Skip to main content Start of content

House Publications

The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at accessible@parl.gc.ca.

Previous day publication Next day publication
Skip to Document Navigation Skip to Document Content

41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 105

CONTENTS

Tuesday, June 17, 2014




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147 
l
NUMBER 105 
l
2nd SESSION 
l
41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and the Northeastern Quebec Agreement

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 annual report on the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and the Northeastern Quebec Agreement.

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 26 petitions.

Digital Privacy Act

     (Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent for travel motions for committees.
    The first is in that, in relation to the annual conference of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees and the Canadian Council of Legislative Auditors' annual conference, ten members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts be authorized to travel to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, in August 2014, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.
    Second, that in relation to the pre-budget consultations, 2014, ten members of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia and Montreal, Quebec in the fall of 2014 and the winter of 2015, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.
    Third, that in relation to the pre-budget consultations, 2014, ten members of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Toronto, Ontario in the fall of 2014 and the winter of 2015, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.
    Fourth, that in relation to the pre-budget consultations, 2014, ten members of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Yellowknife, and Vancouver in the fall of 2014 and the winter of 2015, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.
    Fifth, that in relation to its study of the defence of North America, ten members of the Standing Committee on National Defence be authorized to travel to Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Cambridge Bay, Resolute Bay, and Iqaluit, Nunavut in the fall of 2014 and the winter of 2015, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.
    Sixth, that in relation to its study of the defence of North America, ten members of the Standing Committee on National Defence be authorized to travel to Bagotville, Quebec; Gagetown, New Brunswick; and Halifax, Nova Scotia in the spring and fall of 2014, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.
    Seventh, that in relation to its study of the defence of North America, ten members of the Standing Committee on National Defence be authorized to travel to Trenton, Ontario; Thule, Greenland; and Alert, Nunavut in the spring and fall of 2014, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.
    Finally, that in relation to its study of northern and Arctic fisheries, ten members of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans be authorized to travel to Whitehorse and Dawson City, Yukon; and Inuvik, Hay River, and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in the spring and fall of 2014, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: There does not seem to be consent.

Petitions

Pan-Canadian Concussion Strategy 

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present eight petitions regarding concussions. The signatures were collected by two extraordinary young women in my riding, Sandhya and Swapna Mylabathula, who are doing their Ph.D. in concussion research. They have spent almost three years working on a bill proposal for a pan-Canadian concussion strategy.
    Concussion can deeply impact individuals psychologically, neuropsychologically, socially, and economically. Those living with this brain injury deserve comprehensive action and support.
    The petitioners call upon the government to enact a pan-Canadian concussion awareness week; a pan-Canadian strategy for prevention, diagnosis and management; and a centre of excellence in concussion research.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.
    The first petition calls upon the government to reverse its recent cuts to Canada Post services and look instead for ways to innovate in areas such as postal banking.

Public Monuments  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls upon the government to withdraw its support and endorsement for the construction of the Never Forgotten memorial monument in Green Cove, Nova Scotia.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.
    From residents of Salt Spring Island within my riding, I present a petition calling for this House to protect and ensure stable and predictable funding for the nation's public broadcaster, the CBC.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I also present petitions from residents of my riding and beyond, from Qualicum Beach and Campbell River, calling for the Conservative government to refuse to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline as long as there are so many significant scientific questions that have not been resolved.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud today to present petitions from almost 18,000 people across Canada. Members might ask what the issue is that has generated such enthusiasm from Canadians. There is a desire to strengthen our laws to protect animals. These petitions are in support of two bills to strengthen our laws against animal cruelty.
    Animals are not just property and they are not just working animals. Animals are sentient beings capable of thinking and feeling pain. They should not be treated as property and they should be better protected under our animal cruelty legislation. We need significant penalties and a greater likelihood of conviction in the case of an offence.
    On behalf of the almost 18,000 people who have signed these petitions, and on behalf of the many other Canadians who support the well-being of Canada's companion animals and other animals, I do submit these petitions. I urge my colleagues on all sides of the House to support our bills to strengthen our animal cruelty legislation.

  (1010)  

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand today and present a petition on behalf of many Albertans who are calling upon the government to act to stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that has struck at the heart of many Canadians across the country.
     I am presenting one of some dozens of petitions that have been presented by the NDP, the official opposition, decrying the cuts to Canada Post that have come at the hands of the Conservative government.
    Small towns across rural Canada rely on their post offices. Therefore, people from Smithers, Houston, Telkwa, and the surrounding areas are asking the government to reverse its draconian cuts to Canada's postal service, return it to its once proper service, and to in fact expand service to allow Canada Post to continue being viable and strong into the future.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Agricultural Growth Act

    The House resumed from June 16 consideration of the motion that Bill C-18, An Act to amend certain Acts relating to agriculture and agri-food, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, it truly is my pleasure to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-18, an act to amend certain acts relating to agriculture and agri-food.
    I am sure many in the House are scratching their head and wondering why the MP for Sudbury, whose community is known for mining and being a hard rock city, would speak to this legislation. We have a lot of farmers in my community, and agriculture is important. This is an important bill for us to debate in the House and I am honoured to speak to it. I also want to thank my hon. colleague, the MP for Welland, for his hard work on this file. He is our excellent critic for agriculture.
    It is important for me to say that we support this legislation. We want to ensure that it gets to committee but we do have concerns. This is once again another Conservative omnibus bill. I guess I could merge those two words together; “consermibus” is what I was trying to say a minute ago.
    This legislation would make changes to nine different pieces of legislation. As with previous omnibus bills, there are measures that we support in Bill C-18 and there are those that we see as posing significant concerns for the agriculture sector.
    Many of the proposed changes requested by various stakeholders deserve thorough debate and consideration. As I mentioned, we support the bill going to committee but we may not support it at further stages. We hope we can make some amendments. We hope to be able to bring forward some of the changes requested by stakeholders as well as some of their concerns.
    It is important to recognize that when it comes to plant breeders' rights, New Democrats believe that we need to look at a balanced approach. A balanced approach to this is essential. We want to protect Canada's farmers and the public researchers who are involved in this. We understand the role of intellectual property rights. We understand it is important to encourage innovation. We want to ensure that all Canadians can access and benefit from our agriculture legacy. We need to ensure that the bill is studied in more detail so we can find out how producers would be impacted by some of the proposed changes.
    There are concerns about safety controls over seeds, plants, and animals. The CFIA would likely require additional resources. The cuts made by the Conservative government in the past to CFIA are concerning. We want to ensure that this is addressed and that there would no longer be any gaps in enforcement, especially when it comes to some of the safety measures that are involved in this.
    We would all agree that farmers are the backbone of Canada's food system. It does not matter ultimately the colour of one's tie, such as the one I am wearing today, as to how we perceive our farmers. Members of all parties want our farmers to earn a decent living and produce quality food for Canadian families.
    We have a great organization in my riding of Sudbury called Eat Local. Approximately 30 to 40 local producers provide food to Eat Local in Sudbury. Let me just talk about a few of them.
    Les jardins Blondin specializes in ecologically grown greens, radishes, and assorted produce. Rowantree Farms, Heart and Soil Gardens, Piebird and Soggy Creek Seed, Ouelette et Fils, and Mountain Lake Bison Range are other producers that provide food to Eat Local. Many of these great organizations in my riding are doing great work when it comes to ensuring that we have local produce. It is important for us to ensure that farmers and companies like those that I mentioned in my riding and those right across the country continue to prosper.
    Many of those I have met at Eat Local are modern farmers as well. As parliamentarians we need to ensure that we link them to cutting-edge research and technology. Canadians deserve practical policies that can grow our rural economies and foster sustainable agricultural communities.
    As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to plant breeders' rights, the official opposition believes that balance is essential.

  (1015)  

     However, we do have some concerns when it comes to public research. We want to ensure that the incredible contributions that are being made by our agriculture sector remain competitive and benefit all Canadians. Therefore, it is essential that the federal government support publicly funded research, especially for farmers.
    I am going to talk a bit now about some of the specifics of the bill. Bill C-18 would protect the rights of researchers to use patent materials for non-commercial uses. However, given the government's defunding of public research and its focus on public-private funding partnerships and linking research to commercialization, it is our opinion on this side of the House that it is unclear if the provisions as written would effectively protect research. Public plant research has made numerous contributions to the Canadian agriculture community, and it is our opinion that it is essential that support for public research be maintained. Therefore, one of the things we want to ensure is that the government will continue to support public research and it would not be hindered in the bill at all.
    Canada is moving toward ratification of the 1991 model law of the international union for the protection of new varieties of plants, UPOV '91, which expands the rights afforded to plant breeders for varieties they develop and increases the places along the value chain where plant breeders can collect royalties. Bill C-18 includes the following new exclusion rights for plant breeders: reproduction, conditioning, sale, export or import, and repeated use to produce commercially another plant variety if the repetition is necessary for that purpose. It also includes stocking for the purpose of any other protected acts. The term of the grant of plant breeders' rights would also be increased from 18 years to 20 years, or 25 years in the case of a tree, vine, or any other category listed by the regulations. This also includes a new clause that would grant farmers' privilege. That would allow farmers to save seed and condition seed for purposes of production and reproduction on their own farm. We see that as important. This privilege would not be extended to the storing of seed, or to the sale of harvested material from protected seed.
    Bill C-18 would grant CFIA the ability to make changes through regulation to which circumstances and classes of farmers and varieties would not be covered under the farmers' privilege. It would also protect the rights of researchers to use patented materials as the basis for developing a new variety or another research use, and it would enhance the public accessibility to the registry of plant varieties. This is a major change from the previous act.
    One of the benefits we see in the bill is that granting farmers' privilege, to allow farmers to save and condition seed for use on their own farms, really would promote access. That is one of the important things for Canadian farmers, especially if we are looking at the results of private breeding research in Canada and other countries through effective intellectual property rights.
     This is an important bill for all of us, all parties and all members, to stand up and speak to and debate. Even though I come from what many perceive as a mining community, we do also have some great local producers. I also tip my hat to Eat Local Sudbury, which is doing such a great job of promoting local produce and local foods and making sure that, if we needed to, we could survive on what we are growing in northern Ontario.
    I look forward to questions and comments.

  (1020)  

    Mr. Speaker, first, I must recognize that the member did coin an interesting word, “Conservabus”. That is a word we might be able to use on several pieces of legislation. It is a valid point in regard to the number of pieces of legislation that would actually be changed within this one piece of legislation. Bill C-18 would amend nine separate pieces of agriculture-related legislation, affecting plant breeders' rights, feed, seed, fertilizer, animal health, plant protection, monetary penalties, agriculture marketing programs, and farm debt mediation. It is a fairly all-encompassing piece of legislation.
    Given the members remarks in regard to the importance of our farmers—and I think we underestimate the valuable contribution they make—it would have been more appropriate to have had several pieces of legislation brought in so that the farmers and other stakeholders would have been afforded the opportunity to have more direct input on those aspects of the legislation that are of critical importance to our communities.
    I wonder if the member might want to add to that?
    Mr. Speaker, my little stumble did create a new word that I think we will all be able to use moving forward.
    We do not like omnibus bills. We in the opposition would be in agreement that it is important to be able to bring bills forward, have debate, and be able to hear from stakeholders when we get these bills to committee.
    We are supporting this to get to committee. However, that is where the support may end, because we need to ensure we are doing what we believe is right for our farmers. I will tip my hat to my hon. colleague from Welland for the work he has been doing with farmers through the Prairies and up in Sudbury. He had the opportunity of meeting with the folks in Sudbury at Eat Local. We need to find ways to ensure that we are helping him with new technology and research. This bill has some of those, but we need to ensure that, once it gets to committee, we are able to see the advancements move forward.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speech by my friend from Sudbury.
     We need to look at Bill C-18 in the larger context of trends. I am concerned with what we have seen happening under this administration, which is a steady trend away from publicly funded research into new seed varieties. That is how we got canola and Laird lentils. There was public investment in coming up with new varieties of seeds, which were then available to everyone. We are shifting to private breeders only and moving more toward Monsanto and less toward Agriculture Canada.
    The Conservatives call it the agricultural growth act. They might as well call it the agriculture concentration of corporate ownership act. I am concerned with the specifics of the bill. I know it will go to committee, because the Conservatives have the votes; but the agricultural community is split on this, and it would help us all if we were to look at the larger question.
    Since budget 2012, we have seen a reduction in available funding for public research into better seed varieties, and we see through Bill C-18 the opportunity for the Monsantos of the world to keep collecting royalties over which the farmers would have no say as to how that money is spent.
    It is not an agricultural growth act; it is removing the rights of farmers.

  (1025)  

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is hitting the nail on the head when it comes to the specifics of the bill. While we do see that there are some positives in this bill, and while there are a few aspects that we think are good, there are many that raise some warning flags for us.
     I will talk about my farmers in Sudbury, the folks who are providing the food and the produce to Eat Local Sudbury. These are the folks who we need to ensure can continue to grow and continue to prosper. If what we are seeing in this is the slow elimination of the resources that farmers could utilize and the support of the larger farming corporations, then that is heading in the wrong direction.
    I will rely on great MPs like my colleague from Welland, who is working on this file, to make sure we get this right.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am not my party's critic in this area, but I do have an interest in this bill because Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing is a large riding with many farmers. I think that it is important to review the bill and take a look at the laws it will affect.
    The bill proposes amendments to laws that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the CFIA, is responsible for enforcing. The laws affected are the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act, the Feeds Act, the Fertilizers Act, the Seeds Act, the Health of Animals Act, the Plant Protection Act, the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act and the Farm Debt Mediation Act.
    As my colleague said, the government has introduced yet another omnibus bill and is taking an unbalanced approach. When the government combines an omnibus bill with limited debate, it is easy to lose sight of some very important aspects that will negatively impact farmers and producers as well as the government. That is why the government often finds itself before the courts. We have seen this government go to court many times to defend measures it has put in place; it keeps losing. That is not an effective way to be spending the money it collects through our taxes.
    When the government wants to introduce legislative measures, instead of wasting taxpayers' money, it should ensure that its legislation will be accepted and do everything in its power to ensure that it is good legislation.

  (1030)  

[English]

    As I said, this piece of legislation in particular would change nine different acts. One of them is the Plant Breeders' Rights Act. There are some positive changes in the bill; however, sometimes we have to see if the benefits actually outweigh the concerns and look at the impact they would have.
    This particular piece, amendments to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act, would actually ensure that a variety of developers are able to see a return on investment for their plant breeding research efforts, providing incentives for an important sector of Canadian agri-business. It would grant farmers' privilege to allow farmers to save and condition seed for use on their own farms, and promote access for Canadian farmers to the results of private breeding research from Canada and other countries through effective intellectual property.
    There are a few other benefits we can see: to protect researchers from infringement on plant breeders rights, enhance public accessibility and transparency when it comes to plant breeding, and maintain the existing compulsory licence system, providing some assurances that varieties can be made available at reasonable prices, widely distributed, and kept at high quality.
    However, when we look at the concerns that the farmers have raised, we have to take those seriously, and that is why we have a concern. Yes, we want to move this to committee, and yes, we are supportive of having a good debate on this here and making sure that our piece of legislation will be a proper one. However, we have a big question mark when it comes to sending stuff to committee as well. We do not know whether or not the government would be supportive of changes that would actually strengthen the bill, because over and over again we have seen a government that wants to push everything forward and not take any suggestions into account—really good suggestions, changes, and amendments,.
    Here are the concerns about the amendments to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act. People have raised concerns on this particular piece of legislation and this particular area, even in the riding of Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing. I hear about it in Manitoulin Island and along the Highway 17 corridor, including from people in the agricultural sector in Thessalon.
    Here are some of the concerns. There are a few major concerns regarding the clauses on the farmers' privilege. The farmers' privilege does not include the stocking of propagating material for any use. Even if farmers are able to save seed for the purpose of reproduction, it appears in this legislation that they may have to pay to store it, which would effectively negate the privilege.
    Farmers' privilege does not extend to the sale of harvested material. This means that farmers will likely still be required to pay for the sale of the crops grown from farm-saved seed. It also means that plant breeders could potentially generate revenue on a farmers' entire production rather than just on the seed purchased to grow the crop. This could have significant impacts on the profit margin of farmers.
    Farmers are already having a tough time, especially when it is not a good season. To add another risk would be very detrimental to them.
    Bill C-18 also includes amendments that would allow the CFIA to make changes through regulation, not through legislation, to farmers' privilege. This means that the government could significantly hinder these rights at any time, without parliamentary oversight. We know how the Conservative government is about parliamentary oversight. Obviously it is not very good. We have to take that into consideration.
    Allowing for farm-saved seed is an optional exception under UPOV 91, meaning that Canada could disallow farm-saved seed and still fulfill its international obligations under the agreement.
    There are other concerns raised here regarding the potential legal burden for producers. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has called for protections for producers from claims of patent infringement with respect to natural, accidental spreading of patented plant genetic material. However, these protections are not included in Bill C-18.
    Given the expansion of plant breeders' rights under Bill C-18, it is likely that farmers will face increases in expensive litigation. As I said before, a lot of these farmers are already experiencing some tough times. If we want to encourage new young folks to take on farming, we need to make sure that there is no such hindrance in place, or we have to limit them.
    While our producers may well be on an extremely uneven financial playing field in relation to plant breeders, there are no provisions in Bill C-18 to ensure that legal fees do not impede a farmer's defence in such cases.
    Other changes in this bill, as I mentioned, were the amendments to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act and the advance payments program. Again, there are some benefits, but we also have to look at the concerns. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has called for an increase to the maximum amount in advances to address rising farm expenses. Unfortunately, such increases are not included in Bill C-18. This is exactly why the government has to be open to amendments.
    When we look at the amendments to the Feeds Act, the Fertilizers Act, the Seeds Act, the Health of Animals Act, and the Plant Protection Act, one of the key concerns is that the amendments to the FDMA may require additional resources from Agriculture Canada, as the minister will now be involved in mediation cases. The government has yet to address whether it currently has the resources it needs to fulfill this new duty.
     Under Bill C-18, the minister will not be required to review the operations of the FDMA as often. Given that the proposed changes to the FDMA involve an expanded role for the minister in the mediation process, this review period should not be extended.
    Again, we cannot ignore some of the significant concerns about the provisions in this bill. I want to finish off by indicating that I think it is important to recognize how important farmers are to our communities and to Canada's food system.

  (1035)  

    New Democrats believe that farmers must be able to earn a decent living producing quality food for Canadians. That is why the government needs to make sure that when it introduces legislation, it takes the time to listen to the farmers, the opposition parties, and the professionals, whether it is the researchers or the farmers themselves, to make sure we get it right.
    Mr. Speaker, I have to say that Bill C-18 is one of the most sought after pieces of legislation by the agriculture community. I come from farming. I live in a farming riding, which is very diverse. It has livestock, grains and oil seeds, horticulture, and greenhouses, and I have not yet come across any farmers who are not waiting for this bill to get to committee, because it means so much to them.
    We have to remember that 45% of breeding rights applications are from public breeders. The rest come together because there is an incredible advantage. We have been able to increase the production level and the quality level of our products. Not only are they public but they bring with them public-private partnerships. That is why the farming community is so interested in this bill and in the flexibility of advance payments and being able to save seeds, which is something that was not there before. We want to make sure that still exists.
    I would ask the member if she would encourage everyone to get this bill wrapped up and get it to committee. Does she support that?
    Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the member was not listening. I said that New Democrats are prepared to move it to committee. However, we need to make sure that there is proper debate.
    Canadians send us here to be their voices. When we look at this particular bill, we need to make sure we protect Canada's farmers and public researchers. While we understand the role of intellectual property rights and encouraging innovation, we need to ensure that all Canadians can access and benefit from our agricultural legacy.
    We know that the government has tabled many bills that have been problematic, and it has found itself before the court. Will the Conservatives actually allow us to debate this bill properly, bring witnesses to committee and not rush them through, and make the proper amendments, even if those amendments are the bright ideas of the opposition, because that is where they come from?

  (1040)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for her informative comments. She raised some questions in her previous answer about whether the government would do this or that. As a former member of the agriculture committee, I can advise the member that hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars have been cut from public research, particularly on the breeding of seeds. I am truly alarmed by it.
    The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands brought to our attention the fact that now we are moving public research away from the public and into private industry. It is clear that the intention of the government is the corporatization of this kind of research, which is enhanced by parts of this bill that basically restrict the right of farmers to keep and save their seeds.
    I am wondering, notwithstanding the rhetoric of the government, if the member is as alarmed as I am by the tenor of this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, again I agree that the government's direction might not be the right one, and that is why we need to make sure it goes to committee. However, we need Conservatives to be open-minded. Unfortunately, it has been very difficult to get an open-minded Conservative at committee.
    The Conservatives see the summer coming, and they are trying to get as much under their belts as possible, but at what risk? We need to have proper debate on this bill. I can say that people have raised concerns.

[Translation]

    According to Dominique Bernier of AmiEs de la Terre de Québec, this bill considerably weakens farmers' ancestral rights by forcing them to pay compensation to agro-industrial giants on the entirety of their harvest. However, the marketing of new crop varieties by the big breeders rests on a world heritage, the patient selection, over thousands of years, of crops by succeeding generations of farmers.
    We heard from many witnesses on the changes that must be made to this bill, and when it is examined in committee, I hope that the Conservatives will listen to people's concerns and make the necessary improvements to the bill.
    Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, farming is a long-standing tradition that spans many generations.
    The Institut de technologie agroalimentaire, for example, has been teaching young people who want to become farmers about leading-edge technologies in the industry for generations. Biopterre's Bioproducts Development Center, which is extremely successful and innovative, supports companies as they innovate and develop products related to agriculture—

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I believe the standing orders clearly indicate that the member should be wearing a tie if he wants to speak in the House.
    Of course, the parliamentary secretary is correct.

[Translation]

    We are going to wait a few seconds so that the member can put on his tie.

