. But now we have the opportunity in this work that we are going to do, hopefully to be approved today to follow up on our proposal to create a special place where the best ideas can be brought forward. That will allow us to set ourselves on a new course, not to create an energy superpower as the Prime Minister likes to speak of but a country that actually respects the nature of energy, the way we should use it, and how we need to be custodians and stewards of the planet. We should not be claiming to be a superpower capable of transforming our planet in a negative way. Let us be responsible.
    We can do this in all sectors of our economy whether it be transport, buildings, industry, individuals, provinces and territories. We can all engage together in these steps, but it is going to require real leadership from the House of Commons. We are going to have to take much more dramatic steps than we have contemplated to date.
    That is why we recommended the creation of this committee. That is why we are going to propose amendments to this committee which will be very strong. It will begin with immediate action. In the short term it will focus on medium and long term goals as well and it will give this Parliament the power to set the direction rather than leaving it to a government that on occasion, I must say, does not seem very committed to the urgency of this issue or to taking action which is why the clean act before us will not be adopted as it stands and will be fundamentally changed.


    The NDP has proposed many changes, --including: legislating rather than regulating short--, medium--and long-term targets to bring about significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; demanding that Canada comply with its 2008-2012 targets under the Kyoto protocol; requiring Canada to reduce emissions by 80% relative to 1990 levels by 2050, based on scientific research; and reaching intermediate targets at five-year intervals between 2015 and 2050.


    We must legislate in the act, rather than in notices of intent which may never happen, a much earlier date for regulating the industrial sector. These regulations must be in place soon for the biggest polluters.
    We must legislate in the act, rather than again through regulations that may never come to be, a hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector of at least 45 megatonnes per year. We must legislate in the act a requirement for mandatory standards for the criteria air contaminants within one year of the new act's passage.
    That is getting things done and it is putting power in the hands of the House of Commons rather than leaving it in the hands of a cabinet which so far does not seem to have grasped the significance of the issue.


    We must use legislation to require vehicle fuel efficiency standards similar to those in leading North American jurisdictions, which will be published in 2008. We can do that and we must do that.


    We know that other parties have voted against some of these proposals in the past. We invite them to reconsider. We will reconsider their proposals. We believe that a great deal must be changed in this act, but in view of the need for all of us to leave a legacy, to get moving now and to participate with the global community, this is what we must do.
    We must make this piece of legislation the most powerful piece of legislation, for healthy air in order to combat climate change, that this country and perhaps the world have ever seen.


    Mr. Speaker, I think the member will agree that this government inherited a massive environmental mess from the previous Liberal government. The new Liberal leader was a failed environment minister under whose government greenhouse gases skyrocketed by 35%. That is twice as much as occurred in the United States under George Bush during exactly the same period.
    We inherited this massive increase in greenhouse gases from the newly elected leader of the Liberal Party. In fact, greenhouse gases hit their peak under his leadership. He is a failed environment minister and now we as a government have inherited the challenge of reversing the massive trend of increased greenhouse gases that we inherited from the previous Liberal government.
    We are doing the best that we can with the clean air act. It is not going to be easy because of the mess that we inherited from the new Liberal leader. However, I want to thank the leader of the NDP for his ongoing commitment to reduce greenhouse gases and to work with the clean air act in order to achieve both a reduction in those gases and a reduction in smog. I thank the member and invite him to share more of his suggestions on how that can be done.
    Mr. Speaker, it is true that we have faced inaction for many years. In fact, when Canada signed on to the Kyoto protocol, something that was opposed, it is true, by the current government, it contained an element of hope that Canadians had for the future.
    Sadly, as we saw from our very own Commissioner of the Environment here in Canada, the results did not match the intentions. In fact, in many ways Canadians were betrayed because the signature of Canadians was put on a global document saying we would take climate change seriously, and then that did not happen and our emissions went up even higher than those of George Bush.
    Unfortunately, we are also faced with the sad fact that throughout that entire period, the current government's members tended to oppose taking any action at all on climate change, so it really is going to require a sea of change in this place, of all parties, to begin to get it right.
    I remember the time we proposed a motion here to put controls on auto emissions and to really get something done, and it was opposed by both the former government and the current government. That is going to have to change. Targets that are serious and significant are going to have to be adopted. We cannot continue subsidizing the big oil and gas companies, which both the previous governments did, if we expect to get moving on the solution. That has got to change as well.
    Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of the first question, I would like to ask the hon. member whether in fact he approved of the new government's decision to cut the EnerGuide program which was part of project green, to cancel the regime of regulation for the large final emitters which would have reduced Canada's greenhouse gases by 45 megatonnes and come into force in 2008, and to cancel further additions to the wind power production incentive. Does he think those particular actions of the new government were helpful?
    Mr. Speaker, the cancellation of very important environmental programs by the government certainly were not helpful. Of course, some of them were ones that for years the NDP called for. In fact, there was a budget from the previous government that did not do anything for public transit and the environment the way it should have and the NDP was able to force, in the context of the minority Parliament, an investment in public transit, which the previous government was then happy to announce here and there around the country. That is fine.
    The point here is not be claiming credit. The point here is to actually see if we can as a Parliament, as four political parties here in the House, produce real results for the average citizen. Canadians are sick and tired of the hot air and the finger pointing. What they want to see are results.
    I know that for all of us this is going to be something new. My party has been trying to accomplish that in both the last two Parliaments day in and day out and we intend to continue until we see some real results for Canadians. That is the NDP's goal.



    Mr. Speaker, there is a clause in Bill C-30 about equivalency.
    Would the Leader of the New Democratic Party be prepared to amend that equivalency clause to integrate a territorial approach that would enable provinces such as Quebec to implement their own greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan?
    Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to consider all the amendments and all the proposals. We also encourage the territories and the provinces to develop their own approach. We hope to find a way to combine all our approaches so that Canada can be a good environmental citizen of the world.


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address the House on Bill C-30, the clean air act. It is a major step in meeting Canada's new government's commitment to introducing an environmental agenda that is national in scope, achievable and will provide the foundation for improving the health of Canadians and the environment of Canadians for generations to come.
    It is through this act that we can address a problem that has a profound impact on the health of Canadians and, as Minister of Health, that obviously is a prime objective for me.
    The health of Canadians is affected by the quality of the air that we breathe. The clean air act also provides Canada with a realistic and, we believe, an affordable plan to deal with greenhouse gas emissions simultaneously. Our government's objective is to minimize or eliminate the risks to the health of Canadians posed by environmental contaminants in the air. It goes without saying that clean air is important and imperative to the health of all Canadians.
    I represent the constituency of Parry Sound—Muskoka. I also consider myself a so-called green Conservative. My constituents are concerned about clean air and clean water but they are also concerned about the water levels in our constituency that are directly affected by environmental change.
    People want to see action. They have heard lots of talk in this chamber and elsewhere at the federal level and a lot of talk by the previous Liberal government but they have seen no action. As the hon. member said a few moments ago, what we have seen from the previous government and the previous environment ministers has been an increase of 35% or more above the Kyoto targets in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a sorry state of affairs, which is only exceeded in the embarrassment by the fact that the United States of America under George Bush was able to do better than us here in Canada under the previous government. The Auditor General has said that the previous Liberal government should be ashamed of its record and she condemned it for it. I believe we can and we must do better.
     As a starting point, Bill C-30 rightly draws attention to the fact that we must challenge the old ways of doing things, ways that have produced no tangible benefits, and voluntary approaches that have produced more hot air than true commitment and results. We must follow up with action to address air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions simultaneously and directly.
    Unfortunately, as I said, we have been lulled into a false sense of security, which was created by the former Liberal government when it agreed to unrealistic targets that were impossible to achieve. The clean air act is the first step toward a true regulatory agenda that can and should be supported by all members of Parliament in order to protect the health and environment for future generations and a legacy that can be built upon to create better progress and, of course, be supported by a sound economy.
    While I would like to focus today on a number of key areas that highlight the importance of the bill, I would also like to say that it has been designed to meet objectives which I believe are shared by most members of the House. The first of these objectives concerns the protection of the health of Canadians.
    The clean air act recognizes the fundamental relationship between environment and health and identifies the health of Canadians as a key driver behind the regulation of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.



    As we all know, the quality of the air Canadians breathe is vital to their health. The air quality bill will lead to solutions that will improve the health of Canadians, and it recognizes the importance of protecting the health of vulnerable populations.
    Air pollution can affect us all, no matter who we are, where we live, or how healthy we are. The World Health Organization recently estimated that air pollution caused two million premature deaths every year around the world.


    Using data from eight Canadian cities, Health Canada scientists estimate that of all the deaths in these cities every year at least 5,900 deaths could be linked to air pollution. Research also shows that poor air quality sends thousands of Canadians to hospital each and every year.
    There has been an increase over the past few decades of certain diseases affecting Canadians. It is a well-known fact that the prevalence of asthma among children has increased over the years. According to the 1996-97 national population health survey, over 2.2 million Canadians have been diagnosed with asthma. Asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease afflict over 3.7 million Canadians.
    Breathing problems are not the only thing we should be concerned about. Air pollution also affects the heart. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 40% of all mortality in Canada.
    These illnesses are exacerbated and, to some degree, are caused by air pollutants.
    Most people think only in terms of outdoor pollution but I want to talk today about the air we breathe indoors, where we spend as much as 90% of our time.
    One particular indoor air pollutant is radon, which occurs naturally in the ground in many areas of Canada, particularly northern Canada. This is an air pollutant for which this government is planning immediate action. Radon is the largest source of radioactive exposure to Canadians. New scientific evidence demonstrates an elevated risk of levels of radon found in many Canadian homes. Exposure to radon accounts for 1,900 lung cancer deaths every year in Canada and is second only to tobacco smoke as the primary cause of lung cancer.
    The government is currently preparing to roll out a new indoor air quality guideline for radon as a basis for taking action to reduce expose and associated health impacts. The clean air act would provide important authorities which can be used to ensure that we have the tools to effectively manage and promote the actions required to reduce or eliminate this health risk.


    Clearly, we have to take steps to reduce all the potential factors that increase the incidence of illness and death, especially in our children.
    Canada's clean air act will give us the powers and the tools we need to deal with sources of indoor and outdoor air pollution.


    Our proposed new clean air act, the centrepiece of the clean air regulatory agenda, would also amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and strengthen the Government of Canada's ability to take action to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases, as I said, simultaneously, and provide explicit authority to regulate air pollutants and greenhouse gases without requiring that they be designated as toxic substances.
    In the past there has been opposition to designating greenhouse gases as toxic, which impeded constructive discussions about their management. Canada's new government would no longer have to wait for an air pollutant to receive an official toxic declaration.
     I believe all governments must act effectively and in unison with their respective jurisdictions but clearly there is a need for national leadership. We must put politics aside and finally move forward on real concrete solutions so we can manage air quality and service Canadians today and in the future.



    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his presentation.
    He talked about the issue of greenhouse gas emissions in the air. In view of the situation the member and Minister of Health mentioned, I would like to know this.
    Does he recognize, as I do, that we should stop importing hydrocarbons and products containing PCBs for incineration here in Canada?
    For the sake of Canadians' quality of life, we must not take our neighbours' products, bring them here and burn them, producing emissions here in Canada.
    The Minister of the Environment said earlier that we need to clean up our own backyard. I wonder whether that means we have to solve our own problem or take our neighbours' problems and bring them here to create even bigger problems for ourselves.
    Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, of course it is important to have regulations regarding importing and exporting. These are primarily provincial and territorial matters. Perhaps the federal government could also come up with some solutions.
    I would also like to say that it is important to have leadership. Canada could be a world leader in the fight against pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. This bill places Canada at the forefront, as a global leader on this issue.


    This bill is about leadership and about moving ahead, beyond our previous agenda, to get to the right solutions.
    Mr. Speaker, in terms of the ability of Canada to respond to air pollution and CO2 emissions, it is important that we set a clear direction early on for efforts in both these regards.
    When we look at the idea of a clean coal plant and we say that we will invest great sums of money in reducing the emissions from the coal plant but that we will not take the next step right away to put in a system to sequester the CO2emissions, this leads the industry in the wrong direction. We need a strong response right now that speaks to both the issues of air pollution and CO2 emissions. We cannot have our industries not understanding right away that they have to respond to both.
    I would like the minister to comment on that. These issues are not that easy to separate and should not be separated in the solutions that we are proposing.
    Mr. Speaker, I tend to agree with the hon. member. I hope we are not moving against what he is saying. My understanding of the bill and of our government's policy is that we are moving simultaneously to deal with greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution issues at the same time. It will take a number of important new techniques, such as carbon sequestration and other techniques, to deal with the emissions part of the solution.
    However, if the hon. member is suggesting that we should move ahead on both fronts simultaneously, I am in absolute agreement with him. It is absolutely important to do both.
    As I said to the hon. member earlier, that is the kind of leadership that Canada can show, that we do not necessarily have to do just one thing, that we can as a nation walk and chew gun at the same time, that we can deal with both issues simultaneously and therefore deliver better results for the quality of health of Canadians.


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the proposed clean air act, which is supposed to be the Conservative government's centrepiece in tackling the climate change challenge that our country and our globe face. I am glad to have the opportunity to comment on this issue because Canadians in my riding and around the country realize the urgency and the need to increase our focus in addressing this matter.
    While some of my colleagues in the Conservative Party still want to debate the reality of global warming and its impact on our future and the future of the next generations, Canadians recognize the seriousness of global warming and its consequences on our lifestyle, living standards and the health of our planet. Canadians are telling us and the government that we cannot ignore this issue. We cannot just wish that it is not happening. The government has the responsibility to act responsibly and expeditiously in cooperation with countries around the world to manage this disturbing trend of increased greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
    The bill, as it stands right now, is a disaster and is a miserable failure that has let Canadians down. It reflects a lack of seriousness on behalf of the Conservatives to acknowledge and act upon the real environmental concerns we all have.
     The bill proposes unnecessary changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, just for the sake of creating a perception that action is being taken while real measures are absent. The existing act actually provides the government with the necessary authority to regulate pollutants and emissions. The new proposals add no substantive power that did not already exist. What is desperately needed is real movement and real caps.
    These new proposals are consistent with the Conservatives' mode of governing: showcase gimmicks and underestimate the intelligence of Canadians that they will be unable to see through these transparent and cynical moves.
    Unfortunately, the Prime Minister and his Conservative colleagues are allowing ideology to trump science and common sense. Instead of proposing a real actionable plan to address the environmental challenges we are facing, they are undermining most efforts that were implemented over the last few years. Instead of demonstrating true leadership and offering tangible measures, they are risking the health of our planet and its inhabitants through delay tactics and phony slogans.
    They abandoned Kyoto, a well respected international treaty that is the product of 160 countries coming together and working together to confront this global problem. Environmental trends and changes do not recognize political borders. They affect everyone who inhabits this planet. It took a lot of energy and commitment to negotiate such a historic treaty and bring countries, with various challenges and political ideologies, together to agree on a set of goals. It was disheartening that one of the first actions the government undertook in its first 100 days in office was to undermine Canada's commitment to Kyoto and its goals.
    I do not want to give the impression that addressing the environmental challenges we are facing is simple or easy. We all know that any plan will require true leadership and tough decisions. That is what Canadians expect of their government. All the minority Conservative government is doing is blaming others, coming up with excuses and trying to distract Canadians from the real issue. If Canadians wanted a government that deflected all responsibilities, blamed others and offered no real vision, they would have been better off with the NDP.
    When it comes to the environment, why is the government following a cut and run strategy? When will the Prime Minister accept his responsibilities in outlining and implementing a real and substantive plan for the protection of our environment and the future of Canadians? We want measures that would have an impact on the short, medium and long term, not proposals that start real caps on emissions by 2050. Canadians expect action immediately.


    We need to be thoughtful in any additional measures we implement, but by delaying real caps until 2050, I am worried we are sending the wrong signal. If future governments follow the precedent of delaying targets, it is very likely that in 2050 we will realize that we are still facing the same challenges and are not ready to meet these goals.
    The disheartening thing is that the Conservatives are not only refusing to take quick action, but are dismantling dozens of programs and initiatives that were created by the previous government, which offered incentives and opportunities for real measures.
    EnerGuide, for example, was a program that helped more than 70,000 households to be retrofitted, to be energy efficient and to reduce energy consumption. What did the Conservatives do? They cancelled that program.
    Six million Canadians have participated in reducing their energy consumption through the one tonne challenge program. What did the Conservatives do? They cancelled that program. Greenhouse gas intensity was reduced by 13% below 1990 standards and has showed a declining trend since the mid 1990s.
    I am proud to stand here today, after my party has elected a leader who has shown a real commitment to the environment and the future health of Canada and Canadians. I am confident, under his leadership, that the Liberals will continue to promote what Canadians want to see from their government, real action and a real plan.
    We have a lot of work ahead of us in examining the bill. It is clear that it needs much work and a lot of improvement, but we are committed to working beyond partisanship with whoever is serious about putting together effective legislation that would offer tangible measures to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in the short term and set goals for the near and long term future.
    I pledge to the House, on behalf of myself and my colleagues in the Liberal Party, that we will be relentless in ensuring the government is held to account and responds to the needs of Canadians and the future of our planet. We cannot let Canadians down.
    Mr. Speaker, that was an amazing speech from my friend across the way. After yelling all weekend, he has lost voice, unless it is air pollution that is bothering it. I thank God we have a bill in front of us that will affect air pollution. I know there was a bit pollution in Montreal as I was there this weekend.
    He mentioned at the end of his speech that his party would support the bill going to committee and would work beyond partisanship, but his whole speech was partisan up to that point. It is ironic that he would say at the end that we need to work as a group to make a difference in the environment. He also said he was proud.
    First, is he proud of his government, which I grant he was not part of then but is now, when it was in power for 13 years and did absolutely nothing? Is he proud of the Liberals' Kyoto record, after signing on and doing absolutely squat for our country and the world.
    Second, is he also proud that Canada is 35% above the Kyoto target. What did the Liberals do to make a difference, or did they plan to be 35% above the target?


    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's sense of humour, but Canadians expect serious talk and debate when it comes to the environment.
    I am very proud of the Liberal government's record, not only on the environment but on the economy, on social development, on social justice, on health care and the list goes on
    The Kyoto targets were meant for 2012. Projections tell us that by 2010 we would have been at about 75% to 80% of meeting our targets. If the government really wants to build on our record, all the power to it but we want to see action. We do not want to see phoney slogans and laying blame on others. We want the government to take responsibility and do what Canadians want it to do.
    Mr. Speaker, I find the comments made by the hon. member across hopelessly inaccurate.
    The member said that the government was delaying real caps until 2050. That is the long term range. The real caps, the short term caps, will be announced at the beginning of 2007. That is only a couple of months away.
    I encourage the member to read the clean air act. He obviously has not read the bill. He does not know what he is talking about. He talked about the 2010 targets. The report, and he probably has not read that either, says it is 47% above. Right now it is 35% above Kyoto targets. The Liberals left a legacy of inaction and did absolutely nothing.
    Why will he not support a clean air act that will provide action on greenhouse gas emission and pollutants?
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary contradicts himself. On the one hand, he says we have short term caps. In the same breath, he says that they will be announced two months from now.
    My statement is still accurate. The government has no targets for the short term. They have not shown us their targets for the short term. They are only putting targets for 2050, which is disappointing.
    If the member is so proud of the clean air act, why is he sending it to a committee before second reading? If he wants to continue to defend the bill, he can continue to demonstrate how transparent and weak the legislation is. However, the Prime Minister has abandoned his Minister of the Environment and his Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment by sending the bill to a committee before second reading, reflecting the fact that he has no confidence in the existing bill as it stands.


    Mr. Speaker, this bill on air quality would amend three existing statutes, the first of which is the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Based on our observations, however, these are not new regulatory powers that the government plans to grant itself, because they already exist in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The bill would also amend the Energy Efficiency Act. We find it strange that this amendment is being introduced after the EnerGuide program was eliminated. The third part of the bill would amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act.
    The Bloc Québécois currently supports sending this bill to committee before second reading. In our view, the amendments proposed by Bill C-30 are unnecessary. They would only slow down the process of taking concrete action against climate change. This is simply a delay.
    The bill is also accompanied by a notice of intent, which lists the regulations the government intends to adopt over the next few years and the deadlines it has set for doing so. This document shows that the government is starting from scratch and beginning a new round of consultations in three phases leading to new standard that would not be mandatory until 2010.
    Bill C-30 in its current form is unacceptable. It practically means the end of the Kyoto protocol objectives. The bill would incorporate into the Canadian Environmental Protection Act the statement that respecting Canada's international commitments on the environment is a matter of government discretion. We agree with referring the bill to committee before second reading because that will give us the latitude we need to consider the admissibility of amendments to this bill.
    We will work in good faith in this committee, but the Bloc Québécois will make no compromises because respecting the Kyoto protocol targets is what is important. We will also present amendments to address the fairness of the polluter-pay rule, Canada's respect for its international commitments and, most of all, the urgent need for action to fight climate change. I want to remind hon. members that the Bloc's priority is still Bill C-288, which clearly respects the Kyoto protocol objectives and for which the legislative agenda is controlled by the opposition and not by our government.
    Thanks to past investments by the administrators at Hydro-Québec in the area of hydroelectricity, Quebec has a non-polluting electricity production network. Quebec's plan mainly targets transportation and pollution reduction in certain industries.
    As far as transportation is concerned, the bill would amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act to create the regulatory power to impose mandatory vehicle consumption standards on the industry by 2011, after the voluntary agreement expires. This does not seem soon enough.
    The government has announced that Environment Canada and Health Canada also intend to hold detailed consultations with the provinces and industry starting in the fall. This consultation is late. It is planned in three major phases: the first will end in 2007, the second in 2008 and the third in 2010. Therefore, no regulation will come into effect before 2010.
    What is important to the Bloc Québécois is that targets are established. These targets are in our report on the evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions.


