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Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development



Monday, February 25, 2008

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     I would like to start by welcoming Pierre Marc Johnson.
    We have Mr. Morton on the telephone, so he will be hearing us as we begin.
    I want to remind members that we did send to each of these gentlemen a list of the kinds of things we wanted to find out. I'll review that very quickly.
    We asked them to talk about the roles and responsibilities of the advisers and the nature of the advice they gave to the minister. Were written, formal documents provided to the minister in preparation for the conference? If so, the committee would like to see copies. As intelligent lay people, what did you learn from the process? What surprised you? What impressions did you have of where you thought the whole process was going? Where do you think the process is going? Are you optimistic?
    Of course we offer each of our guests a ten-minute presentation and then we'll go to our usual procedure for questions.
     I believe everybody received a copy of the expenses, the costs incurred, as requested. I trust everyone received that at their office today. I would ask Pierre Marc to begin with a presentation of up to ten minutes, please.


    I will give my presentation in both French and English, although we have well-qualified interpreters here with us.
    I attended the Bali Conference as an adviser. I was accompanied by Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the former assistant deputy minister at Environment Canada and former director of the United Nations Environment Program; by Mary Simon, one of the most prominent figures in Canada's far north; and by Ian Morton, who will be speaking later. We were there as individuals. We were part of the delegation but did not represent Canadian positions. We appreciated the fact that the minister allowed us to speak with him.


     Our mandate and the object of our functions was essentially to advise the minister at his will--and it turned out to also be at our will--on various elements going on during the conference. The object of this advice was a lot about the process. As you know, most of these conferences are pretty concentrated on process. Secondly, some of us gave advice to the minister on various delegations that were present or the various bodies that were represented at the meeting. Finally, we commented for the minister on certain events taking place.
    On our activities, we were to be available to the minister and present at the various briefings given by officials. We accompanied the minister to various bilateral meetings--not all of us, but some of us some of the time. We talked with some of the delegations. I talked mostly with European delegations because I've known some people on that circuit for a few years now. That was also the case with Elizabeth Dowdeswell, who happened to know people from all over the world at this conference. Finally, we attended certain types of events, including so-called side events that take place during these conferences. I attended a conference given by the leader of the opposition, Mr. Stéphane Dion.
     I'm ready to answer all possible questions, although I consider that the advice exchanged with the minister was on a confidential basis. The minister was obviously well supported by very competent, diligent, and experienced officials. Secondly, he was well briefed and obviously knew the issues--I would say more than most of us who were his advisers, because we didn't have the benefit of the briefing he got in Ottawa before going to the conference.
    I must say that he was quite open in taking our advice. He was open in his availability to take our advice. He was also quite open-minded in taking on, or at least listening to more than just politely, what we had to say individually or collectively in various meetings.
    That was essentially our function there, Mr. Chairman.


    Thank you very much.
     Mr. Morton, if we can have your presentation that will be great. Then we'll get to questions.
    As a bit of context, I run a small business here in Toronto. We provide services to a utility sector here in Canada and in the United States. We work with Manitoba Hydro and B.C. Hydro. We have 30 utilities in Ontario and in the United States developing conservation-demand management programs, and we also do consulting for large corporations such as Home Depot, General Motors, Winners, and HomeSense. I employ, on a full-time basis, about 40 people here in Toronto and another 300 contractors across the country.
    Formerly, before running my own business, I used to work with Pollution Probe.
    I will just turn it over to the committee. My comments would parallel those of Pierre Marc. My role when in Bali was to provide advice to the minister. We were given daily access to the minister. We usually had an hour-long briefing meeting in the morning. I attended bilateral meetings with the minister and his staff whereby we'd hear positions from other countries and share Canada's position. Along with my other advisers, I had the chance to meet with our negotiators. I would comment on how proud I was as a Canadian to see the dedication, the expertise, and the passion that our negotiators had on this issue. Matt Jones and Jennifer Kerr, in particular, and Ian Shugart and David McGovern were very impressive and dedicated people who worked extremely long hours over there.
    I attended many of the sessions, when I wasn't in bilateral meetings, looking at policy development and related processes that would inform Canada's position. I attended evening sessions that were either hosted by other countries or were put on by not-for-profit organizations. I did reach out a number of times to environmental groups that were attending from Canada to seek their counsel and advice and bring that back to the minister and his staff. I tried to make myself, along with our other advisers, available to both the negotiators and political staff on an as-needed basis and I participated and contributed my expertise wherever possible.


    Great. Thank you very much.
    Both of you did very well. I didn't even have to use my timer.
    We'll go to Mr. McGuinty.
    Thanks, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much, Dr. Johnson. It's good to see you again. It's been a long time.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Morton, for joining us on the telephone. It's very kind of you to be available.
    I'd like to go to both of you, because you're both extremely experienced Canadians who have been participating in these issues for some time.
    You've been participating, in your case, Mr. Johnson, I know, in international negotiations for probably two decades.
    Mr. Morton, I don't know if we've crossed paths before, but I think I recall you from Pollution Probe.
    Can I ask you first whether you recall a time since 1992, when so much of the foundational work was laid in Rio de Janeiro, when opposition critics were not invited to participate in the official delegation of Canada to the Conference of the Parties meetings?
    Mr. Morton?
    No, I cannot, I guess is the answer to that question.
    I proceed to the government's turning-the-corner plan, because it's been a subject of debate, as it should be. It's a plan. We've been asking questions about the plan's materiality and the evidence that substantiates it, the analysis that might have been conducted to support it, and the modelling that might be there to backstop it. We've been asking since the day the plan was released if a single shred of analysis could be released to the Canadian people, released to the opposition, to show us how the government arrived at its numbers of 20% by 2020 using intensity targets, for example.
    Mr. Johnson, I think when you were there you were also helping to convene some meetings and chair a few sessions and so on. Was the government's turning-the-corner plan actually presented publicly, other than to the official delegation, which we heard about through Ian Shugart, in the minister's official speech? Was there an actual presentation of the government's plan?
     I did chair a meeting, in a so-called side event organized by the Canadian delegation, that was supposed to be made up of two elements, the first being a presentation of carbon capture and storage by industrial specialists in that field. And to my knowledge, their membership in that delegation was only as a way for them to be able to get there and to make their presentation in front of that group. I never saw them at briefings, nor did I see NGOs or other groups.
    The second part of the meeting was supposed to be the presentation of that plan by the minister—and I had to excuse him, because he was called to one of the committees or groups or informal sessions precisely at the time he was supposed to make that speech.
    So I didn't feel I was able to present the plan; it was not in my mandate to do so. I don't know if the minister later presented it or not. To my knowledge, he did not—but it might be different.


