Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Issue 14, Evidence of May 8, 2003

OTTAWA, Thursday, May 8, 2003

The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources met this day at 9:00 a.m. to examine and report on emerging issues related to its mandate (implementation of Kyoto).

Senator Mira Spivak (Deputy Chairman) in the Chair.


The Deputy Chairman: With us is Ms. Louise Comeau from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Please give us your presentation. We will then have questions.

Ms. Louise Comeau, Director, Centre for Sustainable Community Development, Federation of Canadian Municipalities: Honourable senators, thank you for taking an interest in this very important subject, and for giving me the opportunity to talk to you about the issues emerging from the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has been active on climate change since 1995, starting with a small program called the 20Per Cent Club that has now grown to include 108 communities under our Partners for Climate Protection initiative.

More than half of Canada's population resides in PCP communities with each of them at different stages of engagement ranging from passing resolutions committing to greenhouse gas reductions to completing inventories, setting targets and developing and executing corporate and community action plans.

FCM with Environment Canada managed the municipalities' table; one of 16 issues tables formed in 1998-1999 to assess options for implementing the Kyoto Protocol. The municipalities' table was unique because it focussed on identifying opportunities, and it worked to identify the co-benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, especially improvements to air quality.

The table concluded that municipal governments, directly and indirectly, control or influence up to one-half of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and that municipal governments could directly and indirectly contribute up to one- quarter of the Kyoto target.

Municipal governments can reduce greenhouse gas emissions through land-use planning, energy and transportation planning, transit investments, infrastructure design, green procurement, building retrofits, water conservation, solid waste diversion, renewable energy investments and engagement of the citizens. Essentially, you cannot do it without us.

Our conclusion was that climate protection requires sustainable community development. That was a fundamental shift in the thinking around climate change at the time. It was not simply another add-on environmental issue; it is fundamental to quality of life and sustainable community development.

It was this recognition and integrated thinking that led in 2000, and again in 2001, to FCM receiving endowments from the Government of Canada totalling $250million to establish the Green Municipal Funds. The enabling fund provides grants for up to one-half the cost of feasibility studies, and the investment fund provides low-interest loans for projects.

To date, the funds have approved almost $40million in loans and grants and leveraged $135million in economic activity. The funds invest in green infrastructure projects in energy and energy services, water, solid waste, transportation and sustainable community planning.

The Green Funds are working to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Almost one-half of the approved projects are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and we expect to contribute up to 10milliontons of reductions within the Kyoto period.

PCP communities could contribute a further 10million tons of reductions with the right kind of support through infrastructure spending and citizen engagement programs.

FCM 1,000 member municipal government members represent large cities, towns, and rural and remote communities. As a result, FCM brings to the climate change issue the same national tensions so evident in the days leading to ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

FCM, through its democratic processes, secured more than 200 council resolutions in favour of ratification and 45 against leading up to FCM's 2002 annual conference. A resolution at that conference secured more than 80per cent endorsement of ratification given some important conditions.

The two most important conditions were that no region of the country bear an unreasonable cost related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that sink credits be allocated fairly to farmers reflecting the rural nature of some of our members.

With ratification behind us FCM is now working to ensure that its conditions apply to implementation. With that in mind, FCM and the City of Regina hosted two weeks ago a meeting of Partners for Climate Protection communities that attracted over 100 municipal staff and politicians from 45 communities.

In your kits you have the communiqué and recommendations from that meeting, as well as the list of participating communities.

The key conclusion was that federal and provincial-territorial governments must partner with municipal governments to implement the Kyoto Protocol. Municipal governments have essential experience in citizen engagement and should be a critical partner in delivering the 1-tonne challenge and other public awareness programs.

The partners for Climate Protection Program at FCM is a very small program focused on capacity building, peer teaching, et cetera. It has been funded at a very low level that will come to an end at the end of this fiscal year. Therefore, the first recommendation focuses on expanding and continuing to support the Partners for Climate Protection program.

The recommendations suggest engaging municipal governments in the design and exclusion of the One-Tonne Challenge and other citizen engagement campaigns; providing start up funding to community groups and stewardship initiatives; inspiring market transformation and behaviour change through public education and association with incentives and regulatory changes; providing more and ongoing public education and outreach to associate greenhouse gas emissions reductions with more commonly sought benefits like reduced costs and clean air; and develop and implement recognition programs. This might sound like a soft thing but in fact we have found one of our most successful initiatives is our awards program that gives national recognition to what is happening on the ground.

Other recommendations suggest targeting child and youth programming for greenhouse gas emission reductions; partnering with municipal governments and utilities to actually deliver the One-Tonne Challenge and community engagement programs; and encouraging municipal and utility partnerships to support neighbourhood challenges.