     In 2004, production of greenhouse gases in Quebec was about 12 tonnes per person, or half the average rate of production of 24 tonnes per Canadian. As for the other provinces, per capita emissions totalled almost 69 tonnes in Saskatchewan and 73 tonnes in Alberta, or five to six times greater than in Quebec.
    If we compare increases between 1990 and 2004, we note that Quebec emissions have risen by 6% since 1990, compared to 39.4% for Alberta and 61.7% for Saskatchewan.
    As I was saying earlier, opting for hydroelectric energy certainly was a significant factor in Quebec's enviable performance. However, the collective choices made by its citizens, industries and the National Assembly also made it possible to achieve these results. The Quebec pulp and paper industry alone reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 18% between 1990 and 2005.
    The excellent performance of the Quebec manufacturing sector also made a substantial contribution to Quebec's positive results. Between 1990 and 2003, this sector reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 6.8% and emissions arising from industrial processes by more than 15%. These reductions were made possible by significant strategic investments by Quebec companies in innovative technologies allowing them to improve their processes and their energy efficiency.
    The Minister of the Environment refuses to acknowledge the efforts made by Quebec or the value of the Quebec plan. It was again obvious in Nairobi, where she failed to mention Quebec's green plan in her official speech to the international community.
    Rather than revise its international obligations by calling the Kyoto protocol into question, the Conservative government must implement the climate change action plan. That was the Bloc Québécois' proposal, founded on the very important principles of equality and polluter pays. With respect to the polluter pays principle, studies have been done on Canada's emissions and it is generally accepted that responsibility for reducing emissions should be shared non-proportionally based on population or gross domestic product. It should be shared by the provinces and the territories. The Bloc Québécois is proposing a three-part approach to distribute the burden across Canada and give each province quotas to comply with.
    The European Union succeeded in reaching an agreement on distributing greenhouse gas emissions among 15 European countries. The negotiations took two years to achieve concrete results. Each country has its own targets to reach.
    In Canada, negotiations went on for almost five years and were suspended. We have not yet reached a compromise on distributing responsibility among the provinces and territories.
    According to this three-part approach, Quebec's goal would be 0% relative to 1990 levels. The province could therefore simply address its 6% increase since 1990 to reach its goal: 1990 production levels.
    Other provinces' goals are much higher because of their energy choices.
    In conclusion, over the next few weeks, the Bloc Québécois will propose amendments to this bill.



    Mr. Speaker, I am interested in the Bloc's territorial approach to climate change, because the need for climate change, the need for territories, countries and the world to adapt, is truly a global situation. It does not rest with the smaller units. It rests with the larger units. That is what Kyoto was all about: recognizing that we had a problem that was global in nature.
    For the member across to say that the choices provinces made about their energy systems were choices is somewhat misleading, I think, because mostly in Canada we have set patterns of energy use that go back decades, long before Kyoto was an issue.
    Does the hon. member across not agree that solutions to climate change are global in nature? Second, does he not agree that solving those issues is going to require inspired leadership in all parts of this country, not simply having provinces meeting minimum requirements but taking leadership where they have the ability to do so? As for Quebec, its position with hydroelectric power and the opportunities to provide that leadership, would he not see that as a better role for Quebec in this issue?



    I thank the NDP member very much for his question.
    I did mention that the territorial breakdown must be equitable. The nation of Quebec invested a great deal in the past in hydroelectricity and went into debt, and it now has an appreciable investment in hydro power. It made an investment and is paying off that debt, with the result that Quebeckers may pay slightly more tax than in the other provinces. Equity is therefore important, and so is the polluter-pays principle.
    I mentioned earlier that a polluter that emits 69 tonnes per person has to invest more to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions than a polluter that produces only 12 tonnes. This is only reasonable: the polluter will pay, especially since the polluter got rich in its province, instead of merely paying off its debt, as I said earlier, like Hydro-Québec, which has to amortize its payments over 20 or 50 years.
    It is therefore important to say that polluters today have to keep in mind that they also have to pay out of their own pockets for the damage they cause.


    Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise to speak in this debate as we move this bill forward. It is a bill that is deeply flawed and has been discredited across the environmental sector and in other parts of our communities, because as members in the House join the daily gathering of question period, it speaks to the partisan nature that for far too long has overridden all good and sensible conduct when it comes to our environment.
    As Canadians tune in to watch what has become the daily spectacle of question period and the partisan approach that seems necessary to attract attention to any given issue of the day, they despair. They despair because partisan politics have overridden the commonsensical approach, particularly to things like climate change.
    There is a necessity to look at the context and the history of what has happened in the debate and in the actions of the Canadian government over the last 15 to 20 years as this issue has grown in importance and context throughout the world. As country after country has taken on this issue with seriousness and determination, why has Canada continued to fall further and further to the back of the field?
    We saw a number of plans under the previous regimes. The Liberals came up with the so-called action plan 2000 that was anything but action. There was a climate change plan for Canada in 2002 that was nothing of the sort, with no plan and still no action. Finally, in 2005 there was project green, which the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development herself said was not enough to get us there.
    On this issue, I believe that Canadians have been out in front of the politicians consistently, year in and year out, demanding more from us, demanding a sense of leadership rather than partisan debate and the small inaccurate steps taken by regime after regime, previously by the Liberals and now by the Conservatives, when it comes to what is now being represented as the most pressing issue, certainly environmentally, and perhaps it is the most pressing issue of all.
    When the NDP and the other opposition parties first looked at the bill the Conservatives proposed, they found it wanting. It lacks principles and is thus impossible to support in principle. For those who are watching and just coming to this debate, I will note that when a bill gets passed through this House on second reading, it means that the House has agreed to the bill in its principles, in its very nature, and then wishes to tweak and alter some of those parts of the bill which can be altered.
     However, the process that we New Democrats proposed and which the other parties agreed to was, without any such agreement, to take this bill and to have the opportunity to change its very DNA, to change the very structure of what is being proposed for Canada's environment and Canada's economy.
    As has been said, Kyoto is more an economic pact than an environmental one. It asks the world to consider and bring about changes to the way we earn money, to the way we drive our economies, particularly when it comes to the energy sector, and to look at new ways that are necessary for the very survival of our planet, for continuing a prosperous planet and, in this country, a prosperous national economy.
    Canadians have been demanding and expecting leadership on this issue, but in budget after budget and government after government they have seen otherwise. They have seen short term, nearsighted thinking. It is time that Canadians got what they truly deserve, which is leadership when it comes to the environment and leadership when it comes to restructuring our economy and our energy sectors to a place where we can all be proud.
    Recently I was at the Nairobi summit, the United Nations meeting on climate change. Canada consistently won the fossil award, the award given to the country doing the least to promote global efforts on climate change. We won more fossil awards than all the other countries put together.
     We were consistent in one thing: holding back the talks and holding back progress across our planet. China, India, Australia, France and Britain were all coming forward with solid and credible plans and there we were, the Canadians, once proud of our environmental record, with our delegates scurrying around the halls in Nairobi in shame because we could not bring forward a viable plan. What was suggested in the so-called clean air act was not enough. It was a delayed plan. It was long term. It left too much power in the hands of a few politicians rather than in the will of this Parliament.


    One of the many suggestions that New Democrats brought forward was to return the power to the people who are actually elected to represent the will and the intentions of Canadians, because we know that this will and those intentions are to do something serious about climate change, change that we are experiencing already.
    The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, essentially the auditor, is meant to look over Canada's plans and actions for a whole series of environmental initiatives. She looked at what the previous Liberal regime had proposed. Six billion dollars had been announced for this. The important word in this sentence is “announced”, because a little over $1 billion of that $6 billion in the announcement was actually spent and much of that not very effectively at all.
    It is important to note that the commissioner is a non-partisan functionary of this Parliament who reports to us. She said of the Liberal record since 1997 that the government:
--does not yet have an effective government-wide system to track expenditures, performance, and results on its climate change programs. As a result, the government does not have the necessary tools for effective management....
    At its base, if we do not have the capacity to track, to monitor, to understand what is effective and what is not, how can we possibly make the proposed changes that we claim or hope to make? It simply cannot be done if we do not have the ability to monitor, to track, or to understand what is being done. The elected officials in this place, elected from across the country, do not have the ability to properly or accurately understand the situation until the dust has settled and the confetti has dropped out of the sky.
    We know for a fact that the actual numbers that matter most on this issue are in regard to the increase in greenhouse gases in our environment. They went up by 27%, but we know that the goal, the stated claim and the signature that we put down on the Kyoto protocol indicated that Canada had the intention of dropping emissions by 6%. Lo and behold, as the numbers have come in and as the tests prove, we failed as Canadians when the Liberal government, year in and year out, failed to deliver. We needed more and Canadians demanded more. They expected leadership. They want leadership.
    Let us look at what is proposed in the Conservative bill. The Conservatives propose a number of measures that have some potential, but they are all delayed measures. They are all put off, and without the ability of parliamentarians, the people elected from all corners of the country, to affect what is happening. Instead, it is left to orders in cabinet, intentions and notices of intent that do not bring the required seriousness to this issue. That seriousness means that this place must be able to mandate, regulate and hit the targets that Canadians expect us and need us to hit.
    My friend from the Western Arctic and I, from northwestern British Columbia, with British Columbians across the entire province, are seeing the effects of climate change now. Canada's forestry council has directly cited climate change as one of the leading factors in the pine beetle infestation that has absolutely devastated our forests and has now hopped over the Rockies and is headed into the boreal, into Alberta, and across to Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
    For those who are watching and for those members of Parliament who have not yet seen what devastation truly looks like, let me say to them to hold on, because that pine beetle can absolutely punish the forest and the economies that depend upon those forests. Direct action is needed.
    The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development implored the government to take serious action on the environment. She said that “it must take immediate and long-lasting action on many fronts”.
    She said “immediate”, but lo and behold, when the bill came out, all action was delayed. The action is delayed until 2015, 2025 and even 2050 for heaven's sake. That is not action. That is just an excuse for delay. The Conservative government is essentially asking Canadians to trust its ethics on the environment and unfortunately that did not pass the smell test.
    What we need to do is remove the partisan nature of this debate. We need to finally step beyond that into a place where the issue of the environment, the issue of fighting global climate change, can occupy a place in the Canadian debate that goes beyond partisanship and allows members of Parliament to bring forward their best ideas.
     By accepting this bill prior to second reading, by accepting it with the option of changing its fundamentals, of making it stronger, of bringing in the best ideas from across the economy and from across the country, we have allowed an opportunity to exist in this place, an opportunity that previously did not exist. I am proud of our actions. I am determined, as are my colleagues, and colleagues in the other caucuses as well, to make the most effective bill--


    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Yukon.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member, who comes from my area, for outlining how devastating greenhouse gases are in the north. They are changing species, changing the permafrost and destroying infrastructure.
     I would like him to comment on whether he thinks this was helped at all by the government's cutting of the programs that were cutting greenhouse gases, such as the EnerGuide for the 70,000 houses, the one tonne challenge, and the mandatory emissions standards for large final emitters that were to be effective in 2008. Does the member think those programs helped the situation?
    I would like to welcome our incoming leader, who is lauded by the environmental community for having the greatest environmental green plan in history, with a $1 billion green fund, emissions cutting programs for energy emissions, $2 billion in partnerships with thousands of people working on projects for a time, including wind energy, renewable power projects for hydro, and biomass. In all these areas, tens of thousands of greenhouse gases were cut, but because the economy was so good the total went up. We did not have the time to get to our targets, but we were reaching them.
    I would like to ask the member my original question. Does he think the cutting of those programs was effective?
    Mr. Speaker, right at the very end of that wandering question was the point that I remember the new leader of the Liberal Party making when he was standing in front of the environment committee. It was the very same claim that my hon. colleague just made, which is that since the economy improved of course our emissions had to go up. They said that was the reason for them going up, not the fact that $6 billion was announced and only $1 billion was spent.
    This fundamental belief is the belief that party finally has to change: that the economy increasing somehow means that pollution must increase as well. Canadians know better. They realize that there are opportunities to grow our economy and actually reduce our pollution. That type of ideology has to fundamentally change. If it does not, we are all in deep trouble.


    It is with regret that I interrupt the member. When we return to the debate on this item, there will be three minutes left in the questions and comments period.


[Statements by Members]



    Mr. Speaker, in honour of World AIDS Day on December 1, I am proud to highlight the work and leadership of an extraordinary nurse in my riding of Cambridge who is making a difference in the fight against HIV-AIDS.
    After learning of the many African nurses treating HIV-AIDS patients who were becoming infected themselves, registered nurse Nancy DiPietro launched the Give an Hour campaign. She calls on the quarter of a million nurses across Canada to pledge the equivalent of one hour of pay each year to help ease the suffering of their African counterparts infected with HIV-AIDS. I am happy to say that she is receiving tremendous support.
    In her own words:
    Nursing is caring. Knowing that when someone is going through one of the most difficult times of their lives, you are helping to make it more manageable...that is the reward of nursing.
    We thank, Nancy. She is an inspiration to the citizens of Cambridge and all of Canada.


Action Committee Against Domestic and International Trafficking in Human Beings

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to commend the extraordinary work of the Comité d'action contre le trafic humain interne et international, or CATHII. This group was formed in 2001 in response to a call to action from the International Union of Superiors General, urging the nuns of the world to do everything in their power to eliminate human trafficking.


    Since its inception, CATHII has been tremendously busy generating public awareness and support for the victims of human trafficking. Its latest project has been to spearhead the drive to collect signatures for a petition calling on the government not only to track down the perpetrators of human trafficking, but also to offer assistance to the victims of this dreadful trade.


    There are over 10,000 names on this petition, and I will be very pleased to present it to the House later this afternoon.

2006 Canadian Consulting Engineer Awards

    Mr. Speaker, CIMA+ of Rivière-du-Loup received the 2006 Canadian consulting engineer award for excellence in the transportation infrastructure category. This is the most prestigious award conferred to a consulting engineering company.
    CIMA+ received this recognition for the maritime infrastructure project completed for Makivik Corporation in Puvirnituq, Nunavik. This project was very complex because of its geographic location. CIMA+ had to use a great deal of imagination to come up with solutions for the numerous technical and logistical challenges associated with construction in an arctic setting.
    On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I would like to express our most sincere congratulations to Réjean Massé, the regional director for CIMA+ in Rivière-du-Loup, and to his entire team, who firmly believe in the development of our regional, national and international businesses.
    Congratulations CIMA+.


Human Rights

    Mr. Speaker, Sunday, December 10 is International Human Rights Day. This year the UN has adopted the theme of “Fighting Poverty: a matter of obligation, not charity”, something the government would do well to respect.
    In fact, under the Conservative regime, Canadians' rights are under serious attack.
    We have seen deep cuts to the Status of Women offices, including Hamilton's, which offered research and advocacy to develop women's social, political and economic equality. It was cut, even though an estimated 2.8 million Canadian women still live in poverty.
    We have seen cuts to literacy programs, despite a well documented relationship between poverty and illiteracy.
    We have seen a determined attempt to segregate some loving couples from others, picking and choosing who gets to be called a family.
    We have seen increased deportations of immigrant parents and children attempting to escape war and famine.
    Let us stop the Conservative attack on Canadians' rights and begin work on attacking poverty instead.

Ukraine Independence

    Mr. Speaker, 15 years ago, Ukrainians overwhelmingly chose to return to the status of an independent nation. The day after its referendum, Canada and Poland became the first two countries to recognize the newly sovereign Ukraine.
    Today the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group is hosting a reception celebrating this monumental achievement that brought with it the rebirth of democracy in Ukraine. We will also celebrate the ties that bind Canada, Ukraine and Poland. Two million Canadians owe their heritage to Ukraine and Poland.
    Since laying the foundations of democracy in those early years, people of Ukraine have surely and steadily strengthened their institutions of democracy. Canada will continue to be supportive of all people who strive to achieve freedoms that are brought about by their desire for democracy.
    I wish to congratulate the people of Ukraine for their great accomplishment 15 years ago and for their continued determination to embrace their future within the world of democratic nations.


Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, I am beaming.


    I am happy. Today the Liberal Party has a new leader and we are very proud of him.


    As the leader of the NDP so eloquently said in the House, “He is a committed Canadian and a man of principle and conviction”.
    I also want to say how proud we are of all the candidates who began this race for leadership. I had the honour and the opportunity to get to know them well as we travelled across this country together meeting and talking with Canadians. I was inspired by their vision and their passion, their love for this country.
    Three of them are not yet members of the House. Given their drive, commitment, courage and propensity for hard work, I have no doubt that we will be welcoming Martha Hall Findlay, Bob Rae and Gerard Kennedy to the House of Commons and to a new Liberal government very soon.



    Mr. Speaker, a contingent of 120 soldiers is leaving the Valcartier military base today and heading for Afghanistan on a nine-month mission under the auspices of NATO and sanctioned by the United Nations.
    I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to these courageous men and women who have not hesitated to leave their friends and family for a mission that will be dangerous at times.
    These soldiers of the Royal 22nd Regiment from CFB Valcartier will join the provincial reconstruction team which, since the beginning of the mission, has been rebuilding roads, schools and community centres to help improve the lives of the Afghan people.
    I have no doubt that our soldiers will make a difference in the lives of the Afghan people. On behalf of my colleagues, I wish to affirm that they have the steadfast support of the Conservative government.

Thérèse-De Blainville Chamber of Commerce and Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the Thérèse-De Blainville Chamber of Commerce and Industry is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. For 20 years it has been helping entrepreneurs and businesspeople in our region, providing networking opportunities and fostering community involvement.
    The CCITB has 430 members and serves the municipalities of Blainville, Boisbriand, Rosemère, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines and Sainte-Thérèse. By keeping an open mind and working long and hard, its directors have contributed to the economic and social development of a region that is growing at a dizzy pace.
    Securely established in the RCM Thérèse-De Blainville, the CCITB is doing very well: it has a strong foundation, and its directors and staff are dynamic.
    The members of the Bloc Québécois join me in congratulating the entire CCITB team and acknowledging how proud was are to represent them in the House of Commons.


Ed Stelmach

    Mr. Speaker, I take great pride today in rising to congratulate a man who has always served as a role model to my generation of Albertans, the new premier-elect of the province of Alberta, the hon. Ed Stelmach.
    This past Saturday marked the successful conclusion of a hard fought campaign based on ideas, hard work, honesty and respect and the beginning of a new era in Alberta. This was a long process and I would like to congratulate the other leadership candidates for their dedication over the past months promoting and building strong conservative ideals in Alberta.
    Premier-elect Stelmach ran a positive unifying campaign. He will bring his years of cabinet experience, together with strong rural roots and family values to ensure that Alberta remains a leader in Confederation and is governed by smart, sensible decisions and good old-fashioned hard work.
    It is good to see that in Alberta good guys can still finish first.
    By choosing premier-elect Stelmach, Albertans have made a clean and unified choice.


Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, an incredible team of Liberal leadership candidates gave evidence to the depth and talent of our party at this weekend's Liberal leadership convention in Montreal. The tributes also go to four other members of this caucus who put their names forward in the leadership race and who raised the bar for us all.
    Our colleague, the member for St. Paul's, brought health care to the very forefront of the policy discussion. The member for Vancouver Centre gave real insight into the importance of progress on multiculturalism and human rights. The member for Don Valley West brought to the table fresh and inspiring ideas on the environment. The member for Vaughan helped lead the way with new ideas for shaping sound economic policy and an agenda for growth in Canada.
    The Liberal team is just that, a team.


    Mr. Speaker, last week Canada's new government signalled its support for sport in Canada by committing up to $400 million to assist Halifax and area in hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Canada's new government is proud to support Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia in their bid to host these games.
    TheMinister for Sport travelled to Halifax for the announcement. He used this opportunity to pledge an additional $738,000 to the Atlantic high performance sports strategy. This amount will be matched by the four Atlantic provincial governments resulting in a total commitment of $1.4 million.
    This new strategy aims to increase the number of carded athletes from Atlantic Canada and of top eight performances at the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
    These recent announcements further serve as evidence of this government's commitment to the city of Halifax and to all Atlantic Canadians, who are all very grateful.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

    Mr. Speaker, more than 15,000 members of the United Steelworkers Union have been on strike at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. since October 5. Workers at three Canadian plants have walked off the job to protest unfair contract proposals made by the company and the closure of the Goodyear plant in Tyler, Texas.
    Goodyear workers vow to hold out one day longer than the company to obtain a fair and equitable contract that provides reasonable job security and a fair deal for retirees. Workers say the recent financial success of Goodyear owes much to the wide-ranging concessions workers made on their 2003 contract negotiations, including 6,000 jobs that were axed across the company and pay cuts for the remaining workers.
    If the company gets away with the proposal at the table, it will be bad news for all steelworkers struggling to maintain a decent standard of living in Canada. The union members are also fighting to keep employers like Goodyear from discarding North American production facilities in favour of low wage overseas operations. This issue is one that has wide-ranging implications for the whole North American economy and as such demands our attention.
    It is time for the Conservative government to stand up for workers, protect Canadian manufacturing and ensure our jobs are protected for the long term from threats overseas. Canadians demand job security. We must stop exporting jobs and make sure Canadians are manufacturing here.

