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Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development



Thursday, November 29, 2007

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



    This meeting of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development will come to order. This meeting is held today pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), a study of Canada's position in advance of the United Nations climate change conference to be held in Bali.
    We're pleased today to welcome the Minister of the Environment, the Honourable John Baird.
    Mr. Baird, if I understand it, your plan is to speak for 30 minutes or less and then to entertain questions for an hour and a half.
    I'll ask you to introduce the officials with you, but Mr. Cullen has already asked whether you have copies of the presentation, which we see on the screens behind me, in English and French.
    Those are visual aids, not a presentation.
    I am sure the committee would be delighted to have copies of the visual aids, if you could provide them, perhaps, after the meeting.
    We will begin with your presentation, Minister, and then we will go to questions. As you know, during the question time, the time allotted to the members is their time, and of course they can use it to ask questions or to make statements.
    Mr. Baird, the floor is yours.
    Thank you very much.
    At the outset, let me say that I'm joined today by the Associate Deputy Minister of the Environment, Ian Shugart; and the Assistant Deputy Minister for International Affairs, David McGovern. I thank them for coming.


    Good afternoon, colleagues. It is of course a great pleasure for me to be here with you today.


    Thank you for the kind invitation. As always, I look forward to working with the members of the House of Commons environment committee.
    As you know, next week the world will convene in Indonesia for the thirteenth United Nations climate change conference. It's obvious that in the lead-up to those meetings, Canadians too should be informed on where their government stands on what the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls the defining challenge of our age. It's also the reason I find myself before this committee today ready to discuss Canada's position in Indonesia and what our government hopes to accomplish.


    But first, let me remind the committee of the current context in which Canada—and indeed the world—find themselves.
    Mr. Chairman, the world is at a turning point. The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the previous reports issued earlier this year make that point abundantly clear.
    The simple fact that of the matter is this. Failure to fight climate change is not an option. As Canadians, we have a responsibility not only at home but to the world to take action. And the world also needs to do its part together in the fight.
    Otherwise, we face an uncertain future in a changing climate.


    The picture may look bleak to some, but I believe strongly that humanity and human ingenuity must face this challenge head-on. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly visible, including right here at home in Canada. For example, we've lost large areas of our majestic boreal forest because hotter and dryer summer weather has created conditions that are perfect for forest fires. In the British Columbia interior, destructive pine beetles that thrive in the mild conditions of recent years are expected to have ravaged 50% of the province's mature pine trees by next year. In the north, we see real evidence of climate change: buckled roads, schools falling off foundations, and significant infrastructure crumbling, all because of the rapidly melting permafrost. In urban areas, our most vulnerable citizens—children, the elderly, and those with respiratory problems in particular—are fighting through more and more smog days.
    This is just the Canadian perspective. Elsewhere in the world, climate change is just as aggressive, with consequences just as serious as those we're seeing here in Canada.
    The scientific evidence is there, and I believe it's real, but what's encouraging in all of this is that the world is finally taking the science seriously. More countries than ever before are signing on to the fight against climate change, and Canada is certainly one of them.
    This government is unwilling to stand on the sidelines limiting ourselves to playing a cheerleading role like the previous government. In fact, we've already been active on the global stage in shaping the post-2012 climate change regime. At this spring's meeting of the G8 leaders in Germany, Canada was a critical bridge-builder in helping countries find common ground between those in the European Union and the United States.



    In Germany, we were able to come up with a language that calls for setting a long-term global goal for emission reductions involving all major emitters. This is a big step forward, particularly when considering that this is the first time the United States has shown any flexibility in agreeing to a long-term goal.
    For its part, Canada's government counts itself proud and privileged to have played a leading role in the negotiations. Our approach at the G8 was founded on our domestic commitment to reduce emissions by 60% to 70% by 2050, a plan that was welcomed by other G8 nations.


    We made similar progress during meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum earlier this fall. APEC members account for 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And they include two of the largest emitters: the United States and China. In Sydney, APEC leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and they aligned a set of principles to underpin an effective post-2012 climate change regime that would include real action by all emitters to achieve shared global goals.
    Mr. Chair, the post-2012 climate change regime must include all major emitters, for a variety of reasons. I'll go to chart 2. If you look at this chart, you will see that by 2050, if the developed world reduces its emissions by 100%, greenhouse gases will continue to skyrocket because of the enormous growth of emissions in the developing world. That's why we need to get countries like China and India on board to accept their responsibilities and to reduce emissions. The fact is that those developed countries that accepted greenhouse gas reductions under the Kyoto Protocol will be responsible for only 18% of emissions.
    In 2004, Canada represented only about 2% of the world's emissions. Go to chart 4 for that one. This number is expected to decline based on our government's actions and on actions throughout the country. But emissions in India and China, for example, are on the upswing, and the Chinese are expected to account for nearly 23% of all global emissions by 2050. Even if Canada were to eliminate all its greenhouse gas emissions, China would replace every last ounce of them within 18 months. Even if we eliminate only 10% of our emissions, it would take China only 60 days to replace them.
    Mr. Chair, based on the evidence, we can draw one simple conclusion: where greenhouse gas emissions are concerned, the status quo does not equal progress. If we expect to succeed in protecting the environment, all major emitters must be ready, like Canada, to act and to act now. This is the message that Canada's delegation will be bringing to Indonesia next week. We are optimistic that the world will heed our call that any post-2012 agreement must include all major emitters.
     But we're also realistic. Let us be clear about what the world should expect from the UN climate change conference. Many agree, including the United Nations, that the conference represents the best start towards negotiations on the post-2012 agreement—the start, not the end. The members of the opposition environmental groups would have Canadians believe that a post-Kyoto deal will be hammered out and that Canada will be a holdout. This is simply false.
    The truth is simple, and it's clear. The Indonesian meeting will build the foundation for a process and a timeline to negotiate a post-2012 deal. Canada will work very hard to define a process for a post-2012 agreement that requires greenhouse gas emissions cuts by all major emitters, no matter if they are in the developed or the developing world. Greenhouse gases know no borders and affect everyone on this planet, and that's why a deal must apply to all nations.
    Progress comes in steps when we're dealing with treaties that bring together various degrees of international opinion. Canada will work towards a successful conclusion in Indonesia. Our country's broad position going into the conference is clear and is based upon three points: the world must come together to agree to launch negotiations on a post-2012 agreement; there must be an agreement on what the building blocks of a future agreement would be; and finally, there must be an agreement on an end date for negotiations. Canada will be pushing for 2009.



    Let me repeat that in French. Canada will work toward a successful conclusion in Indonesia. Our country's broad position going into the conference is clear and based upon three key points: the world must come together and agree to launch negotiations on a post-2012 agreement; there must be an agreement on what the building blocks of a future agreement would be; and there must be an agreement on an end date for negotiations. Canada will be pushing for an end date of 2009.


     These goals are outlined and shared by Yvo de Boer, the executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. These are his goals, and Canada accepts them.
    These are fair, balanced, and reasonable goals to achieve in Indonesia. We must remember that the Kyoto Protocol was launched a full five years after the 1992 Rio earth summit. Today we just don't have that kind of time, and that is why Canada is seeking a speedier timeline.
    Mr. Chair, let me just say again that Canada will participate in any process to fight climate change that leads to an agreement that includes all the major emitters. We believe that this is critical. Failure to include major emitters in any post-2012 agreement will set the world down a path that leads absolutely nowhere.
    Canada's position on what any post-2012 agreement should look like has been clear and concise. The Prime Minister has made this clear at the G8, at the APEC summit, at the United Nations, and at the recent Commonwealth summit. Any long-term post-2012 agreement must include the major emitting countries, such as China, India, and the United States.
    Let me go to slide 6. As you know, a prime minister once said:
I've always indicated that when it comes to the future, we have to get developing countries onboard, and for the second commitment ensure that developing countries also accept commitments. That's what we believe is necessary, because we need to have both the major emitters from the developed world onboard as well as the developing countries....
     That's of course the Australian Prime Minister-elect, who will become Prime Minister on Monday.
    He is not the only one. Let me go to slide 7: “It makes no sense for Canada--which emits two per cent of the world's greenhouse gases--to ratify a treaty forcing deep cuts unless the largest nations sign.” That was in 1997, just before the Kyoto summit.


    Mr. Chairman, as my colleague Line Beauchamp, Quebec's Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks said—we believe that targets have to be imposed on everyone, and that all countries have to take part in the fight against climate change, including the United States and emerging economies like China and India.


    Mr. Chair, our Prime Minister has been clear that any post-2012 agreement must be fair and realistic, without placing unfair burdens on any one country. It must be long-term and flexible, and it must have a balanced approach that preserves economic growth and protects our environment.
    So in Indonesia, Canada's delegation will be actively engaging with the international community. We will work to ensure that negotiations will produce an agreement to satisfy these principles.
    I'm pleased to say today that our delegation will be joined by a team of eminent advisers from Canada to provide advice and assistance to the delegation and to me personally as Minister of the Environment. These advisers will be announced in the coming days and will bring a great deal of experience and expertise across many issues, including the environment, health, industry, first nations, and the north.
    The advisers will attend many of the conference sessions and advise me on a wide range of issues, including the most appropriate framework for negotiating a post-2012 agreement, the implementation and promotion of green technology and how Canada can contribute, the role of developed and developing nations in any post-2012 agreement, the impact of climate change on the north, and the role of adaptation in responding to climate change.



    In addition, the Canadian delegation will have significant representation from a number of provinces like Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and others who have an interest in the outcome of this conference. I am pleased that many of my provincial colleagues will be joining me in Indonesia.
    And, Mr. Chairman, when we are in Indonesia, we will take every opportunity to discuss our Turning the Corner Action Plan to cut greenhouse gases by an absolute 20% by 2020, and by up to 60% to 70% by 2050, as well as cutting air pollution by up to 50% by 2015. No other country in the world is doing more in such a short time to tackle greenhouse gases and air pollution.


    We feel very comfortable in taking this role, particularly in light of the leadership position we've assumed within the international community. We also feel that our domestic record gives us the credibility that Canada, under the previous government, lacked for far too long.
    The fact is that in 2005, our greenhouse gas emissions were 33% above our Kyoto targets under the leadership of the previous government. As you know, I can expect to hear some criticism from some, as I have in the past. The fact is that those feelings know no bounds when it comes to fighting climate change. For many years, we've had far too many people in this country talk, and talk, and talk, at the same time doing nothing. I can count a good number of plans that came forward, but very little action. Four different plans were discussed by the previous government, and what was the result? A massive rise in greenhouse gases to the point where we have blown our Kyoto targets by 33%. I believe the C.D. Howe Institute called this strategy “burning our money to warm the planet”.
    The point is that the previous government went to too many United Nations climate change conferences for years and preached to the world while all along, at home, the previous government deliberately undermined real action on climate change. This government will not sit here today and listen to lectures from people who have no credibility on this file. And if you look at some of my predecessors on this issue--if you go to slide 11--the Minister of Finance could never find money for Kyoto, which was a terrible disappointment to me.
    Slide 12 shows another one of my predecessors. I remember very well when Prime Minister Chrétien actually endorsed Kyoto. He called me before he went to South Africa, because he was getting tremendous push-back from the bureaucracy, the Department of Finance, the former Minister of Finance, Paul Martin, and all of those attached to the natural resources, including Mr. Goodale and Anne McLellan. They were viciously against Kyoto.
    The fact is that this government is taking real action on cleaning up the environmental mess left behind by members of our own Parliament. Mr. Chair, I won't take responsibility for the previous government's horrible record on climate change and the way it has embarrassed Canada on the world stage. I can't turn the hands of time back and meet our Kyoto targets, which start in just 33 days, but we are prepared to take action and move aggressively in the coming years.
    Our plan will put Canada on the path towards real greenhouse gas reductions. For the first time ever, Canada's federal government is requiring industry to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution by putting in place strict mandatory targets. This is an unprecedented step in Canada, and I think the voluntary approach, simply put, has not worked.
    When we talk about climate change in Canada, we need to recognize that we are in a unique position when it comes to fighting climate change, perhaps unique in the world. We are the second largest country in the world. Our towns and cities are spread out across thousands of kilometres. Our climate is essentially a cold climate. The fact is it takes energy for Canadians to carry out their daily tasks: to go to work, to take their kids to hockey and piano lessons, to keep the economy moving. And yes, we are blessed with precious natural resources, which make Canada an emerging energy superpower.
    We also want to make sure that Canadian jobs in a variety of industries stay right here in Canada. The government doesn't want to see companies shut down operations. We don't want to see jobs move out of Canada because of our tough regulations and move to China, where there would be no regulations.
    Unlike many other countries, we don't have a burden-sharing option or a collapsing rely on, and I think that's a good thing. We saw last week at the Commonwealth the tactics of some countries that would prefer to engage in political posturing rather than getting serious on fighting climate change with an agreement that gets the major emitters on board. We will actually have to cut greenhouse gases to achieve our targets. The fact is that our actions are tough, but they are also balanced. They will lead to absolute reductions in Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and immediate benefits for the health of our citizens.
    In response to our action plan, we have heard from supporters and detractors alike. Their opinions from either side tell me we've struck the right balance between the perfection that some environmentalists are seeking and the status quo that others in the industry are seeking to protect.
    Believe it or not, Mr. Chair, it is possible to simultaneously grow the economy and drastically cut down on harmful greenhouse gases and air pollutants. It's possible provided that the rules are directed and enforced evenly upon all major emitters and as long as all parts of our economy, from transportation to oil and gas, to smelting and mining, are required to reduce their emissions and the air pollution that they create. We have developed a plan, one that sets stringent rules and regulations, but one that also opens the window for more creative development on the part of various companies that power our economy.


