OTTAWA - The feds plan to unveil regulations to boost vehicle fuel efficiency and to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, but critics question the timing of the Tuesday announcement because a UN climate change conference is underway.
Environment Minister Peter Kent, who is set to attend the UN Climate Change Conference, says the new rules will mean cars and light trucks rolling off the line in 2025 would consume half the amount of fuel and emit half the greenhouse gases compared to 2008 models.
The regulations are designed to model U.S. legislation introduced more than a year ago.
"It is the right thing to do," said Kent, citing consumers will pay less at the pumps.
Kent expects Canada's rules to be finalized by 2013.
But the NDP's environment critic Megan Leslie is skeptical of the timing of the announcement prior to Kent's departure for the conference in Doha, Qatar.
"The world meets in Doha and works together to fight climate change, but Conservatives are re-announcing made-in-the-U.S.A. standards for vehicles that will not even take effect for four years," Leslie said during Tuesday's question period.
Negotiations in Doha began Monday and have focused on the Kyoto Protocol - a legally binding agreement requiring countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada has opted out of Kyoto, calling it a "thing of the past."
In 1997, Canada pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 2012 to six per cent below 1990 levels. At a climate change summit in Copenhagen in 2009, Canada agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 17% by 2020.