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Results: 1 - 15 of 48
View Blaine Calkins Profile
View Blaine Calkins Profile
2020-02-28 11:51 [p.1746]
Madam Speaker, in January, the federal, provincial and territorial ministers for justice and public safety met in Victoria and agreed to examine the impacts of rural crime and how to reduce it through a pan-Canadian working group on rural crime. It has been over a month and we have not heard a peep from the Minister of Justice.
Crime is ravaging rural communities. People do not feel safe in their homes. They are losing faith in the justice system.
When will the minister announce the details of this pan-Canadian working group?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, I know the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons was hoping this was an unlimited time slot. I want to share with him that the House can do whatever it wants by unanimous consent, so he can reflect on that opportunity. I want him to know that I am always prepared if he wants to hear more of what I have to say on an important subject. However, as I get into it, I wonder if he may be less interested in hearing what I have to say, quite frankly, but it is still important for him.
We are talking about Bill C-3 that deals with the work, in part, of the Canada Border Services Agency. This is timely because, especially today, many people are talking and thinking about the challenges in import and export and the transportation of goods. This is an area where the opportunity for public complaints and review is very important. Indeed, I hear many public complaints already out there about problems with regard to our ability to transport goods.
We are in the middle of a national crisis, where various protesters, a relatively small number, are openly trying to shut down Canada. They are blocking access to a border point and standing in the middle of train tracks. This is causing massive problems, and those problems are only going to continue. During discussions about this national crisis, members are raising fears about escalation and talking about the need for de-escalation.
All of us would like to ensure the situation does not get any worse, but inaction by the government is creating escalation, with more and more people thinking that they can ignore the law and protest illegally, and growing fears of Canadians that these blockades will result in long-term economic damage and the inability of people to access essential goods. I have been hearing from colleagues in the Maritimes and other parts of the country concerned about propane shortages and the impact it will have on people's ability to heat their homes and provide for their basic needs.
This bill speaks to accountability of our Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP. It is ironic that the government is putting forward measures aimed at making other agencies more accountable when it is failing to be accountable itself for the real problems in our economy as a result of decisions it has made to not act or show leadership in the midst of this national crisis. It is important to underline why we are facing this national crisis. There is a very small number, a minority, of hereditary chiefs, not the elected representatives, who oppose a particular development project on Wet'suwet'en territory, but all of the affected band councils are in favour of this. Overwhelmingly, the people are in favour of this and a majority of hereditary chiefs are in favour of this.
I draw the attention of members of the House to this issue in this context. If every single time a development project happens for which there is a small amount of opposition with the result of shutting down national infrastructure, then it is going to be very difficult for us to ever move goods in this country in the future because there are always going to be controversial projects. Those of us on this side of the House have been raising the warning that this really is a warm-up act for larger, more controversial projects in the future.
If the government, instead of dialoguing with the elected leadership of communities, feels that it can negotiate with other people who are not connected to those communities in the resolution of these issues, then we are going to have a problem where the government is always negotiating with the wrong people and people not connected to these projects can claim the right to speak on behalf of communities. It is going to be very difficult for us to ever find agreement on moving forward on projects.
That is the context in which we find ourselves. That is the national crisis that our country is facing. I think all of our constituents would want us to speak about these issues, highlight them and call on the government to finally show leadership and allow us to move forward by supporting the rule of law and, at the very least, verbalizing the importance of enforcing the law and respecting the will of the elected representatives of indigenous people.
Now I will move to the specific provisions in Bill C-3. This is a bill that “amends the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to, among other things, rename the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as the Public Complaints and Review Commission.”
We know how seriously the government takes naming things. Sometimes it does not always know what those names mean. Sometimes it likes to rename things as a way of claiming credit for a policy.
Under the Conservatives we had something called the universal child care benefit, and the Liberals renamed it the Canada child benefit. Then they declared it to have been a great social policy innovation, a brand new idea, without remembering that the Liberals actually ran against the Canada child care benefit in 2006. It was a Liberal strategist who said that parents would just use this child benefit money for beer and popcorn. The Liberals evolved, and it was progress. They evolved from opposing support for parents to saying that they were going to rename the benefit and claim it. Maybe when Conservatives come back to government, we will rename it again. It was all our idea after all. We brought in the Canada child care benefit in 2006.
This legislation has some element of renaming, but it is a little more substantive than that. “It also amends the Canada Border Services Agency Act to, among other things, grant to that Commission powers, duties and functions in relation to the Canada Border Services Agency.”
