June 18, 2015


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.


?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP)

Mr. Speaker, what a surprising honour it is for me at this moment to realize that I am one of the last speakers you will hear from that chair. I am not supposed to address the Speaker and I am sure it will be removed from Hansard, but I extend my best wishes for your future and for your big move.

I raised this question some time ago in relation to the question of climate targets. The question was asked in May, before the hon. Minister of the Environment tabled the targets, which at that point had been overdue.

In the UN negotiating process in the Conference of the Parties for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, it was determined at the 2012 negotiations in Warsaw, where I was present, that in order to ensure that all countries were prepared to commit to a binding, comprehensive climate treaty at this December's meeting in 2014, all countries would submit their targets within the first quarter of 2015. That was repeated again in Lima in 2014. At the time I asked the question, we had not seen Canada's targets.

Subsequently the targets were tabled. They happened to be the weakest in the G7. The target that was announced by our hon. Minister of the Environment on the Friday afternoon of a long May weekend was that Canada would commit to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. That target was substantially weaker than those of all other countries. In Copenhagen, of course, we had tied our target to that of the U.S., but since the U.S. has met the target that it selected in 2009 in Copenhagen, Canada has fallen off that level of ambition and is even weaker now.

The response I received from the hon. minister included a claim that is repeated so often and I thought I would like to try to lay it to rest in this late show this evening. It is this. She said: “Our Conservative government is the first government in Canadian history that has reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

It is true that during the time that the Prime Minister has been in office, greenhouse gas levels did drop. They dropped for one reason only. They dropped between 2008 and 2009 because of the global financial collapse. I do not believe the current Prime Minister wishes to take credit for personally engineering a global financial collapse, nor do I think anyone would believe him if he tried to claim credit for it, but that is the one and only reason our greenhouse gas levels dropped. They dropped from a level of around 724 or 725 megatonnes to about 692 or 693, if memory serves. That is when they dropped.

Ever since our economy began to recover after 2009, because of the complete and abject failure of the Prime Minister to put in place any plan to achieve emission reductions, emissions—and this can be checked on the Environment Canada website—emissions have continued to rise. Continuing to rise year on year, by 2020 they are now slated to be slightly below what they were in 2005. They would be above that if it were not for provincial action. The decision by the Province of Ontario to close its coal-fired power plants was important. Unfortunately, the growth in the oil sands overwhelmed the cuts that were made by various provincial governments.

It comes to this in the 30 seconds I have left. We are now a mere month from the negotiations that must achieve a global binding treaty to reduce greenhouse gases. We have been told by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, and now the Vatican that the world must act, and act with more ambition. Canada is now viewed globally as a laggard, and the only way that we will have the kind of treaty the world needs is if Canada once again becomes a leader, which means that in the next few months we must have a new Prime Minister.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   The Environment
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CPC

Colin Carrie

Conservative

Mr. Colin Carrie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I too want to take this opportunity to thank you for your incredible service in the House. We were both elected back in 2004 and it is a honour to have served with you in Parliament.

Because it is probably my last chance to speak in this 41st Parliament, I want to take this opportunity to also thank my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands. I am going to miss our plethora of late shows. We get to spend a lot of time with each other. I always joke that I spend more time with her than my wife. I have gotten to know her. We worked together on her private member's bill, the Federal Framework on Lyme Disease Act, and I want to thank her very much for working with me on that and accomplishing something very useful in this Parliament.

I also want to say that we share a mutual friend in the Hon. Pauline Browes, and it is nice to work with her as well. I very much respect her commitment, not only to the environment but also to her constituents.

In response to her question, on May 15, our government announced its intended nationally determined contribution, the INDC, under the new international climate change agreement, ahead of the G7 meeting in June. Canada has a fair and ambitious target that is in line with other major industrialized countries. It reflects our national circumstances, including Canada's position as a world leader in clean electricity generation. We will continue to take a responsible and balanced approach.

