'The science is clear'

Picking up where questions on Monday and Tuesday had failed to receive a straightforward answer, Megan Leslie tried again this afternoon to clarify Joe Oliver’s views on climate change. Here’s how that went.

Megan Leslie: Monsieur le Président, hier j’ai donné un break au ministre des Ressources naturelles afin qu’il prenne le temps de penser à ses réponses. On ne sait toujours pas si le ministre se range dans le camp des radicaux qui nient l’existence des changements climatiques ou s’il accepte le fait que la science explique les changements climatiques. Alors, qu’en est-il? Est-ce que le ministre croit à la science des changements climatiques, oui ou non?

Joe Oliver: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite gave me a break because I was not here. The science is clear that human beings cause global warming. Our government has shown its support with investments of over $10 billion to support a cleaner environment and fight climate change through innovation. What I do not believe in is the NDPs ideologically driven Luddite battle against thousands of jobs in Canada. Does the NDP want to deny Canadian families jobs and a secure future, yes or no?

Megan Leslie: Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome the minister back so I can continue to ask him questions. He says that the science is clear but on Tuesday he said a number of scientists do not believe in climate change. The minister should know his file because he is the minister, so let us assume that he has done his research. Could he enlighten us as to which scientists these are, what exactly are they saying, and does he agree with them?

Joe Oliver: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite will not take yes for an answer, so I will now go on to the subject of jobs. Maybe the NDP will listen to a Canada building trades union which says right now the process is being subverted, needlessly delayed at the cost of Canadian jobs. We need to reform the system to encourage new investment in Canadian infrastructure. This process needs to be expeditious and not stifle investment and job creation.

Megan Leslie: Mr. Speaker, we almost received an answer there. I am pleased to hear that the minister might believe in the science, but clearly the government’s actions, or inaction, demonstrates that it does not believe it is actually a problem. From withdrawing from Kyoto, cancelling the eco-energy retrofit program, refusing to regulate emissions in the oil sands, it is clear the government has no track record on environment. My question to the Minister of Natural Resources is: Instead of associating with fringe climate denier groups, when will he come forward with a national energy strategy that would tackle climate change and bring us forward to the green economy of the future?

Joe Oliver: Monsieur le Président, le NPD fait la sourde oreille lorsqu’il s’agit de la création d’emplois dans le secteur de l’énergie, ainsi qu’il tourne le dos aux travailleurs. Peut-être qu’il devrait écouter Buzz Hargrove, l’ancien chef syndical de TCA, qui a dit que nous ne devrions pas arrêter l’ajout de travail dans les sables bitumineux, puisque nous avons besoin d’emplois.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.