Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-19 22:18 [p.29448]
Mr. Speaker, for my hon. friend, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety,, I recognize that the bill before us would make improvements in the situation of solitary confinement. I am particularly grateful to her colleague, the hon. member for Oakville North—Burlington, for working so collaboratively on the committee and helping some of my amendments get through.
However, I am very troubled by the rejection of some of the Senate amendments. I am sure the parliamentary secretary is aware of the letter from Senator Pate to the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice, which was shared with many members. It spoke to something that is quite compelling, which is unusual when legislation goes through this place. We already have a foreshadowing from the Ontario Court of Appeal that the legislation will not be found to be constitutional.
The citation is from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association case, where the Ontario Court of Appeal comments in relation to the five-day review. The key sentence reads, “Nothing more has been done to remedy the breach”, and this is a breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the interim, “and it remains unclear how Bill C-83 will remedy it if enacted.”
The Senate amendments and the ones that the hon. parliamentary secretary referenced must go through. We can get the bill faster by accepting these amendments from the Senate. The administrative objections that I heard from the parliamentary secretary do not measure up to the imperative of ensuring the bill is constitutional.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-17 21:18 [p.29238]
Mr. Speaker, as we debate Bill C-58 tonight, I cannot help but share the disappointment of my colleagues on the NDP benches. We were promised that this access to information legislation would create information available essentially by default, with more transparency.
I recall that when I used to practise environmental law, the joke among all of us at the time was that Canada's access to information legislation constituted freedom from information.
Now, we know that quite a lot of amendments were made in the Senate, and I know that the hon. parliamentary secretary wants to make sure that we are not caught in a time warp where we miss them. It is important to note that a lot of those amendments came from the government side. Amendments tightened up some of the language around vexatious questions being used as an excuse to reject access to information requests. However, I still find that this legislation falls far below the bar of what was promised. We did try, as Greens, to improve this legislation. I had 18 amendments come before the committee. Lots of us, as parliamentarians, tried to improve this legislation.
Given that there were some improvements, some significant ones from first reading, is there any temptation on the NDP benches to pass it as marginally better, or is it better to defeat it because it falls so far below the mark?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-17 22:26 [p.29247]
Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns of the hon. member for Victoria. We are still hampered in our criminal justice system by a series of mandatory minimums that we know have been found, by any criminology or empirical evidence, to absolutely not be effective and are a burden on the justice system. In this reform, we had hoped to see that.
I have a private member's bill, should the Minister of Justice want to look at it, which enumerates all of the mandatory minimums brought in in the 41st Parliament so that, in one piece of legislation, we could remove them all. Since the Minister of Justice has undertaken to study the matter, I wanted to draw to his attention the existence of my private member's bill and I hope that we can do more.
Also, I put forward about 46 or 47 amendments at committee around certain aspects of vulnerable populations. I know the Senate has made a number of helpful amendments. I think the bill could still be much improved, although some of the Senate amendments go some distance toward what I was trying to do in clause-by-clause. Therefore, I would appreciate any comments from the Minister of Justice.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-14 10:29 [p.29112]
Mr. Speaker, I am able to answer a question from my hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George.
Yes, Bill C-38, in the spring of 2012, gutted the Fisheries Act. Yes, it was an appalling decision to take away protections for habitat. On the ground, the effect was that habitat officers for DFO were laid off. I got calls all the time. My hon. colleague knows I tell the truth on these things. People would call me to say they called DFO about a beach where a clam licence was allowed that was being over-harvested, and DFO would tell them that officials could not get there and there was nothing they could do. There were times when habitat was being destroyed and people working on stream restoration who lost funding would call DFO to say that habitat was being lost for cutthroat trout and for getting salmon back, and the answer would be that DFO could not help, because there was no law and DFO did not have any manpower.
We need Bill C-68 to be passed. I lament that it was a bit weakened when my amendment that was accepted at committee was removed, but this bill needs to pass. Every single fisheries organization, the economic backbone of my community, wants this legislation passed before we leave this place.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-13 15:53 [p.29075]
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on his first speech as the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board. I just wish he had better content for his first speech.
Bill C-58 is such a massive disappointment. I have never seen a commissioner like the Privacy Commissioner pan legislation as this was panned. I have to confess that while I try to keep up with absolutely everything in this place, I have not seen if the Senate amendments are capable of making this bill worth supporting.
I read an article which says that the Liberals' new freedom of information bill is garbage. I wonder if there is any reference that the hon. parliamentary secretary could direct us to from any impartial experts. Is there anything from a third party source that could be referenced at this point indicating that it is a substantial improvement?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-13 18:46 [p.29098]
Mr. Speaker, words may fail me, and that rarely happens. This bill is despicable. The minister should be ashamed of the claim she makes on the floor of this House, the claim that she is supported by doing consultations, when she explicitly ignored the advice of the expert panel on environmental assessment. It clearly told the government that it has to review all the projects within federal jurisdiction, not keep the Harper architecture of just project review but look at all federal jurisdiction projects, and keep the regulators out of it; the regulatory boards have no role.
