Hon. Jerry Pickard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, Lib.)
Madam Speaker, I would suggest to the member opposite that the Government of Canada is very concerned about pollution and air quality. We also are concerned about all the issues surrounding our environment. There is no question that this is a critical issue, and I commend him for bringing it forward today.
The climate change plan for Canada was released in November 2002 and it was developed with stakeholders across Canada. Obviously in one year, and even in the longer term, all solutions cannot be reached and maintained. I assure the member opposite that there is a tremendous amount of work going on, not only in the energy sphere or in the auto emissions standard. We just announced a couple of weeks ago a reduction of 5.3 megatonnes of CO
going into the atmosphere.
When we start moving into the question of air quality, there is no question that the Fraser Valley is a important area in Canada.
The Canada-U.S. air quality agreement was signed in 1991 to address transboundary acid rain, and that has been very successful. The recent release of the biennial progress report on the agreement demonstrates that both Canada and the United States have made tremendous reductions in their emissions of SO
, the major pollutant in acid rain, and that in some cases ecosystems have begun to recover.
However, we also know that more needs to be done to deal with transboundary smog and to obtain the reductions from the United States that are needed to continue the recovery from acid damage to our forest and lakes. In British Columbia's Fraser Valley in particular, Environment Canada is leading an initiative to address transboundary air quality with partner agencies in the Georgia Basin--Puget Sound and in the international airshed.
Furthermore, last August 17 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator and the Government of Canada endorsed a recommendation that would lead to a decision on a negotiation of a new annex to the Canada-U.S. air quality agreement to address transboundary air quality. We agreed that a future bilateral effort should address the issues identified in the shared airshed.
The government understands that the Washington State Sumas Energy 2 project is a serious concern to Fraser Valley residents. Environment Canada officials have consistently provided scientific assessment and written comments on the impact of the Sumas Energy 2 proposal. The progress of that is in Washington State right now.
All of us have to realize that we are in a court appeal over that issue and it would be inappropriate for the government to comment further at this time.
Topic: Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic: Treaties Act