Essentially what this bill does, under what had previously been a review commission just for the RCMP, is bring the CBSA under that civilian review mechanism.
As my colleagues have said, this is a principle that we are supportive of. Conservatives will be supporting the movement of this legislation through to committee where, no doubt, it will be further analyzed and studied by our excellent public safety team.
There is some progress in this legislation. It is not, as we have seen in some other cases, purely a name without meaning. Unlike the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity, we actually know what the words mean to a greater extent, in the case of this piece of legislation.
I will just say, again, the irony here is the government is bringing in greater accountability for our border services agencies and yet we have seen a lack of willingness by the government to account for its own actions. We have seen so many instances of weak leadership.
Another area of a lack of accountability we have seen from the government is that it is already signalling, through things that private members have been putting out, that it is not supportive of the Teck project in Alberta. This is a critical project for the interests of Alberta, for the interests of our national economy. The government needs to approve it, and yet we are already seeing backbench members of the government putting out petitions encouraging people not to support it. That is fuelling further frustration in my province.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, that member has a lot of talent at floating delicately on the water when he is trying to make a point, but I think he is going to sink on this one.
The reality is this is a program, and of course there were other iterations of similar types of program, but the universal child care benefit was brought in by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It was opposed by Liberals who said, “No, no. We should just give money to provinces and bureaucrats, and it should be a one-size-fits-all approach to child care.” Conservatives said, “No, we should give parents choice in child care. We should give them resources and let them decide.”
Then, it took a conversion on that topic before the Liberals could ever make it back to power. They realized that they would have to sell out to this Conservative principle that they did not really believe in to get back into power. They decided to rename it and take credit for it. They were going to tinker with some details, make it available to fewer people—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, a larger proportion of my speech was on topic than the previous question from the Liberal member, so we are a little ahead there.
It is important to note the things that Canadians are talking about today with respect to the CBSA. I know the member would want us to reflect the priorities and concerns of Canadians.
I believe in the principle of civilian oversight for our security agencies. It is interesting that, in the context of the blockades, the government seems to be criticizing the principle of civilian oversight and civilian policy direction when it comes to the police. That is an interesting sidebar. In principle, we support this legislation. We want to see it go to committee and we look forward to the study that will happen there.
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
2020-02-21 10:29 [p.1370]
Mr. Speaker, the government has said that it will not intervene with police forces or other forces to end the blockade. In the meantime, it is sending signals that are preventing police forces from doing their jobs. It is like winter and summer under the same roof. That is what the government is practising now.
Does my colleague on this side agree with that statement?
View Arnold Viersen Profile
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2020-02-21 10:44 [p.1373]
Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to hear that the motion did not pass. However, I am sure we will get to it again soon.
My hon. colleague gave a great speech about border security. If the officials who represent Canada are unable to do their jobs appropriately, the confidence in our law enforcement is diminished. Could the member continue to talk about that?
View John Barlow Profile
View John Barlow Profile
2020-02-21 14:02 [p.1396]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this important legislation. It is also important that we highlight some of the issues that go along with this piece of legislation.
It is about empowering the RCMP and empowering the CBSA, which has been kind of an interesting topic over the last several weeks as we talk about empowering the RCMP.
I am glad to see that the Liberals are becoming frustrated with what is going on in the House today. It is very difficult when people are trying to do their business and just a couple of people can throw up blockades to prevent people from trying to be successful and getting work done. Whether it is the farmers, people in the lumber business, mill operators, manufacturers, business owners and the entire economy, that is what Canadian industry has been trying to navigate over the last two weeks.
Fortunately, in this House we will eventually get that work done. However, what is going on in the Canadian economy right now that the Liberals need to understand is these blockades have brought Canada's economy to its knees. There are close to 100 ships off the port of Vancouver and the port of Prince Rupert, and a backlog of 20,000 railcars. That is what is at stake. We cannot allow this to go on one more week.
These are the issues that should be discussed in this House, legislation that would actually make a difference to the Canadian economy. Therefore, in saying that, I move:
That the House do now adjourn.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here continuing the debate on Bill C-3, a bill that the Conservatives are cautiously optimistic about, as it would provide some degree of oversight to CBSA.
One of the pressing issues with the CBSA, and one on which I think there will be a need for a great deal of oversight, is the challenge that has grown up under the Liberal government of people crossing the border illegally. It has put a strain our system, especially as many refugees in other parts of the world have to wait a very long time.
