Megan Leslie didn’t get an answer from Joe Oliver yesterday, so she asked him again this afternoon to clarify his understanding of climate change. And then she asked him again. And then she asked him again. Here’s how that went.
Megan Leslie: Surely the minister knows the basics of his file and he must know that hydrocarbons are a leading cause of climate change. So can the minister tell us if he agrees with the scientific link between hydrocarbons and climate change, yes or no?
Joe Oliver: Mr. Speaker, what I said yesterday, as the government’s policy, is that we will only approve projects that are safe for Canadians and for the environment. We are in favour of projects which will create jobs and economic activity and which will be nation builders for Canadians right across this country, from coast to coast to coast.
Megan Leslie: Mr. Speaker, I did not hear an answer and maybe that is because the minister does not understand the question. Hydrocarbons are these tiny little compounds that form a gas called methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that causes climate change. This is not theology; this is science. I will ask again. Does the minister understand and agree that hydrocarbons cause climate change, yes or no?
Joe Oliver: Mr. Speaker, I have invested over $10 billion in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating energy efficiency programs. The oil sands, which represent 1/1,000 of global emissions, have had their emissions reduced by over 30% in the last 12 years. The gap between oil sands oil and conventional oil is narrow, about 5% to 10%, and it is narrowing even further. We favour technological innovation which will improve the performance of the oil sands.
Megan Leslie: Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot answer this question. Let us back up a bit … there is one thing the minister and I agree on, there is a radical fringe group that is trying to block Canada’s movement forward and is moving our economy forward. They do believe in elaborate scientific conspiracies theories and they are backed by big foreign groups. They are called climate change deniers. I would like the minister to clarify, does he believe in the science of climate change or is he a denier?
Joe Oliver: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite continues to talk about the radicals. Let us remember what some people believe. There are some radicals who do oppose all hydrocarbon development. There are some who think that 1/1000 of 1% addition to global warming will somehow destroy the planet. These are people who are not backed by science. We are going to continue to support job-creating projects that are important to build this country.