    Then to both of you, Mr. Morton and Mr. Johnson, have you read the government's plan?
    Yes. I saw it when it was published.
    Mr. Morton?
    Yes, I have read the document, although it was some time ago, so I'm not familiar with all of the provisions in the document, and it's not in front of me at the moment.
    Much of the debate that surrounded the final declaration, we understand—and some of the members around this table were present, and though I wasn't personally present, my leader was there—was about whether or not the declaration should reflect a consensus among Kyoto signatories that we would strive to achieve a 25% to 40% decrease in absolute terms from 1990. Ultimately, I understand, the minister did cave in to pressure—as we've heard from other delegations—and agreed to the declaration.
    I'm just going to put this question to you straight up. Have either of you been able to reconcile the notion that the minister has said internationally that we're going to reduce our absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 25% to 40% from 1990 levels—per the document he signed on to and approved in Bali—with a domestic plan that no single third-party observer believes can achieve even a 20% cut by 2020 by using intensity targets and 2006 as the baseline year?
    As two experts who have been around this climate change process for a long time, can you help us to understand this? Were you able to reconcile the government's domestic plan and its ultimate agreement with the final declaration that came out in Bali?
    To my knowledge, the minister, in his address to the plenary session, mentioned a 20% reduction by 2020. This is what I heard him say.
    Mr. Morton?
    Mr. McGuinty, I'm not a member of the government, so I can't defend its position on this.
    I think at the plenary session Minister Baird did acknowledge that Canada needed to do more. And, as you point out, I think our plan to date may be insufficient for what the science is now indicating is going to be required—an 80% reduction by 2050.
    Again, the Bali meetings were to outline a road map going forward, and to the government's credit, I think Canada did leave the meetings committed to that road map and to the meetings that are going to be happening this year in Poland, and for the 2009 negotiating period that's going to take us post-2012.
     Did either of you advise the minister that it would be a good thing for Canada to sign on to this declaration and these targets?
    I was not in a position to do that.
    Nor was Mr. Morton, I guess.
    Can I ask my colleague to pick up the last couple of minutes?
    Yes, he can have a couple of minutes.


    Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson, for being here with us today.


    When you say that you were not in a position to advise the minister, would you clarify what you mean by that?
    That happened on the last day, and I was on a plane that day.
    Okay. So you were already on your way home?


    All right.
    Let me give an explanation about that. It happened to many people. The conference overshot by 24 hours--it's a normal delay--and it put many people in a position of having to choose between missing the last day or maybe waiting a week to get back. Since I was an adviser--and may I say not paid for it--I decided to come back after seven days in Bali.
    That's certainly understandable. I guess the concern might be that the last 24 hours would also be the most critical period, one would think, for trying to work out the final agreement. Oftentimes you hear about negotiations, of course--and this is clearly a negotiation--that go down to the wire. I don't mean to suggest that it's not understandable that for those good reasons you would want to leave. However, in view of the importance of your role, one would have thought they would have wanted you there for that last 24 hours.
    I wouldn't want to over-inflate the importance of the role of Mr. Morton, me, Mary Simon, or Elizabeth Dowdeswell. I think we were there to give advice to the minister, some of which he solicited, some of which we volunteered. He demonstrated great openness about that.
    That said, we were not in the negotiation process. Mind you, I would have liked to be, maybe, but that's another issue. I wasn't part of the negotiating team, nor was Mr. Morton. We were part of what happens a lot at the UN, which is informal things that go on in the corridors among people who know or have known each other. There are specialists and negotiators. The Canadian delegation, I must say, had a remarkable team. I am able to, I would say, pass judgment on that, because I have done this during the past twenty years quite a bit. I would say that the team that was there was a remarkable team, both in terms of experience and energy and in its capacity to cover many bases at the same time. But these aren't the negotiators. None of us in the group of advisers were doing the negotiation. We were advising the minister on various issues.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll go on to Mr. Bigras, please.


    Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    I would also like to thank the witnesses for coming before the committee today. It must not be easy for advisers of the minister to come before parliamentarians. I want to thank them.
    That said, they did provide advice to the minister and we have a right to ask for explanations. The first, Mr. Johnson, concerns your statement on December 12, 2007. I was in Bali, like you were, and I was a little surprised to read what you said in La Presse. You said that Canada had a credibility problem because it had not delivered the goods for 15 years. We will give you a chance to explain that because people often remember only the headlines.
    Could you tell us what you meant by that statement in Bali?
    Yes, Mr. Bigras.
    Canada was remarkably proactive in the area of environmental negotiations beginning in the late 1980s, at the time of the Brundtland report. At the Rio Conference, Canada made a substantial contribution. It made a certain number of commitments, including regarding financial transfers, the refocusing of IDRCs efforts and sustainable development issues.
    However—and I have to say this because I often heard it at the United Nations over the past few years—Canada has lost some of its credibility. And the problem goes back quite some time. There is a feeling among the various delegations—these are things that are never said publicly—that Canada espoused a certain number of principles in 1992 but did not necessarily implement them. Once again, I want to say that this is not something that I have just heard this year but rather something that people have been saying for years. I think that there are all sorts of reasons for this. I am sure that you have looked at the Auditor General's reports like I have, and probably even more than I have, since this is part of your responsibility.
    Beginning in 1992 and until very recently, Canada did not take the necessary steps to meet its international commitments. One might ask why that happened. Are there administrative problems that go back 10 years? Perhaps, but there may also be other reasons, such as more important political reasons, especially with respect to climate change. In my opinion, the problem Canada has with climate change stems from a combination of the action we have to take as a developed country to meet the science-based requirements in order to ensure a livable future for our children, and a certain number of constraints; these include the proximity of the U.S., which has not shown much enthusiasm for this issue, at least at the federal level, even though a number of states and municipalities are on board.
    Second, the United States did not adopt the Kyoto Protocol. That raises the eternal problem of how much we can expose our industry to that when the Americans are not doing the same. This is not a new problem, but rather one that has come up often in other sectors. The other reason, which I feel is fundamental but not often mentioned, is that Canada is part of the energy equation for the Americans, which means developing the oil sands. Because of how that oil is produced, it is responsible for much of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions since 1997. That is one of the public policy constraints that cannot be denied, in my opinion.
    Does that mean that we should be doing nothing? No, I do not think so. It is not my job to judge the government's policies. I would simply say that we absolutely need to take serious action, but that the Government of Canada's internal constraints cannot unfortunately be raised in public forums: things do not work like that. These things can be mentioned, but they are not an answer.


    It is like when you borrow money from the bank: you can certainly explain that your brother-in-law got sick, that you helped him out and that your child's tuition fees were higher than expected, but the banker will tell you that you have to pay back the money. Maybe you can renegotiate your loan.
    I think that Canada's situation with respect to climate change and its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol are a little like that. It cannot deliver on all its promises, but the reasons that it cannot do so are not ones that it can use constantly because the international forums are like the banks: they are not interested in those issues.
    Thank you. I really like the parallel you made with loans and renegotiating them. One of the conclusions at the end of the discussions in Bali concerned the reference date that should be used to set future targets. On the one side, you had the Europeans who were insisting on 1990, which was the year used in the Kyoto Protocol, and on the other you had countries like Canada that not only included 2006 as the reference year in its climate change plan but that also persuaded the other countries to adopt that position.
    When an individual has worked hard in the past and decided to tighten his belt, then decides to pay back part of his debt, the banker may well be willing to renegotiate, but would it not be more respectful and more fair to recognize the efforts made by countries and corporations in the past? Do you not think that the reference year should not be negotiable? Do you not think that we should recognize that these countries and corporations which, sometimes for economic reasons, have changed their industrial processes to make them more productive, of course, have also made efficiency gains? Do you not think that it would be fair to recognize the efforts that they have made in the past?
    When that question was put on the table in Bali, what did you recommend to Minister Baird? Did you tell him that you felt that Canada, in all fairness, should defend 1990 as the reference year?


    I said earlier that I was not present when that decision was taken. It was taken at the very last minute. However, the minister went to Bali with what was obviously a mandate from cabinet or one he had given himself. You know as well as I do that a minister does not make a commitment of behalf of the government alone at night, hoping things will improve, even after consulting his advisers. The minister must be in synchrony with his government and act according to the mandate given to him by cabinet.
    So, when I heard the minister refer to a 20% reduction by 2020, and then mention 2006 as the reference year, I was not surprised that this turned out to be the position. It is clear he had a mandate.
    But there were other negotiations...


     I wonder if Mr. Morton wants to get in on your answer. We haven't heard from him for a minute or two.


