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Results: 1 - 15 of 66
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2020-02-21 10:14 [p.1368]
Mr. Speaker, my question is relevant to the bill that is being discussed here today in the House of Commons.
The CBSA is the only major law enforcement agency in Canada without an independent review mechanism for the bulk for its activity and this is a major gap. It has not been addressed despite our calls dating back to the Harper government. It provides an accountability system that will increase public trust at the border and a review system that can provide CBSA officers with more clarity and confidence over policy questions when they are asked something about what they are supposed to be doing.
We are heartened to see this legislation come forward. We are disappointed that the Liberals tabled it with just weeks to go in the last Parliament. This clearly was not a priority of theirs, so we are happy to see this here today.
Will the Conservatives be supporting this legislation and allow better oversight of our public safety institutions and increased public confidence at our borders?
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, my riding has five border crossings. It is probably one of the most border crossing rich ridings in the country.
Constituents come to my office occasionally with concerns about how they have been treated at the border, both leaving and coming back. What are the member's thoughts on the fact that the bill retains the provision that ex-RCMP members cannot sit on the commission so there is no conflict of interest, but it does not do the same for CBSA members? Could he comment on that concern?
View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:47 [p.1373]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-3, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act.
The legislation before us would rename the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP to the public complaints and review commission which, as an oversight committee, would also have responsibility to review civilian complaints against the Canada Border Services Agency.
Canada has a very long, unprotected border with our neighbour to the south. The United States of America is our biggest trading partner, and that means we need to have an effective border services agency. Every year, the agency processes 100 million people into Canada at our border crossings and at airports, rail crossings and sea ports. It processes 20 million commercial shipments every year and 46 million courier shipments. Every day there is about $2 billion in trade between these two great trading partners. Along with national security and safety, the CBSA is also charged with providing priority to efficiency in trade and commerce.
My constituency of Langley—Aldergrove has one of four B.C. Lower Mainland border crossings. It is a critical tool for our citizens and businesses. The citizens of my riding are looking for efficiency at this and other border crossings to expedite business and relationships. They are also looking for security and safety.
Many people in my riding are gun enthusiasts, and are rightly concerned by proposed further restrictions on already stringent firearms possession and acquisition rules. They are genuinely concerned that these further restrictions will have the effect of only pointing the finger at them, law-abiding citizens who acquired the firearms lawfully and who diligently follow all the rules about safe storage, transport and use.
They ask why the government is not looking at where the real problem is, namely at people who obtain guns illegally, largely by cross-border smuggling. We need border security officers who have both the tools and the resources to do their job effectively.
Our border services officers have extraordinary powers. For example, they may detain people for questioning, search vehicles and packages, and arrest people without a warrant. I would argue that these are necessary powers if we want our CBSA officers to do the work that we expect them to do. However, as a corollary to these exceptional and extraordinary powers, our border services officers must also be subject to oversight.
Currently, there is oversight by courts, commissions and tribunals, but we need stronger arm's-length civilian monitoring, which is what Bill C-3 would do. A civilian review commission would improve oversight and help the CBSA be an even more effective agency in performing its duties and functions. However, to be a truly effective agency for Canada, as Canada strives to uphold the integrity and security of its borders, the CBSA must also be properly resourced in both manpower and equipment, which is our party's position.
Given the need for balancing border security and market efficiency, something I am sure the government also agrees with, we are left bewildered as to why the government is not acting decisively on unwelcome threats to our markets and security.
Why is the government ignoring the needs of Canadians, including the needs of my constituency of Langley—Aldergrove? Our border with the U.S.A. is very important to businesses in Langley. This border crossing, the Aldergrove-Lynden border crossing, is open for business from 8 a.m. until midnight every day, and those limited opening hours slow cross-border traffic down, to the detriment of businesses in my riding. The businesses and people in this riding would benefit greatly from a 24-7 opening of this crucial link with the United States, our prime trading partner.
The president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce was quoted recently in one of our local newspapers as saying our “local prosperity depends on our ability to export our goods and services across the country and around the globe.” He also pointed out the obvious: that companies prioritize shipping times based on when and where they are best able to move goods.
The Langley area, because of its proximity to both the United States and metro Vancouver, has two strategically located industrial parks zoned for manufacturing and logistics. These zones are tied to highways and rail crossings with the United States.
The president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce said, “We need to be able to move goods, whether out of a port or land border, at reduced times.”
B.C. is an export-driven economy. The president added that its prosperity “hinges on its ability to trade openly in the global and Canadian markets.”
Along with security at our border crossings and effective oversight of the work the CBSA does, the government also needs to invest in better and more accessible international trade at our border crossings, and in the instance of my riding, to finance longer opening hours.