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise to congratulate all of the candidates who sought the Liberal leadership at last week's convention. It was a campaign of ideas, a campaign of renewal and a campaign of hope for all Canadians. I know that my colleagues have worked hard on their campaigns and will continue to work hard for constituents and for Canada.
    In particular, I would like to congratulate our party's new leader, the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville. He has demonstrated commitment and dedication as minister, as a candidate and now as leader. His vision for Canada will resonate from the largest city to the smallest town.
    As one who has worked very closely with him, I know his energy, determination and ability to listen are what gained the trust of so many delegates at the convention and will for all Canadians.


International Day of Disabled Persons

    Mr. Speaker, December 3 was International Day of Disabled Persons, as proclaimed by the United Nations. This day served as a reminder that we need to further integrate people with disabilities into our social, political and economic lives.
    It also served as a reminder of the principles of equality that are far too often ignored. Although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to education and to work, many people with disabilities are denied both. This day is also an opportunity for us all to take a look at the world and to reflect on the place we reserve for people with disabilities in our society.
    We must not stop striving to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities. It is a matter of justice and humanity.
    I want to thank, in particular, all the agencies dedicated to helping people with disabilities, and all the volunteers who work daily for their well being.


Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, last week was incredible not just for the Liberal Party of Canada, but also for our country. We discussed our policy directions. We renewed our constitution. We celebrated our fine traditions and our unique history, the next chapter of which our newly elected leader will help us write.
    None of this would have been possible without the thousands of delegates and volunteers.


    The convention general secretary, Steven MacKinnon, and his team did a brilliant job of organizing the largest delegated convention in Canadian political history. This convention was a great success and we have them to thank for it.
    Let us all salute the thousands of Canadians who met in Montreal to help build a more prosperous, just and environmentally sustainable Canada.
    Our united party led by the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville is ready for an election and ready to win.

Federal Accountability Act

    Mr. Speaker, this weekend Liberals returned to the scene of the crime. The names may have changed but absolutely nothing is different.
    The most important event that did not happen this weekend was a simple apology to Canadians for violating their trust and stealing their money. Was that too much to ask?
    It is clear Liberals do not care for political reform as they could not even get quorum during their party's reform debate.
    The unelected Liberal Senate continues to stall the accountability act. It has been through this House six times. When will the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville tell his unelected Senate to move forward with the accountability act? More important, one wonders if the Liberal Party and its new leader have any plans to ever be accountable to the people of Canada.
    For Liberals, as the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.


[Oral Questions]


    I am very pleased to give the floor to the hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, the new leader of the official opposition.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the House for the first unanimous ovation I have received in 11 years in Parliament. For my first question to a Prime Minister, I feel I must talk about women's rights.


     When the government is posting multi-billion dollar budget surpluses thanks to the previous Liberal government, why on earth is the Prime Minister closing 12 of the 16 Status of Women offices across Canada if it is not to cripple those who dare challenge his government's neo-conservative ideology?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by congratulating the new Leader of the Opposition on his election as leader of his party, a victory that I thought was well earned. I have been a resident of Stornoway myself. I hope he enjoys Stornoway and I hope he is happy there for a very long time.
    While I am on my feet, I would also like to take the opportunity, on behalf of my party and I think the whole House, to thank the member for Toronto Centre for his performance as Leader of the Opposition over the past few months. He conducted himself with great determination, dignity and intelligence and, in spite of the chant, it is far to late to enter the race now.
    In terms of the question, the government is reallocating money for women's programming from bureaucracy to programming directly for women. I can assure all members of the House that when the government reallocates money, it does so to make it more effective for ordinary people, not to flow it into party coffers.


Judicial Appointments

    Mr. Speaker, we see the cuts but we do not see the reallocation.


    Still on the subject of rights, the Prime Minister has criticized our judges, abolished the court challenges program, confused the roles of the police and the judiciary and is now inviting the House to re-open the debate on civil marriage for no reason. Is this because his party's radical right wing dictates his agenda?
    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition raised a number of issues, including the judicial appointment process. We think that full public consultation is essential, even for judicial appointments. We have to hear what stakeholders, such as victims and the police, have to say. I realize that the Liberal Party's policy is to consult only with lawyers and criminals, but we think that the legal system should work for everyone.
    Mr. Speaker, everyone criticized the Prime Minister's intention to confuse the roles of the police and the judiciary like that.


    The provincial courts have spoken. The Supreme Court of Canada has spoken. The Parliament of Canada has spoken. Yet, the Prime Minister still thinks he can pick and choose rights.
    Why does he want to be the first Prime Minister in Canadian history to override the charter?
    Mr. Speaker, in the last election we promised Canadians a genuinely free vote on the issue in the House of Commons. My party, including the cabinet of my party, will vote freely on this issue.
     I know that the new Leader of the Opposition has said he will not allow a free vote by his caucus members. I hope that proves not to be the case because I think the rights of members of Parliament are some of the most important rights we have in this country.
    Let me go back to what I said earlier in French. It is essential that when we put people on the bench, we do a full public consultation. That includes people who protect Canadian citizens, like the police. They have every right to be consulted.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, a minute ago the Prime Minister referred to reallocating funds. We were speaking in respect of the Status of Women.
    I think the House would want to know what specific programs, what specific commitments he has made, or is that reallocation simply another paraphrase for a cut?
    Mr. Speaker, we will be clear. The entire amount of $5 million will be available to organizations in every community across the country to help women directly in their communities. In fact, we know that these organizations that work on a day to day basis with women will know their needs, not a bureaucracy in Ottawa.


Government Programs

    Mr. Speaker, this minority government eliminated the court challenges program, cut Status of Women Canada's budget and cut literacy programs.
    When will it understand that a government should bring people together rather than exclude them?



    Mr. Speaker, Canadians voted this time for a responsible government, one that would spend their money wisely on direct programs for Canadians, not on programs of the past. That is why we are not cutting programs. We are providing savings by eliminating programs that were not delivering real results for the money. We are putting the money into services that do.



    Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate the new leader of the Liberal Party, who won a decisive victory on the weekend after running a good campaign. Our visions differ as to the future of Quebec, but the debate will only be clearer as a result.
    That said, last week, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated, “Any deployment anywhere will be brought in front of the House of Commons”. Yet, at a NATO meeting the Prime Minister attended, the member countries promised that NATO troops would remain in Afghanistan as long as is needed to bring peace to that country.
    Did the Prime Minister inform NATO that Canada will be unable to continue its mission in Afghanistan beyond February 2009, unless it has the approval of the House of Commons?
    Mr. Speaker, we had a vote in the House of Commons this year to extend the mission of our forces in Afghanistan until 2009.
    I also mentioned that we intended to inform the House of Commons of our progress until 2009 and that we would consult the House again on the next steps.
    Mr. Speaker, the question was whether the Prime Minister had informed NATO of the possible decision by the House of Commons.
    On his return, the Prime Minister proclaimed that the NATO summit had been a success. However, very few countries made a firm commitment to increase their presence in Afghanistan, as the Prime Minister had requested.
    Under the circumstances, will the Prime Minister admit that it is very important that he inform NATO and the allied countries that Canadian troops could be withdrawn in February 2009?
    Mr. Speaker, additional troops have been sent in by a number of countries, especially countries with which we are working in partnership in southern Afghanistan, such as Estonia, Romania, the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
    Obviously, we are consulting constantly with our allies, and we intend to work together to achieve a successful outcome in Afghanistan.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister recently met with his NATO partners and, unfortunately, he did not push hard enough on the issue of finding some sort of balance between military interventions and humanitarian efforts.
    How could the Prime Minister overlook this important aspect of the mission in Afghanistan, an aspect that would allow us to refocus Canada's interventions in Afghanistan?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we had many discussions with our allies concerning reconstruction and humanitarian aid. Canada still intends to find ways to help the people of Afghanistan and to increase participation in all the programs to bring assistance to the population.
    Mr. Speaker, despite his best intentions, does the Prime Minister not realize that if we do not quickly re-establish a balance between the humanitarian and military aspects of the mission, the situation could deteriorate considerably in the next few months?
    Our government still intends to find a way to ensure that our assistance is balanced, but at the same time, ground security is vital. Indeed, balance is definitely needed for this mission. The Canadian government recognizes that.



The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have learned to expect only one thing from ministers of the environment, whether they be current or former, and that is betrayal, because no matter which of them were in power, pollution continued to go up.
    What has been the result of this? More droughts, more floods, more fires, more storms and more ice melting. The problem is getting more and more serious.
    After all these years of inaction, will the Prime Minister finally get something done and do something the former government would not do and that is to cancel the subsidies to big oil and big ass--I mean big gas and start putting--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am afraid the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth's time has expired. We will have a little order please.
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I promise to get to the bottom of it. I am really not sure whether I should take what the leader of the NDP said personally.
    It was at the request of the leader of the NDP that the government agreed to put Bill C-30, the clean air act, before a parliamentary committee at second reading. Because we want to make concrete progress, we invite the constructive participation of all opposition parties. I would encourage the leader of the NDP to return to that constructive tone.
    Mr. Speaker, my apologies. I have no idea what was crossing my mind today. This House is in a strange place today. Let me attempt to pose the question again for the Prime Minister.
    It is a serious matter. The former government maintained a policy of large subsidies to big oil and big gas companies even though they are making a massive profit and they would not put the funds that Canadians have earned and paid in taxes into green energy.
    Will the Prime Minister correct that fundamental flaw?
    Mr. Speaker, anything that relates to a Freudian slip is a serious matter but let me just say the following. I think the leader of the NDP knows that this government has not introduced any special subsidies for the oil or any other sector. In fact, recently we brought in a series of tax changes to rebalance our tax system and ensure tax fairness for all Canadians.



    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister went to Riga to persuade his NATO partners to send more troops to southern Afghanistan. He wanted to ensure that the troops already in the field will be able to help Canada under all circumstances. The Prime Minister failed.
    When can Canada expect to have help from its NATO partners in southern Afghanistan?


    Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister said, a number of countries have committed additional troops, particularly the Poles who have committed 1,000 extra troops. These troops will have no caveats. They will be able to be employed anywhere in the country.


    Mr. Speaker, all Canadians know that our NATO partners are not doing their fair share in southern Afghanistan and that Canadian soldiers are paying the price.
    The Prime Minister left the meeting claiming victory but we do not know the number of additional troops committed and which countries will contribute. Basically he is telling our troops that if they are in trouble they must call 911 to get reinforcements. Our soldiers and Canadians need guarantees.
    How can the Prime Minister be pleased with such a dismal failure?


    Mr. Speaker, at the NATO meeting we learned that the ISAF commander, that is the NATO commander in Afghanistan, will have three battle groups in reserve, two American battle groups and the Polish battle group, and that should be sufficient to deal with any emergencies.



    Mr. Speaker, the strategy of the government is clear. Whether it be on the environment, child care, foreign affairs, women, aboriginal peoples, literacy or health care, it is to set new targets, set them really low and then hit them decisively and call that leadership. That is not leadership.
    On health care, it is to offer a wait times guarantee but provide no new money for it so the provinces must pick it up and other critical services are cut. This is a service reduction guarantee.
    When will the government provide this essential new money to reduce--
    The hon. the Minister of Health.
    Mr. Speaker, while the hon. member was busy doing some other things, he may not have learned that in the space of less than two weeks the government announced the first wait time guarantees in Canada. We are showing leadership. We are helping those who are most vulnerable in the aboriginal sector and first nations sector. We are leading by example, which is what people expect from this Government of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, the CMA has contradicted that. Cutting is not a vision. Cutting to do what? What Canada? So small, so pinched, so ungenerous and so divisive.
    The MrMinister of Health and finance did the same in Ontario. They cut the money, cut the services, kept the rhetoric and hoped they would get to the next election before anyone could figure it out.
    The Canadian Medical Association said it clearly, “No new money, no real guarantee”. When will the government listen to the CMA?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member was elsewhere but last week the Canadian Medical Association gave this government an A for funding when it comes to health care. It did that because the Minister of Finance gave an extra $1.1 billion to the provinces, with an extra $5.5 billion going toward reducing wait times.
    We are acting on the health of Canadians. We are showing leadership, which is a darn sight better than those on the other side did when they were in government.


Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, the Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec sent the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food an invitation to attend its convention being held this week in Quebec City. The Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec confirmed that this might be difficult since we are at the end of a session and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food had to stay here in the House.
    My question is for the minister. Does he intend to attend the UPA convention, since the Bloc agreed to have its member for Richmond—Arthabaska, the agriculture and agri-food critic, accompany the minister and thereby preserve balance in this House? This would allow the minister to do his work and attend the UPA convention.


    Mr. Speaker, we are trying to make arrangements to ensure I can be at the UPA convention. As part of my job, I have ongoing meetings with farmers from Quebec and elsewhere. It is always important to get out in the field. My hope is that my parliamentary duties here will not keep me away from that convention. I plan to go and I hope to go and, unless there is a vote or some other reason, I will be there.


    Mr. Speaker, he should plan to go, he should hope to go and he should in fact go since Quebec's producers are having terrible difficulties with the federal programs, which currently do not correspond to the situation in Quebec.
    When he goes to the UPA, because he should go, will the minister have concrete solutions for harmonizing the federal programs with those in Quebec in order to help the producers once and for all, and stop putting solutions off indefinitely?


    Mr. Speaker, we started off our plan by adding another $1.5 billion to the agricultural budget. We are working closely with farmers in Quebec and we are addressing the disastrous situation in Saint-Amable with the potato nematode.
    We are in full support of the supply management system which is very important in Quebec and in the rest of the country. We campaigned on that and we maintain that support. We continue to work closely with farmers all across the country, including Quebec, to ensure their needs are addressed.




    Mr. Speaker, when he abolished income trusts, the Minister of Finance justified his decision by saying that this was costing the government far too much and that, in the long run, it could jeopardize Canada's tax base.
    If indeed the Minister of Finance feels that income trusts were causing the government a huge loss of revenue, why did he not tackle the tax haven problem at the same time?


    Mr. Speaker, the member asked about fiscal balance and about income trusts. One of the things we recognize as a government is that there is a fiscal imbalance and we want to move to a fiscal balance with governments. However, that takes some money and it takes a tax base, which means that corporations in Canada must pay their fair share of taxes and income trusts must pay their fair share of taxes.
     I thank the Bloc Québécois for supporting the notice of ways and means motion that will bring fairness in taxation in Canada.


    What I am talking about, Mr. Speaker, is tax havens.
    In her 2002 report, the Auditor General denounced tax havens in terms similar to those used by the minister, saying that the extensive use of tax havens was depriving governments of several hundred million dollars each year, which was jeopardizing Canada's fiscal capacity.
    Given how urgently he felt he had to act on income trusts, why does he not act just as quickly to put an end to the use of tax havens? That is what I want to know.


    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's support on the income trust issue, which is a difficult matter.
    He raised another issue which we have also raised in “Advantage Canada”, our economic plan for Canadians, which has been well-received, and that is that all Canadians should pay their fair share of taxes.
    I appreciate his advice with respect to his question on tax havens. We will review it as we prepare budget 2007.

Child Care

    Mr. Speaker, the minority government has scrapped provincial child care agreements in favour of a taxable monthly cheque but the lack of child care spaces means that Canadian women, especially poor women, will continue to be excluded from the workforce. The Conservative government does not even want to hear from Canadian women because it slashed Status of Women Canada.
    Why are the Conservatives determined to crush dissent and to turn back the clock on child care?
    Mr. Speaker, we are right on schedule to introduce our incentives to encourage new child care spaces, as we promised, on April 1 of next year.
    When we talk about turning back the clock, the real question is why the Liberals want to take away the $100 a month in child care benefits that we delivered to Canadian families.
    Mr. Speaker, only one in five Canadian children has access to a regulated child care space. By scrapping the funding for the Liberal child care plan, the government has turned hope into despair. Let us be clear, less than $3.50 a day is not a universal child care plan.
    When will the government offer Canadian families a real child care program, not one that arrives through the mailbox?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's new government recognizes that different families have different needs. We do not support a one size fits all child care approach, as the previous government did. We believe that each family should have choice and access to choice in child care that meets their needs.
    Why do the Liberals want to take that money, those resources, away from parents right before Christmas?

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the old Reform Party wanted to get rid of the Canada pension plan. Now the regressive Conservative government is using CPP assets to fudge its debt numbers in what economists call a dangerous step.
    Why are the Conservatives gambling with the pensions of Canadians, with Enron style accounting practices?


    Mr. Speaker, there is no intention at any time to use any CPP funds to reduce debt in the country.
    There is a commitment in “Advantage Canada”, which has been praised, to eliminate the net debt of our nation in the next 15 years. It has taken a generation for that debt to be accumulated.
    This is an honourable goal for our country, to go the other way and to reduce the net debt, in fact to eliminate it, and not in an entire generation but in 15 years. We can do it as Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of Republican style voodoo economics that left the people of Ontario with a $5 billion deficit.
    The regressive Conservatives are playing politics with pensions. Why not keep their sticky fingers out of the Canada pension plan and tell Canadians the truth, that under their plan the national debt will not be paid off for 160 years?
    Mr. Speaker, we know the members opposite would not pay off the debt in 160 years. They were very good at building up national debt in Canada.
    What we are going to do is reduce the national debt. We are going to have no net debt in Canada 15 years from now. Yes, it requires reducing debt. Yes, it requires payments against the national debt. We will make those payments.

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's national museums are a vital part of our history and hold precious collections that define us as Canadians.
    The previous Liberal government ignored and neglected our national museums, leaving us with leaky roofs, crumbling infrastructure and insufficient resources.
    Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell us what action has been taken to address these urgent needs?
    Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right that after a decade of Liberal neglect our museums have been deteriorating. In fact, the Auditor General recognized that the preservation of our national treasures and the health and safety of the staff and volunteers was at risk.
    Today I announced nearly $100 million to meet the infrastructure needs of our five federal cultural and heritage institutions. This is the first step for the new government that takes action. This government is committed to work with Canada's museums today and for the future.

Canadian Wheat Board

    Mr. Speaker, the president and CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board, Adrian Measner, has been fired by the Minister of Agriculture. Mr. Measner was democratically chosen by the elected board of directors. He has performed in an excellent manner on behalf of that organization.
    In an emergency teleconference Friday, the Wheat Board directors passed a motion calling on the minister to reconsider.
    Will the minister agree today to listen to the CWB board of directors and reconsider this foolish decision?
    Mr. Speaker, what we are doing is moving toward marketing choice in an orderly and transparent way.
    I again ask the Wheat Board, as I have done repeatedly, to concentrate on its mandate, which is to market grain on behalf of western Canadian farmers.
    We are going to have a plebiscite in the new year. Every time it gets away from its core role and duty, which is to market grain on behalf of farmers, it loses the support of farmers. It should get at the job at hand. There is lots of wheat to sell. Let us get at it and leave the other issues for politicians.
    The fact is, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture has demonstrated a blatant contempt: July, the minister's hand-picked Wheat Board opponents meet to plot strategy; September, a sham task force is charged with dismantling single desk; October, outright interference with the director elections; and now in December, loyalty to single desk is a firing offence.
    This is getting out of hand. He must reinstate the president and CEO. He must stop acting like a dictator.
     When will the minister learn that the Wheat Board works just fine without him and reverse all the negative decisions made to date?
    Mr. Speaker, we campaigned in the last federal election on marketing choice for farmers. We are moving toward that in a transparent and open way. We have a planned staged transition so we can move toward marketing choice.
     The first step of that will take place in a barley plebiscite in January and February. I urge all farmers who are actual producers to get involved in that plebiscite. I look forward to having their input.
     We are consistently moving in a way that we campaigned on, and we look forward, again, to working with western Canadian farmers.


Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, after 18 months of consultations, the previous Government of Canada, first ministers and the leadership of the first nations, Métis and Inuit groups entered into the Kelowna accord.
    Last week Liberals from across Canada overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution to honour Kelowna. While the minority government wilfully abandons aboriginal Canadians, the Liberal Party proudly stood up for them.
    Is it still the minority Conservative government's position that it has no obligation to honour the agreement?
    Mr. Speaker, the question highlights the quantum gulf that exists between what Liberals tell each other they did for aboriginal Canadians as opposed to what they actually did, which was not very much.
    In its first budget this government put forward $3.7 billion of new program expenditures for aboriginal Canadians. This weekend I was in Dorset, Nunavut. The ground is being prepared for 36 new houses. How many houses did the previous Liberal administration deliver? Zero, none, nothing.
    Talk about small and pinched, that is them.
    Mr. Speaker, a majority of the House has called for Kelowna to be implemented. The House wants the accord honoured with its full funding commitment.
    Canadians across the country are demanding that the prosperity gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians be eliminated. The only ones not echoing this call are the members of the meanspirited minority Conservative government.
    When will the government respect the will of Parliament, listen to the voices of Canadians, show respect to aboriginal Canadians and implement the Kelowna accord?
    Mr. Speaker, what the Liberals promised aboriginal Canadians was empty promises. They did not deliver. They did not deliver on water. They did not deliver on northern housing. They did not deliver on off reserve housing. They did not deliver on the residential school agreement.
    On all of these matters, including the rights of aboriginal women, this government is standing up for aboriginal Canadians and delivering. They did not. They had ample opportunity to do that. They simply made empty promises and did nothing.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank the members opposite who were trolling the convention last weekend, wearing my buttons.
    In August the Prime Minister went into hiding while 20,000 people attended the 16th international AIDS conference in Toronto. His Minister of Health was booed by participants from across the world.
    Last week, when his government finally admitted publicly to its non-existent strategy, the Prime Minister was MIA again.
    HIV-AIDS education must start at the top. Why is the Prime Minister afraid to be near Canadians with this disease?