Given that this is one of the issues raised in terms of the CBSA and oversight, I wonder if the member could give the House an update on what is actually happening in terms of that challenge.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Mississauga—Streetsville for sharing his profound passion on this topic with the House and for the work he put into preparing those detailed remarks he gave to the House on Bill C-3 today.
Further to what the member said, does he think that this oversight body might take up the issue of increased illegal border crossing, if questions come to the oversight body related to that? I did not really hear an answer from the previous member. What is the government doing about this challenge of the growing flows across our border from the United States?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-02-07 10:38 [p.1078]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Lévis—Lotbinière for sharing his time with me so I could add my comments on the bill.
I want to also thank my constituents for sending me here for a second term and for the trust they placed in me in the past election.
Bill C-3 was in the last Parliament. I was a member of Parliament at that time and I remember the debates on the subject. Much of the content of the legislation being proposed before us is similar. The fact that this happens to be one of the government's earliest bills, when we have so many urgent, more critical issues to deal with, just calls into question the judgment of the government in pushing this forward at this time.
I support the contents of the bill. I support making a complaints body. I support greater oversight over the civil service and in other situations as well. I spent the better part of the last Parliament on two different committees, foreign affairs and finance, calling exactly for that greater oversight. Our role as parliamentarians is to ensure the oversight of the Government of Canada's spending, but also the oversight over the civil service and what it does.
I know, Madam Speaker, that you sat on a committee in the previous Parliament, the OGGO as we call it, operations and government estimates.
Again, there are so many other things with which we could be dealing.
I often have heard members say, for example ,this is a good, or, for example, this legislation has this concept or, for example, these are the types of problems this legislation will solve.
This will bring me to my Yiddish proverb, one that says, “for example” is not the same as proof, proof of why we should be pursuing this legislation at this time with this expediency. There are so many other issues.
I will use, for example, there are other issues we should have brought forward and dealt with immediately. These issues are of number one concern to people in Alberta, people in my constituency and people all across Canada.
I will mention, for example, the first time homebuyers incentive program. Just last week, the Government of Canada, to a question I asked on the Order Paper, gave us an answer on the $1.25 billion of spending on a program that had helped fewer than 3,000 people. I called it an election gimmick many months ago when the program came out.
I chased down the Department of Finance officials. I chased down Evan Siddall, the CEO of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the minister and many others at different committees to get answers before the House. Now we see from the results that the program has failed. It would be much more interesting for the House to do a deep dive into this program more closely.
The Government of Canada has said that 2,700 approvals happened, but as my colleague from Calgary Rocky Ridge mentioned to me, industry standards say that only about 50% of the people actually went through with it.
We have put aside $1.25 billion, and probably have helped 1,300 people achieve their dream of home ownership, which is an abysmal failure for a government program, a program pushed forward by the Minister of Finance and the minister for families and social development. The program was highly defended by Department of Finance officials and CMHC officials who did not like my chasing down answers on behalf of constituents. People in my riding are very worried about that.
That is a bill we could be reviewing right now, a piece of legislation to review the program and maybe eliminate it. It would save some money, time and look into why we failed as an oversight body to stop this election gimmick. That is my first example.
Originally the Government of Canada said that 100,000 people would be helped by the program. After 99 days, in the data provided in the House, we know that only about 32,000 people would be helped over a four-year time span. When I originally asked the question at committee about where the government got the number of 100,000 people, the Department of Finance officials told me that CMHC gave them the numbers and CMHC officials told me that the Department of Finance gave them the numbers. I am sure, Madam Speaker, that has been your experience in the past on different parliamentary committees, where department officials disagree about who gave whom what numbers. That would be a worthy enterprise for the House, to look into why this program so massively failed.
I know that in this next budget, potentially we could be expanding the reach of the program to $789,000 homes. I am very worried that the expansion of this program would not meet any of its goals.
We could, for example, have looked at the approval of Teck Frontier and the legislation governing it. The Teck Frontier project is a $20.6 billion investment in northern Alberta: 10,000 jobs, 7,500 construction and 2,500 operating jobs annually for four years. It is wholly within the territory of Alberta. It is wholly within the jurisdiction of Alberta. We control our natural resources.
As an Albertan, I do not want a handout. The people of my constituency do not want a handout. We do not want a just transition directed from Ottawa to the people of Alberta. We simply want to be given the respect and dignity to continue creating wealth. We are fine if a portion of the equalization and transfer payments are redistributed to our friends in rest of Canada.
However, Teck Frontier would be an important issue to be debated before the House. It must be approved.