    Mr. Chair, I believe it is my right as a parliamentarian to ask questions of the witness of my choosing.


    That's fine.


    I have a final question. You were at the Bali meeting, and one issue came up while you were there. It was the proposal to include in the final document the IPCC report, but to include a reference to the 2°C increase in temperature by the end of the century. At the end of the meeting, some participants wanted to put the reference in a footnote, and that was ultimately done. I believe Canada was opposed to this.
    Did you advise the government to highlight the reference to the 2°C increase in the body of the Bali document, instead of in a footnote, out of respect for the report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change?
    Again, the issue was not framed in that manner, but yes, we had the opportunity to discuss everything which was as stake, be it mitigation, adaptation, advances in technology, financing or science. I am not surprised at what happened with the 2°C reference. The IPCC has been in existence since 1988; it was created by the World Meteorological Organization, and it produces the science used in climate change studies. The IPCC's fourth report, which was published in 2007, raised issues which other reports had not. It was a fairly categorical report with regard to a number of things. First, in my view, it categorically stated that climate change was here for good. Second, it categorically stated that climate change is due to human activity. Third, it clearly set out the consequences of climate change in a certain number of countries. The report even explained what should be done to adapt to climate change.
    The issue of the 2°C increase in temperature is a relatively new thing in climate science and analysis. Of course, those who advocate moving forward slowly say that this is new science. May I remind you that these same groups claimed just a few years ago that human activity could not possibly be the cause of climate change and its consequences today. Perhaps people are being more reasonable now in accepting the science. But this time, people had doubts with regard to the 2°C increase in temperature. Personally—and this might just be my intuition speaking, rather than my belief in the science—I would say that the 2°C increase in temperature will become received wisdom by the time the Denmark conference takes place at the end of 2009, just as it is now received wisdom that human activity causes climate change.



     Thank you, Mr. Bigras.
    Mr. Stoffer.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
     Mr. Morton and Mr. Johnson, thank you very much for coming.
    Mr. Morton, were you involved at all in the Kyoto or Rio discussions with previous governments?
    No, that was a little before my time. I'm still relatively young--in my early forties. I wasn't involved in either of those two negotiations.
    As I mentioned to Mr. McGuinty earlier, my expertise on the public policy side has been more related to activities within the province of Ontario and the climate change action plan process that was set up in the late 1990s. But it was a few years ago that I was involved in those processes.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Johnson, were you involved at all in the Rio or Kyoto discussions with previous governments?
    I was involved in the Rio process for almost four years. Then in 1993 or 1994 I was involved in the convention on desertification, which was one of the promises of Rio to largely African countries. I was a mediator between G-77 countries and OECD countries on financial aspects of that convention. I participated in various implementation activities and published a book about it in London a few months ago. That's my background.
     Thank you.
    Gentlemen, although I wasn't there, I did follow the proceedings very carefully, not only over the net but on television as well. It appears, at least to the people who've spoken to us and to our party, that Canada went there with the intention of ragging the puck, if I may use a hockey term. It didn't appear that Canada seemed too convinced of previous Kyoto commitments. There were some of these same groups and countries there.
    It just appeared, at least when we looked at it—and correct me if I'm wrong—that Canada went kicking and screaming to the final negotiation, which, of course, as you know, went overtime in order to be done.
    My problem is the perception—and I certainly won't ask you about what you personally spoke of with Mr. Baird on these issues—that the government is not fully convinced that climate change is a result of human activity or that we actually have a role to play in it. You had talked about these very good, professional people on the team you were with and of trying to convince him otherwise.
    I'm just wondering, Mr. Morton, even if you and Mr. Johnson weren't at the Kyoto conference, but were at this one, would you have used the previous advice or previous discussions with people who had been at the Kyoto conference to continue these discussions at Bali, or would you have gone there with just the information you had currently?
    Well, I think many of our negotiators who work with the international climate change bureau at Environment Canada have been involved with the negotiations since the beginning and have both the historical knowledge and expertise to provide counsel to the government with regard to the various aspects of negotiating specific elements, be they technology transfer, adaptation, or other areas in which Canada can play a very constructive role in moving forward.
    I think, to the government's credit, there were some things that didn't get a lot of coverage back here in Canada, such as our contribution to the global environment facility, which I think is the second-largest of any country, and our playing an important role in adaptation and in making commitments.
    I think there are always going to be people who can provide advice, and hopefully governments of any stripe will listen to that counsel. I would just draw the committee's attention to the fact that we have many leading experts within Environment Canada who have played a very important role, not only in providing advice to the political staff when they're in Bali, but also a lot of the historical background and knowledge, given the fact that many of them have been involved from Rio, and the negotiations in Kyoto, right through to helping Canada develop many of the elements within its plan.


     Mr. Morton, I'm just going to interrupt you there for a second. It's Nathan Cullen, and I'm just taking over for my colleague, Mr. Stoffer, for a moment.
    I welcome you both. As well, I apologize, as I had my flights cancelled in northern British Columbia. It's all this climate change weather we're having.
    I have two questions. One is to Mr. Johnson, first of all. We met at the conference, and one of the questions we exchanged and had several conversations about was this credibility gap that's been developing on the international stage for Canada. Oftentimes this government in particular, and previous ones as well, has said that if other countries don't move in coordination with us at the same time, then it's dangerous for the Canadian economy to do anything of significance, particularly with the biggest polluters.
    This is to you, Mr. Johnson. What credibility does Canada have along this continued path we've taken since 1992, in urging China and in being able to lobby the Indias of the world to come effectively on board with hard emission caps?
     I guess that's pretty much at the heart of the issue: either we think climate change is important, or it isn't. I happen to believe it is. It's also my perception that the minister believes it is. He has stated and reiterated in front of us, and I believe publicly, that he accepts the science of the IPCC. Secondly, he accepts the principles of the UNFCC, which is the broad convention, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibility of the various countries.
    We're in a situation in the world where we have 30 countries or so, which amounts to about 30 percent of emissions, that have accepted to put on restrictions. Some of these restrictions under the Kyoto Protocol, which apply only to OECD countries and a couple of the new economies in eastern Europe, create constraints, but I believe at the same time create leadership in terms of what has to be done. But if that parade is limited to these 30 countries, we're going to go nowhere; we're going to hit a brick wall.
    So in terms of Canada's importance or influence as a middle power, as a country seeking to have, as this government has claimed, a stronger role on the international stage, it seems to me that there are almost two different international policies with this government. We see this when the talk is of Afghanistan. When it's on the war footing, it is very strong, and wants to have a role and a more effective voice, but then on the environment issue it is stepping out of the way, not having the influence of what the rhetoric pretends.
     Did you see evidence of Canada being able to sway those developing countries, those other countries that are making up that shortfall in terms of climate emissions around the world? Were we pulling our weight? Were we having an effect? Were we able to push as hard as the Europeans were, for example?