    Here I want to make it clear that when we put together these stringent regulations, we didn't do so blindly. In fact, still today we're working with industry and environmental groups to get the regulations right.
    Next is slide 15. Groups like the Sierra Club, the Pembina Institute, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Climate Action Network, as well as some industry groups, wrote to the Prime Minister this summer and said, “The Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions recently announced by your government is a regulatory initiative of a scale and complexity that may be unprecedented in federal history.” I was happy to meet with representatives from these groups and from industry together this summer, and we're working together on a way forward to cut emissions.
    This government also recognizes the significant actions that provinces and territories are taking to promote clean air and address climate change. To assist them in their efforts, we have set up a $1.5 billion trust fund to support provincial and territorial governments. It is intended to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution.
    We believe that Canada can be a clean energy superpower and we want to develop that green technology right here at home--unlike the previous administration, which wanted to ship billions of Canadians' tax dollars to buy hot air credits from Russia. Just what was that money going for?
    For example, British Columbia will be getting $200 million to help support the construction of a hydrogen highway. Alberta and Saskatchewan are getting about $200 million to focus on carbon capture and storage. The Province of Ontario is getting $586 million to help close down the coal-fired plants in the province of Ontario. The maritime provinces are getting about $92 million to focus on tidal and wave power.


    Quebec is getting $350 million to help it fight climate change. That is $25 million more than Premier Charest requested.


    But green technology isn't enough. We've also acknowledged that we will have the responsibility to clean up a legacy of contaminated federal sites, with $214 million to clean up 279 high-priority sites.
    This government also believes that conservation plays a key role in preventing climate change by preserving our natural heritage. Just last week we announced we were setting aside possibly the largest amount of land set aside in Canadian history: the east arm of Great Slave Lake, and the Ramparts River and wetlands. Mr. Chair, this is an area about twice the size of your home province of Nova Scotia.
    We also took action by announcing a massive expansion of the Nahanni National Park Reserve, the creation of Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, and $30 million in federal funding to protect the Great Bear Rainforest in northern British Columbia, right in the riding of our colleague Nathan Cullen.
    Mr. Chair, I only mention these accomplishments among so many others to underscore how committed this government is to the environment and to conservation. I mention them as well to re-emphasize that what we have done at home has gained us credibility abroad--enough credibility, I might add, to feel confident in asking the international community to accept our position that any post-2012 framework on climate change must include major emitters.
    The road toward reaching this agreement will obviously be long and bumpy. In fact, I harbour no illusions that we will sign a new treaty quickly or without heated debate and discussions, but I will say this: 20 years ago, in September 1987, the world united to confront what was arguably the greatest environmental challenge of that era, CFCs and the devastating toll they were taking on our ozone layer. Up until then, not all had agreed with the science, nor had everyone believed that the collective will of the international community could solve that problem. But once people understood what was at stake, once they understood even back then that actions could resonate 10, 20, and 30 years down the road, they were ready to talk and willing to agree that a consensus was possible.
    The result, as we now know, was the signing of the Montreal Protocol, which former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called “perhaps the single most successful international...agreement to date”. And 20 years later, again in Montreal, this past September the world came together again to speed up the phase-out of HCFCs, another group of harmful ozone-depleting substances.
    I was very proud of the leadership Canada helped play in Montreal, but there was also great leadership played by the United States and significant engagement from China throughout that entire process. They deserve a significant amount of the credit, as well as the United Nations team in Montreal.
    The same can happen again as this generation confronts climate change, the greatest environmental challenge of its era. Canada was a leader in 1987 when the original Montreal Protocol was signed, and again this past September, when it challenged and convinced the international community to speed up by 10 years the phase-out of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer and also by chance contribute to climate change.
    Canada was a leader when the Prime Minister brought consensus at the G8, at APEC, at the United Nations, and at the Commonwealth, but all major emitters need to be on board to fight climate change. Mr. Chair, Canada will be a leader once again next week in Indonesia and well beyond, as the world unites to define a post-2012 agreement on climate change. When Canada speaks on the world stage, it now speaks with legitimacy.
    Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup.


    Thank you, Mr. Minister.
    We will now turn to the first round of questions.
    Mr. McGuinty, the floor is yours for 10 minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Minister, for attending.
    Minister, you just left a very important operative quote on the table hanging large for Canadians who are watching. You said that what we've done at home has given us credibility abroad, so I want to go right to the heart of the matter of giving us credibility abroad. I want to start with an issue that's been troubling many Canadians for some time, and I think a lot of parliamentarians. I think it goes to your credibility and the credibility of the country. It speaks to integrity, it speaks to trustworthiness, especially in anticipation of the Bali round of global negotiations.
    I think it also speaks, perhaps, to a pattern of conduct that we have seen from you in particular, as the Minister of the Environment, here at home and abroad. I think it has a bearing on your ability as a minister of the crown to represent Canada. I think this is very important to explore. I would like to give you a chance to respond directly.
    Some time ago, Minister, in fact on February 6, 2007, you misquoted Nobel laureate Al Gore in the House of Commons. Just six days later, Al Gore, the Nobel laureate, responded with a press release saying, “I understand that last week Canada's Minister of the Environment, Minister John Baird, mischaracterized comments I made last summer as praise for the Harper government's actions on global warming.”
    For Canadians who are watching, did you apologize to Mr. Gore for doing this?
    I quoted his quote accurately.
    And so Mr. Gore is wrong?
    I'm just telling you I quoted the quote exactly, accurately.
    So Mr. Gore's press--
    We have it on videotape and we have it--
    Mr. Gore's press release of February 12, 2007, is wrong?
    I haven't seen that.
    So you have not apologized to Mr. Gore?
    I repeated his quote accurately. It's on videotape, and it's in print as well.
    Fair enough, so you say.
    Would you like me to table the videotape with the committee?
    On October 30, 2007, one month ago, you said the following:
I sent a copy of Canada's plan on fighting global warming to someone, who said:

The approach you've taken, looking at the twin benefits of reducing emission of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, is exactly what we need to do on a wider scale. ... Congratulations once again for putting Canada in the ranks of those countries moving aggressively to reduce...greenhouse gases.
    Then you went on to say in your typical fashion, “Do we know who said that? It was said by the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.”
    Minister, for Canadians who are watching, I'm going to give you an opportunity to correct the record. Did the executive director of UNEP actually say that?
    No, he sent me a letter saying it. It's right there.
    I have it verbatim, and I'll repeat it.
    No, hang on.
    It says:
The approach you've taken, looking at the twin benefits of reducing emission of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, is exactly what we need to do on a wider scale. ... Congratulations once again for putting Canada in the ranks of those countries moving aggressively to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

Yours sincerely,

Achim Steiner
    He's the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme I have his signature right there.


    Well, it's curious, Minister, because--
    Do you want to apologize to me for questioning my integrity?
    Minister, thank you.
    Because, Minister, we checked. We actually checked with Mr. Steiner. We wrote to Mr. Steiner, and we got a reply.
    I have a reply right here from him.
    Let me read to you what Mr. Steiner's office actually said in his reply.
    Does he have his signature on it?
    Minister, this is not a debate. As I indicated at the beginning, you had your half hour. This is the members' time, as you know, and we'll ask you to wait for them to ask questions before you respond.
    I have a point of order, Chair.
    Mr. Warawa, please state the nature of the point of order you wish to raise.
    Chair, you have to give the witness an opportunity to speak. To cut him off after he's been asked a question is inappropriate.
    Mr. Warawa, thank you for your comment.
    Mr. McGuinty.
    Well, we asked Mr. Steiner's office, Minister. This is what Mr. Steiner's office, his chief spokesperson for UNEP worldwide, said in reply. Let me read it to you on the record. He says,
    “We have looked at the quote used in Hansard and attributed to Mr. Steiner. We believe it is a quote made by Mr. Steiner in response to the outcome in Montreal in September in respect to the accelerated freeze and phase-out of HCFCs, chemicals that damage the ozone layer but are increasingly recognized as contributing to global warming.”
    He goes on to say, “On the wider issue of climate change, Mr. Steiner has been on the record expressing concern about Canada's difficulties in achieving its targets under the UN climate convention's Kyoto Protocol and has urged them to show far greater leadership here. Late last year, 2006, Mr. Steiner also indicated in an interview to Canadian Press that he believed Canada outside Kyoto could harm Canadian business as it would be outside the international carbon markets established under Kyoto.”
    Is Mr. Steiner's office wrong, Minister?
     I have a letter here, and I'm happy to table it with the committee. It was received in my office in the House of Commons on July 4, 2007. It was in response to a letter that I sent Mr. Steiner with a full copy of our Turning the Corner plan. It reads:
Your Excellency,
    Thank you for sending me information on the Canadian Government's new regulatory framework for air emissions.
    That was the document that we released in April. We sent them a full copy of it. I don't have it from his spokesman, but it's in his hand right there, his signature. I'm very happy to quote it.
    I hope you'll apologize to me, as you asked me to apologize to Mr. Gore, because you got his spokesman whereas I got it from the man himself, with his signature right there.
    Minister, can I go on to--
    This is not as you said, sir. It is not in response to the work that we did together in September. This is several months before that. I'll table that with the committee, if I may.
    So Achim Steiner's office is wrong, then?
    Achim Steiner is right, right there. It's exactly 100%, as I said it was.
    Well, we'll take that at face value, Minister.
    Let's take a look--
    No, it's in black and white.
    Order! It's not a debate.
    Let's move on, Minister, to another quote you used. You said that in the past Canada preached to the world and did nothing. So you say.
    Let's take a look at where your domestic plan actually is in Canada with respect to it being presented in Bali. You're going to go to Bali and say that this plan is meeting with all kinds of Canadian success.
    Well, the Pembina Institute says you have little chance of meeting your target: “...numerous loopholes and gaps undermine the credibility of the government's target for 2020”.
    The World Wildlife Fund and the Tyndale Centre say: “Analysis indicates the government has set reduction targets which are well below what is achievable. Already they are well below what the industry already plans to do.”
    The C.D. Howe Institute does work regularly for your party: “...overall emissions in Canada are unlikely to fall below current levels. The government is likely to miss its 2020 emissions target by almost 200 megatonnes.” Greenhouse gases will rise until 2050, says the C.D. Howe Institute.
    The National Energy Board, your own agency, your federal agency, says that “the government's plan is insufficient to meet the targets that it sets. In fact, under three of the four scenarios laid out by the Board, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise...”.
    Your National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, reporting directly to you, says that in virtually every part of the government's plan on climate change, the government has either overestimated the reductions of greenhouse gases or did not provide enough evidence to perform a proper analysis.
    Let's go on. Jeff Rubin, with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, two days ago said that your energy intensity targets are effectively incapable of limiting future growth in either energy demand growth or carbon emissions.
    Deutsche Bank, Germany's top commercial bank, said, “Under current policies, we would expect Canada's industrial greenhouse gas emissions to continue rising over 2006-20”.
    Add to that, Minister, the United Nations Development Programme's disciplining of Canada two days ago in a global report, singling out Canada while the Prime Minister was talking about aspirational targets to Ugandans who make $300 a year. The UNDP says industrialized countries have to lead the world and take the first steps, not put a revolver to the head of Chinese and Indian and other officials.
    Friends of the Earth are now launching their second lawsuit against you, Minister, the first because you didn't meet the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act requirements by August 2007 to file a plan, the second lawsuit now because you haven't published draft regulations by October 20. Nothing is there.
    Finally, we have Professor Weaver. You remember Professor Weaver. You quoted him in Paris when you were looking for your made-in-Canada plan. You said he was a wonderful model for the country, right? Well, this is what he said a week or two weeks ago:
Harper stands up and waffles on about trying to call for 50% emissions reductions. “Where on earth is he getting those numbers from”, Weaver asked. They're certainly not coming from Canadian scientists. Maybe it's coming from a Ouija board or something
     But nobody knows where it's coming from, Minister.


