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Results: 1 - 15 of 464
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, over the last 10 years the Conservatives have run multi-billion dollar deficits, averaging about $15 billion a year. All of their incompetence, mismanagement, phony tax cut legacy, and personal debt records are buried in a whopping $150 billion addition to the national debt.
Does a Conservative balanced budget mean that over their term it balances out at about a $15 billion deficit? Is a multi-billion dollar deficit year after year what the Conservatives mean by balanced?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the fundamental responsibility of a Minister of Justice is to protect the rule of law and the integrity of investigations. Therefore, “no comment” means “no comment”. If an investigation has merit, it is compromised, and in extreme cases, lives are put at risk. If there is no merit, individuals are slandered and smeared with little recourse.
What then was the Minister of Justice thinking when he commented on Minister Michael Chan? Has he forgotten his oath of office, or was he so overwrought with the joy of potential partisan advantage that he jettisoned his oath of office?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, Pope Francis has just released his encyclical on climate change.
Over the centuries, great prophets have denounced injustice and spoken truth to power, often at great personal risk. In more modern times, Wilberforce denounced the scourge of slavery in the British Empire. Bishop Desmond Tutu fearlessly led the fight against apartheid. Reverend Tommy Douglas denounced the injustice of tying health care to the size of one's bank account. Pope John Paul II is best remembered as the spiritual godfather of the demise of communism.
Into this prophetic role stepped Pope Francis this week. In a comprehensive, well-researched, and penetrating account of climate change, the Pope zeroed in on the injustice that allows the rich to get richer on the backs of those least able to adapt. Like the prophets of old, he denounced the cavalier indifference of the smug and the affluent.
If the Conservative government does not get the science and chooses to ignore the economics, surely it will listen to Pope Francis. To ignore faith, science, and economics is to define smug indifference.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, Pope Francis issued a powerful encyclical about the ravages of climate change. He has decried the injustice of those who allow the rich to get richer on the backs of those least able to adapt to climate change. The Conservatives have smugly ignored the economics and science of climate change.
If the Conservative government does not get the science and refuses to ignore the economics, surely the Conservatives will listen to the clarion call of Pope Francis. To ignore faith, science and economics is to define smug ignorance. Will they at least listen to the Pope?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment the hon. member on his rant. It was one of the finer rants I have heard in a while.
The previous question actually went where I wanted to go, which was to the self-congratulatory nonsense the Conservatives continually put forward. They have run up the national debt between $150 billion and $160 billion. That means that over the last 10 years, their average expenses have exceeded their revenues by somewhere in the order of $15 billion on an annual basis, which is hardly a way to run the economy.
Since I have already answered that question, I want to ask a second question which is on the so-called carbon pricing. Clearly, every government in Canada gets it now. B.C. prices carbon. Alberta prices carbon, and certainly the new government will be much more sensitive on pricing carbon. Ontario prices carbon. Quebec prices carbon. About 80% to 85% of the economy already prices carbon. The only place that the pricing of carbon is bad is across the aisle here, where the Conservatives simply want to keep their heads stuck literally in the sand, but I will not describe which kind of sand.
I would be interested in the hon. member's views that as a nation we have actually moved a great deal forward on the pricing of carbon, where the government has actually been a drag on the pricing of carbon.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has completed his photo op tour with a visit to Pope Francis, who took his pontifical name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment.
In his latest photo op, Pope Francis did not look too impressed. Having met with the Prime Minister, who is the international laggard in chief on climate change, may explain the Pope's disgruntled appearance.
Could the minister tell us why Pope Francis looked so impressed, and did he call on the Prime Minister to be serious about climate change?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century, barely.
After immense pressure from the G7 leadership, he reluctantly agreed to a communiqué that would get Canada out of fossil fuels by the end of the century. However, his minister only has a target of 225 megatonnes by 2030. She seems awfully keen on mini-tonnes, however, on fugitive methane emissions from oil, gas and fertilizer sectors.
Since fugitive emissions are relatively small potatoes in the emissions profile, what is her plan for the rest?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, this weekend the Prime Minister will be attending the G7 summit in Germany. He will be pressed by President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron, and others to be serious about climate change.
He knows, as does the rest of the world, that this pledge to cut 30% by 2030 is nothing more than a press release masquerading as a plan. Having done nothing in the last 10 years, he expects to waltz into the most important meeting in the world and bully and bluster his way through the agenda. He will fool no one.
Once again Canada's reputation will be trashed, once again the Prime Minister will resist any serious commitment to reducing GHGs, and once again he will assiduously work to water down any communique by the leaders. The G7 leaders know that this plan is both delusional and deceptive. The G7 is not a group for delusions and deceptions.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will be at the G7 meeting in Germany this week. Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama see this as the most important meeting prior to Paris to talk about GHG emissions. The Prime Minister has set a GHG target, which everyone knows is a press release masquerading as a target. The G7 leaders know that this is just simply a deceptive and delusional plan.
Why embarrass us, once again, on the international stage to deceive the world's most important leaders? Why not just admit that the last 10 years have been a colossal Conservative failure?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the minister is now committed to a 225 megatonne reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030. Delusionally, she said that her government will reduce its methane emissions for the oil and gas sector and regulate the production of fertilizer.
Can the minister tell the House precisely how many megatonnes will be reduced and eliminated by fertilizer and methane regulation, and what is the plan for the rest?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, after much hemming and hawing, we finally got the Minister of the Environment to commit to her new target of 524 megatonnes by 2030. Having done nothing for the last 10 years, she now asks us to believe that an additional 200 megatonnes will be achieved in 15 years without a plan.