    Obviously we don't have the same interests as the Europeans. We're not pushing in exactly the same direction as the Europeans are; we're pushing, let's say, in a broader direction, the same broader direction. But in practice, the Europeans took decisions twenty years ago that they would close down coal facilities--whatever the reasons they did that for, including a pretty anti-union stance in Great Britain at a certain point. Secondly, France decided to go nuclear. When you go nuclear, you're not too concerned about your emissions, except when you take the cement to make these nuclear plants, which is a lot.
    In practice, we have interests that are slightly different in terms of economics from those of the Europeans because we don't have the same margin of manoeuvre. Canada is not the only country that is not going to hit its targets by 2012. Spain and Portugal are not going to hit them. I believe that's also the case with Ireland, but I'm not absolutely sure. But they'll be saved under the umbrella of Europe.
     What does Canada do in a context like that? Well, I believe that the Bali process is not where Canada can have the most importance.
    Well, it clearly didn't.
    But I don't think it's the preferred route to go, to exercise whatever clout, the medium power that Canada is.... Canada is not the United States.
    It's interesting then that Canada chose to devote so much of its resources to this. The government sent a great number of people there. You saw it, as did I.
    I have just one last question, because I'll run out of time.
    Very quickly, Mr. Cullen; you're quite a bit over time.
    Did you see any evidence of Canada negotiating a cap-and-trade regime with the United States, Europe, or any other power? We've had a number of business groups here that have urged clarity on the pricing of carbon.
    I didn't see any negotiation on that. Once again, I wasn't in every negotiating room, but I think it's becoming more and more obvious that's where it has to go. We have to go toward cap and trade.
     But you saw no evidence of this? You didn't see any evidence of us negotiating such a....
    Mr. Morton, did you?
    No, I did not.
    Okay, thank you.
    Which doesn't mean that there wasn't.
    If I may finish, Mr. Chairman, on this issue, I believe the best forum for Canada to act in harmony with its usual allies and in a context where it accepts the science and considers that there are strides to be made in the coming couple of years is the G-8 and the G-8 plus the so-called Gleneagles five--which means China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa--and then the MEM, the major economies meetings, which adds to the G-8, plus the Gleneagles +5, plus Indonesia, South Korea, and Australia, plus the UN and the EU as institutions.
     I think that's the fit. Why? Because that's 85% of the world's GDP. Because that's 80% of the world's emissions. I think that's a real table, without denying the importance of the multilateral process of the UN. If the countries that represent 85% of the economy of the world and 80% of the world's emissions cannot agree on a direction, I don't believe an assembly of 194 countries will.
    The question is, where can Canada play its better role? I think it's in the context of what I've described.
    Good. Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson.
    Mr. Warawa, please.
    Thank you, Mr. Morton, and thank you, Mr. Johnson, for being here. Both of you are incredibly well respected and what you're sharing here at the committee is very enlightening.
    Mr. Morton, you said you were very proud of the Canadian team. Mr. Johnson, you said the Canadian team was a remarkable team.
    There have been questions on the purpose of Canada at Bali. What was the objective of the Canadian team? What was Canada's objective when we went to Bali?


     I think it was, first and foremost, carrying out its responsibilities as a member of the concert of nations.
    Secondly, it was to occupy a space that was very uncomfortable, and that uncomfortable space is the fact that the Canadian government has said, pretty much out loud, what some other countries believe: that the process has reached its peak in the context of Kyoto and the next step has to be much broader.
    That said, up to now Canada has not abided by its obligations under Kyoto, and chances are it won't get there by 2012. That's the pragmatics of it, and that's what makes it difficult for Canada to come to a large forum and tell people what to do. But I do think that Canada, in the context of the G-8, the Gleneagles +5, plus the MEM, can play a more substantive role precisely because I think it's in Canada's interest to broaden the base of the instruments we'll give ourselves to face what is a real, collective world issue, not only a Canadian issue.
    The palette of options, which by definition will be opened in a dialogue with major developing countries, which I personally call the new industrial countries, might give a space for Canada to make a major contribution in a context where the world moves forward, not only a fraction of it.
    Mr. Morton, what did you see as Canada's main objectives going to Bali?
     To my understanding, Canada's objectives were for a mandate for negotiating by the end of 2009 a new global agreement to combat climate change after 2012. I think the minister, in various meetings with UN officials, indicated Canada's support of the United Nations process and a willingness to participate to the best of its abilities.
    Speaking to my comments earlier, from my interaction with our negotiators and from having the chance to attend a number of the negotiating sessions, whether focused on technology transfer, deforestation, adaptation, or capacity building, I think that the expertise of the negotiators from Environment Canada and their commitment to work towards positive outcomes was very impressive. As I said in my opening remarks, it made me proud as a Canadian to see the dedication and the hard work.
    As Mr. Johnson indicated, during the last three or four days the negotiations went on almost non-stop. Our minister and the negotiating teams worked very well late into the evenings, and I think the processes themselves that ended up helping to articulate and to get us a road map and the various benchmarks along the way this coming year were indicative of the fact that Canada did at least achieve its objective, which was realizing the overall objective: the Bali road map, a mandate for a new global agreement by the end of 2009 to combat climate change post-2012.


    Here's a question. The media portrayed the minister as not being engaged at the conference, saying that he missed key meetings. Do you think that was fairly reported?
    I don't know what's fair reporting; I have been out of politics for so many years. I would say that I saw the minister as being very engaged. I'm an early riser, especially when I'm on jet lag. I think we were all on jet lag, and I saw him at 6:30 in the morning and I saw him at midnight the same day, and he was working like crazy, like everybody. He participated in one of the so-called contact groups. There's one in which he did not participate, because the chair of the meeting decided to do some cherry-picking as to who would be in that room and did not invite Canada to be there, as it did not invite some of the other G-8 countries to be there.
    But the minister was doing lots of bilaterals at the same time, and I know he met with the Secretary General of the UN also along the way. So I would say yes, the minister was there; yes, he was working obviously pretty hard—he looked pretty tired at the end, like all of us—and I think his participation was conditioned in part by what we talked about here in the past half hour: the fact that Canada has a hard time on that issue in that forum and has had for a while.
    My question to both of you is for more specifics about what your advice was to the minister. Was the minister...? He was very busy, as you've shared—as was everyone—but how often would you meet with the minister, and specifically what kind of advice would you give the minister, and did he listen to you?
     I'm afraid I cannot answer the second question, which I think is really part of the confidentiality of the relationship with a minister of the crown.
    As a group, we met with him at least twice a day, always at a breakfast meeting, and sometimes with him alone and then with him and his officials. We did the same in the evening. Sometimes he asked us to be with him at a specific moment during the day. So we met at least twice a day, sometimes three times, as a group, and of course in the briefing sessions of officials, because we were entitled to go into that room, which was very useful for us to get a sense of how the Canadian delegation was going.
    Individually, I can say I met with the minister over the week, I don't know, 12 or 15 times. I didn't count them, but I did spend 15 minutes here, half an hour there, with him, with one or two of his officials. I also spent a lot of time with the officials.
    Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
    Mr. Morton, could you answer that question too? The minister was attacked by the opposition and media. Do you find he was unfairly attacked? Was it your observation also that he was very busy? Could you share how often you advised him and met with him?
    The minister had a very busy schedule. I concur with all of Pierre Marc's comments.
    The one incident that I think got reported by news media here in Canada was an event Pierre Marc referred to. Canada was actually one of only 30 countries that were part of the Friends of the Chair, and the 30 was short-listed to 20. He went to attend a briefing session and was advised once he arrived that he wasn't able to participate. I think it was reported that he wasn't going to the session and negotiating on Canada's behalf, but in fact the friends, at least for that session, had been shortened from 30 to 20, so Canada couldn't participate in that discussion.
    I saw the minister work extremely hard, and I was fortunate to participate in a series of bilateral meetings. I attended his face-to-face session with Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General. As Pierre Marc said, we had an opportunity to meet with him almost every day at breakfast around seven o'clock, to review the itinerary and provide some thoughts. Obviously each of us brought in different perspectives and expertise. He listened and he considered. There would be opportunities throughout the day when we'd be called on short notice and he would solicit our advice on different subject matters and different issues that he needed to work through along with some of our senior negotiators. I think in some circumstances that advice was taken.
     I would say that he generally made himself available to us. If we were hearing things, either in some of the breakout sessions or in external events, he was extremely receptive. He worked extremely hard over the week, I think, to represent Canada's interests.