  (1045)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Bioproducts Development Center supports companies as they innovate and develop agricultural and agroforestry bioproducts. We are still debating a government bill, but we are all suited up this time. Another gag order has been imposed. The reason why I had to run into the chamber to debate this bill is that no members on the government side want to speak. The only government speakers who are in the House rise on points of order that are rather minor when compared to the importance of the bill that is before us.
    On this side of the House, we are debating Bill C-18, An Act to amend certain Acts relating to agriculture and agri-food. This is yet another an omnibus bill because it seeks to amend nine laws associated with agriculture. This morning, we heard some relatively good news, and that is that the nine laws that will be amended by the bill all deal with agriculture. With that, the government is taking a step in a more reasonable direction. Previous omnibus bills that addressed elements of this bill were even broader and pertained to areas other than agriculture.
    Among other things, this bill protects plant breeders' rights and strengthens border controls. It also expands access to the advance payments program. I will not have time to talk about all nine of the laws amended by this bill so I will focus on just two of them.
    I will talk about the amendments to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act. This is probably the most important part of this bill. If this bill is passed, plant breeders will have new exclusive rights. We will support this bill at second reading. I would like to explain something for those watching on CPAC to ensure they understand the legislative process. Supporting the bill at this stage does not make it law. It will be sent to the relevant committee, which is the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in this case. MPs who are members of the committee will be able to ask witnesses questions about the bill, and they will be able to convey the main concerns of several farmers' associations in Canada. At third reading, the final voting stage, we will see if we support the bill. We are ready to participate in the committee process at second reading to see if there is a way to turn the material in Bill C-18 into something that will work for Canada's farmers.
    This bill talks about new exclusive rights for plant breeders to protect them. These include the right to reproduction, conditioning, sale, export or import, repeated use to produce commercially another plant variety if the repetition is necessary for that purpose, and stocking for the purpose of any of the other protected acts.
    The term of the grant of plant breeders' rights has been increased from 18 to 20 years, or 20 years in the case of trees, vines and other categories listed by the regulations.
    I will be consulting with my constituents about this. In my riding, there is an organization called the UPA de la Côte-du-Sud, which knows these amendments and is 100 years old too. I will be sure to find out how these people and the people at Biopterre see this bill. They might like the fact that the patent is a little stronger. I will be talking to them before we get to third reading of Bill C-18.
    There is one thing that I find interesting. A new provision gives farmers a privilege, in that they can save seeds and condition them to produce and reproduce plants on their farms. If that is properly presented, it might be a good thing. Selecting seeds is an ancient occupation, but it is recognized as being a trade. Someone who naturally encourages the genetics of a wheat or barley plant to improve it is carrying on a trade that has been recognized since the 19th century. There is a long history there that dates back to well before people started talking about intellectual rights and living product rights. This has been around for a very long time. We need to thoroughly and carefully consider the potential impact of this legislation on thousands of years of tradition and acquired rights for producers who must not be affected by our decisions.

  (1050)  

    This point may seem worthwhile. It is a provision that gives farmers a privilege, in that they will be able to save seeds and condition them in order to produce and reproduce plants. It gives them rights so that they can continue that tradition.
    We will protect the rights of researchers to use patented materials to develop new varieties or do other research. We are getting into Biopterre territory. This may be good for people from my region and for the industry in general.
    The increased public access to the registry of plant varieties is a major change from previous suggestions. We need to ensure that with all these changes, access to these great innovations will still be easy. We do not want to end up with monster over-regulated industries because the rights holders would make agricultural production extremely difficult.
    As currently drafted, the bill nevertheless has some advantages in that regard. It would ensure that those responsible for developing varieties will profit from their investment in research. Once again, I am thinking of Biopterre. That is an encouraging element for an important agri-food sector in Canada that is innovative and conducts research. The bill would also maintain a compulsory licence system, providing some assurance that varieties are available at reasonable prices, are widely distributed and maintain high quality.
    There is one further point that concerns the notion of high quality. People must not be able to claim, even indirectly, that they have created a new category or new species when it is on all accounts similar to what already exists. That would lead to a producer being prosecuted for the use of a species that already exists. We must do our due diligence with this element to prevent such a disastrous scenario from occurring.
    Innovations must be easily accessible, but not to the extent that they can be used in an underhanded way to impose fees on existing species and varieties. There is a very delicate balance to be struck and we must be very careful about that.
    There are concerns. This privilege does not include the stocking of propagating material for any use. Even if farmers are able to save seed for the purpose of reproduction, it appears they may have to pay to store it. The bill does not resolve this issue. An individual can store seeds and use them the following year, and even help with natural selection to improve the variety. However, will the breeder of this variety be able to charge that person for keeping seeds in his possession? This is another issue that must be examined.
    I must speak to another of the nine laws that are affected by the changes in this bill. It is a law that is very important to the people in my region.
    There will be amendments to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act and the advance payments program, or APP. The APP is a loan guarantee program that gives producers easier access to credit through cash advances.
    I question this aspect of the bill. Pork producers in my region have had a great deal of difficulty. The pork industry in Quebec has gone through years of tough times. The APP was one of the programs that supported pork producers. The terms imposed on the producers under this program were quite rigid when it came time to settle the many bankruptcies. If I understand the reasoning behind this bill correctly, not only would it be easier to access the APP, but the conditions of payment would be more flexible. If that is the case, that is an excellent idea. This is very important for businesses that run into difficulties from time to time, as was the case for the pork producers in my region for far too many years.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex is an agricultural riding. I met with my constituents and made part of the announcement when Bill C-18 was tabled. I have had the opportunity to talk to the commodity, fertilizer and livestock people because of their involvement in the advanced payment component of the bill. Of the farm organizations, only one has not yet come on side.
    Agriculture in Ontario has had some blips in the beef and pork sectors, which we know about, but one should never take the notion that agriculture is not a significant industry for our economy.
    How much dialogue has the member had with the farmers, the commodity people, and the organizations in his riding, so we can get this, in a positive attitude, to our committee?

  (1055)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, back home in recent years, we have been busy with our communications and dialogue with various groups like UPA and Biopterre, which have a vested interest in the farming industry.
    Pressing matters had to do with what was happening in the discussions with the European Union and the bilateral trade.
    There was a lot of concern among the producers, dairy processors and fine cheese producers. The bulk of our work and the public's reaction back home had to do with files like those and the APP, which I was just talking about.
    As I was saying in my speech, I can sense just as much concern among some of the UPA producers. I will have more meetings with them to see if we can come up with some constructive contributions for the upcoming discussions between second reading and third reading. It would be my pleasure.
    I also want to point out that people like those at Biopterre and the innovation centre will certainly be interested in this bill. I will connect with all these people, and we will try to adopt a constructive approach.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by congratulating my colleague on his fine speech.
    This bill is extremely important for Canada and Quebec. As deputy critic in this area and together with the member for Welland, I launched a number of consultations on Bill C-18. All we keep hearing are concerns. A number of members have tabled petitions in the House on issues related to Bill C-18. It is really important that this bill be sent to committee.
    I would like my colleague to elaborate on the importance of a long-term vision for agriculture and the fact that the NDP is the only party with a Canada-wide agriculture platform and a more balanced approach to agriculture. We know that agriculture represents one in eight jobs.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, who works very hard on agricultural issues and who is very appreciated by the industry.
    The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has called for protections for producers from claims of patent infringement with respect to natural or accidental spreading of a patented plant genetic material. This example is along the lines of what my colleague said. These are extremely sensitive issues that can lead to serious consequences if they are not resolved and if there is no long-term vision. In some cases, major seed producers have sued people who partially and inadvertently grew protected sprouts in their fields.
    We can see the terrible mess producers could end up in if these issues are not cleared up and if producers, not just rights holders, are not well protected by our future decisions.

  (1100)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure I rise today to address Bill C-18, the most recent omnibus bill from the Conservatives. They seem to have grown somewhat addicted to this particular way of doing business, of writing legislation that encompasses many laws all in one bill. It is a kitchen sink approach to writing legislation in government. In their previous incarnation in opposition, they had some sort of ethic around democracy and accountability in the process of law and they questioned this approach significantly when Liberals did the same thing.
    This omnibus bill is certainly not the worst. It only affects nine different pieces of Canadian law at once. Some might say that is a lot, but we have to see that in comparison to the massive omnibus bills the Conservatives have introduced, which sometimes affected upwards of 50 or 60 different Canadian laws all at the same time.
    It is a challenge for those not familiar with parliamentary business, and why should they be? It is a technical and complicated thing. The challenge for parliamentarians from all sides is that our primary job here in this place is to analyze and dissect bills as well as we are able in order to understand what is being presented and what the impacts are likely to be.
    We can never know fully what the impacts of any piece of legislation might be once it applies in the real world, since once the civil servants and industry get hold of it, there is a to and fro. However, as parliamentarians we can at least try to do our best to anticipate, by hearing the best advice from witnesses and experts who do know things like the farming industry much better than most members of Parliament. We can hear their input, bring the legislation into effect, and go through a process.
    The challenge we have had with the current government is twofold. One is that the Conservatives tend to use the technique they are using here today, an omnibus bill that addresses several or many laws at once. In this case it is nine different laws at once, and separating them is incredibly difficult.
    The second challenge is that the Conservatives have grown quite addicted to a technique called time allocation. What that means is that rather than negotiating with the opposition to decide how many days of debate a certain piece of legislation might get, the government invokes and enforces the shutting down of debate even as the bill is being introduced.
    This is the most common tendency we see now from the Conservatives. They introduce a new bill, and before anybody in the place other than the minister has cracked a single page, they then follow the introduction of that bill with a technique called time allocation, which means debate will then be shut down.
    The Conservatives do not just shut down debate at one stage. As we all know, bills go through several stages of debate, but the Conservatives shut it down at every single stage. They shut down debate again and again.
    This has two effects on what happens in Parliament. One is it limits the number of MPs who can speak to a bill and understand what is being presented. I and all of my colleagues find that one of the best ways to understand a bill is to compose a 10-minute or 20-minute speech on it or to study it at committee. We consult with our constituents and hear from experts in order to form up what we will say.
    The second thing is that it breeds a natural suspicion, a suspicion the Conservatives used to feel when Liberals did the same thing. When Liberals used time allocation and closure to shut down debate, Conservatives said the Liberals were doing so because they had bad legislation that they did not want the public to fully understand.
    I think the Conservatives have now applied this technique over 70 times since the last election, which is breaking all the records set by any government in Canadian history. They do it even on bills like this one, bills that the official opposition has said it would support to second reading. Throughout Canadian history, the natural consequence of being assured of that support is that the government, as a next step, would sit down with the opposition and essentially negotiate. Acknowledging that the opposition wanted to see the bill pass second reading and go to committee stage, the Conservatives would ask approximately how many speakers the opposition wanted to have speak to the bill. That is because every party has a certain number of requirements. Each party has certain members from certain agricultural districts, as is applicable in this case, and those members need to speak to the bill. It is perfect common sense and it is required of Parliament.
    Instead, the Conservatives have been invoking time allocation right away. It builds suspicion and opposition from New Democrats and from others, as it did when Conservatives were in opposition, so they know exactly what this feels like, but they do it anyway.
    Let us get to the merits and the demerits of the bill itself.
    Bill C-18 is attempting to strike a difficult balance on the rights of plant breeders. Plant breeders innovate and develop new seeds, new technologies, and new approaches to farming, growing, and raising food in Canada. It is an incredibly important endeavour, because innovation has always been at the heart of agriculture. In Canada we have had incredible experience and success in innovation, not only in breeding livestock but also in developing plant varieties that are more weather resistant and require less water and less fertilizer. All of that is incredibly important.

  (1105)  

    Protecting intellectual property rights is important for us as New Democrats because it would provide a shield over those who innovate, protecting them so that they would have some benefit from their innovation. Many regimes in the world have very low standards of intellectual property. China is constantly struggling with this problem, and India as well. If we have very little protection, innovators are not encouraged, and if the innovators are not encouraged, they do not innovate, because it is often very expensive for innovators to test and retest until they achieve something that the market will actually reward.
    On the other side of the balance we have farmers' rights, which are incredibly important as well. Farmers are raising some legitimate concerns, and I hope my Conservative colleagues across the way recognize the legitimacy of those concerns. If the balance is placed too far on the side of the intellectual property regime, on the side of those doing the innovating, and as a result farmers pay more or pay in ways that hurt their ability to make an income, it is a significant and valid concern. If farmers have to pay to store seeds or to replant seeds that they have kept from the previous harvest, those are legitimate concerns.
    As we know, the farming community is not a unified body. There are obviously many different types of people working in the farming industry, growing and raising different types of crops and cattle and livestock, yet there are great divisions within that farming community in prosperity. Some farmers have extraordinarily large farms that are very profitable, both on the livestock side and on the plant side, on the pulses and grains and whatnot. Other farmers are more on the margin and are just trying to make it. They are in niche markets, with smaller farms that are servicing a nearly urban economy. Those farms may be affected by this bill in disproportionate ways.
    Therefore, New Democrats are seeking to get the balance right. In supporting the bill at second reading, we are saying we have some concerns over the new powers of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency around regulating and licensing. While those new powers might be quite needed for the innovative farm industry that we want to continue to grow, there are no resources attached to it. The CFIA has had massive cutbacks over the year. It is a department that has seen multiple rounds of cutbacks to its ability to deliver services to farmers and Canadians. The government is going to give it new powers and responsibilities, so one of our legitimate questions for the government is whether, with the new powers and the new work that will be required, the government is attaching any more resources or any new people to do the work.
    We do not want to create these new powers and give farmers hope that this, this, and this program are now going to be a part of reality, and then not have anybody in the department actually assigned to do it. That is a false hope, and too often what we have seen from the current government is false hope.
    I speak to the bill as a representative of the riding I represent in northwestern British Columbia, Skeena—Bulkley Valley, which incorporates a great variety of people in the agricultural industry. It does not include the full sweep that we see in some of the ridings around Canada, the so-called mega-farms, but we have very large agricultural operations, those growing the pulses and seeds side of things, as well as an extensive and diversified group of farmers who are raising cattle, pig, sheep, and whatnot, who are occupying this conversation in completely different ways.
    We have a growing and extensive local farmers' market system in the northwest, which is incredibly important, because regions like mine are very far from some of the high-production areas of the country. As a result, food security is an enormous issue for us because of the great distances, the impacts of climate change, and the need to move food farther to the consumer. We know that the average bushel of produce is moving farther afield. That has serious food security questions, because we have a system that is called “just-in-time delivery”. Many of our retailers depend on food that has to be ready and delivered just in time for the consumer to buy. That creates, unfortunately, a certain level of food insecurity.
    The farming community is enormous in Canada. It contributes more than $100 billion to the GDP. One in eight workers going to work this morning went to work in the agricultural sector. In scale it dwarfs many of the other sectors of our industry that get a lot of attention, so it is good that the government is paying this amount of attention.
     There are other aspects of the bill that we quite favour. We are raising concerns because we think it is our job. We are raising concerns because that is what Canadians want us to do. In such an important industry in Canada, getting the balance right by allowing for the innovators to innovate while allowing for farmers to earn a living as they feed over 35 million Canadians seems to us a worthwhile cause and an exercise worth doing.

  (1110)  

    We look forward to the debate at committee. We hope that for once the government will be open to amendments based on the information and the expert testimony that we hear. That would be a welcome relief, as the government so often rejects all science and evidence that comes before us. It is something we think is possible, because hope springs eternal. We believe we can make this bill better than it is right now. We believe we can make it one that an even broader number of Canadians and Canadian farmers can support.
    Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the member's well-thought-out remarks, and he is absolutely right: this has been a government of reckless decisions, especially when it comes to agriculture. We now know that there has been a $5 billion loss in sales through the Canadian Wheat Board changes and that the farmer's share of the export dollar has dropped dramatically while the grain companies take excessive profits. The new government-controlled Canadian Wheat Board was supposed to report its financial condition on March 31; that has not been seen yet. We have to wonder what the government is hiding.
    We know the Conservatives cut AgriStability in just about half. They cut AgriInvest in terms of the amount of investment that producers could put in. They have cut public researchers dramatically. The list goes on and on.
    The member talked about finding the balance. I would say the government's record in terms of abuse of the farm community is about the worst of any government in Canadian history. Given that record, how can we trust that the government will not maintain the balance of power on the corporate side of things and give the corporate sector the rights to seed reproduction, while providing farmers merely with the privilege? What farmers need is the right to retain seed and to reproduce it.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the new Liberal Party is suddenly very suspicious of corporate Canada. It is an interesting conversation to have.
    I suppose I am remembering some lessons from Sundays, one of which is to hate the sin, not the sinner. While we have deep trouble with the way the Conservatives have moved a series of bills through the House while ignoring expert testimony, we see some initiatives within this bill that are highly supported by farmers. I did not get to mention the advance payments program in my speech. We know the expansion of that program would help farmers. It would allow more types of farmers to get into the advance payments program. In my area, the so-called part-time farmers, those who have to seek income off-farm, will now be encouraged to be in this program. That helps the cashflow and investments that farmers need over the year.
    To the specific question regarding the balance between the rights of farmers and the corporate rights of those who develop seeds and innovate, we do not think the exact balance we are seeking to achieve has been established in this bill.
    Obviously, we do not trust the government. I do not think anyone doubts the resolve and determination of the New Democrats in standing up to the government. The challenge is that when omnibus legislation comes through, we do not get to pick and choose, so all we can do is encourage the good initiatives, discourage the bad, and try to amend them at committee. If the Conservatives refuse those amendments, if they are determined to ignore all of the witnesses and the experts we hear, as they so often do, then we will have to reconsider our position coming out of committee and going into third reading.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a rather simple question for my colleague, who likely remembers the history of agriculture.
    The topic of seeds is a very sensitive one. Since humans have participated in agriculture, producers have held the historic right to save their seed.
    We definitely want this bill to be studied at second reading. However, we are concerned about the fact that farmers could be held responsible if their fields are contaminated because of the existence of seed registration, where a company owns the intellectual property rights to a seed. They are not personally responsible, but they could ultimately end up being legally responsible.
    I remind members of the case of Percy Schmeiser, who was accused by Monsanto. The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court and Mr. Schmeiser had to compensate Monsanto for the contamination of his field, even though he had not planted those seeds.
    I would like to hear what my colleague thinks about that situation, about the scope of the bill and about what potential impact it could have on similar situations.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, farmers must absolutely retain their historic right to their seed.
    The problem now between farmers and people who invent and create new seeds is a matter of rights. The government is giving rights to the companies, but what about farmers' rights? They are in no way equivalent.
    We will keep and protect our farmers' rights. At the same time, we will try to keep the portions of the bill that improve the lives of Canadian farmers.
    Order. It being 11:17 a.m., pursuant to an order adopted Wednesday, June 4, 2014, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.

[English]

     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: On division.
    The Deputy Speaker: The motion is carried on division. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act

    Resuming debate. The hon. member for Surrey North had five minutes left for questions and comments.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing.
    Mr. Speaker, when we are looking at the bill, we know there are still some concerns. We see that this is a bill that certainly goes in the right direction. However, because there has been a gap of time here, maybe my colleague can refresh our memories with respect to some of the concerns we see with this particular piece of legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, the bill would actually make very modest improvements to our marine safety issues, which are particularly important to British Columbia. Off the west coast of British Columbia, we have pristine waters that provide a lot of jobs for local communities throughout the coast, and we also have a large tourism industry that depends on navigation through those waters in northern British Columbia and along the coast in southern British Columbia.
    If the government truly wanted to improve marine traffic safety in British Columbia, it would be looking at a number of improvements to which the Conservatives have actually cut funding; for example, the Kitsilano Coast Guard, environmental regulations, and emergency response programs not only in British Columbia but on the east coast of Canada as well.
    Therefore, even though the Conservatives pretend that the bill would improve the safety of our marine life off the coast, it does not go far enough.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to refer to my hon. colleague's point about the bill making modest improvements. The bill would put into legislative form changes that have been anticipated for quite a while due to international agreements for liability in relation to maritime incidents.
    However, I find that one of the more amusing things about the bill is the title, that it would somehow be safeguarding our skies. Perhaps the hon. member can refer to legislation, but as I recall, the only thing in Bill C-3 about the skies is changes to the Aeronautics Act, which are purely procedural and have absolutely nothing to do with environment, pollution, or anything one might conjure up with a notion of safeguarding our skies. It is hyperbole masking as a legislative title.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have to give one thing to the Conservatives. They come out with these wonderful titles for bills that have nothing to do with the actual bill itself. I want to note the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands's keen eye to the title of the bill.
    I have trouble with the bill. I will share a story about my children. I have a seven-year-old son and an eighteen-year-old daughter. My son makes a huge mess in the living room, but he wants his sister to clean it up. His sister tells their mom that she is not cleaning it up: it is his mess and he should clean it up. After some discussion, seven-year-old Jaron agrees to clean up the mess.
    The problem with the bill is that the Conservatives believe that if there is an oil spill or a hazardous material spill, there is not enough liability attached to it. They believe that taxpayers should be cleaning it up. It should be the people who make the spill who clean it up. A seven-year-old understands that. Conservatives do not understand that. They have gutted the environmental regulations. Obviously they want us to clean that up. I can assure members that we will do that in 2015.
    Mr. Speaker, it is great to speak to Bill C-3 today. I will be sharing my time this morning with the fabulous member of Parliament for Parkdale—High Park. She deserves a round of applause.
    This legislation seeks to enact the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act and make changes to many different pieces of existing legislation, such as the Aeronautics Act, the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Liability Act, and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
    Right now we are debating Bill C-3 at third reading. I want to mention at the outset that the NDP will be supporting the bill at third reading because, as my hon. colleague before me mentioned briefly in his response to questions, it would make marginal improvements to the situation we have at hand.
    However, I must also note that during the committee study of the bill, amendments were proposed that came from suggestions from witness testimony at committee. The NDP moved seven amendments and the Green Party moved three. All 10 of the amendments that were put forward, based on expert testimony, were refused by the Conservative majority on the committee. Even though Bill C-3 would make modest improvements, even better improvements could have been made, and were put forward, but Conservatives on the committee made sure they did not pass.
    Just briefly, I want to mention a couple of the general themes of the amendments we proposed.
    One of the amendments required the Minister of National Defence to publish all reports from the studies of the disasters that happened, rather than keeping them as internal documents.
    Another amendment was with regard to extending the ship-source oil pollution fund, the SOPF, to non-oil spills that could pollute our waters. Conservative members chose not to support that.
    Bill C-3 was formerly Bill C-57, which was tabled in March 2013. That legislation died on the order paper when that session of Parliament was prorogued.
    Bill C-3 appears to be part of a concerted effort by the Conservatives to correct their lack of credibility in areas of transport safety, particularly oil tanker traffic on the west coast, in face of the mounting opposition we are seeing across the country to the Northern Gateway pipeline, which was originally proposed in 2006.
    I think the real reason why the government is finally pushing on this issue is that the bill would implement the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 2010, to which Canada is a signatory. The convention has not been implemented yet, so this legislation would allow for its implementation.
    New Democrats believe that Canadian taxpayers should not be on the hook for the cleanup costs and damage that follow a spill of hazardous and noxious substances. In consequence, we have proposed that damages from a hazardous and noxious substance spill exceeding $500 million liability should not be paid by taxpayers. They should be covered by the SOPF, the ship-source oil pollution fund. Polluters should be responsible for the cleanup of oil spills, rather than taxpayers across the country.
    Part 2 of the bill would give the military the AIA, which is the airworthiness investigative authority, the traditional Transportation Safety Board investigatory powers in the event of an aviation accident involving the military.

