Hon. Serge Joyal:
Welcome, minister. In the last 30 years, Canada, at four different levels on the international scene, has accepted a very specific target to control climate change. It accepted a target in Rio in 1992, in Quito in 2005, in Copenhagen in 2012, and, of course, in Paris in 2015. According to the environment commissioner, Canada has failed to meet those targets in the last 30 years. Canada lags behind by 230 million tonnes.
How can you explain to us that, under your leadership and the present government, we will be able to catch up, because the government continues to authorize the exploitation of natural resources that continue to add to our lagging behind? Which initiative will you take to face the commitment of Canada internationally and our capacity to meet those targets?
Hon. Catherine McKenna, P.C., M.P., Minister of Environment and Climate Change: Thank you very much, honourable senator. I absolutely agree. There’s no point in having a target unless you’re going to make it. That’s exactly what we announced last year.
I was very proud to have the Prime Minister standing with the premiers and saying, “Here’s our plan.”
We can’t do it alone. We need to be working with the provinces and territories. I’ll name a few of the initiatives that we have to meet our target.
One, putting a price on pollution. We know that polluters have to pay. That will not only reduce emissions but foster the innovation we desperately need.
Two, phasing out coal. We understand coal is not only a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it’s also terrible for human health.
Three, historic investments in public transit and green infrastructure. In the city of Ottawa, the funding for the second phase of light rail transit will result in the largest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the city’s history.
Four, investments in clean technologies. There’s a great Nova Scotia company called CarbonCure that we’ve supported. This is a company that takes pollution from industry and injects it into cement to make it stronger. I was in California with this company at a cement factory where they were using this technology that’s now being exported around the world.
We are taking concrete actions. We have a plan. We’re working with the provinces and territories and we’re going to deliver.