    Thank you, Mr. Warawa.
    I've been pretty lenient in terms of the time for every single person on this first round. We're now going into the second round, the five-minutes round. I ask you to keep it at five minutes, and I ask our guests if they could try to keep it as brief as possible so everybody gets an opportunity to ask questions.
    Mr. Scarpaleggia, please.
    Welcome, Mr. Johnson.
     I notice from your biography that you were chair of the foreign policy committee of the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy from 1990 to 1997, so you were obviously appointed by the previous Conservative government.
    I was appointed by Mr. Mulroney, but I also was reappointed by Mr. Chrétien for two years.
     I'm sure that was a very good decision on his part.
    Would you have advised Mr. Chrétien to sign the Kyoto Protocol?
    Probably not, in the form of the level of commitment that was taken then.
    So you did not advise him that Canada should sign on?
    No, because we were at the round table then.
    So even back then, when Kyoto was—
    We were not asked by the Prime Minister if he should sign on or not and how we would elaborate the 6%. We had not, to my knowledge, done in-depth studies of what that would have meant.
    I'm just trying to understand what the role of this foreign policy committee was, if not to advise the Prime Minister who reappointed you as to what he should do with respect to the only international instrument that really existed at the time.
    Anyway, that's fine. You didn't advise him on it, and I take that.


    Well, for the simple reason that foreign policy issues that relate to sustainable development are extraordinarily various and numerous, and the concept of addressing the issue of energy in Canada is one that is politically extraordinarily charged.
    The round table is a neutral body, and precisely because it's neutral it's aware that it has to be careful in not throwing wrenches in the face of the Prime Minister.
    I understand.
    If I could get back to your role in Bali, I am questioning why you were invited. I think I know why you were invited, because of your enormous credibility on the issue, and I think I know why Mary Simon was invited, because of her enormous credibility on the issue, and Elizabeth Dowdeswell, and Mr. Morton. But it sounds almost like you were all just observers there.
    I understand that you don't want to tell us exactly what kind of advice you gave Mr. Baird. And by the way, I don't doubt that Mr. Baird has a lot of energy; the opposition doesn't question that. But could you give us an idea of what kinds of advice you gave, generically speaking? In terms of Canada's decision to commit or to become part of the Bali consensus, that happened on the last day, when you were all on your way back. You said he was extremely well briefed by the officials who were there from Environment Canada, implying that there was no need for you to give additional advice, and so on and so forth. So I'm just trying to get an idea of what kind of generic advice you would give Mr. Baird on these issues.
    I understand exactly your question, and I'm not surprised by it.
    The first thing is that I think the minister recognized that he had not participated in many international conferences before, and it was useful for him to have around him not only officials.... And that's what the officials told us. They were actually happy to see, among others, Elizabeth and I there, because we'd been in the Rio process for many years.
    And how did he benefit from your presence?
    In practice, this allows advice on the process a lot, on timing, on energy well spent, on maybe it's not time to speak to the French—
    You're being very vague, Mr. Johnson.
    —maybe it's better to wait for tomorrow because of what they said.
    That's very vague. Your trip was paid for by the taxpayers of Canada, and I'm not leaving here knowing any more about your role than when I read about it in The Globe and Mail.
    I'd appreciate it if you'd let me answer.
    That was on process. Secondly, on substance, for instance, Bali is considered a fairly positive contribution to the climate change process in the international community. Why? Because a major decision had to be taken on whether we go on two tracks, and what are on these two tracks to get to Copenhagen in 2009?
    That's an evaluation that can be made by officials, and usually is, but it is also a place where one can exercise some political judgment, and I would say the advisers had a role, not in the partisan sense but in the sense of whether this is opportune for ministers to talk with each other rather than leave it to their officials.
    These decisions are not simple to make in international conferences, and I think the presence of some of us around the minister facilitated some of that. But I won't say he wouldn't have done it if we'd not been there. It's very difficult to evaluate that impact. It's for him to say.
     Good. Thank you.
    Mr. Watson, please.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you to our witnesses for appearing today.
    I'm picking up where we left off. From what I understand, Mr. Morton and Mr. Johnson, the importance of your presence there was to depoliticize what's become a very heavily politicized issue. Particularly if you're in the room here today, you can feel that this can be a very politicized issue with a lot of rhetoric around it. Many would read in the newspaper about Canada's obstructionism at Bali, and about the minister being absent, not present. We've heard the NGOs testify saying that this was it, even though they weren't involved in a very direct way.
    Your presence there sort of depoliticizes. What I'm hearing today is very different from what was reported as hearsay by some of the other folks who were around Bali but not really involved in the manner that you were. So your presence here today is very important.
    Mr. Johnson, you said you went to one of the side events, including Mr. Dion's. Mr. Dion, the Liberal leader, the leader of the official opposition, was in Bali publicly criticizing the government as being obstructionist. We've already heard you say that you didn't think that was a fair criticism. Was it helpful to have the leader of the official opposition criticizing a government there? Was it counterproductive? What kind of a dynamic did that introduce to your efforts alongside the minister's to move this issue forward in a productive way?


    I did attend Mr. Dion's presentation in one of the side events, which was called “From Montreal to Copenhage”, at which there were about 75 people coming from various areas. He did make a very substantive contribution to the debate within that context. I didn't follow Mr. Dion when he was giving interviews destined for the Canadian public, which I guess might have been a little different.
    I did hear one day from a journalist who felt that Mr. Dion was a specialist in that area, and I heard someone else saying “Yes, but maybe he also has another agenda”. I guess Mr. Dion indeed had both hats when he went there. In Bali in the formal meetings he did not clobber the Canadian government, but I understand he did a lot on TV.
    More to the point, I just want to follow that through a little bit further. I think it comes back again to the rationale of why you and others were brought along on a trip like this. You're bringing up the very politicization, I think, that strikes at the core of why you guys and ladies were on this trip as advisers to the minister, and there was an effort to do that.
     I think our colleague across the way, Mr. Scarpaleggia, asked what kind of advice you could bring, and I commented across the table to him that it was probably better advice than opposition critics could have brought to the table.
    Point of order.
    Mr. Scarpaleggia.
    I have enormous respect for Mr. Johnson, and I prefaced my remark. I know what kind of advice he could bring, and I think maybe he was underutilized by the minister.
    My question was what kind of advice he ended up giving. It wasn't--
    An hon. member: What's the point of order?
    Okay, go ahead, Mr. Watson. You have a minute left.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thanks to the honourable member for interrupting my train of thought.
    Do you see the kinds of politics that occur here?
    Mr. Geoff Regan: The train is off the track already.
    Mr. Jeff Watson: Thank you, Mr. Regan.
    In your opinion, was it the case, as has been claimed, that Canada was being obstructionist in Indonesia?
    Mr. Morton, I'd like you to answer on that question as well.
     No. I think it's an interpretation.
    Vocabulary has a lot of baggage in the UN. Of course, the Canadian position--and Canada didn't make any secret of the fact--was that going along with Kyoto and leaving only those who are in Kyoto, which represent 30% of emissions in the world, is not sufficient.
    The interpretation made by certain people there, who maybe had an agenda--I don't know, it's not for me to say--was that this was disruptive of the process. I don't think it was, personally. I didn't see this disrupting the process at the UN.
    Second, I had the occasion to speak to a member of the NGO community for whom I have great respect, because he's been around for a while. And I asked if in his head and heart he really believed that a Canadian minister would come to the UN system and try to disrupt it. It's so incompatible with what this country is about, has always been about, and will always be about.
    It's really a matter of perception. In that sense, I believe the minister brought all he could bring in difficult circumstances. Also, he was domestically under the gun quite a bit. I know the stat there, because he didn't only have friends there among the Canadian groups. I noted that very specifically. Some people intervened towards him in what was a pretty impolite and not very gentle way. But I understand that the NGOs had a couple of axes to grind also, including the fact that they were not formally part of the delegation, which was a pretty big change compared to the years before.
    I did bring up that issue with the minister. His answer was--and I think he said it publicly, which is why I feel comfortable saying it--that the reason the NGOs were not in the delegation was that the year before, in Nairobi, the NGOs didn't respect the basic rules of participation. The basic rule of NGO participation in Canadian official delegations is that when you have access to official briefings, you don't get out of that room and talk to journalists or mount a campaign against whoever brought you into that room. It's an informal rule, which is just a common-sense rule.
    NGOs, which have access to briefing materials, in some countries, like the Nordic countries, and Canada does it a lot, sometimes Great Britain, but not really France, and many others--