    You have 30 seconds.
    Thirty seconds. Let me wrap up and then you can respond.
    There won't be much time for a response.
    That's okay.
    We're going to give him some time.
    Al Gore, Achim Steiner...not a single research institute, not a single industrial group, not your officials, not a single scientist, not a single economist, supports the plan you say you're going to put forward.
    Are you actually serious in telling Canadians that what we've done at home has given us credibility abroad, Minister? Please help us understand this.
    I'm pleased to respond.
    You talked about trade fairness. One, you said I misspoke a quote of Al Gore. We'll file a videotape with the committee that shows it is exactly, word for word, what he said.
    Two, you raised UNEP and gave some comments from the spokesperson. I tabled with the committee written proof, under his own signature, of the quote. So you're wrong, for the second time.
    Third, people can speculate as to whether our plan will or will not...but if we go to slide 10, we can look at the results of the previous years. If you look here, Australia is up 4.5%, the United States is up by 16%, and Canada, under the leadership of Stéphane Dion, is up 25.3%. Those are facts.
     You can talk about speculations and assessments of what is going to happen in the next 13 years, and I can talk about the facts of what has happened over the last 10 years. Every single Liberal environment minister said that the Liberal Party and Stéphane Dion were not serious about climate change. Every single report shows that greenhouse gases skyrocketed under your term.
    I'm not going to take any lectures from a Liberal environment critic.
    We'll go to Mr. Bigras now for his 10 minutes.
    Monsieur Bigras, vous avez dix minutes.


    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


    I'll wait for your apology on the misrepresentations you made.


    Mr. Bigras, the floor is yours.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    First of all, I would like to tell you that we are very concerned about your presence in Bali over the next few weeks. We are very concerned because your government basically has two policies. For example, take Ms. Ambrose's position in Nairobi, where I was as well. Ms. Ambrose argued in favour of the Kyoto Protocol, and told us—with her hand on her heart—that she believed in it. Several months later, just last weekend, we heard from the Prime Minister, who was in Africa, that the Kyoto Protocol had suddenly become a mistake that the government should never have committed.
    So what are we to understand from those two different messages—what Ms. Ambrose said in Nairobi, and what the Prime Minister said this week?
    Secondly, I find it somewhat pretentious on the part of the minister to quote Quebec's Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, when just yesterday, Quebec's National Assembly unanimously denounced the position of the Canadian government so far. You have a duty to be at least respectful towards parliamentarians and tell them the truth. That is all I wanted to say before putting my questions.
    Did your advisors inform you of the conference with Mr. de Boer this afternoon? Mr. de Boer made a speech before 500 people at the carbon market trade fair and conference in Asia. It has just gone on the wire. Were you told what Mr. de Boer just said to the international community?



    You're talking about a press release that they just put on the wire. I haven't seen the press release you're referring to.


    Mr. Chairman, I will tell the minister what Mr. de Boer said. Mr. de Boer has just told the international community, before 500 people at the Carbon Forum in Asia, at the carbon market trade fair and conference in Singapore, that without a post-2012 agreement that puts firm downward pressure on emissions, and I quote:
...the market could disappear more quickly than it appeared. What's worse, the cost to our planet if emissions are not brought under control might be more than we can bear.
    Mr. Chairman, is the minister aware that, with the position he has expressed here today, the position that his Prime Minister expressed in Africa, he is contributing to creating market uncertainty and to a financial crisis—in fact, he might create so much uncertainty that the carbon market could crash.
    I would also like to hear his views on the comments made by Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change.


    I would certainly agree with Mr. de Boer that we are at a crossroads. We have seen greenhouse gases go up substantially since Kyoto was signed in December 1997, and that is a huge concern. The science is incredibly clear. It becomes clearer every day.
    The fourth report of the panel, which came out this month, I think, is a call for action. If I could go to slide 4, you can see it requires everyone to be aboard. It is simply unconscionable to think that only the Annex I countries under the existing protocol can do the job themselves. We must get all the major emitters on board. That has to include the United States. It has to include China. It has to include India. It's because we believe and accept the science that we must act, and we can't act alone.


    Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the minister to move away from his party line and from his initial presentations.
    Mr. Yvo de Boer made a statement a few moments ago in Singapore. He believes, and I quote: was the Kyoto Protocol and its legally binding emission reduction targets that spawned the present carbon market.
    Is the minister aware that by refusing to establish absolute targets like those required under the Kyoto Protocol, and by refusing to implement binding targets, he is creating international financial uncertainty?
    There is a risk the carbon market might crash in a few weeks, if the minister does not change his line and does not show strong leadership on the international scene, so that we have a clear mandate at the conclusion of the Conference of the Parties in Bali.


    The carbon market in Europe certainly has crashed before, so it wouldn't be the first time.
    The centrepiece of what you said is that real action must be taken. The centrepiece of what you said is that aspirational goals don't cut it, and I agree. I think we need to have mandatory, absolute reductions, and aspirational doesn't cut it. But we will not have succeeded in a next round unless we get the major emitters on board. We must get the big countries on board. We're prepared to accept an absolute reduction commitment for Canada. I think that's important, but we can't do it alone.


    I understand what the minister is saying, but he has been working on this long enough to know that the viability of the carbon market depends on establishing emission caps.
    Without emission caps, the Canadian carbon market is compromised. This means that Montreal will probably never see its carbon exchange come to be, because the minister is irresponsible and refuses to establish binding absolute targets, and refuses to show strong leadership internationally. He is compromising not only the potential existence of a carbon exchange in Montreal and in Canada, but what is worse, he is contributing to creating uncertainty, undermining confidence and compromising the strongest tool we have available, a tool that was established through significant compromise.
    Environmentalists were naturally not very keen on a carbon market, but we succeeded in setting it up because we made compromises. Is the minister aware that the government is jeopardizing, one by one, all the tools and instruments that were set up under the Kyoto Protocol, the carbon market and the clean development mechanism, all because the government is being stubborn and believes Kyoto is a mistake?



    Greenhouse gases have skyrocketed over the last 10 years, and I think that's a mistake. I think that's an error. I think that's unacceptable. And I think we have to stop it.
    Here are the results: if Canada, the United States, Australia, and all the Annex I countries under Kyoto eliminate all the greenhouse gases, this is the result, and this is unacceptable. This is a failure, and we will not sign on to a failure of a regime. We are in the arena. We are taking real action.
    It's very easy for you, sir, who was elected in 1997 and hasn't been able to make a difference on this file for 10 years. We are acting, and we're not going to take lectures from anyone on this issue around this table.


    Mr. Chairman, the difference between the minister and myself is that for 10 years now I have been defending the Kyoto Protocol in the House. I believed in climate change, while the minister's colleagues in the Canadian Alliance and Reform Party denied its very existence. We had to wait 10 years before we could hear the minister paying lip service to climate change, recognizing the figures and reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
    We do not need any lectures from the government, which denied the very existence of climate change. If Bali is a failure, then the government, the Prime Minister and the minister will be the primary culprits not only for the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, but also for the failure of all instruments established under the Kyoto Protocol, including the clean development mechanism and carbon exchange.


    I have to do more than give fiery political speeches and write letters. I have to work to make a difference, and we are making a difference. Your opposition is noted.


    Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, there is something I would like to ask the minister. Does he at least have the courage to do what Europe did on October 30 and submit a document clearly setting out Canada's position in Bali?
    Rather than making PowerPoint presentations before the committee today, and treating us to a whole performance that does not take us any further, could he put Canada's position to be presented in Bali on paper, in black and white? Can he make a commitment before parliamentarians that today he will table a document setting out Canada's position, as the EU did on October 30?


    Thank you, Mr. Bigras.
    Mr. Minister, a very brief reply, please.
    We tabled an emission strategy in April, moving forward aggressively. On that strategy, or in line for what we'd like to see come out of Bali, I think we are on the exact same page as Yvo de Boer.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Cullen, for 10 minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Minister, for being here. There's obviously a great temptation of yours to take the politics into the personal as quickly as possible. I hope during my questioning you can avoid the temptation.
    I won't challenge you or take responsibility for what happened under the previous Liberal regime. We have no argument there, and I don't think Canadians much care for that discussion anymore, to be frank, only because the responsibility that you bear is over the next number of years.
    I want to talk about two important places. One is your own government's credibility on this file, or lack of credibility. I look for validators. I look for somebody who is able to say that the plan you present is actually significant and will get us to where you suggest.
    The second piece I'd like to deal with is what you would deem to be a success at the upcoming Bali negotiations.
    I recently attended a meeting in Toronto at which Tom d'Aquino spoke and talked about the policy chaos that still exists within Canada with respect to climate change. He was speaking of previous regimes and also your government.
    Today in the House of Commons I asked you a question as to why the major emitters are cutting drastically their investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I asked you how many regulations you have actually employed as minister. Can you answer that question first? How many have you signed into law?


    You asked me about five or six questions before that.
    Let me ask you that one first. How many regulations have you signed into law?
    I'll go to slide 15.
    We are working very constructively with the industrial sector in Canada and with environmental groups. They have asked us to work with them on this, and we are. So we're going to take the time to get it right.
    Mr. Minister, your government has been in power almost two years. You've been minister for more than a year. There have been many, many consultations and round tables. It's not as if this is a new subject for the government to deal with.
    You have not signed a single regulation, sir, not a single regulation that would direct industry as to what their limits will actually be. Without those regulations, industries are not spending the money they need to spend in order to meet the lofty goals that you present.
    I don't understand how you can be in the office this long—
    We tabled our plan in April of this year, the framework. We're now putting the meat on the bone. We're now putting the specifics to the framework. We're working very hard with industry. We're working very hard with environmental groups and with health groups on this issue. It is of a scale and complexity that is unprecedented, as these groups have said themselves.
    Do you have any knowledge or understanding of many greenhouse gas tonnes of emission reductions you've enjoyed under the two years of Conservative government? How much have you reduced?
    Those numbers aren't available. You know that.
    What studies have you actually conducted to understand the economic impacts of dangerous climate change for the Canadian economy?
     I accept the report tabled by Nick Stern.
    That's for the global economy. I'm speaking of our own economy.
    We have done economic models.
    Have you made that public?
    I'd have to check. I'll check.
    Will you commit to making that public?
    I'll look into it for you.
    That's not actually an answer.
    That's not the answer you want, but it is a reply.
    You can say no, Minister, or you can say yes, but “I'll check” doesn't actually give us any certainty.
    It's not the answer you're looking for—
    I know accountability is a big thing for you. If you've used Canadian tax dollars in order to do these economic assessments, which I think are very important for all Canadians to understand as to what the effects might be, I don't understand why you wouldn't table such a document.
    I'm happy to look into it and get back to you.
    I'm not happy with your answer, and I doubt that Canadians will be either.
    With Bali, as the Canadian delegation going into these negotiations, do you have any concept of what an actual global limit for dangerous climate change might look like? The Europeans, the English, and others have used a two-degree model. Others use parts per million as an upward limit beyond which climate change becomes even significantly more dangerous and irreversible. Does Canada operate under any guideline as to what the ultimate goal is?
    Two percent is certainly one that has been used by a substantial number of countries and environmental groups. I think we're focusing on what tangible actions we can take to stabilize and then reduce, in absolute terms, greenhouse gases in this country.
    How much does your department spend on advertising?
    I'd be happy to look into that and respond.
    Can either of your officials perhaps enlighten us?
    Not off the top of my head, Mr. Chair, but we will be here next week to discuss supplementary estimates. We could provide—
    Does $6 million sound appropriate?
    I would want to check that.
    We have looked through the estimates, and your department spends more than most other departments on advertising.
    In looking at your presentation today, I'm wondering if you have the same enthusiasm you have for partisan politics and showmanship in actually curbing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, because, sir, you have not tabled the regulation. Emissions continue to go up in this country and you continue to subsidize industries like the northern Alberta tar sands. That's beyond all comprehension and is completely hypocritical.
     I don't understand why you would suggest Canada has credibility, if we take this one example alone of a portion of our economy with some of the highest greenhouse gas emissions of any sector of the economy, and which your government continues to subsidize, like the previous government. Why would that lend credibility to Canada's position?
    We're eliminating those subsidies, and you voted to keep them in the House of Commons.
    When are those being eliminated?
    It's all laid out in this year's budget, and you voted against it.
    It's 2012. That's a great deal of urgency?
    The question I have is about your talk about working, and giving the illusion that—
    An hon. member: [Inaudible--Editor]
    Mr. Nathan Cullen: I'd appreciate the comments from my colleagues later.
     And you present yourself as some sort of non-partisan do-gooder—
    You've talked about working with all these—
    Mr. Cullen, I'm sorry, I will allow the minister to answer in a moment, once the question is finished.
    You'll have to wait, Mr. Warawa.
    There's the question of validation, about somebody who's been able to come forward as a third party and validate your actual plan on the table. Who do you recognize as that validator?