  (1125)  

    For example, if the military exclusively investigates a defined military-civilian accident, the Transportation Safety Board is no longer involved. The military investigator only reports the results of that investigation to the Minister of National Defence. Canadians do not know what is in the report, in the investigation or the outcome of that report. The New Democrats feel that our operations need to be far more transparent. One of the amendments we had put forward was to make these reports public, rather than them only being given to the Minister of National Defence. Canadians should know what is in those reports.
    Other measures that the New Democrats wanted to see in a bill to safeguard Canada's seas included: reversing the Coast Guard closures and the scaling back of the services included in the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station; cancelling the closure of B.C.'s regional office for emergency oil spill responders; cancelling the cuts to Canada's Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research; and reversing the cuts to key environmental emergency programs, including oil spill response for Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia. We put forward many other suggestions to reverse many of the cuts put forward by the Conservative government that decreased safety on our coastlines and in Canadian waters. Many of these amendments were not accepted by the Conservatives on the transportation, infrastructure and communities committee.
    We are now left with Bill C-3, which is, as I said at the outset, a marginal improvement, but not the best it could be. However, we do support the bill at third reading.
    The two pieces that we really pushed for in committee were to not have Canadian taxpayers on the hook for large-scale hazardous and noxious substance spills. It should have been the polluters. The second piece was that there needed to be increased transparency regarding investigations and the reports that would come out of those investigations. We know how the Conservatives are with respect to transparency and accountability, so I will not go too much into repeating the fact that the government likes to keep things secretive and does not like telling Canadians what it is going on.
    The context of Bill C-3 focuses on administrative organization, but lacks in actual environmental improvements. Ben West from ForestEthics Advocacy said of continuing on this path of safety cuts and emergency response closures, “...we have actually been aggressively moving in the wrong direction on this file.” I am concerned because this may have been on the topic of forest or coastline safety in British Columbia, which has a high level of tanker traffic.
    My constituency of Scarborough—Rouge River is home to the Rouge Park. The government just introduced legislation in the House to create it as Canada's first urban national park. We are consistently seeing actions by the government that are moving away from forest safety and not ensuring the viability and long-term sustainability of our forests. Rouge Park is a grand forest that was created by community activists, including me. In the spring we go out and plant trees and bushes and in the fall we remove invasive species to ensure that our park, the people's park, will thrive and be a large, successful park.
     It is great that the Conservatives have finally come on board, 35 years after the community and local activists started to work on this park, to make it a national park. However, we need to ensure that it is done in a sustainable way where we protect and respect the existing legislation and greenbelt protection measures. We also need to talk to the local first nations communities that have sacred burial grounds and a village there. We also need to talk to the local community activists who work on the ground in the community.

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, I greatly appreciate my colleague's speech on this very important issue. Again, the bill would change five different acts. Would my colleague like to comment on what happens when we have omnibus bills such as this one?
    The other thing I would like her to comment on is with respect to the environmental movements, such as the first nations that have been voicing their concerns on this. We have seen fisheries organizations, community organizations, even the tourism industry voice their opinions on this. A lot of them have a lot of knowledge and have done a lot of research on this.
    We often hear the government say that it is willing to work with willing partners. Well, these are willing partners, albeit they have a different opinion than the government at times. However, everyone at the same time wants to see a sound bill and one that would benefit not just the industry but the safety of Canadians as a whole.
    The member mentioned who would be on the hook in certain areas. Does she think that Bill C-3 addresses the needs and concerns of the communities I mentioned, especially when we look at first nations, the fishing industry and the tourism industry?
    Mr. Speaker, one of the member's question was about the government's continuous use of omnibus bills. As she mentioned, Bill C-3 proposes changes to many different acts. This is a constant behaviour we see with the government. It likes to jam many changes, some that may not even be related, into one bill. People do not necessarily see all those changes because there are far too many.
    I only had 10 minutes to speak about these things. If I wanted to speak about all the changes that would happen, I would probably need three hours at least. We know very well, I do not have that time. What happens is important issues get overlooked because we have to prioritize and speak to what we can.
    With respect to her second question, especially about first nations and fishing communities, I talked about the importance of preserving a way of life and the forests. I have a sacred burial ground of the Mississauga Huron-Wendat First Nation in my constituency of Scarborough—Rouge River. I want to ensure that it and the people's ways of life are protected, whether it is fishing, hunting, or whatever it may be.

  (1135)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting when the NDP members talk about omnibus bills. They love to chat about that in the opposition. The reality is that the bills they are referring to were first enacted in 2001. When a new bill like this is brought forward, it is only responsible and good government that would draw those other bills into play to ensure everything is brought current.
    Could my hon. colleague address some of the issues that came forward in the new bill and specifically talk to a number of things such as: increased tanker inspections, which have been updated; expanded aerial patrols off our coasts; increased satellite protection; support of the Canadian Coast Guard to adopt an internationally recognized incident command system; and conducting groundbreaking research? Could she comment on some of the things that make the bill a really strong initiative put forward by the government?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, there are some things in the bill that are positive. That is why we will support the bill at third reading. It does make marginal improvements. However, we need to reverse the cuts to the Coast Guard at the Kitsilano Coast Guard station. We need to cancel the closure of the B.C. regional office for emergency oil-spills responders. We need to cancel the cuts to Canada's offshore oil and gas research centre. We need to reverse the cuts to the environmental emergency program. We need to reverse—
    Order, please. Resuming debate, the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.
    Mr. Speaker, in starting my remarks, I would definitely like to thank my fabulous colleague from Scarborough—Rouge River for her remarks and for the great representation she provides for the constituents of Scarborough—Rouge River.
    As folks can well imagine, it does make a number of changes to a number of pieces of legislation. As my colleague has said, the NDP will be supporting this bill at third reading because it does make modest improvements to the existing legislation, although we did make some proposed amendments to the bill, which we thought would strengthen it significantly. Unfortunately, the government was not open to those amendments.
    Let me just briefly describe what the bill proposes to do.
     Part 1 would enact the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act to indemnify the aviation industry for the cost of damages in the event of what they call “interferences” for things like armed conflict or an attack, things that normally would be outside the normal operation of the aviation industry, a crisis of some kind.
    Part 2 would amend the Aeronautics Act to provide the Airworthiness Investigative Authority with the powers to investigate aviation accidents or incidents involving civilians and aircraft or aeronautical installations operated by or on behalf of the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Forces or a visiting force.
    Part 3 would amend the Canada Marine Act in relation to the effective day of the appointment of a director of the Port Authority.
    Part 4 would amend the Marine Liability Act to implement, in Canada, the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea. That is a 2010 convention which basically establishes a liability scheme to compensate victims in the event of a spill of hazardous or noxious substances. It puts a limit to that liability, which the act details.
    Part 5 would introduce requirements for operators of oil handling facilities, including the requirement to notify the minister of their operations and to submit plans to the minister.
    The NDP supports this bill, but we believe there should not be a limit to the liability. We do not believe Canadians should be on the hook for clean-up costs and damages following a spill of hazardous or noxious substances.
    The Conservatives have even refused reasonable amendments that would increase the liability. Canadians would ultimately be on the hook if the damages exceeded that liability.
    Basically, the New Democrats are committed to preventing any spills on our coasts whatsoever. We want to ensure that we have an effective Coast Guard and that we have effective environmental precautions so our coasts are protected. We do question the government when it takes actions like closing down B.C.'s oil spill response centre. If we want to make the coasts safer, why would we close down the oil spill response centre? Shutting down the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and gutting environmental emergency response programs, these do not sound like the actions of a government that has the interests of the safety of Canadians as its priority.

  (1140)  

    However, as I said, there are some positive parts of this bill. The required pilotage and increased surveillance is a small step in the right direction, but the bill is very limited in its scope. New Democrats believe that the government needs to reverse the effects of the drastic cuts of last year's budget on tanker safety to really be effective.
    If we are talking about tanker safety, let us take a look at some of the more recent statistics. Tanker traffic has increased dramatically and, therefore, has created an increased risk of an oil spill in Canadian waters. The federal government decreases marine communication traffic centres and environmental emergency programs even though estimates state that oil tanker traffic has already tripled between 2005 and 2010 and that oil tanker traffic is planned to triple again by 2016. Therefore, we are seeing dramatically increased oil tanker traffic, which would require stronger measures by the government.
    Proposed pipeline expansion projects would increase crude deliveries from 300,000 to 700,000 barrels per day. We are seeing a tremendous increase in traffic and we should have the strongest precautionary measures possible. One of the precautionary measures is to ensure that the polluter pays, so that if there is a spill or a problem, which hopefully there is not and something we can prevent, the polluter pays for the damage caused.
    We know what the government's record is when it comes to environmental protection. We have seen in omnibus budget bill after omnibus budget bill the extent of the cuts, such as the gutting of environmental protections and the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. A major urban heritage river, the Humber River, runs through my riding of Parkdale—High Park. It is truly a national treasure, which is why it was deemed to be a heritage river. It has been delisted from the Navigable Waters Protection Act, all except the very mouth of the river. That is of great concern to conservationists, biologists, and the community at large. New Democrats are trying to get that river and many other rivers put back under the protection of the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
    The government is also making changes in aviation safety, which is one of the issues addressed in this bill. In my riding of Parkdale—High Park it is home to many flight attendants and pilots, people who work in the aviation industry. One of the issues that is of great concern to them is the number of flight attendants on aircraft. We all remember, at least in Toronto we all remember, back in 2005 when Air France flight 358 crashed at Toronto Pearson International Airport. It was a horrific crash. When people first saw the smoke and fire, they wondered whether anyone would survive, but the full complement of cabin crew managed to evacuate all the passengers from that burning aircraft in less than 90 seconds. Talk about professionalism and dedication. They were exemplary.
    We know from the history of aviation accidents that having more flight attendants positioned at emergency exits improves every passenger's chance of escaping and surviving in the event of an aircraft accident. We have seen the government previously attempt to reduce the number of flight attendants on aircraft. Right now, the ratio is 1:40. It is trying to reduce that by 25% and increase it to 1:50. I believe that is fundamentally wrong and it could be very dangerous for the travelling public.
    While New Democrats support this bill, we have many other concerns about public safety and environmental protection. Frankly, the scope of the changes in this bill are very limited.

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, I spoke to this bill at an earlier stage. It is clear that, in many respects, this bill has a piecemeal or what we might even describe as an incoherent approach to transportation safety policy in Canada.
    At the transportation committee, of which I am vice-chair, we are seized right now, for example, with the whole question of safety management systems, rail safety, and other important foundational issues. We could describe this bill as a technical amendment bill, as it would amend so many statutes.
    Underlying all of these, if we look at the public accounts, the important thing for Canadians to remember is the money, because they are wise and they know that they should follow the money. When we look at the money, which underpins transportation safety in Canada, the last set of public accounts that were rendered public are conclusive in that they are all being cut. The only area that is not being cut, with a marginal increase, is rail safety. However, road safety is being cut, marine safety is being cut, and air safety is being cut.
    Could the member help us understand how the government can, frankly, have the audacity to describe this as the safeguarding Canada's seas and skies act when, if we look at the money that underpins the audits, the inspection, the enforcement, and the follow-up, everything but rail safety is actually being cut?
    Mr. Speaker, I do agree that we need to follow the money.
    It is evident to those of us on this side of the House that the government's number one job seems to be to reduce the size of government. When it comes to public safety, that is not a good thing. Surely, a basic responsibility of government is to protect public safety. Whether it is our roads, our skies, our seas, or our rail, that is a fundamental responsibility of government.
    My colleague referred to safety management systems. That jargon hides the fact that what they basically do is cut back on government inspectors, the people who go in and visit workplaces, and check up on the trucks on our roads and the trains on our rails. It turns much of the safety responsibility over to the employer. It is a competitive economy and people in business obviously want to make money and get business. They try to cut costs. Making businesses responsible for safety is a contradiction. We need independent government inspections.
    I will just say one last thing. In my community of Parkdale—High Park, we are surrounded by railway lines, and we see hundreds of DOT-111 tank cars rolling through our community. People do not know what is in those cars. They do not know what precautions are in place. They do not know that safety inspections have taken place. They are kept in the dark. It is about time that we let some light in and increase public safety by letting Canadians know what is in these tank cars, and reassuring them that we have inspectors from the government who are going in and conducting the inspections to make sure that public safety is the number one priority.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is with some pleasure that I rise to debate Bill C-3 today. I want to underline the fact that it is today because as many Canadians would know, it is also today that the federal government will make its long awaited announcement on the Enbridge northern gateway project at some point this afternoon.
    This was a decision and a burden that the Conservative government and the Prime Minister gave to themselves. Previously in Canadian law, any such decisions of this scope and magnitude were handled entirely by the National Energy Board, an organization that was meant to be arm's-length from government and was tasked with promoting energy exports. Some would offer that it might be a challenge or a conflict of interest at times because it is a panel that is tasked with promoting exports and encouraging that to happen, but is also playing the role of watchdog and protecting the public's interests. Sometimes, such as in this case, that has been challenging.
    Today by midnight tonight is when the government has to make the decision on Enbridge northern gateway. The government has lost so much faith with the public when it comes to oil spills and the maintenance of the oil industry. My Conservative colleagues can chuckle, but the unfortunate thing is they are entitled to those opinions and not their own facts. The facts state that Canadian public support for transit of oil through pipeline and rail has dropped dramatically since the government took office.
    One might ask why that is. I suppose Conservatives, from a particularly cynical line of political thought, thought that they could sort of pull one over on the public, that the public would not notice if the Conservatives since taking office have systematically undermined and downgraded environmental protection laws in Canada, have systematically taken out the major pieces of protection that Canadians have enjoyed for many years rather than enhance them.
    Over the last number of weeks we have seen the Conservatives on a pipeline and supertanker charm offensive on both coasts, but particularly on the west coast, where Conservative minister after minister is swooping in to show the public that suddenly they are very concerned with oil spills and with protecting the public. I would argue that it is important to know the government by its actions, not by its words. If we judged the Conservatives by their actions, we would come to a very clear and concise opinion about who they think is really important.
     I can say that the oil lobby is particularly thrilled, but Canadians, particularly those living on a pipeline route or under the threat of new or increased supertanker traffic, know the Conservatives are not on their side. This is the government that closed down Coast Guard bases, bases like Kitsilano that is one of the busiest Coast Guard bases in the entire country, handling an enormous amount of traffic.
    This is the government that scrapped the Navigable Waters Protection Act, an act that had existed for almost a century in Canada. Excuse me, I misspoke, Conservatives did keep some rivers and lakes protected by the Navigable Waters Protection Act, but those are the lakes that exist in cottage country north of Ontario. Those are the lakes and rivers the Conservatives deemed to be important to protect. All of the rest were deemed not so important.
    New Democrats have been standing in the House day after day, attempting to reintroduce those lakes into protection, reintroduce those rivers into some form of protection. That is what Canadians want because we are attached to our rivers and lakes. We are a nation of great expanse and imagination. We believe in the idea that Canada as a settled but wild place, a place where people can experience a country that is truly vast and magnificent, also has with it some responsibility to protect those spaces.
    The government gutted the Environmental Assessment Act. According to the Auditor General of Canada, assessments in Canada ranged between 3,000 and 5,000 a year. That is 3,000 and 5,000 different projects a year, mines, pipelines, and whatnot, that went through some sort of environmental review. For those who have ever been involved, this is a public hearing where a proponent has to bring evidence and show in testimony and the public gets to ask questions.
    The Conservatives have taken those 3,000 to 5,000 assessments a year and reduced them down from what the Auditor General estimates to between 12 and 15 assessments a year. All those other projects, hundreds and thousands of projects, thousands of mines and pipelines will simply not get an environmental review.

  (1155)  

    The few that do get a review, as we have now seen through new legislation and regulations the Conservatives have introduced, limit the public's ability to go to the hearings and cross-examine the proponents, the oil companies and the mining companies.
    The Conservatives have so narrowly defined who matters, it is now being brought up in court, as is so often the case with Conservative legislation and laws. They make them so badly, and so often make them against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that Canadians are forced to go to court to protect that charter. The Conservatives spend millions of taxpayers' dollars trying to undermine the charter with these draconian pieces of legislation that take away values and the rights of Canadians, and they lose, time and time again.
    It is at the point where the Conservatives cannot even get a judge nominated to the Supreme Court without violating some fundamental piece of our Constitution. It is incredible, the hubris, yet we can understand it with a government that has been too long in power. It grows in arrogance. It grows in the sense of entitlement. We have seen this movie before in Canada. It is lamentable, because the Conservatives came in riding the white knight of accountability, riding the cause and the celebrated idea of having a more open and transparent government. However, according to the ethics commissioner, the Privacy Commissioner, and the Parliamentary Budget Officer, all of the watchdogs of Parliament, the government has become, and is, the most secretive in Canadian history. It denies Canadians the basic right to information they have constitutionally protected. This is what the Conservatives have become.
    It was also the Conservatives who gutted the Fisheries Act, one of the most fundamental pieces of protection of the fisheries in Canada, which has been an historical and important part of our industry and society. It said that companies can now go in and destroy fish habitat, where fish spawn, with no consequence whatsoever, without triggering any kind of assessment or any kind of public hearing.
    That is okay under the Conservatives' world view. The private sector dominates all. They have limited liability across a whole series of sectors. What is limited liability? That is when the government comes in with a rule to subsidize and support certain industries. It picks winners and losers. There are certain industries that do not enjoy this favouritism from the government, but the oil industry is one that absolutely does. The Conservatives insert a liability cap on damages in the event of any major accident in which there are significant and serious costs, both for cleanup and to pay damages to those who have lost businesses or their homes. Heaven forbid, under the Conservatives' world view, that the company that causes the pollution, that causes the spill from a pipeline or a tanker, should pay for the cost of damages. The Conservatives use terms like the “polluter pay principle”, but only sometimes and only to a certain amount. That is the Conservatives' view of the world.
    Limited liability, this reducing the risk for certain industrial players, causes all sorts of consequences. It is not just the idea that the public has to pay any expenses above. An example is that under certain of these acts, there is a $500-million cap for oil spills. People might say that $500 million is a lot of money, and maybe that is enough. However, the spill from the Exxon Valdez, which happened just north of my riding in northwestern B.C., hit $3.5 billion. Under the Conservative law, who would pay the remainder, the $3 billion or more? That would be the Canadian public.
    For the Kalamazoo spill in Michigan, by Enbridge, that happened just a couple of years ago, it is $1.1 billion and counting. They have been at it for three years. They have dredged up the whole bottom of the river, and they are still paying. Under the Conservatives' world view, it would be the public paying for that incompetence by an oil company.
    This is not to suggest that these oil companies do not have the resources to pay for this. I did not look at oil prices today, but it is somewhere north of $100, certainly. They are clearing massive profits, historically high profits. These folks can afford to pay for the operations they perform.
    The second consequence, aside from the public paying, is that if an industry knows, as the investment industry knew in the United States that there was a certain liability protection they had and that certain banks were “too big to fail”, over time it encourages very bad, risky behaviour. Fundamentally, all of those investors knew that even if this thing went totally wrong, they would not be on the hook.
    Imagine going to a casino or the racetrack and the government saying, “No matter what, you cannot lose money today. We will cap it at $50.” Most Canadians would pick a horse that is 100 to one. Why not? They would put $100 on it and put more on the next one, because there would be no way to lose. The only upside would be that we would get to pick long shots, which would encourage risky behaviour.

  (1200)  

    The companies will not admit to this, but that is human behaviour. Unless they have somehow changed the genetic code in oil companies to make humans into something we are not, if they encourage risky behaviour, over time humans will take those risks. At the end, we will wake up one morning and turn on the CBC news and hear that there was a tragic accident last night and there is oil spilling, as it does; in Enbridge's case, it has been 900 times just in the last decade. It is lamentable, and the homeowners are upset, and ranchers are worried, and fishermen are losing their business. When they do the investigation, it will turn out to be from human error, again. Who will pick up the tab? The companies will, up to a little bit. Everything beyond that will come to the taxpayers of Canada.
    If we think of all of the industries in the world we would want to subsidize, the oil industry would not be on the top of the list. It makes an inordinate amount of profit. Gas prices in Canada today are $1.30 to $1.40 a litre. Some say it is doing too fine. It is certainly doing fine enough.
    This is the Conservative government that shut down B.C.'s regulatory oil spill response team. The Conservatives cancelled that and fired everyone in charge of oil spill response on the west coast. They wonder why the public raises suspicions. This is a government that has a fund, as Liberal governments had previously, that shippers at one point had to contribute to. That fund has gone up to $400 million, having contributed to it since 1976, and the government is fine with that and believes it is enough money to handle all incidents of all the oil spills in the country, not just one. As I have described, some of these oil spills can be incredibly expensive.
    In Bill C-3, the government made some small moves to improve a disastrous situation and make it less disastrous.
    When people are in the process of potential rehabilitation for their actions, we want to encourage any small steps they make. Therefore, the NDP at committee encouraged the baby steps being made by the government and made amendments based on the testimony of the witnesses we heard. I know that is radical and may be contrary to the world view of the Conservatives, but we listen to witnesses who come to committee that know more about an issue than MPs do. We take their advice and write it up into nicely worded amendments as changes to a bill, but consistently, time and time again, the Conservatives reject them. One would think that at committee they would offer some alternative or say why they are rejecting them and that they have counter evidence that is better or more informed, but they do not.
    All opposition MPs have witnessed it. We have all been there when we have put forward a motion and we stare at five blank Conservative faces across the way. When it is time for the vote, we make our case and say, “This is based on witness so-and-so. This is how it will help this bill and how it will help the Canadian public and protect the public.” The Conservatives just stare at us with nothing going on and vote against it. It happens over and over again.
    If this is just a political exercise, so be it. People can choose to make themselves look ignorant. That is a choice others make. The fact is, this impacts Canadian lives and Canadian industry and uncertainty. I have argued for quite a while, although it may be a slightly counterintuitive position, that for reasons of social licence and the idea of winning over the public, the Conservatives have been no friend of the oil industry. We have seen this just recently.
    The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the main lobby group in Canada for the oil industry, distanced itself from the Conservative position on a whole variety of things, particularly the ads they had been running. When the oil lobby abandons the government and says it would like to not be associated with it, we know that the government has a problem.
    The Conservatives like to talk about radicals. That is what radicals look like in action. They so denigrated the faith of the public in government to protect our general and collective interests that the public has said that it no longer grants the government a social licence to operate.
    When the Conservatives come out with their announcement this afternoon and give the green light and thumbs up to Enbridge northern gateway, we do not believe that the public will be swayed one bit, because the Conservatives have completely lost their faith. They have forgotten one very fundamental principle in this place, which is that governments can grant permits, but only people can grant permission. The government has forgotten that, and in forgetting that, we see the arrogance and bullying we have seen time and again.
    People have raised concerns about the northern gateway pipeline going through northern B.C. It goes right through my home and the homes of the people I represent. The government has suggested that in raising those concerns, those people must be foreign-funded radicals. That is what the minister called them in a letter issued out of the Prime Minister's Office. He said that they must be enemies of the state. That is what they called me, my friends, and my community members for having raised questions about a pipeline that threatens our very way of life.