Another conclusion from the meeting is that there is a need to integrate greenhouse gas requirements into all programs and initiatives including the new 10-year infrastructure program. It would be unfortunate if that 10-year program now funded at $3billion, with increase over the 10-year period, were to fail to invest in greenhouse gas reductions.

There is support for national standards such as stronger building codes, performance based funding, such as tying transit funding to transit support of land use planning, and full-cost recovery, particularly for water, transportation and waste management systems. Pollution prevention through watershed planning, demand side management versus new supply and life cycle management of products were identified as essential.

You might wonder why I am talking about waste. The waste management system contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, and recycling and waste diversion programs contribute significantly to reductions.

Organics in landfill are generating methane. We have a 50-year supply of methane emitting from landfills in Canada that could be captured, destroyed and used for electricity. Recycling programs displace the use of virgin materials in the manufacture of products, which requires less energy. Therefore, the waste management system is a fundamental part of meeting the Kyoto target.

The PCP communities also support tax incentives for renewable energy, tax free transit passes, advanced technology vehicles and GST rebates. Municipal governments want to be consulted on the design of the emissions trading and offsets system because they have so much land fill gas that could contribute to credits.

Of course, not every municipality is ready to implement all of the recommendations immediately. Citizens remain stumbling blocks to pricing mechanisms that better reflect costs. However, we have a clear understanding of where we need to go and support from an important core group of municipal staff and politicians.

The Climate Change Plan for Canada will not achieve its goals without partners. Municipal governments, through their power to convenecan engage stakeholders in all of the sectors. Municipal governments can convene stakeholders in all of the sectors, residential, commercial, industrial and citizen groups. Therefore, they become fundamental to executing the plan and achieving sustainable community development.

While the Green Funds were established in recognition of the important role of municipal governments in sustainability and climate protection, they are not enough to meet the needs or the potential.

This is why I speak to the issue of the infrastructure program and other federal and provincial programs. It is critical that greenhouse gas reductions become embedded in all of them.

The other opportunity that could be missed is to not engage municipal governments in the design and execution of the One-Tonne Challenge public education programs and the infrastructure program.

At the moment, municipal governments are not being engaged in the design of the education and outreach programs or the One-Tonne Challenge, nor the offset and trading programs. FCM and its PCP communities remain ready to contribute and have shown in a proactive way, through its green fund projects and the recent meeting in Regina, that we have something to offer that advances a number of national strategic priorities.

An integrated approach to implementing the Kyoto Protocol could contribute to achieving other environmental goals, like clean air and clean water, to the innovation and competitiveness agendas and, of course, to quality of life. It would be a shame to miss such an opportunity.

Senator Milne: I am most impressed with your presentation. There is no doubt that municipal governments are, in effect, where the rubber hits the road. You are the organizations that deal with people much more so than any other level of government. If there is to be implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and this One-Tonne Challenge the points you have made here are very valuable. I encourage you to suggest ways in which the federal government can relate to the municipalities.

How do you define ``sustainable community development''?

Ms. Comeau: We just completed focus groups across the country with 60 municipal staff and elected officials and asked them that very question. We had started timidly with focusing on ``sustainable community development'' being defined as the efficient use of resources generating the least amount of waste while providing a high quality of service to communities. We want to provide high quality services and we want to do that in ways that prevent pollution and generate the least amount of waste.

Our members are ready for more. They are ready for FCM to lead them toward a broader perspective on sustainability that reflects sustainability from the social and economic perspective.

We are well defined on the economic side; all of our environmental initiatives are designed to generate dollar savings in the operation of municipal governments. We have not reflected well enough on how much we contribute to the social dimension of community life, whether it is through job creation, community engagement, citizen programs and so on.

Clearly, it is about efficient use of resources generating the least amount of pollution, but it is also about community economic development and engaging on the social side.

Our members are prepared for much more about how Canadian municipalities nest in the national and international forums. They are quite advanced in their understanding that no one community can be sustainable, because a truly sustainable community lives within its own means; it does not make an ecological footprint out of its geography. That is impossible. We are an integrated world. They want us to help them assess their ecological footprint, and the effect they are having on their neighbours' community. They want to know how they can contribute to the global situation around sustainability?

That is advanced thinking and we are quite excited about it because it opens the door for us to expand the way that we deal with Canadian municipal governments.

Senator Milne: Have you come up with a report of this work?

Ms. Comeau: We have a draft report from the consultants. This will allow us to redefine our own definitions and our own materials. I would be happy to share it with members of the committee.

Senator Milne: It would be valuable for us to have a copy of that report.

I come from Brampton and of course you know Toronto's problems with its garbage. I do not see many communities actively doing anything to harness the methane from their garbage and to use that to create power.