    I think it would probably be more fulsome to look at it once all the meat has been put on the bone in terms of the specifics of a carbon market, the specifics of an offset system, the specifics of what we're working hard on with industry and environmental groups.
    Do you know of a carbon market that exists anywhere in the world with an intensity regime?
    Do you want to answer that?
    The European carbon market is based on hard caps. But the government's plan is calculated on the basis of intensity and translates into what will be legally mandated absolute reductions.
    So the answer is no, there is no carbon market that functions, or none proposed anywhere in the world, using intensity as its limit.
    I'm confused as to why you would propose a mechanism and give it a whole bunch of credit in your plan for achieving the results that Canadians need, but which doesn't exist anywhere in the world, because it can't function—and industry would tell you that if you asked them. Why then would you propose this as a credible plan going into international negotiations, when our partners on the international and global scene know it to be a falsehood? I don't know why you would suggest it is a credible tool.
    I look around the world and see that greenhouse gas emissions are skyrocketing in most countries. They've gone up substantially in the developed and the developing world. We're working to reduce them. Yes, we're looking at some different approaches here in Canada. I think we were very clear that we would come forward with a made-in-Canada approach to reducing emissions here—in both the industrial and non-industrial sectors.
    I appreciate that you disagree with those, and you're free to do so.
    Canada is still in default and owes the United Nations $1.5 million. Is that correct?
    Pardon me?
    Has Canada paid its $1.5 million bill to the United Nations?
    For the clean development mechanism? No, but we will.
    We will? This has been pointed out for almost two years now. What's the delay?
    I don't know about two years now—
    Absolutely. Your predecessor had the same bill.
    I'm supportive of clean development mechanisms. We're going to be paying.
    How much are you spending in your plan on clean development mechanisms?
    The targets, I think, are ambitious and will help break the back of absolute.... The clean development mechanism is one of the compliance mechanisms in our plan, and those costs will be borne by industry, not by the taxpayers.
    While you're supportive of the mechanism, your government stripped $60 million out of it?
    No. We're not stripping anything out—
    I'm confused as to why this government is trying to seek credibility on the world stage. I agree that our reputation has been damaged by previous regimes. But this government has no validator that we are aware of who's taken a look at your plan and said it will actually meet the targets, including the National Round Table, the National Energy Board, and every other group that's looked at your plan. It doesn't pass the test. Why would you suggest the international community will think anything different?
     We have the emissions framework with respect to the large final emitters; we have actions with respect to our engagements with the provinces; we have actions with respect to transportation, whether that's auto, marine, air, or rail; we have actions with respect to energy efficiency and conservation; we have other regulatory actions that we're taking; I think we're, for the first time, working constructively with the provinces in terms of financial support. I think the cumulative effect of all these will provide a substantial reduction in greenhouse gases, and we've been very clear on that.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Cullen.
    Mr. Warawa.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Minister, thank you for being here today.
    I want to give you a little bit of interesting background—I think it's interesting—on what's been happening in this committee for the last year, approximately.
    It was in June of this year that many of us went to Berlin for Globe G8+5, which was just before the G8 in Heiligendamm. The Liberals and NDP talked about our international credibility abroad. It was quite embarrassing to be there as a Canadian and have to face what happened over the 13 long years of Liberal inaction on the climate change file. They signed on—that was in 1993, when they were elected—and they promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; they did absolutely nothing.
    So it was embarrassing. But Minister, I want to assure you that internationally there was a real optimism that we had turned the corner, that the rhetoric had ended, and that we were actually taking action. Our plan is very similar to what Japan is doing. We heard for the two days that we were there in meetings at that conference, in Berlin, the importance of focusing on solutions, as you are doing, Minister. We heard about carbon capture and storage and how important that is, particularly in Canada. We heard about the technologies that the world is hoping Canada will help create that will help the globe.
    Minister, if I could ask you to turn back to slide number 4, it's relevant to what we heard when I was in Berlin too. They said....
    I'm hearing some laughter. I would encourage the opposition members.... This is not a laughing matter; this is a very serious matter.
    We were encouraged to come back and share what we learned here in Canada and look for solutions. Again, the government has provided a framework, and my hope is that we would, as a committee, focus on solutions. Carbon capture storage is the one. I've listed what we came back from Germany with: this list of solutions that we were assigned as a committee, internationally, to please focus on. “Canada, please focus on these solutions.”
    Minister, unfortunately this committee has refused to focus on solutions, and what we see happening today is a focus on attacking the government instead of working on solutions, which I find very disappointing. The fact is, as that chart shows, that globally there is a huge problem, and Canada has committed to be part of that.
    It was a week ago, Minister, that we had IPCC panellists here—we invited them—and on Tuesday of this week we had some people here. At the IPCC report, it was asked what would happen if emissions from Canada and the United States were dropped to zero—which is impossible, but hypothetically, if everything stopped in North America, what would happen to greenhouse gas emissions. We heard very clearly that emissions would continue to climb globally. That is why it is so important that Canada be a world leader in creating the technology that will help the rest of the world be able to bring down their greenhouse gas emissions. It was a challenge to which I was saying yes, because that's exactly what you're doing, Minister, and that's exactly what this chart is showing.
    On Tuesday of this week, we also heard an example. A question was asked about aluminum. For every tonne of aluminum that is created here in Canada, four tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are created, but in China it's seven tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Your point and this chart support that we need to have not Canada, but globally all the emitters, participating. Without that, we will have growing greenhouse gas emissions, which means a continuing climate change crisis.
    My question for you, Minister, is, in your opinion of a post-Kyoto deal, how important is it to have everybody...? You've elaborated on it, but looking at that chart again, how quickly do we need to get commitments from China, India, and the United States—all the major emitters—to start reducing their greenhouse gas emissions also and follow Canada's example?


    Our targets are some of the toughest in the world: 20% by 2020, and 60% to 70% by 2050. How important is it that we get everybody involved, and how quickly?
     I have used these specific examples in the past, and I will use them again. I think it is more than just hoping that other countries will do their best. If we want to obtain genuine environmental benefits, we need to have everyone on board.
    My premier is closing the coal-fired plants in Ontario. We're providing more than half a billion dollars to help them do it. We can close the Lambton coal-fired generating station in southwestern Ontario--it has four units--but if we simply import electricity from Michigan, across the river, we won't have accomplished anything. So we don't want to see any perverse environmental impact. What we could see is that we pay twice the price for imported electricity and then have Canadian manufacturing jobs simply move across the river and locate there. We won't have accomplished anything for the environment.
    The growth in the Chinese economy, whether it's the steel sector or even cement.... If we simply move production from Canada and Europe to the United States or China or India, we won't have accomplished anything for the environment. That's why it's absolutely essential that we get everyone on board.
    That doesn't mean that we all have to carry the same weight. We can have a common but differentiated approach by which we would recognize countries, whether it's poverty eradication, whether it's those countries with a growing population versus those.... It's exciting, the growth in the Chinese economy, but it's awfully hard to convince folks in other countries to be closing coal-fired plants while new ones are being opened there every five weeks. It simply doesn't make sense.
    So what we need to do is get everyone on board. And if you have the developing world--China and India--and our major trading partner, the United States, on board, I think we'll all be able to go farther faster in terms of effort. We haven't seen that. I think that was the mistake made over the last 10 years.
    If we look at the success of the Montreal Protocol, everyone acts together. National circumstances are part of that equation, and there are different timetables for different countries, which is interesting.


    How much time do I have?
    You have two minutes and 20 seconds.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Minister, the now-leader of the Liberal Party, in July, was quoted as saying, “I will be part of Kyoto, but I will say to the world I don't think I will make it”.
    I read an interesting book called Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge, and it talks about the billions of dollars the previous Liberal government had planned to send over to buy hot air credits. It talked about all the political rhetoric and basically dealt with all political parties. No one was exempt.
    We now see a commitment from you for some really tangible targets.
    For the record, could you tell us who the authors are?
    The authors of Hot Air are Jeffrey Simpson, Mark Jaccard, and Nic Rivers. It's good reading; it's very interesting.
    Minister, I'd like to ask you about the billions of dollars the previous Liberal government had planned to send out. You talked about how important it is that every major emitter has targets and participates in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions so that globally they're reduced. But the billions of dollars that was encouraged by the previous government to send out of the country, what would that have done in accomplishing a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions?
    It wouldn't have been a heck of a lot. I think that approach has been rejected. We need to keep our eye on the future in terms of what we're going to do.
    I do think that the science has become stronger and stronger. We are all compelled to act. I think there is a lot of talk on this issue right around the world, not just here in this country, but very little action. We need more action and less talk, and we need everyone on board. We don't need excuses about why some countries cannot be involved. We need to encourage them to all be on board, and that's the message we're going to continue to take, as we have taken it to APEC, as we have taken it to the G8, and as we have taken it to the Commonwealth and the United Nations. It is essential that we get everyone, all the big emitters, acting.
    The Prime Minister has taken very strong leadership at G8+5, at APEC, at the United Nations, and at the Commonwealth. Are we making headway toward--
    Mr. Warawa, I'll take that as a comment. Your time has concluded.
    Mr. Godfrey, five minutes.
    And welcome again, Minister. I always enjoy your slide shows.
    Did I hear you say, a little while ago, that you believe in hard targets?
    So do you mean, by hard targets, absolute targets?
    So how does that reconcile with the position of your own plan, which deals with intensity targets?
    I believe the ambitious nature of the intensity targets, 6% a year for the first three years and a constant improvement of 2%, does break the back of rising emissions.
    But I didn't ask you that question. I say, if you believe in hard targets, why is your plan based on intensity targets? That's one question.
     And the second question would be, as I try to sort out what you believe in, when the Prime Minister says--and he said it at Kampala--that he wants binding targets for all emitters, does he want binding intensity targets, which may be a bit of an oxymoron, or does he want binding hard targets, the way you seem to?


    I think the negotiating we seek over the next two years is that if we can get all the major emitters to accept binding targets, Canada would be prepared to accept those.
    Is a binding target a hard target, that is to say, an absolute reduction as opposed to an intensity target?
    Absolute. Absolute reductions, and there will be different national circumstances in terms of how people choose to deal with that, even within Canada. Alberta has an industrial regulatory regime. Ontario is looking at one big action to close coal-fired plants. So different approaches will take place in different jurisdictions, but we believe in absolute reduction.
    So may I summarize the strange places in which we find ourselves. You're going to use Canada's domestic example of our plan, which is based on intensity targets, not hard targets, not absolute targets, to urge on the world that they, the rest of the world, get on with hard, absolute, binding targets that lead to real reductions. How can you use the domestic example, which is not based on hard targets and absolute reductions and absolute targets? It's not an absolute target. How can you possibly preach to the others when we're not doing it ourselves? I don't see what one does with the other.
    I said in the House of Commons maybe 200 or 300 times that in this country we have a target of 20% absolute reduction in greenhouse gases.
    How does that work with what you're imposing in the regulations on industry, which are based on intensity targets?
    On the regulations, which are one part of the plan, we have ambitious intensity-based targets that break the back of rising emissions. I'm in my first term in the House of Commons. I have read Hansard. In the past where you've extolled the virtues of intensity-based targets, you personally have said that intensity-based targets...and Mr. Dion did--
    Thank you. I know what I've said.
    Now let me find out something else from you. You have quoted as an example of success the Montreal Protocol on ozone reduction, and we would agree it's been a success. But is it not true, Minister, that all countries of the world were required to take on targets at the same time, yes or no?
    Originally, I think some 30-odd countries were part of the protocol. What it does--
    Let me ask you the next question.
    If you give me a fair opportunity to respond to the question you asked, I'd be very pleased to. You asked me two questions, and I like to answer the second question.
    I will ask you the second question, and you can answer both.
    Isn't it true that developed countries took on targets first, and only years later were developing countries required to tackle the problem? Is that true or not true? Because you find it's a successful formula.
    Can I respond?
    Of course.
    What it did, instead of a two-tier strategy where the developed world is now 10 years ahead of those developing economies.... Plus there's what I would call, for lack of a better term, an annex that speaks to a number of different national circumstances country by country. What it does is require these harmful emissions, many of them potent greenhouse gases as well, to be reduced, and there's a different timetable for developing countries, which speaks to the common but differentiated requirements on various countries in the world, plus a whole annex of exceptions for this industry and this country, etc.
    An hon. member: [Inaudible--Editor]
    Actually, Kyoto is about--
    The questions are supposed to be from Mr. Godfrey now.
    Mr. McGuinty, and I'm going to let.... I'm sorry.
    He said it audibly. Mr. McGuinty said it audibly.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. McGuinty said it audibly.
    I'm sorry--
    Just like Kyoto--
    The five minutes is almost--
    Kyoto has two things--
    Minister, you are out of order, sir. Okay? Now--
    On a point of order--
    Just a minute, Mr. Warawa.
    There's a point of order.
    Look, we're not here to have an argument, and there's enough interrupting going on.
    There's a point of order.
    There's too much interrupting going on, Mr. Minister--
    There's a point of order.
    --mostly from you, sir, and you understand that you had half an hour at the beginning, colleagues--
    Mr. Chairman, there's a point of order.
    Just a minute. Mr. Vellacott--
    You can't go on a long lecture. There's a point of order.
    I'll recognize you in a moment, Mr. Vellacott.
    Are you going to chair the meeting? Don't sit around giving lectures. Get on with it. You can't run this how you want.
    Mr. Vellacott, the minister cannot interrupt. The minister had half an hour at the beginning. The members have their turns. You'll have your turn in a moment. You'll have it in a moment. Are you challenging the chair?
    I am.
    Go ahead. Okay, those in favour of the chair's ruling, raise your hand.
    What's your ruling? We haven't heard the point of order. We haven't even heard the point of order.