  (1205)  

     I do not think that is anti-Canadian. I think it is very Canadian to raise questions, to raise our voices, to stand shoulder to shoulder, first nation with non-first nation, community to community, to say that our voices count in the conversation of Canada, that we will not be marginalized, and that we will not be bullied by a government, any government, of any political stripe.
    Conservatives should know this. The Conservatives used to decry the heavy-handed tactics of Ottawa when it comes to energy policy. Some will remember this. How does Ottawa know best for the west? I remember this. Arrogant Liberal governments came in and imposed plans that western Canada did not want, and western Canadians reacted.
    Now we see it in the reverse: a pipeline that Canadians on the west coast of British Columbia do not want, at a level of 66% or more. We have 130-plus first nations that have told the government, ”Do not do this thing.” The Union of B.C. Municipalities and the B.C. government have all told the government, “No” and “What part of 'no' do you not understand?”
    The government, in a few short hours, is poised to ignore all of that and say that those people must be radicals. They must be enemies of Canada. All those people, two-thirds of the province of British Columbia, the Government of British Columbia, 130 first nations and more, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and the mayors and councillors of British Columbia must be enemies of Canada. That is the Conservatives' world view, because they have so attached themselves to one bad pipeline. The arrogance has grown so much with the current Prime Minister that he cannot imagine stepping back. He cannot imagine taking a breath and realizing that there may be other things that are more important.
    Here is a secondary concern, as if all that were not bad enough. As I was talking to first nation leaders in B.C. over the weekend and again last night, they said that if the Conservatives force this project down the throats of British Columbians against the rights and titles of first nations in B.C., not only will this pipeline never get built, but it will so poison the relationship that is already in a terrible state between first nations and the Government of Canada that other projects, other industries, will also be threatened. The ability to get agreements and deals done in B.C. between industrial players and the first nations of B.C. will be jeopardized.
    All that is at stake—the relationship between the crown and an important place like British Columbia, the ability to get other industrial development done, such as liquefied natural gas, mining, and other industrial projects—the government is willing to threaten for the sake of one bad pipeline. That is the equation the Prime Minister is going to make this afternoon. That is the test he is facing as a leader in this country this afternoon.
    I lament that he will fail that test. I am saddened by the fact that he will fail this test of leadership because he is unable to see the forest for the trees. He is unable to see past his own belligerence and his own determination to have it his way or the highway. He is going to ram through all of those objections. He somehow thinks that we are going to back down; that the first nations, which have constitutionally protected rights and title in this country, are suddenly going to forgo those rights; that the people in B.C. who voted against this thing two-thirds to one-third are not going to show up at the ballot box in 2015 and kick Conservative MPs out who stand on the wrong side of this issue; and that the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the Government of B.C. are suddenly just going to walk away from their opposition to this pipeline that threatens who we are.
    It is a most Canadian response. When threatened at a core level, at a values level, at the ability to raise our kids in a healthy environment and hope for their better future, it is a most Canadian reaction to stand up and resist. It is a most Canadian reaction to say to a government that has grown so arrogant and so content with its privilege and its power, whose members have become so accustomed to those limos that they cannot find a way--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Nathan Cullen: They can heckle, Mr. Speaker. They yell out to try to shut down the voices of real British Columbians who understand how to stand up for their constituents, rather than selling out to the oil companies, as they have so happily done. British Columbia MPs in this place know right from wrong. They know what this afternoon means. It is a decision point. It is a fork in the road. It is a place where Canada stands and says this is the future we want.
    New Democrats will stand on the right side of that future and say that we want a prosperous, clean environment and jobs that will sustain us through the future, not a government so drunk on power that it has lost its way and has lost its ability to see anything at all other than the almighty buck from the oil companies.

  (1210)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think that my colleague's passionate speech irritated some of the Conservative government members. They will either have to make a decision or accept the decision that is going to be made because it will have a major impact on the future of this country, and the west coast in particular.
    I would like to ask a question. It is not about transporting oil specifically, but it is about the Conservative government's previous decisions to eliminate or cut resources at the Coast Guard, search and rescue centres and oil spill monitoring centres.
    All of those cuts will have a major impact on future decisions, including the decision that will be made later today regarding the northern gateway pipeline, and on the future of marine transportation of oil.
    I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on the impact not only of these decisions, which he already addressed, but also of the cuts that have been made to organizations that monitor marine disasters and protect our coastlines and the people who live there.
    Mr. Speaker, it is incredible. As I already said, it is more important to pay attention to this government's actions than its words. The cuts it made to the Coast Guard prove that this government is not concerned about oil companies. As my colleague said, between 2005 and 2010, the amount of oil shipped via tankers tripled, and it will triple again in the next five years.
    Although faced with that reality, the government cut the resources required to clean up bitumen, which is practically an impossible task. That is what the Conservatives want.
    I notice that there are many Conservatives here, but they are not asking any questions. I find it intriguing that they are so quiet even though they have the opportunity to discuss the future of oil and the west coast. That is the choice they are making.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the speech by the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. I just wanted to get his comments.
    In British Columbia, former NDP premier, Mike Harcourt, has torn up his NDP membership card because he knows that the NDP has strayed from its working-class roots, has become a party of downtown elites, and does not represent working people anymore. These are the words of Mike Harcourt. He said that they no longer appreciate where our resources come from and what they fund.
     A former interim NDP premier, Dan Miller, wrote an article in which he questions where the New Democrats think that the resources come from that fund our schools, fund our hospitals, fund our infrastructure. He says that the resources do not come out of the air, but that they come from the interior of British Columbia, from LNG, and from everything the NDP opposes.
    We saw Adrian Dix with a 20-point lead in the provincial election that he blew because he was too radical in opposing every natural resource development. The member can laugh as he does, but he knows that the NDP is out of touch with British Columbians. That is why the New Democrats continue to lose election after election in the province. Why does the member not stand up for the working-class people, the tradespeople who want to see these projects proceed in a responsible and safe manner?

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am impressed that my friend has become such a fond friend of Christy Clark. I did not notice such support from my Conservative colleagues during the actual campaign in B.C. I remember them distinctly staying away from that election and showing no support for Christy Clark, who, by the way, does not support northern gateway.
    If the Conservatives are so supportive of the B.C. government, one would think that support would be broadly felt. The B.C. government told the federal government of its five conditions, which have not been met, as the premier said two days ago. I would suspect that the Conservatives from B.C. would recognize that their premier has said there are problems. Even from the right wing, as my friend says, what about the other side of this thing?
    We are neighbours. We come from northern B.C., and it is a resource-based part of the world. I had two resource companies in my office yesterday showing strong public support for their operations, mining operations, which we have helped navigate through the process.
    It is interesting that what has changed in the 10 years that I have been here and represented northwestern B.C. is that companies get it. They understand we need first nations support. Creating local jobs is important, as opposed to the temporary foreign workers that Conservatives allowed in at HD Mining. My friend must have had an opinion on that. There were 200 Chinese workers allowed to come in and take Canadian jobs through a loophole the Conservative government created.
    So much for standing up for B.C. So much for standing up for the resource sector and all the jobs. The Conservatives were only too happy to give those away, and 350,000 temporary foreign workers are working today, many of them in the resource sector, as Canadians in northeastern and northwestern B.C. are still looking for jobs.
    If the government is actually interested in a resource debate, how about this: raw bitumen exports, which the Conservative government promotes, across the world. The Conservatives ask the United States to support the Keystone pipeline because it would create 40,000 jobs in the U.S. Well, if they can do that there, why can we not do it here? What happened to the courage, vision, and the idea that Canadian jobs could come from Canadian resources? What happened to those Conservative values?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his very passionate and important speech.
    Many things are in the bill, but today, on the eve of the decision that the Conservative government is making with northern gateway, it is paramount for us to have this discussion. We really cannot trust the government to allow us to have this discussion anywhere else. I think about the amendments we wanted to bring forward in committee, which the Conservatives shut down, as usual.
    I had the blessing of living in British Columbia for seven years. I think many people in my great riding of Sudbury would also say that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and we need to do everything we can to protect it. Unfortunately, we do not see anything in the bill to address oil spills.
    One of the important things my colleague spoke to, which really resonated, is that the government is allowed to give permits, but it is the people who give permission. What we have in British Columbia is that none of the people, the first nations, or the communities in the riding the member comes from, are giving permission.
    I would like the member to elaborate a little more on his statement because it resonates from coast to coast to coast with the importance of understanding what the social licence is as we move forward with this.
    Mr. Speaker, I have done a couple of tours around B.C. in the last couple of months, through Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, and the interior up to Prince George, because it felt important. The leadership in my communities has asked me to engage British Columbians on a question that implicates all of us, not just those who live in the northwest at ground zero where the pipeline is meant to go and 11,000 supertankers are meant to sail through some pretty treacherous waters. If people had any semblance of understanding of B.C.'s north coast they would know that this area is fraught with peril. Enbridge itself has admitted that there is at least a 10% to 14% chance of a major oil spill.
    What was remarkable was the size of the crowd in places like Kamloops, Penticton, Prince George, and Powell River. A lot of these places are currently represented by Conservatives. Even more intriguing were the people who came out. There were members of the chamber of commerce and members of the local downtown business association.
    One of the first questions that we often posed at events in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, and Victoria to counter this idea that this is a city versus rural debate was, “Why do you live here?” This is absolutely not a city versus rural debate. When people are asked that question in places like Courtenay, Comox, Campbell River, and Powell River, they say it is because of “the place”. These are some of the most remarkable places on earth, certainly within Canada. They are incredibly beautiful. B.C. attempts to marry the use of resources to benefit our communities and to put food on the table, with that natural and stunning beauty. That is the balance that the Conservatives' have completely left behind.
    The hunting and fishing communities are coming forward. Wildlife groups are coming forward. It is the people who Conservatives have maybe traditionally relied upon and perhaps taken for granted who are joining arm in arm with first nations, with people who are concerned with the environment. This suggests that the Conservatives have lost their way and the balance has gone completely.
    The way to tell whether we have a debate or something to say in the House is whether a member gets up and makes a speech about something or whether a member sits and heckles from the backbenches.
    New Democrats know that we have the right side on this. We will take this question to British Columbians and we will see what they think about this.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.
    It is very important for me to be able to rise today and speak to Bill C-3. I will pull back a little bit and talk about some of the specifics related to this bill.
    When looking at Bill C-3, we see it is something we will support at third reading because of the modest improvements in marine security that we have seen in this bill. However, it is important to recognize that, as usual, we try to bring forward some amendments at committee, really to make the bills better. That is what we are supposed to be doing. We are supposed to be strengthening the bills and laws of this country to make them better for Canadians. However, as usual and once again, the Conservatives completely voted against all of our amendments. It is unfortunate. These amendments did not just come from the NDP; they came from witnesses and stakeholders.
    We really need to ensure that the government starts to listen. What we heard from my colleague just a few minutes ago is that it is not listening to first nations in British Columbia. It is not listening to the Government of British Columbia, which said no when it comes to northern gateway. It is also not listening to, I believe, 67% of the population, which is against northern gateway.
    We needed to ensure that Bill C-3 had a broader scope. It is something we asked for. We asked that this bill be allowed to go to committee before second reading to ensure we were looking at ways of enhancing this bill and making it better, making sure we can protect our pristine coastline on the B.C. coast. Unfortunately though, that never happened.
    Let me give members some key facts and figures before I continue. What we have heard about tanker traffic is that it is increasing the chances of an oil spill in Canadian waters, yet the government has decreased the marine communications and traffic centres and environmental emergency programs. It has done this even though the estimates state that oil tanker traffic tripled between 2005 and 2010, that tanker traffic is expected to triple again by 2016, and that the proposed pipeline expansion projects would increase crude oil deliveries from 300,000 to 700,000 barrels per day.
    We need to ensure that we are protecting our coast, but again, this bill would not address it.
    Let me talk a little bit about those amendments. We wanted to ensure that Canadian taxpayers are not on the hook for cleanup costs and damages following the spill of hazardous and noxious substances. We wanted to ensure transparency regarding investigation reports of aviation accidents or incidents involving civilians and the military. Those proposed reasonable amendments never made it past the committee.
    Prior to debating Bill C-3, which I believe was the former Bill C-57 at second reading before prorogation, we requested that the scope of this bill be broadened by sending it to committee before second reading for a study that would aim to include a more comprehensive measure to safeguard Canada's coast. It would also, in part, reverse many of the cuts that we have seen from the Conservative government and the closures specific to marine and environmental safety. I believe that we sent a letter to the Minister of Transport back in April, 2013, to outline this request.
    Bill C-3 would make amendments to five acts. I will touch on those briefly. The first part would enact the aviation industry indemnity act, which would authorize the Minister of Transport to undertake to indemnify certain aviation industry participants for loss, damage, or liability caused by “war risks”.
    The second part would amend the Aeronautics Act to provide the airworthiness investigation with the powers to investigate aviation accidents or incidents involving civilians and aircraft or aeronautical installations operated by or on behalf of the DND, Canadian Forces, or a visiting force.

  (1225)  

    Part 3 would amend the Canada Marine Act in relation to the effective day of the appointment of a director of a port authority, in that the municipality or the port authority notifies the port ASAP.
    Part 4 would amend the Marine Liability Act to implement the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 2010, or as it is known, the HNS convention.
    The liability scheme that was created for this talked about shipowners' liability limited to $230 million. Damages in excess of shipowners' liability were to be paid by an international fund, which is that HNS fund, up to a maximum of $500 million.
    In part 4, the availability of the ship-source oil pollution fund to oil spills would exclude HNS spills. We wanted to ensure, at committee level, that this is broader.
    Part 5 really looks at the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. It was introducing new requirements for operators of oil handling facilities, including the requirement to notify the minister of their operations and to submit plans to the minister. There are some other segments to that as well.
    I think it is important for us to then say that we believe, as I talked about in the last amendment, that Canadian taxpayers really should not have to pay the cleanup costs and damages following a spill of hazardous or noxious substances.
    However, we have seen the government refuse reasonable amendments that may have prevented Canadian taxpayers from being responsible for damages exceeding $500 million.
    It is also important for us to say that the NDP is committed to ensuring that oil spills never happen on our coasts. We have seen the Conservative record in the past. There was the closing of British Columbia's oil spill response centre, the shutting down of Kitsilano Coast Guard station, and the gutting of environmental response programs. This is making it increasingly difficult for us, and even for Canadians, to trust that their concerns are really being taken seriously.
    Some of the things that we really wanted to see in this bill to safeguard Canada's seas include reversing those cuts to the Coast Guard and reversing the scaling back of the services; the cancelling of closure of the marine communication traffic service centres, including the marine traffic control communications terminals in Vancouver and of course in St. John's, Newfoundland, as well; the cancelling of the closure of B.C.'s regional office for emergency oil spill responders; and the cancelling of the cuts to Canada's Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research.
    Those are just a few of the things we really would have liked to have seen in this bill. Unfortunately, they are not there.
    When it comes on the eve of the announcement on northern gateway, what we are really seeing now are the concerns and the worries of Canadians being ignored by the government. As I heard earlier, 67% of people in British Columbia are opposed to northern gateway. We have the government saying no. We have first nations saying that they do not want this, and that they need to have some type of discussion. I wish the government would listen to first nations and have that communication with them. Unfortunately we are seeing that this is not happening.
    To put it into perspective, we are going to see about 1,100 kilometres of pipeline pumping raw bitumen through the pristine forest and rivers in northern British Columbia. That is about 525,000 barrels of raw bitumen per day. What is really scary is Enbridge's record on pipeline safety. We have seen over 800 spills between 1999 and 2010, resulting in over 16,000 barrels of oil going into the environment.
    We can all agree that no one wants to see that in northern British Columbia. We need to do everything we can to protect northern British Columbia.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear that the hon. member spent seven years of his life in British Columbia. They were, no doubt, the best seven years of his life.
    He spoke briefly in his last intervention about social licence, which is a concept that is certainly gathering steam. It is tough to define how one actually gathers it. He comes from Sudbury, which was obviously built on the mining sector. It is not as big as it used to be, I understand, but that is what built the riding he represents, as did the transcontinental railway that went through there.
    If we were applying today's social licence theories or practices, would any of the mines in his riding have been built; would there be the prosperity that currently exists in Sudbury; and would the transcontinental railway have been put through? Should we not be talking about the safest way to transport petrochemicals, not saying we should shut down large sectors of the economy, which is what I tend to hear from the NDP?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for the question and, of course, the acknowledgement that I lived in North Vancouver for seven years. Yes, it is one of the most beautiful places. Sometimes in the middle of winter when it is -40° and I am having to shovel snow in Sudbury, I wonder why I came back home. However, it is great to be back home and to be the representative for Sudbury.
    In relation to the question he asked about mining, he is going back 100 years, but let us talk about the re-greening of Sudbury through the mining companies and what they have done. They have won awards from the United Nations on the re-greening, making sure that the environment is being protected. The people of Sudbury want to ensure that they have clean air to breathe, water to swim in, and that they can actually go fishing in downtown Sudbury. However, what we do not have, as he talked about, is the social licence to put through pipelines when people are choosing, voting, and standing up and saying no.
    That is what is happening in northern British Columbia and throughout British Columbia. People are standing up and saying no. In Sudbury, we actually have the conversation, and the mining companies talk to and work with first nations. The current government is choosing not to do that.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, when I think of the northern gateway project, one thing that comes to my mind is risk. This is something we need to recognize: the risk to our environment and our economy. When we look at this particular project, we see that it is, arguably, an unacceptable level of risk in that region, and the resultant impact to the economy and the environment speaks volumes.
    I am wondering if the member would like to comment just on the idea of risk and how this is an unacceptable level of risk that we are putting, at potential cost, by going forward with the northern gateway project.
    Mr. Speaker, risk is paramount to this discussion, to this debate, and to the pipeline. We know Enbridge's record. There were 800 spills between 1999 and 2010, resulting in over 16,000 barrels of oil going into the environment. There would be 525,000 barrels of raw bitumen per day being shipped by massive supertankers along British Columbia's coast. The risk of one incident and the effects it would have on the environment are catastrophic.
    Let us not forget about the risks that are related to the economy as well. There would or could be 45,000 potential jobs, according to statistics, impacted by a spill, from tourism jobs to forestry jobs. This is a huge risk, and with 1,100 kilometres of pipeline going through northern Alberta and British Columbia, I do not think the risks outweigh the merits right now.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sudbury for giving me a few minutes to talk about Bill C-3, which is about an issue that really matters to me. It is about safety and amendments to the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Liability Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
    I am concerned about this issue and it is a personal one for me because there is a big debate about it right now. Our colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley and several others have talked about a number of things, including the northern gateway pipeline. However, TransCanada has a project called energy east. They want to build a pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to Saint John, New Brunswick. The pipeline would go through my riding, Témiscouata, and through the lower St. Lawrence. They would build an oil port in Cacouna, which is not in my riding, but which is nearby. Cacouna is about a 45-minute drive from Rimouski.
    This is important because some parts of this bill, if it is passed, would result in the construction of an oil port where there is currently a commercial port.
    In addition, Part 5 of this bill amends the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. It introduces new requirements for operators of oil handling facilities, which is what an oil port is, including the requirement to notify the minister of their operations and to submit plans to the minister.
    I will not go into detail about this because I do not have much time, but I wonder why this has not always been the case. This bill seems to be a hasty response on the part of the Conservative government to implement measures that will reassure the public, particularly with respect to the northern gateway project, which has been on the agenda for a very long time.
    Before the election, I worked briefly on the pipeline and oil transportation file in British Columbia. I picked up on people's concerns about security measures and navigation problems and risks along the British Columbia coast. This bill sets out to reassure people, but does not completely succeed.
    We will vote in favour of this bill because it is an improvement over the status quo. However, I highly doubt that the bill has addressed everyone's concerns.
    The reason is that the government's actions in the past—and I am not just talking about this bill, but also its decisions, particularly since 2011—have not really responded to the need for additional protection. Environmentally, these actions have not ensured that the work was done to protect Canadians and their livelihoods.
    The people on British Columbia's coast still remember an incident that happened 40 years ago, the wreck of the Exxon Valdez. They were affected, and they now want to ensure that the coast is well protected, specifically the coast of the islands off British Columbia.
    What have the Conservatives done since 2011, before we started discussing the bill? They have reduced Coast Guard service, including closing the Coast Guard station in Kitsilano.
    They have made cuts to the marine communications and traffic services centres, including the centres in Vancouver and St. John's, Newfoundland. They have closed the British Columbia regional office for oil spill emergencies. Why? Why are the Conservatives not cancelling these closures?
    There have been cuts to the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research, as well as to the main environmental emergency programs, including in the event of oil spills in Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia.
    All the decisions made in this matter, before the bill was discussed, fly in the face of the need for additional protection under this bill. No one really knows where the Conservative government is going.
    As an economist, I am very sensitive to externality issues and issues related to the principle we support, the polluter pays principle. This bill contains elements that are not in line with that concept.
    Let us take a look at part 4, which has to do with liability in the event of a spill involving noxious and hazardous substances or oil.

  (1240)  

    In committee, specifically at second reading where I had the opportunity to speak, we proposed that public funds not be used in cases where a disaster is caused by a private company. The bill caps that compensation at $500 million. Beyond $500 million, taxpayers could end up being forced, through the government, to pay the cost of the cleanup and compensation for the people who lose their livelihood or source of economic activity. This makes no sense.
    It is the company that should take responsibility for this. When it comes to externalities, if the company had to take more responsibility or even full responsibility for the cost of an oil spill or a spill of hazardous and noxious substances, then it would take measures to ensure its own survival.
    Currently, oil companies have a profit margin of tens of millions of dollars for every shipment of oil. If they have limited responsibility for a spill, then they have no incentive to take the protective measures they need to take. Their main incentive is their reputation, and their ability to maintain good public relations to minimize the hits to their reputation.
    That is not enough incentive. A greater share of the responsibility for compensation should be taken by the private corporations that ship oil and hazardous and noxious substances.
    This bill does not go far enough. We announced amendments at second reading and we proposed them at report stage. Many witnesses supported the opposition on this. In fact, that is what the Conservatives are grappling with on this day when the decision on the northern gateway pipeline will be announced.
    Many people from British Columbia, and not just citizens and first nations, are talking to the Conservatives. We know that the Conservatives are not used to negotiating with the first nations or acknowledging their concerns on these issues. Even witnesses who work at port authorities and others who work in the field told the Conservatives exactly what needed to be done. In fact, their comments were often consistent with those made by the official opposition. However, these demands have been ignored. No amendment was accepted. The current bill is the same as it was when it was introduced at second reading.
    A responsible government that wants to be known for good governance would realize that it does not have all the answers and that the bill has weaknesses that must be corrected so that it can be true to its objective. Instead, the government is turning a deaf ear. It is refusing to listen and to accept very pertinent comments that address the concerns raised about the environment and liability when it comes to the transportation of noxious or hazardous substances that could be detrimental to the economic activity of much of the community affected.
    We find it difficult to understand why the government is remaining silent and intransigent. I do believe that we were all elected by our constituents, in my case the people of the lovely riding of Rimouski—Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques. We have the duty to debate and improve bills.
    The government members are remaining silent about this bill. No one is rising to debate it and to justify the proposed measures. We have pointed out this bill's weaknesses, and we will continue to do so.