Do you know of any communities that are converting methane into power? Do you know of any fast, easy, cheap and portable power stations that can be moved from garbage dump to garbage dump to convert the methane into power?

Ms. Comeau: There are a number of communities looking at landfill gas capture and have in fact already captured their landfill. With the green funds we probably have about a dozen communities right now looking at their options, and in fact we have two important pilot projects.

We have done a lot of analysis on this subject, and on what is it going to take to advance this program. There are two issues on the table. Most municipal governments are not required by legislation to deal with emissions from landfills. Those that are required to deal with emissions are only the very big ones and they are not grandfathered. It is for the future. Therefore most landfill sites are not required to capture their emissions. Municipal governments do not have an incentive to actually do anything about it. Methane is 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, so if you simply capture it and flare it you already have a significant environmental benefit. You have gone from 21 to one in terms of carbon dioxide.

My hope is that every single site in Canada will be viable for utilization, which is actually taking that gas and not just flaring it but also using it for electricity. It turns out that isthe smaller opportunity. There are fewer sites, perhaps less than a dozen sites where they are big enough, where there is enough gas to generate electricity, and where they are close to anything that can utilize it. What you are doing is looking for a landfill site that has something adjacent that can actually use the electricity or a utility that will buy the electricity.

We have one project in Waterloo, where the city is earning a royalty from the company that is capturing the methane from the landfill site. In exchange for the royalty they give the carbon rights to the company. The company generates electricity that it sells to Ontario power, and they forward the carbon credits to Ontario Power Generation.

We have two pilots underway with an engineering firm and with a commodity trading company. We have assessed the carbon value of the methane that we calculate we can capture at two sites in Nanaimo and Fraser Fort George, and based on the calculation of the carbon and the current market price of between $1 and $3 a ton, we advance the money to the communities to do the capture and flare project; they advance no money at all. We own the carbon rights for the period that the money is outstanding and will sell the carbon in order to repay the money. Once that is over, the carbon goes to the community and the community can choose to do with it as it wishes.

We think this is a vehicle for tapping the potential of landfill across the country. It will work only if municipal landfill gas is allowed to participate in the offset trading program. There is some discussion and debate about whether or not that will actually occur. We are part of that discussion and hopefully that will remain on the table.

There is significant potential but not all of it is on the utilization side. We could certainly share a list because we know the communities that are working on this and we have a pretty good idea of who will do what.

Senator Milne: That would be good for us as well.

The Deputy Chairman: Do you get the money back that you advanced? Have you asked any private funders to get into this program?

Ms. Comeau: This is what we are doing right now. We have the two pilot projects and we have advanced the money. We expect to announce our first trades this summer. The company that is selling the carbon credits is Natsource and we have private sector buyers now lining up to buy that methane.

Senator Merchant: You mentioned Regina, which is where I am from. I heard on the news a couple of days ago that the Government of Saskatchewan is interested in making a deal with the City of Regina to capture methane. Do you know anything about that?

Ms. Comeau: While we were in the there were discussions in progress. Regina announced a commitment to buy 10per cent of its electricity from green power. A number of things are going on, although we have not heard the exact details.

Senator Finnerty: Public transportation is needed to reduce emissions. Can you think of any way that we can encourage people who have two or three cars per family to take public transportation? California has great difficulty encouraging people to do use public transportation.

Ms. Comeau: This will be one of the most complicated challenges that we will face in the next decade and will require great strength from the three levels of government. We do have an opportunity through the Strategic Infrastructure Program, because that program is looking at significant investments in transit.

We believe that funding should no longer be unconditional but should be attached to performance criteria. With respect to transit, for example, we should not be investing in transit if it is not supported by transit-supportive land-use planning.

We must also require that there be commitments to ridership. At the local level, our members have to begin to consider some hard work, including congestion pricing, restrictions on parking and parking pricing. These are not things that my members are very keen on when it comes to the political reaction of citizens. However, our job is to push, so through the green funds we do what we can to advance that kind of work.

We must make alternative transit convenient for our citizens. Land-use planning and transit operations must be close to the people; if it is more than five minutes walk away they will not us it. We need land-use changes in order to support mixed-use development in order that folks will walk to the store. We need investments in cycling routes and pedestrianwalkways, et cetera, so that people have alternatives to using their cars.

It is our view that the infrastructure spending and the climate programs spending require supportive policies. This will be complicated and it will take a long time to get the ball rolling.

Senator Finnerty: If we could get transportation into cell power, then we could reduce the emissions.

Ms. Comeau: Just to set transit in context from a greenhouse gas perspective, the numberone thing we could do with regard to transportation is vehicle fuel economy and major changes to the internal combustion engine. It is important to keep that in mind. We think there needs to be major incentives on hybrid vehicles, et cetera.