    If you're challenging the chair to remove the chair, which is what you're suggesting--
    No, I'm not.
    That's what you said.
    I'm challenging you in respect that you have to hear the point of order first. You can't make up your rules as you go.
    Mr. Vellacott, what I'm saying is that the minister has to stay in order also. He cannot be interrupting constantly--
    But you have a point of order on the floor.
    --and as I mentioned at the beginning of the meeting, the time for the members is their time to use as they wish. I give the minister a reasonable time to respond, but remember the time belongs primarily to the member, as the next five minutes will be to you, after the last 30 seconds of this point.
    Maybe that does not answer your point of order already, Mr. Warawa. I'll invite you to make it now, and please state the nature of your point of order.
    My point of order, Chair, is that procedurally it would be the member who wants to cut off the minister, not you, and I don't think procedurally it's correct for you to be cutting him off. It should be the member.
    Your point was that the member who is questioning the minister has an opportunity to use the time as they want. You've been cutting them off, and I've been very patient, but, Chair, I encourage you to be non-partisan, to be neutral, and treat the witness with respect.
    Mr. Warawa, I thank you for your point, your argument; however, it is my responsibility to maintain order in this meeting and not to allow back-and-forth arguments and interruptions. As you yourself point out, it is the time of the member to use as he sees fit, and therefore, if the minister wants to go on and on in response, it is my job to cut him off when required. And that works both ways. I'll apply it to your side as well, I assure you.
    Mr. Godfrey, you have 15 seconds.
    There was somebody in the room, at the discussion in Montreal in September, who was actually an adviser to the Minister of the Environment in 1987, and she simply says that had Canada adopted the approach that is being offered by the minister today on climate change, there would have been no Montreal Protocol.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Godfrey.
    Mr. Vellacott, five minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I have something in hand, Mr. Minister--you probably have seen it, but maybe other members have not read their mail as yet--and it actually reinforces--it's another bolster to it--the point that your government has taken and that the Prime Minister has made very effectively in Kampala, Uganda. It comes from the British High Commission, and they make some statements in respect to their aspirations coming up to Bali on December 3 to 14.
    In particular, they summarize in fact the key elements of what they believe to be an effective future international framework. I'm just quoting some of the top three here. It says:
In particular, we seek:

- Universal participation.
That's the British High Commission address in Ottawa here. It goes on to say:
- Agreement on a global long-term stabilisation goal.
- Deep absolute emissions reductions by developed countries.
    I think it's always better, of course ,if one leads by example and sets the tone in that way, that we lead abroad, but only insofar as we're as well able to show that example on the home front here. At least this is what I'm told in respect to leadership in my family and in my community, and other places as well, that one must lead by example.
    I need to commend you on a few things here, because I do believe that the government's agenda, your agenda as the Minister of the Environment here, is focused on some concrete examples. I have children. I have grandchildren, little ones, for whom it's a little hard to understand this complex back-and-forth business, but they know what concrete action means, and for the good of my children and my grandchildren, and those not yet born of course, we do need to see the practical things on the home front here in Canada and realistic results, achievable results, in cleaning up our environment.
    So I would like you to respond on a few things here, because it came up before in terms of the absolute reductions. I'm referring to your agenda in respect to absolute reductions of greenhouse gases of 20% by the year 2020, further reductions of 60% to 70% by 2050, and a domestic carbon market; the fact on the local front here in Canada of a comprehensive strategy for the Arctic, including a world class Arctic research station; national air pollution regulations for our country, which are much needed; also a new water strategy to protect our lakes, and our rivers, and our oceans.
    And then also I think the real crux of this thing is that you've got to have the enforcement mechanisms and also tougher enforcements that will make polluters accountable.
    So I would like you to respond. We've gone from the big global picture of the universal, which I think is fine, but I think it's pretty important to be leading by example on the home scene here and in respect to your agenda on that front.
    I certainly believe leadership means going first. That's why, after 10 years of rising emissions, after Kyoto, we're moving aggressively to first slow down, stabilize, and then see absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
    I'll just go back to the previous example of the Montreal Protocol as it compares to Kyoto. Kyoto has no binding targets for the overwhelming majority of countries--none--and some people are proposing to go to the future with that as well. And that just doesn't cut it. That would be a failure, and Canada will not support a failure in this regard.
    The science is demonstrably stronger. The effects are demonstrably stronger with respect to the impacts of climate change, even more so than the ozone-depleting substances. That's why we need everyone on board. That's the kind of aggressive action we're going to seek abroad.
     It's an interesting strategy to negotiate. It's almost akin to negotiating a pay raise by saying, “By the way, if you don't give me the pay raise, I'm going to work for you anyway because I love my job. By the way, if you don't pay me at all, I'm going to continue to work at my job.”
    We think we have to work constructively at those meetings in Montreal, the 20th anniversary, in September. We saw real leadership from the United States and China, which was welcomed, I think, at some of the international forums. We've seen a bit of a change in tone from China on this issue, which is very encouraging. And we're going to work constructively over the next two years to get them on board.


    I want to commend you, because I do believe that if we're going to make any headway on the world scene here, we have to be assertive, and we have to be persistent and consistent in terms of prodding those countries forward.
    As we saw in the slide here, anybody who's looked at any of these escalating amounts of pollution in the air because of the coal-fired plants, and so on, in China.... Unless those countries--China, India, and the U.S.--are onside, it occurs to any sensible person that we're not going to make the headway we need to for the future generation.
    So I thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Vellacott.
    Monsieur Lussier, pour cinq minutes.


    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Minister, one very important principle in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is that countries have common, but differentiated, responsibilities.
    There are two very important words in that principle: first, the word "common". Everyone agrees that we all live on the same planet, and breathe the same air. Thus, every country's contribution has an impact on total greenhouse gas production.
    The second word in that important principle is "differentiated". To describe what that means, I will give you a few examples. For instance, the U.S. produces some 20 tonnes of greenhouse gases per capita; Canada produces 25 tonnes; and China produces 2.3 tonnes. If we take other figures to illustrate the word "differentiated", we could say that, in the 1990 to 2000 period, the United States and Europe contributed over 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions, while China contributed 8%.
    We are trying to understand your position. We observe that you want China to pay for the consequences of development that the Chinese did not enjoy. You want to impose restrictions on China when China did not contribute much to greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2000.
    This brings us to the notion that developing countries need clean, new technologies. I was very surprised a few moments ago to learn that Canada's contribution of $1.5 million to the clean development mechanism has not been paid.
    Have you no confidence in the clean development mechanism? Do you plan to boycott the mechanism, and to destabilize it by failing to contribute Canada's share?
    That is my first question.
    I have already said we support the mechanism. I don't know whether you were here when I said that. I don't understand your question.
    In the first part of your comment, you said—


    In your comments you talked about common but differentiated responsibilities, and we do support those. I guess it just comes down to the fact that rising greenhouse gases are causing great problems in our world, and we need to see those rising greenhouse gases go down--go down absolutely. Canada and the current developed countries cannot do it alone; we need everyone to do it.
    Just to make my point--if we go to slide 2--if we can eliminate our emissions, as shown on that chart, it's going to have huge consequences on the health of our planet and vulnerable people around the world. We need to act and we cannot do it alone.



    Minister, do you trust the studies carried out by the Australians?
    I beg your pardon?
    The graphs are from Australia. Do you have confidence in the studies carried out in Australia?
    Of course.
    That does not answer my first question. I was saying that Canada had not paid its $1 million contribution.
    I have already answered that question.
    Are you blocking the clean development mechanism?
    Mr. Cullen has already asked me the question. I answered that we support the mechanism and will pay our contribution.
    But isn't it rather frivolous to be saying you support it when you fail to pay your contribution?
    I am saying, for the fourth time, that we will pay our contribution.
    I believe we already heard the same answer when you last appeared before the committee six months ago. So am I to understand that, in six months—
    When I last appeared before you, the budget had not yet been established.
    So are you making a comment when you actually know that the opposite is true? That would be political gamesmanship, yet you say that is something only I indulge in.
    I would like to come back to the issue of the Montreal stock exchange and the carbon exchange. You know about the project to merge the Toronto and Montreal stock exchanges, which is currently being negotiated. Is that affecting your decision to decide where the carbon exchange will be located?
    The Montreal stock exchange team has told me that that decision will be made by the market, not by the government.
    This is what the Montreal stock exchange told you?
    Yes. I met with them three times. There was a very professional team, with a lot of experience in derived products. The city of Montreal has done a great deal of work on the environment, internationally. It has done very good work.
    But will your visit to Bali not create problems, create uncertainty that will destabilize the clean development mechanism? The mechanism would be destabilized by your decision to force China, India and the U.S. to take part in—
    I hope that, for the next period... If we want a protocol that generates real results, we need major emitters to take responsibility for their emissions.
    Are you talking about the post-2012 period?
    The periods from 2012 to 2020, and from 2020 to 2050.
    You are not considering imposing targets for 2008 to 2012 on China and India.
    We are talking about extending targets beyond 2012. The extension of measures beyond 2012 will be a priority in Bali.
    How much time do I have left?
    Mr. Lussier, thank you for reminding me that your time is up.
    Mr. Harvey.
    Mr. Minister, thank you for being here today.
    I would like slide no 2 to be projected please.
    Earlier on, the Bloc Québecois challenged the precision of the Australian statistics. I did some research at the Library of Parliament. I will quote some extracts from document PRB 07-04F, Electricity production in China: Prospects and global environmental effects. My friends across the way will no doubt appreciate it.
Pollution arising in China also affects Canada. A scientific study released in March 2007 showed that storms over the Pacific Ocean - the water mass that influences the climate on the west coast - are becoming more violent because of sulphur dioxide and particulate emissions from the large industrial polluters in the region, notably China and India.

In addition, up to 50% of the mercury found in the Arctic may be windborne from Asia. Mercury enters the food chain, posing a threat to human health and to the wildlife of the Far North.

Lastly, it is important to note that China, largely because of its dependence on electricity generated by coal-fired power plants, will become the biggest emitter of CO2 in the world by 2010, surpassing the United States. CO2 emissions attributable to coal-fired plants in China are increasing at an alarming rate and have now reached over 2,200 megatonnes (Mt) per year. [...]
    Nowadays, we are no longer talking in terms of megatonnes, but in teratonnes.
According to the IEA reference scenario, China will account for 39% of increased global CO2 emissions between 2004 and 2030 as emissions from its coal-fired plants rise from 2,269 Mt in 2004 to 5,450 Mt in 2030. For purposes of comparison, Canadian greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 totalled 758 Mt. Some analysts maintain that if China and other emerging industrial economies do not succeed in controlling their greenhouse gas emissions, catastrophic climate change will become inevitable.
    The figure shows the evolution of emissions from coal-fired power plants in China. With the 2,300 new plants that China is planning to build by 2020, the next spike will be approximately here, whereas Canada's, which is very small, will be down at the bottom.
    Can you comment on this chart and say if this does indeed represent part of the policy that you and the Prime Minister are trying to implement in the industrialized countries? I think this relates directly to your chart.


    Your Library of Parliament report emphasized the importance of everyone acting. In my opinion, we must also stress the importance of greenhouse gas reduction technologies, which already exist and which work.
    Last week, I was in Weyburn, in Saskatchewan, and I saw concrete examples like carbon sequestration in the earth. This very significant technology can help not only Canada, the United States and other countries, but also big countries like China and India. Technology and ingenuity must be applied not only in Canada, but everywhere in the world. In some countries, there are more opportunities for using this kind of technology. This works in the Canadian west and in other regions of the world, and for example in certain areas in China.
    Therefore, during the next meeting in Bali, talking about the importance of technology and working with the other countries will be a priority for us. We will promote these technologies and work with other countries, like at the AP7, where the forum was launched in Washington in September.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Harvey. Unfortunately, your five minutes are up.
    Mr. Scarpaleggia.


    Previous to today you seemed to be saying that we can't have aggressive targets if countries like the United States and China are not part of the Kyoto process, because production will shift offshore and greenhouse gas emissions will not change globally. Is that a correct understanding of the logic of that statement?