    Mr. Speaker, I understand that the member was pretty busy last Friday and that getting the news in French was not easy at the Liberal convention. I take this opportunity to tell him that, on World AIDS Day, we announced new investments, news initiatives totalling $120 million to achieve positive results in developing countries.
    Mr. Speaker, they simply recycled the Liberal plan.
    The Conservatives announced no measures to fight AIDS at the 16th World AIDS Conference in Toronto and they have reneged on their promise to allocate $50 million for the World Health Organization.
    Does the Prime Minister think that the sick are responsible for their disease? Is that this government's new public health policy?


    Allow me, Mr. Speaker, to refer to the comment made by the co-chair of the conference in Toronto, Dr. Mark Wainberg, to the effect that the government announcement ought to be applauded and that he was convinced it would be helpful, in light of the current situation in developing countries.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, on November 24, I attended the Forum québécois des partenaires des pêches held in our national capital, Quebec City, as an observer. I thought that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans would take advantage of the opportunity to propose some solutions and make some interesting suggestions for the Quebec industry, but he came empty-handed.
    Can the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans explain why he showed up at the forum with no solutions, no new ideas and no plan to support the fragile industry?


    Mr. Speaker, I went to the forum at the invitation of the minister of fisheries from Quebec because he wanted to bring together the total Quebec industry so we could concentrate on putting the industry on a sustainable footing. We went there to listen to people.
     I hoped I would hear some good things from the hon. member, but I did not.


    Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans stop hiding behind his bureaucrats' reports and explain to the Quebec nation why, just hours before the Quebec fisheries forum, he unilaterally reassigned one of Quebec's fishing zones off the Magdalen Islands to Prince Edward Island?


    Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member is talking about is a dispute that has gone on for a number of years about fishing grounds between Quebec and Prince Edward Island and the area fished for years by fishermen from Prince Edward Island.
    We had an independent study done by an arbitrator, agreed to by both sides. He came in with a report recommending that P.E.I. be allowed to fish on the grounds. We accepted that report because it was the right thing to do.

Canadian Wheat Board

    Mr. Speaker, the government's threat to fire Adrian Measner can only be seen as a Conservative ideological vendetta toward the Canadian Wheat Board and its chief executive officer for doing his job. Farmer elected directors of the board are rallying behind Mr. Measner, holding an emergency meeting and passing a resolution calling on the government to keep him on as CEO.
    Canadian producers need power in the marketplace and that is exactly what the Wheat Board provides.
     When will the government stop crushing all dissenting opinions and let farmers decide the future of the Wheat Board?
    Mr. Speaker, what we are doing is following through on our campaign promise to have marketing choice for western Canadian farmers, the same choice that they have in the rest of the country on other products from coast to coast.
    We also expect that the Wheat Board shall continue to market grain in an orderly way. That is its mandate and it should get at it. The prices are up. The volumes are there. Farmers expect it to sell that product and make some money for them. That is what it should do instead of engaging in this silly kind of politics over there.

Government Programs

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians, including my constituents in Leeds—Grenville, are concerned about whether subsidized tattoo parlours in federal prisons are a good use of tax dollars. These concerns are echoed by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Canadian Crime Victim Foundation that called the program introduced by the previous Liberal government lunacy.
    The pilot project has been completed. Could the Minister of Public Safety update the House on whether subsidized tattooing in federal prisons will continue?
    Mr. Speaker, the former Liberal government put in place a pilot program for prison tattoo parlours in six federal institutions at a cost of about $1 million a year. To extend that to our other institutions would be about $8 million a year.
    The new Government of Canada funds programs that will reduce crimes and high risk behaviour. There is no evidence of that in this program. We will continue funding educational and health initiatives for the benefit of our inmate population, but we are announcing today that the new Government of Canada will not continue funding the Liberal program of prison tattoo parlours for convicted criminals.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, the heritage minister should be ashamed of herself. She has ripped away funding from the most vulnerable women in our society: groups that support sexual assault victims and help refugee women build new lives. In the most real terms, these cuts mean that if a woman is beaten by her husband in Victoria she may have no one to call for support.
    Women across this country know exactly who to blame. Why the brutal cuts? Why shut down the whole department? Why pick on the most vulnerable?


    Once again, Mr. Speaker, I think it is unfortunate for women in Canada when we have a member of the NDP who exaggerates beyond belief. We have not made any changes to our social services. We are working with the provinces and municipalities. We ensure that the resources that are needed are going to be there.
    What we have done is that we have said we will save $5 million in administration. That is paying phone bills so that some organizations that work on the ground can help women directly

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, the decision for the location of the portrait gallery has been treated like a state secret by the government. A recent ATI request from my office produced a 40 page memo with all but two sentences blacked out.
    Now I hear that a decision has been made to locate the gallery in Calgary. Will the Prime Minister confirm, yes or no, if the portrait gallery is moving to Calgary, his hometown? Will it be paid for by big oil, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, once again we want to make sure we have accuracy. As I have told the House before, we are looking at the options before the government to make sure that our portrait gallery is accessible to as many Canadians as possible. We will also make sure that federal funds are used responsibly and accountably.

Canadian Wheat Board

    Mr. Speaker, the government continues its unprecedented, unethical and undemocratic moves against the Canadian Wheat Board.
    The minister's letter, a prelude to the firing of the CEO of the board, is in essence a hostile takeover of the farmers' marketing agency by the Government of Canada. As one editorial stated, this is “an action one” would “expect...of a dictatorial or socialist regime”. I would compare it to a Stalinist purge.
     Will the minister cease his intimidation tactics and rescind his disgraceful letter?
    Mr. Speaker, just because the hon. member is angry does not mean that he has to ask that question from the parking lot.
    Again, I will just say what I have said during the day. We repeatedly said during the election campaign that we wanted a marketing choice for western Canadian farmers. We continue to move on that and toward that in an orderly way.
    For those on the Wheat Board who want to get at the job of selling western Canadian wheat, I think that is what they should be doing, not engaging in politics.


    Mr. Speaker, signs of an impending coup in Fiji are increasing after the military commander's forces seized all police weapons and set up roadblocks around the capital, Suva. Nonetheless, Commodore Bainimarama declines to say whether he is now taking over.
    What is the government's position on the current standoff in Fiji?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is of course deeply concerned about the uncertainty and the unlawful activities by the military against Fiji's democratically elected government.
     In fact, the latest actions by the Fijian military and its ongoing threat of a coup undermine the effort to build a Fiji that is a democratic and prosperous country. We urge a solution to the political crisis in accordance with Fiji's constitution and in an open, peaceful and democratic process.

Presence in Gallery

    I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    The Speaker: I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Judy Streatch, Minister of Community Services for Nova Scotia.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    The Speaker: As well, I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Stan Hagen, Minister of Tourism, Sport and the Arts for British Columbia.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!


Points of Order

Response to Oral Question 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Today during question period, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, in answering a question from the member for Malpeque, insulted members of the House. I demand an apology from the minister.
    The minister stated that the member had moved to the parking lot. That is an insult to all members who do not sit on the frontbenches on either side of the House. The minister needs to apologize to the House. It is a terrible embarrassment that the minister in fact insults members of the House in such a demeaning way.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Malpeque and I have a very good working relationship. I could have said that I did not like him moving so far to the right, but I did not want to say that. My comment was a lighthearted one. If there was any offence taken, I of course withdraw the comment.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not take a lot of offence at what the minister said. I know he has no vision for agriculture, so maybe eyeglasses would help him see in the House.
    Every seat in the House is a good one, whether it is in the parking lot or not.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]


Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 42 petitions.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a great privilege for me today to stand, if only for a few minutes, to highlight the wonderful attributes of the area of this country that I represent, that diamond in the rough, the gathering place among the Great Lakes, Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, and to ask the House to consider a change that would recognize the growth in the geographic area that I represent and that this new riding represents in northern Ontario.
    Certainly Sault Ste. Marie for the longest time has been represented with and held in high esteem in the House. I think it only proper to now recognize the fullness of that riding, which takes in an area that is diverse in its nature, with Lake Superior and the great outdoors to the north of the city and a lot of agricultural land to the east. I would ask the House, the Speaker and everybody involved to work with me to change the name of this riding to Sault Ste. Marie--Algoma.

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


Income Tax Act

    She said: Mr. Speaker, it is my great privilege today to introduce this bill that will at long last allow tradespersons and indentured apprentices to deduct travel and accommodation expenses from their taxable income so they can secure and maintain employment at a construction site that is more than 80 kilometres from their home. It makes no sense for tradespersons to be out of work in one area of the country while another region suffers from temporary skilled labour shortages simply because the cost of travelling is too high.
    I want to thank the PAC of UA Local 67 as well as Joe Beattie and affiliated locals of the Hamilton-Brantford Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario for encouraging me to bring this legislation forward and for their ongoing support for this important initiative. I am confident that all members of the House will want to work with me to ensure that this bill receives the speedy passage that it deserves through the remaining stages of the legislative process.

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


Child Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present a petition signed by a large number of people from across Saskatchewan, including my own riding of Wascana, noting the existence of a perfectly valid child care agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan, which was in place at the beginning of this year but which the current government is purporting to terminate. The petitioners call upon the government to change its mind and to fully honour it, including honouring the funding involved in the child care agreement between Canada and Saskatchewan.

Automotive Industry  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to rise in the House today to present a petition signed by hundreds of auto workers and citizens who are very concerned about the threatened loss of auto jobs as a result of expanding imports to the North American market from Asia and Europe. They call on the Canadian government to cancel negotiations for a free trade agreement with Korea, which would worsen the one-way flood of automotive products into our market, and to develop a new automotive trade policy that would require Korea and other offshore markets to purchase equivalent volumes of finished vehicles.

Rights of the Unborn  

    Mr. Speaker, in current criminal law, unborn children are not recognized as victims of crime. Last year, Olivia Talbot of Edmonton was shot and killed, and her unborn son, Lane Jr., 27 weeks old, was also killed as a deliberate target. The vast majority of Canadians support a law that protects unborn children from acts of violence against their mothers, acts that also injure or kill the unborn child. The petitioners call upon Parliament to enact legislation that would recognize unborn children as separate victims when they are injured or killed when an attack is also being made on their mother.

Age of Consent  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I would like to present a petition from approximately 100 people from the Grand Lake area of the riding of Fredericton calling upon Parliament to take all measures necessary to immediately raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age.


Frontier College  

    Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank my hon. colleague from Sherbrooke for this petition, which is from Frontier College, a not for profit literacy organization.
    These people who have already been hit by the cuts to literacy are now afraid to see their homelessness funding cut. Frontier College has a unique program to reduce homelessness through education.
    Lack of education is thought to sometimes exacerbate homelessness and vagrancy. These petitioners therefore ask that the government immediately provide them with assistance.




    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition with over 700 names on behalf of Antonio Melgar and Santos Molina, refugees from El Salvador currently living and working in Oliver. They have been told they have to return while their hearing on their application for permanent residence on humanitarian compassionate grounds is reviewed. There are unstable conditions that are a danger to their lives if they go back. The petition is signed by the members of the community on their behalf.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise in the House this afternoon to present a petition on behalf of 58 of my constituents from Kelowna—Lake Country. They would like our government to enforce fuel efficiency standards in motor vehicles and to take action on the environment.


Human Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and privilege to submit to this House a petition signed by more than 10,000 Canadians who want to protect the victims of trafficking in women and children.
    I will summarize the petition, because it is rather long. These petitioners urge Parliament to pass a bill to provide victims of trafficking with a temporary visa without requiring them to testify, to give them time get back on their feet. This visa would give them legal status in Canada, allowing them to seek legal assistance, social assistance, health care, social services, social housing, crime victims compensation and assistance, services without which they would not be able to be psychosocially, socially and economically rehabilitated.


Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions that I would like to present to the House on behalf of practitioners of Falun Gong in my area. There are 200 names all told. I think we all know the issue, the challenge and what the petitioners are asking of this House, so I table these petitions here on their behalf.
    Mr. Speaker, this petition submitted by several hundreds of people is entitled “Condemn Chinese Communist regime's organ harvesting of living Falun Gong practitioners”.
    The petitioners are urgently calling on our Canadian government and Parliament to help stop these atrocities. They ask that this Parliament make a public statement and pass a motion in the House to condemn the Communist regime for committing these crimes against humanity. They urge the Chinese regime to end the persecution of Falun Gong and release all Falun Gong practitioners immediately, to take active measures to help stop the mass killing and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, and to discourage Canadians from travelling to China for organ transplants.

Gun Violence  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present the following petition to the House. The petition was organized by grade 5 students at Homestead Public School in Brampton who worked relentlessly to get over 500 signatures for their cause. The students are concerned with the growing gun violence in our communities. They are asking the government to do more, not less, to strengthen Canada's gun laws.
    As many people in the House know, I have always been an advocate for engaging our youth in the political process. With this petition, the students of Homestead Public School are going to have their voices heard.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present three petitions today.
    The first petition is signed by over 1,000 people, from Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, who call on the House to pass Bill C-326, a bill which I have authored, to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination in order to fight discrimination and social exclusion of transgender, transsexual and genderqueer people.


Chemical Pesticides  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by quite a few people in my own constituency of Burnaby—Douglas who call on the House of Commons and Parliament assembled to recognize that human and environmental health should take precedence in legislative decision making, as well as the product approval process in every jurisdiction in Canada.
    The petitioners call on the government to enact legislation banning the use of chemical pesticides for cosmetic purposes until rigorous independent scientific and medical testing of chemical pesticides and parliamentary review of results is conducted for both existing and new products, and to enact legislation applying the precautionary principle in regard to restricting future allowable usage in order to minimize risk to human and environmental health.

Child Care  

    Mr. Speaker, the final petition is also signed by people from the lower mainland of British Columbia, including some in Burnaby—Douglas.
    The petitioners call on Parliament to achieve multi-year funding to ensure that publicly-operated child care programs are sustainable for the long term, to protect child care by enshrining it in legislation with a national child care act to be a cornerstone of Canada like the national health act, and to help end child poverty by using the $1,200 allowance to enhance the child tax benefit without taxes and clawbacks.


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to rise to table a petition with approximately 30 names from my riding. The petitioners call upon Parliament to reopen the issue of marriage in this Parliament in order to repeal or to amend the Marriage for Civil Purposes Act in order to promote and defend marriage as a lawful union of one man and one women to the exclusion of all others.

Undocumented Workers  

    Mr. Speaker, once again I rise in the House on a very important and critical issue to draw to the attention of the House the issue facing undocumented workers.
    I have presented thousands of petitions in the House to no avail. The government has yet to respond favourably to the concerns raised by people across this country that undocumented workers play a major role in the economy, have built families and lives in this country, and many of them deserve a chance.
    The government is refusing, in any way, shape or form to regularize their situation and to deal with the problems facing undocumented workers. I am asking Parliament to immediately halt the deportation of undocumented workers and to find a humane and logical solution to this issue.


    Mr. Speaker, I have 10 separate petitions from petitioners in southwestern Ontario, namely from the Toronto, Woodstock and Kitchener area. They ask that Canada cease the negotiations for a free trade agreement with South Korea and develop a policy that would promote improved two-way automotive trade between Canada, South Korea and other nations.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 104 could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.


Question No. 104--
Mr. Scott Reid:
     In each of the fiscal years 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, did any government department, agency, or Crown corporation enter into a professional services contract with a vendor whose name matches a name on the current public list of members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery published at, and, if so, for each contract of each vendor: (a) to which department, agency, or Crown corporation were the services to be provided; (b) what type of service was to be provided; (c) what was the start date and final end date of the contract; and (d) what was the total amount of payments made to the vendor?
    (Return tabled)


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


[Government Orders]


Ways and Means

Motion No. 12  

     moved that a ways and means motion to introduce an Act to amend the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, 2001 and the Air Travellers Security Charge Act and to make related amendments to other Acts be concurred in.
    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    An hon. member: On division.

    (Motion agreed to)

Canada's Clean Air Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    When the debate was interrupted, the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley had three minutes left in the time left for questions and comments consequent on his remarks. I therefore call for questions and comments. The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his comments. I also want to thank him for working so closely with the leader of the NDP to come up with the solution to the logjam that we found in this Parliament on issues related to the environment.
    We all know the importance of Bill C-30. This was the attempt by the government to get these important issues on the agenda of this Parliament, but we also know that this bill was going nowhere, that it was ill-fated, and that the opposition parties could not support the legislation, but we could not miss that opportunity in the House.
    The House needs to take some action on the environment and meeting our Kyoto obligations. I am glad that the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley and the leader of the NDP put their heads together to come up with this process where, before second reading, the legislation can be referred to a committee, and there all parties in the House can bring their ideas to the table. We can then build a piece of legislation that truly reflects the urgency of this issue.
    We cannot afford to see this matter delayed and the House has to take action. I am very pleased and proud of the action that was taken here in this corner of the House to ensure that in a non-partisan way, this agenda can go forward.
    I wonder if the member might just comment further on that process whereby all the ideas that pertain to this important legislation can now be debated because of the referral to committee before second reading.


    Mr. Speaker, the luxury of time is one thing that we simply do not have anymore after so many years of failed plans, misspent money, and pollution continuing to rise year after year. The competitiveness of the Canadian economy was also suffering as a result because energy was not being used in the most efficient means, certainly not in respect to our competitors. Lo and behold, even the United States under George Bush was able to make more reductions when it came to greenhouse gas emissions than Canada was able to make as an actual signatory to Kyoto.
    One might despair looking at the Bloc and the Liberal Party that presented very little in the way of moving this logjam forward. One might despair as upward of 80% of the funding for what few programs were running under the previous regime were cut by the Conservative government. Canadians could be forgiven for thinking that all was lost for this particular Parliament. We moved to find the space within the debate that allowed the most progressive ideas to come forward.
    Right now major environmental groups operating in all of the provinces are coming forward with their best ideas. They have come to an agreement on what types of principles need to be imbedded in this bill to change its bad structure, the structure of delay, and the structure of allowing cabinet to continue to delay decisions that Canadians are waiting for.
    These groups are willing to work with the opposition parties and parliamentarians to make something happen. They are willing to work with us to make what seemed impossible only a few short weeks ago possible. The Canadian government will finally have to act with leadership and responsibility. It will finally have to make the tough decisions. It will finally have to make the decisions that were lauded and claimed by previous regimes but never came to fruition.
    As the Environment Commissioner said, the government was often gone before the confetti hit the ground. That is one of her more memorable quotes, but there were many talking about the $6 billion announced but only $1.3 billion actually spent, talking about programs with no monitoring, no efficacy, and no ability to look at whether money was going in the right place or not.
    We have stepped into that void, that vacuum, and created something positive. It will now be possible, if the other parties are willing to put partisan interests aside, to make something finally happen for all Canadians and our climate.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is taking steps toward addressing the very real issues of air quality and climate change, issues that are of concern to Canadians in every region of this vast country.
    Harmful air emissions continue to affect our environment, our health, as well as our quality of life and economic productivity. Through Canada's clean air act, the Government of Canada is committed to taking action today that will provide the legislative basis for national requirements that will set mandatory targets for emissions that harm Canadians and their environment. The government has a real plan that will not only enable us to set regulations but to monitor the progress of industry and to report to Canadians on the gains that Canada is making on reducing emissions.


    One of the leading sources of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Canada is transportation. Efforts in this sector will play a significant role in the Canadian air quality regulatory program.
    The movement of people and goods has serious consequences on our environment and contributes to air and water pollution, in particular. This impact on the environment translates into real socio-economic costs and affects the health and quality of life of Canadians.
    Some of the worst emissions caused by transportation are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, many of which contribute to smog. Transportation produces 81% of all carbon monoxide emissions in this country and 60% of all nitrogen oxide emissions.
    The increase of emissions in this sector is largely due to our growing population and economy, but is also a result of higher living standards. Population growth and the movements of Canadians are exacerbating transportation activities, especially on our highways and with respect to air traffic. For example, between 1990 and 2003, the movements of Canadians by motor transport increased by 24% and the number of Canadians who own a vehicle increased 8% faster than the population.
    Similarly, increased trade and habits related to freight transportation activities, including the constant dominance of just-in-time delivery models, result in strong increases of activity. Globally, we expect the movement of goods to increase by 60% between 1990 and 2020, with the greatest increase expected to be in the air transport and trucking industries.
    From 1995 to 2003, freight moved by trucking, in terms of tonne-kilometres, increased by 63%. Total greenhouse gas emissions for the transportation sector increased by 25%, between 1990 and 2003. These emissions now account for about 26% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. So, this is the biggest source of emissions. About two thirds of greenhouse gases related to transports are emitted in urban centres.
    This government is firmly committed to taking concrete means and measures to improve the health of its citizens and of their environment. This means we must immediately take concrete action.



    The government is serious about improving our air quality and is deeply committed to achieving concrete results. Our approach is national in scope and will help Canadians both in urban and rural settings in breathing cleaner air and as a result living healthier lives.
    The clean air regulatory agenda will enable the federal government to implement measures to reduce both the emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from the transportation sector. The Government of Canada intends to have a consistent approach across all sectors that are major emitters and the government will be using a regulatory approach in all of them. While voluntary agreements provide a certain level of predictability, regulations will provide greater accountability and codify targets.
    With respect to the auto sector, emissions from cars and trucks account for 75% of Canada's transportation greenhouse gas emissions. Passenger travel accounts for about half of that. The government intends to regulate the fuel consumption of road motor vehicles after the expiry of the memorandum of understanding between the auto industry and the Government of Canada.
    I along with the Minister of Natural Resources will develop regulations that will build on a voluntary commitment the auto industry made collectively in 2005 that calls for a reduction of 5.3 megatonnes of greenhouse gases by 2010 through ongoing improvements in fuel consumption performance. These regulations will be developed and implemented under the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act as amended by the proposed Canada's clean air act to take effect for the 2011 model year.
    In 2005 the former government signed a voluntary agreement with the auto industry to reduce greenhouse gases by 5.3 megatonnes by 2010, a standard approximately equivalent to a 25% decrease in fuel consumption. The voluntary agreement provides for interim greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of 2.4 megatonnes in 2007, 3 megatonnes in 2008 and of course 3.9 megatonnes in 2009.
    Government and industry representatives have worked closely to develop this agreement and to ensure that the industry is on track to achieving real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by target date 2010. The regulatory approach that will apply for the 2011 model year will provide a greater degree of certainty, predictability and accountability.
    Our goal is to establish a regulatory regime with targets that promote concrete environmental improvements that are also consistent with the need for industry to remain competitive in the North American economy. The government will continue to work in cooperation and collaboration with the auto sector stakeholders, including industry, provincial authorities and non-governmental organizations, to ensure significant gains in motor vehicle fuel efficiency while also reducing greenhouse gases.
    With respect to the rail sector, my colleague, the Minister of the Environment and I support the current voluntary agreement negotiated with the Railway Association of Canada.