On the transit technology side, the more we can do to move from diesel to new technologies the better, but from that we are getting an air quality benefit. That is not really a greenhouse gas benefit because that puts more transit vehicles on the road and actually increases emissions relative to what existed. You do not, at the balance point, take that many cars off the road. So have to do some things in parallel and you cannot ignore the fact that the main thing in dealing with vehicles is the vehicle itself.

On the transit side, the technology opportunities are huge. We know that if you want to increase penetration of new technologies into the marketplace, the first place to start is with fleets. Municipalities run a lot of fleets. We have lots of garbage trucks, transit fleets, police fleets, et cetera, so there is an opportunity, by focusing on procurement and fleets, to affect the marketplace.

Senator Merchant: What sort of effects would the development of federally mandated ethanol content for consumer fluids of around 5 per cent have on satisfying some of the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol? Saskatchewan is very interested in ethanol fuel.

Ms. Comeau: I would go even higher than 5per cent. Obviously, the question, as always, is what is ethanol made from?

The biggest CO2 bang comes from cellulosic-based ethanol that is agriculture-based as opposed to the grain-based ethanol. We are currently into the grain-based ethanol.

On a life cycle basis, when you consider the energy that went into growing the corn, the transportation of the corn and so, there are some improvements but it is limited. It is in the 20per cent range. That is not insignificant but is not as good as the 80 per cent to 90per cent that you get with an Iogen approach, which uses enzyme technology with agricultural waste such as straw.

At a cellulosic level you would have a pretty good impact. Having it become part of the fuel blend, again, it is not 80per cent neat, but it is certainly a contribution. You will get a few million tons of reduction.

The bigger value is rural diversification, value-added products and the nice link between the urban and rural. We need to diversify rural economies and agricultural economies in terms of value-added; that is a real opportunity and moves to what we call the ``bioeconomy.'' You would not necessarily see the long-term value of this, but we think that if we are going to be sustainable we need to move to the bioeconomy, and that means using more and more natural products like ethanol and packaging materials from agricultural products, et cetera. There is a huge opportunity with the bioeconomy.

Senator Cochrane: How many municipalities across the country are engaged in programs for this sole purpose?

Ms. Comeau: Do you mean in regard to climate change?

Senator Cochrane: Yes.

Ms. Comeau: One hundred and eight communities have joined the project and they represent about one-half of the population. All of the capital cities have joined. When they join, they start with a resolution passed in council. They commit themselves to using our five-milestone framework, which I will explain in a moment. They set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and they appoint a staff person to work with us to advance this program within their community.

The five-milestone framework takes them through a process that starts with doing an inventory and a projection; you have to know where you are today and where your emissions are going to go and set a target and develop an action plan, both for the municipal corporation and the community. Thus, there are two processes that occur. They have to execute their plan, of course, and then evaluate that plan.

The green fund program encourages them to apply to our enabling fund for grants to do the first three things. Our investment fund provides low-interest loans to enable them to do the actual projects. Of course, they can go to the infrastructure programs and use their own resources as well.

In the last two years, within the group that we have we have had huge growth; we have had a 50per cent increase in participation. Therefore, a lot of groups are at the very beginning of the process; 40 communities are either finished their inventories or are in the process of sorting out that information stage. About 10 communities have developed corporate action plans and about three or four have gone to the community-wide level.

Therefore, we are in early days of something we think offers great potential and momentum as we move toward the Kyoto period.

Senator Cochrane: I come from Newfoundland. Has the City of St. John's become involved in this program?

Ms. Comeau: Yes.

Senator Cochrane: I know that the recycling industry is experiencing financial difficulties, some of them do not have enough funds to bring in equipment to recycle all the items that they receive.

It was only last week that I heard that there is a recycling plant in the community of Cornerbrook that is having recycling problems. I heard that a plant was delayed. Do they not have enough financing?

When individuals are turned away from a recycling plant it deters them from making the effort to recycle in the future.

Ms. Comeau: You might be surprised at my answer. I believe that we have gone the wrong way on this question of recycling.

I have pointed out to our members that it is not necessarily their responsibility to take care of the garbage. They are not necessarily the ones who should be responsible for all of the recycling programs. Many of the programs we have in place have been pushed and pursued by industry as a way to absolve them from the responsibility for the waste that they are creating.

Producers need the take responsibility for the waste that they are generating. We need more take-back programs. We need more consumer rebate programs like we used to have; people would return bottles for rebate.

We are looking at working with the electronics industry where, when you buy your computer, you would pay a fee, the same way you would with tires. You pay $5and then the fee goes back to the recycling process.