    No. I said that if leadership means going first, that's why the Government of Canada has established a goal of an absolute reduction of 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in this country. What we want to ensure, though, is that we are tackling the problem, which is rising GHG emissions worldwide. They are rising. We have to stabilize them and then get them to go down.
    What I don't want to see as a result of our efforts in Canada is coal-fired electricity generation being imported from the United States and thus no effect being had. What I don't want to see is Canadian companies buying steel from Chinese companies rather than producing it here, and having greenhouse gases continue to go up.
    We need everyone on board. We need everyone with their oar in the water, and we need to be rowing together.
    Isn't that another way of saying that our targets will be set at the lowest common denominator?
    Not at all.
    You talked about push-back from public servants with respect to decisions by the former Liberal government to sign Kyoto. One could say that there has probably been push-back from public servants at Environment Canada to some of your statements or predictions. For example, in the National Post on August 22, Mike De Souza talked about a four-page briefing note to the minister that said nothing to support the minister's warnings that Bill C-288 could lead to massive job losses, rising energy prices, a recession, and so and so forth. That is just one example.
    I am wondering what your officials tell you when all kinds of third parties, such as the Pembina Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Energy Board, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and UNDP, come out with statements like the C.D. Howe did, which is that government is likely to miss its 2020 emissions target by almost 200 megatonnes, or when the Deutsche Bank says that the Canadian government has materially overstated the costs of Canada's compliance with Kyoto, etc. There must be a push-back inside the department then, isn't there?
    I haven't had push-back from inside the department. I think the department has always demonstrated great professionalism toward me, as Minister of the Environment.
    I think you're making some of this up, sir. You talk about a report from the United Nations Environment Programme. We have some comments from the press spokesman for the executive director. I've tabled--
    I said the UNDP, the United Nations Development Programme.
    I thought you said the UNEP.
    I'm sorry, maybe I mispronounced. But I'm certainly not making up the C.D. Howe Institute, the Pembina Institute, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. At some point your own public servants must have to comment on these reports. If they are that professional, I can't see them saying this is all fluff, Minister.
    If there is any thought that the industrial regulatory strategy will account for the full 20%, then that would be the case. But we've never said that. What we have said is that this is one part of Canada's plan with respect to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is the biggest part, but we are working on an enhanced cap-A standard, moving to a mandatory section in the auto transportation sector. We want to move in conjunction with the federal government of the United States. The auto sector is very important in my province. My premier, Dalton McGuinty, doesn't want us to adopt the California auto standards. We are working with the United States on a raise in standards to something we hope will be approximate to that by 2017.
    Those numbers aren't equated in any of the studies you've mentioned, nor are the significant number of projects we're supporting with $1.5 billion of funds to the provinces.
    Mr. Chair, with any time I have left, I would like to--
    You have 20 seconds for a comment. You cannot share with Mr. Godfrey.
    I am sorry about that.
    Okay. You're all done. Thank you Mr. Scarpaleggia.
     Mr. Watson.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you to the minister here today.
    It has been testified by environmental groups at this committee recently that they would like to see China get a 10-year, to up to 20-year, pass on emissions with a post-2012 agreement. Is it realistic to give that kind of pass to China? What would that mean for everything from, say, manufacturing in Ontario to our ability globally to tackle GHGs?
    I think most would accept that if we took the largest emitters at home and gave a pass to some of them on emissions, we wouldn't reach our target. If we're supposed to arrest global GHG emissions, it would seem logical that you can't give a pass to some and expect that the rest that are left are somehow going to hit the goal for you.
    I'd like your comments on that.


    If you read all the science, the cumulative science, particularly four of the panel's report this year, they require global reductions in GHGs, and then a stabilization in the growth of these emissions in short order. To say to the biggest countries that we should let them off the hook is simply a recipe for disaster, quite literally.
    Al Gore, the U.S. vice-president, after signing Kyoto, came home and said that they had to get China and India on board. He's right. Ralph Goodale had said this before Kyoto. The Prime Minister-elect of Australia has said this. Quebec's environment minister has said this. I think it is just foolish to try to exempt all the big polluters from taking meaningful action. We will not succeed in stabilizing or reducing greenhouse gases with that approach. It is a guaranteed recipe for failure, and we will not support that type of approach.
    We're going to act aggressively first here in Canada. The previous government did not act—and those are not my words; those are the words of three of the environment ministers that led that department, and the words of the deputy leader of the Liberal Party.
    We're taking action. I can appreciate that it's not as aggressive as some would like to see, but it is action, and it is action that will get us in the direction in which we need to go.
    Mr. Minister, I've been actually timing the allocation between opposition member questioning and your ability to answer, and it's been nearly 2:1 in favour of opposition question and comment to your answer. I'd like to yield the rest of my time, if there are some other questions that you'd like to answer.
    It just comes down to the fundamental question that we have to stabilize and then reduce greenhouse gas emissions on this planet, and anything other than that simple environmental scientific fact is lunacy. It's a recipe for disaster.
    I almost get the sense with many people around the world that they'd rather talk about it than do anything. If we could reduce a tonne of GHGs every time someone talks about this or says they care about it, we would probably have solved this problem by now.
    So we're moving; we're moving aggressively. I think the more that people outside of Canada take action, the more action we'll be able to take here in Canada, and that's a good thing.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Watson. It's now my turn.
    By the way, Mr. Warawa, I'll take your advice and try to be as non-partisan as possible in asking my question and acting as chair, and I appreciate your comment.
     Mr. Minister, it seems to me that Canadians would feel, and do feel, that every person on the planet should do their share in terms of combating the problem of climate change. In that regard, I have the feeling that this whole issue of China and India is a bit of a red herring. Yes, we're concerned about it, but we have to do our part, and it's not clear to me that we are doing our part.
    But in this regard, if you look at the graph on slide 4, it seems to me that in view of the fact that we think every person should do their share, this graph would be much more meaningful if it were presented in a per capita form. In other words, for each of us as individuals, divided by country, how would it look?
    First, how different would it look from the graph you presented if it were in fact per capita? Second, wouldn't that be a better graph? And last, will you ask your officials to prepare and provide to this committee, in electronic form and paper form, a graph in per capita terms of the same sort?
     I would be happy to pass that on to my officials.
    Let me say this: the protocol that we're seeking to negotiate at the meeting in Indonesia under the auspices of the United Nations is one between nations. The urgent requirement for action, simply put, does not allow us to give the biggest emitters a pass. It will just not meet with success. The dire consequences of rising GHG emissions are powerful, and if we are to be successful in this fight we need everyone on board.
    To send a message to a country whose GDP is two and a half times that of Canada's, a country with nuclear weapons.... They could simply not accept any target. I think it's not in the best interests of Canadians or people on the planet.


    Minister, I don't hear people arguing that those countries shouldn't accept any target, frankly, but I think Canadians feel that we have our own responsibilities to meet, and I think it is reasonable for us to look at our own performance on a per capita basis and compare that to those countries. Yes, they're going in the wrong direction, right? But so are we, unfortunately, including under your government.
    The point is that I think Canadians want to see us take real action at home and be leaders here in terms of taking action with hard targets on climate change, hard caps for emitters across the country, instead of intensity targets.
    I guess what I have trouble with is that you don't seem to recognize that.
    I agree with you that Canadians want to see their governments take real action.
    We have an approach that, frankly, sir, when you were around the cabinet table your cabinet endorsed, in fairness. Ours are much more aggressive than anything that was proposed under the previous government with respect to the ambitious nature of the targets. They are greater.
    I think we do need to move beyond--and some people don't want to hear this--we need to move on. The big emitters, the big polluters, have to do their part. Government has a very strong, important role to play in this, but the cultural change also has to come from individual Canadians.
    A woman I met at a grocery store recently said she thought we should do more for the environment. I looked down at her grocery cart as she was leaving the grocery store. She had 29 plastic grocery bags. She then took them to her Cadillac Escalade and put them in the back.
    A Conservative voter.
    For the peanut gallery comment, thank you.
    I'm going to miss you. I do want to wish you all the very best in your future field.
    This is, unfortunately, the attitude of many folks. They want someone else to deal with it.
     I spoke to two of the Canadian scientists who worked on and helped write one of the first reports that came out in Paris. After discussing the report with policy-makers, I said, “What's the answer?” The first one just looked at me and said, “I don't know.” The second one looked at me and said two things: cultural change and technology.
    I think we need government leadership in both of those areas, but it's also going to require individual Canadians to do their part.
    Thank you, Mr. Minister.
    I want to assure you that at the back of my Prius I do keep a number of cloth bags for groceries, etc. I remember to use those, taking them with me whenever I go into the grocery store.
    But it's easy to forget to do that, as I'm sure you understand.
    My time is up, so I'll pass now to Mr. Comuzzi.
    Mr. Comuzzi, the floor is yours, sir, for five minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair. I apologize to you and the committee for being late. I was at another meeting and hoped to get here earlier.
     I apologize to you, Minister.
    I know this meeting went on for an hour or an hour and a half and that you didn't have very many opportunities to complete the questions that were asked by our colleagues across. You may want an opportunity to complete the answers to those questions, but first let me just make one comment, Minister.
    Recently you were on the north shore of Lake Superior, at which you dedicated, along with the Prime Minister, 10,000 square kilometres of shoreline for the first marine conservation area in Canada. This is the substance of my question: as you stood there over that vast, expansive lake, did the thought occur to you of what role the largest freshwater lake in the world--which we are trying to protect, and we compliment you on that--plays in global warming? There's some real doubt in the minds of the scientists now with respect to precipitation, the loss of the water surface into the air surface, and so on.
    I wonder if you've thought of that and if there's anything else we should be doing with respect to the water supplies that we have on all the Great Lakes in order to assist in your particular problem of global warming. Is there a connection?


    First, I know you've been a big champion of that conservation on Lake Superior.
    The scientists can't definitively say global warming, but I suspect the hotter summers and less snowpack in the winters have led to less precipitation, and that has had a contributing effect on water levels, not just on Lake Superior but on the other Great Lakes and Georgian Bay as well. That's a huge concern to many Canadians. This is just one of the many examples we see around the country of what is likely the effect of climate change. It's incredibly disturbing, and we're pretty concerned about it.
    On conservation, we're blessed with a lot of the world's forests, and protecting the boreal forest is important. We're working hard on conservation measures to do that. I don't think you can ever do enough, but I think in 11 months, from the Great Bear Rainforest to the Nahanni, to the Sahtu Dehcho lands in the Northwest Territories--they're twice the size of Nova Scotia--to the two announcements we made just last week, to the $220 million for the Nature Conservancy of Canada.... We made an announcement in Essex earlier this week. We're making good progress and we need more of it.
    That's a huge concern. I recently met with some officials from Indonesia, and the deforestation in Indonesia is a big concern. That's one of their biggest challenges. That was a big issue for Australia—I suspect it will continue to be—so we can take these Canadian lessons to the table on how we can work constructively with other countries on these important issues.
    Thank you for that answer.
    Mr. Comuzzi, pardon me. One minute.
    That's all right, Geoff.
    Greenhouse gases. We're all so concerned about them. You don't do it in one fell swoop; you do it in little bits and pieces, as we did on Lake Superior. The value of what we did there isn't being expressed throughout the country, the importance of those small steps we take to prevent greenhouse gases.
    One of the big topics of a book I read was the full history and discussions between Canada and the United States with respect to the acid rain issue. If you don't meet with success, keep trying. You're not going to measure success in a matter of days, weeks, or months; you're going to measure it in years and decades, and we're going to work aggressively on this issue.
    This is going to be the defining issue of my generation and the next two or three generations. It's not about tabling one plan and calling it a day. It's going to require constant attention for this generation and the two or three that follow it. We can't let perfection be the enemy of the good. We're moving forward. We're moving forward aggressively. For some it's not enough, but it's important that we get on with it, and that's why we're committed to real action.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you, Mr. Comuzzi.
    Thank you, Minister.
    For the third round, I'd ask that members indicate to the chair if they wish to speak, and then I'll ask the clerk to keep a list. Given the time, only a few minutes left—about seven minutes or so—how about if we allow a two-minute round, two minutes each? We'll start with the opposition, followed by the government, and then return to the opposition.
    I understand there's also a motion, which we'll get to, I think, in a few minutes.
    Mr. McGuinty, the floor is yours.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Minister, one of the slides I really liked. You put up slide 15. Can I see slide 15 again?
    About the letter you have here, signed by these different groups in the country, do you have a copy of that letter to table in the House right now?


