Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2018-12-13 14:28 [p.24869]
Mr. Speaker, two years after the Panama papers scandal, the Liberals have yet to do anything to tackle international tax evasion.
If someone earns $35,000 a year and owes $200 to the government, the CRA is super efficient. However, if someone hides millions of dollars in tax havens, the agency is unable to do anything at all and drags its feet.
The minister may say that her plan is working, but in the past three years she has had nothing to show Canadians. There have been no convictions, no charges and no recoveries related to international tax evasion.
Why do the Liberals always let the rich off the hook so easily?
View Diane Lebouthillier Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the report by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada confirms that the ill-considered cuts to the agency by the Harper government had devastating consequences.
Thanks to investments of more than $1 billion in the fight against tax evasion, our government has given the agency the resources it needed. Under our leadership, it hired 1,300 new auditors. We have done twice as many audits in three years as the Harper government did in 10 years.
Our plan is working and we are starting to see the results.
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2018-12-13 14:30 [p.24870]
What rubbish, Mr. Speaker. No charges have been laid. When regular people claim something on their taxes, they are given only 90 days to prove that it is a legal claim. It has been two years since the Panama papers revealed that many of the richest people in Canada had been stashing billions of dollars in illegal offshore tax havens, and still not a single charge has been laid. That is like playing Monopoly where the richest always get a get-out-of-jail-free card.
This Christmas, instead of going after everyday people all the time, why does the Prime Minister not tell his minister to go after illegal offshore tax havens for a change?
View Diane Lebouthillier Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, in our last three budgets, we invested over $1 billion to give the Canada Revenue Agency the tools it needs to go after tax cheats.
With respect to the Panama papers, the CRA identified over 3,000 offshore entities associated with over 2,600 beneficial owners that have some link to Canada. The CRA has risk assessed over 80% of them. We also chose to tighten the rules for the voluntary disclosures program. The net is tightening.
An hon. member: Oh, oh!
View Guy Caron Profile
Mr. Speaker, two years after the Panama papers scandal, governments around the world have recouped over $700 million in fines and back taxes as a result of investigations, but Canada has recouped zero. Just as an example, since 2016, the Australian Taxation Office has recouped more than $48 million, but Canada has recouped zero.
Canadians who are not rich are presumed guilty until they can prove their innocence, and the CRA goes after them with all guns blazing. However, Canadians who are wealthy are innocent until proven guilty, and they are treated with kid gloves.
I ask the Prime Minister, why is there this double standard?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2018-12-12 14:35 [p.24802]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.
We have made investments of over $1 billion to give the Canada Revenue Agency the resources needed to crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.
On the Panama papers specifically, the CRA has identified over 3,000 offshore entities with over 2,600 beneficial owners that have some link to Canada, of which the CRA has risk assessed over 80%. I can confirm that there are several criminal investigations under way regarding the Panama papers which, as my colleague knows, can be complex and require months or years to complete.
View Guy Caron Profile
Mr. Speaker, funny, that is not stopping other countries from completing investigations and getting results.
I would remind the Prime Minister that the Auditor General does not know where the money spent by the CRA went. The CRA has no trouble going after Canadians who are not rich and bullying them, but it treats tax evaders with kid gloves.
The Canada Revenue Agency has been investigating for over two years now, but it still has not dealt with the 3,000 files of people involved in the Panama papers. However, it has ample time to pore over the files of 332,000 Canadians who receive benefits. With answers like the one we just heard, it is clear that the Liberals are protecting the status quo.
Why the double standard? Why go after the least wealthy Canadians and leave the richest alone?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2018-12-12 14:36 [p.24802]
Mr. Speaker, we have made investments of over $1 billion to give the Canada Revenue Agency the resources needed to crack down on tax cheats.
On the Panama papers specifically, the CRA has identified over 3,000 offshore entities with over 2,600 beneficial owners that have some link to Canada, of which the CRA has risk-assessed over 80%.
I can confirm that there are several criminal investigations under way involving the Panama papers. As my colleague knows, these investigations can be complex and take time to complete.
View Luc Berthold Profile
View Luc Berthold Profile
2018-12-07 13:17 [p.24616]
Madam Speaker, I just want to say something to my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly, who said a few moments ago that the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security is perhaps one of the most collegial of all the House committees.
