Nathan grills the government on failure to control Tar Sands pollution

Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley): Mr. Speaker, a report out today confirms what New Democrats have been telling the current government for years: the Conservatives are ignoring their responsibility to control pollution in the tar sands.

Under both the Liberal and Conservative governments, industry has been given billions of dollars to open up the tar sands, while legal responsibilities to regulate pollution and protect the environment and Canadians’ health have been ignored.

Will the Conservatives finally admit that their “hear no evil, see no evil” attitude is bad for the economy and bad for our environment?

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment: Mr. Speaker, the report, like this government, supports developing the oil sands in an environmentally responsible manner. That is why the minister under this government struck a federal panel of Canada’s leading scientists and tasked them with ensuring the proper and accurate monitoring of water.

We have also invested in state-of-the-art analytical equipment for chemical fingerprinting, so that we can determine where the toxins are coming from.

When it comes to the environment, the member knows we are getting it done.

Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member would like to know where the toxins are coming from. They are coming from the tar sands.

What we realize today is that the negligence with respect to this project is only going to get worse. Today’s report shows that greenhouse gas emissions from the tar sands are ballooning out of control. By the year 2050, emissions will be 40 times above the government’s own pathetically weak targets. Under this nightmare scenario, using carbon capture and storage to make up the difference is going to cost between $60 billion and $70 billion.

When will the Conservatives realize that runaway growth in the tar sands will hurt Canada’s economy and the environment? When are they going to start doing their jobs?

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment: Mr. Speaker, it is a shame the member could not attend a tour of the oil sands. It is the oil sands, and it is improving. Because of the Liberals? No, they made a mess of it. Because of the NDP? No, and not even the Bloc. It is this government that is taking leadership on the environment. The oil sands will be developed in an environmentally responsible way.