The real opportunity is to get those materials back to the manufacturers for those products. The entire burden has been brought down to the municipal level. We are trying to find markets. We are trying to generate revenue to pay for recycling programs, and essentially taxpayers are subsidizing industry.

We are looking for different ways to manage waste that puts the burden where it should be, which is on the polluter and where we move more toward what we call ``extended producer responsibility'' and where the product goes back to the manufacturer for them to reincorporate into their manufacturing process.

This is why we have problems, because the burden is where it should not be and because municipalities are being forced to find markets for products that are really not their concern.

Senator Baker: I want to congratulate Ms. Comeau who has been more active than anybody else that I can think of in environmental issues with the Sierra Club and other organizations. Over the years, Ms. Comeau has been involved with air, water and any other type of pollution control that the government has suggested she study.

Ms. Comeau, I would like to know why you called the last budget of the federal government a ``doomsday budget''?

Ms. Comeau: I am glad you asked me that question. I have to share a story about management expectations with you. In our meetings with members of the government and the finance minister, we have all come to accept that expectations are not well managed and that communication is not well handled.

Every day leading up to the budget, FCM and its members were led to believe that there would be significant investment in municipal infrastructure. We were relating that to current levels of investment, which happen to be about $1billion a year.

Senator Baker: As a point of clarification, what you are talking about in investment in infrastructure, is the very investment that you are advocating before this committee today to meet the subject that we are talking about. Is that correct?

Ms. Comeau: Yes, exactly. That is why we are pushing. Our view was that the best outcome would be to maintain at least $1billion a year of investment.

What happened was that we opened the budget book and we saw $100million a year allocated to what they call the ``small-scale'' infrastructure Canada program, and $50milliona year over the next two years to the Strategic Infrastructure Fund. Their disappointment was real.

Subsequent to that, in conversation, what could have been done better in the way that the material was presented was to say, ``We are allocating $3billion; we expect you to spend that within three years and we will then begin the discussion of topping up.'' That would have solved the entire problem.

That has been the discussion we have had since that time; the new program, $2billion in the Strategic Infrastructure Fund, and $1billion in what they call the small-scale municipal program. We are being encouraged to work hard and get our applications in and get that money spent as quickly as possible to get into the top-up.

We are coming to a point of view where we believe that the program had $1billiona year in it and it will continue to have $1billion a year in it and we will continue to ensure that it has $1billion a year in it.

The reason I mention that greenhouse gas reductions need to be part of the discussion is because, until the budget document, greenhouse gas reductions were not mentioned as a priority for the program. That is new and that was in the budget document. How that will be defined, we do not know.

I understand that the small infrastructure program could be the place where there are investments on the greenhouse gas reduction side and, hopefully, in partnership with the green funds.

My concern is that the Strategic Infrastructure Program is not where they are looking to for greenhouse gas reduction projects. As these are such large-scale projects, the actual outcome could be an increase in emissions, because you are building plants that were not there before. It is pretty important that you are looking at those investments. If you look at what we have invested in so far, it is primarily in roads. We need things other than roads in the Strategic Infrastructure Program. I am excited about some transit projects that are in the works.

We also need to ensure that if we are building wastewater treatment plants that they are energy efficient, that they are maximizing the use of renewable energy and that they include water conservation. The less water you process the less energy you use.

It is important that this committee continues to push for greenhouse gas considerations in the new infrastructure programs. We are thinking about the climate program. The budget talked about $1.7 billion, but there is much more spending on the table that could influence emissions than just the climate plan.

Senator Baker: Do I take it that you are withdrawing statement of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities that the budget was a doomsday budget for Canadian municipalities in that, you said, ``$100 million next year does not address the $57-billion national infrastructure deficit in the country.''

Are you withdrawing your statement that it was a doomsday budget? Are you going back on everything you said?

Ms. Comeau: Absolutely not. $1billionis still not close to the need, but at least it is relative to where we were. If we can get up to $1billion, we are doing better than we thought.

Senator Baker: The pamphlet that was handed out from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities states,

That improvements can be measured in several ways; a reduction in the amount of one or more pollutants to the air, water or soil.

What is the position of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities concerning the use of pesticides? You have been involved in this much-discussed issue and have spoken out against the use of pesticides. I refer specifically to the rural areas of Canada, where industry and provincial governments spray pesticides to control insects of many species that are a threat to our forest industry.

Sometimes municipal governments become upset when the spraying takes place close to a populated area. What is the position of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on the use of pesticides in Canada, not only over large areas of land and in the air for the control of forest insects but also for pesticides within municipalities?

Could you also make reference to the position of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in respect of the upcoming spraying of mosquitoes?