As I asked yesterday in the House, I am wondering if the Government of Canada is afraid to say “yes” to prime minister Jason Kenney—Premier Jason Kenney. I was thinking in French. It would be an interesting one to look at that.
Albertans will say that if this project is not approved, they will know they are not respected within the Confederation. That is a drastic change to how the Confederation is supposed to work. I want the Confederation of 1867, the way the Fathers of Confederation intended it to be, truly autonomous provinces, able to develop their resources, able to do the best things for the people of their province. Provincial governments are elected to do that.
I know the people of Quebec understand this and have fought for this for decades now, just like all provincial residents should do. They should be looking to the provincial governments. It would be worthy, for example, of the House to look at, to ensure the Government of Canada is making the right decisions on behalf of Canadians and on behalf of Albertans.
We could be looking at the Trans Mountain pipeline, its construction and the series of missteps, dithering and failures of the Government of Canada that led to point where a business, Kinder Morgan, opted out. Northern gateway was cancelled, energy east was cancelled, TMX was expropriated.
As my colleague, the member for Carleton likes to say, “All our exes are in Texas.” All those companies moved their money to Texas, and are now building thousands of kilometres of pipeline in Texas for product that will compete at the Oklahoma hub with Alberta product. That situation is an absolutely travesty. For example, that would be something we could have considered instead of doing Bill C-3 immediately.
Bill C-3 could have been cobbled with other matters before the House.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-02-07 10:46 [p.1079]
Madam Speaker, as I was just saying, going back to Bill C-3 and the oversight propositions in the bill, and back to the Yiddish proverb, “for example” is not proof that this legislation needs to be before us at this very moment. It could have been cobbled and combined with other matters that the Government of Canada considered needed to be done to the Canada Border Services Agency.
Again, we have seen a predilection of the government to institute and include all types of things in omnibus budget bills that do not belong there. I should remind the House that in the last Parliament, the Speaker decided to exclude certain portions of previous omnibus budget bills.
When I talk to my constituents, when I ask them what is critical to their day to day, what are the most important issues to them and what touches their daily life, none of them have told me it is Bill C-3. None of them have told me it is the oversight of the CBSA. It is their jobs, their livelihoods and the prosperity of Alberta families.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2020-02-07 10:48 [p.1079]
Madam Speaker, my colleague ended his speech with a comment about no one in his constituency having asked about Bill C-3.
One of the problems we have with the bill is that no one in the government has asked the workers in CBSA about Bill C-3. Maybe what they should have asked is a follow-up on the employee survey, where 63%, almost two out of every three workers in CBSA, said senior management was not to be trusted. They could not bring issues of ethics or concerns forward to senior management without fear of reprisal.
We have seen the Liberal government go after any whistle-blower, whether it is the former justice minister or whether it is a lady complaining about the Prime Minister's blackface. They fired her, and threatened to send anyone similar to re-education camps.
Would my colleague care to comment on the fact that 63% of CBSA staff do not trust the government, do not trust their managers for any issue without fear of reprisal? Maybe that should be looked at before Liberals jam Bill C-3 through.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-02-07 10:49 [p.1080]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Edmonton West for bringing to the attention of the House the fact that so many rank and file members of CBSA do not feel comfortable going to their managers.
This is something I have consistently seen, going into my second Parliament. Often, departmental plans are ignored by the ministers responsible. They are an absolute wealth of information when it comes to the priorities that should be found in bills like this: technical pieces of legislation that are looking after oversight bodies.
Often, there are departmental plans where we find a failure of government administration and oversight to both provide services to Canadians and also provide a work environment for employees that is the expected standard.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, my colleague said prime minister Jason Kenney. This leadership race just keeps changing every day, and I hope the member for Calgary Shepard will consider his own future in that context after such an excellent speech in defence of things that are all so important to us.
I want to ask the member to share what he is hearing from people in Alberta. I know, for my constituents, Teck frontier and building pipelines are things that are top of mind. The government discussion we are seeing in the media today is talking about a rescue package. Liberals are talking about giving money to people outside of the context of being able to develop our natural resources.
What I hear from Albertans is that they do not want to become an equalization-receiving province. They want to be a building, contributing province, but the government has to get out of the way in order to allow them to develop our natural resources.
Our desire for every part of the country is that every region, every group of people within this country is able to seize the opportunities that are provided by natural resources instead of being forced into dependency on the federal government by anti-development policies. I would like to hear my colleague's comments on that.
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