Canada has stated that it intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. In addition to announcing Canada's 2030 target, the Minister of the Environment announced our government's intent to develop new regulatory measures to reduce emissions. These measures would build on actions taken to date under our government's responsible sector-by-sector approach. These new regulatory measures would reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, regulate the production of chemicals and nitrogen fertilizers, and regulate emissions from natural gas-fired electricity generation.

Our government's record is clear. We have reduced emissions, while growing the economy and creating good, well-paying jobs for Canadians. Canada will continue to take co-operative action with its continental trading partners, particularly the United States, in areas where our economies are closely integrated, and we will work toward further action in integrated sectors of the economy, including energy and transportation. We will work co-operatively with the provinces and territories on these goals, while respecting their jurisdictions.

Once again, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and all the best to your lovely wife and kids, and your future.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   The Environment
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?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to going to COP21 in Paris with a Canadian delegation that will include members of all parties in this place. Perhaps I will be fortunate enough that my friend, the parliamentary secretary, will be on that delegation.

I have now realized, as he has reminded us, that I am down to about 30 seconds in the 41st Parliament to speak in the chamber, where I am honoured to serve the extraordinary constituents of Saanich—Gulf Islands. I am deeply grateful to them.

I also want to express how grateful I am to my colleagues in the House on all sides of the chamber, dear friends who also work hard for their constituents. I want to particularly let my friend, the hon. parliamentary secretary, know how much I appreciated his help, when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, on the lyme disease bill, which is now law. It would not have happened without my hon. colleague across the way.

God bless everyone, best of luck and best wishes over the coming months. I hope I will be fortunate enough to be back in the chamber in the near future.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   The Environment
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CPC

Colin Carrie

Conservative

Mr. Colin Carrie

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very generous comments.

Our budget outlines the actions we are taking to address climate change and protect our environment. We have invested significantly to support initiatives that reduce emissions and improve air quality for Canadians, and we will be investing $1 billion into transit annually. Our government has reduced emissions, lowered taxes for middle-class families and balanced our budget.

I come to work everyday and have to pinch myself to realize that I am part of this wonderful chamber that very few Canadians have the opportunity to share. I very much thank my colleagues.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

Sean Casey

Liberal

Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pursue a question that I raised first on May 11, which was answered by the Minister of State for Science and Technology. Subsequently, on June 5, I asked a similar question, which was answered by the government House leader.

The issue is this. There was a secret deal made between a cellphone provider and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans which owns a range light structure in a residential area of Charlottetown 250 metres from an elementary school to erect an antenna on that range light structure. I say it was a secret deal because the residents found out when they saw survey crews around this range light in this residential area. That is how they were notified. There was some sort of a negotiation or a deal struck between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the cellphone company without the input of the residents. The residents are understandably concerned about property values. They are understandably concerned about the health and safety of their kids. They are understandably concerned about having this in the middle of their residential neighbourhood.

I raised the question initially in May with the Minister of State for Science and Technology. He said, “Canadians across this country deserve a say in how their cellphone tower locations are identified in communities all across the country, including in Prince Edward Island”, but they were not consulted.

I raised the question again on June 5, and the government House leader said that they have changed the rules affecting the location of cellphone towers in such a fashion that there is heavy reliance on the community, and he closed his answer with, “We work together with and co-operate with communities.”, but they did not. The full extent of the consultation with the community was after the secret deal was done and it was somebody sitting in Halifax and responding to emails. There has not been a public meeting and that antenna was erected yesterday.

The cellphone company did apply for a building permit, but because there was no variance sought, there was no public meeting in that instance either.

The minister did respond to one of my constituents by email saying that he would get in contact with the company to ensure that local residents are given the opportunity to provide their feedback on the antenna proposed for installation along Queen Elizabeth Drive. That antenna is up and that consultation has not happened.