Ms. Comeau: I believe our membership has reached a good position on this subject. We represent municipal governments and we are focused on what happens within municipal government boundaries and so we have a strong position on the responsible use of pesticides.

We support our communities that seek bans or restrictions on the cosmetic use of pesticides. We operate a pest information Web site to provide the latest information.

We supported Hudson, Quebec, in a Supreme Court case that was enormously important in confirming the right of municipal governments to pass by-laws that exceed but do not conflict with provincial legislation. It is probably the single most important decision to establish municipal governments as an order of government.

We believe there are risks associated with pesticide use, that responsible use is essential, and that to the degree that we can limit cosmetic use of pesticides within municipal boundaries on public lands that is an appropriate way to go.

We are not saying to all municipalities that they should ban the use of pesticides. Rather, we are saying that each community should make its own decision on what is appropriate for that community. We support the community's right to determine what is acceptable for that community and how it should manage pesticide use.

Concerning the West Nile virus, I would argue, and the research we have done bears this out, that the time to deal with mosquitoes and West Nile virus at the larval stage with the use of larvicide in standing waters before they hatch.

Aerial spraying is not efficient and is, in fact, dangerous and a higher risk to human health than the West Nile virus. We need a much more rational approach to the way in which we have been handling this problem. We are seeing a much stronger emphasis on the larvicide approach as opposed to aerial spraying. That will evolve and we will see a decrease in the aerial spray approach.

Senator Baker: I noticed that the witness is saying, ``I think.''

Ms. Comeau: This is the position of the FCM.

Senator Baker: I noticed that you added a qualification, as well: ``cosmetic use.''

Ms. Comeau: That is correct.

Senator Baker: I was referring to the necessary use not the cosmetic use. Could you answer in respect of the non- cosmetic use of pesticides?

Ms. Comeau: That is not a position for the FCM to take because we do not run farms. We represent municipal governments and that is why I started by saying that FCM's position is restricted to the use of pesticides by municipal governments. That is why we focus on the cosmetic use of pesticide within municipal boundaries.

The issue of pesticides within outlying areas and the effects on water runoff comes up in a discussion around watershed planning. That is another subject entirely.

Senator Milne: You have said that you represent only municipalities. You represent Strathcona County and you represent many cities and regional districts, such as Fraser-Fort George Regional District and York Region. Those regions have farms and are rural as well as urban municipalities. Therefore, the FCM does represent a large number of farmers.

Ms. Comeau: That is true. However, I am focussing on where we are now. There are 38 different ways to describe a municipality: town, village, hamlet, county, et cetera.

I am saying that our position is focused on the cosmetic use of pesticide in municipal boundaries. That is the position. We do not tell farmers what to do. As I suggested in reference to watershed plans, the municipality will not tell the farmer how to manage their farmers. They will have a say on what is coming into the water system.

We are working with our communities to encourage them to look at options such as sewer-use bylaws and watershed planning to manage what is coming in from the outlying areas. That is a different discussion and not yet fully evolved. The cosmetic side is developed within the FCM.

Senator Milne: Are any of your municipalities doing anything right now to encourage citizens to do something about the stagnant water sitting on the top of swimming pools? Right now, swimming pools are full of wrigglers. The municipalities, in my opinion, should be warning their citizens about this and should be encouraging them to clean up their pools early this year.

Ms. Comeau: If you look at today's Globe and Mail today you will see a full page from Toronto Public Health on things that citizens can do to deal with standing water in many locations, and pools are included. The City of Winnipeg is about to release its West Nile strategy and Regina is about to reveal their plans for larvicide treatments. There is public education happening in municipalities. They are working to share information. The public health departments are handling most of the information.

Senator Watt: Do you have a membership from Nunavik, Nunavut, and Labrador?

Ms. Comeau: I did not bring the full PCP list but Iqaluit is a member. The list I have with me is comprised of only the folks that participated at the Regina meeting. I should have brought the full PCP list.

Iqaluit participated in the Regina meeting and Keith Irving, a councillor from Iqaluit gave a very important presentation. Mr. Irving's' presentation informed us of the changes that are occurring as a result of climate change. It was a powerful presentation.

Senator Watt: How do you go about soliciting potential members?

Ms. Comeau: We make presentations to councils. More visible climate change issues and the Kyoto Protocol debate have prompted many requests for information. We have folks that do presentations to councils and staff. We have our own membership processes. For example, when we did our resolution campaign, we sent out resolutions for councils to consider all of the FCM's members. It always comes up at our annual conference, which usually attracts 1,500 or so members. We work through all of our normal communication methods and our own networking at the core of the FCM membership and we are spinning all of the time.

Senator Watt: If I could pass on the message, would that be helpful?