  (1245)  

    As I mentioned, this will not prevent us from voting in favour of the bill at third reading because it is still better than what is currently in place. However, I mentioned that I do not understand why the measures proposed in part 5 have not been implemented already. They seem to be very reasonable.
    In short, we will be supporting the bill. However, we are very disappointed with the Conservative government's silence and refusal to listen at every stage, including study in committee.
    If the Conservatives were to ask me a question about this bill, I would be very pleased to answer.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is one of the members across the way that I have learned to respect over the last three years. He is very polite, very cordial. I respect that of the member, and also that he is an economist.
    We have heard a lot of comments today about raw resource development and developing our resources in Canada, especially British Columbia. However, we always hear from the NDP members what they would not do. I asked the hon. Leader of the Opposition, a couple of years ago now, what New Democrats would do, short of developing our resources. Would they refine it in B.C.? What else would they do?
    The question I have for the pragmatic member across the way is, short of having pipelines and developing our resources to ship across the world where our resources are needed, what else would they do?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his comments.
    I also respect him. I have had the pleasure of working and talking with him on a regular basis, and I am pleased to be able to return the compliment to him.
    Indeed, on this side of the House and as far as our leader, the leader of the official opposition, is concerned, we clearly do not want oil sands or their development to be eliminated, despite what people often say. We are looking for something geared toward development that is sustainable in the true sense of the word. People often gloss over the meaning of the words “sustainable development”, but we want to see development that is truly sustainable, both economically and environmentally.
    All too often we see that the environmental aspect is swept under the rug. One of the things some people forget is the polluter pays principle. This has to do with external factors, the costs that all of Alberta or even all of Canada might have to bear. TransCanada's Energy East pipeline project, with the pipeline that would go through my riding, is a telling example.
    The oil port project is well received by a segment of the population because people see the potential economic spinoffs. However, this still jeopardizes the tourism industry, and many opponents and people questioning the project say so. Beluga whale watching brings significant tourism and economic spinoffs. Some people say the benefits are even more significant, in absolute terms, than the potential benefits of the oil port.
    This is therefore a very complex issue, and the costs and benefits of every project must always be assessed. This is the type of development we want, development that is responsible when it comes to the oil sands.

  (1250)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it bears stating that the final decision on the northern gateway project actually rests with the Prime Minister's Office. We need to emphasize the fact that the Prime Minister has an opportunity to do what is right on this issue. We need to factor in the risk and look at the potential negative impact on our economy and our environment, taking into consideration our first nations, people of aboriginal heritage, and the many different communities on which this pipeline is going to have an impact. They have raised their concerns and objections.
     I wonder if the member might want to comment on how important it is that the Prime Minister of Canada listen to what the people of British Columbia have to say on it, because obviously, the members of Parliament in the Conservative Party who represent British Columbia are not expressing the concerns that many of their constituents are no doubt advocating for them to do.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question, which gives me an opportunity to touch on an aspect of the bill that I did not address in my speech.
    This is a matter of externalities, the polluter pays principle and the responsible development of our natural resources. We also need to talk about social acceptability. The government needs to ensure that it has the support of the residents and the first nations of any community where a pipeline will be passing through and jeopardizing the economic activity in the community that is not necessarily related to the pipeline or to the general transportation of hazardous materials or petroleum products.
    When we hear that 67% of the population of British Columbia and basically every first nation in the province oppose the project, it is clear that the government did not do the work required to achieve that social acceptability. This is a reflex that all good governments should have but that the Conservative government seems to be lacking, the reflex of consulting with people and responding to their concerns. Given the current lack of support for this project, we can see that this work was not done.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-3, which is yet another omnibus bill that only affects five bills this time. We should be lucky. In finance we dealt with a budget implementation act that would amend some 60 bills, so having only having only 5 bills is a bit of a luxury.
    It is not so much the process I want to talk about today, but the substance. We can do much better than this legislation, which we will be supporting at this stage.
     I wish to advise you, Mr. Speaker, that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Churchill.
    It is interesting and somewhat ironic that we are here today on the eve of what we understand to be the government's decision day on the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline. I had the good fortune of running in a by-election in my community of Victoria and Oak Bay coastal communities in British Columbia in November 2012. As we would expect, and as I am sure all members on all sides of the House will have done, I knocked on a lot of doors and met a lot of people from various walks of life, young and old. I did not meet a single person who supported the Enbridge northern gateway proposal, not one.
    I have a duty and an honour to represent my coastal community, and I will do so to the best of my ability. However, I believe that if this bill is a bit of window dressing, greasing the wheels for this project, the Conservatives ought to know that it has met utter opposition in British Columbia. Perhaps the most poignant aspect of the opposition I encountered and observed was that it united British Columbians in a way that I had never experienced in my life. I have never seen aboriginal people leading protests of the kind and in the numbers. I have never seen retired teachers and bus drivers, people who are very young and people who are at the end of their careers and indeed at the end of their lives, all united in opposition to what the government intends to do, although I pray I am wrong.
    I know the polls say that two-thirds of the population are opposed. However, if we scratch a little deeper, we will not find many people who think it makes sense to ship, in tankers the size of the Eiffel Tower along some of the most dangerous waters on the planet into Hecate Strait, diluted bitumen, a product of which we really have little understanding. We did not even know at the joint review panel whether it would sink or rise to the surface. That is the level of misunderstanding.
     I taught environmental law for over a dozen years. People who appeared before that committee, fellow lawyers who cross-examined, said that they had never seen such dissonance between what a panel heard in testimony and what it concluded in its recommendations. It was two different realities. As well, the cost-benefit analysis that would say it is fine to potentially extirpate a herd of caribou, an endangered species, because it is in the national interest, with no evidence for that, is really quite shocking to British Columbians. It is also shocking that we would play Russian roulette with rivers full of endangered species, including certain salmon stocks that would never come back if there were a spill.
     It is a product that is not heavy oil, but is diluted bitumen and it ought not to be confused with what happened with Exxon Valdez, which was bad enough as I will explain. That this could possibly be approved by the Government of Canada in the face of ferocious opposition by young and old, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, coastal and non-coastal communities, is frankly shocking to me. I just wish to reiterate that I will do, on behalf of the people of my community, whatever I can to ensure that this wrong-headed decision is never fully implemented in my province and in our country.
    This bill deals with a number of matters that are somewhat germane to what I have been saying. Entirely, the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Liability Act and the Canada Shipping Act are three of the statutes that would be amended. Some of the regulatory changes are to be commended, and for that reason the bill will have our full support.

  (1255)  

    What the government has done in northern gateway is handed the industry a poisoned chalice. As one industry leader said very eloquently, we will get the permission perhaps from the government, but we will not get the permission from the people.
    The phrase “social licence” has been used throughout this debate and I know exactly what that industry leader said. Even if government gives us the piece of paper, it will not have given us the legitimacy to proceed, because people know in their guts that this process is flawed. They knew that it was unfair and that a decision built on such a flawed process should not see the light of day.
    It really is a poisoned chalice, and it is interesting that I see environmental organizations, first nations and industry holding hands around that phenomenon, recognizing that indeed industry will have been handed a poisoned chalice if the government were to proceed in the face of the ferocious opposition that is out there today.
    At the second reading debate, the hon. Minister of Transport said a number of things about the bill, in respect of the proposed amendments to the Canada Shipping Act. She talked about the amendments that would increase marine environmental protection by strengthening provisions pertaining to pollution prevention and response. She said that the amendments would aim to strengthen requirements for spill prevention and preparedness at oil handling facilities by requiring certain facilities to submit both prevention and emergency plans to the Minister of Transport, to which I say “Bravo.”
    However, when we do not have officials who are there to enforce those laws, who do not have the budget to insist on compliance, with the greatest of respect, it is irrelevant what the legislation says. We have seen the government consistently cut programs, cut offices that would deal with these very issues. It means nothing that legislation like this would contain pretty words, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing, as Shakespeare would say.
    This legislation, like so many Conservative initiatives, might look good on the surface, but if there is no personnel because it has all been cut, if there are no scientists because they have all been fired, if there is no office anymore, as in the case of the Kitsilano Coast Guard office, or spill prevention offices, who cares?
    People are not being fooled. They know that what we do in passing pretty laws with no people behind them to enforce them and no political will, moreover, to enforce them, it really does not matter very much, and that is what is so frustrating. The Conservatives are full of sound and fury and really signify nothing in this kind of legislation.
    On the amendment, if people do not, for example, submit those plans, what happens then? The minister tells us that the government has administered a penalty. There are $250 and sometimes even a range of $25,000 for a monetary penalty for some matter that may not have been complied with: a) we have to actually do it, we have to bring a proceeding; and b) we have to collect it.
    Having worked on behalf of compliance with Canadian Environmental Protection Act, when I had the good fortune of advising the chief review officer under CEPA 99, these monetary penalties and these administrative regimes are excellent, but with no will to enforce them, who cares what they say, and who even cares what the amount is? The penalty amounts may sound impressive when they are increased but again, no will, no fines, no action, nothing. It is sound and fury, signifying nothing.
    I am not making it up when I say that the government has done so little by, in effect, closing the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station, by closing British Columbia's oil spill response centre and gutting the environmental emergency response program. Do British Columbians, do Canadians trust the government to look after their precious environment with these cosmetic changes? I think not, and I think we will find the members opposite, 21 of them, will face the wrath of British Columbians when they see if indeed, and I pray I am wrong, the government were to ever allow the monstrosity of the Enbridge northern gateway project to see the light of day.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the point of view of my colleague. Not only is he from B.C., but he understands the issue. I think all of us have more concerns based on what happened in Lac-Mégantic not too long ago.
    The fact is that we have a government that chooses to turn a blind eye when it comes to enforcement. The government can put in all the laws and change all the legislation it wants to say that it is protecting people, but at the end of the day, if it does not enforce them, then there is no security for Canadians. The communities and taxpayers are having to pay for the brunt of the cost for cleanup and reconstruction.
    Not too long ago, just on this particular piece, the Minister of Natural Resources stated, “to protect the environment...tankers will have to be double-hulled”. Well, all tankers are required to be double-hulled by an international agreement made in 1993.
    The member talked about fooling the public. Could he talk a little more about that “fool me once” anecdote? This is a government that seems to want to pull the wool over the eyes of Canadians, but Canadians will not be fooled.
    Mr. Speaker, polluter pays should be the backbone of the legislation, yet we still seem to have the Canadian people being asked to be on the hook after a certain amount of money for an oil spill cleanup. How much is a cleanup? It sounds like a lot of money. As my colleague for Skeena—Bulkley Valley pointed out, it could be hundreds of millions of dollars.
    Professor Rashid Sumaila at the University of British Columbia's Fisheries Economics Research Unit asked the question about who paid. We have a mechanism to cover $1.35 billion, but look at the example of the Exxon Valdez, at $6.5 billion to cleanup. The Gulf of Mexico was much larger. For northern gateway, the cost of cleanup and losses could be up to $9.6 billion.
    If there is no political will to enforce and if the government is not serious about polluter pay, it will be the rest of us Canadians who will foot the bill, and that is wrong.

  (1305)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his eloquent speech. He spoke a lot about accountability, which I think is important. He indicated, in a very articulate manner, that the bill serves as little more than window dressing designed to instil confidence in people, that it does not have enough teeth and that the government does not have enough political will to enforce it. That does not just apply to this case but also to a wide range of government activities related to oversight.
    I would like to ask my colleague a question about the parallel that can be drawn with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which has standards to enforce. If there is not enough staff to enforce the rules or employees are not given the power to enforce them, then there are going to be more problems like the ones we have already experienced. I would like my colleague to compare what is happening with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with the changes to the regulations set out in this bill.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's question, which raises the notion of monitoring activities and the failure perhaps to have the people there to do the monitoring. His example of what happened with the listeriosis outbreak and CFIA being essentially understaffed to do the job is an excellent illustration and exactly parallel.
    This is another regulatory statute. There is no difference in principle among environmental regulation, health and safety, occupational safety, food inspection, railway safety, as my other colleague mentioned. These are all examples of when we put a regime in place, we expect people will be there to enforce those rules. If those rules are broken, we expect there will be some political will to go after the people who break those rules.
    We do not have two of those three things. We have less and less people doing the job and we have virtually no political will to enforce our regulatory standards.
    I stand here with my colleagues, many of whom have spoken before me, who have made clear our position as New Democrats on this bill. It is a position where we recognize the modest improvements that have been made in terms of marine security, but we have also expressed concern about the amendments we proposed that have not been passed by the government.
     We have been very clear in our concern that despite these acts, Canadians know that the current situation is one in which regulations, of the few that do exist on paper, are not able to be enforced the way they ought to because of the cuts that we are seeing in terms of scientists, the Coast Guard and inspectors that need to be in place to make sure that legislation and regulations are being followed.
    When I was first asked to speak to the bill, I understood the connections with respect to the proposed Enbridge pipeline and the immense opposition that so many people in B.C. and across the country have to the pipeline, in part because they know the great risk to the environment, the environmental damage it poses. The fact is the government and provincial governments can do nothing to deal with potential oil spills to make them go away. I share that concern.
    Obviously I am proud to be part of a party that is opposed to the Enbridge pipeline, that stands with Canadians and British Columbia and the rest of the country in opposition to this plan. I also want to share the voices of my own constituents who stand to lose as a result of the government's approach on the failure to enforce regulation and legislation when it comes to keeping our waterways and our rail lines safe.
    I speak particularly about the proposal to ship oil through Churchill. For those who have not been to Churchill, it is well known as a real gem not just for my province of Manitoba, but also for our country. It is a small community on the coast of Hudson Bay about 1,200 kilometres north of Winnipeg. It is known around the world as the easiest place in the world for humans to be able to see polar bears. It includes a nesting ground for polar bears which is part of Wapusk National Park. It is a real treasure for Canadians.
    We know that the community of Churchill in northern Manitoba benefits from the tourism industry, as people come to our region because of the polar bears. We also know that Churchill's economy depends on environmental research that takes place in the Churchill Northern Studies Centre. where researchers and scientists from around the world come to engage in climate change research and the impacts of climate change on wildlife, such as polar bears. We also know that Churchill depends on rail traffic and trade of which a good chunk is international trade.
    Churchill has been going through a difficult time and will continue to go through a difficult time, because of the fact that the government got rid of its number one best customer, the Canadian Wheat Board. In getting rid of the Canadian Wheat Board, Churchill lost an important trade partner that had an ongoing and very positive relationship with Churchill.

  (1310)  

    The government then decided, because it wiped out an organization that was run by farmers and managed in the best interests of farmers, and despite its rhetoric that somehow the market was going to correct everything, to offer a major taxpayer-funded subsidy to some of the biggest grain companies around the world to do one thing that had already happened under the Canadian Wheat Board, which was to ship grain through Churchill. Sadly, this has not resulted in the figures that used to be under the Canadian Wheat Board. The people of Churchill and northern Manitoba are concerned about the future of the port, the future of trade through the port, and what it means in terms of bringing in revenue and investment into the port and the rail line that exists.
    In the midst of a difficult and stressful situation, the company that owns the rail line and the port expressed interest out of the blue just under a year ago to ship crude oil from the Bakken oil fields, through the Bay line, up to Churchill and onto ships in the Arctic Ocean.
    I do not think it comes as any surprise to anyone that people were taken aback by this proposal. The number one concern that was raised was safety. This occurred mere weeks after the tragedy that happened in Lac-Mégantic. We know that very similar crude oil was being transported in the railcars that blew up and killed so many people in that community.
    People saw those images and what it could mean to our region. In recognizing that concern, people looked around to see whom they could work with to make sure they are protected. Sadly, when they looked at the federal government, what they saw is a government that has targeted regulation, particularly environmental regulation, that has cut back inspections in a whole host of areas, and has removed itself from taking leadership when it comes to safety.
    In terms of rail safety, I want to recognize that in recent months, some measures have been brought in that are important to Canadians, particularly my constituents. However, we are particularly concerned about the potential of an oil spill if this shipment possibly went through into Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean. That would be a devastating prospect.
    We do not have the technology or the know-how to deal with oil spills in the Arctic. This has been raised in the context of drilling in the Arctic, but we do not even have to go that far. Simply transporting crude oil in the Arctic at the kind of volumes we are hearing about from this company is not something we know how to deal with.
    In terms of the terrain, we know that if there were to be an oil spill into Hudson Bay, with it being a bay, it would remain there for a considerable amount of time. It would pollute the tributary rivers that come from Hudson Bay. It would actually move counterclockwise, the direction in which the water moves, into James Bay, and would pollute James Bay. It would then move straight up into the Arctic Ocean and pollute the various coastlines of Nunavut. It would have a devastating impact on the wildlife, including beluga whales. The beluga whale population of Hudson Bay is unique in that it has managed to withstand a fair bit of adversity and has shown signs of resilience that we do not see in other beluga whale populations. This is all to say that the reality of an oil spill is something which we cannot comprehend.
    As the member of Parliament for Churchill and someone who is proud to come from the north, and proud of the way that first nations people, Métis people and northern people have been stewards of the environment, certainly where I come from, it troubles me that the federal government is not a partner at the table the way it ought to be when it comes to protecting our waterways, protecting our oceans, and protecting Canadians.

  (1315)  

    I am proud to stand here to raise our real concerns about this bill and to continue the fight for greater protection and fundamental leadership from the federal government, because Canadians deserve better.
    Mr. Speaker, like a lot of Canadians, I did not know there was an ocean in Manitoba. I met with the Canadian Consortium of Ocean Research Universities and a very impressive professor from the University of Manitoba was there. I asked him why he was at the meeting, pointing out that oceans are on the coast. He pointed out, as my colleague from Churchill did so eloquently, that Hudson Bay feeds into the Arctic Ocean.
    My colleague talked about the future of the port of Churchill and the concerns that the community has about oil spills and safety. Could she talk about the nature of the concerns that people have in the port of Churchill, whether they are economic or environmental, and to what extent, if at all, this bill would rectify those concerns?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's sharing his incredulity that in fact we are so diverse. I extend a personal invitation to him to come and see our ocean first-hand.
    I appreciate the member pointing out the cutting-edge research that is taking place in my province when it comes to its bodies of water.
    There are concerns, both economic and environmental, and they are very much connected. Environmental pollution affects everything. It affects our economy, our tourism industry, hunting and trapping, small-scale agriculture. Whatever it may be in a region like ours, if the environment is polluted, it affects everything. It affects our livelihoods.
    It is incredible that the federal government has turned a blind eye to its responsibility to provide leadership when it comes to environmental protection. Canada has gone from being obstinate in taking action on climate change to being obstructionist. The federal government seems to be encouraging others not to take action nor to play a leadership role on this front, and it maligns those who do.
    This brings little comfort to people in my neck of the woods who are proud of their natural environment. They know their livelihood depends on a sustainable approach to our environment. They see that the federal government is nowhere to be found when it comes to environmental protection.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, I did not want to pass on referencing Churchill and its impact on Manitoba's economy. It is fairly significant. I think of the golden boy who sits on top of the Manitoba legislature. He points north, to represent the province's future prosperity.
    When many Manitobans think about Churchill, they think of the beluga whale, polar bears and all sorts of wonderful natural life. Its ecosystem needs to be protected.
    When we hear about the possibility of oil being shipped and so forth, we have to ensure that we do something which the federal government has not done in regard to the proposed northern gateway pipeline project, and that is to work with our communities and listen to what they say, work with the different stakeholders, including the province of Manitoba and different municipalities, especially the Churchill municipality. In order to make good decisions, we have to work with people. For Churchill's prosperity, it is important for the government of the day to do just that.
    Mr. Speaker, what I would say to that is it is absolutely key for communities to be heard. At the beginning of the stages, communities directing the kinds of economic development they want to see is critical.
    It is not enough to hear from the federal government that legislation and the emphasis on polluter pays needs to be there. That is a given. What we need is a federal government that partners with communities and with our provincial government to be able to make the best decisions. I want to say that on this front, I am very proud of the position that our provincial government is taking to oppose the proposal to ship crude oil through Churchill. I will also note that, sadly, we also have a legacy, left over from the previous Liberal government, that privatized the railway that we are now, with such great interest, trying to protect and support.
    The conclusion here is that federal governments have an incredible role to play in every part of this country. They must do that role in conjunction with communities on the ground with Canadians directing the future of their region.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate with my colleagues on Bill C-3.
    When we look at what it is trying to accomplish, it is, in a sense, part of a reporting mechanism, but it is also part of a risk-mitigating exercise as well. I think all of us would accept the fact that, inherently, in life there is risk. Getting out of bed in the morning is a risk. People are then exposed to the vagaries of life. They can step on the road and get run over by a bus. I hope that does not happen, but people learn certain things and mitigate the risks in life. They could also stay in bed, never get up, and die of starvation and lack of water. That would be a risk people would take if they decided to stay there. Clearly, we learn lessons over our lifetimes. We look back to those life lessons and ask how we can mitigate the risks that may be in front of us, so we can manage all of those things.
    Business owners and many of my friends in the Conservative Party and other parties who have businesses mitigate risk. They figure out how to manage the risk. They find ways to ensure that whatever the risks are, if they cannot manage them, they limit the ability of risks to affect their businesses. When we talk about handling noxious and hazardous substances, there is a risk. The risk can be great because the eventuality of an incident has great repercussions to populations, environments, perhaps marine aquacultures, animals. It is an abundance of risk. The issue is what to do in mitigating it.
    One thing the government has outlined before is that ships have to be double-hulled. No one can suggest that is brand new, because it is not. Ships have been double-hulled for a long time. It is a recommendation that was made many years ago. In fact, it was thought of decades ago, but double-hulled ships were not built because it was an expensive proposition.
    My family grew up in the shipbuilding business. That is what my father, his grandfather, and his grandfather before him did. They all built ships, and at those times they were considered great big ships. They do not look like great big ships any more. Those ships literally look like tugs compared to the ships that are built today, but at that time they were seen as giants of the marine industry. They were built to withstand certain things. One of the things I learned from my father in all the years that he built them is that ships are at the mercy of the sea and the mercy of the captain. When they are at the mercy of the sea, it is guaranteed there will be an incident, because the sea is unrelenting. The sea shows no mercy. Therefore, when an incident occurs, it is a matter of how to avoid risk and mitigate it when it actually happens.
    In the case of the captain, there are times when captains make decisions that are ill-founded and ships run aground, they capsize, or they run into other ships. We have seen over time that captains have been charged with crimes on the sea because of their inability to be the masters of their vessels in an appropriate and manageable way.
    This bill, unfortunately, says it may potentially happen, so a few things should be done here and there and it should be tweaked it a bit here or there. We are no longer talking about vessels that my father built in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, when, if there was a spill, it was manageable. They knew what the substance was, the hazardous and noxious substances were smaller cargoes in those days around the world than they are today and, ultimately, it was a small incident that had to be dealt with.
    Now the scope and size of incidents are huge. Today's ships are now simply called very large ships because they do not have another name for them. They are football fields in length. They are phenomenally huge. When they carry bulk cargo, it can be noxious substances or oil. Most of them are oil carriers. If there is a major incident due to a rupture, there may be a leak. I am not talking 1,000 litres or 10,000 litres, but millions. That is the scope of the issue that we now have to deal with.