    As for the shipping industry, the government supports the development of new international standards by the International Maritime Organization, to control emissions produced by ships. The government will ensure that these standards are applied at the national level under this legislation, and it will also support a process under which North American coasts will be designated as zones where ships must reduce their sulphur emissions.
    As for the air transport industry, the government supports the development of international standards and the practices recommended through ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, regarding emissions produced by that industry.
    In conclusion, the government is fulfilling its commitments of improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    The transportation sector plays a key role in our strategy.
    I know that if we cooperate with the other levels of government, the industry and all Canadians, we will not only improve our environment, but also the health of all Canadians, today and for the generations to come.
    Therefore, we invite all the members of this House to pay close attention to the work that will be done by that committee.


    Mr. Speaker, under the Kyoto agreement the former Liberal government had made great progress. It had met with 705 of the large final emitters and the auto sector and set targets. These were manageable targets. In fact, third party assessment clearly stated that Canada would have met its Kyoto commitment by 2015.
    When I look at the clean air act proposed by the new Conservative government, I see nothing new. The new legislation gives no powers to the government. In fact, the government is trying to hoodwink Canadians by removing GHGs and air pollutants from the list of toxics. When it does that the government has absolutely no power to regulate.
    Also, it has changed the baseline. It is using the baseline of 2003 instead of 1990. I do not think the government should mislead Canadians.


    Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that the people who are hoodwinking, which I think was her expression, the members of Parliament here are the members of the opposition Liberal Party.
    I want to point out that they can take all the credit they want for having signed the memorandum of understanding with the industry, but they did not sign it with the individual manufacturers. That is the big difference. Since they did not sign it with the individual manufacturers, nobody is accountable.
    The new Kyoto regime that we are proposing today is that we will make the automobile manufacturers accountable for the targets that are going to be set by the House through this legislation. In that way we will ensure that those targets will be met. There will be none of the fussiness nor the fuzziness. We will do what we have to do.


    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister of Transport is talking about trucking; that is indeed something within his purview. But he failed to state any objectives or to tell us by how much greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced with the new motors or whatever else he may propose.
    He says they will look after transport, they will look trucking. But there is nothing specific in the legislation in terms of objectives or intent. Reference is made to voluntary or optional agreements with the automotive industry. Will these agreements work, knowing that voluntary agreements never worked anywhere else?
    I am wondering if that is not just wishful thinking. When we talk about ships, as the minister just did, there are not only sulphur emissions to consider, but also greenhouse gas emissions. But he said nothing about those.
    Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that my colleague will not depart from his prepared speech. Had he listened, he would have realized that the government will be not be using voluntary means, but rather regulatory ones. The member must know the difference between what is voluntary and what is regulatory. Regulatory simply means that you have to meet the target that we have set. If you look at the existing target, that is a realistic, achievable target that will allow things to get done, unlike what the previous government proposed, which was voluntary.
    In this respect, I would like to remind my hon. colleague from the Bloc Québécois that if there is a caucus that is trailing behind the sovereignist movement, it is his own. At the last Parti Québécois convention in Quebec City, they supported a framework for legislation respecting clean air and breathable quality air.
    In Canada, there are 5,900 deaths directly due to smog and air pollution each year. We want to deal with that, and we will.
    When shall the Bloc Québécois show willingness, like its big brother in Quebec City did, to support similar legislation?


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-30, the clean air act, but I wonder why such a bill has been proposed by the government since the previous Liberal government had the most aggressive plan of the G-8. As the former parliamentary secretary to the minister of the environment, I challenge anyone in this House to name one country that had a more aggressive plan than Canada.
    In April 2005, the previous government unveiled project green. It is somewhat disingenuous for the Conservatives to suggest that somehow we did nothing for 13 years. It is an absolute farce. Had they read and had they in fact continued on the road with what this government had started, we would be much further ahead today than this hot air plan that we are getting from the government.
    The first myth we hear from the Conservatives is that we were going to buy hot air credits from Russia. That is nonsense. All the credits were Kyoto compliant. The second myth is that we do not support this because we are not putting any money into this. Last year we had the greenest budget in Canadian history of $10 billion.
    The government is proposing to take action but it has done nothing for the last 10 months. When it unveiled this clean air act, it was recycling some of the things that we had proposed had it not been for the federal election. We do not need to do some of these things because the legislation is already there. I will talk about CEPA in a moment.
    In September 2005, the previous Liberal government proposed adding six greenhouse gases, GHGs, to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999. They included carbon dioxide, methane, fluoro carbons and sulphur, but unfortunately an election came. These GHGs were included in the Kyoto protocol. Our government was committed to ensuring that we reached our targets.
    Now some people said that those targets were not possible. They are not possible if we do not do anything. We had an aggressive plan. The former minister of the environment, now the leader of the official opposition, went to Montreal to COP 11. I had the privilege of chairing a session of parliamentarians from around the world at the G-8+5. We were able to get an historic agreement. We were able to get countries onside with regard to the post-Kyoto period.
    Regrettably, the official opposition at the time, the Conservative Party, said that it did not believe in Kyoto. It was because some of those members, I believe, belong to the flat earth society. They do not believe the earth is round. If they do not believe in the science then naturally they would assume that this is not a real issue. They should tell that to the natives of the north. They should tell them about the melting of the polar ice cap or the floes that are now happening. My good friend from the Northwest Territories will certainly attest to the fact that we are finding problems in terms of habitat. Polar bears are now being disoriented because of the melting.
    It may be good for some of us not to have to walk in the snow in the south but it is a tragedy for those in the north. I have to say that I believe this is the most important issue facing Canadians and in fact people around the world. We need to deal with this.
    The government proposes this clean air act and yet that is the party that has always opposed Kyoto and always said that we could not do this and we could not do that. The reality is that we did a lot of very positive things.
    We had an agreement in the 14th MOU with the Canadian manufacturers of automobiles. The government claims that this was a voluntary measure. We had 13 MOUs with the auto sector and every one was fulfilled. In fact, in the 14th one, we can measure the trajectory to ensure that the measures to reduce GHGs by 5.3 megatonnes would occur. If this did not happen, we could bring in and use a regulatory back stop, but the reality is that we have not had to. To suggest somehow that there is a problem, when we have already had 13 MOUs that were lived up to, I am not sure what the issue is.


    We had 700 final emitters, the largest ones in the country, and we made an agreement with the 700 largest final emitters. Again, we hear from the Conservatives that this side did not do anything. Maybe they should talk to some of their friends in the flat Earth society because maybe the doubters over there just do not get it. They do not get it that the environment is extremely important and that we need to take action. What they have proposed under the clean air act is not action. It has a 2050 target. They now want to add things that they opposed back in September 2005, the things that this party proposed. Now they are saying that they are not bad ideas but that they need to change things because they do not have the proper tools. However, they do have the proper tools.
    The amendments they are proposing to CEPA are completely and utterly unnecessary. We already have the vehicle but the members across the way said that it does not work so they opposed it. While they were opposing that vehicle, they have not read and do not understand what we already had in place. We do not need more legislation. We already have the legislation that we had adopted but the Conservatives refuse to use it.
    We have a Minister of the Environment, and I do not know if she can spell the word, but she has not articulated a plan that will address the pressing needs. We were the government that dealt with taking 95% of sulphur out of gasoline. We were the government that was well respected on the international stage because of what we had done. As a member of Globe International, G-8+5, which is global parliamentarians for the environment, when I go to international meetings they now ask me what has happened in Canada when we were making such progress, moving forward, had the legislation and had the people on side.
    We did not need to go to court as they did in California with the auto sector. We had an agreement on the reduction of 5.3 megatonnes. While the Conservatives were fiddling over there, we were taking action. While they were complaining, I did not see a plan during the federal election on the environment. I guess that is why we did not see anything until recently in the House called the clean air act or, as I like to say, the hot air act.
    There is no question that we had programs. The present government is the one that gutted programs that we had brought in. In the one tonne challenge program, everyone had a responsibility to participate and to be involved. What did the Conservatives do? They cut it.
    We did environmental audits so people could improve their homes, whether it was insulation for their windows, their doors, new furnaces, et cetera, but suddenly in the middle of the night the program was cancelled. Not only was it cancelled, it was not grandfathered. I, and I am sure others in this House, had constituents phoning and saying that they had just spent the money they thought they would be getting as a rebate and now suddenly they have nothing. We had to investigate this because the government was not clear. It talks about a clean air act but it cannot even come clean in here about the programs it gutted.
    The real spokesperson on the environment is the Minister of Natural Resources. I went in October to the ministerial meeting in Monterrey, Mexico where all the environment ministers from the G-8+5 were there except our minister. It was the Minister of Natural Resources Canada who was the lead spokesperson. That is a travesty.
    I will say again that everywhere I go around the world people are asking me what has happened. They want to know what happened to the leadership and the vision of the Liberal government in the past that took the lead and was the lead at the COP 11 in Montreal. I say that the best the Conservatives can up with is a hollow clean air act. I must say that it makes me very sad when they will not even try to embrace the positive things that were done and that because they were done by a previous Liberal government they must be bad.
    However, according to those around the world, they were excellent and Canadians thought they were excellent.


    Mr. Speaker, I did not catch all of it but I caught most of what my colleague had to say and most of it was absolute rhetoric.
    I look at our clean air act and compare it to him saying that it does not meet the favour of the international community. He suggested that wherever he goes internationally people say how shameful it is that we in Canada are not actually doing what we said we would do when we signed on to Kyoto, which is that we would reduce emissions by 6%. Instead of that, under the Liberal watch emissions increased by 35%. That is the rhetoric.
    The reality of the situation is that the Liberals signed on to an agreement that they had no intention of complying with, nor were they actually doing anything about it. Now we have legislation that we hope will become law after it is debated in the House.
     We can talk about the rhetoric, one side or the other, all we like but we are talking about a substantive bill that actually deals with this in a way where businesses that do business in Canada will need to comply.
    I am wondering what the member has to say with regard to indoor air pollution, which is also in the clean air act. The government opposite had no kind of vision or ideology on that. I wonder if my hon. colleague would stand in his place now and tell Canadians and the House that he at least will support the indoor air standards that would be provided under this legislation and say something a bit more positive about the environment. Everyone in the House and all Canadians are environmentalists. I would like to get my hon. colleague's consensus at least on that.


    Mr. Speaker, far be it for me to be negative. I am only going over what actually occurred. The member should not take my word for it. NGOs unanimously have denounced the clean air act. NGOs have all said that this is hollow legislation. In fact, they say that CEPA is already in place and that the government has the broad powers under CEPA to regulate all air pollution, indoor, outdoor, whatever one likes. However, this legislation does not have any short or medium goals and it needs them.
    The answer to the hon. member is that the legislation already exists. This is another diversionary tactic by the government. Instead of dealing with the issue, it has put before the House a piece of legislation that does not address the needs and in fact which NGOs across the country have unanimously said is simply more hot air and rhetoric from a party that has never had, as a centrepiece of its platform, the issue of the environment, which is the number one concern of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I have worked with my hon. colleague for years on energy issues, going back to the 1990s. We need to approach this movement to committee with a degree of optimism.
    The past record of the Liberal government is not what is at stake right now. What is at stake is putting together an act that can drive progress in Canada and, with the support of all the parties in Parliament, will represent a consensus that will allow us to move ahead in a way that will take the politics and rhetoric out of it.
    Does my hon. colleague not agree that the work we need to do in Parliament is actually very important in building a consensus in Parliament and across the country?
    Mr. Speaker, this party is prepared to work with all parties in amending this bill and making positive improvements. Maybe we could put back a lot of the good things that the previous Liberal government was doing that the Conservative government has decided to gut.
    I will give the hon. member my assurance that we are prepared to work with his party and any others that are prepared to seriously deal with the environmental issues of the day.


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-30, since I have been involved in the issue of air quality in buildings and the environment for years. Thirty years ago, I started talking about hypersensitivity. I was in fact the first person in Quebec to talk about that. I am therefore pleased to speak to this bill.
     We in the Bloc Québécois are asking the Conservative government to honour the Kyoto protocol and its 6% reduction target, within a plan that incorporates our international obligations. The Conservative government must also implement the action plan proposed by the Bloc Québécois to combat climate change. That plan is based on the principles of fairness and polluter-pay, it is based on a geographic approach and it includes a financial contribution to be given to the provinces and the Quebec nation by the federal government.
     The federal government has rightly made commitments at the international level, but it must not undo that work by handing the bill to the provinces.
     The Conservative government says that it does not want to send taxpayers’ money outside Canada. The Bloc Québécois certainly agrees with that. However, in the case of the oil sands, it seems to us that at present, the government is refusing to impose limits on the greenhouse gases produced by the processing of the tar sands into gasoline, into oil. The profits produced by the oil sands appear to find it easy to emigrate to other countries, particularly the United States. We could keep a bit of that money, and capture and bury the CO2.
     We therefore cannot say that this bill and what the government has in mind are for Canadians only. It seems fairly obvious to us that it is also designed with the big corporations in mind.
     We agree with this bill, but it needs to be reworked and improved. We will nonetheless harbour a little hope that once this bill has been studied there will be some degree of quality left and there will be clear standards with regard to the Kyoto protocol. At that point, we will be able to say that we are doing our part to reduce greenhouse gases in Canada.
     Certainly, we could look behind us and realize the extent to which nothing has been done, but there is still time to act. Nonetheless, this bill can be considered to be a drop in the ocean. We would not want it to be a smokescreen that will prevent us from joining the Kyoto protocol and adhering to its objectives.
     Obviously, we agree with regulating air quality. We even think that this bill does not go far enough in that direction.
     This is a fine thing, this Bill C-30, an Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act (Canada’s Air Quality Act). That being said, is this act really going to allow for regulation of the quality of indoor air—as my colleague opposite has said—the air quality that hypersensitive people need? Hypersensitive individuals are increasingly being recognized as people who have a need. I will return to this in a moment.
    With regard to indoor air quality, it is absolutely necessary that we approve the LEED rating system and incorporate it into our laws and regulations. We will then benefit from all areas addressed by the LEED rating system: energy efficiency, indoor air quality, exterior environment, lower GHG emissions and sustainable development for buildings overall.


    LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is based on a rating system known as the Green Building Rating System. It was made in Canada—let it be known—by the Canada Green Building Council.
    The government cannot say that we are sending our money elsewhere and that we are not doing anything for Canada by adopting the LEED rating system. It is very Canadian.
    The clean air bill seeks to regulate motor vehicles. But what about off-road vehicles, locomotives, pleasure craft or transport vessels? In addition, the Minister of Transportation told us that he wants to reduce sulphur emissions of boats, but he did not say that he wants to reduce GHGs. There are also buses, trucks, road trains and tractors. There are hundreds of thousands of them. Then there are cranes, construction equipment, planes, snowmobiles and ATVs.
    Why not add lawn mowers, too? A two-stroke lawn mower used for one hour causes more pollution than an automobile travelling from Ottawa to Toronto.
    Furthermore, this legislation absolutely must include a verification and improvement program covering existing and future motor vehicles for as long as they are in use. Even though some cars do not pollute at first, they might do so eventually if they are not monitored. This has to be an integral part of the legislation. Another verification program is needed for all the other existing combustion engines, otherwise we are improving one aspect and ignoring the rest.
    There needs to be an integrated system for industry. This is very important because this integrated system could also be a standard for the major oil industries. In accordance with our international commitments and air quality standards, greenhouse gases and air pollution have to be reduced at the same time. Such an industrial directive already exists in Europe and it works quite well. This directive, initiated by Great Britain and adopted by all the European countries, is called Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, or IPPC.
    This directive establishes a series of modules including assessment of emissions and local and international impact, and it takes into account global warming, the ozone layer and all waste management provisions. In our society, waste is a major source of pollution.
     An integrated system is a must, because the IPPC is a sophisticated tool. It monitors all industrial emissions.
    Every industry has a code and a potential for reducing pollutants, whether for global warming or garbage or the ozone layer. Even visual pollution, the risk of accidents and noise are taken into account.
    We need to acquire some tools and not reinvent the wheel, which is what this bill does. Clause 46 speaks of reviewing things and holding consultations.
    I want to remind hon. members that things have already been done elsewhere and that it would be a good idea to adopt those measures instead of reinventing the wheel and putting off good regulations to 2010.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his words. He seems to know a lot about this issue, so I will ask him this question.
    Is it possible to have a real impact on the environment, on air quality and on greenhouse gases with measures that will apply only in 40 or 50 years' time? Do we not need interim measures so that we can monitor progress and make adjustments?
    There were good programs in place. Some people criticized how those programs were run. Would it not have been better to make the necessary changes to those programs and to help industry, Canadians and the provinces achieve the goal that had been set?
    The government must invest in wind energy and especially in green energy, instead of simply cancelling programs. It has to put systems and measures in place for when we are no longer here.
    We are talking about indoor air quality, without having a definition of what that means and without knowing what programs have been put in place. There could be a register of gastric gases, for all I know. Programs must be put in place, though.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for this excellent question. I agree with him that I will be long gone because, in 2050, I would be 106. I am sure I will be gone by then.
    The government is obviously taking the longest way about; that is why I spoke of a smokescreen. I am afraid of having the government throw smoke at us to pollute us and prevent us from seeing what is going on when in fact there is very little going on. We know the issues. We have known them for quite a while and we know what to do. It is true that there were good programs in place. They felt that more changes were required, but we could have made these changes. For instance, EnerGuide was such a good program that Quebec continued it. The reduction in tonnes of CO2 achieved through that program was also excellent.
    All the motor vehicle programs already exist. They are found in California, they are excellent, and we know exactly what standards we could put in place. Given that these standards apply to vehicles in the U.S. anyway, we could ask the companies to take the same time limits used in California and apply them to vehicles sold in Canada. I am also convinced that such standards would work very well and very quickly.


    Mr. Speaker, I believe my colleague said something about the rail line industry not being regulated. We are here today to debate this piece of legislation so it is clear in everybody's mind as we move forward to vote on it and get it into committee.
    Just for clarification, by 2010 the rail sector will be regulated. I wonder if my colleague understood that when he commented that the rail lines were not to be regulated.


    Mr. Speaker, if my hon. colleague is referring to Bill C-11, which will indeed take effect in 2011, I will point out to him that there is nothing about hybrid locomotives in that bill. There is no stated requirement for all train engines in rail yards to be hybrids by 2011, and there is nothing about the type of oil to use in order to reduce sulphur and particulate emissions either. None of that is covered.
    What is this legislation, which I am very familiar with and have discussed previously, all about? What more does it do?
    Perhaps we should put that in Bill C-30, because we did not in Bill C-11.


    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to the motion to send the clean air act to a legislative committee so all parties of the House can participate in the development of a significant thing for Canada, for the economy of Canada and for the future of our children and grandchildren.
    Action on climate change must happen now so our families have cleaner air to breathe and cleaner water to use. The average Canadian wants results from us.
    When we look at greenhouse gas emissions, we know quite well that they are mostly created through the burning of fossil fuels. The fossil fuel industry is large. The energy industry has taken on a great proportion.
    At the same time, over the past 20 years, since the failed national energy program, we have been unable to discuss in a rational fashion a national energy strategy, a way to look at the energy picture of our country. The situation is further exacerbated by the provincial control over resources. It is not laid out very carefully so we can take charge of our future in energy and our environment.
    We need to look at alternatives to fossil fuels, not only because they create greenhouse gases but because Canada, as well as the rest of the world, is running out of fossil fuels that are affordable to any economy.
    There is much discussion about whether the world has reached peak oil production. The U.S. already has and it has moved to a point where it spends an incredible amount of money on defence and foreign relations simply to hold on to its supply of oil.
    Canada has reached peak production in conventional oil. We still have to rely on heavy oil from the tar sands to maintain and increase any production in our system. That is the reality of Canada in oil. Are we an energy super power? Not really.
    According to Natural Resources Canada, we will reach peak production of natural gas in 2011, at 6.6 trillion cubic feet. This is a serious issue for all Canadians. Canadian use natural gas in their homes and businesses. This issue really speaks to what we are doing here as well.
    Today the energy required to support the conventional production of natural gas and crude oil represents between 8% and 15% of the net energy produced. For unconventional production, we are moving with ever increasing speed, whether it is the tar sands, coal bed methane or very difficult to reach sources of energy. The energy required represents more than 30% of the energy required to extract it.
    When we talk about intensity of emissions in the energy industry, we really miss the boat. We do not have a proposition that says we will reduce the intensity of emissions. We will increase it because that is the way the energy industry is moving.
     We are going to see the demand for natural gas increasing. We know that probably by 2015 we will have to abrogate the proportionality clause in the NAFTA agreement. We will be unable to keep up the supply of natural gas to the U.S. to the extent that we do now. We simply will not have that supply available. We will be unable to use it in our own homes.
    When we talk about the clean air act and setting short term targets for improving energy efficiency and use of energy and for developing alternative energy, we are working to save our economy and moving it forward in a progressive fashion. This is not only about cleaning the air and meeting our Kyoto commitments, it also about taking care of the basics of Canadian life with a good supply of energy.
    A few people believe that importing liquefied natural gas into Canada is going solve many of our energy problems. This could not be further from the truth. It is clear that the projects proposed for Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia and Nova Scotia are simply meant to feed gas to the United States.