I am pleased to say that the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food is also a very good committee, where people of all political stripes work well together.
Unfortunately, as is wont to happen, we sometimes do not agree with our colleagues and things can escalate and become a bit more tense. However, our role, the role of parliamentary committees and the role of the House is to express our views in committee.
I can say that I am very proud of the work my Conservative colleagues do on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. They do excellent work on all the files. I think that is worth mentioning.
A large part of our work as members of Parliament happens not just behind the curtains, but in rooms other than the beautiful House of Commons. All kinds of things are done in committee rooms for the good of all Canadians, and I think it is worth taking a few moments to mention this work every once in a while.
Bill C-21, as members know, has to do with customs and borders. I cannot start talking about Bill C-21 without first taking a few minutes to talk about the extremely important border issue of illegal migration, which is a problem we are currently facing.
Members will soon see why I think it is appropriate to talk about this issue now, during the debate on Bill C-21.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer has released a report on the cost of illegal border crossings. In his report, the Parliamentary Budget Officer provided clarifications on the crisis at the Canada-U.S. border. Since 2017, a total of 38,000 people have crossed into Canada illegally. I say “illegally” because on this side of the House, we like to use the right words.
The signs posted at the border and on Roxham Road clearly indicate that it is illegal to cross the border at that location, yet many people cross anyway. In fact, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, 38,000 people have done so. That is why we, the Conservatives, refer to those individuals as illegal migrants. Since 2017, 38,000 people have illegally crossed our borders. They entered our country illegally, not only at Roxham Road, but that road has seen the largest number.
The Prime Minister has failed to address this crisis, and quite frankly, he is the one who created it. Who can forget the Prime Minister's infamous tweet in January 2017, his welcome to Canada tweet. That tweet had quite an impact around the world, so much so that it resulted in 38,000 illegal border crossings.
There have been other repercussions besides the number of people who illegally entered Canada. The Parliamentary Budget Officer's data show that the cost of welcoming someone who crosses the border illegally is more than the gross annual salary of Canadian workers who earn minimum wage.
By 2020, if the Prime Minister continues to do nothing to address this crisis, it is going to cost Canadians $1.1 billion, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs for the provinces.
I am talking about this today for two reasons. First, the premiers and the Prime Minister are meeting today in Montreal. Second, we learned today that the Quebec government estimates that it will have to ask Ottawa for $300 million in compensation for accommodating the illegal immigrants who arrived in response to the Prime Minister's tweet from January 2017. It is asking for $300 million.
What answer did we get today when we asked about this request? We were told that $36 million had been given to the Quebec government to pay for the illegal immigrants' immediate housing needs.
I think the government is trying to play games here. It says it is going to pay the cost of housing illegal migrants, but it knows full well that almost all the social costs of accommodating these illegal migrants fall on the Quebec government.
Since it was the Prime Minister himself who created this crisis, it is inappropriate for the government to try to shirk its responsibilities by saying it has spent $36 million to address urgent housing needs. The Quebec government has asked for $300 million. I hope the federal government will provide a prompt and appropriate response to that request. That $1.1 billion was not included in the budget and will not be used to meet Canadians' needs. This is yet another failure.
This situation shows what a failure the Prime Minister is at taking action on the international stage. The trade deals and the tariffs imposed on our softwood lumber, steel and aluminum prove it. He is also unable to fix the durum wheat crisis. The topic of customs and borders encompasses many different elements and issues. We on this side of the House are working hard to show Canadians that the government is getting everything wrong on the issue of illegal immigration.
Another border-related issue is going to come up next week when the Prime Minister signs the United Nations global compact for migration. This UN initiative establishes standards and international responsibilities with respect to migration. It is worth taking the time to consider the consequences of signing the compact.
The Prime Minister's actions since January 2017 suggest that he does not really like borders. He does not like it when people are prevented from entering Canada illegally. Unfortunately, the UN global compact for migration seems to align with the Prime Minister's approach since January 2017.