  (1325)  

    Unfortunately, the measures in Bill C-3, as much as they step toward the right direction, do not take into consideration the scope and magnitude of the spills before us today because they are of such huge proportions. If we have a catastrophic spill like we saw in the gulf, which came out of a well that lost its backflow preventer, the effects are equally transparent. Essentially, the top of the well head blew off allowing it to spew oil for weeks. Although the magnitude of that was seen across thousands of miles, the damage that was done to the ocean floor and elsewhere in the ecosystem is unknown because it has not yet been mapped out. We looked at the shoreline in Louisiana and up the gulf coast into Florida, down into Mexico, and a number of other different places, but we need to determine what the damage was to the marine aquaculture. It could take decades to make that determination.
    We have one of the largest coastlines, if not the largest coastline, of any nation in the world: British Columbia. It is fair to talk about that since the northern gateway is on everyone's mind today, including the government's. The government should help out by sharing that with us now. It would unburden its mind of that decision and make it feel better. Like the saying in the evangelical movement “repent and thou shalt see the way and the light and the truth”, it should simply tell us what that is now.
    My friend from Churchill talked about the fact that we have this huge internal waterway called Hudson's Bay. A lot of folks forget about this huge piece that goes right into the Arctic Ocean. Although we see it on a map, quite often we lose sight of that. I want to thank my friend from Churchill for giving us the opportunity to remember that. Oddly enough, many if not all of us live on or near a coast. For those of us who live in central Canada, it is strange to think about that. I live on the coast but I have two coasts to go to, the coasts of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The folks from Toronto and my good friend from Parkdale—High Park have the north shore of Lake Ontario. She lives on a coast. Many of us across this country live very close to bodies of water, as do our good friends in the Conservative Party. A body of water is often one or two blocks away from their home.
    The impact of any of these kinds of catastrophic spills is not just substances that come up the St. Lawrence River and head into places like Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake Superior because we heard our member from Churchill talk about how that would get out through Hudson's Bay. We have bodies of water throughout this entire country in front of us that have that potential.
    It is interesting to look at the two furthest coasts. I will leave out the north for now, but if we look at the east and west coasts and we talk to sailors about traversing the north Atlantic and heading into Newfoundland, depending on the time of year it can be one of the most dangerous waters one could ever enter into. I have been on our far east coast as well as the west coast and have not had the opportunity to go to the Arctic yet. When we look at the north Atlantic we see the types of dangers that are inherent in it. Seafarers know all too well the inherent dangers of going to sea.
    As a kid, I grew up on an island and it was natural for us to be at the sea. When one grows up in Scotland, which is an island, the coast is everywhere. There is no other land, just coast, and nearly all of us at some point in time take to the sea somehow. Whether we fish or are involved in other industries, we always seem to be at sea. In their hearts seafarers know the dangers of going to sea. It is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world.

  (1330)  

     I raise that because they know the inherent danger. They know that the likelihood of an incident just simply gets greater the longer they are at sea. Very few seafarers, very few sailors, ever run out an entire career not having an incident while on ship. It is just an inherent danger of actually being on a ship. Regardless how good the master is or how well the ship is built, it just happens. Some of it happens through negligence, sometimes, of the master of the ship and sometimes it is just simply the weather. We have heard of ships that just simply sunk, and people will ask how they could possibly have sunk because it would have been impossible for them to sink. When they get out in a gale or on the wrong sea, they can sink. Regardless how new these vessels are, how large they are, how sophisticated they are, with radar, sonar, and all kinds of navigational tools, when the sea is angry, the sea will conquer. The problem for us is that we face the consequences of what is left of that catastrophic mess.
    Now, of course, with this, we are talking about who pays for that because, ultimately, this comes back to the risk. If people want to be in the business of moving noxious substances and oil and hazardous materials, they know the risk when they decide to go into that business.
    How is it that these operators, the movers of this type of material, have figured out a way to download the risk to us? That is what they have done. Now they have decided to move them in huge bulk cargo carriers that are literally beyond most of our imaginations, unless one has actually been at port and seen one. How big are these things? They are gigantic. If they have a spill, it will more than likely be beyond the capability of the amount of these funds that they have to put up as a liability, and these companies that are moving this material have figured that out. They have now figured out how to download the risk to the Canadian public.
    Other businesses do not get to do that. They do not get to download their risk to the general public and say that maybe it will cost $1 billion or $4 billion and they will pay the first couple hundred million dollars, maybe up to $500 million. Then other folks can carry the rest.
    It is patently wrong. Never mind it being unfair; it is just patently wrong. No other business gets to do that. No other business gets to simply say to the Canadian taxpayer, “You carry the risk while I carry on making money.”
    These businesses are why we say they should actually be held accountable for the costs. Yes, some will say we will put them out of business. That is the risk they took when they understood that this was a business where they could make lots of money. However, the risk is that, if they have a potential catastrophic spill and they have to pay for the cleanup, it might wipe them out. That is the risk that, in our view, they should accept, because there is a huge generator of wealth on the other side because there is a lot of money to be made in this type of business.
     The other side of the coin is that they do it as well as they should. If they are unfortunate and the sea catches up to them and they have a catastrophic event and spill and sully the pristine coastlines of my great friends from British Columbia, the damage will be irreparable probably for the rest of the lifetimes of all of us who are in this House which, in some case, would be many decades. For me, it would obviously be a little less, as I am a little older. However, there are many folks in this House who are much younger than I who have many more decades to live. It will be like the Exxon Valdez, which is still not cleaned up, from what I have heard from my friends in British Columbia, in the sense it is still there decades later.
    Now we are talking about new product that would come through the northern gateway, about which I still have not heard from my friends across the way what they are going to do there—somehow I do not think it is coming. Perhaps, of course, the Speaker knows and might share it with us when he stands.
    Clearly, this type of product, this type of oil, which is now mixed with some other things, is a different piece from anything. With respect to the type of oil spilling into the Kalamazoo River, in Michigan, the American environmental agencies found a spill that they had no expertise to deal with because it sunk to the bottom of the river.

  (1335)  

    Oil normally floats, and gasoline floats and evaporates, not that either one is a good thing to have in the water. However, heavy oil sinks. That creates a new problem of how to deal with an oil that sinks to the bottom, be it the ocean or, as in this case, a river. The cost of that is probably not determinable as yet, and yet we have set a limit on folks.
    I think it was my colleague from Victoria who said earlier that, while it is great to have fines, if there is no one to go collect them, then we actually would not get anything. If only traffic tickets were like that. If they actually wrote us a ticket for speeding but no one actually came to collect it, we would all just keep speeding. Getting a traffic ticket for speeding usually makes one cautious. We know we will have to pay it because, if we do not, our drivers licence will not be renewed; there is no denying it. Therefore, there is a cause and effect. I was driving too fast and got caught. The punishment was handed out in the way of a ticket. I know I will have to pay it, because someone will come and collect it. Unfortunately, in this regulation there will be a ticket writer, but no one is going to collect. People could just stick them up on the wall and say, “Yeah, that's number 48 and two more will make 50” and not pay them. What would it matter if they were not actually being enforced?
    We end up in a situation where we have a regulation that is not being enforced, so why do we bother? We look at some of these regulations and we think they are not what we would do, in the sense that we would make them tougher, but they are there, so perhaps the government will hear us and will find a way to regulate them and enforce them so they actually get done.
    One of the things I find quite incredible is that the bill talks about regulations: how we need to do this and that, laying down the groundwork of looking as if we are really going to be safe and secure, so that when the government this afternoon says yes to northern gateway—as I am sure it will—it will say it put all the safety regulations in place. There is Bill C-3 and some other things the government has done, like double hull tankers and other things it is talking about, inspections and all those good things. However, the government's budgets have literally closed Coast Guard centres right across the country on both shores. The Kitsilano centre is a prime example. I understand from my friends in B.C. it is the busiest security port of anywhere in the country. However, the government closed it because it did not think it was very important.
     The government is actually saying that it is going to increase the number of ships up and down the Juan de Fuca, upside, inside, and in between Vancouver Island and the mainland, but we do not actually need any extra Coast Guard. It reminds me of someone saying that the stop light does not work, but there are only two cars so we do not actually need a traffic cop to control the traffic, and then saying that we will let 2,000 through there and we still do not need a traffic cop. Well, we do. If we are going to actually increase the amount of tanker flow in those troubled waters—I say troubled waters with respect to the fact that they are dangerous and hazardous—we need to put traffic cops there. The Coast Guard are not just a traffic cops; they actually save lives. They actually respond.
    We see the same thing on the east coast with the closures there. I have heard my colleagues from Quebec talk about the closing of a Coast Guard office in Quebec that actually provides French language service. If I am not correct someone will correct me during questions. There are a lot of Maritimers at sea. We need that type of essential service.
    Just imagine a Maritimer at sea making a distress call and he actually cannot talk to the person and let him know where he is, because of a language barrier, because he speaks French and does not understand English. He is stuck out in the North Atlantic somewhere, bobbing around, waiting for his ship to flip over and end up in the North Atlantic Ocean, where he will last about 18 minutes, simply because we did not provide a language service.

  (1340)  

    How do we answer to that person's family? How do we tell that person's family that we are really sorry we did not provide service in the right language?
     It is time for the Conservatives to re-evaluate their cuts. Those places are essential for Maritimers, they are essential for our coast, they are essential for our environment, and they are essential for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the amendments proposes to change our port authorities. We have about 18 port authorities in Canada, and they play a very important role in terms of economic activity for our communities.
     There is an expectation that there is a role of leadership that will emanate from those port authorities. One of the changes just deals with the appointment and the timing of appointments. It is not earth-shattering in terms of changes. However, the reason I bring it up is that within the legislation there are some minor changes, and whenever we are afforded the opportunity to comment on some of those minor changes, it actually causes me to think about the bigger picture and the importance of our port authorities and the roles they play. I wonder if the member might want to take advantage of talking about the important role of our port authorities here in Canada.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member for Winnipeg North is right. Port authorities are important. They are critical pieces of infrastructure in making decisions about how ports will operate, whether they are safe, and whether they enact certain types of regulations.
     It seems to me that it is incumbent, if we are actually going to do it and make appointments to port authorities, that we look at a few things. We should be transparent about it. We ought to vet people. If the last couple of appointments were vetted, I would like to know who the people were who vetted them; it is time for them to find something else to do. They ought to be capable and competent. What is the point of having people who really do not know what they are doing when it comes to a port authority?
    I can imagine being the master of a vessel coming into a port and thinking, “I wonder if the chair of the port authority actually thought that maybe we should not put that pier there because I cannot get into the port now. Why did they build that there?” It is because the person in question who authorized it did not know anything about a port. He or she just said, “Well, we need some extra place to tie stuff up; we will tie another ship there.” The person did not think about the supertanker coming in and not fitting in that little aisle.
     That is the great undoing for us in central Canada and the Great Lakes, the fact that the locks in the Welland Canal only take ships of a certain size. They take large ships, but they do not take the ships of today that are huge. Consequently, in a place like Port Weller in the city of St. Catharines, the dry docks, they could not build the ships of that magnitude. It is not because they are not capable. They are very capable, but they cannot get them out. They cannot get them through the canal, so they cannot sail them back into the North Atlantic. That is the unfortunate part of Port Weller being where it is, that the ship builders are not capable of getting a ship out after building ships of that magnitude.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend from Welland for raising some very timely concerns as we look at the so-called safeguarding Canada's seas and skies act. As I mentioned before, it is the cobbling together of provisions for forensic studies of airline disasters and appointments to an aeronautics board, and calling it “safeguarding our skies”, and putting it in with provisions to enforce a hazardous products convention for the marine environment. These really do not go together logically, and the title is pure public relations.
    However, because he mentioned tankers and how big they are, I say this for that member. Regarding the supertankers that are proposed for the Port of Kitimat—and we will find out later today what is going to be said about that—if they laid the Empire State Building on end, the tanker would be slightly longer.
     A tanker holds two million barrels, and not heavy crude. It will hold something called dilbit, which is bitumen. It is a raw product being exported because we do not seem to want the jobs of refining it in this country. It is mixed with other toxic substances called diluent. That Port of Kitimat will have some tankers coming in with toxic diluent and different tankers will come in to take away the dilbit, which is also toxic, and no study yet has determined how dilbit will behave in real conditions in a marine environment. How reckless is this scheme? I ask this for my friend from Welland.
    Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely right. When it comes to the size, I appreciate the scaling of the Empire State Building and the size of these ships, because they are huge.
     I do not know if anybody in this House has, but I have actually been to a port when there was one. They are mammoth. I do not know how else to describe them. An individual is dwarfed by the humongous size of them. They are an amazing engineering feat.
    I think the spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan, pointed out the very nature of not understanding this new material. It is not a new material in the sense that we know what it is when it comes out of the ground as bitumen, but when we mix it, we do not really know what it does. We do know there is a negative effect. Nobody on this side would say that if we had a spill, it is a positive thing. They would all say it was negative.
    The issue is how we would manage it. What do we do with it? We need science to tell us what we should do to manage a spill, because we will have one. It is not a question of it never happening; it will happen. There will be a spill. The issue is about when it will happen and how we will handle it, but we actually do not know the science behind what the material would do. We have WHMIS sheets in this province, hazardous materials sheets that describe what to do to protect ourselves if a material spills. We do not have them for this particular material, and that is a shame.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my question has to do with the security of our marine transportation system and the fact that the Canadian Coast Guard is not equipped with super tugs.
    If one of these supertankers were to have engine trouble in Canadian waters, it could not be towed by a motor boat. An auxiliary coast guard made up of volunteers, who are often equipped with fishing boats, would not help either.
    It is a huge problem that the companies that have destroyed the environment and caused oil spills in Alaska, the Gulf of Guinea and the Gulf of Mexico are the same companies that are operating in Canada and asking us to trust them.
    Could my distinguished colleague explain to us how these factors add to the risks?

  (1350)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we talked earlier about the size of the transporting vessel compared to the tow vessels. They are not even comparable any more. The tow vessels were built to a different standard and for different ships.
    I am sure there are colleagues here, or perhaps people in their families, who understand the maritime industries. They would know that it is a different situation when a ship is being towed.
    Recently we witnessed one of our frigates become incapacitated. It had to be towed back. It took a long time to attach the tow, and then it broke. Then it had to be redone. These are difficult things to accomplish at sea in any circumstance, never mind with a vessel that is basically not manoeuvrable and relies on tugs and tows to manoeuvre. Tow lines break. It is not like towing a car. To do that, we simply stop, put the chain on again, and away we go. In the case of a ship, it could take days, and by that time the ship could have run aground. If it is in the passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland, it will be on the rocks. They do not have time. That is the problem.
    Towing a ship or using tugs to try to move it makes for difficult physics on the water. I could not actually explain it, because I do not know the physics well enough to do so; all I can say is that it is extremely difficult. Anybody involved in the industry would tell us it is extremely hard, and when it goes awry, it is really difficult to get the situation back under control.
    If a crosswind was blowing across one of these supertankers and the tow line broke at the stern, the ship would literally turn sideways. It would then go backward. It would literally simply float backward. If it had lost a rudder or lost an engine and was not under its own power when the tow line was lost, control of the ship would be lost, and the other tows would not be able to right it. They might be able to hold it off if they were lucky, but if all the tows could not be restored, that tanker would literally be on the rocks.
    Then we would have an immense catastrophe of a proportion that we have never seen in our lifetimes, nor would we ever want to. That is the dilemma. Those are the things we are trying to point out to the Conservatives that they have not taken into consideration.
    If northern gateway is approved this afternoon—which, as a betting man, I would say will happen—the Conservative really need to fix Bill C-3, and they ought to do that in the Senate, since it will be out of here at third reading.
    Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I get the opportunity to address this bill.
    It is really important to acknowledge, right from the beginning, that it is unfortunate that the government has chosen such a piecemeal way of dealing with what is a very important issue for all Canadians.
    What we are talking about with Bill C-3 is everything from marine transportation to rail transportation to passenger safety to the airline industry and more. Instead of comprehensive legislation that deals with the issues in a more tangible fashion, what we see before us is legislation that deals with the issues in a very piecemeal way.
    We think it is really unfortunate that the government has chosen to take that direction when it had a much greater opportunity for a more significant impact on the industries we are trying to deal with today.
    Nowhere more can that be highlighted than with the government's anticipated decision on the northern gateway project. In questions not only today but in the past, whether from the leader of the Liberal Party or from critics in our caucus, we have been trying to get the government to understand the importance of the issues surrounding the northern gateway project.
    In trying to get the government to understand, what we are doing, in good part, is trying to get it to look at the different stakeholders. One has to question how effective Conservative members of Parliament are when they have been sitting on their hands and not doing much advocating for what needs to be happening on a very important issue.
    The pipeline issue is an important issue to Canadians. What needs to be highlighted today with the northern gateway project is that the government has really dropped the ball. It is about the risk factor. Let us think about the economic and environmental impacts. The government is putting Canadians, particularly those in British Columbia, under these economic and environmental risk factors.
    The government has not done its homework on the importance of that very issue. The northern gateway has an unacceptable level of environmental and economic risk to British Columbia and the coastal region. In fact, the University of British Columbia did a study in 2012 that revealed that an oil spill stemming from the northern gateway could cost in excess of $300 million. That is just the economics of it, and it does not include the long-term environmental impact.
    One would think that the Prime Minister would want to work with the different stakeholders and listen to what the people of British Columbia have to say about pipelines, particularly in regard to the northern gateway project, but the government has fallen short. It has not listened to our first nations or people of aboriginal heritage or to the many different communities that have expressed legitimate, genuine concerns. The government appears to have made a decision that is not in the best interests either of the region or of all Canadians.
    We have been putting the northern gateway issue forward for months. The response we have received from the government has been found wanting. It is a government that does not recognize the importance of getting our product from the Prairies to the coastline. It is a government that has failed to recognize that there needs to be a social contract, that it needs to work with the communities in order to make things happen.

  (1355)  

    The government has not been able to demonstrate that the northern gateway project is the project of the future. In fact, it has failed to demonstrate that it is the best route to go. As a result, many different stakeholders and communities are nervous about what we anticipate will be a likely decision. One has to question why the government has not listened to what people are saying about the project—
    Order. The time for government orders has expired. The hon. member for Winnipeg North will have 14 minutes remaining for his speech when this matter returns before the House.
    Statements by members, the hon. member for Ahuntsic.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Ahuntsic Community Organization

    Mr. Speaker, the organization we now know as the Union des familles d'Ahuntsic was founded in 1963. Like many community institutions in Quebec, the Union des familles d'Ahuntsic was originally established by a church, in this case, the Saint-André-Apôtre parish. In the 1970s, Loisir Saint-André-Apôtre became the Union des familles d'Ahuntsic.
    I want to commend the women and men who have helped make high-quality leisure activities accessible to everyone: women, men, teens and children.
    Day camps, sports, dance, wood carving, stained glass, Japanese embroidery, music and singing are just some of the activities offered at the UFA. Over the years, many residents of Ahuntsic have developed their skills in this respectful and accepting environment.
    On behalf of my constituents, I want to thank the people at the Union des familles d'Ahuntsic and wish them well in the future.

[English]

High School Graduations

    Mr. Speaker, it is graduation time in high schools across Canada, and I want to rise to mark this milestone in the life of our young people.
    First, I would like to thank our teachers: the teachers, in Durham, Clarington, Scugog, and Uxbridge, for their dedication and mentorship to our young people.
    I would like to congratulate the graduates on this achievement and wish them well as they embark on the path to college, university, or the workforce.
     I would like to highlight three exceptional young leaders from Durham: Mitchell Wootton, from Holy Trinity Catholic School in Courtice, winner of the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership and the Schulich Leadership Scholarship, an academic and peer leader, headed to engineering at Queen's University; Callen Hageman, from Uxbridge Secondary School, winner of the prestigious Loran Scholarship for his academic and leadership potential, also headed to engineering at Queen's University; Keira Royle, from Clarington Central Secondary School, for her academic work and her advocacy for mental health with young people, headed to the University of Windsor.
    Congratulations on these achievements, and continue to strive for excellence in the future.

[Translation]

Sports on CBC/Radio-Canada

    Mr. Speaker, while our athletes made all Canadians proud during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Conservatives' cuts may well compromise the media coverage of our top amateur athletes' performances by forcing CBC to cut its sports service to almost nothing.
    May I remind the minister that participation in sports by young Canadians is at its lowest and that one way to fight the epidemic of obesity and physical inactivity among young people is to encourage them to be inspired by our greatest amateur athletes? By cutting this media coverage, we are preventing young Canadians from identifying with our amateur athletes, who are role models for living an active life and participating in sports.

[English]

    The cuts imposed on CBC will jeopardize programs like Sports Weekend, which could have a huge impact on amateur sports coverage in our country. The Canadian amateur sports community is rightly worried, and many of our Olympians have signed a petition to urge Conservatives to stop their attacks on our public broadcaster.
     After all our athletes have done to represent us so well and with so much pride, the least we can do is give them the coverage they deserve.

Community Service

    Mr. Speaker, today I pay tribute to one of Edmonton's tireless community leaders.
    Norm Aldi knows everyone on 118th Avenue, also known as Alberta Avenue. He has been a driving force in the revitalization of the avenue, helping transform a rather drab street into an architecturally designed cityscape of multicultural boutiques and ethnic dining, a delight for those who want to experience the breadth of Edmonton's cultural mélange.
    A great Albertan and a proud constituent of Edmonton East, Norm has been instrumental in organizing the Eastwoodfest annual summer festival. He has been a director of the Alberta Avenue Business Association and president of the Eastwood Community League. Norm is sure to volunteer, whether it is organizing the successful Taste of 118th Food Festival or establishing an off-leash dog park.
    I thank my friend Norm Aldi, recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for his years of community service.

Jack MacAndrew

    Mr. Speaker, today I pay tribute to the late Jack MacAndrew and ask the House to recognize his outstanding contribution to journalism and public affairs.
     Born in New Brunswick, he moved at age eight and considered P.E.I. his heart's true home. Jack made his mark in broadcasting, print journalism, theatre, and television. Starting first as a Canadian Air Force radio officer, he soon moved into the public relations and marketing field with CBC Maritimes. As a reporter, he covered the Springhill mining disaster, broadcasting to the world.
    He wrote, produced, and hosted several Canadian television shows and contributed to productions such as Anne of Green Gables and Johnny Belinda. His company, Jack MacAndrew Productions, based in Toronto and L.A., created many more.
     A man of strong opinions, his column “The View From Here” was well known. Jack called it like he saw it, and by doing so, he kept politicians and public figures aware and humble, always advocating for what he felt was right. He wrote without fear and spoke truth to power.
    For Jack's wife Barbara and sons Shaun and Randy, our thanks and condolences. That is the view from here.