    Do you have it here?
    Let me see. I might. Just one second.
    It's only because, Minister, while you're looking, we've got other parts of the letter that are not up on the overhead here. I'd like to read into the record another part of the letter you have not quoted, because you selectively picked about two sentences from the letter.
    This is what the letter goes on to say: “The undersigned represent industry associations and environmental organizations that have major substantive concerns with multiple elements of the regulatory framework.” They go on to say they propose to you: “A high-level multi-stakeholder advisory committee that would provide advice to senior officials”— two of them sitting beside you—“to the four key departments on implementation of the regulatory framework on solutions to issues that arise and on approaches to harmonized federal and provincial regulations.”
     Mr. McGuinty, as you know, this is a very short intervention.
    Very quickly, why isn't that on the slide with this other paragraph?
    Minister, you may wish—obviously we're looking for short answers in this very short round—to provide us with a written answer to some of this to provide the details on that point.
    We'll provide a full copy of the letter, if you like.
    It's a quotation from the letter. It's not misrepresented; it's exactly what they said. We're working constructively; we've taken them up on their offer. I think it's constructive; I think it's good.
    I quoted three Liberal environment ministers. Did I quote every single thing they ever said? No. It's a quote, it's identified from a letter, and that's the fact.
    Minister, I don't want to be interrupting—
    I'm not going to let you try to misrepresent it, though, as you did earlier.
    Thank you, Minister.
    Mr. Warawa.
    Thank you, Chair.
    I have a number of interesting quotes that I was tempted to read here, but I think generally we found your presentation very helpful and enlightening, clearly showing how important it is that Canada do its part, which we're committed to do: 20% by 2020 is huge; 60% to 70% by 2050 is huge—the toughest targets in the world.
    Minister, I want to thank you and wish you all the best as you go to Indonesia, working hard.
    Actually, Chair, I'd like to provide a motion at this time. I move that the committee thank the minister for setting out Canada's position on Indonesia for the upcoming UN conference on climate change and offer best wishes and a successful conclusion to the conference.
    Thank you, Mr. Warawa. We'll do that at the end of the meeting, if you don't mind. Mr. Watson seconds the motion.
    Mr. Bigras.


    Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    Based on the minister's presentation, I would like to table a motion that proposes the following:
That through its chair, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development write to the Minister of the Environment in order to share with him their wish to see him, on the occasion of the 13th Party Conference on Climate Change, make a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% in comparison with 1990 levels by 2020, and to accept Europe's invitation to reduce levels of emissions by 30%, if all developed countries support it.
    Is there a second motion?
    I'm giving the rest of my time to the NDP, if there is any.
    Very well. Thank you very much.
    I now give the floor to Mr. Cullen.


    Thank you, Chair.
    This is a question about leverage that you hope to have, Minister, as we're talking about Bali and the well-wishing that you're getting from your party. Concerning the inability to have a presentation of hard targets to the world community, will you commit to sign, either this week or en route to Bali, at least one regulation that will ask Canadian industry to lower their greenhouse gas emissions?
    The regulatory package we're putting together is well known to you, sir. We spoke to this earlier.
    This is important, Minister, in terms of your ability to influence these other countries, because as you've suggested, absolute targets are a requirement for success; yet in Canada we have neither absolute targets nor any regulations whatsoever.
    How is it that you've positioned success at this conference to be something that Canada—your government—is currently failing on already? It is counterintuitive and illogical to suggest that you're waiting for the world to do something you are unwilling to do yourself.
    So I ask you again, will you be willing to sign at least one regulation into law that has been on your desk for a number of months—at least one—to show good faith to the international community that Canada is willing to do its part?


    We're going to move as quickly as humanly possible to get a regulatory regime in place. We're working constructively with industry and environmental groups, and we will do it as quickly as is humanly possible.
    This is a process that you've engaged in that will bring about a complicit failure; that is a foreshadowing of what you expect out of this. It's very frustrating to me, and I think to many Canadians, that Canada, and you in your position as Minister of the Environment meant to protect the environment, will not present one signed regulation that will allow Canada some sort of credibility after years of failure. I find it beyond logic and beyond reason to continue to purport that the problem is China and India, when it is Canada, under your watch and under previous administrations, that refuses to have one regulation signed that will allow and ask industry to become compliant. It's a hypocrisy that you know the world community will not accept. I refuse to understand to this point why you would continue to purport it.
     Thank you, Mr. Cullen. I'll allow the minister a brief response, please.
    I think I've already responded.
    Thank you very much, Minister.
    We'll now turn to the time for the discussion of the motion before us.
    Minister, thank you for appearing before us today. Merry Christmas, a bit early.
    Thank you very much.
    We will first hear debate on Mr. Warawa's motion and then we'll proceed to the motion of Mr. Bigras.
    Please go ahead, Monsieur Bigras.


    I move to reverse the order of the motions. In fact, I move that we start with the motion tabled by the Bloc Québécois.


    Thank you, Mr. Bigras. You've moved to reverse the order of the motions.
    The clerk advises me that we adopted at the last meeting a procedure by which we would deal with motions in the order they were brought forward, so is this motion to reverse in order?
    The clerk advises me that it would require unanimous consent.
    Go ahead, Mr. Bigras.


    I have just tabled a motion, which is a change to the agenda. A change to the agenda should not be debatable nor discussable, and we should therefore call the question immediately.
    I would like to ask the clerk a question.
    Apparently, that is not the way to proceed.


    Are we ready for a vote?


    You may speak with the clerk if you wish, but for the moment, we are studying Mr. Warawa's motion.
    You have another point of order?
    Point of order. That is not our interpretation. We are ready to challenge your decision, Mr. Chairman.
    I ask that you call the question on my motion.


    Mr. Warawa has a point of order.
    Mr. Chair, this is the point of order. I'm speaking to the point of order raised by Mr. Bigras.
    Mr. Chair, the motion that I made a couple of minutes before, at about 5:27, was a motion that was moved and seconded and is now on the table. Mr. Chair, you continued to permit some discussion that may or may not have been relevant to that motion, but I permitted it. I was totally fine with that because it was somewhat relevant to the motion, but in fact there is a motion on the table. Now, we can only deal with one motion at a time. That motion could be amended; it could be amended in an amendment of the amendment; we could go on and on, but Mr. Chair, the fact is we have a motion on the table already.
    What Mr. Bigras is talking about in his point of order is not relevant to what has happened. We have a motion already on the table, so it's not which motion goes first; we already have a motion on the table. We first procedurally have to deal with the motion that's on the table, and then Mr. Bigras's motion could be dealt with.
    Now, if Mr. Bigras were to ask me to remove my motion, then procedurally, if I agreed to do that, we could deal with his motion, but I don't want to remove my motion, so we first have to deal with the motion that's on the floor.


    We'll deal with the motion on the floor. Is there any further debate on the motion on the floor?
    Go ahead, Mr. Bigras.


    Mr. Chairman, I would like to know if you maintain your decision. If you maintain your decision, I would like to remind you that I moved to challenge your decision. It is not debatable, it cannot be discussed, and we must proceed.
    I want to remind you that it is a change in the agenda.
    Yes, that is right.


    Mr. Bigras is correct. Therefore, he has challenged my decision that we proceed, and therefore, we will do a vote—
     On this point of order.
    What's the point of order?
    It's immediate. He is correct that having challenged my decision is not debatable; therefore, we vote on the challenge. That means that if you support my decision, you will vote in favour. You'll vote against the challenge.
    Remind us what the decision is that we're in favour of.
    The question is that I can't reverse the order.
    So those in favour of sustaining my decision—
    For clarification—
    No, I'm sorry, I'll try to be clear. If it's not clear, let me know.
    It's not clear.
     I haven't given you the question yet.
    Those in favour of sustaining my decision that the order is not reversible, please raise your hand. That would be you guys. Do you want to support that the order is not reversible—in other words, that your motion would go first?
    Mr. Chair, that is the clarification I want; and actually, my question, through you to the clerk, would be, is there a motion on the table right now?
    We're not talking about reversing motions. Is there a motion on the table now? That's my question.
    A voice: Yes, there is.
    In effect, he's also challenging my decision to move forward with your motion first.
    We already have a motion on the floor. We're not talking about which motion should go first.
    Yes, but a motion to deal with the agenda takes precedence, the same as a motion to adjourn takes precedence and is not debatable.
     Mr. Chair, I'm not talking about the agenda. I'm talking about a motion that's already on the floor, not the agenda. An agenda would be what is coming up next. We already have a motion on—
    Well, I'm sorry, but I would argue that in fact, when you have two motions, the order in which you deal with them is a matter of the agenda.
    We don't have two motions. Procedurally, we have one motion.
    Well, we have two motions, because I indicated—
    Through you, Mr. Chair, to the clerk, my procedural question is, do we have a motion on the floor now?
    The motion is on the floor. So my ruling is that your motion is on the floor and that we have to proceed with that motion and debate that motion. If members want to challenge that decision, they can do so.


    Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask a question.


    Just a minute. Is it a point of order?


    This is also a point of order. The decision you took was not based on your own decision, but on what the clerk told you pursuant to the Standing Orders. Is that right?
    I do not want to explain my decisions or comment on what was explained.
    I am sorry, it is Mr. Vellacott's turn.


    Can I speak to the motion, then?
    Yes, you're speaking to the motion, unless there's a point of order. Obviously a point of order takes precedence. You're speaking to the motion.
     I'm speaking to the motion.
    That's right. And if it's a point of order, obviously I have to interrupt for that.
    You can't, because they—
    I have been advised that because they've challenged my decision to proceed with your motion, that's non-debatable.
    The motion is on the floor—
    I'm sorry. I've been asked about that, and it has been challenged. Therefore—
    Excuse me, Mr. Chair, is it a challenge to invert, or is it a challenge to move to—


    It's a challenge on whether we proceed with your motion, or that's it. It's whether it should be your motion or not.
    So the challenge is my motion, whether or not it is a legitimate motion, because I have a legitimate motion on the table. The clerk has acknowledged that, and so procedurally, according to Marleau and Montpetit, how can a motion that is legally on the table be removed without the permission of the mover? You first have to debate the motion and then vote on the motion procedurally.


    I am asking for clarification, not a debate. Did I ask to invert the order before Mr. Warawa took the floor on his motion?
    The problem is that he had already tabled his motion.
    I had as well. Did I take the floor in order to request that we invert the order before Mr. Warawa took the floor to speak to his motion?
    Mr. Bigras, time...
    I am asking for clarification, I do not want to get into a debate.
    I will provide an explanation. I am not here to argue. The problem is that we can only study one motion at a time. Therefore, in my opinion, Mr. Warawa is right. As his motion was already being studied, your substantive motion was out of order. If, before presenting your substantive motion, you had tabled a motion to adjourn or another motion, it would have been studied immediately and would have been voted on immediately. However, your substantive motion was out of order.
    Do motions to modify the agenda have precedence over other motions, knowing that Mr. Warawa had not yet taken the floor?
    The problem remains the same. If his motion is being studied, another motion would be out of order. I made a mistake, I am sorry. His motion is in order at the moment.
    You have challenged my decision, so we will vote on that.


    I don't know how we do that.


    Mr. Chairman, I will therefore withdraw my confidence motion.
    Thank you very much.


    We have debate on the motion from Mr. Warawa.
    Go ahead, Mr. Warawa.
    Mr. Chair, I want to thank you.
    We did experience a little--actually, a little bit too much--political rhetoric at times, but I think there still may be goodwill left in this committee to wish the minister a very successful time in Indonesia.
    Mr. Chair, it is very clear that in the Speech from the Throne the government shared a very direct plan and very clearly shared the message it will be bringing to Indonesia. That's consistent with what happened at the G8, APEC, the United Nations, and last week in Uganda at the Commonwealth conference. It included absolute reductions in greenhouse gases of 20% by 2020 and a further reduction of 60% to 70% by 2050. Our Speech from the Throne included a domestic carbon market and a comprehensive strategy for the Arctic, including a world-class Arctic research station. It included national air pollution with regulations. It included a new water strategy to protect our rivers, lakes, and oceans. It included tougher enforcement that will make polluters accountable, Mr. Chair.
    I believe it was a very clear plan. I'm very pleased that it was supported by Parliament. We have an endorsement from Parliament to take that message to Indonesia. There was an opportunity not to support it, but Parliament did support that message.
    We have a mandate to bring that, and in that spirit we have had a minister provide a very enlightening message to us. It was good. Now we want to wish him well and wish him a successful conclusion to Indonesia at the Bali COP 13, and that would include asking that all major emitters be part of absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Not only will this permit Canada to continue to take a leadership role, but it will also provide absolute reductions in greenhouse gases globally, which will deal with the issue of the growing climate change crisis.
    I think it's an appropriate motion. Again, it recognizes the support that Parliament has given, the endorsement that Parliament has given--