Conservatives believe that Canada should control its own borders and dictate who gets to enter the country. That is why we oppose Canada joining the global compact for migration. That is no secret. Canadians, and only Canadians, should decide who enters the country and under what circumstances, not foreign entities such as the UN. I wanted to take two seconds to talk about that before diving into the bill before us today, Bill C-21.
As we debate Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Act, I would like to remind members that the Minister of Public Safety introduced the bill in the House on June 15, 2016. This bill will authorize the Canada Border Services Agency to collect biographic information on all travellers, including Canadian citizens, when they leave Canada. The agency would have new discretionary authority and could collect information if it wanted to, but it would not be required to do so.
The law would authorize officers to require goods exported from Canada to be declared, despite exemptions, and give them the authority to examine them. Bill C-21 will also add two exemptions for exported goods. First, goods on a conveyance that enters and leaves Canadian waters do not need to be declared. Goods on a conveyance that proceeds from one place in Canada to another place in Canada do not need to be declared.
The bill will also make it an offence to smuggle or attempt to smuggle, whether clandestinely or not, any goods that are subject to duties or any goods the exportation of which is prohibited, controlled or regulated.
There is a reason the Conservative Party will support the bill. We already supported it and we have no objection to supporting the Senate amendment. The reason is that the bill is part of the beyond the border action plan that was announced jointly in 2011 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama. That initiative established a long-term perimeter security partnership. I would like to spend a moment on the joint statement. It listed the following key areas of co-operation between the United States and Canada.
The main goal was to identify threats early on so as not to be caught unaware by things that could have been avoided when it is too late. The key areas of co-operation are: trade facilitation, economic growth, jobs, cross-border law enforcement and, of course, essential infrastructure and cybersecurity.
According to the action plan's original schedule, the information-sharing initiative was supposed to be implemented on June 30, 2014. In March 2016, after his first official visit to the United States, the Prime Minister announced the agreement with the United States to fully implement a system for sharing basic biographic information.
It is now December 2018. Why has the government taken so long to pass this bill, which just makes good sense to us?
This bill has the authorization, the approval, of both countries' administrations, so it should have been passed more quickly. It is important for keeping Canadians safe and preventing people from here or elsewhere from taking undue advantage of the system and spending their time in warmer climes, under the Florida sun, while abusing our social security system. For all of these reasons, this is obviously a bill that needs to be passed as soon as possible.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2018-12-06 15:13 [p.24556]
That a Message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act, the House:
agrees with amendments 1 and 3 made by the Senate;
respectfully disagrees with amendment 2 because the amendment seeks to legislate employment matters which are beyond the policy intent of the bill, whose purpose is to make decision-making related to sustainable development more transparent and accountable to Parliament.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-12-06 15:13 [p.24556]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to discuss Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act.
I would like to begin by thanking everyone who has helped shape Bill C-57. The contributions of many hon. members and senators have been invaluable to the process, and the bill reflects the hard work and collaborative efforts of many individuals.
In particular, I appreciate the Hon. Senator Griffin's efforts in sponsoring this bill and her ongoing support as it has moved forward. I would also like to thank members of the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources for their thoughtful review and valuable insights.
Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to recognize the work of members of the House, including members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, whose unanimous second report, “Federal Sustainability for Future Generations”, served as the foundation for Bill C-57. I look forward to the chamber's discussion of the Senate's amendments to the bill.
Today, I want to start by outlining the importance of the Federal Sustainable Development Act and how Bill C-57 seeks to improve upon the current version of the legislation. Then I will highlight some of the most recent documents we have released under the current act. Finally, I wish to outline our position on the amendments made in the Senate.
First, I will give some of the background. the Federal Sustainable Development Act was the result of a 2008 private member's bill. This was sponsored by the Hon. John Godfrey, former member of Parliament for Don Valley West. The act set out a number of requirements for federal action on sustainable development, including the creation of a federal sustainable development strategy and releasing a report on progress against the strategy every three years. These strategies and reports have been instrumental in guiding, tracking and reporting on Canada's actions on sustainable development in a transparent and accountable manner.
The catalyst for amending the original Federal Sustainable Development Act, as I mentioned previously, was the study conducted by the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development. Bill C-57 responds to the thoughtful recommendations of that committee's report and would update the act to better reflect Canada's current priorities on sustainable development.
