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Results: 1 - 15 of 247
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
Lib. (ON)
Welcome, committee members and Minister.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the subject matter we're studying today is the supplementary estimates, votes 1b and 10b under the Department of the Environment and vote 1b under Parks Canada Agency.
Before we begin, I'd like to advise members that Mr. Hallman has a problem with both his ears. He can lip read, so if he asks you to repeat your question, I will stop your time and then let him continue.
With that, Minister, welcome. I presume you have a statement for 10 minutes.
View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair and members of the committee. It's certainly a pleasure to be here for the first time as Minister of Environment and Climate Change to provide an update on our progress on climate action and environmental protection and how it is reflected in the supplementary estimates.
I am joined today by Christine Hogan, the deputy minister for Environment and Climate Change Canada; Ron Hallman, president and chief executive officer of Parks Canada Agency; and David McGovern, the president of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.
I would like to start by recognizing that this meeting is taking place on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe peoples.
Our world faces a number of very significant environmental challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution of a range of types, but perhaps the most topical issue in the recent days has been plastics pollution. All three are critically important and all three are certainly interrelated. All three are challenges, no doubt, but they all offer opportunities for those countries that move early to address them.
Climate change is the existential threat of our age. The science is clear and overwhelming.
If global emissions continue to rise at their current rate, the world could see at least 3 degrees of warming by 2100.
The implications are very real: a warmer climate will intensify weather extremes, result in sea level rise, and reduce the amount of snow, ice and freshwater.
In this regard, the climate issue is a science issue. It is not a political issue and, quite honestly, it should not be a partisan issue. The climate crisis calls for effective and clear-eyed policies that will measurably reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions over the decades to come while promoting clean growth.
Going forward, Canadians understand that economic progress will need to take place in the frame of environmental sustainability. No longer can we think of economic opportunities without also considering environmental impacts. This is increasingly understood in all sectors of our economy. For example, leading money managers and investors, like BlackRock, are making sustainability and climate risk key elements of their investment strategies. Resource companies are committing to a net zero target, as did Canadian steel producers just last week. Others, including Microsoft, have adopted even more ambitious targets.
In the 2019 election, Canadians overwhelmingly demonstrated their concern about climate change. Our government committed to two key climate policies—exceeding our 2030 target of 30% below 2005 levels and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
We have made tremendous progress in addressing greenhouse gas emissions since 2015.
Early in our mandate, we developed the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, the first real climate plan this country has ever had. It contains more than 50 different measures, from phasing out coal to major investments in public transit and electric vehicle infrastructure to energy efficiency for buildings and industries. We invested over $3 billion to scale up clean technology, and we put in place a national price on pollution, because there can be no credible plan to fight pollution if polluting is free.
Achieving net zero will require an economic as well as an environmental transformation and the mobilization of significant amounts of private capital. Certainly a key component of any pathway will be a focus on clean technology. Hoping for technology to save us from the hard policy choices that are required to reduce emissions is not a climate plan. However, a thoughtful approach to clean tech must be part of an effective strategy to get to net zero, and in particular to help us decarbonize key sectors of our economy. Clean tech offers enormous economic opportunities for Canada.
We all have a role to play in fighting climate change, and I would point out that, when we work together, we can achieve great things. Take the Montreal protocol for example. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney—a Conservative prime minister—worked with politicians across party lines, the United States, Nordic countries and the United Nations to protect the ozone layer. It was tremendously effective—197 countries signed on and the treaty went down as the most lauded environmental treaty in history.
Achieving our goals will certainly be challenging and will require leadership from every region of this country.
Now, very briefly, I would like to walk you through our updated estimates that account for changes or developments in particular programs or services. Let us start with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The 2019-20 supplementary estimates (B) for Environment and Climate Change Canada outline $134.9 million in adjustments that relate mostly to the implementation of the framework, which included the climate action incentive fund. The fund applies to jurisdictions where the federal carbon pollution pricing system is in effect so we return the fuel charge to Canadians. The new estimates reflect increases of $9.5 million in voted appropriations and $109.1 million in statutory funding.
To support cleaner and more efficient travel, we have also allocated an additional $5.8 million to Natural Resources Canada for a contribution to the City of Brampton for an electric bus trial.