    Mr. Johnson, I hate to cut you off....
    I'm sorry. I'll finish on that, if I may.
    NGOs that do have access can exercise much more leadership in the NGO community in these conferences, and they're respected for that.
    We'll go to Mr. Lussier, please.


    Mr. Chair, my first question is for Mr. Johnson.
    You know that the European Union has signed an agreement on how countries will commonly manage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The European agreement is a model, I think, of how responsibility can be shared among countries. It is a responsible and even-handed agreement, which was signed in 1997.
    Why is it that a similar agreement has not been copied in Canada, and why has this country not promoted similar agreements between the provinces and territories? In your view, what was lacking in Canadian discussions?
    One day, when I was at one of those conferences, I had the opportunity to meet Fidel Castro. In the course of a conversation which lasted only a few minutes, Mr. Castro asked me why I thought Latin America had not managed to unite despite speaking the same language, except for Brazil, whereas the Europeans, despite their diversity, had managed to do so. I replied that it was easier to unite a diverse group of countries, particularly when they want to avoid war; the Europeans have gone through two wars, so they managed to find a compromise. I believe that there needs to be a great willingness among the parties—and it often comes by virtue of the potential threat of brutal conflict—to reach agreement on many issues. But that is not the case of Canada.
    Did you ever see the provinces wanting to come together?
    Yes. Today, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, and even some of the larger municipalities, definitely want to do something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That is the right way to put it. True, that has not happened yet in Canada. Why not? Mr. Lussier, I think you are in a better position than me to answer that question. But as an outside observer, what I see is Alberta's oil production and its oil sands, which greatly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. I also see the nuclear industry in Ontario and hydroelectric power in Manitoba and Quebec. Now try getting all these people together in one room, and then get them to agree on something, and you will see that is not easy. Again, people need to really have an incentive to find common ground, otherwise they all go their own way, which is what is happening now.


    Mr. Johnson, you attended a parallel event where the issue of carbon sequestration was discussed. Who was there?
    There were about a hundred people in attendance, most of whom were Canadians. Many represented NGOs, and many more were members of the Canadian Youth Delegation, I believe.
    Who gave the presentation?
    I was asked to chair this event, to be the moderator, to introduce the three panellists and to moderate the discussion.
    Were these three experts?
    In fact, they were three industry representatives, experts in the field of carbon sequestration. They spoke about the importance of this type of technology.
    Did they represent the oil sector?
    One of them represented the oil industry and the two others were experts in carbon sequestration technology.
    I am interested in a second event, that Mr. Baird was unable to attend, when the famous government plan was presented.
    Who made the presentation?
    There was none. It was on that same evening. Mr. Baird was to have closed the event and I was told he could not attend.
    Mr. Morton, your CV states that you are the father of two boys, Jackson and Charlie. You represent a number of groups that are active in the fight against greenhouse gases and you talk about healthy homes in Canada.
    What is the attitude of youth with respect to the mission you had been given in Bali? Have you been criticized?


     Mr. Chairman, I'm unilingual, so could you maybe have that question translated for me?
    Basically, I think he was referring to your sons and their involvement in various environmental movements and groups. I think Mr. Lussier wonders if, when you go home at night, you get into discussions or arguments with them.
    I think that's a fair translation, Mr. Lussier?
    My children are nine and six.
    Oh, they're young.
    They're very young. We read to them, and we involve them in local ravine cleanups.
    My business is about making change and having a positive difference. I would be happy to meet with Mr. Lussier and explain the work we have done over my career. I think the work we have done and continue to deliver across Canada for many communities has been awarded and well acknowledged for how it's reducing climate emissions and works closely with business.
    I personally am very concerned about the future of our planet. That's really why I set up my business and employ so many people in Canada, and now we are growing into the United States. This is a fundamental issue for future generations, and I care very deeply about the health of our planet and obviously the opportunity that presents for Canada to take a leadership role.
     Thank you, Mr. Morton.
    I guess I'd love to answer your question too, Mr. Lussier, because I have older kids at home, and certainly we get into great debate. A couple, even, are PhDs and they really get into debate. Anyway, we'll talk about it some time.
    Mr. Harvey.


    Mr. Johnson, based on what you see today and the fact that you have been here for several years, do you believe the Chrétien government was prudent and realistic when it signed the Kyoto Protocol?
    I have only got five minutes so I would ask you to respond briefly, as I have other questions to ask.
    I will simply say this: it did not work out.


    I spoke to officials in the Department of Finance. I was told that a cost assessment was done in 1993, but that there was no study before 1997 to assess the drop of 6% below 1990 levels.
    To my knowledge, it happened when Mr. Clinton appeared before the United Nations. I believe he announced a 5% drop. He could have announced 25%, but he knew full well that the American senate would not adopt it. Obviously it was easy for him to set out a figure.
    In Canada on the other hand, when the Prime Minister takes a position on a treaty, it is adopted. By definition he controls the cabinet. If there is a cabinet, there has been a vote of confidence. In this case there has been no vote of confidence before Parliament.
    The issues really revolve around oil sands, transport and industry. With respect to oil sands, the solution is nuclear energy. We need to have enough energy for the extraction process. There is also carbon capture and storage. It remains to be seen whether or not we are advanced enough from a technological standpoint for that to make any sense.
    Moreover, the industrial sector is responsible for 43% of the emissions in Canada. We are going to have to crack down harder. I assume that would happen in time, at least I hope so. Finally, there is automobile transport. You are talking about people's habits, at home or elsewhere. Changing our lifestyle habits is not easy, but that is the key issue. For my part, not only would I like to see public awareness-raising campaigns, but I would also like to see tax instruments used to help change people's behaviours.
    Perhaps you are aware of the bill that has been tabled on that issue. It is Bill C-377, which asks for a 53% reduction by 2020. We asked Mr. Layton whether he had done any financial feasibility studies.
    What do you think of that?
    I would like to see us as be effective as most European countries. We have not gotten there yet. The real issue is knowing when we will and under what conditions. In our case, these conditions are directly related to our proximity to the United States. That is the reason why I reiterate my point of view that in order to address this situation, there needs to be an agreement between the large emitters. That is where we have a part to play.
    Kyoto is a fundamental symbol of progress for humanity, but we have to go beyond that debate, even though it is important. The future also has to do with everything that remains to be negotiated. Taking a stand based only on Kyoto requirements would mean bypassing the major issues.
    Mr. Morton, you can't hear the interpretation.


    Yes, he has translation.


    Yes? Are you all right, Mr. Morton?