The bill proposed to expand the scope of the act and provide a whole-of-government approach to sustainable development. It includes more than 90 departments and agencies and provides the opportunity to add other entities in the future as well. This will help to ensure that the federal sustainable development strategy reflects the Government of Canada's ongoing commitment to sustainable development.
All federal organizations bound by the act will contribute to developing future federal sustainable development strategies and progress reports. The collaborative, whole-of-government approach to sustainable development will provide greater openness and transparency about our actions relating to sustainability.
Further, each federal organization will table its own sustainable development strategies and progress reports in Parliament. This will allow parliamentarians and relevant committees to review the progress of organizations and hold them to account for meeting their targets and goals.
At the heart of Bill C-57 are a number of important principles that would guide progress reports and strategies. For example, the principle of intergenerational equity, that it is important to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, provides an important context for the federal government's contribution toward sustainable development.
Other principles embedded in Bill C-57 include the principle of openness and transparency, the principle of collaboration and the principle of results and delivery. These principles will help guide the development of tangible, relevant and achievable goals and targets. The bill would also require targets in the federal sustainable development strategy be measurable and time-bound.
The bill would contribute to increased demographic representation and indigenous partnership. It would do this in three main ways, the first being through a new principle which would recognize the importance of involving indigenous peoples, because of their traditional knowledge and unique connection to Canada's lands and waters. Second, it would increase the number of indigenous representatives on the Sustainable Development Advisory Council from three to six. Finally, it would require demographic considerations such as age and gender be taken into account when appointing representatives to the council.
Bill C-57 is an important and inclusive step forward in the government's commitment to sustainable development.
Earlier this year, the bill was unanimously passed through the House with the support of all parties. I sincerely hope we can repeat that once more when it comes time for a final vote.
Our work on sustainable development continues. On December 3 of this year, we tabled the 2018 "Progress Report on the 2016 to 2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy” and launched public consultations on the draft 2019 to 2022 strategy. These products present results on where the federal government is in achieving its sustainable development targets and outline the environmental sustainability targets and actions it is proposing to take over the next three years.
We all wish to see a healthy, prosperous, safe and sustainable Canada, regardless of party, and considerable progress has been made toward achieving this vision over the past few years. The recently tabled progress report on the 2016 to 2019 federal sustainable development strategy helped show just how far we had come.
For example, the 2018 progress report shows that we may have met one target and are on track to meet the majority of the other targets laid out in the 2016 to 2019 development strategy. For instance, as of December 2017, almost 8% of coastal and marine areas have been conserved, on track to reach our target of 10% by 2020.
The government is also leading by example by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from federal government buildings and fleets. We have achieved a 28% reduction in GHG emissions relative to 2005 levels, more than halfway to the target of 40% by 2030. The progress report highlights that we are well on our way to achieving this ambitious target.
Just as important, we have identified areas where we need to improve. For example, the progress report reveals that we have some work to do on protecting terrestrial areas and inland waters. To this end, the $1 billion Canada nature fund announced in budget 2018 will help set us back on the path to achieving our target of protecting 17% of terrestrial areas and inland waters by 2020.
This is one of the crucial contributions of the goals and targets in the federal sustainable development strategy and its subsequent reports on progress. They set a path forward and then tell us exactly how we have done and where we need to focus our ongoing efforts. Sustainable development is and will remain a priority for our government, and these strategies and progress reports ensure accountability in meeting our targets.
As I mentioned, the draft 2019 to 2022 federal sustainable development strategy has been released for public consultation. The strategy includes the participation of 16 voluntary organizations beyond the 26 mandated by the act. The draft strategy builds on the 2016 to 2019 strategy. It proposes targets, milestones and actions supporting 13 aspirational, long-term goals that reflect the Canada we want.
We expect to hear from a number of partners, stakeholders and Canadians whose input helped shape past strategies and will continue to be instrumental in helping to shape the 2019 to 2022 strategy.
As hon. members know, some of those partners and stakeholders include the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the House and Senate committees, which are responsible for regularly dealing with the environment, and the Sustainable Development Advisory Council. Our consultations are open until early April 2019 and we expect to hear from these groups and many other Canadians who are passionate about the environment and sustainable development.