     The U.S. currently accounts for 25% of the natural gas consumed in the world every day. It will increase its use of liquefied natural gas, but it is not a solution.
     To produce liquefied natural gas, tonnes of greenhouse gases are released when the gas is liquefied and then converted back to gas. Thirty per cent or more of the natural gas is needed for this process. What we are doing is exporting pollution to other countries when we take on liquefied natural gas. We are not buying credits in another country. We are simply turning our problem over to another country. It still has the same impact on the atmosphere, which we all share.
    We realize that fossil fuels will continue for many years as the main fuel for Canada, but that does not mean we should not support the development of alternatives now when they are cheap. For example, on solar power, both the Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to provide the proper support to this industry.
    Canada is ranked at the bottom per capita in its commitment to the development of solar energy. Compare this to China, which has tens of thousands of manufacturers. Canada has a great solar resource, better than western Europe per square metre or however it is measured. Yet in Canada we have failed to move forward with this industry. We need incentives to make it happen. The NDP would have government buildings built so that solar energy would be incorporated into the plans. This would support the development of the solar industry and provide incentives to install 100,000 solar thermal building systems over five years.
    On wind power, again, the Liberals and Conservatives have failed to provide proper support. Wind power in Canada is a great resource. We have a great opportunity linked to hydroelectric power to put a greater percentage of wind power into our system than almost any other country in the world. We need to develop the programs that will make that happen.
     Gary Doer, the Premier of Manitoba, spoke eloquently about this at our convention. He knows that Manitoba is moving forward in this fashion. Great hydroelectric resource and great wind resource when tied together will give us a beautiful system.
    We would set and meet a target of 10,000 megawatts of wind generation by 2010, place a priority on building turbines in Canada and negotiate with provinces and territories to adopt fixed price strategies for renewable power, which would provide producers with an incentive to invest. We would provide support for local cooperative and renewable power production using wind and other renewable resources. At the local level is where we can really make progress on renewable energy.
    There is hydroelectric power as well and we need to take advantage of that. In the Northwest Territories many communities are examining small scale hydro developments. I have looked at them. We need that incentive. We need the sense to move forward. We can get victory in this. We can do well on hydroelectric power in Canada. We have not gone nearly far enough.
    The NDP would support the development of hydro by helping coal dependent provinces replace polluting power with cleaner alternatives through an east-west electricity grid. This is one of the key concepts that has to take place. We need to link the country together so we can support each other. We need to have that infrastructure in place.
    We need to negotiate with the provinces and territories to stop fixed price strategies for renewable power. We need to provide the same level of incentives proposed for wind and solar to assist in the development of small hydro. Energy use has a major role in cleaning our air. We must look at these sources of energy right now. I know renewables are number one.
    Ordinary Canadians have already had to wait under the Liberal government. We have not had to do anything because there has not been the pressure on this issue. There has not been the all party support in the House of Commons that is required to make these things happen. Today we are working on a proposition that will bring us together in the next few months. All these ideas can come together. We can make progress.
     I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the bill because it truly represents an opportunity for me and my constituents, for all Canadians and the rest of the world.


    Mr. Speaker, is the hon. member aware that Canada is one of only a half a dozen countries that is setting a long term target for greenhouse gases? Very few countries, and we are one of them, have set long term targets.
    Mr. Speaker, countries around the world have taken different pursuits. Many of the countries in western Europe have moved very well toward meeting their Kyoto targets. It is my understanding that the required long term targets are going to be negotiated over the next session of the Kyoto accord. We are going to see this expand. It is very positive that Canada has agreed to a long term target.
    What we really have to do with this legislation right now, and I think we all agree, is set short term targets that can start right away, that deliver results and that move the Canadian economy in a different direction. We need to make these moves now. Setting the required short term targets is the most important thing to do.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure members in the House would congratulate the member on a very comprehensive overview with respect to the clean air act.
    The natural resources committee recently went to Fort McMurray. I think the member for Western Arctic shares the pride that we all have in the Canadian technology, which is adding tremendous value to economic initiatives in Canada. However, the member has pointed out that prices will be paid for this, prices with respect to the tremendous acceleration in the use of natural gas and the tremendous use of water and the implications of that on surface and subsurface water. There are also implications with respect to the production of CO2.
    It appears to me that a shortcoming with the clean air act is this. It is not a template for action that would marry together the tremendous technology capacity that Canadians have with the technology to deal with some of those very issues raised by the member. With respect to the actions that will be taken by the special committee, is my colleague suggesting a template for action that will have high value-added technology commercialized and used in production, for example, in the oil sands?


    Mr. Speaker, the tar sands are an important part of Canada's economic future. At the same time, the issues in the tar sands with respect to the use of energy have not been addressed. We have not seen movement on the development of technologies for CO2 sequestration. We have yet to see the proper implementation of water management plants.
     Living in the area and travelling through the tar sands for the past 20 years, I have seen the air pollution that comes from them. I cannot imagine the kind of situation we will have in northern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories, if these are five times their size, with that kind of pollution going on. We need to set targets right now for the tar sands as well. If those targets cannot be met with their existing expansion, then we need a moratorium on them to ensure that the technology going into there, the developments taking place there are not going to add to the problem that we have with the tar sands.


    If he takes 25 seconds to put his question, there will be 25 seconds left to reply.
    Mr. Speaker, I will take 25 seconds.
    I wonder if my colleague could elaborate on what he means when he talks about a country-wide power system. We think this is an excellent solution, but should electricity not also be regionalized, so as to improve self-sufficiency in the context of sustainable development?


    Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult to describe the electrical grid in Canada in such short time.
    The provincial premiers recognize the need for this infrastructure development. The actual form of this should be taken in the energy strategy that comes forward from the government. We are waiting for that strategy through Natural Resources Canada. The government should be talking about those issues and putting those deals together.
    Order, please. 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 Timmins—James Bay, Canadian Heritage.
    Mr. Speaker, our government has introduced Canada's clean air act to strengthen the Government of Canada's ability to take coordinated action to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases.
     This clean air act is an essential tool in this government's commitment to achieving concrete results on both air quality and climate change. This legislation will give us the means to put in place new enforceable regulatory requirements to reduce air emissions.
    An important element of our approach to climate change is to require the use, by regulation, of renewable fuels in Canadian transportation fuels by 2010. This will be achieved by requiring fuel producers and importers to blend renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel in their petroleum products.
     By using these renewable fuels in our cars and trucks, we will be burning less of the traditional gasoline and diesel. That will result in fewer greenhouse gases polluting our atmosphere and damaging our environment. The measures we are working toward will achieve greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to pulling almost one million cars off Canada's roads.
     Beyond the environmental benefits, this requirement will help stimulate the growth of the renewable fuels industry in this country. That means economic benefits for farmers and rural communities across Canada. That is why I am very keen to encourage this viable renewable fuels industry here in our own country.
    Last July I announced the biofuels opportunities for producers initiative, a federal investment of $10 million to help ensure that farmers in rural communities have opportunities to participate in and benefit from increased Canadian biofuels production. This money is already helping agricultural producers develop sound business proposals as well as undertake feasibility or other studies to support the creation and expansion of the biofuel production capacity in the country.
    The biofuels opportunities initiative is the first step to enabling farmer participation in the renewable fuels value chain and increasing the benefits to the rural and farm communities. The initiative has been very well received and the studies resulting from the program will help farmers identify winning opportunities and effectively move up the value chain.
     There is no question that increased use of renewable fuels could result in increased demand for feedstock and new markets for farmers. It will help farmers diversify use of agricultural commodities.
    Domestic production of renewable fuels provides an opportunity for farmers to move beyond simply producing commodities to focusing on new ways to add value to biomass produced on farms. Local production and ownership of facilities can help diversify farm and rural incomes.
     Requiring the use of renewable fuels will send a strong signal that a viable market for ethanol and biodiesel will exist in Canada. This signal is an important element in providing a stable investment climate to entice ethanol and biodiesel producers to invest in Canada, with investment in renewable fuels production facilities and technologies that might otherwise flow to the United States.
    The growth of a strong renewable fuels industry will provide Canadian farmers with reliable domestic market opportunities for their products and provide them an important opportunity to stabilize their incomes.
    Canada's clean air act is essential to move forward on implementing this commitment to renewable fuels. The act includes amendments to the part of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 that enables the federal government to regulate fuels.
     These amendments are being put forward so that this government has the necessary tools to develop an effective and workable national regulation requiring the use of renewable fuels. By doing so, we can maximize the benefits that Canadians enjoy from the use of renewable fuels throughout the country.
    By way of a brief background, I note that the proposed amendments will put in place changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act that address three main points.
     First, because renewable fuels are normally only blended with traditional fuels after they leave the refinery, we are adding the authority to use the CEPA legislation to regulate the blending of such fuels.
     Second, there are no provisions currently in CEPA that would allow us to possibly exempt companies that import very small volumes of traditional fuels, even in cases where this might make sense, for example, in remote hunting lodges or in the far north, where blending the fuel would be very difficult.
     Third, to effectively monitor and enforce the regulation, we need improved ability to require a company to report on the quantities of fuel it exports.
    In specific terms, the amendments necessary to effectively regulate renewable fuels are found in clause 20, which adds a condition for exempting very small imports, in subclauses 21(1) and 21(3), which add authority to make regulations regarding the blending of fuels and the obligation to report on that blending, and in subclause 21(5), which adds authority to require reporting on exports of renewable fuels.


    Our government is working to bring forward an integrated strategy to implement our commitment. An integrated approach will not only stimulate the use of renewable fuels in Canada but will also promote domestic production of ethanol and biodiesel and will include measures to help farmers get involved higher up in the value chain in this emerging industry.
    As our government moves forward, we will also look at next generation renewable fuel technologies that have the potential to bring even greater economic and environmental benefits to Canada. Technologies that will make ethanol from non-food sources such as agriculture and forestry waste are nearly ready for commercialization already. These technologies have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further and turn waste products, or what are now called waste products, into a valuable commodity.
    In closing, with this legislation I believe we are taking the first step toward the new bioeconomy, in which a range of products are made from renewable biomass. Renewable fuels are a cornerstone of an aggressive strategy by this government to expand opportunities for farmers, for rural communities and for the biofuel industry in the years to come.
    I look forward to hearing the views of the committee on this legislation, because this legislation, the clean air act, will touch the lives of all Canadians, both rural and urban. I look forward to the questions and comments on this speech.



    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the comments of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
    Of course, we are hearing nice rhetoric about protecting the environment and air quality, but I see a problem. His government has been in office for 10 months and it told us that in the fall it would come up with a national program to protect the environment. However, this bill talks about various phases of consultations, discussions or dickering with the industries, so that the regulations would only take effect in 2010.
    Most people are in favour of protecting the environment at the earliest opportunity, and scientists note that it is urgent to take action. Therefore, I am wondering if the government is really aware of this urgency, and if it feels that it is fulfilling the wish of the public, rather than meeting the concerns of the industry—as it seems to be the case right now—which is not yet ready to comply with this legislation.
    The public expects the government to take action, not conduct yet more consultations on this most important issue.


    Mr. Speaker, biofuels is actually a very good case in point as to why we have to move forward with regulations such as those proposed in the clean air act.
     For example, I guess we could come forward with a regulation to say that we are going to change and demand 10% ethanol tomorrow, but the country does not have capacity to produce that much ethanol. We can say that, and we have been hearing that for many years as previous governments have just said, “Let us just make declarations”.
    We have to build the industry. If we just declare that we are going to have 5% or 10% ethanol tomorrow, we will just import it from Brazil. That is what will happen. We will import it from Brazil. Farmers will not benefit. There will be no domestic industry created. There will not be any benefits to the environment here in Canada.
    As for building an industry, that is why the first thing we did was to come out with a biofuels opportunities program, which is to help farmers and cooperatives actually get in on the ground floor to plan this. The regulations are in place to make sure that we will hit 5% ethanol targets by 2010. We are at 1% to 1.5% now in the country. This will allow us to build the capacity within the country to create that much ethanol production and biodiesel production.
    By doing it that way, we not only do a good thing for the environment, but we build a domestic industry here in Canada that benefits farmers and rural communities.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a short question for the minister. I am curious. In the notice of intent to regulate, the reference to biofuels is being attached to a specific target. What is expected to be produced by having biofuels other than the law saying that we can mix them?
    Mr. Speaker, of course it is two phases. The clean air act allows us to regulate. By regulating, that means the industry is put on notice that this is not a wish list, that it is not something that we are hoping the industry will do. The industry will be regulated and forced to have that much ethanol in the blended fuel by 2010.
    The other measures outside of this bill, including measures from my own department, are to make sure that the capacity is developed here in Canada, for Canadians and by Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's new government is showing leadership and vision in undertaking a national renewable fuel strategy and committing to a 5% renewable fuels blend for all gasoline and diesel sold in Canada by the year 2010. As the minister knows, biofuel production represents an important value added opportunity for producers in my constituency of Palliser and in the rural economy throughout Saskatchewan.
    I have heard the minister say before that his first priority is for farmers to benefit. That is my main concern as well. Could the minister inform this House today of the steps that have been taken to date by Canada's new government to assist in the development of biofuels production to benefit primary producers? Also, what further action does the government plan to take to create a clean environment through new opportunities for agriculture?


    Very quickly, Mr. Speaker, one of the first things we did was to meet with our provincial counterparts to make sure that the provinces would come onside. We had that federal-provincial meeting.
     We started the BOPI program, again, to get farmers in on the ground floor and do their research, their studies and their business planning so that they can benefit from it.
     We are going to be rolling out some agriculture-specific programming to make sure that farmers are in on the ground floor of what is going to be a very exciting industry.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to have the opportunity to rise and debate this minority government's proposed clean air act.
    Canadians want a healthy, cleaner environment. We all share the responsibility to move toward a more sustainable environment. Corporations, households, governments and individuals all have a role to play in combating global warming.
    Canada's economic and environmental futures are entwined. There are challenges as well as opportunities in addressing climate change.
    I had been hoping that the Conservative government would present an aggressive plan to combat global climate change. I am sadly disappointed with the clean air act that we see before us today.
    The minority Conservative government's clean air act is a step backward for Canada's response to the global climate change crisis. The proposed legislation contains no immediate targets. It does not give the federal government any more power than it already has to fight global warming and air pollution.
    Since the arrival of this Conservative minority government, we have seen Canada fall far behind. We have gone from being a leader of international efforts to fight climate change to our current status, that of an international embarrassment.
    We have a Minister of the Environment who has no interest in participating in an international response to climate change. We have a minority government that slashes effective energy reduction initiatives. The government proposes legislation that simply does nothing to address climate change.
    The findings of the Stern report in the United Kingdom suggests that immediate, coordinated international action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is in the best economic interest of the global society.
    The Royal Bank's former chief economist has warned that the world faces a crisis on par with the two world wars and the Great Depression if greenhouse gas emissions are not radically reduced in the next 10 to 15 years. I would point out that if we do the math that is before 2050 as the government's plan would have us look at.
    The previous Liberal government had it right on the environment. For Canada to regain credibility in the environmental portfolio, we must start meeting our Kyoto targets and commit to medium and long term emission reductions.
    I was proud to be part of the Liberal government when Canada ratified the Kyoto protocol. Canada has a responsibility to live up to its undertakings to the international community on how we as an international player respond to climate change. Our actions on the environment are our legacy for future generations. Good climate change policy will contribute to a better quality of life and better health for Canadians for today and future generations.
    Canadians overwhelmingly support actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, they expect all sectors of our economy, governments, industry and consumers, to take an active part in that process.
    As well as finding support across the global community, the Kyoto protocol has the support of over 70% of Canadians. These 70% of Canadians get global warming and climate change, but not the Conservative government.
    Climate change represents the worst ecological threat that humanity faces. Climate change is a global problem. As a global problem, international responses are the only way to address it effectively.
    We can think of many examples of the impact of climate change. Winters are growing milder, summers are getting hotter and more severe, there is water where before there used to be ice, and in our far north the permafrost is thawing and releasing methane gas into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change south.
    As weather patterns change, farmers are forced to re-evaluate what they can successfully grow and harvest. Storms, forest fires and infestations are already testing our capacity to respond and recover.


    In December 2005 Canada, led by our hon. leader of the official opposition, hosted the historic United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal. At that meeting, over 180 countries created the Montreal action plan on climate change.
    With Canadian leadership, this conference decided to launch a dialogue on long term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing the implementation of the Kyoto protocol and of the convention. This was a major victory for the global community.
    National governments would now have forums in which to exchange experiences, analyze strategic approaches, and to free our imaginations to find further innovative solutions to this challenge.
    Kyoto takes the first step in engaging Canada's efforts to become more efficient and sustainable. Kyoto represents the only international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reverse climate change. The proposed clean air act ignores our Kyoto commitments.
    The defining clause of climate change is human activity. It is how we produce and use energy. Our economies and our societies cannot sustain our current patterns of consumption. Climate change demands action. That action is not found in this proposed clean air act.
     Smog and climate change are two separate problems. The Conservative government suggests that this legislation, the clean air act, focuses on clean air. However, Canada's clean air strategy 2000 already exists through an umbrella environmental legislation called the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, CEPA, that was passed in 1999 by the Liberals.
    The Conservatives also say that their plan will talk about bringing in new environmental regulations. Under CEPA, there already exists the flexibility to introduce the required regulations.
    The proposed clean air act does not take any action to combat climate change caused by greenhouse gases. We cannot cut corners when it comes to the air that we breathe. Canadians are ready, willing and able to work toward a greener world.
    In my constituency, and right across the Waterloo region, the EnerGuide program for houses was extremely successful. It was administered by the residential energy efficiency project. The EnerGuide program led to 2,400 tonnes of CO2 reductions annually, with an estimated $700,000 in energy savings every year for participating homeowners, and a further $3 million to $5 million in local spending on building materials and labour; all of this for $535,000 in federal grants to a program for those who participated in the Waterloo region.
    This legislation does nothing to engage Canadians in environmental action and it does nothing to engage Canada in the international efforts to respond to climate change.
    This piece of legislation is being referred to a legislative committee before second reading. I can only hope that it takes a transformative change during this committee process because it falls woefully short and is inadequate to what Canadians expect of their government, and what the international community expects of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member opposite for her speech although I have to disagree very strongly with a number of her points. I have great respect for the member opposite but she either has not read the act completely or she has been misguided by her researchers, or perhaps the member does not have the researchers who are available.
    I did pay attention to a number of her comments. I regret that I was not here for the whole thing, but I heard a lot about the Liberals setting up this meeting in Montreal, that they had this forum for dialogue, that they were going to have these forums for exchanges of experiences, and all this kind of talk. What has that given Canadians?
    The clean air act, unlike whatever the Liberals think they did in the last 10 years, addresses all industries in all aspects, and it is not voluntary or “please do this by whenever”. It is mandatory and there is action in this plan for those sectors that fail to meet their targets.
    I know the member is going to say there are no targets but that is not true either. Just a couple of weeks ago we announced the targets for lawnmowers, motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles. It is very detailed and very specific.
     CEPA was signed in 1999 and what did it do? It did exactly what the country has come to know that the Liberals are famous for: nothing.
    The member knows very well that the number of smog days 10 years ago in Ontario was about 4. The number of smog days last year in Toronto alone was about 48. The Liberals, by their own admission and by the admission of the Auditor General and the world, have indicated quite clearly that what they were doing, which I would suggest is nothing but let us be fair they were doing something, did not meet these so-called targets. They went over by 35%.
    So, CEPA in 1999, dialogues and conversations in Montreal, and speaking to folks around the world is not what Canadians need. Does the member dispute the facts that under the tenure of the Liberal government, smog days went up? I see that she has a great answer coming back, but what I want to know is, did the smog days not go up? What Canadians want is action. They want to breathe clean air here, not just spend taxpayers' dollars on hot air credits from undeveloped countries.


    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for engaging in this discourse and I want to tell him that Kyoto was a first step, and the Montreal meeting that I was talking about which happened a year ago was what came after Kyoto. We do have to have meaningful targets. I know that he is very engaged in what he thinks is this regulatory regime that he proposes this clean air act has, but I would point out to him that all of those abilities currently exist under the CEPA legislation which we brought in, in 1999.
    I was parliamentary secretary to the minister of the environment during the era that we ratified Kyoto and it got much discussion. I would like to point out to him that global warming and greenhouse gas emissions do not buy a visa when they cross an international geopolitical boundary and it is absolutely essential that we do this in a concerted effort with all of the countries in the UN.
    I would also like to point out to my hon. friend that it was his government that cancelled the $338 million flow of revenue that was going to go to Ontario to help it close down its coal-fired electricity plants. It is his government that is contributing to bad habits instead of looking forward with concrete targets that kick in well before 2050, which is its plan, and empowers Canadians and other levels of government to make sure that good environmental policy is good economical policy. To turn our backs on international obligations such as Kyoto is merely making us an embarrassment to the international community and is very regressive.
    Canadians get climate change and they are more than willing to participate.