  (1405)  

Women of Distinction Awards

    Mr. Speaker, on June 3, hundreds of people from across Vancouver gathered to celebrate the leadership and contributions of women in our community at the 2014 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.
    For 30 years, the awards have recognized outstanding women and workplaces. Since 1984, they have honoured over 250 award recipients and more than 1,450 nominees. In addition to recognizing the nominees, this event highlights and raises funds for the programs and services that help improve the lives of more than 55,000 people each year from across metro Vancouver.
    This year, it was an honour for me to join 59 other amazing women as nominees for this prestigious award. The Women of Distinction Awards provide an ideal opportunity for our community to recognize these outstanding individuals and their contributions. Without the dedication of these inspiring and motivated women, Vancouver would not be the wonderful city that it is.
    Congratulations to the recipients and to each nominee. I look forward to continuing to work with them to build a stronger Vancouver and Canada.

Youth of the Month Award

    Mr. Speaker, across my riding there are kids doing extraordinary things. They model the way not only for their peers, but for us. In recognition of what they do and in an effort to encourage them and to encourage others to follow their lead, I created some time ago the Beaches—East York Youth of the Month Award.
    For the month of June, that award goes to the kids of DeSantos Martial Arts, who participated in this year's 140-kilometre walk from Toronto to Niagara Falls. It was a journey of self-discovery, but it was also a journey to raise money for both local and international school breakfast programs. We all know there are many kinds of personal journeys, but the best are those that lead us to others who need help.
    A special mention goes to Marisol, Ayoka, Allison, Tristan, and Victor, who, over four long days completed the entire journey this year. For Kwan Jan Nim De Santos, Ma'am Toni, and all of the instructors at the school, thanks for teaching our kids that a black belt is just a white belt that never quit.

Calgary International Airport

    Mr. Speaker, Calgary International Airport, located in my riding, is the third busiest airport in Canada, contributing $6 billion to the economy.
    Last weekend I joined 12,000 Calgarians to celebrate the opening of the longest commercial runway in Canada. This is the only runway in Canada that has a 100% eco-friendly LED lighting system. It will save 60,000 kilowatt hours per year, which is the equivalent to a saving of 41.3 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
    Calgary airport is an economic driver for western Canada, and I congratulate the Calgary Airport Authority on this historic milestone.
    Before my time is up, I would like to thank all of my colleagues who supported the passage of Bill C-24, the strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, yesterday, especially our hard-working Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for including provisions from my private member's bill, Bill C-425.

Christopher Stanley

    Mr. Speaker, our community of North Bay is in mourning. On a joyful Father's Day this past weekend, we lost 17-year-old Christopher Stanley in a boating accident.
    Chris was a hard-working young man who had a passion for football as a Widdifield Wildcat and a passion for the outdoors. He had just returned from a 5-day canoe trip. This would have been his graduating year and his 18th birthday would have been this Friday.
    It is a very painful and tragic event in which this young bright life was lost. He will be dearly missed by his classmates, his family and our community.
    I have been moved by the outpouring of support for Chris's family, as well as a profound sense of loss for him. Although his time in this world was brief, it was very clear that he enriched the lives of many around him.
    I ask members of the House to please join me in extending our dearest sympathies and condolences to Chris's family. His life and spirit will never be forgotten. God bless Christopher Stanley.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, no one can forget the Conservatives' employment insurance reform. It would be hard to come up with a more regressive policy. This unfortunate reform has weakened the economy in Quebec, the Maritimes and my region of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, which is having a hard time getting back on its feet.
    It does not end there. Every day the Conservatives, who are the self-proclaimed job champions, are attacking the rights of Canadian workers and the gains they have made. They are attacking unions, labour-sponsored funds, the public service, and local services.
    Allow me to provide some examples. Bills C-377 and C-525 were sad attempts at overhauling labour relations in Canada.
    Bill C-4, the budget implementation bill, was another opportunity for the Conservatives to quietly turns back the clock on decades' worth of struggles for decent working conditions and good jobs.
    The cuts to Canada Post will further eat away at local services and wipe out quality jobs for Canadians.
    In my riding, workers and unions are clearly saying that the summer will be hot and that the declaration of war issued by the members opposite will not go unanswered.
    2015 starts now.

[English]

Jagat Uppal

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the life of a prominent member of the B.C. Sikh community who, I am sad to say, passed away.
    Jagat Uppal, known as Jack, arrived in Canada in 1926 as part of the first wave of Sikh immigration to the province. Following his father's death, Jack left school at age 13 to help support his family and spent much of his time in sawmills, where he eventually became an owner and leader in the industry.
    He used his experience to help fellow Sikhs get their start in B.C. and held an open door policy for anyone who needed help.
    Not only was he a selfless boss, friend, father, and husband; he was also perhaps best known for his tireless fight for equality. Jack helped lead the charge in the 1940s to secure the right to vote for Indian settlers in Canada, which was finally granted in 1947.
    This is especially poignant this year, the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, for which our Prime Minister was the first leader to officially apologize on behalf of the Government of Canada.
    On behalf of all British Columbians, I want to extend my condolences to the Uppal family and thank Jack for being a role model and an inspiration to all.

[Translation]

Summer in Compton—Stanstead

    Mr. Speaker, this summer, there will be lots to do for those who visit my riding, the most beautiful in all of the Eastern Townships, Quebec, and Canada.
    Tourists will appreciate and enjoy Compton—Stanstead because of its lakes, rivers, mountains, and bed and breakfast establishments, and especially because of the people who live there. Some of the activities to enjoy are the 150th anniversary celebrations of Coaticook, which will welcome tourists with its cheese and famous ice cream; Expo Vallée de la Coaticook in August; the Comptonales, an agri-food fair in September in the picturesque region of Compton, where the wonderful Donabelle farm strawberries are ready to be picked; and the Raid de Jean-D'Avignon in East Hereford in July, which attracts 350 cyclists, as many as the people who live there. That is incredible.
    Visitors can also watch the Perseids at the Mont-Mégantic observatory, walk the Sentier Poétique in Saint-Venant-de-Paquette, which is a real cultural jewel, and take in the agricultural fairs in Cookshire-Eaton and Ayer's Cliff.
    By all means visit Quebec this summer and you will discover its distinctive character.

[English]

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader is at it again, this time with one of his senior supporters, Marc Emery, a convicted criminal and drug dealer.
    Yes, Mr. Emery and his followers support the Liberal leader's irresponsible campaign to make it easier for children to gain access to and smoke marijuana, a campaign that continues.
    This Conservative government wants to help prevent children from using drugs. The irresponsible Liberal plan to legalize and normalize marijuana, which includes the Liberal leader smoking it while holding public office, is dangerous to the health and well-being of Canadians, particularly our young children.
    The Liberal leader needs to get his head out of the clouds. Listening to the advice of convicted criminals and drug dealers is probably not a good place to start.

WorldPride Celebration

    Mr. Speaker, this month Toronto will have the honour of hosting the WorldPride Celebration. My constituency of Toronto Centre will be at the heart of the festivities.
    We can be proud this landmark celebration will take place nearly nine years after gay marriage became legal across Canada.
    What better symbol of our decade of equality than our victorious premier, Kathleen Wynne, the Commonwealth's first openly lesbian elected head of government?
    WorldPride is a moment for us to redouble our work to support LGBT rights. Here at home, a particular focus must be LGBT youth, who are too often a target of bullying and disproportionately find themselves homeless and unemployed.
    WorldPride is an essential time for us to speak out about LGBT rights around the globe as well. Too many countries, ranging from Russia to Uganda, are turning back the clock.
    LGBT rights are human rights. Canada must be both a world leader and a global haven on this crucial issue.

  (1415)  

Arts and Culture

    Mr. Speaker, on July 1, the audiovisual coproduction agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of India will come into force. It will allow producers and creators to combine their resources and expertise to develop audiovisual co-production projects contributing to the economies of both countries.
    Canada takes pride in being a world leader in audiovisual treaty co-production. In the past 50 years, Canada has signed audiovisual co-production treaties with 53 countries.
    In the past 10 years alone, Canada has produced close to 681 audiovisual co-productions, with total production budgets of close to $5 billion.
    In 2012-13, Canada's audiovisual sector generated almost $6 billion to the Canadian economy and created approximately 130,000 jobs.
    As always, this government strives to promote jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. Canadians are disappointed that the anti-trade and pro-carbon tax NDP cannot say the same.

[Translation]

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the Peter principle states that, in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence.
    The Minister of Justice is a perfect example. After being minister of defence for years, where his disastrous management of the F-35 file forced the Prime Minister to take the department's chequebook away from him, he was catapulted to the Department of Justice.
    In his new role, he caused a new crisis by appointing Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court, which then asked him to step back. Yesterday, in the House, we had the perfect example of the confusion that reigns in the minister's mind. Showing his true colours, he started by pointing out how appreciated the talents of Justice Mainville will be in the Supreme Court. The only thing is that Justice Mainville was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal. Feeling cornered, he tried to explain that the Superior Court of Quebec is sort of like the Supreme Court in the province, which luckily is as coherent as the remarks of the Liberal Party leader on a good day. With opponents like that, we can feel pretty good about ourselves.
    It is a really sad day when the justice minister does not even understand the Canadian court system. If he is the best Conservative in the justice sector, it is no wonder that courts constantly turn down their legislation.

[English]

Royal Canadian Legion

    Mr. Speaker, this week thousands of veterans gathered for the 45th Dominion Convention of the Royal Canadian Legion, and Edmonton rolled out the welcome mat in its usual exemplary fashion. I was pleased to be there.
    I was especially pleased that the Minister of Veterans Affairs attended and announced that our government will increase its funding from $120,000 to $240,000 to the Royal Canadian Legion for its veterans outreach and visitation initiative.
    This money will increase the Legion's capacity to spend time with their veterans who are living in long-term care facilities. This increased support allows us to further enhance the care we provide veterans and further support the important work the Legion does every day.
    Since being incorporated by a special act of Parliament in 1926, the Royal Canadian Legion has been a focal point for Canada's veterans to better the lives of their colleagues and to foster remembrance across Canada.
    I would like to congratulate the Royal Canadian Legion on its successful convention, and extend our appreciation for its service in support of Canada's veterans and their families. I look forward to working together with them in the decades ahead.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, section 98 of the Constitution Act of 1867 states:
    The Judges of the Courts of Quebec shall be selected from the Bar of that Province.
    In the Nadon case, the Supreme Court was very clear about what that means. It is a question of complying with the Constitution and upholding the rule of law.
    The Prime Minister already promised the House that he would uphold both the letter and the spirit of the Supreme Court's decision in the Nadon case.
    Why is the Prime Minister not delivering on that promise?
    Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about the Supreme Court of Canada. This is about a judge who asked to be transferred to the Quebec Superior Court. That judge has an impressive record, and he has long been a lawyer in that province. I am sure that he will do a good job.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice made a telling slip of the tongue yesterday when he said that Justice Mainville's wealth of legal knowledge will be welcome at the Supreme Court, not the Quebec Court of Appeal.
    We are not questioning Mr. Mainville's undisputed legal knowledge. We are questioning his eligibility.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us whether he intends to appoint Mr. Mainville to the Supreme Court of Canada? Yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, at this point in time, there are no vacancies at the Supreme Court of Canada, and there is no ongoing process to choose a replacement for a future vacancy.
    As I have said many times, we will uphold the letter and the spirit of the Supreme Court's decision.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, he still will not answer.
    First the Prime Minister ignored warnings from the Chief Justice about appointing a Federal Court judge to represent Quebec on the Supreme Court. Then the Prime Minister publicly attacked the Chief Justice, which is unprecedented in the history of Canada. Now he has made another appointment that violates a nearly identical rule, daring the Supreme Court to reject his appointment yet again.
    Why is the Prime Minister starting a war with the Supreme Court? What can be accomplished by this?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously, I categorically reject that. Before the leader of the NDP moves to yet another conspiracy theory, let me just outline the facts. There is no vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada at the present time, and there is no process under way to look for a replacement for an eventual vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada. I have said repeatedly that notwithstanding our disagreement with that decision, when it comes time to fill a vacancy, we will obviously respect the letter and spirit of the decision.

[Translation]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, for three years the Prime Minister has staunchly defended the northern gateway pipeline.
    However, he was unable to get the support of the first nations, local communities, and British Columbia residents who oppose this pipeline project.
    We will soon find out whether the Prime Minister cares about the interests of Canadians or the oil lobby.
    Will the Prime Minister listen to the residents of British Columbia and reject this dangerous, risky project, or was the decision made before the process even started, as usual?
    Mr. Speaker, we all know that the NDP is ideologically opposed to all development of resources.
    However, in terms of environmental evaluations, our government establishes independent panels of experts, examines their findings and makes safe decisions for Canadians and for the environment, in the best interests of our country.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the municipalities of Kitimat, Terrace, Prince Rupert, and Smithers all say no. More than 130 first nations across B.C. all say no. Three hundred scientists all say no. The Prime Minister endorsed this pipeline publicly three years ago. No matter what evidence, how many people speak out, how many people stand up against him, he keeps pushing this project.
    How can the Prime Minister deny that this whole process is a sham and that the decision was taken before the process even started?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting way for the Leader of the Opposition to cover his own tracks. We all know that the NDP is ideologically opposed to all development of resources, something the NDP has called a disease on the Canadian economy.
    The process we have in our government, in terms of environmental evaluations, is we establish independent expert panels that follow a public and scientific process. We have received a report from that process. We will make a decision, obviously based on the facts, in the not too distant future.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, UBC researchers have told us that a single tanker spill from the northern gateway would be catastrophic for B.C.'s pristine north coast and its economy. A large spill would cost $10 billion to clean up, and would wipe out over 4,000 full-time B.C. jobs.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and say “no” to the northern gateway pipeline?
    Mr. Speaker, we know very well the leader of the Liberal Party's and his party's deep hostility to Canada's energy sector.
    Notwithstanding that, the reality is that when we do environmental assessments of these very important projects, what we do is we set up independent experts, scientific panels that examine the facts. This government has approved some projects, not approved others, and conditionally approved some, based on the findings of panels, based on the finding of fact.
    We are examining that report. We will make a decision based on the facts and the expertise in the not too distant future.
    Mr. Speaker, on the north coast of British Columbia, people make their living on the water. The ocean is their economy, and it has been since before European contact.
    Will the Prime Minister protect the B.C. economy, and say “no” to the northern gateway pipeline?
    Mr. Speaker, I repeat, we make our decisions on these kinds of things, whether we approve, not approve, or conditionally approve projects, on the basis of the findings of independent panels of experts.
    We will not approve a project unless we can determine that it is safe for the environment and safe for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the clock is ticking on the northern gateway pipeline project, and the Prime Minister needs to step up and take responsibility.
    We still have no response to the questions about environmental impact, and aboriginal communities still have not been properly consulted.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and say “no” to the northern gateway pipeline?
    Mr. Speaker, the responsible approach is completely different from the approach the Liberals would take. We cannot make a decision before we know the facts. We have established an independent panel of experts to examine this project, as we have done for other projects.
    We will make a decision, based on the facts and the expertise we have received, in the not too distant future.
    Mr. Speaker, the northern gateway pipeline project is dangerous for the environment. The risks of a spill are high and navigating oil tankers in the area will be difficult.
    Apart from alienating the first nations, the only thing that this pipeline will do is export thousands of jobs. Canadians know that the northern gateway pipeline is destructive at every level.
    Why do the Conservatives want to destroy the magnificent yet fragile ecosystem on the north coast of British Columbia?
    Mr. Speaker, we are carefully reviewing this report and a decision will be made shortly. Projects will be approved only if they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.
    Speaking of reports, let us talk about the report from the Board of Internal Economy, which had but one recommendation: that the NDP pay back the $1.7 million it took from taxpayers. It is time for the NDP to pay it back.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, like a schoolyard bully, the Prime Minister has targeted opponents, attempted to divide communities, and silenced the voices of anyone who dares to oppose Enbridge northern gateway.
    First nations in British Columbia will not be bullied by the Prime Minister. Communities are more united now than ever. Try as they might, the Conservatives will not silence the voices of the people of British Columbia.
    The 21 Conservative MPs from British Columbia, will one of them have the audacity, the courage to stand up and say “no” to the Prime Minister, “no” to the oil lobby, and say “yes” to British Columbia, and reject this bad pipeline?
    Mr. Speaker, we are carefully reviewing this report, and a decision will be forthcoming. Projects will only be approved if they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.
    While we are on the topic of reports, let us talk about the report from the Board of Internal Economy. That report has one recommendation: that the NDP pay back the $1.17 million it took from taxpayers. It is time for the NDP to pay it back.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, not a single Conservative MP would stand up and answer that from British Columbia. It shows a lot about their convictions and their courage.
    The Conservatives are preparing to rubber-stamp this project in just a few short hours. First nations are preparing their legal defence with their allies.
    Who does the Conservative government have to blame for this opposition? According to its own special envoy, it is the Conservative Government of Canada. For years, the Conservatives put all of their efforts into berating opponents and insulting first nations. Do they know the best way to show first nations respect? It is to show first nations respect: Say no to this bad pipeline.
    Mr. Speaker, first nations have and will continue to make important contributions as a full partner in the development of our natural resources. In fact, the natural resources sector is the largest private employer of first nations and people in Canada. The success of this sector depends on their full participation, from environmental stewardship to the economic benefits of responsible resource development.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, time and again the Conservatives simply fail to respect first nations. Now four Alberta first nations have filed suit against the government for failing to ensure access to safe drinking water, arguing failure to respect treaty rights, the Constitution, and international law.
    Far too many first nations still suffer the effects of contaminated water, yet all the government has done is enact a law to transfer liability to the first nations.
    How many more children will be denied safe drinking water before the government acts?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is taking action so that first nations across Canada have the same quality of drinking water as all Canadians. That is why, since 2006, we have invested approximately $3 billion in first nations' water and waste water infrastructure and related public health activities.
    As a matter of fact, in the last economic development action plan 2014, we invested $323 million, and that member and that party voted against it.
    Mr. Speaker, we voted against Conservative budgets that failed first nations.
    We have heard the minister's excuses many times before and from many different ministers. The shameful state of drinking water on first nation reserves has been ignored for far too long by far too many governments. Imagine parents being afraid to wash their children because the water is not safe. This has to change.
    Will the minister stop stalling and ensure that first nation communities have the necessary funds for ensuring that everyone has access to safe drinking water?
    Mr. Speaker, indeed, this has to change. That is why we passed the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, which will, for the first time, provide first nation communities with drinking water and waste water standards that are comparable to other communities in the country. Again, on this one, the opposition voted against it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister does not seem to be taking the matter seriously. I wonder how he would react if his home had no access to drinking water.
    The problem of drinking water on reserves affects hundreds of people. By not living up to their commitment to provide resources to ensure access to drinking water on reserves, the Conservatives are leaving the communities exposed to shortages or, worse, to the contamination of their drinking water.
    We do not want to know what the excuses are; rather, we want to know how the minister has managed to allow this situation to deteriorate and what he is going to do to correct it.
    Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue on exactly the same path that we started on: we will continue investing in aboriginal communities. Since 2006, we have invested approximately $3 billion in water and waste water infrastructure in aboriginal communities across the country.
    As a matter of fact, in budget 2014 we propose to continue implementing our action plan with an investment of $323.4 million. That is a significant and meaningful investment.

  (1435)  

Public Works and Government Services

    Mr. Speaker, according to the Department of Defence's timeline, the contract to replace the CF-18s will not be finalized until 2018. That is the best-case scenario. The department has also acknowledged the possibility that the contract might not be signed until 2020. That gives the department plenty of time to launch a bidding process to get the best value for money and maximize spinoffs for aerospace industry workers.
    Why does the Conservative government want to give billions of dollars to Lockheed Martin without even launching a bidding process to replace the CF-18s?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, no decision has been made about replacing the CF-18 fleet. We have received reports from the air force, and those reports have been reviewed by a group of experts outside government. The experts confirmed that the analysis was both thorough and impartial. We will make a decision based on the reports, and that decision will be in the best interests of the forces that need this equipment.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, first we had Bill Graham and David Pratt, two former Liberal ministers who never hid their enthusiasm for the American missile defence shield. Now a committee of Liberal and Conservative senators is recommending that Canada join the missile defence program.
    Unelected people are taking a position and the Liberal leader is dodging questions while the Prime Minister is being very vague about his intentions. Either the Conservatives want in or they do not. There are no half measures here.
    In the midst of slashing services to the public, are the Conservatives really going to spend billions on this questionable project?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Senate for this report. I point out that it was unanimous. All the Conservatives and all the independent Liberals, or Liberal independents, whatever they are, were on side with this. We will review it very carefully.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and his cabinet have already launched a few trial balloons on missile defence, and the answer from Canadians will always be “no” to this very expensive and ineffective system.
    Yesterday's report from unelected and unaccountable Liberal and Conservative senators called on the Conservative government to favour joining the missile defence scheme. Is the government going to buy into this expensive boondoggle?
    Mr. Speaker, what we are going to do is review the recommendations very, very carefully, as we should, and we are going to continue to monitor the international developments. Our focus will always be on the safety and security of Canadian families.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday we witnessed a remarkable admission from the justice minister. By moving Mr. Justice Mainville from the Federal Court, with a brief stopover at the Quebec Court of Appeal, he indicated his clear intent to put him on the Supreme Court of Canada.
    It is clear that he has a legal duty to comply with not just the spirit but the letter of the Nadon decision. If the minister believes that he is acting constitutionally, will he now release the departmental advice he has received that validates his decision to move Justice Mainville from the Federal Court to the Quebec Court of Appeal?
    Mr. Speaker, again, those are very convoluted, conspiratorial comments.
    As the Prime Minister has just clearly indicated, this has nothing to do with the Supreme Court of Canada. This is about an appointment to the Quebec Court of Appeal. Mr. Justice Mainville, as I said yesterday, is an eminently qualified Quebec jurist, and under section 3 of the Judges Act, he is certainly qualified and eligible to join the Quebec Court of Appeal. We do not have a process in place to replace the Supreme Court judge next December.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, why must the Conservative government spoil everything it touches, including the appointment of judges?
    Although he is now denying it, yesterday the minister suggested that he wanted Justice Mainville to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Does the minister realize that such an appointment—which comes just weeks after Justice Mainville transferred from the Federal Court to the Quebec Court of Appeal—would blatantly violate the Supreme Court's decision and result in another legal battle, once again depriving Canadians of a ninth judge for many months?

  (1440)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is coming from the architect of Kyoto and the stunning electoral victory of the Liberal Party, speaking of wrecking things.
    As was already indicated, yesterday's comments had nothing to do with the Supreme Court of Canada. They had everything to do with the recent transfer, on request, of a Federal Court judge to the Quebec Court of Appeal. That has happened, and with respect to a Supreme Court appointment in the future, next December, to replace Mr. Justice LeBel, there is no process in place as yet.

Tourism

    Mr. Speaker, every dollar invested to support travel and tourism yields $56 in return. This is easy math, even for a mediocre economist.
    Global travel is increasing, but Conservative cuts have knocked Canada from 7th to 16th place as a destination, making us one of just five countries to experience a drop in visitors. Instead of selling Canada as a destination point, Conservatives would rather sell Canada out by slashing the Canadian Tourism Commission by over 20%.
    When are the Conservatives going to start promoting Canada instead of just promoting themselves?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, clearly my colleague was not in Vancouver a few weeks ago during Rendez-vous Canada, the Canadian tourism industry conference. This event was a great success. The entire tourism industry was in attendance, as well as international buyers.
    This tourism conference was the biggest one that has been held in Canada for years. What was celebrated? The success of the Canadian tourism industry.