This brings me to the amendments made in the Senate recently. The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources welcomed the bill and there was a fruitful discussion and debate on its various clauses. I thank everyone once again for the thoughtful deliberation. I would like to point out that the dialogue between the two Houses is a fruitful exercise in my opinion. I know the Senate considered the bill in a thoughtful manner and proposed certain amendments, which I am happy to address.
Three amendments were agreed to in the Senate. The first amendment was made to broaden the mandate of the Sustainable Development Advisory Council. This change would allow council members to give advice on sustainable development matters beyond those referred to them by the minister. The Council would, however, continue to focus on the products set out in the Federal Sustainable Development Act. The government is going to accept this amendment.
The second amendment, however, poses certain problems. The amendment to clause 8 seeks to reinsert a section of the Federal Sustainable Development Act that Bill C-57 in its initial form removed. That section deals with performance-based contracts within the Government of Canada. It states that these contracts shall include provisions for meeting the applicable targets referred to in the federal sustainable development strategy and the departmental sustainable development strategies. This section was repealed under Bill C-57 for a number of reasons.
The debate on the issue at the time that the original act was being considered reflects how unclear this section was, and still is. The Hon. John Godfrey, who I mentioned was the initial sponsor of the bill that resulted in the Federal Sustainable Development Act, said that this clause could be interpreted as a contract with an employee or a contract with a construction company. This confusion remains today. Having practised as a litigator in my career before politics, certainty in the meaning of legislation is essential so folks can understand exactly what their obligations are.
Some witnesses who have come before the House and the Senate have interpreted this clause as pertaining to performance agreements with senior officials. Others have interpreted it as pertaining to procurement contract and particularly green procurement. A clause without clarity is not one that should be in a bill.
If Parliament is concerned about procurement, the Treasury Board Secretariat's policy on green procurement already aligns environmental objectives to the departments' procurement activities, meaning this section's inclusion in the bill would be redundant and unnecessary.
Moreover, subclause 10.1, a new addition under Bill C-57, explicitly recognizes the power of the Treasury Board in establishing policies or issuing directives applicable to the sustainable development impacts of designated entities. The proposed amendment not only reinserts an already problematic clause, but it makes it even more problematic, extending it far beyond Bill C-57's intended purpose by entering into the realm of the employer's relationship with public servants. The amendment specifically adds employment contracts to the language on performance-based contracts. It says that these contracts shall include provisions for meeting the applicable goals and targets referred to in the federal sustainable development strategy and any organizational strategy.
It is the government's view that the reference to those contracts are outside the scope of the intent of Bill C-57 and it would be inappropriate to insert such prescriptive wording into the bill. Employment contracts are a matter for Treasury Board as an employer and they should not be subject to a bill whose purpose is to increase transparency of decision-making relating to sustainable development.
Given the expansive nature of performance-based contracts and employment contracts, it would also be difficult to determine what is meant by the use of these different terms, leaving the section option to difficulties in interpretation, which I flagged could pose problems.
Finally, tying targets directly to employment contracts is problematic because, as we know, the responsibility for meeting goals and targets extends broadly across different federal organizations and sometimes across many levels of government. It is not always the case that one department or one individual has complete responsibility for meeting the federal sustainable development strategy's targets. As a result, I do not think it is prudent to use the legislation to tie targets directly to employment contracts.
Accountability is the backbone of Bill C-57. It is what it is all about. While the intent of this amendment is to increase accountability, which I again thank the Senate for giving thoughtful consideration to, it is the government's view that the amendment could create more problems than it would solve.
As discussed earlier, robust accountability mechanisms are already directly embedded in the bill, and we believe they are more than adequate to meet our objectives. These include oversight by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the House and the Senate, the Sustainable Development Advisory Council and all Canadians. We release reports to the public on an ongoing basis and ask people for their input and insight.
Given the fact that the proposed amendment is imprecise and open to interpretation, the government does not see the benefit of inclusion and suggests removing it from the bill.
The third amendment that came from the other place deals with consequential amendments to the Auditor General Act. These changes would ensure alignment between the two acts and would seek to reconfirm the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development's role in reviewing the sustainable development actions of federal organizations. The government supports this amendment.