    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to this bill, which amends the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to create regulatory powers in relation to air pollutants and greenhouse gases. I will note that these are not new powers, because they exist at present in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
     To begin, I will say that, like my party, the Bloc Québécois, I support sending this bill to committee before second reading. Given that we are in the very first stages of consideration of this bill, this will give me an opportunity to inform the minister and the members who will be examining amendments to this bill about the health problems that are associated with certain toxic substances.
     This bill is a statement of intent, in which the government sets out details of the regulations that it intends to make in the years to come and the timetables it is adopting for that purpose. I am indeed talking about regulations with timetables. This document shows that the government is wiping the slate, starting over at zero, and initiating a series of consultations in three phases which will, we are told, lead to mandatory standards being put in place by 2010 at the earliest.
     The minister has not told us whether this “clean slate” means a slate clean of all the regulations we may have made since 2000. Regulations made since 1989 have been laid down and brought forward to protect both the environment and health. We do not know whether those regulations will or will not still be in force in 2010. We have no guarantee.
     This bill amends the Energy Efficiency Act, and that is why I am speaking today. At first glance, we would assume that the proposed amendments to the Energy Efficiency Act are an improvement, because they cover substances that are not regulated and they raise the standards for other substances that are already regulated.
     It is impossible to know whether this is genuine progress or simply an update to the standards that the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique regularly makes. One of the substances already regulated is tetrachloroethylene (TCE)—or perchloroethylene (PERC)—and I would like to talk about that. I will talk about that in a moment.
     The Canadian Environmental Protection Act already provides for the power to limit emissions of toxic substances and to fine those who exceed the limits and even provides for creating a tradeable permit mechanism. Unfortunately, if the past is any indication of the future, there is no guarantee that the new act will truly control greenhouse gases or air pollutants.
     I would like to come back to the examples I just cited. Perchloroethylene (PERC), also known as tetrachloroethylene (TCE), is used as a degreasing solvent. This means that it is used in garages, but also, and mainly, in dry cleaning establishments. It is estimated that there are over 700 dry cleaners in Quebec.
     PERC is extremely toxic. In 1989, it was one of the 44 substances placed on the Priority Substances List, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, because it destroys ozone. PERC, or tetrachloroethylene, is even the subject of specific rules enacted by the House of Commons on January 1, 2004.


     PERC is toxic to human health and the environment. It is also carcinogenic. It is very volatile. It remains suspended in the environment and causes problems for the liver and the central nervous system. It has been found in the breast milk of women who work in dry cleaning establishments and even in food coming from adjoining restaurants. Studies have been conducted showing, for example, that if there is a dry cleaner in a shopping centre PERC has been found in adjacent businesses.
     From January 1996 to March 1997, Environment Canada carried out a demonstration project on a wet cleaning process. However, the department did not invest sufficient funds and as a result the project was abandoned. It must be said that the toxicity of PERC or TCE has been known since 1989. In 2001, Environment Canada conducted studies and carried out interviews with people in the industry, including workers in the sector as well as the companies that produced PERC. Following those steps, the department ordered a reduction in the use of PERC. Alternatives procedures and technologies were supposed to be used because they are available. The companies were supposed to provide annual reports on their use of PERC and TCE in vapour degreasing.
     Unfortunately, Environment Canada did not enforce that policy. Instead it came up with a new regulation in 2004, which limited the release of TCE and PERC in all solvent degreasing operations. That decision resulted in additional expense for equipment and operating costs for the big companies and substantial investments for the small businesses. Those small operators were short on resources. They were hard pressed then and they still are now. The new regulations would have required them to use new technology anti-pollution measures. How could they do that when they did not have the money to invest in machines worth more than $100,000?
     So, we find ourselves today with a regulation that is not being enforced. It must also be said that the Department of the Environment did not send out the necessary inspectors to verify whether people in the industry, the big companies as well as the small operators, were complying with the regulations.
     I would remind you that PERC is the odour that you smell on your clothes when you pick them up at the cleaner and that is the smell of degreasing. That is what is toxic and carcinogenic and that is what you should not smell.
    There is an environmentally friendly dry cleaner in my riding. When I pick up my clothes, they do not smell like PERC because they have other ways to dry clean. Currently, businesses and small dry cleaners are not using the right equipment. They dispose of PERC directly into the environment—there is no monitoring. PERC is a greenhouse gas. It is a toxic gas.
    My point is that it is very nice to start by putting forward ideas and conducting consultations. We know that the industry has been consulted, as have the people. However, those regulations, which were adopted at great cost, were never implemented. I wonder what the government will really do. They have introduced a nice bill. They will conduct consultations and implement it in 2010. Between now and then, people will be aware that they are working in places full of greenhouse gases. They have known since 1989. They are waiting for the government to act. Will the government wait until 2010 to do something?
    The Kyoto protocol covered PERC and TCE. This bill does not. What am I supposed to say to my constituents, Mr. and Mrs. Cloutier? Mr. Cloutier has a degenerative nervous system disease because he worked with PERC all his life.


    What am I supposed to say to a dry cleaner from Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines who is just waiting for us to help him? What am I supposed to do about that?
    I have serious questions about Bill C-30. I am speaking on behalf of people in my riding who are suffering, who have problems and who are waiting for the government to act faster and guarantee that the law will protect them and their health.



    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's talk on the bill. However, I am not one hundred per cent convinced that she has actually read the bill or understands the difference between provincial jurisdictions and municipal jurisdictions, those areas that are covered by industry and the folks who protect those in the industry. The member did allude at some point in her conversation to coal fired plants. The hon. colleague who spoke before she did discussed coal fired plants in Ontario.
    I want to point out that the broken promise by the McGuinty government in Ontario is something they have to deal with. Mr. McGuinty promised to close those coal fired plants. It is my suspicion that was a promise to gain votes because clearly that would not be possible, especially in a province that has had brownouts. Where would we buy the energy? We would end up buying it from Michigan's coal fired plants which pollute far worse than ours do.
    Does my colleague not feel it is important to move toward clean coal fired technology which has very limited particulate matter? I would like to know if she understands that particulate matter is not covered under the Kyoto accord, not at all. In this clean air act it is covered, including higher technologies for things such as coal fired plants that produce our energy. I would like the hon. member to comment on that.


    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I do not believe the hon. member understood correctly, because I never mentioned coal fired plants. I simply talked about perchloroethylene or PERC, and tetrachloroethylene, or TCE, which are used in dry cleaning.
    I emphasized that it is all well and good to carry out consultations, which we have been doing since 1989, if not before that. The government wants to continue the consultations until 2010, to produce regulations that would not take effect until 2030, 2040 or even 2050. I did not mention coal fired plants. Rather, I discussed the health of people who currently work in the dry cleaning industry or in garages.
    PERC is used to clean your car's engine. Not only does this product have a bad odour, but it can also cause cancer. That is what I talked about. Your government dithers and continues to consult, yet consultations have already been carried out and, in the meantime, the health of certain people is at risk. What is being done about this?
    The Minister of Health and the Minister of the Environment should be here to hear what we have to say. Personally, I think the bill presented today offers no guarantee that the health of our citizens will be taken into account, considered or protected. I do not believe I am mistaken when I say I did not talk about coal fired plants. Besides, there are no such plants in my riding.


    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I do not think it is correct for the member to refer to any member's absence in the House.
     Point well taken.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talked about dry cleaning solutions and engine cleaners. All these pollutants will affect the quality of the air we breathe, both indoors and outdoors. If she has read the clean air act, then she is aware that we are the first government in Canada to provide not voluntary measures but regulations to the clean air act that would require clean air both indoors and outdoors and with greenhouse gas emissions.
    The members asks for regulations in that way and that is exactly what the clean air act does. It addresses greenhouse gas emissions, the air quality we breathe and the water. If the clean air act, Bill C-30, would provide regulations to deal with what she has asked, why would she not support the clean air act? It does not seem to make sense. On one hand she asks for these regulations to be provided, which the clean air act does, then she says she does not support it.
    Also, she is not correct when she says it will not be until 2010. She has heard announced many times, providing she has listened while in the House, that it will be in the spring of 2007, just a few months away, not 2010.
     I encourage her to read the act and answer this question. Why would she not support the bill that provides exactly what she has asked for?



    Mr. Speaker, I think that the member has misunderstood.
     I said that we were at the study stage. This is the first time we have discussed this bill in the House. I wanted to raise the concerns of people in my riding regarding certain pollutants and certain toxic substances. I said that the Bloc Québécois and myself were going to support sending it to committee so that the members who sit on that committee will be able to discuss the real problems.
     That does not mean that I support or do not support the bill. I want it to be discussed again. However, we must take into account that regulations have been made and laws adopted already, in the past, and have never been applied. I have read the bill brought before us very carefully. There is never anything said about the laws made in the past or about how they are going to be applied.
     Environment Canada has never sent out enough inspectors for it to be possible to determine what the situation is. What is being done with the barrels of PERC? Do we know what is being done with them? Quite often, they go to the dump, and this is pollution. The government may have appointed 10 inspectors, at most, for all of Canada, and the industry that produces PERC is not even being inspected. Is it mentioned in this bill? On the other hand, in the 2004 regulations, it was provided that the companies that produce it and those that use it had to be inspected. Has anyone looked to see that the containers where the PERC is discarded do not have holes? This has never been looked at. Never in the bill that is now before us—


    Resuming debate, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment.
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that Canada's environmental performance on air quality has lagged and there is a need for the Government of Canada to take stronger action to protect human health and the environment. The impacts of poor air quality continue to be a concern for Canadians. Smog can worsen existing heart and lung problems and contribute to thousands of premature deaths yearly. Acid rain remains a serious threat to biodiversity, the forests and fresh water ecosystems.
    The levels of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Canada are simply not acceptable. Our new government has introduced Canada's clean air act, Bill C-30, to strengthen the Government of Canada's ability to take coordinated action to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases.
    Mandatory regulations will replace the voluntary approaches that have failed in the past. We will ensure the regulations are enforced and their objectives are achieved. We will focus on improving the health of Canadians and their environment. Compliance options are one of four components of our proposed regulatory approach. Emission targets and timelines, monitoring and reporting and equivalency agreements are the others.
    Our government is meeting almost every day with industry and the provinces and territories to develop the regulatory framework. By spring 2007, our objective is to have finalized initial discussions on a number of important issues, including short term reduction targets, compliance and reporting options and timelines.
    Regulations will set realistic emission targets that will reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions across the country for the benefit of the health of Canadians and our planet.
    To minimize the cost to industry of complying with regulatory requirements, the Government of Canada is considering a number of compliance options. The objective is to provide industry with the flexibility to choose the most cost effective way to meet its emission targets. These include emissions trading, offsets, opt ins and a technology investment fund.
    Emissions trading would allow facilities the flexibility to meet their emission reduction target in three ways: by reducing their emissions to the level of their target; by reducing their emissions below their target then sell or bank the surplus emission reductions; or emit more than their target and buy emission reduction credits from the other entities. Emission trading does not replace regulation. It gives facilities more flexibility in how they can meet their regulatory obligations. As a result, emissions trading can reduce the cost of achieving a given target.
    In an emission trading system the environmental objective is set by regulators, not by the market. The government is consulting on options surrounding an emissions trading regime. That is why the government is proposing, through sections 27, 29 and 30 of Canada's clean air act, to ensure that we can make regulations that are flexible enough to allow trading and that align our compliance regime to support the implementation of trading systems.
    However, any trading system should be self-supporting and not reliant on taxpayer dollars. Our government will not purchase credits or otherwise participate in the emissions trading market.
    Offsets are emission reductions that take place outside the regulated sectors or activities. They are usually verifiable projects that result in emission reductions beyond a baseline and are additional to any other regulatory requirement.
    To ensure real emission reductions have taken place, Canada's new government will ensure that the requirements for monitoring and reporting emission reductions are rigorous and verifiable.
    Opt ins are entities that are not covered by the regulations, but that choose to voluntarily adopt targets. Entities that exceed targets could earn and sell allowances, but would not be penalized for failing to meet the targets. Opt ins could be a vehicle for municipalities and other non-regulated entities to be a part of our clean air regulatory agenda.
    Offsets and opt ins will work well within an emissions trading system. Offset emission reductions generate tradeable credits that can be sold by the offset owner to the regulated facilities, which the use of credits can then be used against their regulatory obligations.


    Both offsets and opt ins broaden the scope of emissions trading to otherwise non-covered facilities. By broadening the pool of emission reduction sources, compliance cost can be further lowered. More participants also help to develop a more robust emissions trading market.
    We are also considering a mechanism to credit early actions taken before targets enter into effect. One key mechanism to be considered is a means to facilitate industry compliance with the regulatory system that will be the establishment of a technology investment fund.
    A technology investment fund is a compliance mechanism where a facility can pay a contribution rate per tonne of emissions to achieve compliance. The emission credits from these payments would not be tradeable or bankable. The funds generated would be used to accelerate technological development within the regulated sectors to promote long term emission reductions, particularly in the development and deployment of technologies that have the potential to achieve the greatest emission reductions.
    We are committed to consultations, negotiations and collaboration to ensure that the most effective regulatory system is developed and implemented. We have and will continue to involve stakeholders throughout the development process to ensure that regulations achieve real results for Canadians, but do so in a way that minimize the cost to Canadian industry.
    We will continue to work with the provinces and territories toward a single harmonized system for mandatory reporting of all emissions and related information. This system will underpin the proposed regulations. It will also respond to industrial concerns that multiple measurement methodologies and multiple reporting regimes would cause an unnecessary and costly administrative burden.
    At the end of the day, our regulatory framework will be guided by what is needed to protect the health of Canadians and our environment.
     Bill C-30 is a good bill. I encourage all members of the House to support it. When it goes to the legislative committee, I encourage healthy debate.
    We have heard from the environment commissioner how important the environment is. To this point we have had obstruction from the Liberals. I hope that ends. I hope we now move past that. The leadership race is over for the Liberals. They have a leader, who is the former environment minister under whom emissions rose 35%. We heard a week ago that a 47% increase was their ultimate plan, then buying down those emission increases by sending billions of dollars out of Canada. The number have heard is $20 billion.
     That is not what Canadians want. They want a government that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and cleans up the air that we breathe. Bill C-30does that. It gives Canadians what they want.
    I encourage every member in the House to support Bill C-30, and I am open to questions.



    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment. I would like to remind him that our government, the Government of Canada, has signed the Kyoto protocol. Despite everything that this current government has said about that protocol—that it cannot be achieved easily—and after being in office for 10 months, it comes to us with a bill that postpones any regulation to 2010. That is the main reason why we are reluctant to proceed with a bill like this, which does not reflect the urgent need for action.
     In Quebec, on the other hand, we have a government that is in fact federalist, and with which the Conservative government, in theory, wants to cooperate. The Government of Quebec already has a plan for complying with the Kyoto accord. However, it therefore needs federal government funding to be able to implement it. Why, then, is the government stubbornly refusing to provide the budget that is necessary so that Quebec, at least, can comply with the Kyoto accord?


    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's first question was on the Kyoto protocol.
    Right now in the environment committee we have been debating Bill C-288, which is the Liberal re-enactment of their Kyoto plan.
    For 13 years the Liberals did absolutely nothing on the environment. They received a scolding by the Commissioner of the Environment. We have now heard that they are not going to be able to meet those Kyoto targets. This is what our environment minister has said very clearly. We would like to but unfortunately, the situation left by the previous Liberal government has left the environment in a real mess here in Canada.
    This government is taking action. We are not going to continue on with the Liberal plan of inaction. We want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That is part of Bill C-30 that we are debating today.
    The experts who have come to the committee have said that we cannot meet those Kyoto targets. We need to set new targets. Those new targets will be set in spring 2007, which is just a few months away.
    I encourage the hon. member to work with us to set those targets. Let us have realistic targets that will reduce greenhouse emissions and reduce pollution for the health of all Canadians.


    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary talked a lot about regulatory changes and regulatory instruments, but why not put those regulations into absolute legislation? Why not put some teeth in those regulations, in those standards, and do a legislative change and make them the requirements of legislation? Why not put those Kyoto standards into legislation? Why not put fuel efficiency standards into legislation, rather than merely into regulations? Why not give this legislation some teeth and something that Canadians could be proud of?
    Canadians want us to take action. Why not take that kind of definitive step rather than the lesser step of regulatory changes?
    Mr. Speaker, I have been attending town hall meetings and answering questions. Canadians want this government to take action. The fastest way for us to take action in reducing greenhouse emissions and the pollution levels is through the clean air act, by regulation. That is why we are acting on the clean air act right now.
     I encourage the member to support the clean air act. If he truly believes in dealing with it as soon as we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution levels, it is through the clean air act by regulation, moving from voluntary to regulatory.
    Mr. Speaker, what puzzles me in the clear air act is that we are mixing up clean air with CO2 and greenhouse gases. There is some linkage, but I am sure this is a deliberate attempt by the Conservatives to fuzzy the air, or the water, if I can say that.
    What I feel very disappointed about is, for example, when we moved to intensity based reductions, if we look at the oil sands, for example, with the quadrupling of production to 2015, that will still mean there will be an absolute increase, in fact a huge increase, in the production of CO2 out of the oil sands.
    We hear a lot about ethanol. It might be good agricultural policy and it might help with cleaner air, but it certainly does not do anything for CO2 because it takes a high level of energy to convert the corn or the switchgrass to ethanol.
     Does the parliamentary secretary have any insights as to why the Conservative government switched from CO2 to clean air? The two are not the same thing.
    Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right, there are two issues: greenhouse gas emissions affecting climate change and pollution affecting the health of Canadians. We are dealing with both.
    The previous government just dealt with greenhouse gas emissions through Kyoto. The hon. member said very clearly in this House that his government would never be able to reach those targets. He did not support signing on to Kyoto.
    This government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution levels.
    He asked the question about intensity. It depends if it is low intensity or high intensity. The former Liberal government had no plan. It did not know the difference between low intensity and high intensity obviously because the emissions were going up.
    We are going to have realistic targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution levels. We will do what the Liberals could not even dream of doing.
    Mr. Speaker, tonight we have the rare opportunity to do something that really matters for our children. I believe there is no other issue that will have as great an impact on their lives as taking action on climate change, as the motion proposes to do, by sending the bill to an all party committee that would allow every party to bring forward their best ideas for action.
    Today I heard a Conservative in a casual conversation say that where he spent the weekend it was 31° below and they did not really much believe in climate change out there. It surprised me. It was obviously said in jest, but it did reflect somewhat the lackadaisical approach the Conservative government has taken in the last nine months, as if climate change was a sidebar issue that required yet more consultation than has occurred since 1989. The Conservatives believe it is something that we should get serious about by 2050 it seems.
     I recognize that for the first time the government did propose some regulatory action. That is encouraging. It gives us something to begin working with in committee.
    Climate change is an issue that requires immediate action. On the west coast in British Columbia the department head of the Pacific biological station in Nanaimo was saying that global change and unpredictable fish behaviour could prompt the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to shorten openings and further restrict the number of boats on the fishing grounds. Global warming is prompting salmon to appear in areas where they have not been seen in recent history and to disappear from other areas. It is not only the Mackenzie River that is warming; the Fraser River is also warming. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans uses models based on historical information to predict fish returns and to set restrictions, but the global warming trend is throwing them completely out of whack.
    The information we are receiving suggests that it is time to show Canadians that Parliament can act in the public interest and to stop the cynicism. Tonight we have the opportunity to roll up our sleeves and get to work on climate change in Canada.
    The NDP proposed that Parliament rewrite the clean air act. All parties have an opportunity to put forward good ideas and do that work in a special committee expeditiously, urgently. The NDP took this bill out of the impasse that it was in and it now lies within our power to take action, not in a business as usual mode, but urgently, as if our children's lives depended on it.
    The NDP has tabled a number of amendments. We are certainly open to other parties' amendments as well. Our amendments would certainly force decisive action, not only on air pollution, which millions of Canadians want to see, but on a clear reduction of greenhouse gas.
    Our amendments propose a series of changes to ensure that Canada meets its Kyoto protocol commitments in the short term, plus a workable plan to meet internationally recognized medium and long term goals. Our amendments include legislated targets and timelines for greenhouse gas reductions. They represent a chance to transform an inadequate piece of legislation into a real action plan which ordinary Canadians want to see.


    We have laid out clear science based targets and mandates for immediate action. These would obligate governments to set targets to reduce greenhouse gases within one year. They would obligate government to set out interim targets at five year intervals so that we could see if we were on target. It would legislate a 25% absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 below 1990 levels and would legislate 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 below 1990 levels.
    The time has come to take decisive action, even at the risk of offending the industry insiders that both the Conservatives and the Liberals in the past have tried to protect. It is important to continue to develop our oil and gas, but in a responsible way.
    In looking through Oilsands Review, there are hundreds of projects that are being developed at breakneck speed. Hundreds of projects have been approved. Regulatory applications are being finalized. Work is being done on final cost estimates. They are happening in the Cold Lake region, Athabasca region, Lloydminster region, Peace River region and involve Imperial Oil, Husky Energy, Oilsands Quest. There is a race to develop the oil sands. If energy security is to be achieved for all of us, we must plan in the context of long term demand of these scarce fossil fuel resources.
    We must ask for more measured development of oil and gas. There must be aggressive promotion of conservation and renewable energy. There is a project involving a number of entrepreneurs in Victoria who were propose to develop new, large buildings and to equip them with geothermals, but there are few opportunities to get this kind of project off the ground. It would be so simple and it would reduce by orders of magnitude the amount of greenhouse gas the buildings would use over their lifetime. Yet there are no programs that exist either provincially or federally to support this kind of innovation. The same thing applies to solar or wind. We must begin by ending the subsidies to oil and gas.
    The NDP has proposed a five point green agenda for Canada. It focuses on greener homes by cutting emissions and cutting home energy bills. It focuses on greener communities in the way I suggested by giving municipalities the tools to support innovative projects and expand local renewable energies and retrofit infrastructure for greater efficiency. It focuses on greener transportation by cutting dirty emissions through mandatory fuel efficiency standards, not just by adding a percentage of biodiesel, but mandatory fuel efficiency standards, a green car strategy, and an investment in sustainable public transportation, which Canada is still not doing. It is amazing.
    In my riding of Victoria, the ridership on public transportation has increased enormously in the past few years, but with little funding to match that with the capacity. Numbers of buses continue to pass by customers; there are not enough buses. An innovative program at the federal level would be able to offer this kind of funding.
    Finally, for a greener Canada, the federal government could take a leadership role in retrofitting federal buildings. It could ensure that when federal public properties are sold, that they are sold with a triple bottom line criteria to ensure that these properties and buildings are redeveloped in a way that is sustainable.