    I'm sorry, are you asking...? I missed the question.
    Are you able to give me an answer about the last discussion?
     I heard you provide a bit of the background. Are you asking me about my perspective on what is required from a domestic action plan?
    It's hard for me to hear.
    I think basically what Mr. Harvey wants to know is what your opinion on that 20% reduction is.
    You can give it in English, and Mr. Harvey will get it in French.


    As was stated earlier, and the minister indicated this in Bali, Canada needs to strengthen its domestic plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a number of experts have stated that it will be very difficult for Canada to achieve its targets with the current policy framework that's been put forward.
    I'm not promoting myself as an expert in public policy, but I think it's clear that Canada will require a significant investment in energy efficiency improvements, in standards and guidelines that are going to dramatically improve the efficiencies of our vehicles and fleets, our appliance standards, and houses and buildings. We're also going to need to have an aggressive renewable energy plan and ultimately put a value on carbons. I'm not proposing taxes, but I think that until the emission has a value—it's currently valueless—it's going to be very difficult over the long term to reduce emissions to the level that's going to be required to meet the 80% reduction by 2050.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you, Mr. Harvey.
    Ms. Bennett.
    Thank you very much.
    I'd just like to go back to the beginning, to how the delegation was comprised. You mentioned that in Nairobi there was a view that the role of the NGOs was less than positive. Was there feedback on the role of opposition MPs on that trip?
    No, I didn't hear about it. I did hear an expression about the Minister of Environment in Nairobi being transformed into a piñata. I heard that expression.
    But the piñata, I think, was the media, not the opposition MPs.
    No, I didn't talk about the opposition MPs; I talked about the NGOs. What was said was that in Nairobi someone in the NGO groups did not abide by the usual rule about discretion on briefings with officials and ministers; that's all.
    The decision not to take opposition MPs to Bali seemed nothing to totally unprecedented, without—
    Yes, I'm unaware of it.
    I'm going to give the questions back to Mr. McGuinty, but in terms of Stéphane Dion's presentation there, you said he was viewed as an expert and that it was a substantial presentation. Can you just explain why, then, you are saying he's wearing two hats? I guess my view would be that Stéphane Dion was speaking on behalf of his opinion of what's best for the planet.
    That's what Monsieur Dion did in that forum. In that side event, indeed, he talked about the process from Montreal to Copenhagen and some of the issues that would come up in the process. But I also saw Monsieur Dion giving interviews on television, to Radio-Canada and others, in which there was no doubt in my mind that it was the leader of the opposition speaking. I always understood, having myself been a leader of the opposition where I come from, that the first job of a leader of the opposition is to try to replace the man who's the prime minister, and I guess that obeys other types of rules than talking in general terms to a general audience in the UN.
    That's what I'm saying. With all the respect I have for Monsieur Dion, whom I know quite well as a colleague in different things through our lives, Monsieur Dion, I wanted to state, was not disruptive in front of the conference about Canada. But at the same time, I believe he had a couple of things in mind when he was talking to Canadian journalists.


    Were you involved in the Montreal meeting at all?
    No, I was not. Monsieur Dion did not invite me to that.
    Thanks, Ms. Bennett.
    We'll go to Mr. Vellacott, please.
    I have questions for Mr. Johnson initially, and our guest by remote, as well.
    This mention of the very strong criticisms by some of the NGOs coming out of Nairobi may be somewhat unprecedented in respect to the minister. My understanding is that it's not customary, not normal. You can respond on that.
    I've been a member of Parliament for eleven years, and I've travelled on some overseas delegations and so on. In your vast experience as a premier of a province and knowing the proper process and protocol, is it customary when you go off to these international events as opposition members to be critiquing the government and having these split positions and so on? It's something that seems to me to be novel--different, certainly. I'd appreciate your response to that. With respect to Mr. Dion going off and presenting a position...I don't know that it's customary for that to happen. I guess that's my question.
    First to Mr. Johnson.
    We often see, especially in the parliamentary system, but the U.S. also does it, that members of the opposition are invited to attend these meetings. From what I've seen, but I haven't seen everything, usually the rule is that they're there to be informed of what's going on. And usually there's a minimal transposition of domestic issues in the international forum, even with the local domestic press. Even though I was not in Nairobi, I saw its impacts in the papers here. I was struck by the fact that Canada looked profoundly divided, when I looked at the papers two years ago. That was unusual, because I'd often seen delegations with members of the opposition and that image never came back. I'm not saying this came from the members of Parliament who were there, but obviously the NGO community had a lot to say.
    When I've been on delegations overseas--and maybe I've been too polite--I was always to some degree deferential to the prevailing Liberal government position of the day. I sometimes choked on it, but whatever--
    That's the right word. There's a certain “deference” that is given to the government position. I think that's usually how it works. When people come back, then they hit it off in Parliament.
    Oh, sure. Obviously.
    I'm just saying that it seemed different and rather irregular, if you will, from my more limited experience compared to yours.
    It's less usual.
    Less usual, yes.
     As I said, it doesn't seem to represent and portray the country well. I think it looks bad on the country. Come back and argue all you want within your boundaries--that has been more my understanding of it.
    Mr. Morton, do you have any comment?
    I don't have any comments on that question.
     Okay, thank you very much.
    Thank you, Mr. Vellacott.
    If I could, just briefly, I can't resist, simply because of having been involved so many times and been to so many COP meetings, and of course having been in Johannesburg and having an opportunity to talk to Mr. Chrétien about what he was about to do, then having the opportunity to come back and give my position as to what I felt back here in Canada, in Parliament.
    I want to also add that Mr. Wilfert and I spent this past week in Brazil. Three of those days were in Brasilia, talking about the G-8+5, because Brazil is one of those, and about the next meeting in Japan, where we will be sending that final communiqué--it's a three-year process that Tony Blair set up. These communiqués are worked on months and months in advance. There are hyphenated parts, and on the last day it's usually one inch of hyphenated part that's being debated; the rest has been agreed to. I know you've been there, Mr. Johnson, many times. That's how it goes.
    I think, really, where it's at is that as discussed this past week, carbon capture and storage is what the world is really counting on. It's what those G-8+5 members and the European Union are really counting on. And the emphasis we should put on that.... That's 76% of the emissions. If those 13 countries don't get onside and do something, we're in big trouble. Of course, we're one of those countries, and I can say that I think we're going to play a really big role in that area. That's something you brought up, and I just think the members should realize just how significant a role.... We have a great opportunity to be leaders. Whether we get there or not I don't know, but we have a great huge opportunity as Canadians, collectively. I would love to see this whole committee agree that these are the solutions, let's work on them together to come up with that achievement. That would be a huge thing for this environment committee to achieve. I hope we can think about that.
    What I would like to do now is go to Mr. McGuinty, then to Mr. Warawa, and that should pretty well take our time. And Mr. Bigras for a couple of minutes, because we do have to be out of this room at 5:30, as I mentioned at the start.
    Mr. McGuinty, sharp questions, five minutes.