I have three questions that I wish to have addressed arising out of this. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is the regional minister for Prince Edward Island. It would not be that difficult for her to engage her fellow islanders in the lead-up to this process. Why did she not and what is she going to do about it? Will the government change the rules that allowed this to happen without any involvement of the community? The rules provide an exemption where an antenna is being put on an existing structure. That is the problem here. Will the government now take measures to rectify this problem, which is a very serious problem in a residential neighbourhood in my riding?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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CPC

Mike Lake

Conservative

Hon. Mike Lake (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, like my hon. colleagues before me, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for your years of service to our country. I know you are moving on, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours and wish all the best to your family too. It has been a pleasure to serve with you over the last almost decade I have been here.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank the pages and table officers. I know that has been done by many before me today, but it is such a pleasure to serve with these folks who come in here and help us day after day to do the work we do here.

I am happy to respond to comments made earlier by the hon. member for Charlottetown regarding cell towers.

Our government recognizes the central role local governments play in identifying potential locations for new antenna towers in their communities by working with the wireless industry. That is why our government changed the rules to ensure that homeowners and municipalities are consulted throughout the tower placement process.

Cities, municipalities, and land-use authorities must also ensure that local residents are at the centre of the process that will help determine the location of a new tower in their communities. It is also incumbent on the wireless industry to ensure that local concerns are taken into consideration.

Canadians deserve a say in how new cell tower locations are identified in their communities. That is why our government changed the rules to ensure that homeowners and municipalities are consulted throughout the process. Companies are required to consult on all towers, regardless of height, to ensure that residents are well informed of all consultation processes and are required to build new towers within three years of consultation. As part of the process, land-use authorities are encouraged to develop their own antenna tower siting procedures to further strengthen local input.

It is also important to point out that Industry Canada requires radio communications installations to comply at all times with Health Canada's Safety Code 6 guidelines for the protection of the general public against radio frequency emissions. The code recommends limits for safe human exposure to radio frequency energy and includes a 50-times safety margin. Industry Canada conducts regular audits to ensure that antenna installations and wireless devices and equipment on the market are compliant. Furthermore, should Industry Canada become aware of an installation where the exposure levels exceed Safety Code 6 limits, we will take immediate action to protect the general public.

In this case, Industry Canada contacted Eastlink, and the company consulted homeowners near the site. Industry Canada regulators have also confirmed that the proposed Brighton Beach Range Light installation will be in full compliance with the guidelines and poses no risk to the community.

In conclusion, as we approach the end of the session, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my colleagues, particularly my colleague across the way.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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LIB

Sean Casey

Liberal

Mr. Sean Casey

Mr. Speaker, that is extremely disappointing. The member opposite just said that the cell company involved here, Eastlink, consulted with the local residents. However, it made a secret deal with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans did not care enough to talk to the neighbours.

After the deal was done, and after this matter was raised in the House of Commons, the company sent out a flyer. There has never been a public meeting. There has never been anyone from Eastlink come into the affected neighbourhood to answer questions. When DFO signed that deal to allow Eastlink to erect this antenna, it did not insist upon it. It could very easily have been accommodated.

There is an exemption within the Industry Canada guidelines that allows for no consultation to happen when an antenna is being put on an existing structure and does not increase its height by 25%. They relied on that loophole, and the residents in that area are justifiably enraged.

What the member just said simply is not the case.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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CPC

Mike Lake

Conservative

Hon. Mike Lake

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts. The facts are that Eastlink has followed the protocol for the agent of the City of Charlottetown Canadian Radiocommunications Information and Notification Service.

Industry Canada requested that Eastlink reach out to the local public so that they could take any feedback into consideration. Eastlink provided an information package to local residents on May 28. Finally, Industry Canada reviewed the technical details of the proposed installation. It will be in full compliance with Health Canada's Safety Code 6 guidelines and thus poses no risk to the public.

These are the facts.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
Permalink
CPC

Barry Devolin

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin)

The motion to adjourn the House has now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:01 p.m.)

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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June 18, 2015