Ms. Comeau: Absolutely.

The Chairman: What jurisdiction is responsible for setting laws to capture emissions from landfills? Is that a bylaw of the city councils, or is it a federal issue?

Ms. Comeau: It is a provincial jurisdiction.

The Chairman: Have the provincial governments moved on this issue?

Ms. Comeau: No.

Senator Eyton: You cite a number of numbers and aggregate the municipalities in Canada. If I can paraphrase, you have indicated that the municipalities collectively are one-half the problem and one-quarter of the solution.

I recognize that Beaverton is different from the greater Toronto area, and that Cranbrook is different from Vancouver, and so on. I suspect that of that 50 per cent and 20 per cent that I mentioned, let us say the five or six largest urban centres are responsible for 80 per cent or 90 per cent of the problem you mentioned, the 50 per cent problem, and are probably challenged with respect to the solution. Much of the initiative will have to come from the larger centres that contain the industry and the greatest population and the largest emissions.

You add up the numbers and say you have 500 municipalities, but many of them, in a sense, are not part of the problem, and they are a very little part of the solution.

To what extent are you supported and how much energy is there within the larger municipalities that are more involved and mostly strapped for funds? To what extent are they engaged with you in the programs you are talking about here?

Ms. Comeau: You raise a fair point in terms of relative impact. However, I would not argue for ignoring those other communities for several reasons. We find in the small to mid-size communities that there is a lot more room for innovation. We can do things more quickly in mid-sized communities because the lines of communication are shorter and they are more ready and capable of trying on new technologies in particular. There is a lot of innovation in that size of community, and a dollar saved to them is just as important as it is to Toronto. What drives our communities is the fact that they are saving significant money.

In terms of the big cities, we are working with all of them. We have a big city mayor's caucus of FCM. Climate change is a big issue in the big cities. Those are the communities that moved first on the landfill gas, because they have the big sites and big opportunities. They have also been the ones that established their revolving funds and the major programs to retrofit their buildings. Toronto led the way, but Hamilton and Winnipeg are participating as well. Calgary and Edmonton have huge building retrofit programs where all of their buildings are being retrofitted, saving millions of dollar a year. Calgary has the Ride the Wind project where wind power fuels their light-rail transit system. In many cities the lights are being retrofitted.

Their biggest challenge is moving from the corporate responsibility to the responsibility of the community as a whole. In that regard, Toronto is no different. Vancouver is doing a lot of work, retrofitting its own buildings.

When you get out of the corporation and into the community and you start controlling for land use planning, pushing mixed used development and controlling for sprawl, this is where you get into your challenges. None of our communities have that one yet. They are in their corporation sorting out what they can do and just starting to say, ``How do we manage this thing outside the corporation?''

Senator Eyton: We have just begun these hearings, and I am learning as I go along. I am inclined to believe that the solution is not so much government command as public demand. It is the public that has to be persuaded, and the public that has to say, ``I will buy this kind of refrigerator or drive this kind of car and manage my own energy consumption.'' Who best and how to sell the public?

We are talking about governments and strictures and requirements and regulations, and by definition, that takes a long time to get in the books and be effective. The public demand can be quick. Who generates the demand? Who best to do that of the three levels of government?

Ms. Comeau: All three orders of government have a role to play.

There needs to be strong incentives at the federal level. The kinds of incentives we have today are minimal and timid. If you buy a hybrid vehicle if the U.S., you get a $2,000rebate. We need a $2,000 rebate to buy hybrid vehicles in Canada. If you want to make the shift from SUV purchases to more efficient vehicles, you have to give an incentive to the consumer. That can be done as a match of federal and provincial funds. The experience of cooperation in this regard is limited.

If you look at the wind power production incentive, which is a program run out of NRCan to basically take 1 cent off the cost of producing wind power, the deal is that the provinces were supposed to come in and they did not. We missed at a chance to get at the premium, which was in the 3-cent range. Either they partner or not, but the two of them could do that together. We could do the same thing on green power. We could have stronger incentives to encourage consumers to buy green power.

We also need more efficient programs. We have been having some good discussions on this subject. There is a need for general public education programming, and I argue for a more targeted approach. I believe that we should approach the consumer right at the point of purchase. We should offer incentives to get people when they are in the store and target them on information. We should demonstrate the differences between this light versus that light, or this fridge versus that fridge, and have incentives right in the store.

NRCan has determined that incentives for sales people that give them more of a commission on selling an energy- efficient product is an effective way to achieve results. There is much that can be done to move the consumer along, but I would not argue that it is through general education. We will get better results when it is targeted at point of purchase and includes incentives for both the consumer and the retailer.

We must use that process to move consumers into the top end of the 20 per cent best in place. We must use legislation such as the Energy Efficiency Act to move the bottom up.