I greatly appreciate the time and effort of everyone involved in reviewing the bill. The Federal Sustainable Development Act is a cornerstone of sustainable development action in Canada, and Bill C-57 is an important update. I ask the House to accept the consequential amendments and the amendment to clause 5, but remove the amendment to clause 8 and send a message to that effect back to the Senate.
In the spirit of co-operation that we demonstrated back in June, when the House voted unanimously to support the bill, I am asking that we show the same spirit of unanimity in supporting this revised bill, so we can ensure the future is sustainable not just for this generation, but for generations to come.
View Linda Duncan Profile
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-06 15:27 [p.24558]
Mr. Speaker, I wish I could be so positive about the success of the application of sustainable development legislation. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development gave an absolute abject failing grade to all the agencies that were reviewed. A lot of her recommendations for greater accountability were rejected by the government. The other place made an attempt to change the bill.
One of the main amendments the commissioner had called for was specific reference in the Sustainable Development Act of the cabinet directive on sustainable development. The reason for that is that this directive would require every department and agency to do an assessment of policy program spending that is submitted to cabinet. One subset of this is the provision the government is refusing to accept from the other place, which was also recommended by our committee.
Bill C-57 is in fact not based on the review by the committee on which I used to sit. It is based on what the minister decided she would do to keep a reduced function of the bill in holding the government accountable for delivering on the sustainable development 2030 goals that our country signed on to.
Could the member speak to why the Liberals are not accepting these broader provisions to hold the government, the departments and agencies accountable for spending and assessing what the impact might be on the broad sustainable development goals?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-12-06 15:29 [p.24558]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her commitment to protecting our environment for future generations.
With respect to the proposed amendments from the other place which are before the House today, I note in particular this was not some sort of rubber-stamping a version of the legislation that we already wanted. In particular, I noticed that we have accepted the consequential amendments that align the auditor's functions with those outlined in the act, as well as the first amendment that was proposed.
I made the case during my remarks and provided a reasoned basis for why we rejected the other amendment that came forward from the Senate. To reiterate those arguments, the inclusion of performance-based contracts as an accountability measure, I accept that the intent was coming from the right place, but it caused certain ambiguity in terms of how the legislation could be interpreted. In addition to the ambiguity which could have been interpreted when we talk about performance-based contracts as being the procurement process or performance of employees, it has a wide swath of different possibilities and it creates uncertainty.
In addition, if we are actually trying to establish some accountability with respect to the sustainability of the procurement process, I note in particular that the Treasury Board Secretariat, through its green procurement policy, actually achieves a very similar function. If we are talking about performance-based contracts for employees, we may be required to track the sustainable development targets for an individual entry level employee whose function does not actually touch on sustainability.
With respect to the hon. member's question, the reason the one amendment coming from the other place was rejected was due to the matters I have raised, such as ambiguity, and frankly, bad policy.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2018-12-06 15:31 [p.24559]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the hon. parliamentary secretary's passion on environmental issues.
I represent the riding of St. Catharines on the shores of Lake Ontario. Many of us have a great commitment to water, the cleanliness of water and the impact of plastics in our waterways. I am wondering if the parliamentary secretary could comment on the greening of government operations and plastics and what the government intends to do.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-12-06 15:32 [p.24559]
Mr. Speaker, I know the member for St. Catharines cares deeply about the waterfront in his riding, having spent numerous hours in the evening bringing him up to speed on the differences between a jetty wharf, a pier and a quay.
However, with respect to the question he raised in terms of plastics pollution, I was very proud last night when the House across party lines came behind Motion No. 151, which seeks to reduce plastic pollution in our waters and across society.
In particular, I note that our government has committed $100 million toward a marine litter mitigation fund to help reduce the plastics pollution and other pollution in our nation's waters and around the world. As well, our government played a leading role in achieving the G7 ocean plastics charter, so the world can get behind this need to fight plastics pollution.
On the question of greening of government operations, I note in particular that we have made a commitment by 2030 to reduce the Government of Canada's reliance on single use plastics by 75%. This kind of leadership is only made possible when we have buy-in across a wide swath of the public. I would like to thank every member in the House who supported Motion No. 151, to help encourage the continued trend toward making our earth a cleaner and healthier place.
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