My constituents are looking to the federal government to work co-operatively with its U.S. counterparts and finally make this a reality. I can guarantee that such an initiative would have the support of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce and its 1, 025 businesses, and I am certain it would also have the support of the chamber of commerce, businesses and citizens of Whatcom County in Washington state.
The businesses in my community are deeply concerned about the significant negative impacts the recent rail blockages are having on trade and commerce, and what they are doing to our reputation among our trading partners.
A letter, written by chambers of commerce across the country and by various business leaders to the Prime Minister three days ago, states:
In addition to disrupting domestic and global supply chains, the blockades undermine Canada’s reputation as a dependable partner in international trade. They also threaten public safety by preventing the distribution of essential products like chlorine for water treatment and propane for heating homes, seniors' facilities and farms.
The damage inflicted on the Canadian economy and on the welfare of all our citizens mounts with each hour that these illegal disruptions are allowed to continue. Each additional day that rail lines are disrupted requires three to four days for supply chains to recover. This is why it is imperative that the Government act now to get the Canadian economy moving again.
A letter written last week by the Canadian Global Cities Council, addressed to the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, states:
As the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC), we represent over 50 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product and population. Given the events of the past few days, [rail blockages,] we are deeply concerned by the ongoing disruptions to Canada's trade and exports. The impact is also being felt beyond Canada's borders and is harming the country's reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner. While many of Canada's good destined for the world are currently unable to reach global markets, we are concerned with reports of international shippers diverting traffic away from Canadian ports.
While Bill C-3 is to be applauded for what it would do to support the Canada Border Services Agency, urgent attention needs to be paid to the current crisis that threatens trade and commerce at these border crossings.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-21 10:56 [p.1374]
Mr. Speaker, one of the things we have seen time and again in the previous session, and again in this session so far, with the government is that it likes to talk about consultation. It likes to say that it has consulted with Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Does our hon. colleague know if indeed the RCMP and CBSA front-line officers were consulted with respect to Bill C-3?
View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:57 [p.1374]
Mr. Speaker, while this party supports Bill C-3, we are disappointed that there has been a lack of consultation with key stakeholders and leaders, with the RCMP, the CBSA and the unions representing the people who work for those great organizations. It is a disappointment.
That said, the bill will be effective in enhancing the work these organizations are doing, but the lack of consultation has been, and continues to be, problematic.
View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:58 [p.1375]
Mr. Speaker, my advice is that what was said is misleading, and that the public accounts do not support that allegation.
I will take the opportunity to reiterate how important it would be to my riding to have that border open 24-7. It would have the support of not only Langley—Aldergrove, but surrounding regions as well, and it would certainly have the support of businesses in the chamber of commerce in Whatcom County. I think it is time that we moved ahead with that.
There are other border crossings that are 24-7, but recently there was flooding at the Sumas border crossing, so a lot of traffic was then redirected to the Langley—Aldergrove border crossing, which is only open for 20 hours a day. There were long lineups, which I was personally subjected to.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-21 12:11 [p.1389]
Mr. Speaker, our hon. colleague from Langley—Aldergrove is a new member of Parliament. I want to ask him his opinion.
I listened intently to his intervention on Bill C-3. What has his experience been with the Liberal government in the last three months, since his election? When the Liberals say they are going to consult, can we trust them to really do that? Can we actually trust the government to do what it says it is going to do?
View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 12:12 [p.1389]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government said that relations with indigenous peoples is its number one priority, yet in four years it has not even been able to determine who speaks for indigenous peoples.
The Wet'suwet'en nations have agreed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline and now we have hereditary chiefs protesting that. However, we think that we have a contract with the Wet'suwet'en people and that they are in full agreement.
No, I do not think that the Liberal government can be trusted for proper consultation. It certainly would have solved that problem by now.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2020-02-21 12:24 [p.1391]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to join my colleague in thanking the front-line workers at CBSA for the important work they do.
The NDP has been calling for these changes with respect to the cuts to CBSA for a long time, certainly under the previous Harper government. We wanted to see more resources brought to the CBSA and have this gap filled.
I am quite appreciative and quite delighted to hear the member speak in favour of the legislation. I want to commend him for the work he has done with the local indigenous community and for bringing that insight to the House of Commons.
My colleague represents a border community, which includes an indigenous community that does not have borders. That same nation is located on both sides of the border.
Maybe he could talk about some improvements that could be made to the legislation that would help ensure those rights would be protected.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-21 12:28 [p.1392]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand today to speak to Bill C-3.
The bill before us was introduced in the dying days of the last Parliament as Bill C-98, and the Conservatives supported it at through all steps.
