Madam Speaker, certainly, I will gladly pick up where I left off. I was a little surprised by the interruption, as I did not think we were there yet.
Bill C-12 needs to include an action plan, measures and a review by an independent body that will assess whether the targets are being met and whether Canada is fulfilling its obligations under the Paris Agreement. The bill is missing that aspect. The Paris Agreement is more than just a declaration of intent. As we have said before, the government needs to walk the talk. It needs to listen to the major environmental groups, which have all pointed out the significant flaws with Bill C-12.
That is what the Green Party member pointed out in her question when she said that this bill is one of the weakest in the world, which is is true, unfortunately.
The best approach would be to take inspiration from Bill C-215, the bill on climate change accountability that was introduced by the Bloc Québécois. Our bill set out binding reduction targets and introduced real accountability mechanisms, and that is what really matters.
The goal of Bill C-12 is not to ensure that Canada fulfills its international commitments, but rather to enshrine into law the existence of a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. However, the Paris Agreement is quite clear. In order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the middle of this century, we must first cap greenhouse gas emissions around the world as soon as possible.
The purpose of any climate legislation is not to support the government's efforts—which is exactly how this bill is being presented—but rather to force the government to fulfill its commitments and keep it from failing again.
At the beginning of the House debate on Bill C-215, I remember being told that we needed to preserve policy space. However, since a bill can be repealed, policy space does not disappear. Of course, it is much more difficult to repeal legislation than it is to just leave policy space, as the current bill does. Still, I think it is only right for a government that wants to adjust its actual greenhouse gas emission targets downward to be required to follow a much more rigorous process, rather than being able to make such changes lightly.
With our Bill C-215, we wanted the interim emissions reduction target for 2030 to be a reduction of at least 30% below the level of Canadian greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, which is consistent with the Paris Agreement. In comparison, the Liberal Party's Bill C-12 states that the minister will set the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030 within six months of the day on which the act comes into force. The bill does not actually contain any binding reduction targets. It merely states that it will be up to the minister to announce the new targets.
In the throne speech, the government states that it will bring forward a plan to exceed Canada's 2030 climate goal, and the Prime Minister keeps saying that it will be exceeded. If the government is so sure that it will exceed its reduction target for 2030, why did it not include it in the bill? If the government is so confident, I think it should have nothing to fear from including the targets in the bill. Even if it has concerns about not being able to meet the targets, they should still be written into law.
There is also a problem with the reports. According to the bill, the minister must set targets for the milestone years, but these years are not specified. The targets are established one by one over time, five years before the milestone year. The first target, which should be the one for 2035, will be set in 2030. One question we could ask ourselves is the following: If the progress report is already evaluating whether the interim targets are being met, why would the assessment not be done on an annual basis, after the national inventory report is submitted in accordance with the United Nations framework convention?
In my introduction earlier, I spoke about the role of the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development. The bill does not expressly state that the measures must be assessed based on Canada's ability to adhere to the Paris Agreement. However, for the law to truly ensure that the government's actions enable Canada to meet its targets and honour its international commitments, the commissioner's role must be to assess whether the planned measures will allow Canada to meet its targets and how meeting them would enable Canada to honour its obligations under the Paris Agreement.
In addition, Parliament needs to be able to ensure that the government is honouring Canada's international commitments. The legislation must include a mandatory target for 2030. If the Liberal government's good faith were a valid and satisfactory guarantee of Canada's climate success, why would we need climate framework legislation? This is a valid question.
The government cannot say that Bill C-12 contains restrictive measures while at the same time saying that the only real restriction is the outcome of the election. The Bloc Québécois is fully prepared to work with the government, the opposition parties, environmental groups and the public to amend Bill C-12 to ensure that Canada's international climate commitments will actually be honoured.
However, it is a problem that the minister is the one who establishes the body's mandate and that the minister can change this mandate at any time. As the bill stands now, the advisory body is restricted to providing advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The fact that experts are not being asked to provide advice on the short-term targets, the interim targets and the 2030 target is yet another example of how the government does not understand that this is a climate emergency. It is not prioritizing the rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.