Mr. Jim Abbott (Kootenay East)
Mr. Speaker, I stand today in response to the statement by the Minister of the Environment.
Before commenting on her presentation I would like to express my sincere congratulations on your election, Mr. Speaker. The process with which you were elected provided an indication of the new, more innovative atmosphere of this House. Certainly the first days of this sitting have shown your fresh approach.
The Reform Party intends to approach all issues raised in this Chamber with a three-step process. First we express support for the positive, then concern about potential areas for improvement, and finally constructive alternatives.
It has been instructive in reviewing the Reform Party blue sheet of principles, policies and election platform that there is in fact a strong parallel to the direction and intent expressed by the Liberals in their red book.
Of course we support public consultations in that we believe concerned Canadians are very intelligent and have already thought out many of the issues of concern with respect to the environment.
We also wish to commend the government on the speed with which it is initiating this process. It is unfortunate that with the arrangements which have been made, we received official notice of this yesterday. I received the details at about 9.30 this morning. Unfortunately therefore, the Reform Party will be unable to respond to the very kind invitation of the minister to take part in this process.
We do have some areas of concern when the minister uses the terms such as increased funding and increased support.
Where the Reform Party differs significantly from the policies outlined in the Liberal red book is that we note on pages 67 and 68 of their red book they speak of funding research and development for green technologies, commitment of new government funding and consultation of incentive and support programs.
We have learned from history with boondoggles like the scientific research tax credit program introduced by a prior Liberal government and ongoing regional development grants and special tax incentives that there is frequently abuse, pork barrelling and outright waste of resources that Canada no longer has.
The Reform Party will therefore be watching very carefully what impact this initiative will have on the government's out of control overspending. We will also be interested to see what economies it will put into effect even on its country-wide tour next week. What new thrift style will the government bring to the actual public consultation process? For example, will its members be travelling by regularly scheduled airlines?
We put the government on notice. We will be looking for a statement of expenses incurred for this process and would expect a cost benefit analysis on the expenditure.
In summary, the Reform Party stands committed to ensuring that all Canadians and their descendants dwell in a clean and healthy environment and supports the federal government taking leadership in developing a new discipline integrating economics and the environment.
We also commend the minister on the speedy implementation of this process early in this government's life.
Topic: Routine Proceedings
Subtopic: Environment Industry