The climate plan talks about vehicle fuel efficiency standards are negotiating with the motor vehicle manufacturers to increase efficiency 25 per cent. That should be the bottom line now. We use incentives for the 60 per cent or 80 per cent improvement in the hybrid end.

The Chairman: You mentioned that, apart from the infrastructure program and the money that is being spent on greenhouse gas initiatives et cetera, there are all kinds of other monies being spent in other government departments. That would be very helpful to us, because we are concentrating on the 1-tonne challenge and how that can be done. It would be useful if you had specific ideas about the other departments of government.

Ms. Comeau: Environment Canada is the group that has the mandate in terms of education and outreach. The Climate Change Action Fund, whose funding is coming to an end as well, is looking to determine whether it becomes the vehicle for delivering the 1-tonne challenge.

You need to talk to Environment Canada and ask what they are going to do with the Climate Change Action Fund. How will it be restructured? How do they intend to deliver the 1-tonne challenge? Would they be funding community groups?

The Green Communities Association is a growing national group that delivers residential retrofits, water conservation programs and waste management programs. They are little non-profit groups that go into homes and look at your water and energy and look at how you manage your waste andguide you toward better recycling and conservation. Initially, those programs were supported by Ontario, but now NRCan through the EnerGuide primarily supports them.

I do not know if you are familiar with that program. They do audits, which are critical. If they want to deliver the 1- tonne challenge, they really should support green communities and other groups such as that to get into the community and actually do the outreach work with municipalities in order to get those things going.

The other challenge aside from the One-Tonne Challenge is that a number of federal funding programs, such as Technology Partnerships Canada, need to focus more on delivering greenhouse gas reductions. Of course, they have supported Iogen and others, but there is significant spending in that regard that could also deliver reductions.

There are billions of dollars in technology programs, university research programs, and so on. The other is the Panel onEnergy, Research and Development that brings together 12 federal departments that coordinate their federal research and investment. That is another area that needs focus on greenhouse gas emissions.

The two main departments are NRCan and Environment Canada. You might also want to look at HRDC. When we met in Regina, we mentioned the importance of engaging youth. HRDC has a lot of programming aimed at youth and youth employment. There is much we could do at the community level in terms of youth employment programs that would be tied to the 1-tonne challenge.

Senator Finnerty: How do we find people to do these assessments?

Ms. Comeau: If you would like the Green Communities group to come to talk to you, I can provide you with that information. In fact, I will be talking to Clifford Maynes of that organization today, so I can even give your clerk his phone number.

Senator Finnerty: It would be very helpful to make the public aware of this, because most of us do not know what we are doing wrong in our homes.

The Deputy Chairman: We recently travelled to San Francisco to study energy matters. We uncovered a successful utilization of utility companies, in both conservation and efficiency. Not only did they conserve energy; they made money. In fact, the state of California made about $2 billion.

What are your views on using the utilities to assist in the 1-tonne challenge? I know that British Columbia and Manitoba use them, but not all do.

Ms. Comeau: First, there is a network that goes right into people's home. People get utility bills, and we get a lot of information to consumers through those bills. There is also the opportunity for providing programs, whether to retrofit your home or to buy energy efficient appliances.

I would argue that, although appliances and heating systems are important since they both use a lot of energy in the home, the biggest issues are vehicles and where the electricity itself comes from.

To the degree that the utilities are pursuing a program of efficiency, that is great, but the most important thing is green power. We must invest significantly in that. This, in my view, is a failure of the climate plan. It talks about a commitment to 10per cent of new supply, which is very timid. In my view, it should be 10per cent of electricity supply by 2015.

The Deputy Chairman: That is another part of the program in California. It is called ``integrated energy management.''

Ms. Comeau: Yes, it has to be efficient and use green power.

The Deputy Chairman: I also want to ask you about the approximately five large companies that control everything we do in food production and agriculture. What is their role in the question of ethanol? If they wanted to step up to the plate, it would just happen.

Ms. Comeau: I cannot say that I have come across that as an interest point. I have certainly seen real interest in the agricultural community and in the biotechnology industry, but I have not seen it come in onthe actual value-added food production side of it. I have seen it at the farming level.

The Deputy Chairman: So they are not yet engaged?

Ms. Comeau: I cannot say that. I have not seen it. That does not necessarily mean that it has not come to us through our work at FCM. That does not mean that they are not engaged; I just may not be seeing it in the work we are doing.

The Deputy Chairman: TransAlta, for example, is going into wind power. When a big company steps forward like that, it makes a difference.

Thank you, Ms.Comeau, for appearing before us this morning. This has been a very provocative session.

The committee adjourned.