    I will end by saying that there has been enough consultation with industry and with the public. The Canadian public is way ahead of us on this subject. Canadians are ready for us to act. If we are not to disappoint them or to create more cynicism, I would ask my colleagues from all sides of the House to take this opportunity very seriously and take action.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the hon. member's speech. I have one simple question for the member. We hear a lot in the House about how this act does nothing. Frankly I think it is partially on purpose and partially from people who do not know, but I believe that this is what the member said. I would like to give the member an opportunity to clarify her statement that this act does nothing until 2050. I am appalled by that statement. It is completely inaccurate. I would like the opportunity to retract that to be offered to the member.
    Obviously, let us look at meeting these targets, whether it is by 2010 or 2020. From here if we look at the chart, we can see that greenhouse gases have been going up under Liberal governments and they were not going to go down.
     Under our government's bill, the chart goes down from today to 2015. We are acting today. Greenhouse gases will begin to be reduced. Everyone in the House knows that and I think the member deserves the right and the opportunity to stand up and apologize for misleading the House in that way.
    The second issue I want to comment on is the 25% reduction of greenhouse gases based on the 1990 levels by the year 2020. It is wonderful for those members to promise anything when they do not ever have an opportunity to produce.


    Mr. Speaker, 2050 is identified by the government as the first date by which there will be absolute reductions. Unless I misread this bill, that is the date by which absolute reductions are committed. I am wondering if the Conservative government had promised absolute tax cuts to oil and gas or other large corporations by 2050, absolute tax cuts, how seriously this would have been taken.
    What we are proposing is that we need short term and medium term mandatory targets that determine whether we are going in the right direction, because by 2050 I do not know where the member will be, but I know where I will be, and I do not think many of us will be in a position to say, “Oops, we should have done this”. It is important to establish for ourselves short term goals to ensure that we are on the right track. This is what I was trying to say.


    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague for Victoria on her excellent presentation, especially because she began her remarks by explaining that this bill shows us how our children will live. That is a very key point and I congratulate her for that.
     I would like to say to her that we, the members of the Bloc Québécois, agree completely with the idea of improving Canada’s Clean Air Act. However, just like her, we would like to see some really significant objectives relating to the reduction of greenhouse gases. She asked other members to support the five point agenda that they have proposed.
     However, in my opinion, a weakness in those five points was that the member talked about greener homes and not about greener buildings. I believe that we have reached a point where we have to consider all buildings, whether schools, offices, workplaces, garages and so forth, and not just houses as was the case a number of years ago.
     Can my colleague tell us whether she considered all buildings?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Indeed, what seems to me to be very important at this stage is that we should no longer be talking about slowing down greenhouse gas emissions. We should be talking about reductions and real reductions.
     My colleague is perfectly correct in referring to greener homes. I also spoke of the need to develop greener communities and buildings. The technology certainly exists here in Canada. For example, the Canada Green Building Council has been established. It has put forward a number of suggestions for building and development that respect the principles of different forms of energy; solar energy, for example. I believe that I also mentioned geothermy, an energy source that originates in the depths of the earth and that would make it possible to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing costs.
     My colleague is perfectly correct. If I did not mention it directly enough, it was certainly due to lack of time, because I believe that both are completely possible and desirable as well.



    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to discuss Bill C-30. When this bill was first introduced, it was roundly condemned by all the environmental groups and all the parties in the House. That is why it has gone back to the drawing board after first reading. Even the Prime Minister has sent it there, basically so that a new bill can be built.
    We Liberals will be supporting this effort to try to bring back some of the many advances that were made in this area by our previous government and to bring back some protection for Canadians.
    I am not going to go through all the problems. They were very eloquently listed by the critic for the Liberals and I am sure others did so in their speeches today. There are problems with the lists in the new bill, the double lists that we do not need, and with the lack of equivalency in the new bill and the lack of reference in the bill to Kyoto. In the notice of intent to regulate, the fact is that there are no targets.
    As the health minister said this morning, there are millions of people who are in trouble with bronchitis, respiratory diseases and heart disease, but this bill is leaving the problems alone for five years, and it will not be until 2012 that there even are targets. There is the three or four years of duplicate consultation that excellent government employees working in those departments have already done. There is the removing of greenhouse gases and pollutants from the list of toxins, needlessly calling into question the authority of the federal government to regulate, et cetera.
    I am not going to talk about that. I am going to talk about some of the successes of the past, successes that we have to try to get back to in order to limit greenhouse gases in the way they were being cut back in the past. Canada's greenhouse gas intensity is already 13% below 1990 levels. The Liberal government was able to reduce greenhouse gas intensity in 9 of the last 10 years. The environment minister mentioned these past programs in the opening speech on this topic, so I am going to follow up in the rest of my speech by giving more details in that area.
    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. This of course paid great dividends to Canadians and 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 increases, research and development increases, and increases in funds for the disabled.
    Of course when the economy is so good, it also leads to huge increases in greenhouse gases if there is no action, and of course there were huge developments like the oil sands going on in that period. I am not sure what the exact figure was. It was perhaps 150% or 200% in greenhouse gases being produced by the country, but having this successful and expanding economy also gave us the largest challenge of any nation in the world in trying to reach our Kyoto targets.
    That was why we developed a very aggressive plan. Today I am going to break down the plan into a series of plans. In spite of this increase of 150% or 200% or whatever it was in greenhouse gases at the time of the economy going so well, we still kept it down to roughly 135% of the previous amount. So far, 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 more substantially toward our targets if they are kept in place, but we see that has not been the modus operandi of the present government. I will outline these plans quickly because if I do not I will be not be able to get them all in.
    These plans are basically two-pronged. First, we have been dramatically cutting emissions in reducing the use of energy. There are a number of programs for that. Second, there is support for renewable technologies. The new technologies do not emit any or as much of the greenhouse gases.
    Much of this was achieved by our new Liberal leader when he was environment minister. He got great credit from environmental groups and across the nation for being able to achieve this and overcoming the difficulty of working with finance ministers, which we know is always difficult to achieve. The member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville was able to achieve the largest environmental budget in the history of Canada. It was hailed by environmental groups in Canada as the greenest budget.


    The environmental budget was composed of initiatives that I will break down into about 20 plans. The first one was a $1 billion green fund that would support green projects to reduce greenhouse gases. It was a catalyst for new technologies. We cannot compare that $1 billion to any other programs of that magnitude that have been announced today. Once again, under the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, it was a huge increase.
    The second plan was up to $2 billion for partnerships, which would lever up to $4 billion. These numbers are huge in cutting greenhouse gases and reducing pollution. That involved partnerships with other levels of government. This problem is so big it cannot be done by just the federal government. Once again, there is nothing from the new government to match what the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville achieved in this area.
    Plan three provided $200 million for quadrupling the wind power incentive Canada. That was enough for a million programs, which is another under the great stewardship of the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.
    Plan four involved $97 million for renewable power production. Some examples are support for small hydro, for biomass and landfill gases. What is happening in this area now? Nothing new.
    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 offer big support for our farmers. This gives them another area in which to sell their products, again under the great stewardship of the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.
    Plan six was the quadrupling of the EnerGuide. Another $225 million were provided to improve the energy efficiency of houses. It allowed Canadians to participate. The government itself cannot deal with this huge challenge. Why would it have been recommended that the program be quadrupled if it was not working? There were 500,000 homes in Canada in the program. Some parliamentarians spoke about not hearing of Canadians cutting greenhouse gases, but 500,000 Canadians, half a million of them, were aware of it. In fact, the government has now cut that program, which is incomprehensible to all members in the House.
    The Conservatives are saying that there is too much greenhouse gas emissions or too much pollution and then they cut the programs that are cutting them. That is like saying that we found starving children with not enough food and we will solve the problem by taking some of their food away.
    Plan seven under the previous minister of the environment, the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, provided $200 million for sustainable energy, science and technology. When research and development are slashed for things such as this in this country, like the last budget did, it will be very critical to the future of our children.
    Plan eight was the green municipal fund. It is a great success story, as everyone in the House knows from their own communities. For over a decade the leader of the NDP was very complimentary of this program. The former prime minister, the member for LaSalle—Émard, was a real champion in funding this program for municipalities across the country, as was the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville. Again, thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases were cut.
    What I am most proud of, in the tough times when a number of areas had to be cut to put this country back in order, when there were huge deficits, the Liberal government did not cut the green municipal fund. In fact ,it doubled it.
    Plan number nine had funds for brownfields. What has the new government planned to clean up the brownfields and to match the vision of the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.
    Plan 10, made in Canada, was to cut greenhouse gases with clean power generation. This has been inspired through tax cuts. Again, we put the capital cost allowance for clean power generation up from 30% to 50% under the inspired leadership of the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.
    I have seven more plans but I see that I will not have time to finish them so I will just mention what they are. Plan 11 was clean coal, plan 12 was biomass, plan 13 was carbon sequestration initiatives, plan 15 was landfill waste projects, plan 16 was east-west grid, plan 17 was EnerGuide for low income Canadians, plan 18 was for large final emitters supporting 5 megatonne cuts, plan 19 was auto emission reduction, plan 20 was the one tonne challenge, plan 21 was Biocap and plan 22 was solar.


    Those are the reasons that we had the greenest plan in history. The environmental budget was the inspired leadership of the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville when he was the environment minister. We are nowhere near that but we will do everything we can to work, hopefully, with all parties in the House on this new act to achieve some reductions in pollution and emissions, which is what all Canadians have demonstrated they really want.


     Mr. Speaker, I listened to the speech by my colleague and, quite honestly, I thought I was watching a science fiction show. I do not know what he was talking about. He seems to have forgotten that, in the past eight years, his party's efforts have led to a deterioration in the situation and that despite the exceptional leadership and skill of the former Minister of the Environment, things have never been in such bad shape as they are today.
    Because the Kyoto targets were not properly evaluated, the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville told the industry that it would never have to pay more than $15 per tonne. Thus, if there were a carbon exchange, the maximum penalty that could be imposed on the industry would never be more than $15 per tonne. That means that the Canadian government would have to pay the difference. Given that the European carbon exchange has reached 47 euros per tonne, or about $70, our government would have to pay $55 per tonne for the industry while the industry itself would pay $15.
    I have two questions. How much would such a promise by the leader of his party, the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, have cost the government? Second, if we think about setting targets but we limit the penalty to only $15, what was the final objective if not to realize that a mistake was made with regard to the evaluation of the Kyoto targets?


    Mr. Speaker, the final objective is a healthier Canada and a healthier environment, which will also improve the economy. He is talking about the past and I will just repeat what I said in my speech. The intensity is already 13% below 1990 levels and we reduced the intensity in the last 9 of 11 years.
    I am not sure of the technical details of his question, but if he is suggesting that the government would need to pay more than industry to cut greenhouse gases and that people in industry could keep their jobs and still be competitive, if that is the cost of improving the environment, then I do not think our government is afraid to invest money. It will invest money if it is a good investment for Canada, if it will reduce greenhouse gases, if it will increase the health of Canadians and therefore reduce health care costs and if it will produce technologies that we can sell around the world and improve our economy.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Yukon and I are from the same area and have the same issues surrounding climate change and are very concerned about it.
    The member speaks to a lot of programs that could have been but when we look at the record of the carbon sequestration program that he was talking about, the Commissioner for Sustainable Development indicated that it missed its greenhouse gas reduction target. It was supposed to be 3.5 megatonnes and it turned in at 0.08 megatonnes. That suggests that there was some work to do there.
    At the same time, at the natural resources committee we are hearing evidence that it will be about $100 a tonne for the sequestration of CO2 in the tar sands. This is quite a large figure.
    We must be careful when we talk about these programs that have been put into place in the past because we really need some regulation and that is not what the government provided there. When we talked about getting the lead out of gasoline, we did it through legislation and it happened immediately. There is no lead in the gasoline.
    Does the member not recognize how important it is to put in legislation that will bind us to getting results for the Canadian public?


    Mr. Speaker, a lot more work needs to be done in all of these areas. We must continue working on our targets. When airplanes were first invented they kept crashing but people continued to work on them. At least we were trying and making progress.
    The large final emitters project was mandatory regulations. It would have gone into effect in 2008 and would have reduced 45 megatonnes of greenhouse gases. The Conservatives have cancelled that progress.


    Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to speak in this debate because I think that anyone who has children, nephews, nieces and loved ones, is worried about global warming. To stay calm, one truly has to live in a cocoon, somewhat the way Howard Hughes cut himself off from the world a number of years ago. To hear the Conservatives I am often under the impression they are completely cut off from the world, that they have stopped watching television and reading newspapers. There is danger in waiting. Experts—scientists in particular—are constantly telling us that.
    It is therefore rather sad to hear what we hear and to see Bill C-30, which is obviously a tactic to postpone making decisions that will have to be made inevitably .
    I regularly receive letters from young boys and girls in elementary and early secondary school, who write in near panic about the images they see on television and who are well aware that we are playing with their future. I imagine that all the members in this House receive such letters. I always try to reassure these young people by reminding them that we live in a democracy and that in a democracy usually the common good prevails. Unfortunately, this does not seem to have been the case for the past nine months. That said, nine months in the history of Quebec and Canada is relatively short and everything can change if common sense ends up prevailing.
    This bill, as I was saying, includes a series of regulatory powers that the government is giving itself, powers for which this type of legislation was unnecessary and that could very well have been included in the regulatory changes to the existing Canadian Environmental Protection Act. This bill also has provisions on energy consumption labelling and the authority to make regulations on fuel consumption standards for new motor vehicles sold in Canada.
    To achieve those ends, the government has introduced a bill that clearly must go through the usual series of steps: first reading, second reading, referral to committee and return to the House for adoption at third reading. Then, we will have to wait for the regulations. This bill, which outlines the government's intentions, details a three-stage consultation process. All that will lead, at best, to the coming into force of mandatory standards in 2010 and the achievement of Kyoto protocol targets in 2050. This is particularly disturbing.
    What will happen after the next three years? We do not know. As they have done since they came to power in Ottawa, the Conservatives will no doubt find a way to tell us that, unfortunately, it is 2010 and greenhouse gas emissions have increased so much that the targets that had been set are far too strict. Now we have to find ways to reduce these weak requirements again, because we have to demonstrate economic realism. Meanwhile, the problem will grow.
    When I hear the Conservatives say that it is the Liberals' fault, because they did nothing even though they talked a good game when it came to the Kyoto protocol, I think they are right, but that is no excuse to put off making the necessary decisions even longer. Neither is it a reason to throw out all the work the previous government had done.
    As I said, I am convinced that, in a few years, the government is going to invoke economic realism and tell us that we bit off more than we could chew and we are going to have to take smaller bites. Clearly, then, the bill as it stands is unacceptable. We will support referring the bill to committee, because we have reached that stage. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie and my colleague from Brossard—La Prairie, in a spirit of openness and helpfulness, will try to bring us closer to the Kyoto protocol targets with this bill. They will try to prevent this bill from serving primarily to buy time so that those in power can give their friends in the oil industry more tax breaks or more time before mandatory standards take effect.


     As I said, we will agree to second reading so that Bill C-30 can be sent to committee. However, we are extremely concerned about both what is contained in the bill and what is not in the bill, in particular, anything about achieving the Kyoto targets.
     Concerning the Kyoto protocol, I remind you once again that this government has only one concrete target, the year 2050. Earlier, my colleague, the member for Brome—Missisquoi was showing a lack of optimism, but that would be understandable if he were 106 years old. He may not be sitting here in this House at that age, but he should at least still be able to enjoy some great years. One never knows with the advances of science.
     It is certainly true that when he reaches the age of 106, he will have many more years behind him than in front of him. However, that would also be the case for me. In my opinion, we all have an objective interest in immediately ensuring that Canada not only respects our signature on the Kyoto protocol but that we take measures to reach the objectives of the protocol.
     Moreover, the bill makes no mention of the first phase of reductions from 2008 to 2012 set out in the Kyoto protocol, nor of the second phase that was supposed to begin in 2012. Obviously, this was discussed at Nairobi. In addition, Bill C-30 contains a provision that gives the government the discretion to respect or not respect Canada’s international commitments in terms of the environment.
     Could the facts be any clearer that they are providing themselves with both belt and suspenders in order to avoid our international obligations?
     The government promised us a made in Canada plan, obviously to gain more time. Nine months after the Conservatives took power, we still have nothing. The Canadian and Quebec public are worried, young people are worried, with good reason, and even older people, like my colleague from Brome—Missisquoi and myself, are worried. As I said, it is no excuse to say that the Liberals did not implement the measures that were needed to achieve the objectives and that during that time emissions actually increased significantly, by over 25% if I recall correctly. It is the Conservative government that is in power now, and it is the one that must take responsibility and commit itself not only, as I said, to honouring Canada’s signature at the bottom of the Kyoto protocol, but to putting effective measures into motion quickly.
     In this debate, we see that on the government side they are going to think about it. However, they do not seem to be giving any consideration to what has been done in other countries. For example, a number of European countries are on their way to achieving the Kyoto targets and honouring their signatures at the bottom of that international commitment, specifically concerning the use of better technologies.
     We must therefore require industry and industrial sectors to use the best technology now available. Obviously, when there is no better technology that can be used to reduce greenhouse gases below a certain level, we could allow industries to purchase greenhouse gas credits at their own expense. That is the approach that has been taken by the European countries, and it has proved itself. I do not see why we would choose to take a different approach in Canada, particularly when we consider how far behind we have fallen.
     In my opinion, we have to be very clear about this. There are things we can learn from countries that have achieved or are about to achieve the Kyoto objectives, and I believe that we must take our inspiration from them, and also from the territorial approach. This is something that is extremely important, particularly in Quebec, because our manufacturing sector has made significant efforts in recent decades. Those efforts have to be recognized for what they are and so Quebec has to be allowed to actually establish an emissions permit exchange—a carbon exchange, as I was explaining—for North America as a whole.
    I will conclude, because I do not think that the Conservatives spend a lot of time reading the daily La Presse. Galbraith, the American economist who died not long ago, used to say that “Democrats only read Democrats, but Republicans do not read at all”. I am under the impression that it is somewhat the same situation in this House, in that the Conservatives do not read at all.
    The report of Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist of the Wold Bank, was released barely two or three weeks ago, at the request of the British Prime Minister, who is an ally of Canada, particularly in its mission in Afghanistan. He is a traditional ally and the leader of a country which, in the past, has been the source of many of our traditions, including our parliamentary traditions.


    A study was done and Prime Minister Blair is taking it very seriously. What does that study tell us? It predicts a series of catastrophes if we do not put a stop to global warming, meaning if we do not take measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    In conclusion, I invite Conservative members to take a look at the Stern report and to inform the Prime Ministerthat the reality of global warming and the effects of greenhouse gases has now been scientifically demonstrated, and even recognized in terms of its disastrous effects on the economy. This might lead him to think about taking a different approach.
    Mr. Speaker, members will remember that, in the House, not too long ago, when we were forming the government and we were debating the Kyoto issue, a Conservative member—their environment critic at the time—had made a speech, a filibuster. I believe this is still in the annals of parliamentary publications. I do not remember whether it was 16 or 17 hours, but it was very long. The thrust of his speech was that global warming did not exist, the Kyoto protocol was useless and there were no greenhouse gases.
    Now, the Conservatives admit that this exists theoretically or in principle. Our actions to correct the situation, which are part of our international commitments, are not conclusive. They do not alleviate the problem.
    We find that the Conservatives are out of excuses. According to the report of the commissioner of environment and sustainable development, there were failings in the programs that were put in place. Indeed, these programs were huge. Perhaps there were management problems. I do not dispute this with the commissioner. However, we could have improved these programs, given them special attention, made the changes that were needed and ensured that they were managed in such a way as to achieve their goals. It would have been a step in the right direction with international trading.
    I will put my question to the member who, in passing, has made a good speech.
    Is he convinced that the Conservative government recognizes global warming as a catastrophe that we must face, as one of the great challenges of humankind? Should it not quickly reinstate these programs?
    First, Mr. Speaker, I would not want to hurt my hon. colleague's feelings, but it is my understanding that the member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord filibustered for much longer, a few years ago, in connection with the clarity act. The new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada having been closely associated with that debate, I wanted to remind him of that fact.
    The member is perfectly right, and that is what we are asking of the government. Why scrap everything that has been done so far?
    I know that the Liberal government has worked on these issues. Implementation of all the measures was not complete, but nearly complete. The fact of the matter is that a number of energy conservation programs which worked well have recently been abolished.
    I think this is a scheme to buy time, to spare the oil industry in particular and perhaps also the Canadian automotive industry at a time when important decisions have to be made.
    As to whether I am convinced, well, I am convinced that the people of Canada and Quebec will ultimately make this government see reason, but as long as its interests are as closely linked to the oil sector as they currently are, I seriously doubt that it is really willing to implement all the measures necessary to achieve Kyoto.