Worse, and no one has spoken to this, the government has accepted an amendment from the Senate that would allow chairing of the environmental assessment process by the very regulators that the minister's $1-million expert panel told her to keep out of the process. The minister has weakened the bill by accepting that Senate amendment, and now we will not have time to disclose that to Canadians. This bill should die right now.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-12 18:55 [p.29030]
Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague and the other half of the Green Party caucus in this place on his first speech. I also thank the voters of Nanaimo—Ladysmith for growing us as a party, as well as the individual efforts of this particular community leader to be in this place and speak out as he has.
I want to add to the context around the story that he relayed.
Richard Germaine, in December 2013, was, for members in this place listening to the shocking story, taken from his home just before Christmas. His wife was a survivor of residential schools. Uniformed men, with no warning, showed up at his door, took him from his home and put him in leg irons to transport him to a holding cell. We were able to mobilize because, thankfully, he had some contact with academics, University of Victoria anthropologists and those working on biological anthropology with respect to developing community gardens based on the traditional knowledge of the indigenous people of Penelakut Island. We got a lawyer, we paid for the lawyer and we got Richard Germaine out of a holding cell where he was about to be deported. The previous minister of immigration, Chris Alexander, was helpful. We regularized his citizenship because he was an indigenous person from the United States.
That was a horror story. I will never forget it. It made me realize, as my hon. colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith said, most of the people working in uniform in this country are fine and upstanding, but that story shook me to my core, especially when Richard Germaine told me that all the other people in that holding cell were deported within 24 hours and the guards there said, “Who do you know? How did this happen? Nobody gets out of here.”
I want to thank my hon. colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith. I am making a comment, not so much a question.
I have a feeling there are other events this evening of a less weighty nature, so I will end there, unless my hon. colleague wants to add anything.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-11 12:40 [p.28901]
Mr. Speaker, I certainly share many of the concerns of the hon. member for Essex about this new version, NAFTA 2.0, CUSMA or USMCA, depending on where people stand and what country they are in.
I have concerns and I am also torn. CUSMA certainly is a vast improvement in finally getting rid of the investor-state provisions in chapter 11. It is certainly an improvement to get rid of the energy proportionality. That clause really tied Canada's hands on energy security.
It is lamentable to see it chip away at supply management, as the member has pointed out, and it is certainly worrying that it does more to protect big pharma in patent protection.
In figuring out where we go with this as a Parliament, how do we discount the importance of getting rid of U.S.-based corporations having the right to sue Canada? Invariably, they win and we lose.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-11 16:08 [p.28934]
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the minister's reference to my sponsorship of Bill S-203. I was also the mover of the amendment that led to the water flow provisions on habitat. I agree with the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford that it is a shame to see those lost.
I want to make this one point in 10 seconds: This bill has to pass. I wish I had not lost my section on water flows, but we have to move Bill C-68 through.
Does the hon. minister think we have time to move the amendments through the Senate and back to this place?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-11 18:48 [p.28954]
Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I do not feel, as leader of the Green Party, that I had adequate opportunity to debate what has happened with Bill C-59, particularly since it went to the Senate.
However, I want to say on the record that although it is not the perfect bill one would have wished for to completely remove the damage of Bill C-51 from the previous Parliament, I am very grateful for the progress made in this bill. What I referred to at the time as the “thought chill sections” of the language were removed. One example was the use of the words “terrorism in general” throughout Bill C-51.
The bill was tabled January 30, 2015, which was a Friday. I read it over the weekend, came back to Parliament on Monday and asked a question in question period about whether we were going to stop this bill that so heavily intruded on civil liberties.
Bill C-59 is an improvement, but I do not think I have had enough time to debate it. I wish the hon. minister could give us more time. I want to see it pass in this Parliament, but I wish there was a way to allow time for proper debate.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-11 22:51 [p.28973]
Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the hon. member for Saskatoon—Grasswood, in describing this bill, which is about the restoration of indigenous treaty rights around rejecting the idea of superboards, among other details, has raised the issue of oil and gas, the need for development, and demonstrations in Calgary in favour of oil and gas.
We have a lot of discussion in this place about the need to recognize a climate emergency. I wonder if my hon. colleague has any particular notion of when we should stop expanding oil and gas, and how quickly we need to phase out oil and gas in order to avoid catastrophic impacts from the climate crisis.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-06 10:30 [p.28664]
Mr. Speaker, I am enormously grateful that my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan chose to put some focus on the media bailout, because I was not able to get in on the debate when that was before the House squarely.
I voted against the Conservative motion last night. My vote might be considered to be support for the approach of the government in its entirety. Unfortunately, the Conservative motion included deleting tax treatment for energy efficient vehicles, probably inadvertently, in a series of amendments that were about the media bailout.
I am concerned about the media bailout. The media does need support. We need independent journalism. I would have been more impressed with a commitment that zero government dollars would go to advertising in digital platforms and would concentrate government advertising in the newspapers that were struggling.
I would also be more impressed if the group that was deciding who got the money did not include recipients of the funding. One reason I could not vote for the Conservative motion on its own was it singled out Unifor. Sun Media is sitting on it. The point, as made as journalist, Andrew Potter, is this. Why would the recipients of the funding form the group to decide who gets the funding?
Those are my concerns. The are not full-on opposition to the government's approach, but I would like to see it tweaked.
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