Bill C-3, while it is an important bill, undoubtedly will be seen as another Liberal failure with respect to consultation. We saw this time and again in the last Parliament. Promise after promise was broken or unfilled. I think we will see the exact same thing with Bill C-3.
I want to bring to the floor again, and I do not think we can say it enough, the voices of the Wet'suwet'en. I would never say that we are speaking on behalf of or for the Wet'suwet'en, but it is important we bring their voices to the floor.
I would remind the House and my colleagues that the House is not ours. It does not belong to us or the Prime Minister. The House belongs to the electors who voted in the 338 members of Parliament. Those are the voices that really matter here.
Today we are debating Bill C-3 when our country is seized with a crisis. What we have seen over the last three weeks is no leadership whatsoever from the Prime Minister.
Yesterday, we had a motion before the House, on which we will vote on Monday. Speaker after speaker, at least on the Conservative side, brought the voices of the Wet'suwet'en to the floor of the House. A lot of people have stood in the House, with their firsts in the air, saying they are standing with the Wet'suwet'en. The reality is that they are not standing for the real voices of the Wet'suwet'en.
Yesterday I heard from two chiefs from my riding. One was the former chief of the Haisla Nation. He thought I should ask the Prime Minister about aboriginal titles and rights and to whom he thought they belonged. They belong to the first nations communities.
The Wet'suwet'en and 21 nations voted in favour of the Coastal GasLink. They voted for bands, chiefs and councils to represent them. Those chiefs and leaders within their communities voted in favour of lifting their communities out of poverty. They chose economic prosperity, not economic despair.
Ellis Ross wanted me to ask the Prime Minister why so many leaders outside of first nations were standing against lifting their first nations up? They voted in favour of something that could bring so much hope to and opportunities for these communities. In northern B.C., these types of game-changing opportunities are few and far between.
Yesterday, the Liberals said that they would not support our motion, because we used the term “radical activists”. They believed that we were talking about our first nations, that they were radical activists.
The other chief asked me why it was okay to have the Rockefellers and the Tides Foundations limit opportunity for first nations. This is the truth. He said that if the Prime Minister was standing in front of him, he would give him a piece of his mind. I am paraphrasing, because it would be unparliamentary to say the exact words.
It is disappointing that the voices of the Wet'suwet'en, who voted in favour of lifting their communities out of economic despair and who chose hope, are being silenced. They are not being heard; they are being discounted. We are here today because of that.
While Bill C-3, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, is important, we should be continuing to bring the voices of the Wet'suwet'en to this floor, ensuring they are heard. That is what is important.
Therefore, I move:
That the House do now adjourn.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-21 13:12 [p.1393]
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague across the way started with the statement that his party is here to work. Well, that is new. It did not work for him before. Honestly, that is the best he has?
We always stand with our front-line workers, those who are tasked with protecting our borders and our communities. They do whatever they can to uphold peace and the rule of law, so we will always stand with them.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2020-02-21 13:14 [p.1393]
Mr. Speaker, I want thank my hon. colleague for his message. He knows that the NDP is always here to work.
The member talked a bit about Bill C-3. He focused his speech primarily on what is happening in the north, and I felt it was one-sided.
I have a question for the member from Dr. Judith Sayers, the president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. She asks, “Why is it you think that those that say yes to the project have the right to say yes, but those that say no have not the same respect?”
This is really important because it reflects back to the member's speech and what he focused his discussion on.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-21 13:14 [p.1394]
Mr. Speaker, in my speech today, my speech yesterday and the comments I have made, I said the voices that matter are the voices of the Wet'suwet'en. That is really the crux of my motion. The only voice that matters is that of the Wet'suwet'en. This is a Wet'suwet'en issue.
I said it yesterday and I will say it again: The Wet'suwet'en need to have dialogue among themselves, whether among the hereditary chiefs or the elected band chiefs and councils. The communities elected the chiefs and council to represent them, and it is the communities and the chiefs, including hereditary chiefs, who voted in favour of prosperity.
I am not saying that the “no” side is not important, but there has to be dialogue with the Wet'suwet'en, not with the radical activists like Tides and Rockefeller, those influencing the protests.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-21 13:16 [p.1394]
Mr. Speaker, the government should be seized with our economy, which has been seized for the last 14 days. It is not going to take days and weeks; it is going to take months to recover.
We already are seeing job losses that impact Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Our producers are being impacted. Our economy is predicated not only on the ability to produce great food or products, but also on getting those products to market. Our economy has been seized because of the weak and zero leadership we have seen from the Prime Minister over the last 14 days.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I want to bring it back to Bill C-3 for a moment.
Bill C-3 is a new approach that would combine a current panel that gives oversight to the RCMP and extend that to the CBSA. I am not convinced that this will be a successful effort, but does the member believe it is worthy of being given a shot?
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