[English]

Privacy

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's inability to balance reasonable legislation with respect for the Constitution and the privacy rights of Canadians is getting embarrassing. The Conservatives ignore legal experts, reject amendments, and end up banging their heads against the Supreme Court, as they did last Friday, when the Supreme Court had to remind them that snooping on Canadians without a warrant is illegal. Well, quelle surprise.
    This brings us to the cyberbullying bill. Why did the minister not listen to the experts, separate the cyberbullying provisions so that it would be passed through this House, and then allow us to amend the clearly unconstitutional parts of the Conservatives' agenda for snooping on the private rights of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, we received the Spencer decision from the Supreme Court a full two business days ago, but let me tell the member this. The Supreme Court's decision actually confirms what the government has said all along, that Bill C-13's proposals regarding voluntary disclosures do not provide legal authority for access to information without a warrant.
    The Supreme Court's affirmation, in fact, of Mr. Spencer's conviction on possession of child pornography charges very much reinforces the long-held position of this government that children and Canadians in general must be protected from the scourge of cyberbullying, online criminality, and certainly sexual exploitation.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, last Friday, the Supreme Court reiterated that police must obtain a warrant from the court to obtain a customer's IP address.
    This decision casts serious doubt on the constitutionality of Bill C-13 on cyberbullying.
    In light of this ruling by the highest court, will the government finally agree to the NDP's request to divide Bill C-13 in order to combat cyberbullying and prevent the law from being struck down because it infringes on people's privacy?
    Mr. Speaker, the answer is the same. We are reviewing that decision, which was made on Friday.
    The letter from the Supreme Court confirms what our government has been saying all along, which is that Bill C-13's proposals regarding voluntary disclosures do not provide legal authority for access to information without a warrant. It is absolutely essential to review this Supreme Court decision and pass this bill.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, it would be prudent to wait before moving forward with Bill C-13 and to conduct an analysis to see whether this works or not.
    Under the Conservatives, and especially under this Minister of Justice, the Supreme Court appointment process has become a real farce, and I would go even further. The Prime Minister does whatever he wants without any regard for the Constitution or the courts.
    The Minister of Justice, who is supposed to be standing up for our justice system and our Constitution, cannot even tell the difference between the Quebec Superior Court and the Supreme Court.
    Why is the Minister of Justice trying to circumvent the Supreme Court decision on Justice Nadon?

  (1445)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, of course we are doing no such thing, as the Prime Minister has already said, and as I repeated yesterday. It had nothing to do with the Supreme Court of Canada. It had everything to do with the appeal court of Quebec. That is what I said in the House. That is what I said outside the House.
    Mr. Justice Mainville is an eminent jurist. He is someone who is highly qualified and eligible to take up his position as an appeal court judge in the member's province of Quebec.
    Mr. Speaker, I guess the Prime Minister not only does not take the Chief Justice's phone calls, he does not open her letters, because she already informed the government that Justice LeBel will be gone by November. Mr. Mainville and Mr. Nadon may be fine jurists, but that does not mean they meet eligibility criteria to sit on the Supreme Court.
     The court was clear: Federal Court judges are not eligible for Supreme Court appointments. Moving a judge to the Quebec Court of Appeal for a few months is not respecting the letter and the spirit of the law. There are laws. Will the Minister of Justice respect the law, or will he—
    Order, please. The hon. Minister of Justice.
    Mr. Speaker, I have already clearly answered that question, as has the Prime Minister. Mr. Justice Mainville has been appointed to the Court of Appeal of Quebec. This has nothing to do with the Supreme Court of Canada.
    I must admit, however, that the justice critic for the NDP from Quebec seems to be siding with a downtown Toronto lawyer who appears to be trying to block and limit the pool of jurists who are available to be appointed to superior courts in the province of Quebec.

Northern Development

    Mr. Speaker, various elements of the Arctic Archipelago are separated from one another and the Canadian mainland by a series of waterways collectively known as the Canadian Northwest Passage. However, questions continue to be raised about Canada's sovereignty in this area.
    Canada's north is a fundamental part of our national identity and vital to our future. Could the Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and chair of the Arctic Council explain to this House whether Canada has any proof that there is sovereignty over this land?
    Mr. Speaker, a new atlas of the Arctic was released last week that shows Inuit discovered the Northwest Passage even before we thought of it. There are trails and place names that are hundreds of years old and are still used by Inuit today. This proves that the Northwest Passage is very much a part of Canadian history. We will continue to claim this area as ours and ensure that northerners continue to occupy these lands today and into the future.

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, with tragic events in Iraq, the Syrian refugee crisis is getting worse and here we are having a hard time getting straight answers from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, so let us put it in context.
    Sweden has over 14,000 Syrian refugees; Germany, 19,000; and the Canadian government has promised to help 200, and still cannot tell us how many are actually here.
    It is a simple question for the minister: how many government-sponsored refugees from Syria are here in Canada today?
    Mr. Speaker, once again that member is misinforming the House; his question is completely wrong.
    I met with a senior German official today who confirmed to us that the large number of Syrians that Germany is taking are going to be there on a temporary basis. Canada has accepted 1,150 Syrian refugees since the beginning of the crisis. They are all here in Canada, and we are prepared to do much more, building on our very strong credentials as the fourth-largest donor to the humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis and the country that refugees around the world rely on to resettle one out of ten—
    Order, please. The member for Pierrefonds—Dollard.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister can pretend not to understand the question and throw all these grand figures at us out of context, but that does not change the fact that we still do not know the number of refugees.
    It is simple. The Syrian Canadian Council tells us that in fact the government will probably not reach its targets. We want proof that these 200 refugees that the government promised to sponsor will be here, if not yesterday, then today or tomorrow. Can the minister tell us how many of the 200 refugees he promised to sponsor are here in Canada right now?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, why do our hon. colleagues insist on focusing on such a small number when there are already 1,150 Syrian refugees in Canada? Why does the opposition not talk about the more than 18,000 Iraqis--almost 20,000, in fact--who have settled in Canada since the conflict in Iraq in 2003? Several thousand of them began as refugees in Syria and are now in Canada.
    Countries like Sweden, Germany, and our European and United Nations partners know that Canada is a world leader in this regard.

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, because of the changes made by the Conservatives to the Social Security Tribunal, wait times for EI appeals have quadrupled. The unemployed who have to deal with the new tribunal must wait an average of eight months with no benefits. That is unacceptable. Ironically, the Conservatives got rid of the previous system, claiming that it was slow and ineffective.
    Do they realize that they have implemented a system that is even slower and more ineffective, and that the unemployed are once again the ones paying the price for their mismanagement?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Social Security Tribunal did receive a large number of cases from the legacy tribunal. That said, it has a plan in place to get these cases through in a faster manner, and we are going to support it in that.
    However, the member is misleading the public in terms of the wait times. They are not as extreme as she is saying and it is disappointing that she would do that.
    Mr. Speaker, only the Conservatives thought it was a good idea to replace 1,000 referees with just 39 tribunal members. Here we are a year later, and wait times for employment insurance appeals have quadrupled. These are unemployed Canadians who paid into EI their whole lives, but when they need help, their government abandons them.
    Why have Conservatives destroyed the social security appeal system?
    Once again, Mr. Speaker, the member is completely distorting the facts, and it is disappointing.
    Although the Social Security Tribunal is dealing with a large number of cases, it has a plan in place. It is an independent tribunal. I would suggest the member, instead of trying to find ways to cheat the system in terms of offices, contact the Social Security Tribunal on behalf of her constituents if she has concerns.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, the government continues to ignore major structural problems plaguing the Canadian economy. Our decline in competitiveness has hurt our exports. Highly indebted households will not sustain past levels of domestic demand. David Dodge tells us to invest much more in infrastructure that will stimulate demand and increase our competitiveness, especially at a time when low interest rates make infrastructure investment more affordable than ever.
    Instead of cutting infrastructure investment by 90%, why is the government not acting?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, once again, this member is misleading the House. He is not talking about the overall program of the Building Canada fund and the Building Canada plan. We have signed agreements with almost all the provinces to renew the excise tax on gasoline. On Friday of last week, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans signed the agreement with Minister Vessey in Prince Edward Island.
    There are investments across the country and we will continue with the longest and most significant Building Canada plan in the country's history.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, David Dodge says current low interest rates and excess manpower makes it the ideal time to make needed infrastructure investments. Instead, the government is slashing infrastructure spending by almost 90% this year. Voters in Trinity—Spadina and Scarborough—Agincourt are asking why the government is turning its back on their needs for more affordable housing, better transit, and other critical job-creating investments.
    Will the Minister of Finance listen to the experts and immediately commit to these investments that will boost our economy and create jobs now?
    Mr. Speaker, our Building Canada plan includes several components, which my colleague prefers to forget. There is the community improvement fund, which includes background on the gas tax and the GST credit, amounting to $32 billion. There is the Building Canada fund, which includes $4 billion to support projects of national importance, and $10 billion is reserved for the provinces and territories. We have no lessons to learn from them.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, last Saturday 600 victims affected by pyrrhotite came together in Trois-Rivières to discuss the outcome of the Superior Court ruling. The ruling was very clear, and agreed with the victims on every point. The judge based his decision on the consensus of experts, and he is calling for changes to the regulations. The standards fall under federal jurisdiction. The federal government therefore needs to stop off-loading the problem onto Quebec City.
    When will the government read the ruling and review the regulations to protect the public?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in fact, the ruling that was made recently in Quebec actually said the opposite of what that member asserts. What it did rule is that industry is responsible. It is not a federal issue.
    We hope that the ruling will bring some resolution for these homeowners.

Asbestos

    Mr. Speaker, I know that members are well aware that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known. In fact, more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other occupational causes combined, yet the current government insists there are still safe uses for asbestos and it refused to join the rest of the developed world to ban asbestos in all of its forms.
    I want to ask the Minister of Labour, as a medical practitioner, as a physician, how, in all good conscience, does she defend her government's reprehensible policy on asbestos?
    Mr. Speaker, our government will not oppose the listing of chrysotile at Rotterdam. Economic action plan 2013 supports the economic diversification efforts of the communities of Thetford Mines and Asbestos. Resource management is the responsibility of the province.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, lower taxes make Canada's economy stronger and create good, long-term jobs for Canadians. That is why our government has cut taxes on job-creating businesses. By leaving more money in the hands of entrepreneurs and businesses, entrepreneurs and businesses can hire more Canadians and expand their operations.
    In a study released today, KPMG assessed the tax competitiveness of several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
    Would the Minister of Finance please tell us how Canada ranked in this report?
    Mr. Speaker, KPMG concluded that Canada remains the most tax-competitive country in its study, with total taxes more than 46% lower than in the United States. Thanks to our low-tax plan, more businesses are investing in Canada. We have over one million new jobs since the recession.
    In contrast, the opposition wants to increase taxes on business, which would hurt the Canadian economy, kill jobs, and undermine our competitiveness.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, we learned at health committee last week, during its study of the unsafe drugs act, that 28% of hospitals in Canada reprocess medical instruments and devices meant to be used only once. We also learned that the federal government is completely absent from regulating the reprocessing of single-use instruments and devices, unlike in the U.S., where the FDA is front and centre.
    The government regulates the medical devices industry. Why is it not exercising its right to regulate the reprocessing of used medical instruments and devices?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. It gives me the opportunity to highlight Vanessa's law, which, I am happy to say, passed the House of Commons yesterday. I want to thank the member for Oakville for a law that would help identify potentially dangerous drugs and ensure the quick recall of unsafe drugs. It requires reporting on serious adverse drug reactions when they are aware of the risks.
    When it comes to medical devices or drugs, we work closely with the provinces and territories and health institutions to ensure that we can take action.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to neglect official languages and the Francophonie.
    A number of programs in the Roadmap for Official Languages, launched over a year ago, have not even started, and several organizations are waiting for their funding. Some are even living off their credit line. It is unacceptable to penalize minority communities.
    Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell us what she is going to do to fix the situation, and when the organizations will receive their money? They may not survive the wait.

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, the new Roadmap for Official Languages is the most comprehensive investment made in Canada. We are very proud of this $1.1 billion in funding. There is no question about it.
    My colleagues also care about minority communities, and they are doing everything in their power to ensure that the roadmap money is spent as announced.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, this week is Sarcoma Cancer Awareness Week. Sarcoma is a type of cancer that attacks connective tissue within the body, often causing tumours in muscles, bones, nerves, fat, and blood vessels. It is especially common in children and young adults. In fact, Terry Fox had a form of sarcoma cancer, leading to his death.
    Close to 1,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with sarcoma each year. Tragically, approximately 500 will die from one of its 50 identified types.
    Would the minister tell us what steps our government is taking to address this important health issue?
    Mr. Speaker, I was pleased today to kick off Sarcoma Awareness Week. Earlier today, I was able to visit the Ottawa Hospital and the researchers to announce $1.2 million to carry out a specialized research project on sarcoma. This builds on our government's investments of more than $1.1 billion into cancer research since we formed government.
    I would like to acknowledge the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada for its great work to raise awareness on this issue. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about sarcoma by visiting sarcomacancer.ca.

Copyright

    Mr. Speaker, over 90% of published materials are simply not accessible to blind and visually impaired Canadians. The Marrakesh treaty on copyright seeks to fix this problem. Sixty-seven countries have signed on, including the EU, the U.K., India, and China, but not Canada.
    The Conservatives left these measures out of their proposed copyright changes. The treaty's deadline is June 27. Will the Conservatives do the right thing and sign this treaty so we can improve access for visually impaired Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, of course our government has taken the lead with our Copyright Modernization Act. In fact, just today we put in place the notice and notice regime to further modernize our copyright regime in this country.
    With regard to those who are perceptually disabled, my colleague should know very well that when we put together the Copyright Modernization Act, we worked with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and others. Of course, we are more than willing to look at ways to improve our copyright legislation to ensure that all Canadians recognize that their needs are met in Canadian law.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not want to ship our oil to Red China at discount prices through the gateway pipeline, especially when eastern Canada depends on expensive imports. If we are going to build any pipeline—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I caught a question there, but I appreciate the point the member tried to make, obviously, in principle about shipping western Canadian oil to eastern Canada as a possibility. We will leave it to the independent National Energy Board to undertake a thorough scientific review of such a project. We are going to rely on science and facts, not ideology, in making decisions on energy infrastructure projects. That is why we will wait for the open and transparent review process rather than jump to conclusions.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1505)  

[English]

Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act

    The House resumed from June 16 consideration of Bill C-6, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Pursuant to an order made on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions on the motions at report stage of Bill C-6.
    Call in the members.
    Before the taking of the vote:
    The Speaker: Is the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North rising on a point of order?
    Mr. Speaker, I realize you were distracted, but I was unable to present my question due to the overwhelming din from the other side. I sat down and I never did get to ask my question.
    Might I be able to ask my question?
    I have already indicated that question period is over and we are moving on to the vote. I do not know if there is consent of the House to revert to question period.
    Some hon. members: No.
     The Speaker: There does not seem to be.
    The hon. member for Ottawa South is rising.
    Mr. Speaker, I am looking for unanimous consent this afternoon to table three documents.
    The first is the budget document from Australia, which tables building Australia's infrastructure—
    Some hon. members: No.
    I am hearing nays before the member has even finished.
     I sense the desire of the House to get on to the deferred recorded divisions. We had tabling of documents earlier today. Perhaps we will go ahead with the vote, and then if the member wants to seek unanimous consent of the House, the House might be in a better mood and may be inclined to grant it.
    We will now move on.
    The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 3.
    During the taking of the vote:

  (1510)  

    Order. I think that members are getting awfully close to holding up a prop, and I do not think that it suits the House very well. I will ask members to come to order, and we will resume with the vote.

[Translation]

    (The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 213)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Choquette
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeland
Freeman
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jones
Julian
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Thibeault
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 127

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Falk
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
Maguire
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 148

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 1 defeated. I therefore declare Motion No. 3 defeated as well.

[English]

    The next question is on Motion No. 2.

  (1520)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 214)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Choquette
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeland
Freeman
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jones
Julian
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Thibeault
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 127

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Falk
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
Maguire
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 148

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 2 defeated.
     moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.
    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:

  (1525)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 215)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Falk
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
Maguire
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 147

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Choquette
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeland
Freeman
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jones
Julian
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Thibeault
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 127

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Respect For Communities Act

Bill C-2—Time Allocation Motion  

    That, in relation to Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and

That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
    There will now be a 30-minute period for questions. I will recognize the hon. member for Vancouver East.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to see how the government House leader acts in sort of a flippant and dismissive way when he reads this motion. It is no wonder, as this is the 74th time since 2011 that the government has introduced closure on a piece of legislation before the House. That means that most of its legislation has been rammed through, forced through by closure, because it cannot bear to have a proper comprehensive debate in the House of Commons by members of Parliament from all parties on any government legislation. It is bent on the idea that it has to ram it through.
    Bill C-2, which is an amendment to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, is a particularly important bill because it follows a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada concerning safer injection sites in this country. As we have seen with other legislation, most notably Bill C-36 recently, which also has to do with a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada concerning laws pertaining to prostitution in this country, this is yet another bill in this House that basically does not stand the test of the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada.
    I would ask the minister why the government has decreed that this bill will not go to the health committee where it should go, because it is a matter pertaining to the health and well-being of Canadians who are very much at risk and who have been marginalized, rather than going to the public safety committee. That demonstrates the conclusion that the government sees this as just another law and order measure, as opposed to a measure that is affecting the health of people. Why were people not properly consulted on this bill, such as front-line service workers, so that we would have the benefit of that in terms of debating the bill? Why will it now go to the public safety committee instead of where it should be going, which is for a thorough examination at the Standing Committee on Health?

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to address the whole question of the timing of this bill and the debate. This has received a huge amount of debate in the House of Commons. As a matter of fact, 97 members have been on their feet. There were more than 18 hours of debate in the House of Commons. I am not sure the Magna Carta had that many hours of debate. That being said, there were 18 hours of debate.
    The position of the New Democrats is that 18 days or maybe 18 years would not be enough on bills that they do not like, which is consistent in this particular area.
    I am pleased that the House leader is moving forward with this. Let us get it to committee. If members want to hear debate, let Canadians, Canadian groups and Canadian individuals, come before the committee and make their opinions known. That is appropriate here. It is not enough for the New Democrats to say that they want to debate it forever in here; let us hear from Canadians who have something to say about these drug consumption sites for illegal drugs. Let us get Canadians and Canadian groups aboard. That is what we should do.
    Order, please. Before we get to questions, I will remind hon. members that in order to get enough time in, as there is a 30-minute time period for questions, around one-minute interventions on either side are always helpful to get more people involved.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.
    Mr. Speaker, it is noteworthy to recognize that what we are witnessing is a breakdown in the tradition of how legislation is passed through the House of Commons. Typically, we would have government working with opposition parties to build some sort of a legislative agenda that would allow for a good, healthy number of hours of debate on controversial legislation, while at the same time legislation that is straightforward and has the support of all parties would be passed through quickly.
    Ever since we have had a majority Conservative government, it has used time allocation more than in the history of any other political entity inside the House of Commons. My colleague is right in saying shame, on that point.
    The legislation we are limiting debate on is of a serious nature. The question I would ask the government House leader is why he believes the government has failed Canadians by not allowing for the appropriate passage of all forms of legislation through negotiation, as opposed to a majority rule inside the House, which is not healthy for democracy in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I completely disagree with the hon. member. As a matter of fact, there have been 97 members of the House of Commons who have had the opportunity to speak to this bill. In fact, I am surprised that the House leader was as patient as he was. This is an important piece of legislation. We want to get these things passed. However, apparently they allowed 97 members to come forward, and they had the right to get up. However, I am concerned and surprised that the hon. member is not more concerned; I want to get this before a committee. Let Canadian groups and individuals have their say. What is so wrong with that? This is what will happen at the committee. This is important legislation; let us move it through the process. Come on; let us go.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence demonstrates a somewhat shaky grasp of parliamentary democracy: first, with his reference to the Magna Carta, which of course preceded Parliament; and second, in talking about how much debate is enough debate. It misunderstands representative democracy. The idea that people come here and represent their ridings seems completely foreign to the members on the other side.
    When we get to referring a bill to committee, I have my biggest concern. I sit on the public safety committee and I will be happy to debate this bill there, but what we have seen lately is that it is of course going to the wrong committee because it is a health question. However, I hope we are not going to see this, and this is my question. Can the minister give us the assurance that he will not try to limit the debate on this bill in committee to only the public safety aspects, so that we can have a full examination of its health aspects in the public safety committee?
    Mr. Speaker, to the final part of the member's comments, of course that is up to the public safety committee. I am not going to start dictating what it should do or should not do. He talked about parliamentary democracy. It is up to the committee members to decide how many speakers and representations it wants to have, and appropriately so.
    However, I would only say for the hon. member that we should always find common ground as to where we agree. Even though there have been over 18 hours of debate, for the NDP 18 years would not be enough. At least we agree that there is no limit to how far we could go before they would be satisfied. However, in terms of the member's comments with respect to parliamentary democracy, he has to agree with me that this is part of the parliamentary process. Let Canadians come forward and let groups come forward and make representations on that. That is only right.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the hon. minister who is before us today also has a background as a lawyer. I have been researching and considering a substantial question of privilege to be made at a later date, because the use of time allocation in this place is not part of parliamentary procedure; it is unprecedented.
    I look to the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the case about a previous Speaker, Gib Parent, and Satnam Vaid and the Human Rights Commission. There are some very interesting comments by the Supreme Court about the nature of privilege. It is basically that in our work here, as a matter of privilege, and the court stated that we must function:
...as a legislative and deliberative body, including the assembly’s work in holding the government to account, that outside interference would undermine the level of autonomy required to enable the assembly and its members to do their legislative work with dignity and efficiency.
    I put for the hon. minister that surely 74 limitations of debate in a period of one Parliament is not only unprecedented by a bit, but it is unprecedented by a country mile over anything that has ever taken place in this Parliament, ever since Confederation. Would the minister not agree with me that it begins to be an abuse of democracy that offends our privileges here as members to do our work on behalf of our constituents?
    Mr. Speaker, we have to respect what it is the court has said. The court has set down a number of conditions for drug consumption sites where illegal drugs are used. It has set out conditions, and we want to ensure that they are implemented, that they are part of the law of this country. The minister actually goes further than that. She has added another 10 different considerations that should go into this; so every precaution is taken to ensure that we get it right.
    I am surprised that the hon. members of the opposition do not want to have this before a committee. That too is a vital part of our parliamentary system, the committee hearings. That is the only thing I would urge her. There has been full debate on this. If they are part of a group that says there will never be enough debate on it, I accept that, but this is why we in government have to make decisions. However, I would say this for the member. Let us move forward. Let us have Canadians have their say on this important legislation.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since this is the government's 74th time allocation motion, the question I am going to ask may seem sarcastic,