    I'd like to call the question, Mr. Chair. Could I call the question now?
    You want to call the question?
    Right now.
    Well, there's no procedure for calling the question in committee, as you may know. You can't move the previous question; that's what you're referring to, right? There's no such procedure in committees of the House of Commons. We allow debate as long as members wish to debate.
    I'm sorry for interrupting, then, sir. I assumed I could call the question. I don't want to be rude.
    Is there agreement to move to call the question?
    I'll back off. I don't want to be rude.
    Thank you, Chair. I was just getting started here.
    Mr. Chair, we'll implement a new water strategy to help clean up our major lakes and oceans and to improve access to safe drinking water for first nations. Mr. Chair, that is excellent news. And again, it was endorsed by Parliament. We've already taken action on that strategy by announcing a plan to get tough on sewage dumping and to bring in tough new regulations on sewage treatment across the country. Chair, Mr. Bigras himself expressed concern about the blue-green algae, and we've supported that report to the House. But also we need to deal with agriculture, we need to deal with blue-green algae from sewage, and that's what this government has done. Again, we've received the endorsement of Parliament to bring that message to Indonesia.
    Last week, Canada's government announced $42.5 million for Canadian oceans. That's amazing, Mr. Chair. Not only does this take action on ocean protection, but it helps protect environmentally sensitive areas across Canada, such as the Scott Islands in British Columbia, working with groups like the World Wildlife Fund.
    Mr. Chair, for far too many years the previous Liberal government—long years, Mr. Chair—failed to act on the environment. Canada will finally have the tough national rules needed to improve water quality, to protect the health of Canadians, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to globally deal with the issue that we all need to deal with.
    Here are the facts. The opposition can't ask the government to do something it didn't do itself; there's an inconsistency. We saw under the Liberals that greenhouse gas emissions increased by 33% above target. Is that what Canadians were promised? No, in 1993 they promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The previous government committed to meeting the Kyoto Protocol and in 2004 ended up 33% above the target, above those promises.
    We heard today that there has been a failure to fight climate change. Part of that failure is the responsibility of some around this table. Decisions were made to not take seriously the issue of climate change. We heard that from the minister today.
    We owe it to Canada, we owe it to the globe, to get serious, and this government has. Failure to fight climate change is not an option. We must face the challenge head-on. We heard that from the minister today, and we need to take that message not only here in Canada, but to Indonesia.
    Chair, I think it's appropriate to continue the support, as I said earlier to members of this committee. In the House, some did not support it, but the majority of Parliament did endorse the message of the government that we heard in the Speech from the Throne, and it's to get serious about climate change. We've turned the corner on 13 long years of Liberal inaction.
    We need to look at solutions, and this government is committed to solutions, solutions such as energy efficiency, renewable fuels, carbon capture and storage, a domestic carbon trading market. And we want to work with the United States, with China, and with India to make sure they are committed to the solution.
    We all remember the chart we saw here not very long ago, a chart that showed increases in greenhouse gas emissions that will be coming from India and China and the United States. We have an obligation—I believe each one of us believes in that obligation—to deal with it. We need to deal with the problem. The problem is growing greenhouse gas emissions.
    Chair, how do we do that? We need to make sure everybody is participating. If you saw somebody there with a garden hose emptying water onto a lawn, and it's flooding, you would stop the flood, stop this abuse, and stop the waste of this water, this precious resource. It's one thing to water a lawn, but to have it soak and waste and to see the water running down the curb would be a terrible waste. That's what we're seeing in the environment. We have to turn those taps off. We have to stop the abuse of the atmosphere. We have to stop the abuse of dumping excess amounts of carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions, into our atmosphere.
    We heard, actually, from Mr. McGuinty, I believe it was, last week, or it may have been at the beginning of this week, but he talked about dumping greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere at the expense of the globe. I'm paraphrasing; I hope I'm not misquoting him. I agree. There has been a past history of governments doing that, of dumping excess greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. What do we have as a result of that? Climate change. We have warming climates.


    We've heard through the IPCC report that even if Canada and the United States were to go down to zero emissions, to stop everything, greenhouse gas emissions would continue to rise. We saw that on chart number 4.
    So how important is it that we have everybody participating? Again, going back to that analogy, I have too many people putting water on the lawn. It's gone far beyond watering the lawn; it's now flooding it and wasting this resource. We need to get China to start closing that tap. When? Now. How about India? How about the United States? To get a solution to deal with the crisis of climate change, you have to get all the major emitters to be part of the solution. That's what the Prime Minister has said. Clearly, he has taken that leadership. Also, the minister is going to be taking that message to Indonesia.
    Mr. Chair, I think it's critical that we continue our support, continue the endorsement. I'm concerned that if members around this table don't support that, they're not supporting how they voted in regard to the Speech from the Throne. What kind of message does that give? We need consistency. We need to deal with the issue of climate change.
    Mr. Chair, I think the motion is very clear. It supports continuing the mandate, and I hope all members will support this.
    Thank you, Mr. Warawa.
    Now, Mr. Vellacott, you were interested in voting on this. Are you now wishing to vote on that?
    I'd like to speak. I have some important things I want to say first.
    I think the motion before us is appropriate, obviously, and in view of the minister's coming and giving of his time today, something we should all want for our children and our grandchildren is the very best in terms of the meetings in Bali of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The truth is pretty simple, and it's quite clear as well. Numerous people around the world have been catching on to that fact: we have to involve all these other players in the world, particularly the big countries. Without that, it's a bit of an exercise in futility, to some degree, in terms of the total picture.
    So the Indonesian meeting, as we know, will decide on a process, on a timeline, to negotiate a post-2012 deal. Canada has already indicated we're going to work very hard to get an agreement that defines that process appropriately so we have a post-2012 agreement, Mr. Chair, that requires all major emitters to cut greenhouse gases. Particularly, I think, it's been noted here today that we need to include China, India, and the U.S. as well. All these countries need to be involved if we're going to make progress.
    It doesn't matter if they're in the developed or in the developing world, air currents know no particular borders and don't distinguish between developed or developing countries. So we need to work in concert with all the countries of the globe. Greenhouse gases and air pollution know no borders, and they affect every one of us on this planet. That's why, in fairness, in terms of progress, in terms of getting a successful outcome, we need to have a deal that applies to all nations equally.
     I think we're all probably quite aware that Indonesia is not the end of the negotiations for a post-Kyoto deal. It's really just the beginning. It's an important first part, but it's the beginning. It's not the end, because we go from there in terms of implementation, with all the countries of the world having to do their own particular things to reduce greenhouse gases, with Canada showing some leadership. Those major emitters, Mr. Chair, like China and India and the United States, need to be on board, with an oar in the water, as we say, rowing in the same direction. We've got to be pulling together on this to make progress.
    What does that mean?
    Rowing together? We've all got to be heading together.
    We had an Olympic athlete in that area around this place, Mr. Anderson, a previous environment minister, and I think he knows what it means to row together, with the oars in the water, in the same direction.
    For example, even if the United States stopped emitting greenhouse gases, GHGs would still skyrocket because of those other countries, because of China. The coal plants that are coming on on a monthly basis in China, India, and Korea have been mentioned here. That's why we need to get all those major emitters to the table, Mr. Chair. Countries like Canada have to move forward to show leadership and move first. We've done that with the commitment we referred to before--and the minister made reference to that as well--a commitment to an absolute reduction of 20% by the year 2020.
    Canadians want action. All parties are quite aware of that. All the polling indicates the same: we want some action on the environment. That's why our Prime Minister, our Minister of the Environment, and our delegation heading off to Bali are delivering every single day, whether it's international leadership at the United Nations or billions in new spending for environmental programs in our country as well.
    That, Mr. Chair, is the real action Canadians want and can depend on from this government.
    Over the last few months, Canada has been at the forefront of international action on climate change, including the leadership the Prime Minister showed at the G8, and again at the APEC summit, and then also at the United Nations, most recently in Kampala, Uganda, with a realistic plan, saying maybe what others were fearful to say. But the fact that we have these others involved is pretty crucial, pretty necessary to the process.


    Canada will continue to work forcefully--
    Mr. Vellacott, forgive me, but there is a point of order by Mr. Cullen.
    I want to recognize that we are in the bizarre circumstance of the government filibustering themselves at this point. The ridiculousness of this is beyond the pale.
    An hon. member: That's not a point of order.
    Thank you, Mr. Cullen.
    It's offensive to the taxpayers of Canada.
    Mr. Vellacott.
    You're filibustering yourselves. You understand you're doing this, right?
    I want to have the support of the other members around the table here, in view of the performance of the minister today--
    You made the ridiculous--
    --giving of his time unselfishly as he did.
    Canada will continue to work forcefully within the United Nations process. I think we set the tone in Uganda at Kampala and will in the days ahead as well. The Canadian delegation--the member Mr. McGuinty actually made that point in the House, for all of us there--will not include him. It will be a much tighter, more focused delegation than ever before.
    An hon. member: How do you know?
    Mr. Maurice Vellacott: We know that opposition MPs are free to attend. You can attend if you choose; there's nothing stopping you. The member from Ottawa South can go off to that place if he wants. He had his chance to stand up and represent Canadians. He didn't. He could have represented those Canadians he speaks of as representing, but he didn't. He abstained. The House of Commons gave this government, the Conservative government, a mandate, and a mandate on the environment in particular, while he sat on his seat. He sat on his hands there for a period of time, not standing up for Canadians on this issue, as he should have. But in fact by way of his abstaining he actually gave support to the government and the mandate of this government.
    I'd like to remind the House as well that when this delegation goes to Indonesia, it's a good delegation, and they won't be there with the intent to embarrass Canada. I think some of the performances at Bonn were pretty shameful. It's clear that the opposition parties--it would appear again even today by this late-breaking tactic and a motion thrown in at the last moment here--are trying to derail the committee, I suppose, in part. It's clear that the opposition parties are not interested in working abroad, and they would rather use it as a platform to make partisan political attacks. They can do that at their own expense, but not on the government dime.
    Really, the functioning of this committee is not a partisan exercise, but it's a working meeting on the next step in the process. I think the honourable member well knows that. The provinces will have representation there as well. Various environmental groups, and other third parties, will be there. They're planning on attending and there's really nothing stopping them. They'll be there.
    I cited before, in addition to the other good stuff that was up on the screen here earlier, a statement from the British High Commission, and one of their very first points was this issue of universal participation. It was Mr. Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, who pressed that issue, and finally they got consensus at Kampala. They state that as their very first aspiration for what's to take place in Bali from December 3 to December 14, launching, as they say, a very important process. It's a process of the highest importance for the whole international community. And as they set out their aspirations, in particular they say: we seek universal participation, and we look for agreement on a global, long-term stabilization goal. And our party is pushing, as our government is pushing, as our environment minister and the Prime Minister just previously did as well, for absolute emission reductions by developed countries.
     I think that's pretty stellar, to be showing leadership abroad, but again, as I said in my questions to the minister as well, I think it's even more vital to be showing to us the fact that we have leadership on the home front as well.
    I don't think, Mr. Chairman, the Canadian public will be fooled. Liberals in action have been well documented. We can look at what the environment commissioner reported from 1998 to 2006. There's the 1998 report--you can get the whole context there, but it's true to the nature of the report--where the environment commissioner says bluntly that “the federal government”--the Liberal government at that time--“is failing to meet its policy commitments”.
    The environment commissioner went on to say in 1999 in that year's report: “federal departments were divided on the degree and significance of risks posed by some individual toxic substances, the interpretation and application of legislation and the nature of their respective roles and authorities. We noted that this division has led to indecision, inaction and strained relations among departments and agencies.”
    That's not me saying that, Mr. Chairman. That's actually the well-regarded environment commissioner in her report in 1999.
    The environment commissioner goes on to say more in the 2000 report--there seems to be a bit of a pattern here--making the point that there were “persistent problems with the federal government's management of key issues like climate change, toxic substances and biodiversity.” I continue to quote: “As a result, commitments made to Canadians were not”--I underline “were not”--“being met.”


    Then again, we could carry on here. The 2001 report states that the continued upward trend in Canada's emissions demonstrates that the government has not transformed its promises into results.
    I hope this is insightful for you, Mr. Chair, because as I promised, I would hope to enlighten you and go on at length here in respect to the motion before us now.
    In 2002 the report by the environment commissioner said, “The federal government's sustainable development deficit is continuing to grow.” So again, we have it on and on like that.
    But it's clear from the environment commissioner with respect to the abject failure of this government in respect to environmental issues. There are others as well that we could cite, but I think that's a fairly objective source we have to refer to.
    In contrast to that, Mr. Chair, as you well know...because I know you follow these issues with great interest and you are an astute student of these things. You would be well aware, Mr. Chair, Mr. Regan, that the government has announced a fairly clear agenda for the environment. It's out there. It's on the record. Our plan will continue to deliver realistic and achievable results on cleaning up our environment.
    That's what I'm hearing from my constituents, what they want. They want the practical deliverables. When I talk to youth, when I talk to others, I find that the airy-fairy approach of blowing hot air in terms of fine speeches and so on.... They want to see the consequence of action, significant action forward, concrete steps that are taken. And so they will.
    Our plan will continue to achieve those realistic and achievable results on cleaning up our environment. It focused on some fairly broad action here at home, and it continued internationally--


    Colleagues, I see we no longer have quorum; therefore, the meeting is adjourned.