    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Mr. Johnson and Mr. Morton, I apologize for the questions I have to put to you. I have to put to you some fairly straight-shooting questions, and I need fairly quick answers.
    I will say, as the official opposition critic, that I do not accept that the four eminent persons who attended the meeting in Bali should come to this committee and tell the committee that they're not in a position to tell us what they advised the minister. There is no pecuniary contractual relationship here. I have in front of me the letters of appointments, Dr. Johnson and Mr. Morton. There is no, as you say, payment. There is no lawyer-client or solicitor privilege. You're not public servants who are bound by the Public Service Act. I don't accept for a moment that you're not in a position to tell the Canadian public. This trip cost $45,000. That's $10,000 more than the average income in my home province of Ontario this year.
    What I would like to know is, have you provided any written advice or have you been asked to provide a written report to the minister on the $45,000 it cost to have you participate in Bali?
    This committee's job is to hold the government to account.
    I just think it's important for Canadians to know that the government is not prepared to let us know what advice the panellists have provided to it. I'm not sure why the panellists are not prepared to share with Canadians, who have paid for their participation, what actually happened there. That's my first point I want to get on the record.
    My second point, Dr. Johnson, is a more difficult point. Were you aware of the fact that while you were in Bali the minister was on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen, not once, but on two consecutive days, linked to a bribery case here with the city of Ottawa's mayor? Were you aware of that--on major headlines, the upper and lower folds? Did you see or hear anything about that discussion during your time in Bali?
    Mr. Johnson, I think you can decide if you want to answer that. That's going a little further than our mandate here.
     I think it speaks to the performance of the minister.
    First of all, Mr. McGuinty, I had access to secret cabinet documentation in the exchanges with the minister. In these circumstances I'm not going to reveal one word of what happened with the minister because of that, unless he himself said something publicly. That explains why I'm not going to go further on that.
    Were you sworn in, Mr. Johnson?


    In my case, it's serment d'office. I don't know, maybe my other colleagues were, but in my case, it's serment d'office because of my previous position. When I have access to secret documents of cabinet, I keep them for myself and whatever happened after that.
    Secondly, on the other questions, yes, I did hear about some domestic concern about the minister at some point. I know some of his energy was accaparé by this at some point, but I can tell you that it did not come up in our meetings. We didn't discuss it. I actually heard about it from one of his staffers. He did not volunteer any comments on it.
    Mr. Johnson, you talked about the G-8+5 , Gleneagles +5, Indonesia, South Korea, Australia, the Bali road map, and you basically said that in your view it is more beneficial for Canada to pursue that route while maintaining a watching brief over the United Nations negotiations.
    The government's statements to the G-8+5 have been perfectly consistent that there shall be no hard targets, calling for aspirational targets. Those speeches have been given on the floor of the UN, they've been given at the meetings of the G-8+5. Do you think that this is—
    An hon. member: That's not true.
    Mr. David McGuinty: It's not true? I'm sorry. I read the Prime Minister's speech to the floor of the United Nations, and he talked about aspirational targets.
    Maybe there, but not at the G-8+5.
    Can you comment on that question of aspirational targets?
    Furthermore, in Bali, was there another single nation-state that has unilaterally changed the terms and conditions of the international treaty called Kyoto, the protocol that attaches to the UNFCCC, by changing the baseline from 1990 to 2006 and announcing publicly that we shall not even attempt to meet our targets? Has any other nation-state done so?
    On your second question, I do not know. I haven't heard about it, so maybe it's because there isn't one.
    On the first question, may I submit modestly, Mr. Chairman, to this committee that the real question is how to get China and India in. It's a matter of being pragmatic.
    We know that humanity will not be able to face climate change other than by adaptation if the major economies do not participate in limitations of emissions. We know that. So you start from there.
    How do we get there? I think the Bali process is indeed important, but at the same time it would be a huge mistake not to use the MEM process to go forward. It's a form that is much more amenable, I think, to making strides at this point in time, and that can be remarkably useful for Bali. Hopefully what will happen in Japan, then further in Italy next year, and eventually in Canada in 2010, will bring the world forward on these issues.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Warawa, please.
     Thank you, Chair.
    When the members of the committee asked for the costs incurred by Environment Canada for the eminent advisers to go to COP 13 in Bali, I then asked for that. That figure was provided today for the members. The total was $44,252.
    In the spirit of being transparent and open, I also asked for the cost of having opposition members go to COP 12. For Mr. Godfrey from the Liberals, Mr. Bigras from the Bloc, and Mr. Cullen from the NDP, it was $53,000. I was very pleased with the results of having eminent advisers advise the minister, particularly after what happened at COP 12, at which there were vicious attacks from some members of the opposition against the government. We've heard that is not the norm.
    So, Chair, I would like to get back on the.... This is in response to some questions and comments from Mr. McGuinty. I would like to ask Mr. Johnson and Mr. Morton about the continued comments on the importance of achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions globally. The environment does not respect politics that we see here in Canada or any other country. Emissions will go up if we continue to increase our emissions; for them to come down globally, the world has to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
    Mr. Johnson, you've been involved with this for years, and your recommendation was the G-8+5 as a post-Kyoto. What part do you see Kyoto playing in the post-2012 situation?


    Well, Kyoto will be the important reference for fast-developing countries pushing under the argument of equity, and the argument of equity is fundamental. These countries tell us that in 150 years of industrial revolution, you created the problem, we didn't, so why should we now pay for your problem? That's called Kyoto.
    When you look at the facts and the projections of emissions in the next 20 years, concentrations of carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide equivalent will peak at more than what is souhaitable, and then we'll have to come to stabilization at 450 parts per million. It's going to take everybody's cooperation to get there, and we're at the very beginning, parodoxically, of this process. When you look at the curves and at the difference between the demand and the offer of liquid fuels, you see that's going to be conducive to going to coal. You can see the numbers in the next 20 years. It's frightening.
    We have to be credible, but also we all have to be there, and we have to take the means to get there together.
    I'd love to hear from Mr. Morton. I think I still have a couple of minutes left--
    No, you have about 30 seconds.
    Well, I think Mr. Bigras would like to have a couple of words.
    Yes, he would. Thank you very much.
    Go ahead, Mr. Bigras.


    Yes, Mr. Chair. I would like to take this opportunity to tell the government that it can rest assured that I will be in Copenhagen, and get there on my own steam, as has already been done in the past by our party. We shouldered our responsibilities, we were there.
    There is one thing I would like to say: I do not want to defend the Liberals, but all of the previous environment ministers, and I have been a member since 1997, from Mr. Anderson to Ms. Stewart, and even the former prime minister, had the decency to invite members of the opposition along on each occasion, and that was done out of mutual respect.
    So, when the opposition is being charged with wanting to torpedo the government, that is completely false. We are acting responsibly, on the opposition side. Perhaps we can also mention that we represent the majority in Parliament and believe that the opinion we have defended internationally, from Nairobi to Bali, is one that is shared by most Quebeckers and Canadians. No government will be able to stop opposition members, parliamentarians, from attending international conferences. We will be there next time. If we have to denounce our government, we will do that.
    That was my only comment on this matter. We are now anticipating tomorrow's budget.


     I'm not sure how our guests would answer that question.
     Mr. McGuinty is next, on a point of order.
    On a point of order, we've received copies of letters on Environment Canada letterhead appointing Dr. Johnson and three other participants on this eminent persons panel. The clerk tells me he's been assured by the minister's staff person that the original invitations were sent out by e-mail. There is no date on this letter.
    I request, and would like to see here by the next meeting, the original e-mails that were sent to the four eminent persons with the proper dates on them. I'd like to know for sure when these invitation letters were sent out, because I don't believe that a letter would be sent out in paper form without proper dating. You do not appoint anyone in the Government of Canada—I know this is a form of deputy minister equivalent—even as a participant in a meeting like this without salary or consulting fees, without clear beginning and ending dates.


    We'll make that request.
     I'd like confirmation that we're going to get the original e-mails that were sent to the four members by the next meeting.
    Okay, we'll request them. We've been assured by the member that we'll get them.
    That's fine.
    I'd like to thank both of our witnesses. You can see that we're a very friendly group and we get along very well. I've enjoyed this because of my long participation in it, so thank you very much.
    The meeting is adjourned.