What are her commitments in writing from the provinces? What are her commitments in writing from the industrial sectors? How will she offset the projected 180 megatonnes from the oil sands?
This target looks more deceptive and delusional than fair and ambitious.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of the Environment a very simple question at committee: Could she state the new 2030 targets in megatonnes? Incredibly, the deputy minister jumped in and said that it was very complicated.
However, 30% of 731 megatonnes is not complicated, and it is the responsibility of the minister to know her facts and to have a plan as to how we will make those targets.
The minister has had 24 hours to crunch the numbers. Could she state the 2030 target in megatonnes?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I doubt that if you sought it you would have unanimous consent to make me go for the 10 minutes.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Hon. John McKay: I have some consent here, but there does not seem to be much consent elsewhere.
There are some resplendent ironies in discussing this motion on a day where The Globe and Mail carried the obituary of Dr. David Sackett. He is known as the father of evidence-based medicine at McMaster University. He was Canada's guru on evidence-based medicine.
If one does not function on evidence-based medicine, one sometimes does exactly the opposite of what one needs to do. The classic example in the medical field is the death of George Washington. The death of George Washington, a relatively healthy man, happened in the course of about 16 to 24 hours. In the course of those hours, he was attended upon by the best physicians that country had to offer, all of whom made their decisions based on practice, what they had done in the past. They were not based on evidence but on what they had done in the past.
One of the practices was bloodletting. Over the course of 16 hours, they drained five pints of blood from the first president of the United States. If he was not sick before, he certainly would have been sick afterwards. He died. This was a practice that was not based on evidence. If we continue to make practices and decisions based upon something other than evidence, for example, ideology, we will actually kill the patient, as in the case of medicine.
That is my view of what is happening here. We have instances where environmental scientists are told to toe the line. Therefore, just as we have one department, one website, we should have one department and one voice. That was the edict that was published by the Department of the Environment in 2007, so that all inquiries of scientists would be funnelled through the political department of the minister at that time.
Environment Canada scientists, many of them world leaders in their fields, have long been encouraged to discuss their work with the media and the public, on everything from migratory birds to melting Arctic ice. Several of them were co-authors of the United Nations report on climate change that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Until now, Environment Canada has been one of the most open and accessible departments. As a consequence, because decisions are not shared widely, because there is not an opportunity for the scientists to discuss them, the decisions made at Environment Canada, and elsewhere in the government, are not optimum. After question period, I would like to give some classic examples of these decisions.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, prior to question period I was talking about bloodletting. It appears that bloodletting is not just limited to out-of-date medical procedures but is still living in on Environment Canada. The title of the document that I was reading from is called, “Environment Canada scientists told to toe the line”. Until now, Environment Canada was one of the most open and accessible departments. One of the researchers was quoted as saying “They’ve been muzzled,” says Weaver of the federal researchers. “The concept of free speech is non-existent at Environment Canada. They are manufacturing the message of science.”
This is serious stuff. I am pleased that the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands has brought forward this motion because the scientists who work for not only Environment Canada but also the rest of the federal government are under siege.
Fifty per cent of them believe that there are cases where the health and safety of Canadians or environmental sustainability has been compromised because of political interference with scientific work. There appears to be no end to which the government will go in order to muzzle scientists, even to the point of compromising the health and security of Canadians.
Seventy-one per cent of them agree that our ability to develop policy laws and programs are based on scientific evidence and that facts have been compromised by political interference, much like my bloodletting example where the ideology gets ahead of the evidence. In fact, the evidence is that when it is, it is inconveniently ignored.
Forty-eight per cent of them are aware of cases where the department or agency has suppressed or declined to release information, which has led to incomplete, inaccurate and misleading impressions.
Seventy-four per cent of them think the sharing of government science findings with the Canadian public has become too restrictive. This is serious stuff.
Finally, 60% of the scientists of Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans believe that the government is not incorporating the best climate change science into its policies.
This is not just some sort of little academic excise. Last week, after Parliament rose, the Minister of the Environment told reporters, and in effect the world, that Canada was going to reach a target in 2030 of a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. That sounds like a good target. This morning she came before the committee on estimates and I asked her a very simple question. Could she state that 30% target in actual megatonnes? It was quite interesting. The deputy minister immediately took over the question, did not let the minister speak, and went into this rather complicated story of how this was a bit of a moving target. I agree with him that it is a moving target. This simple little lawyer asked himself: how can we actually state a 30% reduced target if we do not know what the number of the megatonnes to be achieved is? It is hard to say. It may be 20%, it may 40%, or it may be no per cent at all.
It is quite strange. We are starting with a target of 749 megatonnes as of 2005. Simple math would take that down by 30%, which is somewhere between 150 megatonnes and 200 megatonnes. One would think it would be easy to say that we expect to have a target somewhere in the order of 550 megatonnes by 2030. However, the environment minister is not even able to say that. Nor is the the deputy minister.
This is either the result of the inability of Environment Canada to actually calculate the number or it is a result of the inability of Environment Canada to communicate the number. If in fact the number were stated in public as to what our megatonne target was in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reduction, then Canadians from all provinces, all stripes, would know whether this was a realistic target and would know how the government planned to get to this target.
This exercise in talking about how scientists are muzzled is very serious. It is very serious because policy is being made, being announced, and what is it based upon? The government chooses, for whatever reason, to not put forward evidence on which to base its decision-making process. The consequence is that we have fantasy targets. The government's credibility is completely shot on this file and many others, and the consequence of the consequence, if you will, Mr. Speaker, is that ideology prevails, communication and speaking points prevail over all matters, and with respect to evidence, who cares? That is simply inconvenient.
I thank the House for the time and attention. I appreciate the opportunity to speak. I look forward to questions from members.
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