The estimates also reflect $4.7 million to start federal contributions toward eliminating plastic waste.
Let's now turn to Parks Canada, Madam Chair.
Parks Canada is responsible for protecting our treasured natural legacy for future generations to enjoy, as well as important historic and heritage sites.
Parks Canada Agency's spending has gone up $3.5 million, including $2.7 million to commemorate Indian residential school sites in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action 79.
The supplementary estimates also seek approval for a vote transfer of $12.9 million from the agency's program expenditures to the agency's new parks account in order to set this money aside and protect it until need for the development of capital infrastructure in the Rouge National Urban Park.
As for the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, it is requesting two interdepartmental transfers that total $1.8 million for these supplementary estimates (B).
I am going to stop here, Madam Chair.
I hope this summary provides committee members with the insights they were looking for in the supplementary estimates.
I want to assure the members of this committee and all Canadians of our commitment to fighting climate change and protecting our natural environment. We certainly intend to engage Canadians in discussions around these issues every step of the way.
With that, I am very happy to take your questions.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Welcome, Minister and officials. Thank you for being here. It's always informative when you spend some time with us in committee, and we appreciate it.
Minister, with respect to the supplementary estimates (B), the sum of votes 15, 20 and 25 on marine safety response, disaster management preparation and implementing a federal carbon offset system totals over $1.1 million that is left over. Why hasn't that funding been fully expended?
Carol Najm
View Carol Najm Profile
Carol Najm
2020-03-12 8:54
Thank you.
With respect to votes 15, 20, 25 and 30, those are frozen allotments that came with budget 2019 for expenditures of PSPC, Public Services and Procurement Canada and Shared Services Canada for their support in implementing programs.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Have those programs not commenced? I wonder why they have not been expended.
Carol Najm
View Carol Najm Profile
Carol Najm
2020-03-12 8:54
Those are frozen allotments carried forward to the future year. This means they will come into our main estimates for 2020-21.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you.
Minister, the Globe and Mail has reported that the government plans to add plastics to schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which is the list of toxic substances. Plastics, I would suggest, are ubiquitous in Canada because they are affordable and can be used for so many applications.
How do you think declaring plastics as toxic without any further definition that we know of—unless you're going to give it to us today—will impact the production and availability of plastics in Canada? How could this impact the cost of living for Canadians, especially low-income Canadians?
View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
Lib. (BC)
That's an important question. Plastic pollution in the environment is a problem. We recently went through a scientific report that identified a range of different issues with respect to macroplastics and microplastics, and it is important that we take action to address the plastic issue generally.
There are a number of tools through which that can be done. This was part of a conversation that happened during the 2019 campaign. We committed to a ban on harmful single-use plastics, and the work to identify the items that will be on that list of banned products is under way at the present time.
View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
Lib. (BC)
We will be looking at putting the costs of collecting and recycling plastics back on producers through extended producer responsibility. As you will know, this is actually in place in British Columbia—the only place in Canada. We will be looking at issues around things like recycled content requirements. That is a strategy we will be coming forward with in the coming months. Certainly the ability to regulate plastics is enabled by CEPA, and that will require a listing under schedule 1.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
With respect to the use of plastics, I think you would agree that some plastics are used to keep food safe. Do you not think there's a risk that without definition this could lead to an overall reduction in food safety?
View Jonathan Wilkinson Profile
Lib. (BC)
That's an important point. The development of a list of those specific items that would be banned will relate to the availability of alternatives and the cost impacts that would be associated with those.
That being said, for those items that will not be on the list of banned products and that will continue to be in use, we need to ensure that we are actually doing better with respect to recycling and using recycled content. People think we do a great job of recycling in Canada, but if you look at the plastic stream, a very low percentage is actually recycled. For those kinds of products, where we need to have them, we need to be better about reusing them.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
I agree with you on that. I think it's 87% that ends up in landfill. It's unacceptable that a small percentage actually gets recycled.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
One of my concerns is that CEPA, as it is now, is not really designed to deal with broad classifications of products, such as plastics. As plastics do not currently meet what we would normally define as a substance, it seems you are declaring that something is toxic in order to deal with a recycling and litter problem.
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